Federal Register Vol. 82, No.145,

Federal Register Volume 82, Issue 145 (July 31, 2017)

Page Range35435-35621
FR Document

82_FR_145
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
82 FR 35442 - Review and Approval of Projects; Hearings and Enforcement ActionsPDF
82 FR 35621 - Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to LebanonPDF
82 FR 35435 - Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 2017PDF
82 FR 35523 - Proposed CERCLA Cost Recovery Settlement for the Computer Circuits Superfund Site, Hauppauge, Suffolk County, New YorkPDF
82 FR 35443 - Final Waiver and Extension of the Project Period; National Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Technical Assistance Center on Early Childhood Longitudinal Data SystemsPDF
82 FR 35524 - Notice to All Interested Parties of the Termination of the Receivership of 10397-Citizens Bank of Northern California; Nevada City, CaliforniaPDF
82 FR 35581 - Advisory Committee Charter RenewalsPDF
82 FR 35526 - Change in Bank Control Notices; Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding CompanyPDF
82 FR 35546 - Importer of Controlled Substances Application: R & D Systems, Inc.PDF
82 FR 35443 - Safety Zones; Point to LaPointe Swim; LaPointe, WIPDF
82 FR 35548 - Nominations for the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion; CorrectionPDF
82 FR 35546 - Bulk Manufacturer of Controlled Substances Application: Isosciences, LLCPDF
82 FR 35547 - Importer of Controlled Substances Application: Sigma-Aldrich International GMBHPDF
82 FR 35539 - Intent To Prepare a Draft National Environmental Policy Act Analysis and Associated Documents for LCRA Transmission Services Corporation's Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan, TXPDF
82 FR 35542 - Filing of Plats of Survey: CaliforniaPDF
82 FR 35546 - Notice Pursuant to the National Cooper, Ative Research and Production Act of 1993-Vehicle To Infrastructure ConsortiumPDF
82 FR 35537 - 30-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Lender Qualifications for Multifamily Accelerated Processing (MAP) GuidePDF
82 FR 35538 - 30-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Section 8 Renewal Policy GuidePDF
82 FR 35545 - Agency Information Collection Activities: OMB Control Number 1029-0091; Requirements for Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation Operations on Indian LandsPDF
82 FR 35516 - Revised Non-Foreign Overseas per Diem RatesPDF
82 FR 35524 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
82 FR 35522 - Notice of Public Hearing and Business Meeting August 16 and September 14, 2017PDF
82 FR 35578 - Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology (OST-R) Notice of Request for Clearance of a New Information Collection: Annual Tank Car Facility SurveyPDF
82 FR 35524 - Notice to All Interested Parties of the Termination of the Receivership of 10395-The First National Bank of Florida Milton, FloridaPDF
82 FR 35523 - Notice to All Interested Parties of the Termination of the Receivership of 10381-LandMark Bank of Florida Sarasota, FloridaPDF
82 FR 35507 - Certain Cut-to-Length Carbon-Quality Steel Plate Products From the Republic of Korea: Rescission of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review in Part; 2016-2017PDF
82 FR 35535 - National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics: MeetingPDF
82 FR 35556 - Information Collection: NRC Form 5, “Occupational Dose Record for a Monitoring Period”PDF
82 FR 35451 - Ensuring a Safe Environment for Community Residential Care Residents; CorrectionPDF
82 FR 35509 - Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingPDF
82 FR 35555 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Overhead and Gantry Cranes StandardPDF
82 FR 35549 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Portable Fire Extinguishers StandardPDF
82 FR 35550 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Rigging Equipment for Material HandlingPDF
82 FR 35552 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Process for Expedited Approval of an Exemption for Prohibited Transaction, Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 1996-62PDF
82 FR 35551 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Anhydrous Ammonia Storage and Handling StandardPDF
82 FR 35548 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Standard for Construction and General Industry and Electrical Protective Equipment for Construction and General IndustryPDF
82 FR 35553 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Requirements for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Training Institute Education Centers Program and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Outreach Training ProgramPDF
82 FR 35554 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Hydrostatic Testing Provision of the Portable Fire Extinguishers StandardPDF
82 FR 35528 - Information Collection; Federal Acquisition Regulation: Buy American, Trade Agreements, and Duty-Free EntryPDF
82 FR 35534 - Developing a Framework for Regulatory Use of Real-World Evidence; Public WorkshopPDF
82 FR 35507 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
82 FR 35457 - Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Groundfish Fishery; Fishing Year 2017; Recreational Management MeasuresPDF
82 FR 35526 - Baxter International Inc., Claris Lifesciences Limited, and Arjun Handa; Analysis To Aid Public CommentPDF
82 FR 35530 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
82 FR 35575 - Capital Southwest CorporationPDF
82 FR 35509 - Review of National Marine Sanctuaries and Marine National Monuments Designated or Expanded Since April 28, 2007; Notice of Opportunity for Public CommentPDF
82 FR 35580 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Regulation ProjectPDF
82 FR 35578 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Forms W-8BEN, W-8BEN-E, W-8ECI, W-8EXP, and W-8IMYPDF
82 FR 35579 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 1099-APDF
82 FR 35576 - C3 Capital Partners III, L.P.; License No. 07/07-0118; Notice Seeking Exemption Under Section 312 of the Small Business Investment Act, Conflicts of InterestPDF
82 FR 35532 - Cardiac Troponin Assays; Public Workshop; Request for CommentsPDF
82 FR 35536 - National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders; Notice of MeetingPDF
82 FR 35536 - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
82 FR 35577 - Annual Meeting of the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards Office of the National OmbudsmanPDF
82 FR 35577 - National Regulatory Fairness Hearing Region III Regulatory Fairness BoardPDF
82 FR 35499 - Television Broadcasting Services; Anchorage, AlaskaPDF
82 FR 35541 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Homeliving Programs and School Closure and ConsolidationPDF
82 FR 35562 - Consolidated Tape Association; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of the Twenty-Eight Substantive Amendment to the Second Restatement of the CTA Plan and the Twentieth Amendment to the Restated CQ PlanPDF
82 FR 35571 - Joint Industry Plan; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of the Thirty-Ninth Amendment to the Joint Self-Regulatory Organization Plan Governing the Collection, Consolidation and Dissemination of Quotation and Transaction Information for Nasdaq-Listed Securities Traded on Exchanges on an Unlisted Trading Privileges BasisPDF
82 FR 35581 - Notice of Establishment of the Creating Options for Veterans' Expedited Recovery Commission (COVER Commission)PDF
82 FR 35573 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Bats BZX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Related to Fees for Use on Bats BZX Exchange, Inc.PDF
82 FR 35566 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq MRX, LLC; Order Approving Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 2, To Amend the Exchange Opening ProcessPDF
82 FR 35557 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq MRX, LLC; Order Approving Proposed Rule Change To Amend Various Rules in Connection With a System Migration to Nasdaq INET TechnologyPDF
82 FR 35563 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; National Securities Clearing Corporation; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change To Expand the Application of the Family-Issued Securities ChargePDF
82 FR 35557 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Designation of a Longer Period for Commission Action on Proceedings To Determine Whether To Approve or Disapprove a Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 2, Relating to the Listing and Trading of Shares of the Bitcoin Investment Trust Under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.201PDF
82 FR 35536 - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; Notice of MeetingPDF
82 FR 35445 - Definitions and Selection Criteria That Apply to Direct Grant ProgramsPDF
82 FR 35577 - Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loans Interest Rate for Fourth Quarter FY 2017PDF
82 FR 35443 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Carquinez Strait, Martinez, CAPDF
82 FR 35500 - Private Investment Project ProceduresPDF
82 FR 35439 - National Space Grant College and Fellowship ProgramPDF
82 FR 35451 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Maryland; Regional Haze Best Available Retrofit Technology Measure for Verso Luke Paper MillPDF
82 FR 35530 - Health Insurance MarketplaceSMPDF
82 FR 35510 - Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Dismantling of the Original East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay BridgePDF
82 FR 35437 - Amendment of Class E Airspace for the Following Texas Towns; Pampa, TX and Seminole, TXPDF
82 FR 35438 - Amendment of Class E Airspace, Dixon, WYPDF
82 FR 35468 - Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedure for Small Electric Motors and Electric MotorsPDF
82 FR 35508 - Export Trade Certificate of ReviewPDF
82 FR 35478 - Real Estate AppraisalsPDF
82 FR 35454 - Air Plan Approval; CT; Reasonably Available Control Technology for the 2008 Ozone StandardPDF
82 FR 35493 - Emergency Mergers-Chartering and Field of MembershipPDF
82 FR 35542 - Protocol for Categorical Exclusions Supplementing the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act for Certain National Indian Gaming Commission Actions and ActivitiesPDF
82 FR 35584 - Recordkeeping Requirements for Qualified Financial ContractsPDF
82 FR 35500 - Evaluation of Existing Acquisition Regulations; Extension of Comment PeriodPDF
82 FR 35498 - Evaluation of Existing Federal Management and Federal Property Management Regulations; Extension of Comment PeriodPDF
82 FR 35500 - Evaluation of Existing Leasing Acquisition Regulations; Extension of Comment PeriodPDF
82 FR 35498 - Federal Travel Regulation System; Evaluation of Existing Federal Travel Regulation; Extension of Comment PeriodPDF

Issue

82 145 Monday, July 31, 2017 Contents Agriculture Agriculture Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 35507 2017-16020 Antitrust Division Antitrust Division NOTICES Changes under National Cooperative Research and Production Act: Vehicle to Infrastructure Consortium, 35546 2017-16050 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 35530 2017-16016 Charter Renewals: Advisory Panel on Outreach and Education, 35530-35532 2017-15960 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Drawbridge Operations: Carquinez Strait, Martinez, CA, 35443 2017-15987 Safety Zones: Point to LaPointe Swim; LaPointe, WI, 35443 2017-16063 Commerce Commerce Department See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Comptroller Comptroller of the Currency PROPOSED RULES Real Estate Appraisals, 35478-35493 2017-15748 Defense Department Defense Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Federal Acquisition Regulation: Buy American, Trade Agreements, and Duty-Free Entry, 35528-35530 2017-16022 Revised Non-Foreign Overseas Per Diem Rates, 35516-35522 2017-16043 Delaware Delaware River Basin Commission NOTICES Hearings and Meetings, 35522-35523 2017-16041 Drug Drug Enforcement Administration NOTICES Bulk Manufacturers of Controlled Substances; Applications: Isosciences, LLC, 35546 2017-16060 Importers of Controlled Substances; Applications: R and D Systems, Inc., 35546-35547 2017-16064 Sigma-Aldrich International GMBH, 35547-35548 2017-16059 Education Department Education Department RULES Definitions and Selection Criteria that Apply to Direct Grant Programs, 35445-35451 2017-15989 National Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Technical Assistance Center on Early Childhood Longitudinal Data Systems: Final Waiver and Extension of the Project Period, 35443-35445 2017-16068 Employment and Training Employment and Training Administration NOTICES Requests for Nominations: Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion; Correction, 35548 2017-16062 Energy Department Energy Department PROPOSED RULES Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedure for Small Electric Motors and Electric Motors, 35468-35478 2017-15848 Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Connecticut; Reasonably Available Control Technology for the 2008 Ozone Standard, 35454-35457 2017-15716 Maryland; Regional Haze Best Available Retrofit Technology Measure for Verso Luke Paper Mill, 35451-35454 2017-15979 NOTICES Proposed Settlement Agreements: CERCLA; Computer Circuits Superfund Site, Hauppauge, Suffolk County, NY, 35523 2017-16069 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Amendment of Class E Airspace: Dixon, WY, 35438-35439 2017-15864 Pampa, TX and Seminole, TX, 35437-35438 2017-15873 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission PROPOSED RULES Television Broadcasting Services: Anchorage, AK, 35499 2017-16002 Federal Deposit Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation RULES Recordkeeping Requirements for Qualified Financial Contracts, 35584-35618 2017-15488 PROPOSED RULES Real Estate Appraisals, 35478-35493 2017-15748 NOTICES Terminations of Receivership: Citizens Bank of Northern California Nevada City, CA, 35524 2017-16067 LandMark Bank of Florida, Sarasota, FL, 35523-35524 2017-16038 The First National Bank of Florida, Milton, FL, 35524 2017-16039 Federal Housing Finance Agency Federal Housing Finance Agency NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 35524-35526 2017-16042 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System PROPOSED RULES Real Estate Appraisals, 35478-35493 2017-15748 NOTICES Changes in Bank Control: Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding Company, 35526 2017-16065 Federal Trade Federal Trade Commission NOTICES Proposed Consent Agreements: Baxter International Inc., Claris Lifesciences Limited, and Arjun Handa, 35526-35528 2017-16017 Federal Transit Federal Transit Administration PROPOSED RULES Private Investment Project Procedures, 35500-35506 2017-15985 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service NOTICES Draft National Environmental Policy Act Analysis and Associated Documents: LCRA Transmission Services Corporation; Habitat Conservation Plan, TX, 35539-35541 2017-16056 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration NOTICES Meetings: Cardiac Troponin Assays; Workshop, 35532-35534 2017-16007 Developing a Framework for Regulatory Use of Real-World Evidence; Public Workshop, 35534-35535 2017-16021 General Services General Services Administration PROPOSED RULES Evaluation of Existing Acquisition Regulations, 35500 2017-15458 Evaluation of Existing Federal Management and Federal Property Management Regulations, 35498 2017-15457 Evaluation of Existing Federal Travel Regulation, 35498-35499 2017-15453 Evaluation of Existing Leasing Acquisition Regulations, 35500 2017-15454 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Federal Acquisition Regulation: Buy American, Trade Agreements, and Duty-Free Entry, 35528-35530 2017-16022 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

See

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

NOTICES Meetings: National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, 35535 2017-16036
Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

Housing Housing and Urban Development Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Lender Qualifications for Multifamily Accelerated Processing (MAP) Guide, 35537-35538 2017-16047 Section 8 Renewal Policy Guide, 35538-35539 2017-16045 Indian Affairs Indian Affairs Bureau NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Homeliving Programs and School Closure and Consolidation, 35541-35542 2017-16001 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Indian Affairs Bureau

See

Land Management Bureau

See

National Indian Gaming Commission

See

Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Office

Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 35578-35581 2017-16009 2017-16010 2017-16011 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Certain Cut-to-Length Carbon-Quality Steel Plate Products from the Republic of Korea, 35507-35508 2017-16037 Export Trade Certificates of Review: Florida Citrus Exports, L.C., 35508-35509 2017-15847 Justice Department Justice Department See

Antitrust Division

See

Drug Enforcement Administration

Labor Department Labor Department See

Employment and Training Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Anhydrous Ammonia Storage and Handling Standard, 35551-35552 2017-16026 Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Standard for Construction and General Industry and Electrical Protective Equipment for Construction and General Industry, 35548-35549 2017-16025 Hydrostatic Testing Provision of the Portable Fire Extinguishers Standard, 35554-35555 2017-16023 Overhead and Gantry Cranes Standard, 35555-35556 2017-16030 Portable Fire Extinguishers Standard, 35549-35550 2017-16029 Process for Expedited Approval of an Exemption for Prohibited Transaction, Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 1996-62, 35552-35553 2017-16027 Requirements for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Training Institute Education Centers Program and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Outreach Training Program, 35553-35554 2017-16024 Rigging Equipment for Material Handling, 35550-35551 2017-16028
Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Plats of Survey: California, 35542 2017-16055 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration RULES National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, 35439-35442 2017-15984 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Federal Acquisition Regulation: Buy American, Trade Agreements, and Duty-Free Entry, 35528-35530 2017-16022 National Credit National Credit Union Administration PROPOSED RULES Emergency Mergers—Chartering and Field of Membership, 35493-35498 2017-15685 National Indian National Indian Gaming Commission NOTICES Protocol for Categorical Exclusions Supplementing the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act for Certain National Indian Gaming Commission Actions and Activities, 35542-35545 2017-15498 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Meetings: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 35536 2017-16005 National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 35536 2017-16006 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Fisheries of the Northeastern United States: Northeast Groundfish Fishery; Fishing Year 2017; Recreational Management Measures, 35457-35467 2017-16018 NOTICES Meetings: Pacific Fishery Management Council, 35509 2017-16033 Requests for Comments: Review of National Marine Sanctuaries and Marine National Monuments Designated or Expanded Since April 28, 2007, 35509 2017-16012 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities: Dismantling of the Original East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, 35510-35516 2017-15890 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Occupational Dose Record for a Monitoring Period, 35556-35557 2017-16035 Presidential Documents Presidential Documents PROCLAMATIONS Special Observances: Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Proc. 9628), 35435-35436 2017-16145 ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS Lebanon; Continuation of National Emergency (Notice of July 28, 2017), 35619-35621 2017-16263 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Applications: Capital Southwest Corp., 35575-35576 2017-16013 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: Bats BZX Exchange, Inc., 35573-35575 2017-15996 Consolidated Tape Association Plan, 35562-35563 2017-16000 Joint Industry Plan, 35571-35572 2017-15999 Nasdaq MRX, LLC, 35557-35562, 35566-35571 2017-15994 2017-15995 National Securities Clearing Corp., 35563-35566 2017-15993 NYSE Arca, Inc., 35557 2017-15992 Small Business Small Business Administration NOTICES Conflict of Interest Exemptions: C3 Capital Partners III, LP, 35576-35577 2017-16008 Hearings: Region III Regulatory Fairness Board, 35577 2017-16003 Meetings: Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards, 35577 2017-16004 Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loans Interest Rate, 35577 2017-15988 Substance Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration NOTICES Meetings: National Advisory Councils and Advisory Committees, 35536-35537 2017-15990 Surface Mining Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Requirements for Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation Operations on Indian Lands, 35545-35546 2017-16044 Susquehanna Susquehanna River Basin Commission RULES Review and Approval of Projects; Hearings and Enforcement Actions, 35442-35443 C1--2017--13324 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Transit Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Annual Tank Car Facility Survey, 35578 2017-16040
Treasury Treasury Department See

Comptroller of the Currency

See

Internal Revenue Service

Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department RULES Ensuring a Safe Environment for Community Residential Care Residents; Correction, 35451 2017-16034 NOTICES Charter Renewals: National Research Advisory Council; Special Medical Advisory Group, 35581 2017-16066 Establishment of the Creating Options for Veterans' Expedited Recovery Commission, 35581 2017-15998 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 35584-35618 2017-15488 Part III Presidential Documents, 35619-35621 2017-16263 Reader Aids

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

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82 145 Monday, July 31, 2017 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2017-0185; Airspace Docket No. 17-ASW-6] Amendment of Class E Airspace for the Following Texas Towns; Pampa, TX and Seminole, TX AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This action modifies Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at Perry Lefors Field, Pampa, TX and Gaines County Airport, Seminole, TX. Decommissioning of non-directional radio beacons (NDB) and cancellation of NDB approaches makes it necessary to implement new area navigation (RNAV) procedures for the safety and management of instrument flight rules (IFR) operations at the airport.

DATES:

Effective 0901 UTC, September 14, 2017. The Director of the Federal Register approves this incorporation by reference action under Title 1, Code of Federal Regulations, part 51, subject to the annual revision of FAA Order 7400.11 and publication of conforming amendments.

ADDRESSES:

FAA Order 7400.11A, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, and subsequent amendments can be viewed online at http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/. For further information, you can contact the Airspace Policy Group, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: (202) 267-8783. The Order is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of FAA Order 7400.11A at NARA, call (202) 741-6030, or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal-regulations/ibr_locations.html.

FAA Order 7400.11, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, is published yearly and effective on September 15.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Walter Tweedy (prepared by Ron Laster), Federal Aviation Administration, Operations Support Group, Central Service Center, 10101 Hillwood Parkway, Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5802.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Authority for This Rulemaking

The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is found in Title 49 of the United States Code. 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. This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart I, Section 40103. Under that section, the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to assign the use of airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that authority as it modifies Class E airspace at Perry Lefors Field, Pampa, TX and Gaines County Airport, Seminole, TX to ensure the safety of IFR operations at these airports.

History

The FAA published in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) (82 FR 18406, April 19, 2017) Docket No. FAA-2017-0185 to modify Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at Perry Lefors Field, Pampa, TX and Gaines County Airport, Seminole, TX. Interested parties were invited to participate in this rulemaking effort by submitting written comments on the proposal to the FAA. No comments were received.

Class E airspace designations are published in paragraph 6005 of FAA Order 7400.11A, dated August 3, 2016, and effective September 15, 2016, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Class E airspace designations listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

Availability and Summary of Documents for Incorporation by Reference

This document amends FAA Order 7400.11A, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 3, 2016, and effective September 15, 2016. FAA Order 7400.11A is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. FAA Order 7400.11A lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points.

The Rule

This amendment to Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 71 modifies Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at Perry Lefors Field, Pampa, TX. Specifically, the action removed the segment 3 miles each side of the 354° bearing from the Pampa NDB extending from the 7.3-mile radius to 10.1 miles north of the airport, and reduces the Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at the airport from a 7.3-mile radius to a 6.4-mile radius.

This action also modifies Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at Gaines County Airport, Seminole, TX. by removing the segment 2.5 miles each side of the 189° bearing from the Gaines CO NDB extending from the 6.7-mile radius to 7.7 miles south of the airport.

Airspace reconfiguration is necessary due to the decommissioning of the Pampa (NDB), and Gaines County NDB and cancellation of NDB approaches, and implementation of area navigation (RNAV) procedures at these airports. Controlled airspace is necessary for the safety and management of the standard instrument approach procedures for IFR operations at the airports.

Regulatory Notices and Analyses

The FAA has determined that this regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current, is non-controversial and unlikely to result in adverse or negative comments. It, therefore: (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); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a regulatory evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. Since this is a routine matter that only affects air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this rule, when promulgated, does not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Environmental Review

The FAA has determined that this action qualifies for categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures,” paragraph 5-6.5.a. This airspace action is not expected to cause any potentially significant environmental impacts, and no extraordinary circumstances exist that warrant preparation of an environmental assessment.

Lists of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

Adoption of the Amendment

In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration amends 14 CFR part 71 as follows:

PART 71—DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS 1. The authority citation for part 71 continues to read as follows: Authority:

49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g); 40103, 40113, 40120; E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 389.

§ 71.1 [Amended]
2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.11A, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 3, 2016, and effective September 15, 2016, is amended as follows: Paragraph 6005 Class E Airspace Areas Extending Upward From 700 Feet or More Above the Surface of the Earth ASW TX E5 Pampa, TX [Amended] Pampa, Perry Lefors Field, TX (Lat. 35°36′47″ N., long. 100°59′47″ W.)

That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 6.4-mile radius of Perry Lefors Field.

ASW TX E5 Seminole, TX [Amended] Seminole, Gaines County Airport, TX (Lat. 32°40′31″ N., long. 102°39′10″ W.)

That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 6.7-mile radius of Gaines County Airport.

Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on July 20, 2017. Vonnie Royal, Acting Manager, Operations Support Group, ATO Central Service Center.
[FR Doc. 2017-15873 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2017-0315; Airspace Docket No. 17-ANM-5] Amendment of Class E Airspace, Dixon, WY AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This action establishes Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at Dixon Airport, Dixon, WY, to support the implementation of new area navigation (RNAV) global positioning system (GPS) standard instrument approach procedures for instrument flight rules (IFR) operations at the airport for the safety and management of controlled airspace within the national airspace system.

DATES:

Effective 0901 UTC, October 12, 2017. The Director of the Federal Register approves this incorporation by reference action under Title 1, Code of Federal Regulations, part 51, subject to the annual revision of FAA Order 7400.11 and publication of conforming amendments.

ADDRESSES:

FAA Order 7400.11A, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, and subsequent amendments can be viewed online at http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/. For further information, you can contact the Airspace Policy Group, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: (202) 267-8783. The Order is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call (202) 741-6030, or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal-regulations/ibr_locations.html.

FAA Order 7400.11, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, is published yearly and effective on September 15.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Tom Clark, Federal Aviation Administration, Operations Support Group, Western Service Center, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057; telephone (425) 203-4511.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Authority for This Rulemaking

The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is found in Title 49 of the United States Code. 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. This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart I, Section 40103. Under that section, the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to assign the use of airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that authority as it establishes Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at Dixon Airport, Dixon, WY, to support the implementation of new RNAV (GPS) standard instrument approach procedures for instrument flight rules (IFR) operations at the airport.

History

On June 2, 2017, the FAA published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register (82 FR 25563) Docket No. FAA-2017-0315, to establish Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at Dixon Airport, Dixon, WY. Interested parties were invited to participate in this rulemaking effort by submitting written comments on the proposal to the FAA. No comments were received.

Class E airspace designations are published in paragraph 6005 of FAA Order 7400.11A, dated August 3, 2016, and effective September 15, 2016, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR part 71.1. The Class E airspace designation listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

Availability and Summary of Documents for Incorporation by Reference

This document amends FAA Order 7400.11A, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 3, 2016, and effective September 15, 2016. FAA Order 7400.11A is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. FAA Order 7400.11A lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points.

The Rule

This amendment to Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 71 establishes Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at Dixon Airport, Dixon, WY. Controlled airspace is established within a 7-mile radius of Dixon Airport with a segment 8 miles wide (4 miles each side of a 045° bearing from the airport) extending to 15.5 miles northeast of the airport to support new RNAV (GPS) instrument approach procedures for IFR operations at the airport. This action ensures the safety and management of aircraft within the national airspace system as we transition from ground-based navigation aids to a satellite-based Global Navigation Satellite System.

Regulatory Notices and Analyses

The FAA has determined that this regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current, is non-controversial and unlikely to result in adverse or negative comments. It, therefore: (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); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a Regulatory Evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. Since this is a routine matter that only affects air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this rule, when promulgated, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Environmental Review

The FAA has determined that this action qualifies for categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures,” paragraph 5-6.5a. This airspace action is not expected to cause any potentially significant environmental impacts, and no extraordinary circumstances exist that warrant preparation of an environmental assessment.

Lists of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

Adoption of the Amendment

In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration amends 14 CFR part 71 as follows:

PART 71—DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS 1. The authority citation for part 71 continues to read as follows: Authority:

49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g); 40103, 40113, 40120; E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 389.

§ 71.1 [Amended]
2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.11A, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 3, 2016, and effective September 15, 2016, is amended as follows: Paragraph 6005 Class E Airspace Areas Extending Upward From 700 Feet or More Above the Surface of the Earth. ANM WY E5 Dixon, WY [New] Dixon Airport, WY (Lat. 41°02′15″ N., long. 107°29′33″ W.)

That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 7-mile radius of Dixon Airport, and within 4 miles each side of a 045° bearing from the airport extending from the 7-mile radius to 15.5 miles northeast of the airport.

Issued in Seattle, Washington, on July 20, 2017. Sam S.L. Shrimpton, Acting Group Manager, Operations Support Group, Western Service Center.
[FR Doc. 2017-15864 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION 14 CFR Part 1259 RIN 2700-AE00 [Document Number NASA-17-055] National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program AGENCY:

National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

ACTION:

Direct final rule.

SUMMARY:

This direct final rule makes nonsubstantive changes to Agency regulations to correct citations and office titles.

DATES:

This direct final rule is effective September 29, 2017. Comments due on or before August 30, 2017. If adverse comments are received, NASA will publish a timely withdrawal of the rule in the Federal Register.

ADDRESSES:

Comments must be identified with RIN 2700-AE00 and may be sent to NASA via the Federal E-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Please note that NASA will post all comments on the Internet with changes, including any personal information provided.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Lenell Allen, Office of Education, NASA Headquarters, telephone (202) 358-1762.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Direct Final Rule

NASA has determined this rulemaking meets the criteria for a direct final rule because it makes nonsubstantive changes to correct citations and office titles. No opposition to the changes and no significant adverse comments are expected. However, if the Agency receives a significant adverse comment, it will withdraw this direct final rule by publishing a notice in the Federal Register. A significant adverse comment is one that explains: (1) Why the direct final rule is inappropriate, including challenges to the rule's underlying premise or approach; or (2) why the direct final rule will be ineffective or unacceptable without a change. In determining whether a comment necessitates withdrawal of this direct final rule, NASA will consider whether it warrants a substantive response in a notice and comment process.

Statutory Authority

The National Aeronautics and Space Act (the Space Act), 51 U.S.C. 20113(a), authorizes the Administrator of NASA to make, promulgate, issue, rescind, and amend rules and regulations governing the manner of its operations and the exercise of the powers vested in it by law.

Regulatory Analysis Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive Order 13563, Improvement Regulation and Regulation Review

Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This final rule has been designated as “not significant.”

Executive Order 13132, Federalism

E.O. 13132, “Federalism,” 64 FR 43255 (August 4, 1999) requires regulations be reviewed for Federalism effects on the institutional interest of states and local governments, and if the effects are sufficiently substantial, preparation of the Federal assessment is required to assist senior policy makers. The amendments will not have any substantial direct effects on state and local governments within the meaning of the E.O. Therefore, no Federalism assessment is required.

Paperwork Reduction Act Statement

This final rule does not contain an information collection requirement that is subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires an agency to prepare an initial regulatory flexibility analysis to be published at the time the proposed rule is published. This requirement does not apply if the agency “certifies that the rule will not, if promulgated, have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities” (5 U.S.C. 603). This rule makes corrections to citations and titles of NASA officials; therefore, it does not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 1259

Colleges and universities.

Accordingly, under the authority of the National Aeronautics and Space Act, as amended, NASA amends part 1259 as follows:

PART 1259—NATIONAL SPACE GRANT COLLEGE AND FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM 1. The authority citation for part 1259 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

Pub. L. 100-147, 101 Stat. 869-875; Sec. 3, Pub. L. 111-314, 124 Stat. 3382; 51 U.S.C. 40301-40311.

Subpart 1259.1—Basic Policy 2. In § 1259.100, paragraph (a) is revised to read as follows:
§ 1259.100 Scope of part.

(a) This part 1259 establishes the policies, responsibilities, and procedures relative to the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program established by Title II of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Authorization Act of 1988 (Pub. L. 100-147, 101 Stat. 869-875, now codified at 51 U.S.C. 40301-40311 as a result of Sec. 3, Pub. L. 111-314, 124 Stat. 3382). This statute authorizes the Administrator of NASA, in order to carry out the purposes of the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Act (the Act), to accept conditional or unconditional gifts and donations; to accept and use funds from other Federal departments, agencies, and instrumentalities; to make awards with respect to such needs or problems; and to designate Space Grant colleges. It further directs the Administrator to establish a graduate fellowship program to provide educational assistance to qualified individuals in fields related to space and to establish an independent committee known as the Space Grant Review Panel to review and advise the Administrator with respect to Space Grant programs.

3. Amend § 1259.101 by revising paragraphs (b) introductory text, (f), (g), (h), and (n) to read as follows:
§ 1259.101 Definitions.

(b) Institution of higher education means any college or university in any state that:

(f) Space means aeronautical and space activities which has the meaning given to such term in section 103(1) of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, as amended (51 U.S.C. 20103).

(g) Space Grant college means any public or private institution of higher education that is designated as such by the Administrator or designee pursuant to section 208 of the Act.

(h) Space Grant regional consortium means any association or other alliance that is designated as such by the Administrator or designee pursuant to section 208 of the Act.

(n) State Space Grant cooperating institution means any institution of higher education in a state that does not have a designated Space Grant college, and that is named by the Administrator or designee to provide selected Space Grant program functions within that state.

4. Revise § 1259.102 to read as follows:
§ 1259.102 General policy.

(a) In compliance with the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Act (51 U.S.C. 40301-40311), it shall be NASA's purpose to:

(1) Increase the understanding, assessment, development, and utilization of space resources by promoting a strong educational base, responsive research and training activities, and broad and prompt dissemination of knowledge and techniques;

(2) Utilize the abilities and talents of the universities of the Nation to support and contribute to the exploration and development of the resources and opportunities afforded by the space environment;

(3) Encourage and support the existence of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary programs of space research to engage in activities of training (including teacher education), research, and public service and to have cooperative programs with industry;

(4) Encourage and support the existence of consortia, composed of university and industry members, to advance the exploration and development of space resources in cases in which national objectives can be better fulfilled than through the programs of single universities;

(5) Encourage and support Federal funding for graduate fellowships in fields related to space;

(6) Support activities in colleges and universities generally for the purpose of creating and operating a network of institutional programs that will enhance achievements resulting from efforts under this Act; and

(7) Encourage cooperation and coordination among Federal agencies and Federal programs concerned with space issues.

(b) It shall be NASA's policy to designate Space Grant colleges, State Space Grant cooperating institutions, and Space Grant regional consortia and award fellowships, grants, contracts, and other transactions competitively in a merit-based review process.

(c) It shall be NASA's policy to designate and make awards without regard to age, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, or sex.

5. Amend § 1259.103 by revising the section heading and paragraphs (a)(1) and (b)(1) to read as follows:
§ 1259.103 Space authorities—regular and special.

(a) * * *

(1) In order to carry out the provisions of the Act, the Administrator is authorized to accept conditional or unconditional gifts or donations of services, money, or property; real, personal, or mixed; tangible or intangible. This authority is delegated to the Director, NASA Space Grant Program.

(b) * * *

(1) To carry out the provisions of the Act, the Administrator is authorized to accept and use funds from other Federal departments, agencies, and instrumentalities to pay for awards under this program. This authority is delegated to the Director, NASA Space Grant Program.

Subpart 2—Space Grant Program and Project Awards 6. Amend § 1259.201 by revising paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2), (b) introductory text, and (b)(2) to read as follows:
§ 1259.201 Types of Space Grant program and project awards—regular and special.

(a) * * *

(1) Be funded by NASA in an amount not to exceed 66 percent of the total cost of the Space Grant award and/or fellowship program involved; or

(2) Be funded in an amount not to exceed 100 percent of its cost if the project award is funded by another Federal entity.

(b) A special Space Grant program or project award may be funded in an amount not to exceed 100 percent of the total cost of the special project if the Administrator or designee, the Director, NASA Space Grant Program, determines that:

(2) The probable benefit of such program or project outweighs the public interest in such matching requirement; and

7. Amend § 1259.202 by revising paragraphs (a) and (c) to read as follows:
§ 1259.202 Application procedures.

(a) The opportunity to apply shall be announced by the Director, NASA Space Grant Program.

(c) The applications will be reviewed by a peer review merit selection panel appointed by the Director, NASA Space Grant Program.

8. Amend § 1259.203 by revising the introductory text and paragraph (b) to read as follows:
§ 1259.203 Limitations.

The Act at Public Law 100-147, Section 206(d)(2) and (3), states that:

(b) However, funds may be used to lease any of the items listed in paragraph (a) of this section provided prior written approval is obtained from the Administrator or designee.

Subpart 3—National Needs Grants 9. Revise § 1259.300 to read as follows:
§ 1259.300 Description.

National needs awards may be awarded by the Administrator or designee, Director, NASA Space Grant Program, to meet such needs or problems relating to aerospace identified by the Space Grant Review Panel, by NASA officials, or by any person. NASA may fund such awards in an amount not to exceed 100 percent of the total cost of the program or project.

10. Amend § 1259.302 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
§ 1259.302 Application procedures.

(b) The Director, NASA Space Grant Program shall establish a competitive, merit-based review process to examine unsolicited national needs proposals.

Subpart 4—Space Grant College and Consortium Designation 11. Amend § 1259.400 by revising paragraphs (a) and (b) to read as follows:
§ 1259.400 Description.

(a) The Administrator may designate Space Grant colleges, Space Grant college consortia, and Space Grant regional consortia in order to establish Federal/university partnerships to promote a strong educational base in the space and aeronautical sciences. These designated colleges and consortia will provide leadership for a network of American colleges and universities, industry, and state and local governments in space-related fields. The Administrator hereby delegates this authority to the Director, NASA Space Grant Program.

(b) Designation of Space Grant colleges, Space Grant college consortia, and Space Grant regional consortia shall be for five years. Designation of Space Grant colleges and consortia may be continued for more than five years based on the results of a merit review at the beginning of the fifth year. A claim arising in the United States should be submitted to the Chief Counsel of the NASA installation whose activities are believed to have given rise to the claimed injury, loss, or death. If the identity of such installation is not known, or if the claim arose in a foreign country, the claim should be submitted to the General Counsel, Headquarters, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, DC 20546.

12. Amend § 1259.401 by revising paragraphs (d) and (e) to read as follows:
§ 1259.401 Responsibilities.

(d) Develop and implement programs of public service, interdisciplinary space-related programs, advisory activities, and cooperation with industry, research laboratories, state and local governments, and other colleges and universities, particularly institutions in their state and/or region with significantly large enrollments of minority students who are under-represented in science and technology; and

(e) Provide non-Federal matching funds (exclusive of in-kind contributions) for the Space Grant program equal to those provided by NASA.

13. Amend § 1259.402 by revising paragraphs (a), (b) introductory text, and (c) to read as follows:
§ 1259.402 Basic criteria and application procedures.

(a) Any institution of higher education may be designated a Space Grant college if the Administrator or designee, Director, NASA Space Grant Program, determines that it has a balanced program of research, education, training, and advisory services in fields related to space, as further defined in the program announcement.

(b) Any association or other alliance of two or more persons may be designated a Space Grant regional consortium, if the Administrator or designee, Director, National Space Grant Program, determines that such association or alliance:

(c) The opportunity to apply for designation shall be announced by the Director, NASA Space Grant Program. The application procedures and evaluation guidelines for designation shall be included in the designation announcement.

14. Revise § 1259.403 to read as follows:
§ 1259.403 Limitations.

The same limitations shall apply as stated in § 1259.203.

15. Revise § 1259.404 to read as follows:
§ 1259.404 Suspension or termination of designation.

The Administrator or designee, Director, NASA Space Grant Program, may, for cause, after an opportunity for a hearing before a Federal administrative judge appointed by the Deputy Administrator, suspend or terminate the Space Grant designation of any institution or consortium.

Subpart 5—Space Grant Fellowships 16. Revise § 1259.500 to read as follows:
§ 1259.500 Description.

The Space Grant fellowship program will provide educational and training assistance to qualified individuals at the graduate level in fields related to space. Awards will be made to institutions of higher education for fellowships. The student recipients shall be referred to as NASA Space Grant Fellows.

17. Revise § 1259.501 to read as follows:
§ 1259.501 Responsibilities.

(a) All institutions that receive Space Grant fellowships shall use the awards to increase the pool of graduate students in fields related to space.

(b) The overall fellowship program shall be cognizant of the importance of achieving institutional and geographical diversity.

18. Amend § 1259.502 by revising paragraphs (a) and (c) to read as follows:
§ 1259.502 Application procedures.

(a) All applicants for designation as Space Grant colleges and consortia shall apply for Space Grant fellowships.

(c) There shall be a merit review selection for Space Grant fellowship awards.

19. Amend § 1259.503 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
§ 1259.503 Limitations.

(b) Any students supported under this fellowship program shall not be funded for more than four years unless the Director, NASA Space Grant Program, makes an exception in writing.

Subpart 6—Space Grant Review Panel 20. Revise § 1259.600 to read as follows:
§ 1259.600 Panel description.

An independent committee, the Space Grant Review Panel (Panel), which is not subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, shall be established to advise the Administrator with respect to Space Grant program and project awards, the Space Grant fellowship program, and the designation and operation of Space Grant colleges and consortia. A majority of the voting members shall be individuals who, by reason of their knowledge, experience, or training, are especially qualified in one or more of the fields related to space. The other voting members shall be individuals who, by reason of their knowledge, experience, or training, are especially qualified in, or representative of, education, extension services, state government, industry, economics, planning, or any other activity related to the purposes of the Space Grant program.

21. Amend § 1259.601 by revising paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (f), and (g) to read as follows:
§ 1259.601 Establishment and composition.

(a) The Panel, to be located at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC, will be composed of ten (10) voting members who are not current NASA employees.

(b) The Panel shall include four representatives from Federal departments, agencies, or entities that have an interest in space programs or science and education, as well as six representatives from non-Federal entities.

(c) The non-Federal representatives shall include two persons who are directly involved with the Space Grant program at a Space Grant college or consortium, one person who is involved with the Space Grant program at a university that is not a designated Space Grant college, a university president or chancellor, one representative from a space-related industry, and the last person to be from whatever field the Administrator determines to be of greatest concern.

(f) The Administrator or designee, Director, NASA Space Grant Program, shall select a Chair and a Vice Chair for the Panel. The Vice Chair shall act as Chair in the absence or incapacity of the Chair.

(g) The Administrator or designee, Director, NASA Space Grant Program, may select NASA officials to serve as ex officio, non-voting members of the Panel.

22. Revise § 1259.602 to read as follows:
§ 1259.602 Conflict of interest.

Any member of the Panel who has a personal or financial interest in an issue for consideration before the Panel shall abstain from all discussion and voting on such issue.

23. Amend § 1259.603 by revising paragraphs (a) introductory text, (c), and (d) to read as follows:
§ 1259.603 Responsibilities.

(a) The Panel shall advise the Administrator and designee, Director, NASA Space Grant Program, with respect to:

(c) The Panel may exercise such powers as reasonably necessary in order to carry out the duties enumerated in paragraph (a) of this section.

(d) The Director, NASA Space Grant Program, shall appoint an Executive Secretary who shall perform administrative duties for the Panel.

Nanette J. Smith, NASA Federal Register Liaison Officer.
[FR Doc. 2017-15984 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER BASIN COMMISSION 18 CFR Parts 806 and 808 Review and Approval of Projects; Hearings and Enforcement Actions Correction

In rule document 2017-13324, appearing on pages 29387-29397 in the Issue of Thursday, June 29, make the following correction:

§ 806.1 [Corrected]
1. On page 29390, the first column, the fifth line down “§ 806.1806.1 Scope.”, should read as “806.1 Scope.”
§ 806.3 [Corrected]
2. On page 29390, the first column, the twenty-seventh line from the bottom “§ 806.3806.3 Definitions.”, should read as “§ 806.3 Definitions.”
§ 806.4 [Corrected]
3. On page 29390, the first column, the eleventh line from the bottom “§ 806.4806.4 Projects requiring review and approval.”, should read as “§ 806.4 Projects requiring review and approval.”
§ 806.6 [Corrected]
4. On page 29390, the third column, the fourteenth line from the top “§ 806.6806.6 Transfer of approvals.”, should read as “§ 806.6 Transfer of approvals.”
§ 808.1 [Corrected]
5. On page 29395, the second column, the eighth line from the top “§ 808.1808.1 Public hearings.”, should read as “§ 808.1 Public hearings.”
§ 808.2 [Corrected]
6. On page 29396, the first column, the eighth line from the top “§ 808.2808.2 Administrative appeals.”, should read as “§ 808.2 Administrative appeals.”
[FR Doc. C1-2017-13324 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1300-01-D
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2017-0728] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Carquinez Strait, Martinez, CA AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Notice of deviation from drawbridge regulation.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge across the Carquinez Strait, mile 7.0 at Martinez, CA. The deviation is necessary to allow the bridge owner to conduct emergency repairs. This deviation allows the bridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position during the deviation period.

DATES:

This deviation is effective from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on August 1, 2017.

ADDRESSES:

The docket for this deviation [USCG-2017-0728], 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 Carl T. Hausner, Chief, Bridge Section, Eleventh Coast Guard District; telephone 510-437-3516; email [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Union Pacific Railroad has requested a temporary change to the operation of the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge, mile 7.0, over the Carquinez Strait, at Martinez, CA. The drawbridge navigation span provides a vertical clearance of 70 feet above Mean High Water in the closed-to-navigation position. The draw operates as required by 33 CFR 117.5. Navigation on the waterway is commercial and recreational.

The drawspan will be secured in the closed-to-navigation position from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on August 1, 2017, to allow the bridge owner to conduct emergency repairs. This temporary deviation has been coordinated with the waterway users. No objections to the proposed temporary deviation were raised.

Vessels able to pass through the bridge in the closed position may do so at any time. The bridge will not be able to open for emergencies and there is no immediate alternate route for vessels to pass. The Coast Guard will also inform the users of the waterway, through our Local and Broadcast Notices to Mariners, of the change in operating schedule for the bridge so that 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: July 24, 2017. Carl T. Hausner, District Bridge Chief, Eleventh Coast Guard District.
[FR Doc. 2017-15987 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket No. USCG-2017-0737] Safety Zones; Point to LaPointe Swim; LaPointe, WI AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Notice of enforcement of regulation.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard will enforce the safety zone for the Point to LaPointe Swim in LaPointe, WI from 7 a.m. through 10:30 a.m. on July 29, 2017. This action is necessary to protect participants and spectators during the Point to LaPointe Swim. During the enforcement period, entry into, transiting, or anchoring within the safety zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Duluth or her designated on-scene representative.

DATES:

The regulations in 33 CFR 165.943(b) will be enforced from 7 a.m. through 10:30 a.m. on July 29, 2017, for the Point to LaPointe Swim safety zone, § 165.943(a)(7).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions on this notice of enforcement, call or email LT John Mack, Chief of Waterways Management, Coast Guard; telephone (218)725-3818, email [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Coast Guard will enforce the safety zone for the annual Point to LaPointe Swim in 33 CFR 165.943(a)(7) from 7 a.m. through 10:30 a.m. on July 29, 2017, on all waters between Bayfield, WI and Madeline Island, WI within an imaginary line created by the following coordinates: 46°48′50.97″ N., 090°48′44.28″ W., moving southeast to 46°46′44.90″ N., 090°47′33.21″ W., then moving northeast to 46°46′52.51″ N. 090°47′17.14″ W., then moving northwest to 46°49′03.23″ N. 090°48′25.12″ W. and finally running back to the starting point.

Entry into, transiting, or anchoring within the safety zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Duluth or her designated on-scene representative. The Captain of the Port's designated on-scene representative may be contacted via VHF Channel 16 or via telephone at (715) 779-5100. This notice of enforcement is issued under authority of 33 CFR 165.943 and 5 U.S.C. 552(a). In addition to this publication in the Federal Register, the Coast Guard will provide the maritime community with advance notification of the enforcement of this safety zone via Broadcast Notice to Mariners. The Captain of the Port Duluth or her on-scene representative may be contacted via VHF Channel 16 or via telephone at (715) 779-5100.

Dated: July 26, 2017. E.E. Williams, Commander, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Duluth.
[FR Doc. 2017-16063 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 34 CFR Chapter III Final Waiver and Extension of the Project Period; National Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Technical Assistance Center on Early Childhood Longitudinal Data Systems AGENCY:

Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education.

ACTION:

Final waiver and extension of the project period.

[Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.373Z.] SUMMARY:

The Secretary waives the requirements that generally prohibit project periods exceeding five years and project period extensions involving the obligation of additional Federal funds. This action enables the National IDEA Technical Assistance Center on Early Childhood Longitudinal Data Systems (Center), currently funded under the Technical Assistance on State Data Collection Program, to receive funding from December 1, 2017, through November 30, 2018. This also means that we will not announce a new competition or make new awards in fiscal year (FY) 2017.

DATES:

As of July 31, 2017, the Secretary waives project period requirements and extends the project period.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Meredith Miceli, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5130, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-5108. Telephone: (202) 245-6028.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On February 27, 2017, we published a document in the Federal Register (82 FR 11870) proposing an extension of the project period and waiver of 34 CFR 75.250 and 75.261(a) and (c)(2) for the Center (the waiver and extension) in order to:

(1) Enable the Secretary to provide additional funds to the currently funded Center for an additional 12-month period; and

(2) Invite comments on the proposed extension of project period and waiver.

There are no substantive differences between the proposed waiver and extension and this final waiver and extension.

Public Comment

Eight commenters responded to our invitation to comment in the proposed waiver and extension. Seven of the eight supported the proposed waiver and extension. One expressed concern regarding the proposed extension.

Analysis of Comments and Changes

Comment: Seven of the eight commenters provided favorable and supportive comments regarding the proposed waiver and extension.

Discussion: We thank these commenters for their support.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter requested information on the cost of the current grant.

Discussion: Beginning in December 2012, SRI International, the current grantee, has received approximately $6.5 million annually to run the Center. The waiver and extension will allow for an additional year of funding at the same level.

Changes: None.

Comment: The same commenter expressed concern that this one-year extension would not secure future funding for the Center or these efforts and would prove harmful to children with disabilities.

Discussion: We appreciate the commenter's concern for the long-term future of this important work. The extension would ensure continuity of valuable technical assistance (TA) services in critically needed areas, which will benefit States as they provide early intervention and special education services to children with disabilities. We agree that recompeting this investment in FY 2017 would likely provide additional clarity around funding priorities in future years. However, the Department is taking this action to ensure efficient and effective coordination of data TA by aligning the funding cycle for two large data TA centers. We believe such an approach is in the best interests of both States and the children with disabilities they serve.

Changes: None.

Comment: None.

Discussion: We misstated the dates of the extended project period in the proposed extension and waiver (October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018). We have changed the dates to align with the period of the current grant (December 1, 2017 through November 30, 2018).

Changes: We have changed the dates of the project period for this extension to December 1, 2017, through November 30, 2018.

Final Waiver and Extension

In the proposed waiver and extension, we discuss the background and purposes of the Center and our reasons for proposing the waiver and extension.

For these reasons, the Secretary waives the requirements in 34 CFR 75.250, which prohibit project periods exceeding five years, as well as the requirements in 34 CFR 75.261(a) and (c)(2), which allow the extension of a project period only if the extension does not involve the obligation of additional Federal funds. The waiver allows the Department to issue a one-time FY 2017 continuation award of $6,500,000 to the Center originally funded in FY 2012.

Any activities carried out during the year of this continuation award must be consistent with, or a logical extension of, the scope, goals, and objectives of the grantee's application as approved in the 2012 competition. The requirements for continuation awards are set forth in the document inviting applications published in the Federal Register on February 27, 2017 (82 FR 11870) for a new award for FY 2012 and in 34 CFR 75.253.

Waiver of Delayed Effective Date

The Administrative Procedure Act requires that a substantive rule must be published at least 30 days before its effective date, except as otherwise provided for good cause (5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3)). All but one of the comments we received supported the proposed waiver and extension, and we have not made any substantive changes to the proposed waiver and extension. Therefore, the Secretary waives the delayed effective date to ensure there is no lapse in the TA services currently provided by the Center.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

The Secretary certifies that this final waiver and extension of the project period will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

The only entities that will be affected are the current grantee receiving Federal funds and any other potential applicants.

The Secretary certifies that this waiver and final extension will not have a significant economic impact on these entities because the extension of existing project periods imposes minimal compliance costs, and the activities required to support the additional year of funding will not impose additional regulatory burdens or require unnecessary Federal supervision.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

This final waiver and extension of the project period does not contain any information collection requirements.

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 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 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: July 25, 2017. Kimberly M. Richey, Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 2017-16068 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 34 CFR Parts 75 and 77 [Docket ID ED-2017-OII-0032] RIN 1855-AA13 Definitions and Selection Criteria That Apply to Direct Grant Programs AGENCY:

Department of Education.

ACTION:

Final rule with request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The Secretary is issuing this rule in order to better align the regulations with the definition of “evidence-based” in the statutory authority. These changes mean that all competitive grant programs in the Department can continue to use the same provisions for evidence-based grant-making.

DATES:

Effective date: These regulations are effective July 31, 2017. The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in these regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of July 31, 2017.

Comment due date: We will accept comments on or before August 30, 2017. We will consider the comments received and may conduct additional rulemaking based on the comments.

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 these final regulations, address them to Kelly Terpak, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 4W312, Washington, DC 20202-5900.

Privacy Note: The Department's policy for comments received from members of the public is to make these submissions 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:

Kelly Terpak, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 4W312, Washington, DC 20202-5900. Telephone: (202) 205-5231 or by email: [email protected]

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

As noted above, these regulations are effective on July 31, 2017. However, for grant award competitions announced by the Department in the Federal Register prior to the effective date of these regulations, unless the notice specifies otherwise, the provisions of 34 CFR parts 75 and 77 revised or removed through this notice of final regulations continue to apply to competitions and grants awarded under those notices inviting applications.

Invitation To Comment

These regulations do not establish substantive policy changes, but instead make technical changes to existing regulations. Since these regulations make only technical changes, a comment period is not required. However, we are interested in whether you think we should make any changes in these regulations and thus we are inviting your comments. We will consider these comments in determining whether to make further technical changes to the regulations or engage in additional rulemaking. To ensure that your comments have maximum effect, we urge you to identify clearly the specific section or sections of the regulations that each of your comments addresses and to arrange your comments in the same order as the regulations. See ADDRESSES for instructions on how to submit comments.

We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific requirements of Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 and their overall requirements of reducing regulatory burden that might result from these regulations. Please let us know of any additional ways we could reduce potential costs or increase potential benefits while preserving the effective and efficient administration of the Department's programs and activities.

During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public comments about these regulations by accessing Regulations.gov. You may also inspect the comments in person in Room 6W245, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal holidays. If you want to schedule time to inspect comments, 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 these regulations. If you want to schedule an appointment for this type of aid, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Final Regulatory Changes I. Selection Criteria

Background: The regulations in subpart D of 34 CFR part 75 set forth the general requirements that govern the Department's selection of grantees for direct grant awards. For those direct grant programs that make discretionary grant awards, the Secretary uses selection criteria to evaluate applications submitted under those programs. The regulations establish a menu of selection criteria that the Secretary may use in any Department discretionary grant competition.

34 CFR Part 75 § 75.210 General Selection Criteria

Current Regulations: Current § 75.210(c) lists 29 factors under the “Quality of the Project Design” selection criterion. Section 75.210(h) includes 12 factors under the “Quality of the Project Evaluation” selection criterion.

Final Regulations and Reasons: We make the following changes to the selection criteria in § 75.210(c) and (h):

(1) Add one selection factor under the “Quality of the Project Design” criterion (§ 75.210(c)) to clarify that the Department may assess the extent to which an applicant's proposed project would represent a faithful adaptation of the evidence cited in support of its project. This factor is designed to assess whether projects would in fact implement the evidence cited as support, such that the project is “evidence-based” as described in section 8101(21)(A) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

(2) For clarification, add two selection factors under the “Quality of the Project Evaluation” criterion (§ 75.210(h)) focused on (a) the qualifications of an applicant's evaluator; and (b) the sufficiency of resources to carry out the project evaluation.

We also revise two factors under the “Quality of the Project Design” criterion (§ 75.210(c)) and four factors under the “Quality of the Project Evaluation” criterion (§ 75.210(h)) to align terminology with the revised evidence definitions in 34 CFR part 77. Specifically, the regulations:

(1) Replace references to “evidence of promise” and “strong theory” with “promising evidence” and “demonstrates a rationale,” respectively.

(2) Align terminology with the revised definitions in 34 CFR 77.1(c) to include the term “project component” and clarify that the What Works Clearinghouse standards are described in the What Works Clearinghouse Handbook.

We are making these revisions to improve the menu of selection criteria and factors by better aligning them to the evidence-related definitions in 34 CFR part 77. We make these revisions in conjunction with the amendments to the definitions in 34 CFR part 77, which, as discussed elsewhere in this document, we also revise to align with the evidence provisions in section 8101(21) of the ESEA, as amended by the ESSA, and for clarity. The final regulations do not change the way the Secretary uses the current and new selection criteria and factors. The Secretary will continue to use selection criteria that are consistent with the purpose of the program and permitted under the applicable statutes and regulations.

II. Evidence Preferences and Priorities

§ 75.226 What procedures does the Secretary use if the Secretary decides to give special consideration to applications supported by strong evidence of effectiveness, moderate evidence of effectiveness, or evidence of promise?

Current Regulations: Under § 75.226, the Secretary may establish a competitive preference or absolute priority for projects supported by strong evidence of effectiveness, moderate evidence of effectiveness, or evidence of promise, as those terms are currently defined in 34 CFR part 77.

Final Regulations and Reasons: The Secretary makes technical revisions to the title and text of this section to describe procedures for giving special consideration to applications supported by strong, moderate, or promising evidence, which are the evidence-related terms used in the ESEA. We include definitions for these terms elsewhere in this document.

These technical changes ensure that discretionary grant programs authorized by the ESEA, as amended by the ESSA, can establish evidence-based priorities under § 75.226 and allow the Department the option to use one set of uniform evidence standards for all discretionary grant programs across each program's authorizing statute.

III. Evidence Definitions

Background: Section 77.1(c) establishes definitions that, unless a statute or regulation provides otherwise, apply to the regulations in title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations and can be used in Department grant competitions. This section includes a number of definitions that support the Department's use of evidence in grant competitions. The ESSA amended the ESEA to include a new definition of “evidence-based” that necessitates changes to these definitions.

34 CFR Part 77 § 77.1 Definitions That Apply to All Department Programs

Current Regulations: Section 77.1(c) establishes definitions that, unless a statute or regulation provides otherwise, apply to the regulations in title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations and can be used in Department grant competitions.

Final Regulations and Reasons: We establish new, and revise some existing, definitions to (1) ensure alignment with provision in the ESEA, as amended by the ESSA, providing a single set of evidence definitions; and (2) make minor clarifying revisions to existing provisions. In these final regulations, we:

(1) Add a definition of “evidence-based” that incorporates the four levels of evidence in section 8101(21)(A) of the ESEA, as amended by the ESSA.

(2) Add a definition for “project component” as a single, clarifying term for what may be included in a project. The term clarifies that “policy” may be one component of a project; encompasses “an activity, strategy, or intervention,” to be consistent with the definition of “evidence-based” in section 8101(21) of the ESEA, as amended by the ESSA; and includes “process,” “product,” and “practice,” which were in the evidence definitions in 34 CFR 77.1(c) (e.g., strong evidence of effectiveness) prior to these final regulations.

(3) Remove the definitions of “large sample” and “multi-site sample” and instead incorporate them into the new “moderate evidence” and “strong evidence” definitions, to streamline these definitions.

(4) Replace the term “strong theory” with the term “demonstrates a rationale,” as this is the fourth level of evidence in the definition of “evidence-based” in section 8101(21) of the ESEA, as amended by the ESSA.

(5) Replace the term “evidence of promise” with the term “promising evidence,” to align with the definition of “evidence-based” in section 8101(21) of the ESEA, as amended by the ESSA. In the definition of “promising evidence,” we clarify—

• How practice guides and intervention reports prepared by the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC), in alignment with the WWC standards incorporated in the definition, can provide promising evidence;

• How the Department already reviews single studies to determine whether they qualify under this level of evidence; and

• That certain quasi-experimental studies and experimental studies that do not meet WWC standards can qualify as promising evidence, as the previous “evidence of promise” definition implied.

• That correlational studies with statistical controls for selection bias must be well-designed and well-implemented to qualify as promising evidence, as the ESEA, as amended by the ESSA, provides.

(6) Replace the term “moderate evidence of effectiveness” with the term “moderate evidence,” which is used in the ESEA definition of “evidence-based.” In the definition of “moderate evidence,” we clarify—

• How practice guides and intervention reports prepared by the WWC, in alignment with the WWC standards incorporated in the definition, can provide moderate evidence;

• How the Department already reviews single studies to determine whether they qualify under this level of evidence; and

• Through language regarding “relevant findings,” that there must be a link between the proposed activities, strategies, and interventions and specific statistically significant effects, as required under the definition of “evidence-based” in section 8101(21) of the ESEA, as amended by the ESSA.

(7) Replace the term “randomized controlled trial” with the term “experimental study,” to align with the definition of “evidence-based,” in section 8101(21) specifically with regard to “strong evidence.” In this new definition of “strong evidence,” we clarify the types of studies that can qualify as experimental studies—including, but not limited to, randomized controlled trials—as provided in the applicable WWC Handbook.

(8) Replace the term “strong evidence of effectiveness” with the term “strong evidence,” which is used in the definition of “evidence-based” in section 8101(21) of the ESEA, as amended by the ESSA. In the definition of “strong evidence,” we clarify—

• How practice guides and intervention reports prepared by the WWC, in alignment with the WWC standards incorporated in the definition, can provide promising evidence under the definition of “evidence-based” in section 8101(21) of the ESEA, as amended by the ESSA;

• How the Department already reviews single studies to determine whether they qualify under this level of evidence; and

• Through language regarding “relevant findings,” that there must be a link between the proposed activities, strategies, and interventions and specific statistically significant effects, as required under the definition of “evidence-based” in section 8101(21) of the ESEA, as amended by the ESSA.

(9) Replace the term “What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards” with the term “What Works Clearinghouse Handbook,” to clarify that the Handbook's procedures—not just standards—are relevant to evidence determinations, consistent with current practice. We also incorporate this Handbook, which provides a detailed description of the standards and procedures of the WWC, by reference. The WWC is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, within the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), which was established under the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002. The WWC is an important part of IES's strategy to use rigorous and relevant research, evaluation, and statistics to inform decisions in the field of education. The WWC provides critical assessments of scientific evidence on the effectiveness of education programs, policies, products, and practices (referred to as “interventions”) and a range of publications and tools summarizing this evidence. The WWC meets the need for credible, succinct information by reviewing research studies; assessing the quality of the research; summarizing the evidence of the effectiveness of programs, policies, products, and practices on student outcomes and other outcomes related to education; and disseminating its findings broadly. This Handbook is available to interested parties at the Web site address included in the regulation (https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/Handbooks).

(10) Make minor clarifying changes to the definition of “logic model” so it is more easily understood.

(11) Make minor clarifying changes to the definition of “quasi-experimental design study” to align with terminology in the revised § 77.1(c).

(12) Make minor clarifying changes to the definition of “relevant outcome” to align with terminology in the revised § 77.1(c).

Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking and Delayed Effective Date

Under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553), the Department generally offers interested parties the opportunity to comment on proposed regulations. However, these regulations make technical changes only and do not establish substantive policy. The regulations are therefore exempt from notice and comment rulemaking under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B). However, the Department is providing a 30-day comment period and invites interested persons to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments. The Department will consider the comments received and may conduct additional rulemaking based on the comments.

The APA also generally requires that regulations be published at least 30 days before their effective date, unless the agency has good cause to implement its regulations sooner (5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3)). Again, because these final regulations are merely technical, there is good cause to make them effective on the day they are published.

Executive Orders 12866, 13563, and 13771 Regulatory Impact Analysis

Under Executive Order 12866, the Secretary must determine whether this 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 final regulatory action is not a significant regulatory action subject to review by OMB under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866.

Under Executive Order 13771, for each new regulation that the Department proposes for notice and comment or otherwise promulgates that is a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, it must identify two deregulatory actions. For Fiscal Year 2017, any new incremental costs associated with a new regulation must be fully offset by the elimination of existing costs through deregulatory actions. The final regulations are not a significant regulatory action. Therefore, the requirements of Executive Order 13771 do not apply.

We have also reviewed these regulations 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 on a reasoned determination that their benefits justify their costs (recognizing that some benefits and costs are difficult to quantify);

(2) Tailor its regulations to impose the least burden on society, consistent with obtaining regulatory objectives and taking into account—among other things and to the extent practicable—the costs of cumulative regulations;

(3) In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, select those approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity);

(4) To the extent feasible, specify performance objectives, rather than the behavior or manner of compliance a regulated entity must adopt; and

(5) Identify and assess available alternatives to direct regulation, including economic incentives—such as user fees or marketable permits—to encourage the desired behavior, or provide information that enables the public to make choices.

Executive Order 13563 also requires an agency “to use the best available techniques to quantify anticipated present and future benefits and costs as accurately as possible.” The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB has emphasized that these techniques may include “identifying changing future compliance costs that might result from technological innovation or anticipated behavioral changes.”

We are issuing these final regulations only on a reasoned determination that their benefits justify their costs. In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, we selected those approaches that maximize net benefits. Based on an analysis of anticipated costs and benefits, the Department believes that these final regulations are consistent with the principles in Executive Order 13563.

We also have determined that this regulatory action does not unduly interfere with State, local, and Tribal governments in the exercise of their governmental functions.

Potential Costs and Benefits

Under Executive Order 12866, we have assessed the potential costs and benefits of this regulatory action and have determined that these regulations would not impose additional costs. We believe any additional costs imposed by these final regulations will be negligible, primarily because they reflect technical changes which do not impose additional burden. Moreover, we believe any costs will be significantly outweighed by the potential benefits of making necessary clarifications and ensuring consistency among the Education Department General Administrative Regulations and section 8101(21) of ESEA, as amended by the ESSA.

Clarity of the Regulations

Executive Order 12866 and the Presidential memorandum “Plain Language in Government Writing” require each agency to write regulations that are easy to understand.

The Secretary invites comments on how to make these regulations easier to understand, including answers to questions such as the following:

• Are the requirements in the regulations clearly stated?

• Do the regulations contain technical terms or other wording that interferes with their clarity?

• Does the format of the regulations (grouping and order of sections, use of headings, paragraphing, etc.) aid or reduce their clarity?

• Would the regulations be easier to understand if we divided them into more (but shorter) sections? (A “section” is preceded by the symbol “§ ” and a numbered heading; for example, § 75.210.)

• Could the description of the regulations in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this preamble be more helpful in making the regulations easier to understand? If so, how?

• What else could we do to make the regulations easier to understand?

To send any comments that concern how the Department could make these regulations easier to understand, see the instructions in the ADDRESSES section.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

The Secretary certifies that these regulations do not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 does not require you to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a valid OMB control number. We display the valid OMB control number assigned to a collection of information in final regulations at the end of the affected section of the regulations.

Intergovernmental Review

This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79.

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 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.

List of Subjects 34 CFR Part 75

Accounting, Copyright, Education, Grant programs—education, Inventions and patents, Private schools, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Youth organizations.

34 CFR Part 77

Education, Grant programs—education, Incorporation by reference.

Dated: July 25, 2017. Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education.

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Secretary amends parts 75 and 77 of title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

PART 75—DIRECT GRANT PROGRAMS 1. The authority citation for part 75 continues to read as follows: Authority:

20 U.S.C. 1221e-3 and 3474, unless otherwise noted.

2. Section 75.210 is amended by: a. Revising paragraphs (c)(2)(xxviii) and (xxix); b. Adding paragraph (c)(2)(xxx); and c. Revising paragraphs (h)(2)(viii) through (xii); and d. Adding paragraph (h)(2)(xiii).

The revisions and addition read as follows:

§ 75.210 General selection criteria.

(c) * * *

(2) * * *

(xxviii) The extent to which the proposed project is supported by promising evidence (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1(c)).

(xxix) The extent to which the proposed project demonstrates a rationale (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1(c)).

(xxx) The extent to which the proposed project represents a faithful adaptation of the evidence cited in support of the proposed project.

(h) * * *

(2) * * *

(viii) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will, if well implemented, produce evidence about the project's effectiveness that would meet the What Works Clearinghouse standards without reservations as described in the What Works Clearinghouse Handbook (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1(c)).

(ix) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will, if well implemented, produce evidence about the project's effectiveness that would meet the What Works Clearinghouse standards with or without reservations as described in the What Works Clearinghouse Handbook (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1(c)).

(x) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will, if well implemented, produce promising evidence (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1(c)) about the project's effectiveness.

(xi) The extent to which the evaluation plan clearly articulates the key project components, mediators, and outcomes, as well as a measurable threshold for acceptable implementation.

(xii) The qualifications, including relevant training, experience, and independence, of the evaluator.

(xiii) The extent to which the proposed project plan includes sufficient resources to conduct the project evaluation effectively.

3. Revise § 75.226 to read as follows:
§ 75.226 What procedures does the Secretary use if the Secretary decides to give special consideration to applications supported by strong, moderate, or promising evidence?

(a) As used in this section, “strong evidence” is defined in 34 CFR 77.1(c).

(b) As used in this section, “moderate evidence” is defined in 34 CFR 77.1(c).

(c) As used in this section, “promising evidence” is defined in 34 CFR 77.1(c).

(d) If the Secretary determines that special consideration of applications supported by strong, moderate, or promising evidence is appropriate, the Secretary may establish a separate competition under the procedures in 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), or provide competitive preference under the procedures in 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2), for applications supported by—

(1) Evidence that meets the conditions in the definition of “strong evidence”;

(2) Evidence that meets the conditions in the definition of “moderate evidence”; or

(3) Evidence that meets the conditions in the definition of “promising evidence.”

PART 77—DEFINITIONS THAT APPLY TO DEPARTMENT REGULATIONS 3. The authority citation for part 77 continues to read as follows: Authority:

20 U.S.C. 1221e-3 and 3474, unless otherwise noted.

4. Section 77.1(c) is amended by: a. Adding, in alphabetical order, a definition for “Demonstrates a rationale”. b. Removing the definition of “Evidence of promise”. c. Adding, in alphabetical order, definitions for “Evidence-based” and “Experimental study”. d. Removing the definition of “Large sample”. e. Revising the definition of “Logic model”. f. Adding, in alphabetical order, a definition for “Moderate evidence”. g. Removing the definitions of “Moderate evidence of effectiveness” and “Multi-site sample”. h. Adding, in alphabetical order, definitions for “Project component” and “Promising evidence”. i. Revising the definitions of “Quasi-experimental design study” and “Relevant outcome”. j. Adding, in alphabetical order, a definition for “Strong evidence”. k. Removing the definitions of “Strong evidence of effectiveness”, “Strong theory”, and “What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards”. l. Adding, in alphabetical order, a definition for “What Works Clearinghouse Handbook”.

The additions and revisions read as follows:

§ 77.1 Definitions that apply to all Department programs.

(c) * * *

Demonstrates a rationale means a key project component included in the project's logic model is informed by research or evaluation findings that suggest the project component is likely to improve relevant outcomes.

Evidence-based means the proposed project component is supported by one or more of strong evidence, moderate evidence, promising evidence, or evidence that demonstrates a rationale.

Experimental study means a study that is designed to compare outcomes between two groups of individuals (such as students) that are otherwise equivalent except for their assignment to either a treatment group receiving a project component or a control group that does not. Randomized controlled trials, regression discontinuity design studies, and single-case design studies are the specific types of experimental studies that, depending on their design and implementation (e.g., sample attrition in randomized controlled trials and regression discontinuity design studies), can meet What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) standards without reservations as described in the WWC Handbook:

(i) A randomized controlled trial employs random assignment of, for example, students, teachers, classrooms, or schools to receive the project component being evaluated (the treatment group) or not to receive the project component (the control group).

(ii) A regression discontinuity design study assigns the project component being evaluated using a measured variable (e.g., assigning students reading below a cutoff score to tutoring or developmental education classes) and controls for that variable in the analysis of outcomes.

(iii) A single-case design study uses observations of a single case (e.g., a student eligible for a behavioral intervention) over time in the absence and presence of a controlled treatment manipulation to determine whether the outcome is systematically related to the treatment.

Logic model (also referred to as a theory of action) means a framework that identifies key project components of the proposed project (i.e., the active “ingredients” that are hypothesized to be critical to achieving the relevant outcomes) and describes the theoretical and operational relationships among the key project components and relevant outcomes.

Moderate evidence means that there is evidence of effectiveness of a key project component in improving a relevant outcome for a sample that overlaps with the populations or settings proposed to receive that component, based on a relevant finding from one of the following:

(i) A practice guide prepared by the WWC using version 2.1 or 3.0 of the WWC Handbook reporting a “strong evidence base” or “moderate evidence base” for the corresponding practice guide recommendation;

(ii) An intervention report prepared by the WWC using version 2.1 or 3.0 of the WWC Handbook reporting a “positive effect” or “potentially positive effect” on a relevant outcome based on a “medium to large” extent of evidence, with no reporting of a “negative effect” or “potentially negative effect” on a relevant outcome; or

(iii) A single experimental study or quasi-experimental design study reviewed and reported by the WWC using version 2.1 or 3.0 of the WWC Handbook, or otherwise assessed by the Department using version 3.0 of the WWC Handbook, as appropriate, and that—

(A) Meets WWC standards with or without reservations;

(B) Includes at least one statistically significant and positive (i.e., favorable) effect on a relevant outcome;

(C) Includes no overriding statistically significant and negative effects on relevant outcomes reported in the study or in a corresponding WWC intervention report prepared under version 2.1 or 3.0 of the WWC Handbook; and

(D) Is based on a sample from more than one site (e.g., State, county, city, school district, or postsecondary campus) and includes at least 350 students or other individuals across sites. Multiple studies of the same project component that each meet requirements in paragraphs (iii)(A), (B), and (C) of this definition may together satisfy this requirement.

Project component means an activity, strategy, intervention, process, product, practice, or policy included in a project. Evidence may pertain to an individual project component or to a combination of project components (e.g., training teachers on instructional practices for English learners and follow-on coaching for these teachers).

Promising evidence means that there is evidence of the effectiveness of a key project component in improving a relevant outcome, based on a relevant finding from one of the following:

(i) A practice guide prepared by WWC reporting a “strong evidence base” or “moderate evidence base” for the corresponding practice guide recommendation;

(ii) An intervention report prepared by the WWC reporting a “positive effect” or “potentially positive effect” on a relevant outcome with no reporting of a “negative effect” or “potentially negative effect” on a relevant outcome; or

(iii) A single study assessed by the Department, as appropriate, that—

(A) Is an experimental study, a quasi-experimental design study, or a well-designed and well-implemented correlational study with statistical controls for selection bias (e.g., a study using regression methods to account for differences between a treatment group and a comparison group); and

(B) Includes at least one statistically significant and positive (i.e., favorable) effect on a relevant outcome.

Quasi-experimental design study means a study using a design that attempts to approximate an experimental study by identifying a comparison group that is similar to the treatment group in important respects. This type of study, depending on design and implementation (e.g., establishment of baseline equivalence of the groups being compared), can meet WWC standards with reservations, but cannot meet WWC standards without reservations, as described in the WWC Handbook.

Relevant outcome means the student outcome(s) or other outcome(s) the key project component is designed to improve, consistent with the specific goals of the program.

Strong evidence means that there is evidence of the effectiveness of a key project component in improving a relevant outcome for a sample that overlaps with the populations and settings proposed to receive that component, based on a relevant finding from one of the following:

(i) A practice guide prepared by the WWC using version 2.1 or 3.0 of the WWC Handbook reporting a “strong evidence base” for the corresponding practice guide recommendation;

(ii) An intervention report prepared by the WWC using version 2.1 or 3.0 of the WWC Handbook reporting a “positive effect” on a relevant outcome based on a “medium to large” extent of evidence, with no reporting of a “negative effect” or “potentially negative effect” on a relevant outcome; or

(iii) A single experimental study reviewed and reported by the WWC using version 2.1 or 3.0 of the WWC Handbook, or otherwise assessed by the Department using version 3.0 of the WWC Handbook, as appropriate, and that—

(A) Meets WWC standards without reservations;

(B) Includes at least one statistically significant and positive (i.e., favorable) effect on a relevant outcome;

(C) Includes no overriding statistically significant and negative effects on relevant outcomes reported in the study or in a corresponding WWC intervention report prepared under version 2.1 or 3.0 of the WWC Handbook; and

(D) Is based on a sample from more than one site (e.g., State, county, city, school district, or postsecondary campus) and includes at least 350 students or other individuals across sites. Multiple studies of the same project component that each meet requirements in paragraphs (iii)(A), (B), and (C) of this definition may together satisfy this requirement.

What Works Clearinghouse Handbook (WWC Handbook) means the standards and procedures set forth in the WWC Procedures and Standards Handbook, Version 3.0 or Version 2.1 (incorporated by reference, see 34 CFR 77.2). Study findings eligible for review under WWC standards can meet WWC standards without reservations, meet WWC standards with reservations, or not meet WWC standards. WWC practice guides and intervention reports include findings from systematic reviews of evidence as described in the Handbook documentation.

5. Section 77.2 is added to read as follows:
§ 77.2 Incorporation by Reference.

(a) Certain material is incorporated by reference into this part with the approval of the Director of the Federal Register under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. All approved material is available for inspection at Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance by email at [email protected], and is available from the sources listed below. It is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030 or go to www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.

(b) Institute of Education Sciences, 550 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20202, (202) 245-6940, http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/Handbooks.

(1) What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards Handbook, Version 3.0, March 2014, IBR approved for § 77.1.

(2) What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards Handbook, Version 2.1, September 2011, IBR approved for § 77.1.

[FR Doc. 2017-15989 Filed 7-27-17; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 38 CFR Part 17 RIN 2900-AP06 Ensuring a Safe Environment for Community Residential Care Residents; Correction AGENCY:

Department of Veterans Affairs.

ACTION:

Final rule; correction.

SUMMARY:

The Department of Veterans Affairs is correcting a final rule that added to its medical regulations new standards that must be met by a Community Residential Care facility seeking approval by VA that was published in the Federal Register on July 25, 2017.

DATES:

The correction is effective July 31, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Richard Allman, Chief Consultant, Geriatrics and Extended Care Services (10P4G), Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20420, (202) 461-6750. (This is not a toll-free number.)

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

VA is correcting its final rule that added to its medical regulations new standards that must be met by a Community Residential Care facility seeking approval by VA.

In FR Doc. 17-15519 appearing on page 34408 in the Federal Register of Tuesday, July 25, 2017, the following corrections are made:

§ 17.63 [Corrected]
On page 34415, in the third column, amend § 17.63(j)(4)(i)(K) by removing the comma immediately following the word “distribute”.

Approved:

Janet J. Coleman, Chief, Office of Regulation Policy & Management, Office of the Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2017-16034 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8320-01-P
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R03-OAR-2016-0783; FRL-9965-45-Region 3] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Maryland; Regional Haze Best Available Retrofit Technology Measure for Verso Luke Paper Mill AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving a state implementation plan (SIP) revision submitted by the State of Maryland. This revision pertains to a best available retrofit technology (BART) alternative measure for the Verso Luke Paper Mill (the Mill) submitted by the State of Maryland. Maryland requests new emissions limits for sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX) for power boiler 24 at the Mill and a SO2 cap on tons emitted per year for power boiler 25, while also requesting removal of the specific BART emission limits for SO2 and NOX from power boiler 25. The alternative BART measure will provide greater reasonable progress for SO2 and NOX for regional haze by resulting in additional emission reductions of 2,055 tons per year (tpy) of SO2 and an additional 804 tpy of NOX than would occur through the previously approved BART measure for power boiler 25, a BART subject source. No comments were received in response to EPA's proposed rulemaking notice published on May 30, 2017. This action is being taken under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

DATES:

This final rule is effective on August 30, 2017.

ADDRESSES:

EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID Number EPA-R03-OAR-2016-0783. All documents in the docket are listed on the http://www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., confidential business information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available through http://www.regulations.gov, or please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section for additional availability information.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Irene Shandruk, (215) 814-2166, or by email at [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

Regional haze is impairment of visual range or colorization caused by air pollution, principally by fine particulate matter (PM2.5), produced by numerous sources and activities, located across a broad regional area. The sources include, but are not limited to, major and minor stationary sources, mobile sources, and area sources including non-anthropogenic sources. These sources and activities may emit PM2.5 (e.g. sulfates, nitrates, organic carbon, elemental carbon, and soil dust), and their precursors (e.g. SO2, NOX, and in some cases, ammonia and volatile organic compounds). PM2.5 can also cause serious health effects and mortality in humans, and contributes to environmental effects such as acid deposition and eutrophication.

In the CAA Amendments of 1977, Congress established a program to protect and improve visibility in the Nation's national parks and wilderness areas. See CAA section 169A. Congress amended the visibility provisions in the CAA in 1990 to focus attention on the problem of regional haze. See CAA section 169B. EPA promulgated regional haze regulations (RHR) in 1999 to implement sections 169A and 169B of the CAA. These regulations require states to develop and implement plans to ensure reasonable progress towards improving visibility in mandatory Class I Federal areas.1 See 64 FR 35714 (July 1, 1999); see also 70 FR 39104 (July 6, 2005) and 71 FR 60612 (October 13, 2006).

1 While Maryland has no Class I areas within its borders, there are several Class I areas nearby including Dolly Sods Wilderness Area and Otter Creek Wilderness Area in West Virginia; Brigantine Wilderness in New Jersey; Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee; James River Face and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia; Linville Gorge in North Carolina; and Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky.

The RHR requires each state's regional haze implementation plan to contain emission limitations representing best available retrofit technology (BART) and schedules for compliance with BART for each source subject to BART, unless the state demonstrates that an emissions trading program or other alternative measure will achieve greater reasonable progress toward natural visibility conditions. The requirements for alternative measures are established at 40 CFR 51.308(e)(2).

In addition to demonstrating greater reasonable progress towards improving visibility, among other things, the RHR also requires that all necessary emission reductions from a BART alternative take place during the period of the first long-term strategy for regional haze (i.e., 2008-2018) and requires a demonstration that the emission reductions from the alternative measure will be surplus to the reductions from measures adopted to meet CAA requirements as of the baseline date of the SIP. 40 CFR 51.308(e)(2). The baseline date for regional haze SIPs is 2002. See Memorandum from Lydia Wegman and Peter Tsirigotis, 2002 Base Year Emission Inventory SIP Planning: 8-Hr Ozone, PM2.5, and Regional Haze Programs, November 8, 2002. http://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/t1/memoranda/2002bye-gm.pdf. See 79 FR 56322, 56328-29 (September 19, 2014) (proposing approval of alternative BART for Arizona SIP).

Maryland's regional haze SIP was submitted by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) on February 13, 2012 and approved by EPA in June 2012. See 77 FR 39938 (June 13, 2012). This regional haze SIP included, among other measures, BART emission limits for power boiler 25 at the Verso Luke Paper Mill because power boiler 25 was a BART subject source. The BART emission limits which EPA had approved in June 2012 for power boiler 25 were 0.44 pounds per million British thermal units (lb/MMBtu) for SO2, a 30-day rolling limit of 0.40 lb/MMBtu for NOX, and 0.07 lb/MMBtu for particulate matter (PM).2

2 While EPA's approval of Maryland's regional haze SIP in 2012 included a PM limit for power boiler 25 of 0.07 lb/MMBtu, Maryland is not seeking to revise that PM limit for BART on power boiler 25 and thus the PM limit of 0.07 lb/MMBtu remains on power boiler 25. See 77 FR 39938. This rulemaking action pertains to adjusting the BART limits for SO2 and NOX for power boiler 25.

On May 30, 2017 (82 FR 24614), EPA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) for the State of Maryland. In the NPR, EPA proposed approval of the BART alternative measure for the Verso Luke Paper Mill. No comments were received in response to EPA's proposed rulemaking notice. The formal SIP revision (#16-14) was submitted by the State of Maryland on November 28, 2016.

II. Summary of SIP Revision

The SIP revision seeks to revise the BART strategy for the Verso Luke Paper Mill, specifically the emission limits for power boiler 25 for SO2 and NOX. MDE states that Verso Luke Paper Mill is eliminating the use of coal as a source of fuel used in power boiler 24 and replacing it with natural gas. MDE's SIP revision submittal seeks alternative BART emission limits for SO2 and NOX for power boiler 24, and seeks to remove the previously approved BART requirements for SO2 and NOX from power boiler 25 and replace them with new, alternative emission requirements. Specifically, for power boiler 24 at the Mill, Maryland's SIP revision seeks to establish (1) a new BART emission limit of 0.28 lb/MMBtu, measured as an hourly average for SO2; (2) a new BART emission limit of 0.4 lb/MMBtu, measured on a 30-day rolling average for NOX; and (3) associated monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting requirements. For power boiler 25, this SIP revision seeks to: (1) Remove the SO2 BART emission limit approved by EPA in June 2012 and seeks to establish an annual SO2 cap of 9,876 tons measured on a 12-month rolling average; (2) remove the NOX BART emission limit but retain existing requirements under COMAR 26.11.14.07 applicable to the power boiler; and (3) impose associated monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements. The BART requirements for PM approved by EPA in June 2012 on power boiler 25 would remain unchanged.

MDE's analysis demonstrates that the alternative SO2 BART measure (i.e. new SO2 emission limit on power boiler 24; removal of approved SO2 BART limit and new annual SO2 cap on power boiler 25) would provide an additional 2,055 tpy in SO2 emissions reductions (or 20% more emission reductions) than the tons per year to be reduced by the currently approved BART requirements on power boiler 25. MDE's analysis also shows that the alternative NOX BART measure on power boiler 24 (with removed BART limit on power boiler 25) would provide an additional 804 tpy in NOX emission reductions than the currently approved BART requirements on power boiler 25. Finally, MDE's analysis shows that the alternative NOX BART measure on power boiler 24 would provide a 227 tons per ozone season NOX benefit than would the currently approved BART requirements on power boiler 25.

Thus, with the additional SO2 and NOX emission reductions per year, EPA finds that the alternative SO2 and NOX BART emission limits on power boiler 24 (with the SO2 tpy cap on power boiler 25) will provide for greater reasonable progress toward achieving natural visibility conditions than would be achieved through the currently approved BART emission limits on power boiler 25. EPA also finds the emission reductions from the new limits on power boiler 24 (and SO2 tpy cap on power boiler 25) have been implemented before the end of the first regional haze planning period (i.e. 2018). In addition, the emission reductions from the proposed BART emission limits for power boiler 24 for SO2 and NOX are surplus to reductions resulting from CAA requirements as of the baseline date of the SIP or 2002. More information on Maryland's SIP submittal and on EPA's analysis of emission reductions from the alternative BART measure (including discussion of the reductions as implemented and surplus) is provided in the Technical Support Document (TSD) which is available online at www.regulations.gov for this rulemaking. Therefore, EPA finds Maryland's SIP revision for the alternative BART emission limits for SO2 and NOX for power boiler 24 (and SO2 cap on power boiler 25) meet the requirements for an alternative BART measure in accordance with CAA section 169A and as established at 40 CFR 51.308(e)(2) in the RHR.

In addition, EPA finds that this SIP revision, which seeks to remove BART SO2 and NOX emission limits for power boiler 25 from the approved Maryland regional haze SIP, meets the requirements of CAA section 110(l) and will not interfere with attainment and maintenance of any NAAQS, reasonable further progress or any other applicable CAA requirement. EPA finds that Maryland has demonstrated that additional SO2 and NOX emission reductions will be achieved each year with the alternative BART emission limits on power boiler 24 and SO2 tpy cap on power boiler 25, and as such, no interference with reasonable further progress or any NAAQS is expected. As discussed previously, the alternative BART emission limits on power boiler 24 meet other CAA requirements in section 169A and 40 CFR 51.308(e)(2). Other specific requirements and the rationale for EPA's proposed action are explained in the NPR as well as the technical support document (TSD) under Docket ID No. EPA-R03-OAR-2016-0783, available online at www.regulations.gov, and will not be restated here. No public comments were received on the NPR.

III. Final Action

EPA has reviewed Maryland's SIP revision seeking an alternative BART measure and emission limits for power boiler 24 (and SO2 tpy cap on power boiler 25) compared to EPA's previously federally enforceable BART limits for SO2 and NOX on power boiler 25. EPA finds that the alternative BART measure for Verso Luke Paper Mill with SO2 and NOX limits as alternative BART on power boiler 24 will result in greater emission reductions in SO2 and NOX from the facility and provide greater reasonable progress and greater visibility improvement than the currently approved BART measure which applies solely to power boiler 25. Specifically, the conversion of power boiler 24 from a coal-burning boiler to a natural gas power boiler with new emission limits contained within a federally enforceable permit is expected to result in fewer SO2 and NOX emissions from the Mill. MDE's analysis shows that in comparison to the currently approved BART requirements on power boiler 25, the alternative BART measure on power boiler 24 of 0.28 lb/MMBtu, measured as an hourly average for SO2 and 0.4 lb/MMBtu, measured on a 30-day rolling average for NOX with the 9,876 SO2 cap on power boiler 25, would provide (1) an additional 2,055 tpy in SO2 emissions reductions; (2) an additional 804 tpy in NOX emission reductions; and (3) a 227 tons per ozone season NOX benefit. In addition, EPA finds that the alternative BART emission limits will result in reductions surplus to CAA requirements as of 2002 and will be implemented prior to the end of 2018. EPA is approving the November 28, 2016 SIP submittal as it meets the requirements in CAA section 169A and in 40 CFR 51.308(e)(2). EPA is also incorporating by reference the permit requirements for power boilers 24 and 25 issued August 17, 2016 for the Mill, which include alternative emission requirements, as well as monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

EPA also finds that this SIP revision meets the requirements of CAA section 110(l) and will not interfere with attainment and maintenance of any NAAQS, reasonable further progress or any other applicable CAA requirement. Therefore, EPA is approving Maryland's November 28, 2016 SIP revision submittal as it meets CAA requirements.

IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews A. General Requirements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In addition, this rule does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), because the SIP is not approved to apply in Indian country located in the state, and EPA notes that it will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law.

B. Submission to Congress and the Comptroller General

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. Section 804, however, exempts from section 801 the following types of rules: Rules of particular applicability; rules relating to agency management or personnel; and rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice that do not substantially affect the rights or obligations of non-agency parties. 5 U.S.C. 804(3). Because this is a rule of particular applicability, EPA is not required to submit a rule report regarding this action under section 801.

C. Petitions for Judicial Review

Under section 307(b)(1) of the CAA, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by September 29, 2017. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this action for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. This action pertaining to alternative BART emission limits for Verso Luke Paper Mill 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, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides, Volatile organic compounds.

Dated: July 13, 2017. Cecil Rodrigues, Acting Regional Administrator, Region III.

40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows:

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

42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

Subpart V—Maryland 2. In § 52.1070, the table in paragraph (e) is amended by adding the entry “Maryland Regional Haze Plan” directly below the existing “Maryland Regional Haze Plan” entry that has a state submittal date of 2/13/2012 to read as follows:
§ 52.1070 Identification of plan.

(e) * * *

Name of non-regulatory SIP revision Applicable
  • geographic
  • area
  • State
  • submittal
  • date
  • EPA
  • approval
  • date
  • Additional explanation
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * Maryland Regional Haze Plan Statewide 11/28/2016 7/31/2017 [insert Federal Register citation] Establishes the alternative BART limits for Verso Luke Paper Mill power boiler 24 of 0.28 lb/MMBtu, measured as an hourly average for SO2; and 0.4 lb/MMBtu, measured on a 30-day rolling average for NOX; and 9,876 SO2 cap on power boiler 25. Also incorporates by reference monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting requirements. These requirements replace BART measure originally approved on 2/13/12 for Luke Paper Mill. *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    [FR Doc. 2017-15979 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R01-OAR-2014-0611; A-1-FRL-9963-89-Region 1] Air Plan Approval; CT; Reasonably Available Control Technology for the 2008 Ozone Standard AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving State Implementation Plan (SIP) revisions submitted by the State of Connecticut. These SIP revisions consist of a demonstration that Connecticut meets the requirements to implement reasonably available control technology (RACT) for the two precursors of ground-level ozone, oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), set forth by the Clean Air Act (CAA) with respect to the 2008 ozone standard. Additionally, we are approving three related regulations that limit air emissions of NOX from sources within the State. This action is being taken in accordance with the Clean Air Act.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective on August 30, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket Identification No. EPA-R01-OAR-2014-0611. All documents in the docket are listed on the http://www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, i.e., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available at http://www.regulations.gov or at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA New England Regional Office, Office of Ecosystem Protection, Air Quality Planning Unit, 5 Post Office Square—Suite 100, Boston, MA. EPA requests that if at all possible, you contact the contact listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to schedule your inspection. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding legal holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Bob McConnell, Air Quality Planning Unit, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA New England Regional Office, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 100 (mail code: OEP05-2), Boston, MA 02109-3912, telephone number (617) 918-1046, fax number (617) 918-0046, email [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    Organization of this document. The following outline is provided to aid in locating information in this preamble.

    I. Background and Purpose II. Final Action III. Incorporation by Reference IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Background and Purpose

    On April 6, 2017 (82 FR 16772), EPA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPR) for the State of Connecticut. The NPR proposed approval of a demonstration that Connecticut meets the RACT requirements for NOX and VOCs, set forth by the Clean Air Act with respect to the 2008 ozone standard. Additionally, Connecticut also submitted to EPA and we proposed approval of portions of a revised regulation limiting NOX emissions from municipal waste combustors (MWCs), a regulation limiting NOX emissions from major sources of air emissions, and a regulation limiting emissions from non-major sources of NOX emissions. The State submitted its RACT demonstration on July 18, 2014, the revised MWC regulation on September 16, 2016, and the regulations limiting NOX emissions from major and non-major sources on January 24, 2017. By letter dated March 31, 2017, Connecticut withdrew a number of provisions from these submittals that do not pertain to NOX or VOC control requirements, and therefore are not germane to this action.

    The specific details of Connecticut's RACT certification for the 2008 ozone NAAQS and its three NOX regulations, as well as the rationale for our proposed approval are explained in the NPR and will not be restated here. We received a total of six public comments in response to the NPR. One public comment was in favor of our proposal and the others either were irrelevant to our proposed action and/or lacked sufficient specificity with respect to the SIP action being proposed, failing to articulate what the commenter believed EPA should do to change or revise its proposed approval. All of the comments received are included in the docket for today's action.

    II. Final Action

    EPA is approving Connecticut's demonstration that it meets the CAA RACT requirements for NOX and VOCs for purposes of the 2008 ozone standard, and is also approving portions of a revised regulation limiting NOX emissions from MWCs, and regulations limiting NOX emissions from major and minor sources of air emissions, as revisions to the Connecticut SIP. Additionally, we are approving a number of minor edits made to existing parts of Connecticut's air pollution control regulations that were updated to make citations correctly reference the State's newly adopted regulations. Last, we are approving a number of negative declarations for Control Technique Guidelines categories for which Connecticut asserts no facilities exist within its borders.

    III. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rule, the EPA is finalizing regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, the EPA is finalizing the incorporation by reference of the sections of the State of Connecticut Regulation of Department of Energy and Environmental Protection noted in this final rulemaking. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these documents generally available through http://www.regulations.gov.

    IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Under section 307(b)(1) of the 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 September 29, 2017. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this action for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. 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, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Volatile organic compounds.

    Dated: June 5, 2017. Deborah A. Szaro, Acting Regional Administrator, EPA New England.

    Part 52 of 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 H—Connecticut 2. Section 52.370 is amended by a. adding paragraph (c)(90)(i)(B); b. adding paragraph (c)(97)(i)(B); and c. adding paragraph (c)(116) to read as follows:
    § 52.370 Identification of plan.

    (c) * * *

    (90) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (B) Section 22a-174-38, subsections (a), (c), (d), (i), (j), (k), and (l) were revised as published in the Connecticut Law Journal, volume 78, no. 17, on October 25, 2016. Subsection (d) is removed from the SIP without replacement. See paragraph (116)(i)(A).

    (97) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (B) Section 22a-174-22c, subsection (g)(3) is removed from the SIP without replacement effective December 22, 2016. See paragraph (116)(i)(B).

    (116) Revisions to the State Implementation Plan submitted by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection on September 16, 2016, and January 24, 2017.

    (i) Incorporation by reference. (A) Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, Administrative Regulation of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Municipal Waste Combustors, revisions to section 22a-174-38 as published in the Connecticut Law Journal, volume 78, no. 17, on October 25, 2016.

    (1) Subsection (c), subdivision (8);

    (2) Subsection (c), subdivisions (16), and (17);

    (3) Subsection (d);

    (4) Subsection (i), subdivisions (4)(E) and (J);

    (5) Subsection (i), subdivision (5);

    (6) Subsection (j), subdivision (4);

    (7) Subsection (k), subdivision (9) with the exceptions of the phrase “particulate matter, opacity, cadmium, lead, mercury, dioxin/furan emissions, hydrogen chloride, fugitive ash and” and the sentence “The maximum demonstrated municipal waste combustor unit load and maximum demonstrated particulate matter control device temperature shall be recorded for the initial performance test for dioxin/furan emissions for each particulate matter control device.”; and subdivision (10), with the exceptions of the phrase “for particulate matter, cadmium, lead, mercury, dioxin/furan emissions, hydrogen chloride, fugitive ash and” and the sentence “The maximum demonstrated municipal waste combustor unit load and maximum demonstrated particulate matter control device temperature (for each particulate matter control device) shall be recorded for the initial performance test for dioxin/furan emissions.”

    (8) Subsection (l), subdivision (3)(A)(i) with the exception of the phrase “particulate matter, opacity, cadmium, lead, mercury, dioxin/furan emissions, hydrogen chloride, fugitive ash and”; (3)(A)(ii), with the exceptions of the term “sulfur dioxide” and the phrase “carbon monoxide, municipal waste combustor unit load, particulate matter control device inlet temperature and”; (3)(A)(iv); (3)(A)(v), with the exceptions of the term “sulfur dioxide” the phrase “carbon monoxide, municipal waste combustor unit load, particulate matter control device temperature and” and the phrase “carbon mass feed rate and”; (3)(A)(vi), with the exceptions of the term “sulfur dioxide” the phrase “carbon monoxide, municipal waste combustor unit load, particulate matter control device temperature and” and the phrase “carbon mass feed rate and”; (B), with the exception of the phrase “and (A)(iii)”; and (C).

    (9) Subsection (l), subdivision (6), with the exceptions of the phrase “particulate matter, opacity, cadmium, lead, mercury, dioxin/furan emissions, hydrogen chloride” and the term “or fugitive ash”.

    (10) Subsection (a).

    (B) Regulation of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Concerning NOX Emissions from Fuel-Burning Emission Units, effective December 22, 2016.

    (1) Section 22a-174-22e, Control of nitrogen oxides emissions from fuel-burning equipment at major stationary sources of nitrogen oxides, with the exception of, within paragraph (l)(7), the phrase “or under procedures in RCSA section 22a-174-5(d).”;(2) Section 22a-174-22f, High daily NOX emitting units at non-major sources of NOX;

    (3) Section 22a-174-18,, revised subsection (j)(6);

    (4), Section 22a-174-8(b)(2);

    (5) Section 22a-174-22c, subsection (g)(3);

    (6) Section 22a-174-38, revised subsections (b)(1) through (6).

    3. Section 52.375 is amended by adding paragraph (h) to read as follows:
    § 52.375 Certification of no sources.

    (h) In its July 18, 2014 submittal to EPA pertaining to reasonably available control technology requirements for the 2008 8-hour ozone standard, the State of Connecticut certified to the satisfaction of EPA that no sources are located in the state that are covered by the following Control Technique Guidelines:

    (1) Automobile coatings;

    (2) Large petroleum dry cleaners;

    (3) Fiberglass boat manufacturing;

    (4) Equipment leaks from natural gas and gasoline processing plants;

    (5) Petroleum refineries;

    (6) Control of refinery vacuum producing systems;

    (7) Wastewater separators and process unit turnarounds; and

    (8) Flatwood paneling coatings.

    4. Section 52.377 is amended by adding paragraph (q) to read as follows:
    § 52.377 Control strategy: Ozone.

    (q) Approval—Revisions to the Connecticut State Implementation Plan (SIP) submitted on July 18, 2014. The SIP revision satisfies the requirement to implement reasonably available control technology (RACT) for sources of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and oxides of nitrogen (NOX) for purposes of the 2008 ozone standard. Specifically, the following sections of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies are approved for this purpose: For VOC RACT, 22a-174-20, Control of Organic Compound Emissions, 22a-174-30, Dispensing of Gasoline/Stage I and Stage II Vapor Recovery, and 22a-174-32, RACT for Organic Compounds; for NOX RACT, 22a-174-22, Control of nitrogen oxide emissions, 22a-174-22e, Control of nitrogen oxide emissions from fuel burning equipment at major sources, 22a-174-22f, High daily NOX emitting units at non-major sources of nitrogen oxides, and 22a-174-38, Municipal Waste Combustors.

    5. In § 52.385, Table 52.385 is amended by adding new entries for state citations for 22a-174-22e, Control of nitrogen oxides emissions from fuel-burning equipment at major stationary sources of nitrogen oxides, and for 22a-174-22f, High daily NOX emitting units at non-major sources of NOX, and by adding rows to the existing entries of state citations 22a-174-8, 22a-174-18, 22a-174-22c, and 22a-174-38 in numerical order to read as follows:
    § 52.385 EPA-approved Connecticut regulations. Table 52.385—EPA-Approved Regulations Connecticut state citation Title/subject Dates Date
  • adopted
  • by State
  • Date
  • approved
  • by EPA
  • Federal Register
  • citation
  • Section 52.370 Comments/description
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * 22a-174-8 Compliance Plans and Schedules 12/22/16 7/31/17 [Insert Federal Register citation] (c)(116) Minor edit to update citation. *         *         *         *         *         *         * 22a-174-18 Control of particulate emissions 12/22/16 7/31/17 [Insert Federal Register citation] (c)(116) Minor edit to update citation. *         *         *         *         *         *         * 22a-174-22c The Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) Nitrogen Oxides (NOX) Ozone Season Trading Program 12/22/16 7/31/17 [Insert Federal Register citation] (c)(116) Minor edit to update citation. 22a-174-22e Control of nitrogen oxides emissions from fuel-burning equipment at major stationary sources of nitrogen oxides 12/22/16 7/31/17 [Insert Federal Register citation] (c)(116) New regulation applicable to major sources of NOX. 22a-174-22f High daily NOX emitting units at non-major sources of NOX 12/22/16 7/31/17 [Insert Federal Register citation] (c)(116) New regulation applicable to non-major sources of NOX. *         *         *         *         *         *         * 22a-174-38 Municipal Waste Combustors 8/2/16 7/31/17 [Insert Federal Register citation] (c)(116) Portions of previously approved regulation were revised, primarily to incorporate tightened NOX emission limit for mass burn water-walled units. *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    [FR Doc. 2017-15716 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 161220999-7682-02] RIN 0648-BG52 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Groundfish Fishery; Fishing Year 2017; Recreational Management Measures AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This action sets the recreational management measures for Gulf of Maine cod and haddock for the remainder of the 2017 fishing year. This action prohibits recreational possession of cod, reduces the haddock bag limit, and implements a new closed season for haddock in the fall. The intended effect of this action is to reduce catch of cod and haddock in order to ensure that fishing year 2017 recreational catch limits are not exceeded.

    DATES:

    Effective July 27, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Copies of a supplemental environmental assessment (EA) to Framework Adjustment 55 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan prepared by the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office and Northeast Fisheries Science Center; and the Framework 55 EA prepared by the New England Fishery Management Council for this rulemaking are available from: John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. The Framework 55 EA and supplement are also accessible via the Internet at: https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/regs/2016/March/16mulfw55ea.pdf and https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/regs/2016/March/160212_rec_measures_draft_ea.pdf. These documents are also accessible via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Emily Keiley, Fishery Management Specialist, phone: 978-281-9116; email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents 1. Fishing Year 2017 Recreational Management Measures 2. Regulatory Corrections Under Regional Administrator Authority 1. Fishing Year 2017 Recreational Management Measures Background Statutory Authority

    Under the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP), sub-annual catch limits (sub-ACL) for the recreational fishery are established for each fishing year for Gulf of Maine (GOM) cod and haddock. The regulations at 50 CFR 648.89(f)(3) authorize the Regional Administrator, in consultation with the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC), to modify the recreational management measures for the upcoming fishing year to ensure that the recreational fishery achieves, but does not exceed, the recreational fishery sub-ACLs. The proposed rule for this action (82 FR 24086; May 25, 2017) provides details on the consultation with the NEFMC and how the NEFMC developed its recommendations; that information is not repeated here.

    Council's Proposed Measures

    Because of repeated recreational fishery sub-ACL overages (haddock the last five years and cod three of five years) and the model's prediction that the NEFMC's recommended measures have only a 50-percent probability of keeping haddock catch below the sub-ACL, we considered whether it may be prudent to implement a more conservative fall closure that would likely have a higher probability of constraining haddock catch to the sub-ACLs. There are four primary reasons that the Council's proposed measures would sufficiently constrain catch to the sub-ACL's and were more consistent with the FMPs goals and objectives than the closed area measure we presented: (1) The Council's measures include a new fall closed season, cod prohibition, and a more conservative haddock bag limit; (2) improved information used in the bioeconomic model this year provides greater confidence in its predictions compared to previous years; (3) the interactions between GOM cod and haddock and the status of each of these stocks; and (4) newly available commercial catch data show a strong likelihood that overall GOM haddock catch will be under the total ACL for 2016 and, that the recreational sub-ACL and AM system combined with the overall ACL is effectively constraining catch.

    We presented a more conservative closure season for comments to closely consider whether the Council's proposed accountability measures would sufficiently account for management uncertainty, prevent GOM cod and haddock catch overages, and provide an opportunity for the fishery to attain its allowable catch. We have determined that the more conservative measure is not necessary. The measures proposed by the Council are more conservative than the 2016 management measures. The possession of cod is being prohibited, the haddock bag-limit has been reduced, and a new fall closure is being implemented. We expect that these measures will allow the recreational fishery to achieve, but not exceed their sub-ACLs.

    We also considered the improved performance of the model. The model projects recreational catch using economic information from an angler choice experiment survey and biological information about the current stock structure for the GOM cod and haddock stocks with historical catchability data from recreational anglers. Recent modifications to the model, including the incorporation of new data, improved its ability to accurately estimate recreational catches, and thus increases our confidence in the management measures based on its output. Specifically, the model now includes data from 2015, when cod possession was prohibited for the first time, and as a result, the model is better able to estimate the impact of prohibiting cod on the number of angler trips and catch of cod and haddock. While we have relied on the model using similar buffers in the past, the model is now improved, providing greater confidence in the outputs.

    When evaluating the merit of each fall closure option, we considered the impacts on both haddock and cod. GOM cod is overfished and overfishing is occurring, but GOM haddock is a healthy stock. The more conservative closed area we sought comments on is estimated to have an increased probability of constraining GOM haddock catch to the sub-ACL (70 percent), but is projected to result in slightly increased GOM cod catch. Given the poor status of GOM cod, an option that is projected to increase GOM cod catch is a concern. We determined that the risk associated with increasing GOM cod catch outweighed the potential benefits of a slightly higher probability of limiting GOM haddock catch to the sub-ACL especially given the model improvements.

    Last, newly available commercial catch data for 2016 show that overall catch is being effectively constrained. The newly available data shows that that the total commercial catch for GOM haddock was only 66 percent of the commercial ACL. The recreational sub-ACL is only a small portion of the overall ACL. Thus, despite a relatively minor overage in the recreational fishery, total 2016 GOM haddock catch, is expected to be below the overall ACL.

    Fishing Year 2017 Recreational Measures

    Because the recreational measures currently in place for GOM cod and haddock are not expected to constrain fishing year 2017 catch to the sub-ACLs, we are adjusting management measures for the remainder of the fishing year, as recommended by the NEFMC. Effective July 27, 2017, recreational possession of GOM cod will be prohibited. The minimum size for GOM haddock is unchanged, but the bag limit is reduced from 15 fish to 12 fish, and a fall closed season has been added to the existing spring closure. These measures are summarized in Table 1, along with information on the current measures for comparison.

    Table 1—GOM Cod and Haddock Recreational Management Measures for Fishing Year 2017 and Status Quo (Fishing Year 2016) Measures Stock Current measures Per day
  • possession limit
  • (fish per
  • angler)
  • Minimum fish size Season when possession is permitted New 2017 measures Per day
  • possession limit
  • (fish per
  • angler)
  • Minimum fish size Season when possession is permitted
    GOM Cod 1 24 inches (61.0 cm) August 1-September 30 Possession Prohibited Year-Round GOM Haddock 15 17 inches (43.2 cm) Year Round Except March 1-April 14 12 17 inches (43.2 cm) May 1-September 16, November 1-February 28 and April 15-April 30.
    Analysis

    Recreational catch and effort data are estimated by the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP). A peer-reviewed bioeconomic model, developed by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, was used to estimate 2017 recreational GOM cod and haddock mortality under various combinations of minimum sizes, possession limits, and closed seasons. Even when incorporating zero possession of GOM cod, the model estimates that the status quo measures for GOM haddock are not expected to constrain the catch of haddock, or the bycatch of cod, to the 2017 catch limits. Therefore, we are implementing more restrictive measures. Additional details are provided in the Supplemental EA (see ADDRESSES) and the proposed rule, and are not repeated here.

    The final measures implemented by this action for the 2017 fishing year, as recommended by the NEFMC, are expected to result in a decrease in the number of trips taken by anglers, and decreased catch, in comparison to retaining the current measures, which is projected to allow the recreational fishery to reach, but not exceed, the 2017 recreational sub-ACLs (Table 2).

    Table 2—Summary of the Model Estimates of Catch and the Likelihood of Catch Remaining Below the Sub-ACLs for the Status Quo Measures and the 2017 Measures Measures Predicted
  • haddock
  • catch
  • (mt)
  • Probability
  • haddock
  • catch below
  • sub-ACL
  • (%)
  • Predicted
  • cod catch
  • (mt)
  • Probability
  • cod catch
  • below
  • sub-ACL
  • (%)
  • New 2017 Measures 1,160 50 147 78 Status Quo 1,299 0 292 0
    2. Regulatory Corrections and Other Measures Under Regional Administrator Authority

    We have made numerous administrative changes under the authority of section 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act that are necessary and consistent with the FMP's goals and objectives. In § 648.89(b), we added an exception to the minimum fish sizes for GOM cod and haddock to allow vessels to transit the GOM Regulated Mesh Area while in possession of cod and haddock caught outside the area, provided those fish meet the minimum sizes specified for fish caught outside the area. Amendment 16 to the FMP included seasonal closures of the GOM recreational fishery for cod and haddock, and also implemented a possession limit exemption to allow vessels to transit the GOM when it was closed while in possession of fish legally caught outside the area. At that time, there was a single minimum size for cod, and a single minimum size for haddock, regardless of where the fish were caught and the transiting provision included in Amendment 16 did not address minimum fish size restrictions.

    Subsequently, we changed the minimum sizes for GOM cod and haddock as part of the proactive accountability measures. We adjust the recreational measures for only GOM cod and haddock because these are the only stocks allocated a recreational sub-ACL. This has created a complicated system in which vessels may transit the GOM Regulated Mesh Area with fish legally caught outside the area in excess of the GOM possession limits, but those vessels must comply with the most restrictive minimum size of the two areas, rather than the minimum size applicable to where the fish were caught. The intent of this change is to simplify the existing transiting exemption by allowing any cod and haddock legally caught outside the GOM to be possessed by vessels transiting the GOM to ensure consistent implementation of the existing transiting provision.

    In § 648.89(e), we revised the text specifying the requirements for the letters of authorization allowing charter and party boats to fish in the GOM closed areas and the Nantucket Lightship Closed Area to improve readability. In paragraph (e)(3), we also corrected the name of the NMFS office issuing letters of authorization from the “Northeast Regional Office” to the “Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office.”

    In § 648.89(f)(2)(ii), we removed text prohibiting the Regional Administrator from adjusting the possession limit for GOM cod while recreational possession of GOM cod was prohibited by the Northeast Multispecies FMP. In 2016, Framework Adjustment 55 removed this prohibition, but the final rule implementing Framework Adjustment 55 inadvertently failed to remove this text. This change is intended to correct the regulations to accurately reflect the NEFMC's intent in Framework Adjustment 55.

    Comments and Responses

    We received 67 comments on the proposed 2017 recreational measures. Two comments received were not germane to the proposed measures. We received pertinent comments from the NEFMC, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, the Stellwagen Bank Charter Boat Association, and 63 members of the public.

    Timing

    Comment 1: The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, the Stellwagen Bank Charter Boat Association, and 31 individuals submitted comments regarding the publication of the proposed rule after the May 1 start of the 2017 fishing year. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department expressed concern that the publication of the proposed rule after the start of the fishing year would exacerbate the existing timing problems of states attempting to match federal measures and inform anglers, and for-hire businesses attempting to attract business before knowing the regulations. The Stellwagen Bank Charter Boat Association and 30 individuals expressed disappointment because they feared that late implementation of the changes to the recreational measures would undermine the work of the NEFMC and its Recreational Advisory Panel (RAP) to develop and provide recommendations that would prevent catch from exceeding the quotas. The Stellwagen Bank Charter Boat Association and 30 individuals also urged that recreational anglers should not be subject to any further restrictions in the haddock bag limit or increases in the haddock minimum size in fishing year 2018 as a result of late implementation of changes in fishing year 2017. One individual commented that we should not change measures mid-season because business owners and recreational anglers have made financial decisions based on the current regulations.

    Response: We agree that these timing issues make it difficult for the for-hire fleet to market and book trips, hamper the ability of states to implement complementary recreational measures, and create challenges for recreational anglers to be informed of the latest regulations. The timing of changes to the recreational measures has been an issue for several years. MRIP collects information on recreational catch and effort. This information is processed in 2-month `waves' and preliminary data is available six weeks after the end of each wave. Because of this, preliminary catch through October (which includes the majority of annual recreational groundfish activity) is first available after mid-December. As a result, January is the earliest we are able to present an analysis of the MRIP information and any potential changes that may be necessary for the next fishing year. This creates a compressed period for consideration of options, the public NEFMC consultation process, and proposed and final rulemaking. Because of this timeline, recreational measures for the new fishing year are generally not finalized until just prior to the start of the fishing year.

    Although it is not ideal to change the recreational measures after the start of the fishing year this year, it is necessary that the revised measures be implemented before the recreational cod season opens. The recreational cod season is closed under status quo measures until August 1. While late implementation is not ideal, the timing of this action will still effectively prohibit the retention of cod in the recreational fleet.

    Because of the challenging timeline of the current recreational process, we are working with the NEFMC to consider possible ways to modify the regulatory process so regulations for the recreational fishery can be finalized sooner. Changes to the recreational process would be incorporated into Framework 57, which is intended to be implemented for the 2018 fishing year. Additionally, any changes to the recreational measures for fishing year 2018 would be based on the 2018 catch limits and an analysis of expected catch in 2018.

    NMFS Additional Option for a September Closure

    Comment 2: The Stellwagen Bank Charter Boat Association and 30 individuals alleged that the reason the agency proposed an alternative September closure for haddock was because implementing the reduced haddock bag limit after May 1 would result in increased catch. One additional individual requested that we inform the recreational community of our reasons for the measures that were proposed.

    Response: As discussed in the proposed rule, we sought comments on the effects of a more conservative fall closure on the fishery in comparison to the Council's proposed closure to address concerns about the recreational fishery's recent history of exceeding the GOM cod and haddock sub-ACLs. A U.S. District Court considered a history of overages and the effectiveness of accountability measures in the Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery (Guiondon v. Pritzker, 2014) and struck down the accountability measure because they did not sufficiently ensure the limits would not be exceeded. We presented a more conservative closure season for comments to closely consider whether the Council's proposed accountability measures would sufficiently account for management uncertainty, prevent GOM cod and haddock catch overages, and provide an opportunity for the fishery to attain its allowable catch. As discussed in the preamble, we have determined that the Council's proposed measures sufficiently constrain catch and are more consistent with the FMP's goals and objectives.

    Comment 3: The NEFMC, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, and one individual commented that the issues in the Guindon v. Pritzker case are distinct from the recreational fishery for GOM cod and haddock, and that measures more conservative than the suite recommended by the NEFMC are not necessary or justified. The commenters also noted that the additional NMFS alternative in the proposed rule would not provide a clear conservation benefit in comparison to the NEFMC's recommended suite of measures.

    Response: We agree that the recreational fishery for GOM cod and haddock and the suite of management measures for the fishery is distinct from the Guindon v. Pritzker case. Further, the GOM haddock stock is healthy and that the total ACL has not been fully harvested in the last 2 years. We considered stock status when evaluating the alternatives and, as discussed in the preamble, are implementing the NEFMC's recommended measures rather than the more conservative September closure for haddock. The model predicts that these measures have a 78-percent chance that catch of the rebuilding GOM cod stock will not exceed the recreational quota, and a 50-percent chance that the catch of the abundant and healthy GOM haddock stock will achieve, but not exceed the recreational quota. While the GOM haddock stock is healthy, the GOM cod stock is overfished and estimated to be only 4-6 percent of the target population size. Given the differences in the sizes and health of these two stocks, the final 2017 measures appropriately balance the risk of exceeding the quotas with the goal of achieving the quotas and providing the greatest overall benefit to the nation.

    The Bioeconomic Model and Uncertainty

    Comment 4: The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department commented that the bioeconomic model fails to account for variance in the underlying MRIP data and uncertainty in the model inputs because it uses point estimates. The NEFMC commented that, in 2015, when recreational possession of cod was prohibited for the first time, the bioeconomic model overestimated cod catch and angler effort, and that a cod prohibition in 2017 could again result in lower actual angler effort than the model has predicted.

    Response: The bioeconomic model uses point estimates of catch from MRIP and currently does not incorporate measures of uncertainty in the MRIP data, although it might be possible to incorporate some measures of uncertainty in the future. As a result, the the model may underestimate or overestimate catch and angler trips in any given year. In recent years, the model has underestimated haddock and cod catch, with one exception in 2015. Although the bioeconomic model overestimated cod catch and the number of angler trips in 2015, it is unlikely to recur in 2017. The model had likely overestimated cod catch because at that time the model did not take into account factors that we expected would keep cod catch low, including a prohibition on retention of cod and the ability of vessels to avoid cod while targeting other species. However, we expect the bioeconomic model to better estimate the effect of prohibiting cod possession on total cod catch and the number of angler trips in 2017 because the model now incorporates data from 2015.

    Although there are uncertainties in the bioeconomic model, the Northeast Multispecies FMP incorporates both scientific uncertainty and management uncertainty in setting annual catch limits. These uncertainty buffers increase the likelihood of achieving management targets and reduce the risk of overfishing. Among other factors discussed in the preamble, the incorporation of scientific and management uncertainty already built into setting recreational catch limits was a consideration in our determination to adopt the less conservative measures for haddock.

    Comment 5: The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries commented that we should address uncertainty in the GOM cod and haddock recreational fishery in a similar manner to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's approach to using point estimates in the black sea bass fishery. Specifically, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department recommended that we compare MRIP harvest estimates with a percent standard error to the recreational sub-ACLs and retain the status quo recreational measures for the next year if the recreational quota was within the percent standard error of the MRIP harvest estimate. The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries also urged that we consider the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's approach to summer flounder. Specifically, using multiple years of MRIP data and incorporating standard errors around the MRIP catch estimates when developing recreational measures.

    Response: The bioeconomic model uses point estimates of recreational catch and effort from MRIP and produces point estimates that may underestimate or overestimate catch and angler trips. At the request of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, we provided an estimate of model uncertainty for the two options proposed. That estimate did not include uncertainty in the MRIP data, but did incorporate some sources of uncertainty in the model simulations. While the estimate is informative, additional work should be done before determining whether or not the bioeconomic model can incorporate uncertainty. Amendment 16 to the Northeast Multispecies FMP requires that recreational catch is calculated consistent with the catch used in the stock assessment. At this time, the stock assessments for GOM cod and haddock do not incorporate separate calculations of uncertainty for MRIP catch estimates. In evaluating possible changes to the recreational management process in Framework 57, the NEFMC could consider changes to the method for determining when AMs are triggered.

    Haddock Measures

    Comment 6: The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department urged us to maintain the current haddock measures, in conjunction with prohibiting recreational possession of cod (analyzed and presented to the NEFMC as Option 1), because the GOM haddock stock is not overfished and the haddock quota is increasing. Additionally, New Hampshire contended that overfishing would not occur if the recreational fishery caught the amount of haddock predicted by the bioeconomic model for this scenario (1,288 mt) because total catch (including all other sectors catching their full quotas) would still be less than the acceptable biological catch due to the buffers between the acceptable biological catch and the catch limits. Further, New Hampshire argued that the recreational haddock quota, 1,160 mt, was within the 95-percent confidence interval of the model's predicted haddock catch for Option 1. The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (MA DMF) also commented that the recreational haddock quota for 2017 was within the 95-percent confidence interval for Option 1, but supported the NEFMC's recommended haddock measures, rather than the status quo haddock measures.

    Response: We disagree that the status quo haddock measures should be maintained. While the GOM haddock stock is healthy and growing, we are still obligated to set measures we expect will achieve, but not exceed the catch limit. As explained in our response to Comment 7, we expect the model's estimate of catch and effort to be more accurate now because the bioeconomic model now incorporates data from 2015, when cod possession was prohibited. The 12-fish bag limit, with a 17-inch (43.2-cm) minimum size, and closed seasons March 1-April 14 and September 17-October 31 have a 50-percent chance of achieving, but not exceeding, the catch limit. This is an appropriate balance of risk for a healthy stock with a growing population. Setting measures we expect will exceed the catch limit solely because we expect the overage will not cause overfishing is inconsistent with the requirements of the Magnuson-Steven Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

    Comment 7: Six commenters generally supported maintaining status quo measures.

    Response: We disagree that the status quo recreational measures should be retained for 2017. A peer-reviewed bioeconomic model, developed by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, was used to estimate 2017 recreational GOM cod and haddock mortality under various combinations of minimum sizes, possession limits, and closed seasons. Even when incorporating zero possession of GOM cod, the model estimates that the status quo measures for GOM haddock are not expected to constrain the catch of haddock, or the bycatch of cod, to the 2017 catch limits. The Council's more conservative measures are necessary to prevent exceeding the 2017 catch limits.

    Comment 8: Thirty-three commenters supported the fall haddock closure as proposed by the NEFMC (September 17 through October 31). MA DMF specifically commented on the potential significant economic impact of a Labor Day closure, and cited this as one reason they supported the NEFMC proposed option. Thirty commenters discussed the benefits of keeping the fishery open in early September relative to allowing recreational anglers a final opportunity to fish before many typically haul out their vessels, and end their season.

    Response: We agree. After further consideration of the alternatives, the fall closure recommended by the NEFMC better aligns with the objectives of this action. We have approved the haddock measures recommended by the NEFMC. As further discussed in the proposed rule, the supplemental EA, and the preamble to this rule, the measures being implemented for the 2017 fishing year are expected to meet, but not exceed the catch limits, and provide a better balance between our conservation objectives and the anticipated negative short-term economic impacts of the proposed alternatives.

    Comment 9: One commenter supported the 4-week September closure for haddock that we presented for comments as an alternative in the proposed rule. Another commenter supported a 4-week September closure starting the Monday after Labor Day, and one commenter opposed a fall closure for haddock in general.

    Response: We disagree and are implementing the 6-week closure proposed by the NEFMC, as discussed in the preamble and response to Comment 11. Selection of the timing and length of the closure was based on the outputs of the model and the consideration of other factors in order to ensure the recreational fishery achieves, but does not exceed, the recreational fishery sub-ACLs. A fall closure was determined to be a necessary measure to ensure that not only the GOM haddock, but GOM cod sub-ACLs are not exceeded.

    Comment 10: Thirty-seven commenters supported the 12-fish haddock bag limit.

    Response: We agree and have approved the 12-fish haddock bag limit recommended by the NEFMC. As further discussed in the proposed rule, preamble, and the supplemental EA, and the preamble to this rule, the measures being implemented for the 2017 fishing year are expected to meet, but not exceed the catch limits.

    Comment 11: Three commenters support a lower bag limit for haddock than was proposed.

    Response: We disagree that a lower bag limit is needed. The 12-fish bag limit for haddock, in conjunction with the other measures, is intended to balance the need to constrain catch within the ACL, with social and economic considerations. Further reduction of the haddock bag limit is not biologically necessary and would likely unnecessarily increase negative economic effects to the recreational fishery.

    Comment 12: One commenter suggested that we reduce the haddock minimum size to 16 inches (40.64 cm) to reduce discards.

    Response: We disagree. Potential changes to minimum sizes and the impact on the catch and fishery are incorporated into the bioeconomic model. We are maintaining the current minimum size (17 inches; 43.2 cm) for GOM haddock in this action.

    Cod Measures

    Comment 13: Seven commenters wanted the recreational cod fishery to be reopened. Two commenters wanted to maintain the status quo cod season. Several commenters referenced their personal fishing experience and stated that they encountered more cod in 2016 than they had in the past.

    Response: We disagree that the recreational fishery for cod should be open in 2017. This action prohibits the retention of GOM cod by recreational anglers year-round. GOM cod is overfished, and overfishing is occurring. In fishing year 2016, the recreational cod ACL was exceeded by 92 percent, and the recreational cod quota remains the same in 2017 as it was in 2016. More restrictive measures on recreational cod, and haddock, fishing are required to ensure that the recreational cod quota is not exceeded again. We understand that there are short-term negative economic effects associated with the prohibition on recreational cod fishing. We are hopeful that the continued efforts to rebuild the GOM cod stock will result in increased opportunities for recreational fishermen in the future.

    Comment 14: Two comments discussed alternative management measures for cod that were not in the proposed rule: A 2- to 4-week cod season for one 26-inch (66.0-cm) or greater cod, or the use of a slot limit for cod (24-29 inches; 61.0-73.7 cm).

    Response: We disagree that these options would have been viable alternatives for the 2017 fishing year. Even when zero possession of cod was analyzed, the recreational cod catch limit was projected to be exceeded without additional measures limiting the catch of haddock to further reduce the projected cod catch. Limited seasons and slot limits could be appropriate for consideration in future actions.

    Comment 15: Thirty-six commenters supported the prohibition of cod.

    Response: We agree. We have implemented the prohibition on recreational GOM cod catch as one measure to constrain 2017 recreational cod catch to the sub-ACL. GOM cod are overfished and overfishing is occurring so the recreational sub-ACL has been set at an extremely low level of 157 mt. This decision has been explained further in the preamble.

    Comment 16: Two commenters cited concerns about the impact of the recreational fishery on spawning cod.

    Response: This action did not consider measures to protect spawning cod, and as a result, these comments are irrelevant to, and outside the scope of, the measures approved in this final rule. However, to provide some background, the Northeast Multispecies FMP includes measures to protect spawning cod during times when aggregations are known to occur consistently. Some of these closures apply to the recreational fishery, while others only apply to commercial groundfish vessels. In the future, the NEFMC could consider changes to these closures, including the fisheries that are exempt from the closures, as well as additional spawning protections.

    General Comments

    Comment 17: Thirty-four commenters supported adoption of the measures proposed by the NEFMC.

    Response: We agree, and are implementing the measures proposed by the NEFMC because these measures balance regional differences and impacts on anglers and the for-hire fleet. Additionally, the NEFMC measures provide a sufficient probability of achieving, but not exceeding, the GOM cod and haddock 2017 catch limits.

    Comment 18: The NEFMC commented that although the NMFS option is estimated to have only $100,000 less economic benefit than the NEFMC option, it is not clear if the model can accurately estimate the economic impact of a Labor Day weekend closure because it is less than a whole MRIP wave.

    Response: We agree that the bioeconomic model estimates for a timeframe of less than 1 month may be less precise than estimates produced for a complete wave. We are not implementing the additional NMFS option for a 4-week closure in September.

    Comment 19: Seven individuals commented that the commercial fishery should be shut down, or kept 50 miles from shore, to allow increased harvesting opportunities for recreational fishermen. One commenter asserted that the recreational fishery cannot catch as much as one commercial haul.

    Response: The Northeast Multispecies FMP allocates separate sub-ACLs for GOM cod and haddock to both the commercial and recreational components of the fishery. Each component allocated a sub-ACL is also subject to specific AMs if it exceeds that sub-ACL. These measures are intended to ensure that each fishery is able to access the resource and be accountable for any overages, and is intended to prevent one component of the fishery from negatively affecting another component. The recreational fishery is allocated 33 percent of the total GOM cod ACL and 27 percent of the GOM haddock ACL, and in 2016 caught more than its allocation for both stocks. In recent years, recreational catch has, at times, exceeded commercial catch, and can be a substantial portion of overall GOM cod and haddock catch. Additionally, the status quo measures are not expected to constrain recreational catch to its sub-ACLs in 2017, and as a result, the final measures implemented in this action are necessary to ensure that the recreational sub-ACLs are not exceeded.

    Comment 20: Two commenters supported separate measures for private vessels and for-hire vessels.

    Response: During development of 2017 measures, the Council's RAP and Groundfish Oversight Committee considered separate measures for private vessels and the for-hire fleet. As discussed in the proposed rule, the NEFMC declined the Groundfish Committee's recommendation to implement separate measures for these fleets at this time in deference to having a larger public process to consider the concept. Separate measures for these fleets may be considered in a future action.

    Comment 21: One individual commented that haddock 17 inches (43.2 cm) and larger were rare and questioned why anglers do not see these small haddock turn into high numbers of larger fish the next year.

    Response: In recent years, there have been multiple large year classes of haddock. These large year classes can make larger haddock appear less common by comparison; the proportion of young fish to old fish is high in the current population. The growth rate of haddock has varied over time and may be related to population size. Prior to declines of the haddock population in the mid-twentieth century, haddock grew slower than was observed when the population was smaller in the later twentieth century. In recent years, with the large populations of haddock and as a result, slower growth rates in haddock.

    The average weight of haddock caught by recreational anglers in 2016 (1.7 lb; 0.8 kg) was the same as the average weight in 2015, while the average number of haddock caught per angler trip nearly doubled (from 5.5 to 14) between 2015 and 2016. This information does not demonstrate a strong benefit to further reduce the minimum size for haddock at this time.

    Comment 22: The Stellwagen Bank Charter Boat Association and 31 individuals commented that the MRIP data are incorrect and suggested we should not use catch and effort estimates to manage the recreational fishery. In particular, estimates of the number of angler trips was a concern raised in these comments.

    Response: Estimates of catch and effort must be used because it is not possible to have a complete census of all recreational anglers to capture all catch and every angler trip. MRIP is the method used to count and report marine recreational catch and effort. In January 2017, the National Academies of Science released their latest review of MRIP and recognized NMFS for making “impressive progress” and “major improvements” to MRIP survey designs since the 2006 review of MRIP. While there are some remaining challenges to MRIP surveys, we continue to make improvements including transitioning from the Coastal Household Telephone survey to the Fishing Effort Survey, which will further improve our estimates of recreational fishing effort.

    Classification

    The Administrator, Greater Atlantic Region, NMFS, determined that these measures are necessary for the conservation and management of the Northeast multispecies fishery and that the measures are consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and other applicable laws.

    Administrative Procedure Act

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries finds good cause to make this rule effective immediately upon filing with the Office of the Federal Register. This final rule implements reductions from the recreational management measures implemented for fishing year 2016, and that currently remain in place. In fishing year 2016, the GOM cod recreational sub-ACL was exceeded by 92 percent and recreational sub-ACL is unchanged for 2017. GOM cod are overfished and overfishing is occurring, and it is critical that the 2017 recreational management measures, which prohibit the retention of cod, go into effect before the season opens to ensure that the catch limit is not exceeded again. Fishing effort and catch are both strong in summer months. Further delay of the implementation of these measures increases the likelihood of quota overages that could require implementation of even more restrictive measures in a future action. If this rule is not effective on, or before, August 1, then the GOM recreational cod season will open and anglers will be able to retain these fish. A targeted fishery would result in an increase in cod catch not only due to retention of cod, but due to discards of cod which are higher during an open season than when anglers are intentionally avoiding cod altogether to focus on other species. Thus, delaying implementation of these measures would be contrary to the public interest of ensuring that GOM cod catch limits are not exceeded.

    The Northeast Multispecies fishing year begins on May 1 of each year and continues through April 30 of the following calendar year. The collection and processing of recreational data creates a very compressed period for consideration of options, the public NEFMC process, and the rulemaking process prescribed by the Administrative Procedure Act. We consulted with the NEFMC in January 2017. On January 25, 2017, the NEFMC voted to recommend to us the suite of recreational measures we are implementing. In addition to this collaborative consultation process prescribed for the proactive AM, we must fully evaluate and analyze the measures under consideration. This involves not only the bioeconomic model output presented in January, but also includes an environmental analysis consistent with the NEPA requirements, and a systematic review of compliance with other applicable laws. In order to evaluate the impact of the 2016 recreational catch overages, and the proposed management alternatives, we needed to consider them in the context of total catch and catch limits. Final data on commercial catch of GOM cod and haddock, and the portion of the catch limit that was utilized, was not available until July 5, 2017.

    For the reasons outlined, NMFS finds that there is good cause to waive the otherwise applicable requirement to provide a 30-day delay in implementation.

    Executive Order (E.O.) 12866

    This final rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of E.O. 12866.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

    A final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) was prepared for this action. The FRFA incorporates the IRFA, a summary of the significant issues raised by the public comments in response to the IRFA and NMFS responses to those comments, and a summary of the analyses completed to support the action. The FRFA includes sections of the preamble (SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION) and analyses supporting this rulemaking, including the Framework Adjustment 55 EA, the supplemental EA to Framework Adjustment 55, and the supplemental information report. A description of the action, why it is being considered, and the legal basis for this action are contained in the supplemental information report and preamble to the proposed rule, and are not repeated here (see ADDRESSES). A summary of the analyses follows.

    A Summary of the Significant Issues Raised by the Public in Response to the IRFA, a Summary of the Agency's Assessment of Such Issues, and a Statement of Any Changes Made in the Final Rule as a Result of Such Comments

    Our responses to all of the comments received on the proposed rule, including those that raised significant issues with the proposed action, or commented on the economic analyses summarized in the IRFA, can be found in the Comments and Responses section of this rule. In the proposed rule we solicited comments on two options. The majority of comments supported implementing the measures that the NEFMC recommended, including the fall haddock closure from September 17 through October 31. Most of these comments expressed disappointment that the recommended measures were not implemented in time for the May 1 start to the fishing year and raised concerns that the delay would cause further overages and result in additional restrictions on the recreational fishery in 2018. There was one comment on the IRFA. The NEFMC pointed out that the bioeconomic model cannot estimate recreational effort at a time scale of less than a month. Given this restriction it is not clear that the model can accurately capture the impacts of a closure that discourages recreational fishing during the Labor Day weekend, the last 3-day weekend of the summer and an important component of the for-hire fleet's business. This comment, among other information as discussed in the preamble, supports our decision to implement the NEFMC's proposed option.

    Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which This Rule Would Apply

    The Small Business Administration (SBA) defines a small commercial finfishing or shellfishing business as a firm with annual receipts (gross revenue) of up to $11.0 million. A small for-hire recreational fishing business is defined as a firm with receipts of up to $7.5 million. Having different size standards for different types of fishing activities creates difficulties in categorizing businesses that participate in multiple fishing related activities. For purposes of this assessment business entities have been classified into the SBA-defined categories based on which activity produced the highest percentage of average annual gross revenues from 2013-2015, the most recent 3-year period for which data are available. This classification is now possible because vessel ownership data have been added to Northeast permit database. The ownership data identify all individuals who own fishing vessels. Using this information, vessels can be grouped together according to common owners. The resulting groupings were treated as a fishing business for purposes of this analysis. Revenues summed across all vessels in a group and the activities that generate those revenues form the basis for determining whether the entity is a large or small business.

    This rule includes closed seasons in addition to possession limits and size limits. For purposes of this analysis, it is assumed that for-hire businesses are directly affected by all three types of recreational fishing restrictions. According to the FMP, it is unlawful for the owner or operator of a charter or party boat issued a valid multispecies permit, when the boat is carrying passengers for hire, to:

    • Possess cod or haddock in excess of the possession limits;

    • Fish with gear in violation of the regulations; and/or

    • Fail to comply with the applicable restrictions if transiting the GOM Regulated Mesh Area with cod or haddock on board that was caught outside the GOM Regulated Mesh Area.

    As the for-hire owner and operator can be prosecuted under the law for violations of the proposed regulations, for-hire business entities are considered directly affected in this analysis. Anglers are not considered “entities” under the RFA and thus economic impacts on anglers are not discussed here.

    For-hire fishing businesses are required to obtain a Federal charter/party multispecies fishing permit in order to carry passengers to catch GOM cod or haddock. Thus, the affected businesses entities of concern are businesses that hold Federal multispecies for-hire fishing permits. While all business entities that hold for-hire permits could be affected by changes in recreational fishing restrictions, not all business that hold for-hire permits actively participate in a given year. Those who actively participate, i.e., land fish, would be the group of business entities that are impacted by the regulations. Latent fishing power (in the form of unfished permits) has the potential to alter the impacts on a fishery, but it's not possible to predict how many of these latent business entities will or will not participate in this fishery in fishing year 2017. The Northeast Federal landings database (i.e., vessel trip report data) indicates that a total of 645 party/charter vessels held a multispecies for-hire fishing permit in 2015 (the most recent full year of available data). Of the 645 for-hire permitted vessels, however, only 208 actively participated in the for-hire Atlantic cod and haddock fishery in fishing year 2015 (i.e., reported catch of cod or haddock).

    Using vessel ownership information developed from Northeast Federal permit data and Northeast vessel trip report data, it was determined that the 208 actively participating for-hire vessels are owned by 191 unique fishing business entities. The vast majority of the 208 fishing businesses were solely engaged in for-hire fishing, but some also earned revenue from shellfish and/or finfish fishing. The highest percentage of annual gross revenues for all but 18 of the fishing businesses was from for-hire fishing. In other words, the revenue from for-hire fishing was greater than the revenue from shellfishing and the revenue from finfish fishing for all but 18 of the business entities.

    According to the SBA size standards, small for-hire businesses are defined as firms with annual receipts of up to $7.5 million, and small commercial finfishing or shellfishing business as firms with annual receipts (gross revenue) of up to $11.0 million. Average annual gross revenue estimates calculated from the most recent three years (2013-2015) indicate that none of the 191 for-hire business entities had annual receipts of more than $5.2 million from all of their fishing activities (for-hire, shellfish, and finfish). Therefore, all of the affected for-hire business entities are considered “small” by the SBA size standards and thus this action will not disproportionately affect small versus large for-hire business entities.

    Description of the Projected Reporting, Record-Keeping, and Other Compliance Requirements of This Rule

    There are no reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance requirements.

    Federal Rules Which May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With This Rule

    The action is authorized by the regulations implementing the Northeast Multispecies FMP. It does not duplicate, overlap, or conflict with other Federal rules.

    Description of Significant Alternatives to the Rule Which Accomplish the Stated Objectives of Applicable Statutes and Which Minimize Any Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities

    A total of seven combinations of recreational measures were presented to the Recreational Advisory Panel, the Groundfish Oversight Committee, and the NEFMC. This included the status quo and an option (presented as Option 1) that prohibited cod possession while retaining the current haddock measures that would not have restrained catch to the quotas, and thus, would not have accomplished the objective. The proposed options that would accomplish the objectives were the NEFMC recommended option (presented as Option 2) and the additional NMFS option (presented as Option 3), which are discussed in detail in the preamble of the proposed rule. The remaining three options (Options 4, 5, and 6 in Table 3) that would accomplish the objective were discussed by all three groups. These remaining options were rejected either because implementation was viewed as confusing to the public (e.g., implementing a May closure shortly after the start of the fishing year on May 1) or in deference to having a larger public process to consider the concept (i.e., separate measures for the private anglers and the for-hire fleet).

    Table 3—Projected Fishing Year 2017 Recreational Cod and Haddock Catch Under Alternative Measures Not Proposed Possible 2017 measures Haddock Haddock
  • possession
  • limit
  • Minimum
  • fish size
  • Closed
  • season
  • Cod Cod
  • possession
  • limit
  • Minimum
  • fish size
  • Closed
  • season
  • Predicted
  • haddock
  • catch
  • (mt)
  • Probability
  • haddock
  • catch below
  • sub-ACL
  • (percent)
  • Predicted
  • cod catch
  • (mt)
  • Probability
  • cod catch
  • below
  • sub-ACL
  • (percent)
  • Option 4 15 17 3/1-4/14—2 weeks in May N/A N/A 5/1-4/30 1,118 73 153 61 Option 5 10 17 3/1-4/14—1 week in May N/A N/A 5/1-4/30 1,149 68 157 51 Option 6 Private 12 17 3/1-4/14, 9/17-10/31 N/A N/A 5/1-4/30 1,159 51 153 55 Option 6 For Hire 10 17 3/1-4/14 N/A N/A 5/1-4/30

    Section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 states that, for each rule or group of related rules for which an agency is required to prepare a FRFA, the agency shall publish one or more guides to assist small entities in complying with the rule, and shall designate such publications as “small entity compliance guides.” The agency shall explain the actions a small entity is required to take to comply with a rule or group of rules. As part of this rulemaking process, a letter to permit holders that also serves as small entity compliance guide (the guide) was prepared. Copies of this final rule are available from the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (see ADDRESSES), and the guide, i.e., bulletin, will be sent to all holders of permits for the Northeast multispecies fishery. The guide and this final rule will be available upon request.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648

    Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

    Dated: July 25, 2017. Samuel D. Rauch, III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS amends 50 CFR part 648 as follows:

    PART 648—FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES 1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    2. In § 648.89: a. Revise paragraphs (b)(2) and (c)(1); b. Remove paragraph (c)(2); c. Redesignate paragraphs (c)(3) through (8) as paragraphs (c)(2) through (7), respectively; d. Revise newly redesignated paragraph (c)(7); and e. Revise paragraphs (e) and (f).

    The revisions and additions read as follows:

    § 648.89 Recreational and charter/party vessel restrictions.

    (b) * * *

    (2) Exceptions—(i) Fillet size. Vessels may possess fillets less than the minimum size specified, if the fillets are taken from legal-sized fish and are not offered or intended for sale, trade or barter.

    (ii) Transiting. Vessels in possession of cod or haddock caught outside the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1) may transit this area with cod and haddock that meet the minimum size specified for fish caught outside the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(b)(1), provided all bait and hooks are removed from fishing rods, and any cod and haddock on board has been gutted and stored.

    (c) Possession Restrictions—(1) Cod—(i) Outside the Gulf of Maine—(A) Private recreational vessels. Each person on a private recreational vessel may possess no more than 10 cod per day in, or harvested from, the EEZ when fishing outside of the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1).

    (B) Charter or party boats. Each person on a charter or party fishing boat permitted under this part, and not fishing under the NE multispecies DAS program or on a sector trip, may possess unlimited cod in, or harvested from, the EEZ when fishing outside of the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1).

    (ii) Gulf of Maine—(A) Private recreational vessels. When fishing in the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1), persons aboard private recreational fishing vessels may not fish for or possess cod, except that each person on a private recreational vessel in possession of cod caught outside the GOM Regulated Mesh Area may transit the GOM Regulated Mesh Area with cod up to the possession limit specified at § 648.80(c)(1)(i)(A), provided all bait and hooks are removed from fishing rods and any cod on board has been gutted and stored.

    (B) Charter or party boats. When fishing in the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1), persons aboard a charter or party fishing boat may not fish for or possess cod, except that each person on a charter or party fishing boat permitted under this part, and not fishing under the NE multispecies DAS program or on a sector trip, in possession of cod caught outside the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1) may transit the GOM Regulated Mesh Area in possession of cod caught outside the GOM Regulated Mesh Area with cod up to the possession limit specified at § 648.80(c)(1)(i)(B), provided all bait and hooks are removed from fishing rods and any cod on board has been gutted and stored.

    (iii) Fillet conversion. For purposes of counting fish, fillets will be converted to whole fish at the place of landing by dividing the number of fillets by two. If fish are filleted into a single (butterfly) fillet, such fillet shall be deemed to be from one whole fish.

    (iv) Application of possession limit. Cod harvested by recreational fishing vessels in or from the EEZ with more than one person aboard may be pooled in one or more containers. Compliance with the possession limit will be determined by dividing the number of fish on board by the number of persons on board. If there is a violation of the possession limit on board a vessel carrying more than one person, the violation shall be deemed to have been committed by the owner or operator of the vessel.

    (v) Storage. Cod must be stored so as to be readily available for inspection.

    (7) Haddock—(i) Outside the Gulf of Maine—(A) Private recreational vessels. Each person on a private recreational vessel may possess unlimited haddock in, or harvested from, the EEZ when fishing outside of the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1).

    (B) Charter or party boats. Each person on a charter or party fishing boat permitted under this part, and not fishing under the NE multispecies DAS program or on a sector trip, may possess unlimited haddock in, or harvested from, the EEZ when fishing outside of the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1).

    (ii) Gulf of Maine—(A) Private recreational vessels. Each person on a private recreational vessel in possession of haddock caught outside the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1) may transit the GOM Regulated Mesh Area with more than the GOM haddock possession limit specified at paragraph (c)(7)(ii) of this section up to the possession limit specified at paragraph (c)(7)(i) of this section, provided all bait and hooks are removed from fishing rods and any haddock on board has been gutted and stored.

    (1) May 1 through September 17. Each person on a private recreational fishing vessel, fishing from May 1 through September 17, may possess no more than 12 haddock per day in, or harvested from, the EEZ when fishing in the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1).

    (2) September 18 through October 31. When fishing in the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1), persons aboard private recreational fishing vessels may not fish for or possess any haddock from September 18 through October 31.

    (3) November through February. Each person on a private recreational fishing vessel, fishing from November 1 through February 28 (February 29 in leap years), may possess no more than 12 haddock per day in, or harvested from, the EEZ when fishing in the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1).

    (4) March 1 through April 14. When fishing in the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1), persons aboard private recreational fishing vessels may not fish for or possess any haddock from March 1 through April 14.

    (5) April 15 through April 30. Each person on a private recreational fishing vessel, fishing from April 15 through April 30, may possess no more than 12 haddock per day in, or harvested from, the EEZ when fishing in the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1).

    (B) Charter or party boats. Each person on a charter or party fishing boat permitted under this part, and not fishing under the NE multispecies DAS program or on a sector trip, in possession of haddock caught outside the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1) may transit the GOM Regulated Mesh Area with more than the GOM haddock possession limit specified at paragraph (c)(7)(ii) of this section up to the possession limit specified at paragraph (c)(7)(i) of this section, provided all bait and hooks are removed from fishing rods and any haddock on board has been gutted and stored.

    (1) May 1 through September 17. Each person on a charter or party fishing boat permitted under this part, and not fishing under the NE multispecies DAS program or on a sector trip, fishing from May 1 through September 17, may possess no more than 12 haddock per day in, or harvested from, the EEZ when fishing in the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1).

    (2) September 18 through October 31. When fishing in the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1), persons on a charter or party fishing boat permitted under this part, and not fishing under the NE multispecies DAS program or on a sector trip, may not fish for or possess any haddock from September 18 through October 31.

    (3) November through February. Each person on a charter or party fishing boat permitted under this part, and not fishing under the NE multispecies DAS program or on a sector trip, fishing from November 1 through February 28 (February 29 in leap years), may possess no more than 12 haddock per day in, or harvested from, the EEZ when fishing in the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1).

    (4) March 1 through April 14. When fishing in the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1), persons aboard a charter or party fishing boat permitted under this part, and not fishing under the NE multispecies DAS program or on a sector trip, may not fish for or possess any haddock from March 1 through April 14.

    (5) April 15 through April 30. Each person on a charter or party fishing boat permitted under this part, and not fishing under the NE multispecies DAS program or on a sector trip, fishing from April 15 through April 30, may possess no more than 12 haddock per day in, or harvested from, the EEZ when fishing in the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1).

    (iii) Fillet conversion. For purposes of counting fish, fillets will be converted to whole fish at the place of landing by dividing the number of fillets by two. If fish are filleted into a single (butterfly) fillet, such fillet shall be deemed to be from one whole fish.

    (iv) Application of possession limit. Haddock harvested in or from the EEZ by private recreational fishing boats or charter or party boats with more than one person aboard may be pooled in one or more containers. Compliance with the possession limit will be determined by dividing the number of fish on board by the number of persons on board. If there is a violation of the possession limit on board a vessel carrying more than one person, the violation shall be deemed to have been committed by the owner or operator of the vessel.

    (v) Storage. Haddock must be stored so as to be readily available for inspection.

    (e) Charter/party vessel restrictions on fishing in GOM closed areas and the Nantucket Lightship Closed Area—(1) GOM closed areas. (i) A vessel fishing under charter/party regulations may not fish in the GOM closed areas specified in § 648.81(d)(1), (e)(1), and (f)(4) during the time periods specified in those paragraphs, unless the vessel has on board a valid letter of authorization issued by the Regional Administrator pursuant to § 648.81(f)(5)(v) and paragraph (e)(3) of this section. If the vessel fishes or intends to fish in the GOM cod protection closures, the conditions and restrictions of the letter of authorization must be complied with for a minimum of 3 months. If the vessel fishes or intends to fish in the year-round GOM closure areas, the conditions and restrictions of the letter of authorization must be complied with for the rest of the fishing year, beginning with the start of the participation period of the letter of authorization.

    (ii) A vessel fishing under charter/party regulations may not fish in the GOM Cod Spawning Protection Area specified at § 648.81(n)(1) during the time period specified in that paragraph, unless the vessel complies with the requirements specified at § 648.81(n)(2)(iii).

    (2) Nantucket Lightship Closed Area. A vessel fishing under charter/party regulations may not fish in the Nantucket Lightship Closed Area specified in § 648.81(c)(1) unless the vessel has on board a letter of authorization issued by the Regional Administrator pursuant to § 648.81(c)(2)(iii) and paragraph (e)(3) of this section.

    (3) Letters of authorization. To obtain either of the letters of authorization specified in paragraphs (e)(1) and (2) of this section, a vessel owner must request a letter from the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, either in writing or by phone (see Table 1 to 50 CFR 600.502). As a condition of these letters of authorization, the vessel owner must agree to the following:

    (i) The letter of authorization must be carried on board the vessel during the period of participation;

    (ii) Fish species managed by the NEFMC or MAFMC that are harvested or possessed by the vessel, are not sold or intended for trade, barter or sale, regardless of where the fish are caught;

    (iii) The vessel has no gear other than rod and reel or handline gear on board; and

    (iv) For the GOM charter/party closed area exemption only, the vessel may not fish on a sector trip, under a NE multispecies DAS, or under the provisions of the NE multispecies Small Vessel Category or Handgear A or Handgear B permit categories, as specified at § 648.82, during the period of participation.

    (f) Recreational fishery AM—(1) Catch evaluation. As soon as recreational catch data are available for the entire previous fishing year, the Regional Administrator will evaluate whether recreational catches exceed any of the sub-ACLs specified for the recreational fishery pursuant to § 648.90(a)(4). When evaluating recreational catch, the components of recreational catch that are used shall be the same as those used in the most recent assessment for that particular stock. To determine if any sub-ACL specified for the recreational fishery was exceeded, the Regional Administrator shall compare the 3-year average of recreational catch to the 3-year average of the recreational sub-ACL for each stock.

    (2) Reactive AM adjustment. If it is determined that any recreational sub-ACL was exceeded, as specified in paragraph (f)(1) of this section, the Regional Administrator, after consultation with the NEFMC, shall develop measures necessary to prevent the recreational fishery from exceeding the appropriate sub-ACL in future years. Appropriate AMs for the recreational fishery, including adjustments to fishing season, minimum fish size, or possession limits, may be implemented in a manner consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act, with final measures published in the Federal Register no later than January when possible. Separate AMs shall be developed for the private and charter/party components of the recreational fishery.

    (3) Proactive AM adjustment. When necessary, the Regional Administrator, after consultation with the NEFMC, may adjust recreational measures to ensure the recreational fishery achieves, but does not exceed any recreational fishery sub-ACL in a future fishing year. Appropriate AMs for the recreational fishery, including adjustments to fishing season, minimum fish size, or possession limits, may be implemented in a manner consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act, with final measures published in the Federal Register prior to the start of the fishing year where possible. In specifying these AMs, the Regional Administrator shall take into account the non-binding prioritization of possible measures recommended by the NEFMC: For cod, first increases to minimum fish sizes, then adjustments to seasons, followed by changes to bag limits; and for haddock, first increases to minimum size limits, then changes to bag limits, and then adjustments to seasons.

    [FR Doc. 2017-16018 Filed 7-27-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    82 145 Monday, July 31, 2017 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 10 CFR Part 431 [EERE-2017-BT-TP-0047] Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedure for Small Electric Motors and Electric Motors AGENCY:

    Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Request for information (RFI).

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is initiating a data collection process through this request for information to consider whether to amend DOE's test procedure for small electric motors, and whether new test procedures are needed for motors beyond those subject to the existing Federal test procedures. To inform interested parties and to facilitate this process, DOE has gathered data, identifying several issues associated with the currently applicable test procedure on which DOE is interested in receiving comment. The issues outlined in this document mainly concern applicability of the test procedure to additional motor categories (by topology, horsepower, non-standard construction, etc.), definitions, industry test methods, additional test procedure clarifications, and any additional topics that may inform DOE's decisions in a future test procedure rulemaking, including methods to reduce regulatory burden while ensuring the procedure's accuracy. DOE welcomes written comments from the public on any subject within the scope of this document (including topics not raised in this RFI).

    DATES:

    Written comments and information are requested and will be accepted on or before August 30, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested persons are encouraged to submit comments using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Alternatively, interested persons may submit comments, identified by docket number EERE-2017-BT-TP-0047, by any of the following methods:

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

    Email: [email protected] Include docket number EERE-2017-BT-STD-0047 in the subject line of the message.

    Postal Mail: Appliance and Equipment Standards Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Building Technologies Office, Mailstop EE-5B, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. If possible, please submit all items on a compact disc (CD), in which case it is not necessary to include printed copies.

    Hand Delivery/Courier: Appliance and Equipment Standards Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Building Technologies Office, 950 L'Enfant Plaza SW., 6th Floor, Washington, DC 20024. Telephone: (202) 586-6636. If possible, please submit all items on a CD, in which case it is not necessary to include printed copies.

    No telefacsimilies (faxes) will be accepted. For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on this process, see section III of this document.

    Docket: The docket for this activity, which includes Federal Register notices, comments, and other supporting documents/materials, is available for review at http://www.regulations.gov. All documents in the docket are listed in the http://www.regulations.gov index. However, some documents listed in the index, such as those containing information that is exempt from public disclosure, may not be publicly available.

    The docket Web page can be found at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D= EERE-2017-BT-TP-0047. The docket Web page will contain simple instructions on how to access all documents, including public comments, in the docket. See section III for information on how to submit comments through http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Jeremy Dommu, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building Technologies Program, EE-5B 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 586-9870. Email: [email protected]

    Mary Greene, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, GC-33, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 586-1817. Email: [email protected]

    For further information on how to submit a comment, review other public comments and the docket, contact the Appliance and Equipment Standards Program staff at (202) 586-6636 or by email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents I. Introduction A. Authority and Background B. Rulemaking History II. Request for Information and Comments A. Equipment Categories Considered in This Request for Information 1. Small Electric Motors 2. Motors Categories Not Currently Subject to Test Procedures 3. Exemptions 4. Motor Boundary 5. Motors Used in Dedicated Purpose Pool Pumps B. Metric C. Test Procedures 1. Method 2. Motor Horsepower 3. Represented Value D. Other Test Procedure Topics III. Public Participation I. Introduction

    Electric motors are included in the list of “covered equipment” for which DOE is authorized to establish and amend energy conservation standards and test procedures. (42 U.S.C. 6311(1)(A)). Additionally, EPCA directed DOE, subject to a determination of feasibility and justification, to establish energy conservation standards and test procedure for small electric motors. (42 U.S.C. 6317(b)) DOE's test procedures for small electric motors are prescribed at subpart X of 10 CFR part 431. DOE's test procedures for electric motors are prescribed at appendix B to subpart B of part 431. The following sections discuss DOE's authority to establish and amend test procedures for small electric motors, as well as provide relevant background information regarding DOE's consideration of test procedures for this equipment.

    A. Authority and Background

    The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (“EPCA” or “the Act”),1 Public Law 94-163 (42 U.S.C. 6291-6317, as codified), among other things, authorizes DOE to regulate the energy efficiency of a number of consumer products and industrial equipment. Title III, Part C of EPCA, which for editorial purposes was re-designated as Part A-1 upon incorporation into the U.S. Code (42 U.S.C. 6311-6317), established the Energy Conservation Program for Certain Industrial Equipment, which sets forth a variety of provisions designed to improve energy efficiency. This equipment includes small electric motors and electric motors, the subject of this RFI. (42 U.S.C. 6317(b) and 42 U.S.C. 6311(1)(A))

    1 All references to EPCA in this document refer to the statute as amended through the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 (EEIA 2015), Public Law 114-11 (April 30, 2015).

    Under EPCA, the energy conservation program consists essentially of four parts: (1) Testing, (2) labeling, (3) establishing Federal energy conservation standards, and (4) certification and enforcement procedures. Provisions of the Act include definitions (42 U.S.C. 6311), energy conservation standards (42 U.S.C. 6313), test procedures (42 U.S.C. 6314), labeling provisions (42 U.S.C. 6315), and the authority to require information and reports from manufacturers (42 U.S.C. 6316). EPCA includes specific authority to establish test procedures and standards for electric motors and small electric motors. (42 U.S.C. 6313(b), 42 U.S.C. 6314(a)(5) and 42 U.S.C. 6317(b))

    Federal energy efficiency requirements for covered products established under EPCA generally supersede State laws and regulations concerning energy conservation testing, labeling, and standards. (See 42 U.S.C. 6316(a) and (b); 42 U.S.C. 6297) DOE may, however, grant waivers of Federal preemption for particular State laws or regulations, in accordance with the procedures and other provisions of EPCA. (See 42 U.S.C. 6316(b)(2)(D))

    The Federal testing requirements consist of test procedures that manufacturers of covered equipment must use as the basis for: (1) Certifying to DOE that their equipment complies with the applicable energy conservation standards adopted pursuant to EPCA (See 42 U.S.C. 6316(a); 42 U.S.C. 6295(s)), and (2) making representations about the efficiency of that equipment. (42 U.S.C. 6314(d)) Similarly, DOE must use these test procedures to determine whether the equipment complies with relevant standards promulgated under EPCA. (See 42 U.S.C. 6316(a); (42 U.S.C. 6295(s))

    Under 42 U.S.C. 6314, EPCA sets forth the criteria and procedures DOE must follow when prescribing or amending test procedures for covered equipment. EPCA generally requires that any test procedures prescribed or amended under this section must be reasonably designed to produce test results which reflect energy efficiency, energy use, and estimated operating costs of a covered equipment during a representative average use cycle or period of use and requires that test procedures not be unduly burdensome to conduct. (See 42 U.S.C. 6314(a)(2))

    In addition, if DOE determines that a test procedure amendment is warranted, it must publish proposed test procedures and offer the public an opportunity to present oral and written comments on them. (42 U.S.C. 6314(b))

    EPCA also requires that, at least once every 7 years, DOE evaluate test procedures to determine whether amended test procedures would more accurately or fully comply with the requirements for the test procedures to not be unduly burdensome to conduct and be reasonably designed to produce test results that reflect energy efficiency, energy use, and estimated operating costs during a representative average use cycle. (See 42 U.S.C. 6314(a)(1)(A)) If amended test procedures are appropriate, DOE must publish a final rule to incorporate the amendments. If DOE determines that test procedure revisions are not appropriate, DOE must publish its determination not to amend the test procedures. DOE is publishing this RFI to collect data and information to inform a potential test procedure rulemaking to satisfy the 7-year review requirement specified in EPCA, which required that DOE publish, by July 07, 2016, either a final rule amending the test procedures for small electric motors, or a determination that amended test procedures are not required. (See 42 U.S.C. 6314(a)(1))

    B. Rulemaking History

    DOE's current test procedure for small electric motors is located at 10 CFR 431.444. DOE prescribed test procedures for small electric motors on July 7, 2009. 74 FR 32059.2 The current test procedures incorporate the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standard 114 and IEEE Standard 112 Test Methods A and B, and CSA C747-09 and CSA C390-10 as alternative test procedures. (See 10 CFR 431.444(b))

    2 On May 4, 2012, DOE made clarifying edits and updates to the test procedures and provided procedures for DOE designation of nationally recognized certification programs. 77 FR 26608.

    On June 24, 2016, DOE published a separate notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the certification, compliance, labeling, and enforcement of energy conservation standards for electric motors and small electric motors. 81 FR 41378 (June 2016 CCE NOPR). In the June 2016 CCE NOPR, DOE proposed to bring certification, compliance, and enforcement (CCE) regulations for electric motors and small electric motors under the general regulatory scheme of DOE's existing certification, compliance, and enforcement regulations for other covered products and equipment. See id. Additionally, the June 2016 CCE NOPR proposed specific sampling plans, certification of efficiency requirements, independent testing laboratory and certification program requirements, and labeling requirements for electric motors and small electric motors. See id.

    II. Request for Information and Comments

    In the following sections, DOE has identified a variety of issues on which it seeks input to aid in considering whether or not new or amended test procedures for small electric motors. Specifically, DOE is requesting comment on any opportunities to streamline and simplify testing requirements for small electric motors.

    Additionally, DOE welcomes comments on other issues relevant to the conduct of this process that may not specifically be identified in this document. In particular, DOE notes that under Executive Order 13771, “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,” Executive Branch agencies such as DOE are directed to manage the costs associated with the imposition of expenditures required to comply with Federal regulations. See 82 FR 9339 (Feb. 3, 2017). Pursuant to that Executive Order, DOE encourages the public to provide input on measures DOE could take to lower the cost of its regulations applicable to small electric motors consistent with the requirements of EPCA. DOE also requests comment on the benefits and burdens of adopting any industry/voluntary consensus-based or other appropriate test procedure, without modification.

    A. Equipment Categories Considered in This Request for Information

    1. DOE is considering revising the test procedures for small electric motors and establishing new test procedures for electric motors beyond those currently subject to existing test procedures. Sections II.A.1 and II.A.2 describe both of these categories. Small Electric Motors

    DOE regulations define “electric motor” as a machine that converts electrical power into rotational mechanical power. 10 CFR 431.12. EPCA defines the term “small electric motor” as a NEMA general-purpose alternating current single-speed induction motor, built in a two-digit frame number series in accordance with National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Standards Publication MG 1-1987 (MG 1 1987). (42 U.S.C. 6311(13)(G))

    Subpart X of 10 CFR part 431 includes test procedures for the three topologies of small electric motors: Capacitor-start induction-run (CSIR), capacitor-start capacitor-run (CSCR), and certain polyphase motors. In any potential rulemaking, DOE will consider amendments to the test procedures for a “small electric motor” as defined at 10 CFR 431.442. Were DOE to determine that a motor did not meet the EPCA definition of “small electric motor” and, therefore, is not subject to test procedures in subpart X of 10 CFR part 431, DOE may determine that such a motor would still be considered for test procedures as an “electric motor.” 3

    3 While the motors discussed in this RFI are likely covered as “electric motors,” DOE is authorized to determine whether “other motors” are to be included as covered equipment and subject to standards. (See 42 U.S.C. 6311(2)(B)(xiii); 42 U.S.C. 6312(b))

    2. Motors Categories Not Currently Subject to Test Procedures

    DOE may consider setting test procedures for motors that are considered “small” by customers and the electric motor industry, but are not currently subject to the small electric motor test procedures. These motors may have similarities to motors that are currently regulated as small electric motors (such as horsepower) and may be used in similar applications. However despite these similarities, DOE is still determining whether these motors would be regulated as small electric motor or as electric motors under DOE regulations.

    Regardless of the category under which they are regulated, if test procedures are adopted for these motors, DOE would define those categories (and exemptions) using technical and physical characteristics of those motors. DOE expects that this approach would describe the applicability of test procedures to particular motors without reference to statements of marketing or design intent.

    In order to identify whether test procedures should be considered for additional motors, DOE is first reviewing which motors are and are not already subject to regulations. Motors of enclosed construction, non-continuous duty, and not meeting certain torque requirements are not addressed by the regulations in subpart B or subpart X of 10 CFR part 431. DOE may consider setting test procedures for some of these motors. Table II-2 lists the motor topologies that may be considered for test procedures.

    Section 431.25 to subpart B of 10 CFR part 431 subjects certain 2-digit NEMA frame (56-frame) polyphase motors of enclosed construction and certain 3-digit polyphase motors to energy conservation standards. The electric motors regulated at 10 CFR 431.25 currently exclude two groups of motors: (1) Those with less than one horsepower and (2) polyphase motors of a 2-digit frame size (other than certain NEMA 56-frame size enclosed motors) with a horsepower greater than or equal to one. DOE may consider establishing test procedures for some of these motors with the intent is to primarily focus on motors considered small by customers and industry.

    Only motors with a power rating of greater than or equal to 0.25 horsepower and less than or equal to 3 horsepower are subject to the regulations in subpart X to 10 CFR part 431. Should DOE consider a potential test procedure rulemaking, DOE does not expect at this time that it would propose revisions to the test procedures for polyphase enclosed motors greater than or equal to one horsepower in the NEMA 56-frame size because some of these motors are currently regulated in § 431.25 of subpart B to 10 CFR part 431.

    If DOE determines to propose test procedures for categories of motors not currently subject to test procedures, DOE will reconsider a lower horsepower limit. Upon reviewing manufacturer catalogs, DOE found that the lowest horsepower with multiple manufacturers offering a wide range of motors was 0.125 hp. DOE will consider a minimum horsepower limit in any potential rulemaking.

    Similarly, DOE would consider an upper horsepower limit in any rulemaking. The 3 hp upper limit for single-phase motors is based on a 2006 determination that DOE intends to review. 71 FR 38799 (July 10, 2006). DOE has since found that single-phase, 2-digit NEMA frame size motors that exceed 3 hp are available, along with single-phase motors inclusive of all frame sizes with up to 15 hp. DOE also found that polyphase 2-digit NEMA frame size motors, excluding those currently regulated at 10 CFR 431.25, exist up to 5 hp.

    Based on the existing definitions discussed above, Table II-1 lists the motor categories, by horsepower and frame size, that may be considered for test procedures in any rulemaking. Frame size is not used as a limiting factor except in the case of polyphase motors for purposes of preventing overlap with the electric motors regulations listed at 10 CFR 431.25. The final list of motors subject to test procedures may be more limited than Table II-1 based on properties other than horsepower and frame size, as discussed later in this section.

    Table II-1—Motors Under Consideration for a Potential Test Procedure Rulemaking Phase count Horsepower Frame size Single ≥0.125 hp and ≤15 hp All. Polyphase ≥0.125 hp and ≤5 hp 2-digit.* Polyphase <1 hp All. * Polyphase enclosed motors ≥1 hp, of the 56-frame size are not under consideration for revised test procedures, as certain ones of these motors were included in a separate rulemaking, and are regulated at 10 CFR 431.25.

    A variety of motor topologies exist within the range described in Table II-1, including topologies (e.g., polyphase) that meet the regulatory definition of small electric motor and others (e.g., shaded pole) that are not currently regulated as small electric motors or electric motors. DOE may use a subset of these motor topologies to describe the motors subject to test procedures in a potential final rule. Table II-2 lists various categories of motors that could potentially be considered for test procedures within the motor horsepower and frame sizes outlined in Table II-1. Certain subcategories of the motors listed in Table II-2 meet the definition of “small electric motor” and are subject to regulations at subpart X of 10 CFR part 431. Table II-3 presents a shorter list of categories of motors that DOE has preliminarily identified as representing potential interest because of their volume of shipments, ability to be tested using existing test procedures, and energy consumption.

    EP31JY17.003 Table II-3—Primary Motor Categories Based on Motor Topology Permanent-Split Capacitor Polyphase induction, squirrel cage. Capacitor-Start Reluctance Synchronous. Shaded-Pole Permanent Magnet. Line-Start Permanent Magnet Switched Reluctance. Split-phase Electronically Commutated Motor. Permanent Magnet Synchronous

    Table II-4 lists various mechanical, electrical, and other design characteristics of motors such as the ability to operate submerged in a liquid (i.e., submersible motors). DOE may rely on some of these design characteristics to describe the categories of motors that would be considered in a potential test procedure rulemaking.

    Table II-4—Motor Categories Based on Motor Characteristics Horsepower. Number of Speeds. Duty Rating (e.g., continuous). Enclosure Construction (e.g., Air Over, TEFC, TENV). AC input frequency (60 Hz/50 Hz). Input waveform (AC or DC). Frame Size. Voltage. Service Factor. Flange and Endshields. Shaft (e.g., vertical shaft, special shaft). Base (e.g., non-standard base, mounting configuration). Presence of moisture-resistant, sealed, or encapsulated windings. Bearing construction. Motor Component Assembly (Partial Motor). Presence of a Brake (Brake Motor). Presence of Gear Box (Gearmotors). Presence of Controls (e.g., variable-speed drives). Close-coupled pump motors. Submersible Motors.

    The existing regulations for electric motors apply to a subset of electric motors characterized by nine design elements listed at 10 CFR 431.25(g), with the exceptions listed at 10 CFR 431.25(l). DOE could consider establishing a similar list of characteristics to delimit the categories of motors included in any potential small electric motor rulemakings, such as:

    (1) Horsepower;

    (2) Number of speeds (single, multiple, continuously variable);

    (3) Motor topology;

    (4) Duty rating;

    (5) Enclosure construction;

    (6) 60 hertz (Hz) sinusoidal power for alternating current (AC) motors;

    (7) Input waveform (either AC or direct current (DC));

    (8) Phase count (single-phase, polyphase);

    (9) Frame size; and

    (10) Other criteria presented in Table II-4.

    Motors can have different speed capabilities, including single, multi, or (continuously) variable speeds. Variable and multi-speed motors can be tested with existing industry standards (see Table II-6) at a variety of operating points, but no single metric currently exists to quantify the performance of the variable or multi-speed motor. Variable or multi-speed capability provides the ability to save energy by more closely matching motor output to a varying load. DOE is considering whether to consider all speed capabilities in setting any potential new test procedures.

    Motors can also have different topologies as listed in Table II-2. DOE has found test procedures that apply to all of these topologies for both induction and non-induction motors (see section II.C.1). Non-induction motors (such as permanent magnet motors) are often marketed as more efficient substitutes for induction motors, but currently have a lower market share. DOE is considering whether all motor topologies would be analyzed for potential new test procedures.

    Motors can be described by their duty type, using either NEMA or IEC nomenclature. Duty type describes the operating profile the motor is designed to handle. For example, a continuous duty motor can operate for long periods of time at a steady load between required shut-down periods while intermittent-duty motors accumulate fewer annual operating hours Similar to the electric motors regulations described in subpart B of 10 CFR part 431, DOE is considering analyzing only continuous duty type motors for potential test procedures. DOE will consider whether any IEC duty types other than IEC duty type S1 correspond to a continuous duty type. For example, IEC duty types S9 and S10 can include an S1 reference rating, and may also be operated continuously.

    Motors can be described by their enclosure construction—i.e. open and enclosed—and by many subcategories (e.g., open drip proof, totally enclosed non-ventilated, and totally enclosed air-over). Enclosure construction tends to describe both the level of ingress protection (i.e., protection from dust or splashing) and the cooling method (such as active air cooling via an integral fan or passive cooling via natural convection). Similar to the electric motors regulations described in subpart B of 10 CFR part 431, DOE is considering analyzing all enclosure constructions for potential new or revised test procedures.

    An “air-over” motor is a unique variety of enclosure construction relating to a cooling method in which the motor is cooled by an airstream provided by a device or system separate from the motor. At the time of the December 2013 electric motors test procedure final rule, DOE lacked the necessary data to develop a test procedure for air-over motors. 78 FR 75973-75975 (December 13, 2013). As discussed in section II.C.1, DOE is investigating the potential to establish a test procedure for air-over motors.

    A revised definition of air-over motor based on the physical features of a given motor may be needed to support potential test procedure. As part of the December 2013 electric motors test procedure final rule, DOE defined the term “air-over electric motor” as an electric motor rated to operate in and be cooled by the airstream of a fan or blower that is not supplied with the motor and whose primary purpose is providing airflow to an application other than the motor driving it. 78 FR 75973-75975. In other words, air-over electric motors do not have a factory-attached fan and require a separate means of forcing air over the frame of the motor. However, DOE notes that the absence of a fan is not a differentiating feature as some motors categories, such as totally-enclosed non-ventilated (TENV) motors, do not have internal fans or blowers. In terms of physical construction, DOE did not find any differences between air-over motors and non-air-over motors. For example, there is little difference between a totally-enclosed fan-cooled motor (TEFC) and a totally-enclosed air-over motor (TEAO). Based on these observations, DOE understands that what differentiates air-over motors from non-air-over motors is that they require the application of external cooling by a free flow of air to prevent overheating during continuous operation. In a TEAO, without the application of free flowing air, the internal motor winding temperatures would exceed the maximum permissible temperature. The risk of overheating can be verified by observing whether the motor's temperature rises during a rated load temperature test instead of stabilizing. During a rated load temperature test the motor is loaded at the rated full load using a dynamometer until it is thermally stable. The current industry standards incorporated by reference in the existing DOE small electric motors test procedure each contain a portion describing a rated load temperature test. Thermal stability is defined as the condition where the motor temperature does not change by more than 1 ° Cover 30 minutes or 15 minutes depending on the motor category (See section 5.8.4.4 of IEEE 4 Std 112-2004, (IEEE 112-2004), “IEEE Standard Test Procedure for Polyphase Induction Motors and Generators,” and section 10.3.1.3 of IEEE Std 114-2010, (IEEE 114-2010), “IEEE Standard Test Procedure for Single-Phase Induction Motors”). DOE further notes that specifying that the external cooling is obtained by a free-flow of air differentiates air-over motors from other totally-enclosed pipe-ventilated motors. Based on these findings, DOE is considering defining an air-over motor as a motor that does not thermally stabilize without the application of external cooling by a free flow of air during a rated temperature test according to IEEE 112-2004; CSA 5 C747-09 (Reaffirmed 2014), (CSA C747-09), “Energy Efficiency Test Methods Small Motors”; or CSA C390-09 (Reaffirmed 2015), (CSA C390-10), “Test Methods, Marking Requirements, and Energy Efficiency Levels for Three-phase Induction Motors” for polyphase motors; or IEEE 114-2010 or CSA C747-09, for single-phase motors.

    4 Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

    5 CSA Group.

    AC motors are designed to operate at a particular frequency. In the United States, AC power is delivered at 60 Hz. For this reason, DOE is considering whether to continue to limit the scope of a potential test procedure to only AC motors that are designed to operate at 60 Hz. DOE notes that this approach includes motors designed to operate at 60 Hz that are also capable of operating at other frequencies (e.g., 50 Hz).

    Motors can be designed to operate at an input waveform of AC or DC. DOE has found test procedures that apply to both AC and DC motors. DC motors must be fed a DC waveform, but some DC motors are advertised as substitutes for AC motors because a rectifier can be placed between the AC power source and the DC motor to convert the AC power to DC. In many cases, the rectifier may be integrated with the motor, creating a drop-in replacement for AC motors (i.e., it can be used with the existing AC power supply). DOE is considering whether DC motors should be analyzed in a potential test procedure rulemaking.

    Motors also are constructed with a particular frame size. Frame size most commonly refers to a height measurement between the centerline of the shaft and the bottom of the feet, but can also describe a motor's axial length. NEMA frame sizes are described in 2-, 3-, and 4-digit naming conventions. DOE has established regulations for small electric motors built in two-digit frame number series according to NEMA MG 1-1987 (i.e., 42-, 48-, and 56-frame motors), and IEC equivalents. DOE is aware of motor topologies in Table II-3 within the horsepower ranges in Table II-1 that are available in additional frame sizes (e.g., 3-digit). Due to the availability of additional frame sizes for topologies and horsepower ratings that may be considered for test procedures in a potential rulemaking, DOE is considering not using frame size or the frame size naming convention (NEMA digit count) as a means of limiting the categories of motors analyzed for a potential rulemaking, to the extent that this would not overlap with existing regulations for electric motors at 10 CFR 431.25.

    Issue 1: DOE seeks comment, data, information and justification regarding a minimum and maximum horsepower limit for motors for which DOE may consider test procedures.

    Issue 2: DOE seeks comment, data, and information about any additional motor category and associated horsepower range, frame sizes, and/or any additional features (such as voltage and service factor) that should be considered in a possible test procedures rulemaking and why (e.g., motor categories and features presented in Table II-1, Table II-2, Table II-3, and Table II-4). DOE is also interested in detailed information on whether there would be a significant test burden resulting from requiring testing of such motors—and if so, the nature and extent of that burden.

    Issue 3: DOE requests comment on the primary motor topologies included in Table II-3, including whether they should be considered, or not, in a possible test procedures rulemaking and why. DOE seeks comment on any motor topologies not listed that DOE should consider including in a possible test procedures rulemaking. DOE is interested in information on the potential test burden associated with testing such motors.

    Issue 4: DOE seeks input on how an air-over motor could be identified based on physical and technical features. DOE requests comment on whether air-over motors could be defined based on their inability to thermally stabilize without the application of external cooling by a free flow of air during a rated temperature test according to either IEEE 112-2004, CSA C747-09, or CSA C390-10 for polyphase motors; or IEEE 114-2010 or CSA C747-09 for single-phase motors. In addition, DOE requests comment and information on whether all motors currently sold as “air-over motors” and which percentage of the market would meet this definition.

    3. Exemptions

    In a potential future rulemaking, any exemption from test procedures would likely be based on specific physical or design criteria that can be identified at the point of manufacture (e.g., frame size, enclosure, service factor), and not on the advertised application of the motor. DOE would consider whether the exemptions from the existing regulations for electric motors at 10 CFR 431.25(h)-(j) would also apply to the motors under consideration for regulation in a potential test procedure rulemaking. These exemptions, outlined at 10 CFR 431.25(l), are as follows:

    • Air-over electric motors;

    • Component sets of an electric motor;

    • Liquid-cooled electric motors;

    • Submersible electric motors; and

    • Inverter-only electric motors.

    DOE adopted definitions for “air-over electric motors,” “component sets,” “liquid-cooled electric motors,” “submersible electric motors,” and “inverter-only electric motors” at 10 CFR 431.12. If DOE undertakes a test procedure rulemaking, it will evaluate the merits of adopting similar definitions and exemptions for motors with similar features. DOE will further investigate whether these categories of motors exist within the range of motors considered in any such rulemakings. For liquid-cooled, inverter-only, and submersible motors, DOE reviewed online manufacturer catalogs and one distributor's Web site and found at least one model corresponding to each of these three categories of motors that was within the horsepower ranges and frame sizes described in Table II-1.

    Issue 5: DOE seeks comment, data, and information about any motor category that should be considered for exemption from a possible test procedure rulemaking and information providing justification for such exemptions. All exemptions, including exemptions targeted for motors that serve specific applications (e.g., submersible motors), must be identified based on unique physical features of the motor. DOE seeks comment, data, and information on these physical features.

    4. Motor Boundary

    An electric motor is a device that converts electrical power into rotational mechanical power. Some motors may modify the electrical input via rectification, inversion, or other processes prior to generating a magnetic field within the motor. This electrical conversion process can take place via a device integrally connected to the motor, or via a device wired in-line between the power source and the motor. In a potential rulemaking, DOE plans to specify which components (e.g., rectifiers, inverters) would be subject to consideration for the test procedure.

    One example of a motor that includes electrical conversion is a DC brushless permanent magnet motor (commonly referred to as an electronically commutated motor [ECM]). Typically, the DC brushless permanent magnet motor is connected to AC power. The AC power is rectified into DC and inverted to a new waveform (e.g., a rectangular waveform) that is then fed to the motor via electronic commutation. While typically integral to the motor, this design could be implemented with the rectification and inversion either integral to or separate from the motor. DOE is considering defining such categories of motors as including all components essential to operating the motor. For motors that can be operated with and without non-integrally connected controls or electrical conversion devices, DOE may consider testing in each arrangement depending on which motor categories are included in any potential new and/or revised test procedure.

    Issue 6: DOE requests comment on how to account for components included in a motor for motors that are sold in multiple pieces, specifically regarding how to categorize controls or electrical conversion components that may be non-integrally connected to the motor and how to treat them during testing. DOE requests comment on ways to identify control and conversion components that are essential to motor operation.

    Issue 7: DOE seeks comments and feedback about whether the presence of a gear box should constitute a new motor model when added to a motor. More specifically, if DOE were to establish a test procedure for motors with gear boxes, should these motors have to be certified to DOE separately from the same motors without a gear box? DOE is interested in information regarding the potential test burden should separate certification be required. Does the gear box change the tested motor efficiency?

    5. Motors Used in Dedicated Purpose Pool Pumps

    Although motor regulations currently apply to certain small electric motors (subpart X of 10 CFR part 431) and electric motors (subpart B of 10 CFR part 431), regulations do not cover certain varieties of motors that are used in pool pump applications. For example, enclosed motors of less than one output horsepower are not subject to the current test procedure or energy conservation standards, nor are multispeed motors.

    The issue of the efficiency of electric motors used in dedicated purpose pool pumps (DPPP) was brought up by several stakeholders in comments submitted in response DOE's direct final rule for DPPPs. 82 FR 5650 (January 18, 2017). Several manufacturers suggested that an energy conservation standard for the motors used in DPPPs was needed in addition to the standards for DPPPs themselves. This included a manufacturer of the motors used in pool pump applications, Regal Beloit Corporation, manufacturers of pumps, Hayward Industries, Inc. and Pentair Water Pool and Spa, Inc., and a manufacturer of pool equipment, Zodiac Pool Systems, Inc. (EERE-2015-BT-STD-0008, Regal, No. 122 at pg. 1; Hayward, No. 125 at p. 1; Pentair, No. 132 at pp. 1-2; Zodiac No. 134 at pp. 1-2). Other commenters also argued for a specific pool pump motor standard, including the California Investor Owned Utilities (CA IOUs), the industry trade association (Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP)), and two policy advocacy organizations (the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)). (EERE-2015-BT-STD-0008; CA IOUs, No. 130 at p. 2; APSP, No. 127 at p. 2; ASAP No. 133 at pp. 4-5; NRDC No. 121 at p. 4). In response to these comments, DOE published a notice announcing a public meeting pertaining to potential energy conservation standards for DPPP motors. 82 FR 30845 (July 3, 2017). In order to consider the need for a specific pool pump motor regulations, DOE is requesting information on the physical characteristics of motors used in pool pump applications and any applicable test procedures that DOE should consider.

    Issue 8: DOE is interested in any physical feature(s) or observable physical properties that would differentiate these motors from the currently regulated small electric motors at 10 CFR 431.446 and electric motors at 10 CFR 431.42525 that would help define the scope of applicability of the test procedure should DOE decide to proceed in consideration of one.

    Issue 9: DOE also requests comment on any particular markings or labels applied to these products or if there are published industry standards that may be used to uniquely identify motors used in pool pump applications, for example sections of NEMA MG 1-2014, “Motors and Generators,” or of UL 1801, “Standard for Swimming Pool Pumps, Filters, and Chlorinators” and would help define how they should be tested.

    B. Metric

    The existing small electric motor test procedure uses motor average efficiency at full-load as the metric. 10 CFR 431.444. A manufacturer of small electric motors must determine the average efficiency, at full-load, of a basic model through testing and applying a sampling plan; or through the use of alternative methods for determining energy efficiency or energy use (also known as alternative efficiency determination methods, or “AEDMs”). 10 CFR 431.445. For electric motors, the existing test procedure uses the metric nominal full-load efficiency. Provisions for determining a basic model's efficiency through testing or with an AEDM are currently described in 10 CFR 431.17.

    In a potential test procedure rulemaking, DOE could evaluate whether to use the same metric and establish the performance of small electric motors and newly regulated motors based on their tested average full-load efficiency or whether to use a different metric, such as a metric based on motor full-load losses. The sampling plan small electric motor manufacturers must use to make representations of average full-load efficiency is discussed in section II.C.3 in this RFI.

    Issue 10: DOE requests comment on the existing small electric motor and electric motor metrics and on any recommended new metrics for the motors under consideration in a test procedure rulemaking.

    C. Test Procedures

    Pursuant to EPCA's requirement that DOE review a given test procedure at least once every 7 years, DOE will undertake a test procedure review.

    1. Method

    DOE plans to (1) determine if the existing DOE test procedure requires revisions, and (2) determine whether new test procedures for any new motors identified in section II.A are needed (3) determine whether any new motors identified in section 11.A should be categorized as small electric motors or as electric motors are needed. If DOE develops test procedures for any new motors, it would consider either (1) adding testing instructions that modify the test methods currently incorporated by reference at 10 CFR 431.443, or (2) establishing new methods based on industry standards not currently incorporated by reference in 10 CFR 431.443.

    The existing test procedure for small electric motors is codified at 10 CFR 431.443, 10 CFR 431.444, and 10 CFR 431.445. The referenced industry standards for each motor category are shown in Table II-5 in this RFI.

    Table II-5—Referenced Industry Standards for Small Electric Motor Categories Motor category Referenced industry standards Single-phase small electric motors IEEE 114-2010 or CSA C747-09. Polyphase small electric motors less than or equal to 1 horsepower (0.75 kW) IEEE 112-2004 Test Method A or CSA C747-09. Polyphase small electric motors greater than 1 horsepower (0.75 kW) IEEE 112-2004 Test Method B or CSA C390-10.

    DOE reviewed existing industry standards from the IEEE, the CSA Group, and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and found existing test methods for all other motor topologies that DOE may consider in future regulations (see Table II-6). However, the existing test procedure may not apply to all existing mechanical designs or electrical features within a given motor category (e.g., motors with air-over enclosures, which otherwise meet the definition of small electric motors or electric motors but fall outside the scope of IEEE 112-2004). DOE plans to consider amending the existing test procedure to address potential new motor categories.

    For air-over motors specifically, DOE plans to investigate testing instructions that would allow testing based on the same industry standards incorporated by reference at 10 CFR 431.443. In the past, as part of the December 2013 electric motors test procedure final rule, DOE investigated possible methods to test air-over electric motors and determined that it did not have sufficient information to overcome the practical challenges associated with testing air-over motors, such as providing a standard flow of cooling air from an external source that provides a constant velocity over the tested motor under defined ambient temperature and barometric conditions. Therefore, at the time, DOE did not establish any test methods for air-over motors. 78 FR 75926, 78 FR 75962, 75973-75975 (December 13, 2013).

    DOE reviewed section 8.2.1 of IEEE 114-2010 and section 5 of CSA C747-09, which include provisions for testing air-over single-phase motors. Typically, the measurements according to these test standards are performed when the tested motor's winding is thermally stable.6 Because the windings of air-over motors would overheat without an external airflow and degrade the motor, both test methods include specific provisions for air-over motors. Both test methods require test measurements to be performed with sufficient ventilation to maintain a temperature within 70 °C-80 °C, therefore removing the need to accurately measure airflow by specifying a temperature range for the motor's winding instead. Because the motor winding temperature is inversely correlated to efficiency, a target winding temperature range is specified to enable relative comparability of efficiency for air-over motors. This temperature range (70-80 °C) was originally selected by CSA as it would reflect a winding temperature range that mimics the field operating conditions for air-over motors.7

    6 A rated load temperature test is a test during which the motor is loaded at the rated full-load by means of a dynamometer until it is thermally stable. Thermal stability is defined as the condition where the motor temperature does not change by more than 1 °C over 30 min or 15 min depending on the motor category (See section 5.8.4.4 of IEEE 112-2004 and section 10.3.1.3 of IEEE 114-2010)

    7 Additionally, DOE reviewed 366 single-phase, air-over motor models from five major motor manufacturers and observed the following distribution across insulation classes: A (1.5 percent); B (85 percent), F (13 percent); and H (0.5 percent). An insulation class B corresponds to a winding temperature of 75 °C according to Table 2 of IEEE 114-2010.

    NEMA published an air-over efficiency test standard which provides three testing methods for measuring the efficiency of single phase and polyphase air-over motors (NEMA Air-over Motor Efficiency Test Method).8 Each test method requires a temperature test before performing the efficiency test according to the applicable test standard 9 and replaces the original temperature test portion of the applicable efficiency test. Although each of the three methods require the temperature test to be conducted differently,10 the document describes the three testing methods as equivalent.

    8 NEMA MG1-2016, Supplement-2017. Motors and Generators Section IV Part 34: Air-Over Motor Efficiency Test Method. March 2017. Available at http://www.nema.org/Standards/Pages/Motors-and-Generators.aspx.

    9 IEEE 114-2010, IEEE 112-2014, CSA C390-10, or CSA C747-09, depending on the motor phase and rated motor horsepower.

    10 The NEMA Air-over Motor Efficiency Test Methods describes three temperature tests conducted by (1) thermally stabilizing while applying an air-flow based on customer specification; (2) bringing the air-over motor at full-load within 10 °C of a target temperature using external cooling air (the target temperature for single phase motors is 75 °C, while the target temperature for polyphase motors varies depending on the motor's insulation class); or (3) bringing the air-over motor at a reduced load condition to within 10 °C of the target temperature without using external cooling air.

    DOE intends to review these test methods, and evaluate whether a similar approach for testing single-phase and polyphase air-over motors should be considered. DOE will also review the possibility of testing polyphase air-over motors using different target temperatures depending on the air-over motor's insulation class for polyphase motors.

    DOE also is evaluating possible test procedures for motors with non-standard construction. These motors, which otherwise meet the definition of small electric motors, include motor variants such as motors with special shaft dimensions, motors with brakes, or motors with vertical mounting. For these motors, DOE plans on reviewing the applicability of the testing instructions in section 4 of appendix B to subpart B of part 431.

    Finally, DOE is also evaluating potential test procedures for synchronous motors. Specifically, DOE will evaluate the industry standards applicable to synchronous motors in Table II-6. DOE will consider each test procedure with respect to any proposed scope of applicability (e.g., motor horsepower limits). For example, CSA C747-09 has a scope of 0.186 kW to 0.746 kW (0.25 hp to 1 hp), and IEEE Std 115-2009, (IEEE 115-2009), “IEEE Guide for Test Procedures for Synchronous Machines,” applies to larger than fractional horsepower motors (i.e., greater than or equal to 1 hp); therefore, if the proposed scope of applicability of a test procedure spanned both industry standards, DOE would consider whether each industry standard was appropriate and would determine how to specify which industry standard applied to various synchronous motors. DOE, however, is uncertain as to the applicability of IEEE 115-2009 to AC permanent magnet synchronous and reluctance synchronous motors, one of the synchronous motor topologies in Table II-6 in this RFI.

    Table II-6—Primary Motor Topologies and Existing Industry Standards Motor topology Existing industry standard Permanent-Split Capacitor IEEE 114-2010; IEC 60034-2-1: 2014 †; CSA C747-09. Capacitor-Start (CSCR, CSIR) IEEE 114-2010*; IEC 60034-2-1: 2014; CSA C747-09. Split-phase IEEE 114-2010; IEC 60034-2-1: 2014; CSA C747-09. Shaded-Pole IEEE 114-2010; IEC 60034-2-1: 2014; CSA C747-09. Line-Start Permanent Magnet IEC 60034-2-1: 2014; CSA C747-09. AC Permanent Magnet Synchronous IEEE 115-2009; IEEE 1812-2014 ‡; IEC 60034-2-1: 2014; CSA C747-09. (The IEC and CSA standards may not apply to auxiliary starting motor designs). Polyphase induction, squirrel cage IEEE 112-2004 (Method A and B)**; IEC 60034-2-1: 2014; CSA C390-10; CSA C747-09. Reluctance Synchronous CSA C747-09. DC Brushed Permanent Magnet IEC 60034-2-1: 2014. Switched Reluctance *** CSA C747-09. DC Brushless Permanent Magnet *** CSA C747-09. * Includes testing provisions for air-over motors. ** Does not include all polyphase induction squirrel cage motors (e.g., air over motors, inverter-only motors). *** These motors are often referred to as electronically commutated motors (ECM). † IEC 60034-2-1: 2014, “Rotating electrical machines—Part 2-1: Standard methods for determining losses and efficiency from tests (excluding machines for traction vehicles).”. ‡ IEEE 1812-2014 “IEEE Trial-Use Guide for Testing Permanent Magnet Machines.”

    Issue 11: DOE seeks comment and information on whether and why the existing test procedure for determining the average full-load efficiency of small electric motors requires revision, and, if so, what these revisions should be. DOE also requests comment on the impact to test burden from any suggested revisions.

    Issue 12: DOE requests comment and input on the availability of methods for testing other topologies (motors other than CSCR, CSIR, and polyphase) listed in Table II-6 in this RFI. If a new test procedure is needed, DOE requests information on any additional instructions that would be required to test these motor topologies.

    Issue 13: DOE requests comment on any other design features of a motor that could require modifications to an industry standard for testing, what these modifications should be, and why. In particular, DOE requests comment on whether testing instructions similar to the ones found in section 4 of appendix B to subpart B of part 431 would apply to any new motors that may be included in a possible test procedure rulemaking.

    Issue 14: DOE requests comment and input regarding the existing testing provisions for air-over motors in section 8.2.1 of IEEE 114-2010, section 5 of CSA C747-09, and in the NEMA Air-over Motor Efficiency Test Method. Specifically, DOE requests feedback and supporting data on the repeatability and level of accuracy of these methods, and on whether these or other methods would lead to equivalent results when applied to the same motor.

    Issue 15: DOE understands that customers may provide air-velocity specifications for air-over motors. DOE requests comment on whether testing air-over motors according to customer air-velocity specifications is currently used by the industry and why. Additionally DOE requests comment on whether testing air-over motors according to customer air-velocity specifications would allow comparability of efficiency across motors.

    Issue 16: DOE is aware that, because efficiency is inversely correlated to temperature, conducting the temperature test using a different target temperature for polyphase air-over motors depending on the motor's insulation class may lead to measured efficiency values that are not comparable across insulation classes. When measuring polyphase air-over motor efficiency, DOE requests comment on whether the temperature test should be conducted using a single target temperature in order to allow relative comparability of polyphase air-over motor efficiency across insulation classes. If not, DOE requests comment on a justification for why testing polyphase air-over motors using a temperature test at different target temperatures depending on the motor's insulation class would still provide comparable efficiency results across insulation classes.

    Issue 17: DOE also requests comment regarding any additional instructions for testing electronically commutated motors or other categories of motors with controls (e.g., variable-speed drives), and how controls affect average full load efficiency of the motor.

    Issue 18: DOE requests comment on industry standards applicable to synchronous motors and their applicability to the horsepower range (i.e., ≥0.125 hp and ≤15 hp) that DOE is considering in a potential test procedure rulemaking (e.g., IEEE 115-2009, IEEE 1812-2014, IEC 60034-2-1: 2014, and CSA C747-09). DOE also requests comment on the applicability of IEEE 115-2009 to AC permanent magnet synchronous and synchronous reluctance motors.

    Issue 19: DOE requests comment on the feasibility of testing motors that are components of other equipment. Specifically, DOE requests comments on whether some motors that only enter commerce as components of another product require modifications to an industry standard for testing and on what these modifications should be and why.

    Issue 20: DOE requests comment and supporting data on testing times and associated costs of efficiency testing. Specifically, how many hours it takes to test a motor per each industry standard listed in Table II-6, if manufacturers test their own models or hire a third-party for testing, if manufacturers need to purchase additional test equipment according to the industry standards in Table II-6, and if there are any other costs associated with testing.

    Issue 21: DOE requests comment on the benefits and burdens of adopting any already existing voluntary consensus-based or other appropriate test procedure, without modification.

    2. Motor Horsepower

    As part of the potential test procedure rulemaking, DOE is considering establishing a method to determine the load point for testing a motor under full-load (i.e., rated motor horsepower). Rated motor horsepower is generally not an intrinsic, observable motor property, but rather it is declared by the manufacturer, and motors are usually capable of operating both above and below the rated motor horsepower. As a result, the existing test procedure in subpart X of 10 CFR part 431 relies on the definition of small electric motor (e.g., a general purpose motor according to NEMA MG 1-1987), but the DOE regulations do not explicitly address how to determine the full-load or rated motor horsepower of a motor.

    To better specify the test procedures, DOE is considering approaches to determine rated motor horsepower based on motor properties like breakdown torque and temperature rise. NEMA Standards Publication MG 1-2014, (MG 1-2014), “Motors and Generators,” section 10.34 specifies that the rated motor horsepower of a small or medium single-phase induction motor is based on breakdown torque. NEMA MG 1-2014 then provides ranges of breakdown torque associated with rated motor horsepower and pole configurations. However, DOE identified multiple motor models that had a manufacturer-listed breakdown torque outside of the associated NEMA range (i.e., for a given topology, pole configuration, and rated motor horsepower), indicating not all motors follow the conventions listed in NEMA MG 1-2014.

    Another option would be to determine the rated motor horsepower based on a load which results in a temperature rise associated with the insulation class of the motor (i.e., service factor load). Insulation class is a letter designation (i.e., A, B, F, and H), which has an associated temperature rise indicating the temperature at which the motor can operate, and is commonly displayed in manufacturer literature and on motor nameplates. DOE is aware of insulation class temperature rises in NEMA MG 1-2014 section 12.42 and 12.43, and also in IEEE 112-2004 Table 1 which may be applicable to this method. The load which results in the insulation class temperature rise would be a repeatable loading point, but DOE will consider if it is appropriate for determining efficiency, or if it could be indirectly used as a reference point for calculating the rated motor horsepower.

    Issue 22: DOE requests comment on how industry currently determines the full-load, or rated, horsepower of a motor, and how DOE should specify this quantity.

    Issue 23: DOE requests comment and input on a method to determine full-load, or rated, horsepower of a motor based on the breakdown torque of a motor as specified in NEMA MG 1-2014.

    Issue 24: DOE requests comment and input on a method to determine full-load, or rated, horsepower of a motor based on the load which results in a temperature rise associated with the insulation class of the motor (i.e., service factor load). DOE also requests comment on whether all motors have an associated NEMA insulation class (i.e., A, B, F, and H) that is known by the manufacturer, and if it is not known if there are methods a manufacturer can use to determine the insulation class. DOE also requests comment on the temperature rise that should be associated with each insulation class for this method (e.g., values from NEMA MG 1-2014 or IEEE 112-2004).

    3. Represented Value

    The procedure for determining the represented value of average full-load efficiency of a small electric motor can be found at 10 CFR 431.445. Specifically, DOE provides sampling provisions that must be used when determining the average full-load efficiency of a basic model through testing. On June 24, 2016, DOE published a separate notice of proposed rulemaking on certification, compliance, labeling, and enforcement for electric motors and small electric motors, which included a proposal to revise the sampling provisions for small electric motors to conform with the sampling provisions for other types of covered product and equipment at 10 CFR part 429, subpart B. 81 FR 41378.

    DOE plans to investigate whether the proposed sampling provision for determining the represented value 11 of a small electric motor could apply to the new motors DOE may consider regulating or whether the current sampling provisions need to be revised. DOE's preference is that all motors discussed in section II.A be subject to the same sampling provisions and represented value calculation.

    11 A represented value is a figure characterizing motor energy efficiency for the purposes of marketing or certifying performance to DOE.

    Issue 25: DOE requests comment on applying (1) the sampling plan in DOE's separate notice of proposed rulemaking (81 FR 41378, [June 24, 2016]) and (2) the represented value calculation for small electric motors to new motors DOE may consider regulating.

    D. Other Test Procedure Topics

    In addition to the issues identified earlier in this document, DOE welcomes comment on any other aspect of the existing test procedures for small electric motors not already addressed by the specific areas identified in this document. DOE particularly seeks information that would improve the repeatability, reproducibility, and consumer representativeness of the test procedures. DOE also requests information that would help DOE create a procedure that would limit manufacturer test burden through streamlining or simplifying testing requirements. Comments regarding repeatability and reproducibility are also welcome.

    DOE also requests feedback on any potential amendments to the existing test procedure that could be considered to address impacts on manufacturers, including small businesses. Regarding the Federal test method, DOE seeks comment on the degree to which the DOE test procedure should consider and be harmonized with the most recent relevant industry standards for small electric motors and whether there are any changes to the Federal test method that would provide additional benefits to the public.

    Additionally, DOE requests comment on whether the existing test procedures limit a manufacturer's ability to provide additional features to consumers of small electric motors. DOE particularly seeks information on how the test procedures could be amended to reduce the cost of these new or additional features and make it more likely that such features are included on small electric motors.

    III. Public Participation

    DOE invites all interested parties to submit in writing by August 30, 2017, comments and information on matters addressed in this RFI and on other matters relevant to DOE's consideration of new and/or amended test procedure for small electric motors and electric motors. These comments and information will aid in the development of a test procedure NOPR for small electric motors and electric motors if DOE determines that amended test procedures may be appropriate for these products.

    Submitting comments via http://www.regulations.gov. The http://www.regulations.gov Web page will require you to provide your name and contact information. Your contact information will be viewable to DOE Building Technologies staff only. Your contact information will not be publicly viewable except for your first and last names, organization name (if any), and submitter representative name (if any). If your comment is not processed properly because of technical difficulties, DOE will use this information to contact you. If DOE cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, DOE may not be able to consider your comment.

    However, your contact information will be publicly viewable if you include it in the comment or in any documents attached to your comment. Any information that you do not want to be publicly viewable should not be included in your comment, nor in any document attached to your comment. Persons viewing comments will see only first and last names, organization names, correspondence containing comments, and any documents submitted with the comments.

    Do not submit to http://www.regulations.gov information for which disclosure is restricted by statute, such as trade secrets and commercial or financial information (hereinafter referred to as Confidential Business Information (CBI)). Comments submitted through http://www.regulations.gov cannot be claimed as CBI. Comments received through the Web site will waive any CBI claims for the information submitted. For information on submitting CBI, see the Confidential Business Information section.

    DOE processes submissions made through http://www.regulations.gov before posting. Normally, comments will be posted within a few days of being submitted. However, if large volumes of comments are being processed simultaneously, your comment may not be viewable for up to several weeks. Please keep the comment tracking number that http://www.regulations.gov provides after you have successfully uploaded your comment.

    Submitting comments via email, hand delivery, or mail. Comments and documents submitted via email, hand delivery, or mail also will be posted to http://www.regulations.gov. If you do not want your personal contact information to be publicly viewable, do not include it in your comment or any accompanying documents. Instead, provide your contact information on a cover letter. Include your first and last names, email address, telephone number, and optional mailing address. The cover letter will not be publicly viewable as long as it does not include any comments.

    Include contact information each time you submit comments, data, documents, and other information to DOE. If you submit via mail or hand delivery, please provide all items on a CD, if feasible. It is not necessary to submit printed copies. No facsimiles (faxes) will be accepted.

    Comments, data, and other information submitted to DOE electronically should be provided in PDF (preferred), Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or text (ASCII) file format. Provide documents that are not secured, written in English and free of any defects or viruses. Documents should not contain special characters or any form of encryption and, if possible, they should carry the electronic signature of the author.

    Campaign form letters. Please submit campaign form letters by the originating organization in batches of between 50 to 500 form letters per PDF or as one form letter with a list of supporters' names compiled into one or more PDFs. This reduces comment processing and posting time.

    Confidential Business Information. According to 10 CFR 1004.11, any person submitting information that he or she believes to be confidential and exempt by law from public disclosure should submit via email, postal mail, or hand delivery two well-marked copies: one copy of the document marked confidential including all the information believed to be confidential, and one copy of the document marked “non-confidential” with the information believed to be confidential deleted. Submit these documents via email or on a CD, if feasible. DOE will make its own determination about the confidential status of the information and treat it according to its determination.

    Factors of interest to DOE when evaluating requests to treat submitted information as confidential include (1) a description of the items, (2) whether and why such items are customarily treated as confidential within the industry, (3) whether the information is generally known by or available from other sources, (4) whether the information has previously been made available to others without obligation concerning its confidentiality, (5) an explanation of the competitive injury to the submitting person which would result from public disclosure, (6) when such information might lose its confidential character due to the passage of time, and (7) why disclosure of the information would be contrary to the public interest.

    It is DOE's policy that all comments may be included in the public docket, without change and as received, including any personal information provided in the comments (except information deemed to be exempt from public disclosure).

    DOE considers public participation to be a very important part of the process for developing test procedures. DOE actively encourages the participation and interaction of the public during the comment period in each stage of the rulemaking process. Interactions with and between members of the public provide a balanced discussion of the issues and assist DOE in the rulemaking process. Anyone who wishes to be added to the DOE mailing list to receive future notices and information about this rulemaking should contact Appliance and Equipment Standards Program staff at (202) 586-6636 or via email at [email protected]

    Issued in Washington, DC, on July 14, 2017. Kathleen B. Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
    [FR Doc. 2017-15848 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Office of the Comptroller of the Currency 12 CFR Part 34 [Docket No. OCC-2017-0011] RIN 1557-AE18 FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM 12 CFR Part 225 [Docket No. R-1568; RIN 7100 AE-81] FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION 12 CFR Part 323 RIN 3064 AE-56 Real Estate Appraisals AGENCY:

    Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Treasury (OCC); Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board); and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking and request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    The OCC, Board, and FDIC (collectively, the agencies) are inviting comment on a proposed rule to amend the agencies' regulations requiring appraisals of real estate for certain transactions. The proposal would increase the threshold level at or below which appraisals would not be required for commercial real estate transactions from $250,000 to $400,000. This proposed change to the appraisal threshold reflects comments the agencies received through the regulatory review process required by the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act (EGRPRA) and completed in early 2017. For commercial real estate transactions with a value at or below the proposed threshold, the amended rule would require institutions to obtain an evaluation of the real property collateral that is consistent with safe and sound banking practices if the institution does not obtain an appraisal by a state certified or licensed appraiser.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by September 29, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested parties are encouraged to submit written comments jointly to all of the agencies. Commenters should use the title “Real Estate Appraisals” to facilitate the organization and distribution of comments among the agencies. Interested parties are invited to submit written comments to:

    Office of the Comptroller of the Currency: Because paper mail in the Washington, DC area and at the OCC is subject to delay, commenters are encouraged to submit comments by the Federal eRulemaking Portal or email, if possible. Please use the title “Real Estate Appraisals” to facilitate the organization and distribution of the comments. You may submit comments by any of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal—Regulations.gov: Go to www.regulations.gov. Enter “Docket ID OCC-2017-0011” in the Search Box and click “Search.” Click on “Comment Now” to submit public comments.

    • Click on the “Help” tab on the Regulations.gov home page to get information on using Regulations.gov, including instructions for submitting public comments.

    Email: [email protected]

    Mail: Legislative and Regulatory Activities Division, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 400 7th Street SW., Suite 3E-218, Mail Stop 9W-11, Washington, DC 20219.

    Fax: (571) 465-4326.

    Hand Delivery/Courier: 400 7th Street SW., Suite 3E-218, Mail Stop 9W-11, Washington, DC 20219.

    Instructions: You must include “OCC” as the agency name and “Docket ID OCC-2017-0011” in your comment. In general, OCC will enter all comments received into the docket and publish them on the Regulations.gov Web site without change, including any business or personal information that you provide such as name and address information, email addresses, or phone numbers. Comments received, including attachments and other supporting materials, are part of the public record and subject to public disclosure. Do not enclose any information in your comment or supporting materials that you consider confidential or inappropriate for public disclosure.

    You may review comments and other related materials that pertain to this proposed rule by any of the following methods:

    Viewing Comments Electronically: Go to www.regulations.gov. Enter “Docket ID OCC-2017-0011” in the Search box and click “Search.” Click on “Open Docket Folder” on the right side of the screen and then “Comments.” Comments can be filtered by clicking on “View All” and then using the filtering tools on the left side of the screen.

    • Click on the “Help” tab on the Regulations.gov home page to get information on using Regulations.gov. Supporting materials may be viewed by clicking on “Open Docket Folder” and then clicking on “Supporting Documents.” The docket may be viewed after the close of the comment period in the same manner as during the comment period.

    Viewing Comments Personally: You may personally inspect and photocopy comments at the OCC, 400 7th Street SW., Washington, DC. For security reasons, the OCC requires that visitors make an appointment to inspect comments. You may do so by calling (202) 649-6700 or, for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, TTY, (202) 649-5597. Upon arrival, visitors will be required to present valid government-issued photo identification and to submit to security screening in order to inspect and photocopy comments.

    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System: You may submit comments, identified by [Docket No. R-1568 and RIN 7100 AE-81], by any of the following methods:

    Agency Web site: http://www.federalreserve.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments at http://www.federalreserve.gov/generalinfo/foia/ProposedRegs.cfm.

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

    Email: [email protected] Include the docket number and RIN number in the subject line of the message.

    Fax: (202) 452-3819 or (202) 452-3102.

    Mail: Address to Ann E. Misback, Secretary, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20551.

    All public comments will be made available on the Board's Web site at http://www.federalreserve.gov/generalinfo/foia/ProposedRegs.cfm as submitted, unless modified for technical reasons. Accordingly, comments will not be edited to remove any identifying or contact information. Public comments may also be viewed electronically or in paper form in Room 3515, 1801 K Street NW. (between 18th and 19th Streets NW.), Washington, DC 20006 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on weekdays.

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: You may submit comments, identified by RIN 3064-AE56, by any of the following methods:

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

    Agency Web site: http://www.FDIC.gov/regulations/laws/federal/propose.html.

    Mail: Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary, Attention: Comments/Legal ESS, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 550 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20429.

    Hand Delivered/Courier: The guard station at the rear of the 550 17th Street Building (located on F Street) on business days between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

    Email: [email protected] Comments submitted must include “FDIC” and “Real Estate Appraisals.” Comments received will be posted without change to http://www.fdic.gov/regulations/laws/federal/propose.html including any personal information provided.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    OCC: G. Kevin Lawton, Appraiser (Real Estate Specialist), (202) 649-7152, Mitchell E. Plave, Special Counsel, Legislative and Regulatory Activities Division, (202) 649-5490, for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, TTY, (202) 649-5597, or Christopher Manthey, Special Counsel, or Joanne Phillips, Attorney, Bank Activities and Structure Division, (202) 649-5500, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 400 7th Street SW., Washington, DC 20219.

    Board: Anna Lee Hewko, Associate Director, (202) 530-6260, or Carmen Holly, Senior Supervisory Financial Analyst, (202) 973-6122, Division of Supervision and Regulation; or Gillian Burgess, Senior Counsel, (202) 736-5564, Matthew Suntag, Senior Attorney, (202) 452-3694, or Kirin Walsh, Attorney, (202) 452-3058, Legal Division, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 20th and C Streets NW., Washington, DC 20551.

    FDIC: Beverlea S. Gardner, Senior Examination Specialist, Division of Risk Management and Supervision, at (202) 898-3640, Mark Mellon, Counsel, Legal Division, at (202) 898-3884, Kimberly Stock, Counsel, Legal Division, at (202) 898-3815, Benjamin K. Gibbs, Counsel, at (202) 898-6726, or Lauren Whitaker, Senior Attorney, at (202) 898-3872, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 550 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20429.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Introduction A. Background

    Title XI of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (Title XI) 1 directs each federal financial institutions regulatory agency 2 to publish appraisal regulations for federally related transactions within its jurisdiction. The purpose of Title XI is to protect federal financial and public policy interests 3 in real estate-related transactions by requiring that real estate appraisals used in connection with federally related transactions (Title XI appraisals) be performed in accordance with uniform standards, by individuals whose competency has been demonstrated and whose professional conduct will be subject to effective supervision.4

    1 12 U.S.C. 3331 et seq.

    2 “Federal financial institutions regulatory agency” means the Board, the FDIC, the OCC, the National Credit Union Association (NCUA), and, formerly, the Office of Thrift Supervision. 12 U.S.C. 3350(6).

    3 These interests include those stemming from the federal government's roles as regulator and deposit insurer of financial institutions that engage in real estate lending and investment, guarantor or lender on mortgage loans, and as a direct party in real estate-related financial transactions. These federal financial and public policy interests have been described in predecessor legislation and accompanying Congressional reports. See Real Estate Appraisal Reform Act of 1988, H.R. Rep. No. 100-1001, pt. 1, at 19 (1988); 133 Cong. Rec. 33047-33048 (1987).

    4 12 U.S.C. 3331.

    Title XI directs the agencies to prescribe appropriate standards for Title XI appraisals under the agencies' respective jurisdictions,5 including, at a minimum, that Title XI appraisals be: (1) Performed in accordance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP); 6 (2) written appraisals, as defined by the statute; and (3) subject to appropriate review for compliance with USPAP. All federally related transactions must have Title XI appraisals.

    5 12 U.S.C. 3339. The agencies' Title XI appraisal regulations apply to transactions entered into by the agencies or by institutions regulated by the agencies that are depository institutions or bank holding companies or subsidiaries of depository institutions or bank holding companies. OCC: 12 CFR part 34, subpart C; Board: 12 CFR 225.61(b); 12 CFR part 208, subpart E; FDIC: 12 CFR part 323.

    6 USPAP is written and interpreted by the Appraisal Standards Board of the Appraisal Foundation. Adopted by Congress in 1989, USPAP contains generally recognized ethical and performance standards for the appraisal profession in the United States, including real estate, personal property, and business appraisals. See http://www.appraisalfoundation.org/imis/TAF/Standards/Appraisal_Standards/Uniform_Standards_of_Professional_Appraisal_Practice/TAF/USPAP.aspx?hkey=a6420a67-dbfa-41b3-9878-fac35923d2af.

    Title XI defines a “federally related transaction” as a real estate-related financial transaction that is regulated or engaged in by a federal financial institutions regulatory agency and requires the services of an appraiser.7 A real estate-related financial transaction is defined as any transaction that involves: (i) The sale, lease, purchase, investment in or exchange of real property, including interests in property, or financing thereof; (ii) the refinancing of real property or interests in real property; and (iii) the use of real property or interests in real property as security for a loan or investment, including mortgage-backed securities.8

    7 12 U.S.C. 3350(4) (defining “federally related transaction”).

    8 12 U.S.C. 3350(5).

    The agencies have authority to determine those real estate-related financial transactions that do not require the services of a certified or licensed appraiser and are therefore exempt from the appraisal requirements of Title XI. These real estate-related financial transactions are not federally related transactions under the statutory or regulatory definitions because they are not required to have Title XI appraisals.9

    9See 59 FR 29482 (June 7, 1994).

    The agencies have exercised this authority by exempting several categories of real estate-related financial transactions from the appraisal requirements.10 The agencies have determined that these categories of transactions do not require appraisals by state certified or licensed appraisers in order to protect federal financial and public policy interests or to satisfy principles of safe and sound banking.

    10See OCC: 12 CFR 34.43(a); Board: 12 CFR 225.63(a); FDIC: 12 CFR 323.3(a).

    In 1992, Congress amended Title XI, expressly authorizing the agencies to establish a threshold level at or below which an appraisal by a state certified or licensed appraiser is not required in connection with federally related transactions if the agencies determine in writing that the threshold does not represent a threat to the safety and soundness of financial institutions.11 In the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the Dodd-Frank Act),12 Congress amended the threshold provision to require concurrence “from the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection that such threshold level provides reasonable protection for consumers who purchase 1-4 unit single-family residences.” 13 As noted above, transactions at or below the threshold level are exempt from the Title XI appraisal requirements and thus are not federally related transactions.

    11 Housing and Community Development Act of 1992, Public Law 102-550, sec. 954, 106 Stat. 3894 (amending 12 U.S.C. 3341).

    12 Public Law 111-203, 124 Stat.1376.

    13 Dodd-Frank Act, sec. 1473, 124 Stat. 2190 (amending 12 U.S.C. 3341(b)).

    Under the current thresholds, which were established by rulemaking in 1994,14 all real estate-related financial transactions with a transaction value 15 of $250,000 or less, as well as certain real estate-secured business loans (qualifying business loans) with a transaction value of $1 million or less, do not require appraisals.16 Qualifying business loans are business loans that are real estate-related financial transactions and that are not dependent on the sale of, or rental income derived from, real estate as the primary source of repayment.17

    14See 59 FR 29482 (June 7, 1994). The NCUA promulgated a similar rule with similar thresholds in 1995. 60 FR 51889 (October 4, 1995).

    15 For loans and extensions of credit, the transaction value is the amount of the loan or extension of credit. For sales, leases, purchases, investments in or exchanges of real property, the transaction value is the market value of the real property. For the pooling of loans or interests in real property for resale or purchase, the transaction value is the amount of each such loan or the market value of each such real property, respectively. See OCC: 12 CFR 34.42(m); Board: 12 CFR 225.62(m); FDIC: CFR 323.2(m).

    16See OCC: 12 CFR 34.43(a)(1) and (5); Board: 12 CFR 225.63(a)(1) and (5); FDIC: 12 CFR 323.3(a)(1) and (5).

    17 OCC: 12 CFR 34.43(a)(5); Board: 12 CFR 225.63(a)(5); FDIC: 12 CFR 323.3(a)(5).

    For real estate-related financial transactions that are exempt from the appraisal requirement because they are within the applicable thresholds or qualify for the exemption for certain existing extensions of credit,18 the appraisal regulations require financial institutions to obtain an evaluation of the real property collateral that is consistent with safe and sound banking practices.19 An evaluation should contain sufficient information and analysis to support the financial institution's decision to engage in the transaction. However, evaluations need not be performed in accordance with USPAP or by certified or licensed appraisers. The agencies have provided supervisory guidance for conducting evaluations in a safe and sound manner in the Interagency Appraisal and Evaluation Guidelines (Guidelines).20

    18 Transactions that involve an existing extension of credit at the lending institution are exempt from the Title XI appraisal requirements, but are required to have evaluations, provided that there has been no obvious and material change in market conditions or physical aspects of the property that threatens the adequacy of the institution's real estate collateral protection after the transaction, even with the advancement of new monies; or there is no advancement of new monies, other than funds necessary to cover reasonable closing costs. See OCC: 12 CFR 34.43(a)(7) and (b); Board: 12 CFR 225.63(a)(7) and (b); FDIC: 12 CFR 323.3(a)(7) and (b).

    19See OCC: 12 CFR 34.43(b); Board: 12 CFR 225.63(b); FDIC: 12 CFR 323.3(b).

    20 75 FR 77450 (Dec. 10, 2010). See also Interagency Advisory on the Use of Evaluations in Real Estate-Related Financial Transactions, OCC Bulletin 2016-8 (March 4, 2016); Board SR Letter 16-5 (March 4, 2016); Supervisory Expectations for Evaluations, FDIC FIL-16-2016 (March 4, 2016).

    B. The EGRPRA Process

    In early 2017, the agencies completed a review of their regulations pursuant to EGRPRA, which requires that, not less than once every 10 years, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), Board, OCC, and FDIC conduct a review of their regulations to identify outdated or otherwise unnecessary regulatory requirements imposed on insured depository institutions (IDIs).21

    21 Public Law 104-208, Div. A, Title II, sec. 2222, 110 Stat. 3009-414, (1996) (codified at 12 U.S.C. 3311). The FFIEC is an interagency body comprised of the Board, OCC, FDIC, NCUA, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB) and State Liaison Committee. Of these, only the Board, OCC and FDIC are statutorily required to undertake the EGRPRA review. The FFIEC does not issue regulations that impose burden on financial institutions and therefore its regulations were not included in the EGRPRA review. The NCUA is not required to participate in the EGRPRA review, but elected to review its regulations pursuant to the goals of EGRPRA, as it did during the agencies' first EGRPRA review 10 years ago. Accordingly, the NCUA participated in the recent EGRPRA review process with the Board, OCC and FDIC. The results of the NCUA's review are included in Part II of the EGRPRA Report, described below. The CFPB is required to review its significant rules and publish a report of its review no later than five years after the rules takes effect. See 12 U.S.C. 5512(d).

    As part of the EGRPRA review, the agencies received numerous comments from bankers, banking trade associations, associations of appraisers, and other commenters related to the Title XI appraisal regulations. These comments included recommendations to increase the thresholds at or below which real estate-related financial transactions are exempt from the Title XI appraisal requirements. Some commenters noted that the current thresholds have not been adjusted since they were established in 1994, even though property values have increased, and that the time and cost associated with the appraisal process impose an unnecessary burden in the completion of smaller-dollar amount real estate-related transactions. Some commenters also argued that the time and financial costs attributed to meeting the appraisal requirements at the current threshold levels particularly affect banks in rural markets. These commenters contended that it is often difficult to find state certified and licensed appraisers to complete assignments for properties in rural areas.22

    22 Earlier this year, the agencies and the NCUA issued an advisory on appraiser availability that points to alternatives that may help in areas facing a shortage of appraisers. Interagency Advisory on the Availability of Appraisers. See OCC Bulletin 2017-19 (May 31, 2017); Board SR Letter 17-4 (May 31, 2017); FDIC FIL-19-2017 (May 31, 2017).

    In March 2017, the agencies submitted a joint EGRPRA report to Congress (EGRPRA Report) that identified potential initiatives to reduce regulatory burden.23 In the EGRPRA Report, the agencies addressed comments received concerning the appraisal thresholds and stated that the agencies would propose an increase to the threshold for commercial real estate transactions from $250,000 to $400,000.24 Section II of this SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION invites comments on this proposed increase. The agencies also stated their intention to gather more information about the appropriateness of increasing the $1 million threshold for qualifying business loans, which is being done through a request for comment in Section III of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

    23 FFIEC, Joint Report to Congress: Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act, (March 2017), (EGRPRA Report), available at https://www.ffiec.gov/pdf/2017_FFIEC_EGRPRA_Joint-Report_to_Congress.pdf.

    24 The $250,000 threshold in the current Title XI appraisal regulations applies, by its terms, to all real estate-related financial transactions, whether or not the borrower is a consumer.

    In the EGRPRA Report, the agencies also addressed whether it would be appropriate to increase the current $250,000 threshold for transactions secured by residential real estate. The agencies determined that it would not be appropriate to increase the threshold for this category of transactions at this time based on three considerations. First, the agencies observed that any increase in the threshold for residential transactions would have a limited impact on burden, as appraisals would still be required for the vast majority of these transactions pursuant to rules of other federal government agencies and the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs).25 As reflected in the 2015 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data,26 at least 90 percent of residential mortgage loan originations had loan amounts at or below the threshold, were eligible for sale to GSEs, or were insured by the Federal Housing Administration or the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Those transactions are not subject to the Title XI appraisal regulations, but the majority of those transactions are subject to the appraisal requirements of other government agencies or the GSEs. Therefore, raising the appraisal threshold for residential transactions in the Title XI appraisal regulations would have limited impact on burden.

    25 Other Federal Government agencies involved in the residential mortgage market include the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Rural Housing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These agencies, along with the GSEs (which are regulated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)), have the authority to set separate appraisal requirements for loans they originate, acquire, or guarantee, and generally require an appraisal by a certified or licensed appraiser for residential mortgages regardless of the loan amount.

    26See FFIEC, Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, www.ffiec.gov/hmda/.

    Second, appraisals can provide protection to consumers by helping to assure the residential purchaser that the value of the property supports the purchase price and the mortgage amount.27 The consumer protection role of appraisals is reflected in amendments made to Title XI and the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) 28 through the Dodd-Frank Act governing the scope of transactions requiring the services of a certified or licensed appraiser. These include the addition of the CFPB to the group of agencies assigned a role in the appraisal threshold-setting process for Title XI,29 and a new TILA provision requiring appraisals for loans involving “higher-risk mortgages.” 30

    27 The agencies posited in the 1994 amendments to the Title XI appraisal regulations that the timing of the appraisal may provide limited consumer protection. Changes to consumer protection regulations since 1994 now ensure that a consumer receives a copy of appraisals and other valuations used by a creditor to make a credit decision at least three business days before consummation of the transaction (for closed-end credit) or account opening (for open-end credit). See 12 CFR 1002.14 (for business or consumer credit secured by a first lien on a dwelling).

    28 15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.

    29 Dodd-Frank Act, Public Law 111-203, Title XIV, sec. 1473(a), 124 Stat. 2190 (2010), (codified at 12 U.S.C. 3341(b)), as discussed earlier in this SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

    30 “Higher-risk mortgages” are certain mortgages with an annual percentage rate that exceeds the average prime offer rate by a specified percentage. See Dodd-Frank Act, Public Law 111-203, Title XIV, sec. 1471, 124 Stat. 2185 (2010), which added section 129H to TILA, (codified at 15 U.S.C. 1639h). See also Appraisals for Higher-Priced Mortgage Loans, 78 FR 78520 (December 26, 2013) (interagency rule implementing appraisal requirements for higher-priced mortgage loans).

    During the EGRPRA process, the staff of the agencies conferred with the CFPB regarding comments the agencies received supporting an increase in the threshold for 1-to-4 family residential transactions. CFPB staff shared the view that appraisals can provide consumer protection benefits and their concern about potential risks to consumers resulting from an expansion of the number of residential mortgage transactions that would be exempt from the Title XI appraisal requirement.

    Third, the agencies considered safety and soundness concerns that could result from a threshold increase for residential transactions. As the EGRPRA Report noted, the 2008 financial crisis showed that, like other asset classes, imprudent residential mortgage lending can pose significant risks to financial institutions.

    For these reasons, the agencies concluded in the EGRPRA Report that a change to the current $250,000 threshold for residential mortgage loans would not be appropriate at the present time. The agencies are interested in comment on whether there are other factors that should be considered in evaluating the current threshold for 1-to-4 family residential transactions and whether the threshold can and should be raised, consistent with consumer protection, safety and soundness, and reduction of unnecessary regulatory burden. The agencies will also continue to consider possibilities for relieving burden related to appraisals for residential mortgage loans, such as coordination of the agencies' Title XI appraisal regulations with the practices of HUD, the GSEs, and other federal participants in the residential real estate market.

    II. Revisions to the Title XI Appraisal Regulations A. Threshold Increase for Commercial Real Estate Transactions Overview of Proposal

    The agencies propose to amend the Title XI appraisal regulations to increase the monetary threshold for commercial real estate transactions at or below which a Title XI appraisal would not be required.31 The proposal would establish a separate threshold for commercial real estate transactions of $400,000, which represents an increase from the current threshold of $250,000 for all real estate-related financial transactions.

    31 The agencies have coordinated with the NCUA in developing this proposal. The agencies understand that the NCUA is evaluating options to develop a separate proposal to provide comparable relief for federally insured credit unions.

    In considering whether to propose an increased threshold for commercial real estate transactions, the agencies considered the comments received through the EGRPRA process, and took into account whether changes to the threshold would be appropriate to reduce regulatory burden consistent with the federal financial and public policy interests in real estate-related financial transactions and the safety and soundness of regulated institutions.

    As stated, the threshold for exempt transactions was last modified in 1994. Given increases in commercial property values since that time, the current threshold requires institutions to obtain Title XI appraisals on a larger proportion of commercial real estate transactions than in 1994. This increase in the number of appraisals required may contribute to the increased burden in time and cost described by the EGRPRA commenters.

    Based on supervisory experience and available data, the agencies propose to increase the threshold for commercial real estate transactions, as defined below, to $400,000. This proposal would reduce burden for both rural and non-rural institutions and, as discussed below, would not pose a threat to the safety and soundness of financial institutions. The agencies are consulting with the CFPB regarding this proposal and will continue this consultation in developing a final rule.

    The agencies propose to make the proposal, if adopted, effective on publication of the final rule in the Federal Register.32

    32 The Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994, Public Law 103-325, 108 Stat. 2163 (Riegle Act) provides that rules imposing additional reporting, disclosures, or other new requirements on IDIs generally must take effect on the first day of a calendar quarter that begins on or after the date on which the regulations are published in final form. 12 U.S.C. 4802(b). As discussed further in the Section IV of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION, the proposed rule does not impose any new requirements on IDIs, and, as such, the effective date requirement of the Riegle Act is inapplicable. Additionally, the 30-day delayed effective date required under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) is waived pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(1), which provides a waiver when a substantive rule grants or recognizes an exception or relieves a restriction. The proposed rule would exempt certain transactions from the Title XI appraisal requirements. Consequently, the proposed rule meets the requirements for waiver set forth in the APA.

    Question 1. The agencies invite comment on the proposed effective date, including whether this time period is appropriate and, if not, why.

    Definition of Commercial Real Estate Transaction

    The proposed $400,000 threshold would apply only to transactions defined as “commercial real estate transactions.” Under the proposed definition, a commercial real estate transaction would include any “real estate-related financial transaction,” as defined in the Title XI appraisal regulations, excluding any loans secured by a 1-to-4 family residential property,33 but including loans that finance the construction of buildings with 1-to-4 dwelling units and that do not include permanent financing.34 Accordingly, the definition would include a loan extended to a consumer to finance the initial construction 35 of the consumer's dwelling, but exclude loans that provide both initial construction funding and permanent financing.36

    33 A 1-to-4 family residential property is a property containing one, two, three, or four individual dwelling units, including manufactured homes permanently affixed to the underlying land (when deemed to be real property under state law). See OCC: 12 CFR part 34, subpart D, appendix A; Board: 12 CFR part 208, appendix C; FDIC: 12 CFR part 365, subpart A, appendix A.

    34 The second part of the definition is intended to clarify, not be an exception to, the first part.

    35 “Initial construction” refers to construction of a new dwelling, as opposed to improvements on an existing dwelling. This is intended to be consistent with the meaning of this phrase in provisions of TILA and its implementing regulation, Regulation Z. See, e.g., 15 U.S.C. 1602(x); 12 CFR 1026.2(a)(24).

    36 The agencies propose to exclude consumer “construction-to-permanent” loans because these loans are, in effect, for the purchase of 1-to-4 family residential property, which would otherwise be subject to the $250,000 threshold. This carve-out for construction-to-permanent financing would avoid the anomaly of requiring appraisals for permanent financing of 1-to-4 family residential properties above $250,000 while allowing an evaluation for permanent financing (at or below $400,000) that is preceded by a construction phrase.

    The proposed definition would largely capture the following four categories of loans secured by real estate in the Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income (Call Report) 37 (FFIEC 031; RCFD 1410), namely loans that are: (1) For construction, land development, and other land loans; (2) secured by farmland; (3) secured by residential properties with five or more units; or (4) secured by nonfarm nonresidential properties. However, loans that provide both initial construction funding and permanent financing and are reported as construction, land development, and other land loans during the construction phase would be excluded from the definition.

    37See https://www.ffiec.gov/pdf/FFIEC_forms/FFIEC031_201703_f.pdf.

    The definition generally aligns with the categories of transactions to which agency guidance on commercial real estate lending applies.38 The agencies are treating construction-only loans to consumers as commercial real estate transactions to maintain consistency with other regulations and guidance that address construction loans to consumers in other contexts.

    38 Real Estate Lending: Interagency Statement on Prudent Risk Management for Commercial Real Estate Lending, OCC Bulletin 2015-51 (December 18, 2015); Statement on Prudent Risk Management for Commercial Real Estate Lending, Board SR Letter 15-17 (December 18, 2015); Statement on Prudent Risk Management for CRE Lending, FDIC FIL-62-2015 (December 18, 2015); Guidance on Prudent Loan Workouts, OCC Bulletin 2009-32 (October 30, 2009); Policy Statement on Prudent Commercial Real Estate Loan Workouts, Board SR Letter 09-07 (October 30, 2009); Policy Statement on Prudent Commercial Real Estate Loan Workouts, FDIC FIL-61-2009 (October 30, 2009); Concentrations in Commercial Real Estate Lending, Sound Risk Management Practices, 71 FR 74580 (December 12, 2006).

    Supervisory experience indicates that financial institutions generally administer construction loans to consumers in a way similar to construction loans to businesses. Therefore, subjecting most construction loans to the same threshold would minimize regulatory burden. This treatment would also be consistent with other mortgage-related rules, which exempt consumer construction loans from various consumer protection requirements.39 The agencies believe that promoting consistency in definitions and structure across different regulations can reduce confusion and regulatory burden for financial institutions.

    39 78 FR 10368 (February 13, 2013) (exempting transactions to finance the initial construction of a dwelling from the higher-priced mortgage appraisal rule); 78 FR 4725 (January 22, 2013) (exempting transactions to finance the initial construction of a dwelling from the higher-priced mortgage escrow requirements); 78 FR 6408 (January 30, 2013) (exempting transactions to finance the initial construction of a dwelling from the ability-to-repay requirements); 78 FR 6856 (January 31, 2013) (exempting transactions to finance the initial construction of a dwelling from the high-cost mortgage loan term restrictions and disclosure requirements in the Home Ownership and Equity Protections Act); 76 FR 79772 (December 22, 2011) (exempting loans with maturity of 12 months or less for the construction primary dwelling from the balloon payment limitations).

    Moreover, including all 1-to-4 family residential construction-only loans in the proposed definition of commercial real estate transactions is consistent with the agencies' longstanding practice under the Title XI appraisal regulations of treating construction loans for 1-to-4 family residential properties as “nonresidential” for purposes of the requirement that certified appraisers be used for “nonresidential” federally related transactions.40

    40See OCC: 12 CFR 34.43(d); Board: 12 CFR 225.63(d)(2); FDIC: 12 CFR 323.3(d)(2). The agencies have long subjected such loans to this requirement, as opposed to permitting licensed appraisers, which is the case for typical 1-to-4 family residential properties.

    As discussed further below, financial institutions report information about consumer construction loans aggregated with other construction loans through the Call Report.41 Thus, much of the supervisory information that the agencies receive, including the basis for the analysis presented below, aggregates consumer construction loans with other construction loans secured by 1-to-4 residential properties.

    41See series RCFD F158 and F159.

    Question 2. The agencies invite comment on the proposed definition of commercial real estate transaction.

    Question 3. The proposed definition of commercial real estate transaction would include loans to consumers for the initial construction of their dwelling or transactions financing the construction of any building with 1-to-4 dwelling units, so long as the loan does not include permanent financing, with the effect of permitting these loans to qualify for the higher $400,000 threshold. The agencies invite comment on the consumer, regulatory burden, and other implications of the proposal. What would be the implications of not including these loans in the definition, which would leave the current $250,000 threshold in place?

    Question 4. The agencies invite comment on the consumer, regulatory burden, and other implications of the proposed exclusion of construction-to-permanent loans from the definition of commercial real estate transaction, meaning that the current $250,000 threshold would apply. What would be the implications of including construction-to-permanent loans in the definition of commercial real estate transaction, thus allowing these loans to qualify for the higher $400,000 threshold?

    Threshold Increase

    The agencies propose to increase the threshold in the Title XI appraisal regulations for commercial real estate transactions from $250,000 to $400,000. In determining the level of increase, the agencies considered the change in prices for commercial real estate measured by the Federal Reserve Commercial Real Estate Price Index (“CRE Index”). The CRE Index 42 is a direct measure of the changes in commercial real estate prices in the United States.43 The CRE Index is comprised of data from the CoStar Commercial Repeat Sale Index,44 which uses repeat sale regression analysis of 1.7 million commercial property sales records to compare the change in price for the same property between its most recent and previous sale transactions.45 The data incorporated into this index covers properties across the country and across all price ranges,46 from before 1994 through the present.

    42 The Board publishes data on the flow of funds and levels of financial assets and liabilities, by sector and financial instrument; full balance sheets, including net worth, for households and nonprofit organizations, nonfinancial corporate businesses, and nonfinancial noncorporate businesses; Integrated Macroeconomic Accounts; and additional supplemental detail. See, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Financial Accounts of the United States, https://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/z1/current/default.htm.

    43 The CRE Index is quarterly and not seasonally adjusted. See Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Series analyzer for FL075035503.Q, https://www.federalreserve.gov/apps/fof/SeriesAnalyzer.aspx?s=FL075035503&t=&bc=:FI075035503,FL075035503&suf=Q; Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Series Structure, https://www.federalreserve.gov/apps/fof/SeriesStructure.aspx.

    44 Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Series analyzer for FL075035503.Q, https://www.federalreserve.gov/apps/fof/SeriesAnalyzer.aspx?s=FL075035503&t=&bc=:FI075035503,FL075035503&suf=Q. Data for years prior to 1996 are comprised of a weighted average of three appraisal-based commercial property series from National Real Estate Investor. Id.

    45 CoStar, Federal Reserve's Flow of Funds to Incorporate CoStar Group's Price Indices, CoStar (June 4, 2012), http://www.costar.com/News/Article/Federal-Reserves-Flow-of-Funds-To-Incorporate-CoStar-Groups-Price-Indices/138998.

    46See id.

    Based on a review of the CRE Index, prices for commercial real estate have increased since 1994, resulting in an increased proportion of commercial real estate transactions exceeding the threshold level today compared to 1994. Based on the change in the CRE Index, a commercial property that sold for $250,000 as of June 30, 1994 would be expected to sell for approximately $830,000 as of December 2016. However, as shown below in Table 1, the price of commercial real estate can be particularly volatile. For example, the CRE Index indicates a commercial property that sold for $250,000 in 1994 would be expected to sell for approximately $412,000 in December 2003, $711,000 in December 2007, and $423,000 in March 2010, when commercial real estate prices were at their lowest point in the most recent downturn.

    In proposing to raise the commercial real estate threshold to $400,000 the agencies are approximating prices at the low point of the most recent cycle, which occurred in 2010. This more conservative approach is appropriate because it takes into consideration the volatility in actual prices of commercial real estate over time.

    This figure is also consistent with general measures of inflation across the economy since 1994, when the current threshold of $250,000 was set. The agencies considered general inflation indices, including the Consumer Price Index (CPI) 47 and the Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index (PCE).48 Certain price changes tracked by these general indices indirectly affect commercial real estate values. For example, the change in rents for multifamily housing affects the value of underlying properties, and the change in prices of consumer products affects the value of retail and warehouse space. While these indices are not directly based on changes in commercial real estate prices, general inflation is a component of the change in commercial real estate values.

    47 The CPI, which is published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of goods and services. This series is published monthly and is not seasonally adjusted. See U.S. Dept. of Labor Statistics, Consumer Price Index, https://www.bls.gov/cpi/.

    48 The PCE, which is published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis within the U.S. Department of Commerce, is the broadest measure of the average change over time of the price of consumer goods and services. This series is published monthly and is seasonally adjusted. See U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Consumer Spending, https://www.bea.gov/national/consumer_spending.htm; Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, PCE Inflation Dispersion, http://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/indicators-data/pce-personal-consumption-expenditure-price-index-pcepi/.

    As indicated in the table below, when adjusting a $250,000 basket of goods under the CPI and PCE from 1994 dollars to 2017 dollars and using a lowest point in the cycle adjustment for the prices for commercial real estate under the CRE Index, each of the indices considered approximately tracks the $400,000 proposed threshold.

    Table 1—Inflation Adjustments of $250,000 at June 30, 1994, for the CRE Index; July 1994 for the CPI Index and July 1, 1994, for the PCE Index Index source: Index series: Dated adjusted to Adjusted amount CRE Index Flow of Funds December 2016 $830,674 March 2010 423,659 December 2007 711,367 December 2003 412,194 CPI All items, US March 2017 401,166 PCE All products March 2017 373,706

    Question 5. The agencies invite comment on the proposed level of $400,000 for the threshold at or below which regulated institutions would not be required to obtain appraisals for commercial real estate transactions.

    Question 6. How would having three threshold levels ($250,000 for all transactions, $400,000 for commercial real estate transactions, and $1 million for qualifying business loans) rather than two threshold levels applicable to Title XI appraisals within the appraisal regulations affect burden to applicable institutions?

    Safety and Soundness Considerations for Increasing the Threshold for Commercial Real Estate Transactions

    Under Title XI, the agencies may set a threshold at or below which an appraisal performed by a state certified or licensed appraiser is not required if they determine in writing that such a threshold level does not pose a threat to the safety and soundness of financial institutions.49 Analysis of supervisory experience and available data indicates that the proposed threshold level of $400,000 for commercial real estate transactions would not pose a threat to the safety and soundness of financial institutions.

    49 12 U.S.C. 3341(b).

    Many variables, including changing market conditions and various loan underwriting practices, may affect an institution's loss experience. The $250,000 threshold has been applicable to commercial real estate transactions since 1994. Analysis of supervisory information concerning losses on commercial real estate transactions suggests that faulty valuations of the underlying real estate collateral have not been a material cause of losses in connection with transactions at or below $250,000. In the last three decades, the banking industry suffered two crises in which poorly underwritten and administered commercial real estate loans were a key feature in elevated levels of loan losses and bank failures.50 Supervisory experience and a review of material loss reviews 51 covering those decades suggest that larger acquisition, construction, and development 52 transactions were more likely to be troublesome due to the lack of appropriate underwriting and administration of issues unique to larger properties, such as longer construction periods, extended “lease up” periods (the time required to lease a building after construction), and the more complex nature of the construction of such properties. The agencies have no evidence that increasing the appraisal threshold to $400,000 for commercial real estate transactions would materially increase the risk of loss on such transactions.

    50See, e.g., FDIC, History of the Eighties—Lessons for the Future, Chapter 3: Commercial Real Estate and the Banking Crises of the 1980s and Early 1990s, available at https://www.fdic.gov/bank/historical/history/137_165.pdf; FDIC, Office of the Inspector General, EVAL-13-002, Comprehensive Study on the Impact of the Failure of Insured Depository Institutions 50, Table 6 (January 2013), available at https://www.fdicig.gov/reports13/13-002EV.pdf.

    51 Section 38(k) of the FDI Act, as amended, provides that if the Deposit Insurance Fund incurs a “material loss” with respect to an IDI, the Inspector General of the appropriate regulator (which for the OCC is the Inspector General of the Department of the Treasury) shall prepare a report to that agency, identifying the cause of failure and reviewing the agency's supervision of the institution. 12 U.S.C. 1831o(k).

    52 Acquisition, development and construction refers to transactions that finance construction projects including land, site development, and vertical construction. This type of financing is typically recorded in the land or construction categories of the Call Report.

    Coverage of the Threshold

    The agencies' analysis of available data 53 related to commercial real estate lending at financial institutions suggests that an increase in the threshold would not pose a safety and soundness risk to financial institutions.

    53 The agencies have examined data from a number of different sources to evaluate the impact of the proposed change in the appraisal threshold on the safety and soundness of financial institutions, as no single data source is sufficient alone to fully analyze the impact.

    In order to consider the potential impact of the proposed threshold change on safety and soundness, the agencies considered how the coverage of transactions exempted by the threshold would change, both in terms of number of transactions and aggregate value. The agencies considered three different metrics to estimate the overall coverage of the existing threshold and the proposed threshold: The number of commercial real estate transactions at or under the threshold as a share of the number of all commercial real estate transactions; the dollar volume of commercial real estate transactions at or under the threshold as a share of the total dollar volume of all commercial real estate transactions; and the dollar volume of commercial real estate transactions at or under the threshold relative to IDIs' capital and the allowance for loan and lease losses, which act as a buffer to absorb losses, as explained below. The agencies examined data reported on the Call Report 54 and data from the CoStar Comps database to estimate the volume of commercial real estate transactions covered by the existing threshold and increased thresholds.

    54 The agencies used data reported on Schedule RC-C and RC-C Part II of the Call Report. Schedule RC-C includes the dollar volume of all loans secured by real estate, reported in the five categories: (1) For construction, land development, and other land loans (RCFD F158 and F159); (2) secured by farmland (RCFD 1420); (3) secured by residential properties with five or more units (RCFD 1460); or (4) secured by nonfarm nonresidential properties (RCFD F160 and F161); and (5) secured by residential properties with fewer than five dwelling units (RCFD 1797, 5367, and 5368). As discussed earlier in this SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION, the fifth category would not be included in the definition of commercial real estate transaction. Schedule RC-C Part II, Loans to Small Businesses and Farms, includes the number and amount currently outstanding in each case reported in groupings by loan amount of loans secured by nonfarm, nonresidential real estate (NFNR), with original amounts of $1,000,000 or less and loans secured by farmland with original amounts of $500,000 or less. Institutions do not report information on the size of land and construction or multifamily loans. See FFIEC, Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income for a Bank with Domestic and Foreign Offices—FFIEC 031, https://www.ffiec.gov/pdf/FFIEC_forms/FFIEC031_201703_f.pdf.

    Analysis of Call Report Data

    The agencies' analysis of data reported on the Call Report suggests that the threshold for commercial real estate transactions could be raised without exceeding the risk that these transactions posed when the thresholds were established in 1994.

    All FDIC-insured depository institutions report information about loans on their balance sheets by category of loan,55 but because IDIs do not report on loans in all of the categories that would be included in the definition of commercial real estate transaction by loan size, the agencies used loans secured by NFNR as a proxy for commercial real estate transactions in this analysis.56 Data on NFNR loans are an effective proxy because the vast majority of commercial real estate transactions are in the NFNR category. NFNR loans should mirror trends across all categories of commercial real estate transactions.

    55See FDIC, Bank Financial Reports, Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income, https://www.fdic.gov/regulations/resources/call/index.html. (“Every national bank, state member bank, insured state nonmember bank, and savings association (‘institution’) is required to file a Call Report as of the close of business on the last day of each calendar quarter, i.e., the report date. The specific reporting requirements depend upon the size of the institution, the nature of its activities, and whether it has any foreign offices.”).

    56 Although farmland is reported by size of loan, such loans were also excluded from the analysis, because they comprise a very small percent of overall commercial real estate transactions and are unlikely to materially affect the analysis. Moreover, the majority of farmland loans are considered qualifying business loans and are eligible for the higher $1,000,000 threshold.

    IDIs report information on NFNR loans in the Call Report by three separate size categories: (1) Loans with original amounts of $100,000 or less; (2) loans with original amounts of more than $100,000, but $250,000 or less; and (3) loans with original amounts of more than $250,000, but $1,000,000 or less. They separately report the dollar amount of all NFNR loans, including those over $1,000,000. Using this data, the agencies calculated the dollar amount of NFNR loans at or under the current $250,000 threshold as a percentage of the dollar amount of all NFNR loans.

    According to Call Report data, when the threshold for real-estate related financial transactions was raised from $100,000 to $250,000 in 1994, approximately 18 percent of the dollar volume of all NFNR loans reported by IDIs had original loan amounts of $250,000 or less. As of the fourth quarter of 2016, approximately 4 percent of the dollar volume of such loans had original loan amounts of $250,000 or less. This analysis suggests that a larger proportion of commercial real estate transactions now require appraisals than when the threshold was last raised.

    In contemplating an increase in the threshold for commercial real estate transactions, the agencies also used Call Report data to consider the transactions exempted from the appraisal threshold as a share of equity capital plus the allowance for loan and lease losses (the allowance), which is a measure of the potential concentration risk that these transactions could pose to the financial well-being of institutions as a whole. In 1994, NFNR loans with original loan amounts of $250,000 or less represented in the aggregate approximately 14 percent of IDIs' equity capital plus the allowance. By the fourth quarter of 2016, such loans represented only about 3 percent of IDIs' equity capital plus the allowance.

    To determine whether concentration risk would be similar for small institutions, the agencies separately considered the percentage of NFNR transactions exempted from the appraisal threshold as a share of equity capital plus the allowance for IDIs with assets of less than $1 billion. This analysis produced similar results. Approximately 30 percent of the dollar volume of all NFNR loans in such smaller institutions had original loan amounts of $250,000 or less in 1994. By the fourth quarter of 2016, however, only about 11 percent of the dollar volume of such loans had original loan amounts of $250,000 or less. In 1994, the dollar volume of smaller IDIs' NFNR loans with original loan amounts of $250,000 or less represented approximately 33 percent of equity capital plus the allowance. These loans represented only about 18 percent of IDIs' equity capital plus the allowance by the fourth quarter of 2016.

    Because IDIs report loans on the Call Report aggregated into only the three categories mentioned above (less than $100,000, $100,000 to $250,000, and $250,000 to $1,000,000), the agencies cannot use Call Report data to determine the precise percentage or number of transactions that would be exempted by the proposed $400,000 threshold or the precise impact of a $400,000 threshold on equity capital plus the allowance.

    Analysis of CoStar Comps Data

    As described below, the agencies have used the CoStar Comps database to estimate this impact. The CoStar Comps database 57 provides sales value data on specific commercial real estate transactions. While there are some limitations regarding use of the CoStar Comps database, as detailed below, the database contains information on sales values for individual transactions, so it can be used to estimate the number and percentage of transactions that would become exempt under the proposed threshold change (i.e., those above $250,000, but less than $400,000).58

    57 The CoStar Comps database is comprised of sales data involving commercial real estate properties. The agencies have limited their analysis to arms-length completed sales, where the price is provided. The agencies have also limited the sample to properties that were financed. Owner-occupied properties and sales of coops and condominiums were excluded. The sample was also limited to existing buildings. Land includes only raw land defined as land held for development or held for investment.

    58 This same analysis could not be performed using Call Report data because, as described above, transactions reported for purposes of the Call Report are either reported in groupings of large value ranges or not reported by size at all.

    The CoStar Comps database contains data for transactions involving nonresidential commercial mortgages, multifamily and land. The CoStar Comps database is derived from sales data and reflects the total transaction amount, as opposed to the loan amount. For purposes of this analysis, the agencies included only financed transactions and assumed a loan-to-value ratio of 85 percent for nonresidential and multifamily commercial mortgages and a loan-to-value ratio of 65 percent for raw land transactions 59 to arrive at an estimated loan amount which would be equivalent to the “transaction value” under the Title XI appraisal regulations. While the CoStar Comps database has some limitations for the purposes of evaluating the proposed increase,60 it provides information that can be used to estimate the dollar volume and number of commercial real estate transactions that would potentially be exempted by the proposed threshold increase.

    59 The Interagency Guidelines for Real Estate Lending provides that institutions' loan-to-value limits should not exceed 85 percent for loans secured by improved property and 65 percent for loans secured by raw land. See OCC: 12 CFR part 34, subpart D, appendix A; Board: 12 CFR part 208, appendix C; FDIC: 12 CFR part 365, subpart A, appendix A.

    60 For example, the database tends to underrepresent sales of smaller properties and transactions in rural markets, and includes transactions that are not financed by depository institutions.

    An analysis of the CoStar Comps database suggests that increasing the threshold to $400,000 would significantly increase the number of commercial real estate transactions exempted from the Title XI appraisal requirements, but the portion of the total dollar size of commercial real estate transactions that would remain exempted by the threshold would be minimal. The percentage of commercial properties with loans in the CoStar Comps database that would be exempted from the Title XI appraisal regulations by the threshold would increase from 17 percent to 28 percent if the threshold were raised from $250,000 to $400,000. However, the total dollar volume of loans for commercial properties in the CoStar Comps database would only increase from 0.7 percent to 1.5 percent.

    Exempting an additional 11 percent of commercial real estate transactions would provide burden relief as sought by some of the EGRPRA commenters. The 0.8 percentage point increase in the dollar volume of commercial real estate transactions that the CoStar data suggests would be exempted from the appraisal requirements under the proposed threshold is unlikely to expose financial institutions to increased safety and soundness risk.

    Analysis of Charge-Off Rates

    In addition to assessing changes in the magnitude of transactions covered by the appraisal threshold, the agencies assessed trends in the loss rate experience of commercial real estate transactions.

    While the agencies do not regularly collect data on rates of loss for commercial real estate by the size of loans, they do collect net charge-off 61 data for commercial real estate loans on the Call Report. The agencies considered aggregate net charge-off rates for commercial real estate loans in determining whether the threshold would pose a threat to the safety and soundness of financial institutions.62

    61 Net charge-offs are charge-offs minus recoveries.

    62 Net charge-offs represent losses to financial institutions, which, in the aggregate, can pose a threat to safety and soundness.

    In order to evaluate the impact of commercial real estate lending on the safety and soundness of the banking system generally, the agencies compared peak net charge-off rates for two periods: 1991 to 1994 and 2007 to 2012. These periods represent two distress cycles when aggregate net charge-offs rose to their highest levels. The agencies separately examined charge-off rates on lending for all commercial real estate categories covering construction, multifamily, nonfarm, nonresidential, and farmland. In order to evaluate whether commercial real estate lending may have a disparate impact on the safety and soundness of IDIs of varying sizes, the agencies examined peak charge-off rates on loans for all IDIs, IDIs under one billion dollars in total assets, IDIs with total assets between one billion dollars and ten billion dollars, and IDIs with total assets of more than ten billion dollars.

    The analysis showed that aggregate peak net charge-off rates for the most recent cycle were generally no worse than those recorded for the prior cycle, with the exception of construction loans. Moreover, aggregate commercial real estate loan loss rates for banks less than $1 billion (which would reasonably be expected to have a larger proportion of small loans, given their lower legal lending limits due to their smaller size) were lower than for larger banks as a group.

    This data suggests that the loss experience associated with commercial real estate loans for the banking system as a whole has stayed at a relatively consistent rate through multiple credit cycles. Thus, banking system safety and soundness concerns associated with the commercial real estate loan loss rates have not increased. However, commercial real estate loan charge-off rates during periods of economic stress have and will continue to vary across individual IDIs based on location, collateral, quality of underwriting and risk management, and other factors. Thus commercial real estate loan concentration risk at individual institutions remains a focus for the banking agencies.

    Question 7. The agencies invite comment on the safety and soundness impact of the proposed $400,000 threshold for commercial real estate transactions.

    Question 8. The agencies invite comment on the data used in this analysis, and what alternative sources of data would be appropriate for this analysis.

    B. Use of Evaluations

    The Title XI appraisal regulations require regulated institutions to obtain evaluations for three categories of real estate-related financial transactions that the agencies have determined do not require a Title XI appraisal, including real-estate related financial transactions at or below the $250,000 threshold and qualifying business loans at or below the $1,000,000 threshold. Similarly, the agencies propose to require that institutions entering into commercial real estate transactions at or below the proposed $400,000 threshold obtain evaluations that are consistent with safe and sound banking practices for such transactions.63

    63 When a below-threshold transaction also qualifies for an exemption from the appraisal requirements for a reason other than being below one of the thresholds or a qualifying existing extension of credit, no evaluation is required.

    An evaluation provides a general estimate of the value of real estate, but is not subject to the same requirements as a Title XI appraisal. An evaluation should provide appropriate information to enable the institution to make a prudent decision regarding the transaction. Through the Guidelines, the agencies have provided guidance to regulated institutions on their expectations regarding when and how evaluations should be used. The Guidelines describe the transactions for which financial institutions are required to obtain an evaluation, and recommend that institutions develop policies and procedures for identifying when to obtain appraisals for such transactions.

    Institutions should conduct evaluations consistent with the provisions in the Guidelines.64 As described in the Guidelines, evaluations should be performed by persons who are competent and have the relevant experience and knowledge of the market, location, and type of real property being valued.65 Evaluations may be completed by a bank employee or by a third party, as explained by the Interagency Advisory on Use of Evaluations in Real Estate-Related Financial Transactions.66 Guidance on achieving independence in the collateral valuation program can be found in the Guidelines, among other sources.67 The Guidelines state that an evaluation should provide an estimate of the property's market value or sufficient information and analysis to support the credit decision. The Guidelines also describe the minimum content that an evaluation should contain.

    64 Guidelines at 75 FR 77461.

    65 Interagency Appraisal and Evaluations Guidelines, 75 FR 77450, at 77458 (December 10, 2010).

    66 Interagency Advisory on Use of Evaluations in Real Estate-Related Financial Transactions, OCC Bulletin 2016-8 (March 4, 2016); Board SR Letter 16-05 (March 4, 2016); Supervisory Expectations for Evaluations, FDIC FIL-16-2016 (March 4, 2016).

    67 Guidelines at 75 FR 77457-58. See also Valuation Independence rules in Regulation Z, which apply to all creditors and cover extensions of consumer credit that are or will be secured by a consumer's principal dwelling: Board: 12 CFR 226.42; CFPB: 12 CFR 1026.42.

    In evaluating this proposal, the agencies considered the impact to the financial system of the proposal, and specifically the impact to financial institutions and borrowers of obtaining evaluations instead of Title XI appraisals. Based on information from industry participants, the cost of third-party evaluations of commercial real estate generally ranges from $500 to over $1,500, whereas the cost of appraisals of such properties generally ranges from $1,000 to over $3,000. Commercial real estate transactions with transaction values above $250,000 but at or below $400,000 (affected transactions), are likely to involve smaller and less complex properties, and appraisals and evaluations on such properties would likely be at the lower end of the cost range. This third-party pricing information suggests a savings of several hundred dollars per affected transaction.

    The agencies also considered the costs in terms of time to obtain and process appraisals and evaluations. There may be less delay in finding appropriate personnel to perform an evaluation than to perform a Title XI appraisal, particularly in rural areas. As described in the Guidelines, financial institutions should review the property valuation prior to entering into the transaction. Financial institutions require less time to review evaluations than to review appraisals, because evaluations contain less detailed information. The agencies estimate that, on average, the review process for an appraisal would take approximately forty minutes and the review process for an evaluation would take approximately ten minutes. Thus, for affected transactions, the proposed rule would alleviate approximately thirty minutes of employee time per transaction, in addition to the reduced delay and the cost savings of obtaining an evaluation instead of an appraisal.

    In considering the aggregate effect of this proposal, the agencies considered the number of affected transactions. As previously discussed, the agencies estimate that the number of commercial real estate transactions that would be exempted by the threshold is expected to increase by approximately 11 percent under the proposed rule. Thus, while the precise number of affected transactions and the precise cost reduction per transaction cannot be determined, the proposed rule is expected to lead to significant cost savings for institutions that engage in commercial real estate lending.

    Question 9. The agencies invite comment on the proposed requirement that regulated institutions obtain evaluations for commercial real estate transactions at or below the $400,000 threshold.

    Question 10. What type of additional guidance, if any, do institutions need to support the increased use of evaluations?

    Question 11. To what extent does the use of evaluations reduce burden and cost over the use of appraisals? To what extent are evaluations currently done by in-house staff versus outsourced to appraisers or other qualified professionals?

    C. State Certified Appraiser Required

    The current Title XI appraisal regulations, require that “[a]ll federally related transactions having a transaction value of $250,000 or more, other than those involving appraisals of 1-to-4 family residential properties, shall require an appraisal prepared by a State certified appraiser.” 68 In order to make this paragraph consistent with the other proposed changes to the appraisal regulations, the agencies are proposing a change to its wording to introduce the $400,000 threshold and use the term “commercial real estate transaction.” The amendment to this provision would be a technical change that would not alter any substantive requirement.

    68 OCC: 12 CFR 34.43(d); Board: 12 CFR 225.63(d)(2); FDIC: 12 CFR 323.3(d)(2).

    III. Appraisal Threshold for Qualifying Business Loans

    As noted above, in the 2017 EGRPRA Report to Congress, the agencies stated their intention to gather more information about the appropriateness of increasing the $1 million threshold for qualifying business loans. The agencies are not proposing an increase in the business loan threshold at this time, but the agencies invite comment on the following questions concerning the qualifying business loan exemption:

    Question 12. The agencies invite comment and supporting data on the appropriateness of raising the current $1,000,000 threshold for qualifying business loans and the associated implications for safety and soundness.

    Question 13. What unique risks do institutions associate with qualifying business loans?

    Question 14. What percentage of total real estate lending at financial institutions, by number of loans and dollar volume of lending, are qualifying business loans?

    Question 15. What is the average size of a qualifying business loan at financial institutions? What are the incidences of default on qualifying business loans compared to other commercial real estate transactions that institutions have observed over time?

    Question 16. The agencies invite comment on the clarity of the application of the current threshold for qualifying business loans, and on any difficulty that financial institutions have experienced in interpreting the limitation on source of repayment.

    IV. Request for Comments

    The Agencies invite comment on all aspects of the proposed rulemaking.

    Question 17. As discussed earlier, the agencies have articulated several bases for declining to propose an increase in the residential threshold. The agencies request comment on whether there are other factors that should be considered in evaluating the current appraisal threshold for 1-to-4 family residential properties.

    V. Regulatory Analysis A. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    OCC: The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., generally requires that, in connection with a rulemaking, an agency prepare and make available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the impact of the rule on small entities. However, the regulatory flexibility analysis otherwise required under the RFA is not required if an agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities (defined in regulations promulgated by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to include commercial banks and savings institutions, and trust companies, with assets of $550 million or less and $38.5 million or less, respectively) and publishes its certification and a brief explanatory statement in the Federal Register together with the rule.

    The OCC currently supervises approximately 956 small entities. Data currently available to the OCC are not sufficient to estimate how many OCC-supervised small entities make CRE loans in amounts that fall between the current and proposed thresholds. Therefore, we cannot estimate how many small entities may be affected by the increase threshold. However, because the proposal does not contain any new recordkeeping, reporting, or compliance requirements, the proposal will not impose costs on any OCC-supervised institutions. Accordingly, the OCC certifies that the proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    Board: The RFA,69 requires an agency either to provide an initial regulatory flexibility analysis with a proposed rule or certify that the proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The proposed threshold increase applies to certain IDIs and non-bank entities that make loans secured by commercial real estate.70 The SBA establishes size standards that define which entities are small businesses for purposes of the RFA.71 The size standard to be considered a small business is: $550 million or less in assets for banks and other depository institutions; and $38.5 million or less in annual revenues for the majority of non-bank entities that are likely to be subject to the proposed regulation.72 Based on the Board's analysis, and for the reasons stated below, the proposed rule may have a significant positive economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Accordingly, the Board is publishing an initial regulatory flexibility analysis. The Board will conduct a final regulatory flexibility analysis after consideration of comments received during the public comment period.

    69 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.

    70 For its RFA analysis, the Board considered all Board-regulated creditors to which the proposed rule would apply.

    71 U.S. SBA, Table of Small Business Size Standards Matched to North American Industry Classification System Codes, available at https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/files/Size_Standards_Table.pdf.

    72 Asset size and annual revenues are calculated according to SBA regulations. See 13 CFR 121 et seq.

    The Board requests public comment on all aspects of this analysis.

    1. Reasons for the Proposed Rule

    In response to comments received in the EGRPRA process, the agencies are proposing to increase the threshold from $250,000 to $400,000 at or below which a Title XI appraisal is not required for commercial real estate transactions. Because commercial real estate prices have increased since 1994, when the current $250,000 threshold was established, a smaller percentage of commercial real estate transactions are currently exempted from the Title XI appraisal requirements than when the threshold was established. This threshold adjustment is intended to reduce the regulatory burden associated with extending credit secured by commercial real estate in a manner that is consistent with the safety and soundness of financial institutions.

    2. Statement of Objectives and Legal Basis

    As discussed above, the agencies' objective in proposing this threshold increase is to reduce the regulatory burden associated with extending credit in a safe and sound manner by reducing the number of commercial real estate transactions that are subject to the Title XI appraisal requirements.

    Title XI explicitly authorizes the agencies to establish a threshold level at or below which a Title XI appraisal is not required if the agencies determine in writing that the threshold does not represent a threat to the safety and soundness of financial institutions and receive concurrence from the CFPB that such threshold level provides reasonable protection for consumers who purchase 1-to-4 unit single-family homes.73 Based on available data and supervisory experience, the agencies tailored the size and scope of the proposed threshold increase to ensure that it would not pose a threat to the safety and soundness of financial institutions or erode protections for consumers who purchase 1-to-4 unit single-family homes.

    73 12 U.S.C. 3341(b).

    The Board's proposed rule would apply to state chartered banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System (state member banks), as well as bank holding companies and nonbank subsidiaries of bank holding companies that engage in lending. There are approximately 601 state member banks and 35 nonbank lenders regulated by the Board that meet the SBA definition of small entities and would be subject to the proposed rule. Data currently available to the Board do not allow for a precise estimate of the number of small entities that would be affected by the proposed rule because the number of small entities that will engage in commercial real estate transactions within the proposed threshold is unknown.

    3. Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping and Other Compliance Requirements

    The proposed rule would reduce reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements for small entities. For transactions at or below the proposed threshold, regulated institutions would be given the option to obtain an evaluation of the property instead of an appraisal. Unlike appraisals, evaluations may be performed by a lender's own employees and are not required to comply with USPAP. As discussed in detail in Section II.B of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION, the cost of obtaining appraisals and evaluations can vary widely depending on the size and complexity of the property, the party performing the valuation, and market conditions where the property is located. Additionally, the costs of obtaining appraisals and evaluations may be passed on to borrowers. Because of this variation in cost and practice, it is not possible to precisely determine the cost savings that regulated institutions will experience due to the decreased cost of obtaining an evaluation rather than an appraisal. However, based on information available to the Board, it is likely that small entities and borrowers engaging in commercial real estate transactions could experience significant cost reductions.

    In addition to costing less to obtain than appraisals, evaluations also require less time to review than appraisals because they contain less detailed information. As discussed further in Section II.B of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION, an appraisal takes approximately forty minutes to review and an evaluation takes approximately ten minutes to review. Thus, the proposed rule would alleviate approximately thirty minutes of employee time per affected transaction for which the lender obtains an evaluation instead of an appraisal.

    As previously discussed, the Board estimates that the percentage of commercial real estate transactions that would be exempted by the threshold is expected to increase by approximately 11 percent under the proposed rule. The Board expects this percentage to be higher for small entities, because a higher percentage of their loan portfolios are likely to be made up of small, below-threshold loans than those of larger entities. Thus, while the precise number of transactions that will be affected and the precise cost reduction per transaction cannot be determined, the proposed rule is expected to have a significant positive economic impact on small entities that engage in commercial real estate lending.

    4. Identification of Duplicative, Overlapping, or Conflicting Federal Regulations

    The Board has not identified any federal statutes or regulations that would duplicate, overlap, or conflict with the proposed revisions.

    5. Discussion of Significant Alternatives

    The agencies considered additional burden-reducing measures, such as increasing the commercial threshold to a higher dollar amount and increasing the residential and business loan thresholds, but have not proposed such measures at this time for the safety and soundness and consumer protection reasons previously discussed. For transactions exempted from the Title XI appraisal requirements, the proposed rule would require regulated institutions to get an evaluation if they do not get an appraisal. The agencies believe this requirement is necessary to protect the safety and soundness of financial institutions, which is a legal prerequisite to the establishment of any threshold. The Board is not aware of any other significant alternatives that would reduce burden on small entities without sacrificing the safety and soundness of financial institutions or consumer protections.

    FDIC: The RFA generally requires that, in connection with a notice of proposed rulemaking, an agency prepare and make available for public comment an initial regulatory flexibility analysis describing the impact of the proposed rule on small entities.74 A regulatory flexibility analysis is not required, however, if the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The SBA has defined “small entities” to include banking organizations with total assets less than or equal to $550 million.75 For the reasons described below and pursuant to section 605(b) of the RFA, the FDIC certifies that the final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    74 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.

    75 13 CFR 121.201 (as amended, effective December 2, 2014).

    The FDIC supervises 3,744 depository institutions,76 of which, 3,028 are defined as small banking entities by the terms of the RFA.77 According to the Call Report, 3,010 small entities reported holding some volume of real estate related financial transactions that meet the proposed rule's definition of a commercial real estate transaction.78 Therefore, 3,010 small entities could be affected by the proposed rule.

    76 FDIC-supervised institutions are set forth in 12 U.S.C. 1813(q)(2).

    77 FDIC Call Report, March 31, 2017.

    78 The proposed definition of “Commercial Real Estate Transaction” would largely capture the following four categories of loans secured by real estate in the Call Report (FFIEC 031; RCFD 1410), namely loans that are: (1) For construction, land development, and other land loans; (2) secured by farmland; (3) secured by residential properties with five or more units; or (4) secured by nonfarm nonresidential properties. However, loans that provide both initial construction funding and permanent financing and are reported as construction, land development, and other land loans during the construction phase would be excluded from the definition.

    The proposed rule will raise the appraisal threshold for commercial real estate transactions from $250,000 to $400,000. Any commercial real estate transaction with a value in excess of the $400,000 threshold is required to have an appraisal by a state licensed or state certified appraiser. Any commercial real estate transaction at or below the $400,000 threshold requires an evaluation.

    To estimate the dollar volume of commercial real estate transactions the proposed change could potentially affect, the FDIC used information on the dollar volume and number of loans in the Call Report for small institutions from two categories of loans included in the definition of a commercial real estate transaction. The Call Report data reflect that 4.55 percent of the dollar volume of nonfarm, nonresidential loans secured by real estate has an original loan amount between $1 and $250,000, while 11.81 percent have an original loan amount between $250,000 and $1,000,000. The Call Report data also reflects that 8.85 percent of the dollar volume of agricultural loans secured by farmland has an original loan amount between $1 and $250,000, while 7.49 percent have an original loan amount between $250,000 and $500,000.79 Assuming that the original amount of nonfarm, nonresidential loans secured by real estate and the original amount of agricultural loans secured by farmland are normally distributed, the FDIC estimates that between 6.08 percent and 12.95 percent of loan volume is at or below the $400,000 threshold for these categories, respectively.

    79 FDIC Call Report data, March 31, 2017.

    Therefore, raising the appraisal threshold from $250,000 to $400,000 for commercial real estate transactions could affect an estimated 1.53 percent to 4.10 percent of the dollar volume of all commercial real estate transactions originated each year. This estimate assumes that the distribution of loans for the other loan categories within the proposed definition of commercial real estate transactions is similar to those loans secured by nonfarm, nonresidential properties or farmland.

    The proposed rule is likely to reduce valuation review costs for covered institutions. The FDIC estimates that it takes a loan officer an average of 40 minutes to review an appraisal to ensure that it meets that standards set forth in Title XI, but 10 minutes to perform a similar review of an evaluation, which does not need to meet the Title XI standards for appraisals. The proposed rule increases the number of commercial real estate transactions that would require an evaluation by raising the appraisal threshold from $250,000 to $400,000. Assuming that 15 percent of the outstanding balance of commercial real estate transactions for small entities gets renewed or replaced by new originations each year, the FDIC estimates that small entities originate $31.9 billion in new commercial real estate transactions each year. Assuming that 1.53 percent to 4.10 percent of annual originations represent loans with an origination amount greater than $250,000 but not more than $400,000, the FDIC estimates that the proposed rule will affect approximately 1,504 to 4,040 loans per year,80 or 0.5 percent to 1.33 percent of loans on average for small FDIC-supervised institutions. Therefore, based on an estimated hourly rate, the proposed rule would reduce loan review costs for small entities by $51,625 to $138,673, on average, each year.81 If lenders opt to not utilize an evaluation and require an appraisal on commercial real estate transaction greater than $250,000 but not more than $400,000 any reduction in costs would be smaller.

    80 Multiplying $31.9 billion by 1.53 percent then dividing the product by an average loan amount of $325,000 equals 1,504 loans and multiplying $31.9 billion by 4.10 percent then dividing the product by an average loan amount of $325,000 equals 4,040 loans.

    81 The FDIC estimates that the average hourly compensation for a loan officer is $68.65 an hour. The hourly compensation estimate is based on published compensation rates for Credit Counselors and Loan Officers ($43.40). The estimate includes the March 2017 75th percentile hourly wage rate reported by the BLS, National Industry-Specific Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates. The reported hourly wage rate is adjusted for changes in the CPI-U between May 2016 and March 2017 (1.83 percent) and grossed up by 155.3 percent to account for non-monetary compensation as reported by the March 2017 Employer Costs for Employee Compensation Data. Based on this estimate, loan review costs would decline between $51,625 (1,504 loans multiplied by 30 minutes and multiplied by $68.65 per hour) and $138,673 (4,040 loans multiplied by 30 minutes and multiplied by $68.65 per hour).

    Any associated recordkeeping costs are unlikely to change for small FDIC-supervised entities as the amount of labor required to satisfy documentation requirements for an evaluation or an appraisal is estimated to be the same at about five minutes for either an appraisal or evaluation.

    The proposed rule also is likely to reduce the loan origination costs associated with real estate appraisals for commercial real estate borrowers. The FDIC assumes that these costs are always paid by the borrower for this analysis. Anecdotal information from industry participants indicates that a commercial real estate appraisal costs between $1,000 to over $3,000, or about $2,000 on average, and a commercial real estate evaluation costs between $500 to over $1,500, or about $1,000 on average. Based on the prior assumptions, the FDIC estimates that the proposed rule will affect approximately 1,504 to 4,040 transactions per year,82 or 0.5 percent to 1.33 percent of loans on average for small FDIC-supervised institutions. Therefore, the proposed rule could reduce loan origination costs for borrowers doing business with small entities by $1.5 to $4.0 million on average per year.83

    82 Multiplying $31.9 billion by 1.53 percent then dividing the product by an average loan amount of $325,000 equals 1,504 loans and multiplying $31.9 billion by 4.10 percent then dividing the product by an average loan amount of $325,000 equals 4,040 loans.

    83 Multiplying 1,504 loans by $1,000 savings equals $1.5 million and multiplying 4,040 loans by $1,000 savings equals $4.0 million.

    By lowering valuation costs on commercial real estate transactions greater than $250,000 but less than or equal to $400,000 for small FDIC-supervised institutions, the proposed rule could marginally increase lending activity. As discussed previously, commenters in the EGRPRA review noted that appraisals can be costly and time consuming. By enabling small FDIC-supervised institutions to utilize evaluations for more commercial real estate transactions, the proposed rule will reduce transaction costs. The reduction in loan origination fees could marginally increase commercial real estate lending activity for loans with an origination value greater than $250,000 and not more than $400,000.

    B. Paperwork Reduction Act

    Certain provisions of the proposed rule contain “collection of information” requirements within the meaning of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995.84 In accordance with the requirements of the PRA, the agencies may not conduct or sponsor, and the respondent is not required to respond to, an information collection unless it displays a currently-valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. The OMB control number for the OCC is 1557-0190, the Board is 7100-0250, and the FDIC is 3064-0103, which would be extended, without revision. The agencies have concluded that the proposed rule does not contain any changes to the current information collections, however, the agencies are revising the methodology for calculating the burden estimates. The information collection requirements contained in this proposed rulemaking have been submitted by the OCC and FDIC to OMB for review and approval under section 3507(d) of the PRA 85 and section 1320.11 of the OMB's implementing regulations.86 The Board reviewed the proposed rule under the authority delegated to the Board by OMB.

    84 44 U.S.C. 3501-3521.

    85 44 U.S.C. 3507(d).

    86 5 CFR 1320.

    Proposed Information Collection

    Title of Information Collection: Recordkeeping Requirements Associated with Real Estate Appraisals and Evaluations.

    Frequency of Response: Event generated.

    Affected Public: Businesses or other for-profit.

    Respondents:

    OCC: National banks, Federal savings associations.

    Board: State member banks (SMBs) and nonbank subsidiaries of bank holding companies (BHCs).

    FDIC: Insured state nonmember banks and state savings associations, insured state branches of foreign banks.

    General Description of Report: For federally related transactions, Title XI requires regulated institutions 87 to obtain appraisals prepared in accordance with USPAP promulgated by the Appraisal Standards Board of the Appraisal Foundation. Generally, these standards include the methods and techniques used to estimate the market value of a property as well as the requirements for reporting such analysis and a market value conclusion in the appraisal. Regulated institutions are expected to maintain records that demonstrate that appraisals used in their real estate-related lending activities comply with these regulatory requirements. For commercial real estate transactions exempted from the Title XI appraisal requirements by the proposed rule, regulated institutions would still be required to obtain an evaluation to justify the transaction amount. The agencies estimate that the recordkeeping burden associated with evaluations would be the same as the recordkeeping burden associated with appraisals for such transactions.

    87 National banks, federal savings associations, SMBs and nonbank subsidiaries of BHCs, insured state nonmember banks and state savings associations, and insured state branches of foreign banks.

    Current Action: The threshold change in the proposed rule will result in lenders being able to use evaluations instead of appraisals for certain transactions. It is estimated that the time required to document the review of an appraisal or an evaluation is the same. While the rulemaking described in this proposed rule would not change the amount of time that institutions spend complying with the Title XI appraisal regulation, the agencies are using a more accurate methodology for calculating the burden of the information collections based on the experience of the agencies. Thus, the PRA burden estimates shown here are different from those previously reported. The agencies are (1) using the average number of loans per institution as the frequency and (2) using 5 minutes as the estimated time per response for the appraisals or evaluations.

    PRA Burden Estimates

    Estimated average time per response: 5 minutes.

    OCC

    Number of Respondents: 1,284.

    Annual Frequency: 1,488.

    Total Estimated Annual Burden: 159,216 hours.

    Board

    Number of Respondents: 828 SMBs; 1,215 nonbank subsidiaries of BHCs.

    Annual Frequency: 419; 25.

    Total Estimated Annual Burden: 28,911 hours; 2,531 hours.

    FDIC

    Number of Respondents: 3,744.

    Annual Frequency: 141.

    Total Estimated Annual Burden: 43,992 hours.

    Comments are invited on:

    (a) Whether the collections of information are necessary for the proper performance of the agencies' functions, including whether the information has practical utility;

    (b) The accuracy of the estimates of the burden of the information collections, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    (c) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected;

    (d) Ways to minimize the burden of the information collections on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and

    (e) Estimates of capital or start-up costs and costs of operation, maintenance, and purchase of services to provide information.

    All comments will become a matter of public record. Comments on aspects of this notice that may affect reporting, recordkeeping, or disclosure requirements and burden estimates should be sent to the addresses listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. A copy of the comments may also be submitted to the OMB desk officer for the agencies: by mail to U.S. Office of Management and Budget, 725 17th Street NW., # 10235, Washington, DC 20503; by facsimile to (202) 395-5806; or by email to: [email protected], Attention, Federal Banking Agency Desk Officer.

    C. Riegle Act

    The Riegle Act requires that each of the agencies, in determining the effective date and administrative compliance requirements for new regulations that impose additional reporting, disclosure, or other requirements on IDIs, consider, consistent with principles of safety and soundness and the public interest, any administrative burdens that such regulations would place on depository institutions, including small depository institutions, and customers of depository institutions, as well as the benefits of such regulations.88 In addition, in order to provide an adequate transition period, new regulations that impose additional reporting, disclosures, or other new requirements on IDIs generally must take effect on the first day of a calendar quarter that begins on or after the date on which the regulations are published in final form.89

    88 12 U.S.C. 4802(a).

    89 12 U.S.C. 4802(b).

    The proposed rule would reduce burden and would not impose any reporting, disclosure, or other new requirements on IDIs. For transactions exempted from the Title XI appraisal requirements by the proposed rule (i.e., commercial real estate transactions between $250,000 and $400,000), lenders would be required to get an evaluation if they chose not to get an appraisal. However, the agencies do not view the option to obtain an evaluation instead of an appraisal as a new or additional requirement for purposes of the Riegle Act. First, the process of obtaining an evaluation is not new since IDIs already get evaluations for transactions at or below the current $250,000-threshold. Second, for commercial real estate transactions between $250,000 and $400,000, IDIs could continue to get appraisals instead of evaluations. Because the proposed rule would impose no new requirements on IDIs, the agencies are not required by the Riegle Act to consider the administrative burdens and benefits of the rule or delay its effective date.

    Because delaying the effective date of the rule is not required and would serve no purpose, the agencies propose to make the threshold increase effective on the first day after publication of the final rule in the Federal Register. Additionally, although not required by the Riegle Act, the agencies did consider the administrative costs and benefits of the rule while developing the proposal. In designing the scope of the threshold increase, the agencies chose to align the definition of commercial real estate transaction with industry practice, regulatory guidance, and the categories used in the Call Report in order to reduce the administrative burden of determining which transactions were exempted by the rule. The agencies also considered the cost savings that IDIs would experience by obtaining evaluations instead of appraisals and set the proposed threshold at a level designed to provide significant burden relief without sacrificing safety and soundness. The agencies note that comment on these matters has been solicited in questions 2 through 14 in Section II, and in the RFA discussion in Section IV, of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION, and that the requirements of the Riegle Act will be considered as part of the overall rulemaking process. In addition, the agencies invite any other comments that further will inform the agencies' consideration of the Riegle Act.

    D. Solicitation of Comments on Use of Plain Language

    Section 722 of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act 90 requires the agencies to use plain language in all proposed and final rules published after January 1, 2000. Agencies invite comment on how to make these proposed rules easier to understand. For example:

    90 Pub. L. 106-102, section 722, 113 Stat. 1338 1471 (1999).

    • Have the agencies organized the material to suit your needs? If not, how could this material be better organized?

    • Are the requirements in the proposed rules clearly stated? If not, how could the proposed rules be stated more clearly?

    • Do the proposed rules contain language or jargon that is not clear? If so, which language requires clarification?

    • Would a different format (grouping and order of sections, use of headings, paragraphing) make the proposed rules easier to understand? If so, what changes to the format would make the proposed rules easier to understand?

    • What else could the agencies do to make the regulation easier to understand?

    E. Unfunded Mandates Act OCC Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 Determination

    The OCC has analyzed the proposed rule under the factors in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) (2 U.S.C. 1532). Under this analysis, the OCC considered whether the proposed rule includes a federal mandate that may result in the expenditure by state, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year (adjusted annually for inflation).

    The proposed rule does not impose new requirements or include new mandates. Therefore, we conclude that the proposed rule will not result in an expenditure of $100 million or more by state, local, and tribal governments, or by the private sector, in any one year.

    List of Subjects 12 CFR Part 34

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

    12 CFR Part 225

    Administrative practice and procedure, Banks, banking, Federal Reserve System, Capital planning, Holding companies, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Securities, Stress testing

    12 CFR Part 323

    Banks, banking, Mortgages, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Savings associations.

    Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 12 CFR Part 34

    For the reasons set forth in the joint preamble, the OCC proposes to amend part 34 of chapter I of title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

    PART 34—REAL ESTATE LENDING AND APPRISALS 1. The authority citation for part 34 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    12 U.S.C. 1, 25b, 29, 93a, 371, 1462a, 1463, 1464, 1465, 1701j-3, 1828(o), 3331 et seq., 5101 et seq., and 5412(b)(2)(B), and 15 U.S.C. 1639h.

    2. Section 34.42 is amended by redesignating paragraphs (e) through (m) as paragraphs (f) through (n), respectively, and by adding a new paragraph (e) to read as follows:
    § 34.42 Definitions.

    (e) Commercial real estate transaction means a real estate-related financial transaction that is not secured by a 1-to-4 family residential property. A real estate-related financial transaction to finance the initial construction of a 1-to-4 family residential property that does not include permanent financing is a commercial real estate transaction.

    3. Section 34.43 is amended by: a. Removing the word “or” at the end of paragraph (a)(11); b. Revising paragraph (a)(12); c. Adding paragraph (a)(13); and d. Revising paragraphs (b) and (d)(2).

    The revisions and addition read as follows:

    § 34.43 Appraisals required; transactions requiring a State certified or licensed appraiser.

    (a) * * *

    (12) The OCC determines that the services of an appraiser are not necessary in order to protect Federal financial and public policy interests in real estate-related financial transactions or to protect the safety and soundness of the institution; or

    (13) The transaction is a commercial real estate transaction that has a transaction value of $400,000 or less.

    (b) Evaluations required. For a transaction that does not require the services of a State certified or licensed appraiser under paragraph (a)(1), (a)(5), (a)(7), or (a)(13) of this section, the institution shall obtain an appropriate evaluation of real property collateral that is consistent with safe and sound banking practices.

    (d) * * *

    (2) Commercial real estate transactions of more than $400,000. All federally related transactions that are commercial real estate transactions having a transaction value of more than $400,000 shall require an appraisal prepared by a State certified appraiser.

    Federal Reserve Board, 12 CFR Part 225

    For the reasons set forth in the joint preamble, the Board amends part 225 of chapter II of title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

    PART 225—BANK HOLDING COMPANIES AND CHANGE IN BANK CONTROL (REGULATION Y) 4. The authority citation for part 225 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    12 U.S.C. 1817(j)(13), 1818, 1828(o), 1831i, 1831p-1, 1843(c)(8), 1844(b), 1972(l), 3106, 3108, 3310, 3331-3351, 3906, 3907, and 3909; 15 U.S.C. 1681s, 1681w, 6801 and 6805.

    5. Section 225.62 is amended by redesignating paragraphs (e) through (m) as paragraphs (f) through (n), respectively, and by adding a new paragraph (e) to read as follows:
    § 225.62 Definitions.

    (e) Commercial real estate transaction means a real estate-related financial transaction that is not secured by a 1-to-4 family residential property. A real estate-related financial transaction to finance the initial construction of a 1-to-4 family residential property that does not include permanent financing is a commercial real estate transaction.

    6. Section 225.63 is amended by: a. Removing the word “or” at the end of paragraph (a)(12); b. Revising paragraph (a)(13); c. Adding paragraph (a)(14); d. Revising paragraph (b); and e. Revising paragraph (d)(2).

    The revisions and addition read as follows:

    § 225.63 Appraisals required; transactions requiring a State certified or licensed appraiser.

    (a) * * *

    (13) The Board determines that the services of an appraiser are not necessary in order to protect Federal financial and public policy interests in real estate-related financial transactions or to protect the safety and soundness of the institution; or

    (14) The transaction is a commercial real estate transaction that has a transaction value of $400,000 or less.

    (b) Evaluations required. For a transaction that does not require the services of a State certified or licensed appraiser under paragraph (a)(1), (a)(5), (a)(7), or (a)(14) of this section, the institution shall obtain an appropriate evaluation of real property collateral that is consistent with safe and sound banking practices.

    (d) * * *

    (2) Commercial real estate transactions of more than $400,000. All federally related transactions that are commercial real estate transactions having a transaction value of more than $400,000 shall require an appraisal prepared by a State certified appraiser.

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 12 CFR Part 323

    For the reasons set forth in the joint preamble, the FDIC amends part 323 of chapter III of title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

    PART 323—APPRAISALS 7. Revise the authority citation for part 323 to read as follows: Authority:

    12 U.S.C. 1818, 1819 [“Seventh” and “Tenth”], 1831p-1 and 3331 et seq.

    8. Revise the authority citation for subpart A of part 323 to read as follows: Authority:

    This subpart is issued under 12 U.S.C. 1818, 1819 [“Seventh” and “Tenth”], 1831p-1 and title XI of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (“FIRREA”) (Pub. L. 101-73, 103 Stat. 183, 12 U.S.C. 3331 et seq. (1989)).

    9. Section 323.2 is amended by redesignating paragraphs (e) through (m) as paragraphs (f) through (n), respectively, and by adding a new paragraph (e) to read as follows:
    § 323.2 Definitions.

    (e) Commercial real estate transaction means a real estate-related financial transaction that is not secured by a 1-to-4 family residential property. A real estate-related financial transaction to finance the initial construction of a 1-to-4 family residential property that does not include permanent financing is a commercial real estate transaction.

    4. Section 323.3 is amended by: a. Removing the word “or” at the end of paragraph (a)(11); b. Revising paragraph (a)(12); c. Adding paragraph (a)(13); d. Revising paragraph (b); and e. Revising paragraph (d)(2).

    The revisions and addition read as follows:

    § 323.3 Appraisals required; transactions requiring a State certified or licensed appraiser.

    (a) * * *

    (12) The FDIC determines that the services of an appraiser are not necessary in order to protect Federal financial and public policy interests in real estate-related financial transactions or to protect the safety and soundness of the institution; or

    (13) The transaction is a commercial real estate transaction that has a transaction value of $400,000 or less.

    (b) Evaluations required. For a transaction that does not require the services of a State certified or licensed appraiser under paragraph (a)(1), (a)(5), (a)(7), or (a)(13) of this section, the institution shall obtain an appropriate evaluation of real property collateral that is consistent with safe and sound banking practices.

    (d) * * *

    (2) Commercial real estate transactions of more than $400,000. All federally related transactions that are commercial real estate transactions having a transaction value of more than $400,000 shall require an appraisal prepared by a State certified appraiser.

    Dated: July 18, 2017. Keith A. Noreika, Acting Comptroller of the Currency. By order of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, July 18, 2017. Margaret McCloskey Shanks, Deputy Secretary of the Board. Dated at Washington, DC, this 18th of July, 2017.

    By order of the Board of Directors.

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-15748 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    NATIONAL CREDIT UNION ADMINISTRATION 12 CFR Part 701 RIN 3133-AE76 Emergency Mergers—Chartering and Field of Membership AGENCY:

    National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The NCUA Board (Board) proposes to amend in its Chartering and Field of Membership Manual the definition of the term “in danger of insolvency” for emergency merger purposes. The current definition requires a credit union to fall into at least one of three net worth categories over a period of time to be “in danger of insolvency.” For two of the three categories, the Board proposes to lengthen by six months the forecast horizons, the time period in which NCUA projects a credit union's net worth will decline to the point that it falls into one of the categories. This will extend the time period in which a credit union's net worth is projected to either render it insolvent or drop below two percent from 24 to 30 months and from 12 to 18 months, respectively. Additionally, the Board proposes to add a fourth category to the three existing net worth categories to include credit unions that have been granted or received assistance under section 208 of the Federal Credit Union Act (FCU Act) in the 15 months prior to the Region's determination that the credit union is in danger of insolvency.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before September 29, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by any of the following methods (Please send comments by one method only):

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

    NCUA Web site: https://www.ncua.gov/regulation-supervision/Pages/rules/proposed.aspx. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Email: Address to [email protected] Include “[Your name] Comments on Proposed Rule 701, In Danger of Insolvency Definition” in the email subject line.

    Fax: (703) 518-6319. Use the subject line described above for email.

    Mail: Address to Gerard S. Poliquin, Secretary of the Board, National Credit Union Administration, 1775 Duke Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314-3428.

    Hand Delivery/Courier: Same as mail address.

    Public inspection: You may view all public comments on NCUA's Web site at https://www.ncua.gov/regulation-supervision/Pages/rules/proposed.aspx as submitted, except for those we cannot post for technical reasons. NCUA will not edit or remove any identifying or contact information from the public comments submitted. You may inspect paper copies of comments in NCUA's law library at 1775 Duke Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, by appointment weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. To make an appointment, call (703) 518-6546 or send an email to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Thomas I. Zells, Staff Attorney, Office of General Counsel, or Amanda Parkhill, Loss/Risk Analysis Officer, Office of Examination and Insurance, at 1775 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 or telephone: (703) 548-2478 (Mr. Zells) or (703) 518-6385 (Ms. Parkhill).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background II. Summary of the Proposed Rule III. Regulatory Procedures I. Background

    Credit unions that experience a sharp decline in net worth have a much higher likelihood of failing. From the second quarter of 1996 through the second quarter of 2016, there were 11,734 federally insured credit unions. As shown by the table below, 2,502 of these credit unions fell below the well-capitalized threshold (7 percent net worth ratio) after having a net worth ratio above that threshold for at least one quarter. The net worth ratio of 490 of these 2,502 credit unions eventually fell below two percent. Importantly, only 15 percent of those credit unions whose net worth dropped below two percent sometime in this period remain active.

    Table 1—Credit Unions Falling Below Critical Net Worth Ratio Thresholds Net worth ratio fell: Number of CUs Active Active
  • (%)
  • Below 7% 2,502 1,104 44 Below 6% 1,563 475 30 Below 5% 1,126 254 23 Below 4% 825 151 18 Below 3% 647 102 16 Below 2% 490 73 15

    Credit union failures are costly to the entire credit union system through their effect on the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF). NCUA, as a prudential safety and soundness regulator, is charged with protecting the safety and soundness of the credit union system and, in turn, the NCUSIF and the taxpayer through regulation and supervision.1 One way to mitigate some of the cost to the NCUSIF and minimize disruption to credit union members is to find appropriate merger partners for at-risk credit unions.

    1 NCUA's mission is to “provide, through regulation and supervision, a safe and sound credit union system, which promotes confidence in the national system of cooperative credit.” https://www.ncua.gov/About/Pages/Mission-and-Vision.aspx.

    Under the emergency merger provision of section 205(h) of the FCU Act, the Board may allow a credit union that is either insolvent or in danger of insolvency to merge with another credit union if the Board finds that: (1) An emergency requiring expeditious action exists; (2) no other reasonable alternatives are available; and (3) the action is in the public interest.2 Under these circumstances, the Board may approve an emergency merger without regard to common bond or other legal constraints, such as obtaining the approval of the members of the merging credit union. The emergency merger statute addresses exigent circumstances and is intended to serve the public interest and credit union members by providing for the continuation of credit union services to members and by preserving credit union assets and the NCUSIF.

    2 12 U.S.C. 1785(h).

    To take such action, NCUA must first determine that a credit union is either insolvent or in danger of insolvency before the agency can make the additional findings that an emergency exists, other alternatives are not reasonably available, and the public interest would be served by the merger. The FCU Act, however, does not define when a credit union is “in danger of insolvency.”

    In 2009, NCUA proposed a definition of in danger of insolvency to establish an objective standard to aid it in making in danger of insolvency determinations.3 In doing so, NCUA aimed to provide certainty and consistency regarding how it interprets the in danger of insolvency standard. In 2010, NCUA finalized the 2009 proposed definition, which provided for the above-referenced three net worth categories, and it remains the current definition.4

    3 74 FR 68722 (Dec. 29, 2009).

    4 75 FR 36257 (June 25, 2010).

    Experience gained since 2010, including the analysis of Call Reports and other NCUA internal data, have led the Board to conclude that an update to the current definition of in danger of insolvency is needed.

    II. Summary of the Proposed Rule A. Overview

    The current definition of in danger of insolvency requires a credit union to fall into at least one of three net worth categories to be found to be in danger of insolvency. The Board believes it necessary to amend the current definition in three ways.

    First, the Board proposes to lengthen by six months the “forecast horizons,” the time periods in which NCUA projects a credit union's net worth for determining if it is in danger of insolvency. This change would apply to two of the three current categories. It would result in forecast horizons of 30 months for the insolvency (zero net worth) category, up from 24 months, and 18 months for the critically undercapitalized (under two percent net worth) category, up from 12 months. The third category of the current definition, in which a credit union is significantly undercapitalized and NCUA determines there is no reasonable prospect of the credit union becoming adequately capitalized in the succeeding 36 months, would remain unchanged.

    The second change the Board proposes is the addition of a fourth category to the definition. Specifically, a credit union would be considered in danger of insolvency if it had been granted or received assistance under section 208 of the FCU Act in the 15 months prior to the Region's determination that the credit union is in danger of insolvency.

    Finally, the Board proposes to make a technical spelling correction to the first category of the definition to replace the word “relay” with the word “rely”.

    The Board believes the proposed changes to the current definition would provide NCUA with a more appropriate degree of flexibility and better allow NCUA to act when the statutory criteria for an emergency merger are met, namely an emergency requiring expeditious action exists, no other reasonable alternatives are available, and the action is in the public interest.5 As detailed below, both the experience NCUA has gained in applying the current definition and quantitative data have persuaded the Board that the proposed changes are necessary. Under the time frames of the current definition, NCUA has, on several occasions, been prevented from instituting an emergency merger because a struggling credit union had not yet met the regulatory time frames to be considered in danger of insolvency, although it had otherwise met the statutory criteria. The lack of flexibility in the current rule can result in continued decline in the health of a credit union, leading to a reduction in member services as the institution moves towards resolution. As shown in the chart below, credit union loan growth declines in the quarters leading up to an emergency merger.

    5 12 U.S.C. 1785(h).

    EP31JY17.000

    In some instances, the rigidity of the current regulatory definition unnecessarily limits NCUA's ability to resolve failing institutions. This comes at a greater cost to a credit union's members and the NCUSIF, particularly in the case of an eventual liquidation. The FCU Act grants the Board broad authority to define the term “in danger of insolvency” for emergency merger purposes. The Board believes that the proposed definition increases agency flexibility and will enable NCUA to act more timely to preserve credit union services and credit union assets and to protect the safety and soundness of the credit union system and the NCUSIF.

    B. Extending the Forecast Horizons

    The Board proposes to amend the definition of in danger of insolvency in the glossary to appendix B to part 701 to extend the forecast horizons, the time periods in which NCUA must project whether a credit union will become insolvent or critically undercapitalized. Currently, to be deemed in danger of insolvency under the definition's first two categories, NCUA must project a credit union's future net worth will decline at a rate that will either render the credit union insolvent within 24 months or drop below two percent (critically undercapitalized) within 12 months. The Board proposes to extend these periods to 30 months and 18 months, respectively. The Board intends to leave as is the forecast horizon of the third category of the definition pertaining to significantly undercapitalized credit unions that NCUA projects have no reasonable prospect of becoming adequately capitalized in the succeeding 36 months.

    The Board believes that these proposed changes to the definition will capture more credit unions that are in danger of insolvency earlier in their decline, before their net worth declines most rapidly, and will provide value to both the members of the credit union being merged and the NCUSIF. Increasing the likelihood that a distressed credit union would be eligible for an emergency merger earlier could help to protect net worth, reduce payouts on deposit insurance or merger assistance, and improve merger prospects. The proposed changes also provide NCUA with additional flexibility to resolve the distressed credit union through a merger and help to better ensure continuity of financial services for members. This additional flexibility is especially beneficial when circumstances deplete a credit union's capital slowly and steadily rather than abruptly, such as in the case of an institution with a large portfolio of declining illiquid assets.

    To evaluate the benefit of shifting the critically undercapitalized threshold from 12 to 18 months and the insolvency threshold from 24 to 30 months, NCUA used a simple forecast of the net worth ratios of 46 credit unions that underwent an emergency merger between the second quarter of 2010, when the current in danger of insolvency definition was put into place, and the fourth quarter of 2016.6 Of the 46 credit unions that underwent an emergency merger since the rule was previously revised by the NCUA Board, 11 credit unions with total assets of $812 million would have qualified for an emergency merger earlier under the proposed definition of in danger of insolvency. The 11 credit unions had $12 million more in net worth at the time the credit unions first qualified under the proposed definition compared with the 2010 definition. The $12 million additional net worth meant the credit unions had net worth ratios 1 to 3 percentage points higher. Also, the longer forecast horizon allows NCUA to identify a significant number of additional potential credit union emergency merger candidates. The largest diagnostic improvements from extending the forecast horizon occur in the two quarters prior to an emergency merger. Instead of 31% of the credit unions estimated to be below the critically undercapitalized threshold within 12 months two quarters before the emergency merger and 50% one quarter before, 42% and 58% of the credit unions are estimated to be below the critically undercapitalized threshold within 18 months. The identification of these additional credit unions represent an opportunity for NCUA to preserve services to members and member assets through the emergency merger process prior to the quarters when the net worth of these credit unions declines the most. As the chart below illustrates, credit union net worth generally declines the most in the quarters leading up to an emergency merger.

    6 This simple hypothetical forecast was used exclusively for purposes of analyzing emergency merger data and forecast horizons. It is not representative of, and does not limit, how NCUA projects credit unions to meet the established and proposed in danger of insolvency categories. The forecast of the net worth ratio uses the change in the net worth ratio during the most recently available four quarters and projects that change in net worth through the forecast horizon for each threshold. In other words, NCUA calculated whether the credit union would fall below either of the critical thresholds using a simple straight line projection approach, with the projected rate of decline in net worth equal to the most recently available four-quarter change.

    EP31JY17.001

    The data closely aligns with the views and experiences of NCUA. The agency has found that the current forecast horizons for these two categories can result in the unnecessary delay or even rejection of emergency merger requests that do not meet the current regulatory definition of in danger of insolvency, but would otherwise meet the statutory criteria for an emergency merger. NCUA believes that extending these forecast horizons will lessen the potential for such occurrences. When a credit union cannot be timely merged through an emergency merger and no other credit unions with compatible fields of membership submit a merger proposal, NCUA must consider alternative and usually less desirable means of resolution. These less desirable means of resolution could even include the liquidation of the credit union. In general, merging a credit union into another institution is more desirable than liquidating the credit union because a merger is generally lower cost to the NCUSIF and provides continued and, in most cases, expanded service to the membership.

    NCUA believes that the delay associated with waiting for an institution to deteriorate to the point where it satisfies the current regulatory definition of in danger of insolvency has too frequently resulted in struggling institutions being allowed to deteriorate over time to the point where they are no longer viable merger partners and have to be resolved by means that are more costly to the NCUSIF and more disruptive to the members. Rather than continue to operate under the current definition, which hampers NCUA's ability to take responsible supervisory action on a timely basis and ensure the safety and soundness of the credit union system, the Board proposes to amend the regulatory definition of in danger of insolvency to facilitate those mergers that satisfy the statutory requirements.

    As stated above, the Board proposes to leave the forecast horizon for the third category of the current definition as is. Rather than establishing a time period in which credit unions are projected to decline to a certain point, as the other two categories do, the third category only allows NCUA to find that a credit union is in danger of insolvency if the credit union has no reasonable prospect of improving its net worth from the significantly undercapitalized level to the adequately capitalized level in the succeeding 36 months. The Board believes that the current forecast horizon for this category already provides credit unions significant time to become adequately capitalized and is concerned that any extension to the forecast horizon would make it exceedingly difficult to accurately determine if a credit union has a reasonable possibility of returning its net worth to the adequately capitalized level.

    C. Section 208 Assistance

    The Board proposes to expand the definition of in danger of insolvency in the glossary to appendix B to part 701 to add a fourth category that provides that a credit union will satisfy the definition of in danger of insolvency if the credit union has been granted or received assistance under section 208 of the FCU Act in the 15 months prior to the Region making such determination. Section 208 allows the Board to provide special assistance to credit unions to avoid liquidation.

    In analyzing credit union Call Reports and other internal NCUA data, NCUA has found that an overwhelming number of credit unions that received section 208 assistance eventually left the credit union system. Between the first quarter of 2001 and the fourth quarter of 2016, 181 credit unions received at least one type of section 208 assistance. Since then, 165, or 91.2%, of these credit unions have stopped filing Call Reports.

    Further, the data shows that not only did the overwhelming majority of the credit unions that received section 208 assistance stop filing Call Reports, but did so not long after, or prior to, receiving the assistance. Notably, 13.9% of the total number of credit unions that received section 208 assistance began receiving such assistance after they filed their final Call Report. An additional 37.0% of these 165 credit unions filed their final Call Report in the same quarter in which they first began receiving section 208 assistance. Another 41.2% of these credit unions filed their final Call Report within the four quarters after the quarter they first received section 208 assistance. In total, 152 of the 165 credit unions, or 92.1%, stopped filing Call Reports prior to or within 15 months of receiving the section 208 assistance.

    Credit Unions Receiving Section 208 Assistance: First Receipt of Section 208 Assistance to Last Call Report Filed Number Percent Same quarter 61 37.0 1 year 68 41.2 2 years 3 1.8 3 years 2 1.2 4 or more years 8 4.8 Assistance began after final call report was filed 23 13.9 Total 165 100.0

    The quantitative evidence, along with NCUA's experiences and observations, demonstrate that credit unions receiving section 208 assistance within the last 15 months are in danger of insolvency for emergency merger purposes.

    It must be noted that the Board is not proposing that every credit union that receives section 208 assistance, thus meeting the proposed definition of in danger of insolvency, is destined for an emergency merger. The emergency merger statute addresses exigent circumstances. Credit unions to be merged on an emergency basis still must meet the statutory requirements that an emergency exists, other alternatives are not reasonably available, and the public interest would be served by the merger.7 However, quantitative evidence and NCUA's experience do indicate that a credit union's receipt of section 208 assistance is a reliable indicator of a credit union being in danger of insolvency and a safety and soundness concern.

    7 12 U.S.C. 1785(h).

    III. Regulatory Procedures A. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) generally requires that, in connection with a notice of proposed rulemaking, an agency prepare and make available for public comment an initial regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the impact of a proposed rule on small entities. A regulatory flexibility analysis is not required, however, if the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities (defined for purposes of the RFA to include credit unions with assets less than $100 million) and publishes its certification and a short, explanatory statement in the Federal Register together with the rule. The proposed rule merely provides NCUA greater flexibility to authorize emergency mergers and will not have an impact on small credit unions. Accordingly, NCUA certifies that the proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small credit unions.

    B. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) applies to rulemakings in which an agency creates a new or amends existing information collection requirements.8 For the purpose of the PRA, an information collection requirement may take the form of a reporting, recordkeeping, or a third-party disclosure requirement. The proposed rule does not contain information collection requirements that require approval by OMB under the PRA.9 The proposed rule would merely provide NCUA greater flexibility to authorize emergency mergers.

    8 44 U.S.C. 3507(d); 5 CFR part 1320.

    9 44 U.S.C. Chap. 35.

    C. Executive Order 13132

    Executive Order 13132 encourages independent regulatory agencies to consider the impact of their actions on state and local interests. In adherence to fundamental federalism principles, NCUA, an independent regulatory agency as defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(5), voluntarily complies with the executive order. This rulemaking will not have a substantial direct effect on the states, on the connection between the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. NCUA has determined that this proposal does not constitute a policy that has federalism implications for purposes of the executive order.

    D. Assessment of Federal Regulations and Policies on Families

    NCUA has determined that this final rule will not affect family well-being within the meaning of Section 654 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999.10

    10 Public Law 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681 (1998).

    List of Subjects in 12 CFR Part 701

    Credit, Credit unions, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    By the National Credit Union Administration Board on July 20, 2017. Gerard Poliquin, Secretary of the Board.

    For the reasons discussed above, the NCUA Board proposes to amend 12 CFR part 701 as follows:

    PART 701—ORGANIZATION AND OPERATION OF FEDERAL CREDIT UNIONS 1. The authority citation for part 701 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

    12 U.S.C. 1752(5), 1755, 1756, 1757, 1758, 1759, 1761a, 1761b, 1766, 1767, 1782, 1784, 1785, 1786, 1787, 1788, 1789. Section 701.6 is also authorized by 15 U.S.C. 3717. Section 701.31 is also authorized by 15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.; 42 U.S.C. 1981 and 3601-3610. Section 701.35 is also authorized by 42 U.S.C. 4311-4312.

    2. Revise the definition of “in danger of insolvency” in Appendix 1 (Glossary) to appendix B to part 701 to read as follows:

    In danger of insolvency—In making the determination that a particular credit union is in danger of insolvency, NCUA will establish that the credit union falls into one or more of the following categories:

    1. The credit union's net worth is declining at a rate that will render it insolvent within 30 months. In projecting future net worth, NCUA may rely on data in addition to Call Report data. The trend must be supported by at least 12 months of historic data.

    2. The credit union's net worth is declining at a rate that will take it under two percent (2%) net worth within 18 months. In projecting future net worth, NCUA may rely on data in addition to Call Report data. The trend must be supported by at least 12 months of historic data.

    3. The credit union's net worth, as self-reported on its Call Report, is significantly undercapitalized, and NCUA determines that there is no reasonable prospect of the credit union becoming adequately capitalized in the succeeding 36 months. In making its determination on the prospect of achieving adequate capitalization, NCUA will assume that, if adverse economic conditions are affecting the value of the credit union's assets and liabilities, including property values and loan delinquencies related to unemployment, these adverse conditions will not further deteriorate.

    4. The credit union has been granted or received assistance under section 208 of the Federal Credit Union Act, 12 U.S.C. 1788, in the 15 months prior to the Region's determination that the credit union is in danger of insolvency.

    [FR Doc. 2017-15685 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7535-01-P
    GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION 41 CFR Chapters 101 and 102 [Notice-MA-2017-03; Docket 2017-0002; Sequence No. 7] Evaluation of Existing Federal Management and Federal Property Management Regulations; Extension of Comment Period AGENCY:

    General Services Administration (GSA).

    ACTION:

    Request for comments; extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    GSA issued a request on May 30, 2017 seeking input by July 31, 2017. The comment period is extended until August 14, 2017, to provide additional time for interested parties to review and submit comments on the request.

    DATES:

    The comment period for the document published in the Federal Register at 82 FR 24651, May 30, 2017, is extended for 14 days.

    Comment Date: Interested parties should submit comments to the Regulatory Secretariat at one of the addresses shown below on or before August 14, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments identified by “Notice-MA-2017-03, Evaluation of Existing Federal Management and Federal Property Regulations” by any of the following methods:

    Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching for Notice-MA-2017-03, Evaluation of Existing Regulations. Select the link “Comment Now” that corresponds with “Notice-MA-2017-03, Evaluation of Existing Federal Management and Federal Property Management Regulations.” Follow the instructions provided on the screen. Please include your name, company name (if applicable), and “Notice-MA-2017-03, Evaluation of Existing Federal Management and Federal Property Management Regulations” on your attached document.

    Google form found at: https://goo.gl/forms/EzesI5HeTP7SGZpD3.

    If you are commenting via the google form, please note that each regulation or part that you are identifying for repeal, replacement or modification should be entered into the form separately. This will assist GSA in its tracking and analysis of the comments received.

    Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405.

    GSA requests that comments be as specific as possible, include any supporting data, detailed justification for your proposal, or other information such as cost information, provide a Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) or Federal Register (FR) citation when referencing a specific regulation, and provide specific suggestions regarding repeal, replacement or modification.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Bob Holcombe, Director, Personal Property, Office of Government-wide Policy, 202-501-3828 or via email at [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    GSA published a request in the Federal Register at 82 FR 24651, May 30, 2017 seeking input on federal management and federal property management regulations. The comment period is extended to provide additional time for interested parties to the review and submit comments on the request.

    Dated: July 18, 2017. Michael Downing, Regulatory Reform Officer, Office of the Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2017-15457 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-14-P
    GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION 41 CFR Subtitle F [Notice-MA-2017-02; Docket 2017-0002; Sequence No. 5] Federal Travel Regulation System; Evaluation of Existing Federal Travel Regulation; Extension of Comment Period AGENCY:

    General Services Administration (GSA).

    ACTION:

    Request for comments; extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    GSA issued a document on May 30, 2017 seeking input by July 31, 2017. The comment period is extended to provide additional time for interested parties to review and submit comments on the document.

    DATES:

    The comment period for the document published in the Federal Register at 82 FR 24652, published on May 30, 2017, is extended until August 14, 2017.

    Comment Date: Interested parties should submit comments to the Regulatory Secretariat at one of the addresses shown below on or before August 14, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments identified by “Notice-MA-2017-02, Evaluation of Existing Federal Travel Regulation” by any of the following methods:

    Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching for Notice-MA-2017-02, Evaluation of Existing Federal Travel Regulation. Select the link “Comment Now” that corresponds with “Notice-MA-2017-02, Evaluation of Existing Federal Travel Regulation.” Follow the instructions provided on the screen. Please include your name, company name (if applicable), and “Notice-MA-2017-02, Evaluation of Existing Federal Travel Regulation” on your attached document.

    Google form found at: https://goo.gl/forms/ArUI1rxwlM8yuMkt1. If you are commenting via the google form, please note that each regulation or part that you are identifying for repeal, replacement or modification should be entered into the form separately. This will assist GSA in its tracking and analysis of the comments received.

    Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405.

    GSA requests that comments be as specific as possible, include any supporting data, detailed justification for your proposal, or other information such as cost information, provide a Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) citation when referencing a specific regulation, and provide specific suggestions regarding repeal, replacement or modification.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Craig Flynn, Office of Government-wide Policy, 202-384-5977, or via email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    GSA published a document in the Federal Register at 82 FR 24652, May 30, 2017 seeking input on the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR). The comment period is extended to provide additional time for interested parties to the review and submit comments on the document.

    Dated: July 18, 2017. Michael Downing, Regulatory Reform Officer, Office of the Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2017-15453 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-14-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 73 [MB Docket No. 17-18793, RM-11792; DA 17-679] Television Broadcasting Services; Anchorage, Alaska AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Commission has before it a petition for rulemaking filed by Gray Television Licensee, LLC (Gray), the licensee of KYES-TV, channel 5, Anchorage, Alaska, requesting the substitution of channel 7 for channel 5 at Anchorage. The Commission instituted a freeze on the acceptance of full power television rulemaking petitions requesting channel substitutions in May 2011, and a freeze on the filing of modification applications by full power and Class A television stations that would increase a station's noise-limited or protected contour beyond the station's currently licensed or authorized facility in April 2013. Gray asks that the Commission waive these freezes to permit KYES to relocate its transmitter and utilize upgraded equipment, thereby improving its over-the-air- signal to better serve viewers.

    DATES:

    Comments must be filed on or before August 15, 2017, and reply comments on or before August 25, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Federal Communications Commission, Office of the Secretary, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. In addition to filing comments with the FCC, interested parties should serve counsel for petitioner as follows: Joan Stewart, Esq., Wiley Rein LLP, 1776 K Street NW., Washington, DC 20006.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Joyce Bernstein, [email protected], Media Bureau, (202) 418-1647.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a synopsis of the Commission's Notice of Proposed Rule Making, MB Docket No. 17-187, adopted July 17, 2017, and released July 17, 2017. The full text of this document is available for public inspection and copying during normal business hours in the FCC's Reference Information Center at Portals II, CY-A257, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. This document will also be available via ECFS (http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/). (Documents will be available electronically in ASCII, Word 97, and/or Adobe Acrobat.). To request this document in accessible formats (computer diskettes, large print, audio recording, and Braille), send an email to [email protected] or call the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY). This document does not contain proposed information collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. In addition, therefore, it does not contain any proposed information collection burden “for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees,” pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4).

    Provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 do not apply to this proceeding. Members of the public should note that from the time a Notice of Proposed Rule Making is issued until the matter is no longer subject to Commission consideration or court review, all ex parte contacts (other than ex parte presentations exempt under 47 CFR 1.1204(a)) are prohibited in Commission proceedings, such as this one, which involve channel allotments. See 47 CFR 1.1208 for rules governing restricted proceedings.

    For information regarding proper filing procedures for comments, see 47 CFR 1.415 and 1.420.

    List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 73

    Television.

    Federal Communications Commission. Thomas Horan, Chief of Staff, Media Bureau. Proposed Rules

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission proposes to amend 47 CFR part 73 as follows:

    PART 73—RADIO BROADCAST SERVICES 1. The authority citation for part 73 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    47 U.S.C. 154, 303, 334, 336, and 339.

    § 73.622 [Amended]
    2. Section 73.622(i), the Post-Transition Table of DTV Allotments under Alaska is amended by adding channel 7 and removing channel 5 at Anchorage.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16002 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION 48 CFR Chapter V [Notice-MV-2017-01; Docket 2017-0002; Sequence No. 6] Evaluation of Existing Acquisition Regulations; Extension of Comment Period AGENCY:

    General Services Administration (GSA).

    ACTION:

    Request for comments; extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    GSA issued a request on May 30, 2017 seeking input by July 31, 2017. The comment period is extended, until August 14, 2017, in order to provide additional time for interested parties to review and submit comments on the request.

    DATES:

    The comment period for the document published in the Federal Register at 82 FR 24653, on May 30, 2017, is extended for 14 days.

    Comment Date: Interested parties should submit comments to the Regulatory Secretariat at one of the addresses shown below on or before August 14, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments identified by “Notice-MV-2017-01, Evaluation of Existing Acquisition Regulations” by any of the following methods:

    Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching for Notice-MV-2017-01, Evaluation of Existing Acquisition Regulations. Select the link “Comment Now” that corresponds with “Notice-MV-2017-01, Evaluation of Existing Acquisition Regulations.” Follow the instructions provided on the screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “Notice-MV-2017-01, Evaluation of Existing Acquisition Regulations” on your attached document.

    Google form found at: https://goo.gl/forms/GahAhb2aT4MVlREo1.

    If you are commenting via the google form, please note that each regulation or part that you are identifying for repeal, replacement or modification should be entered into the form separately. This will assist GSA in its tracking and analysis of the comments received.

    Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Francine Serafin, Office of Government-wide Policy, 202-705-8659, or via email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    GSA published a request in the Federal Register at 82 FR 24653, on May 30, 2017, seeking input on acquisition regulations, policies, standards, business practices and guidance issued by GSA. The comment period is extended to provide additional time for interested parties to the review and submit comments on the request.

    Dated: July 18, 2017. Michael Downing, Regulatory Reform Officer, Office of the Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2017-15458 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-61-P
    GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION 48 CFR Chapter V [Notice-MV-2017-02; Docket 2017-0002; Sequence No. 8] Evaluation of Existing Leasing Acquisition Regulations; Extension of Comment Period AGENCY:

    General Services Administration (GSA).

    ACTION:

    Request for comments; extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    GSA issued a document on May 30, 2017 seeking input by July 31, 2017. The comment period is extended until August 14, 2017, in order to provide additional time for interested parties to review and submit comments on the document.

    DATES:

    The comment period for the document published in the Federal Register at 82 FR 24652, published on May 30, 2017, is extended until August 14, 2017.

    Comment Date: Interested parties should submit comments to the Regulatory Secretariat at one of the addresses shown below on or before August 14, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments identified by “Notice-MV-2017-02, Evaluation of Existing Leasing Acquisition Regulations” by any of the following methods:

    Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching for Notice-MV-2017-02, Evaluation of Existing Regulations. Select the link “Comment Now” that corresponds with “Notice-MV-2017-02, Evaluation of Existing Leasing Regulations.” Follow the instructions provided on the screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “Notice-MV-2017-02, Evaluation of Existing Leasing Regulations” on your attached document.

    Google form found at: https://goo.gl/forms/4ilmzTHJ2HhDcmG23. If you are commenting via the google form, please note that each regulation or part that you are identifying for repeal, replacement or modification should be entered into the form separately. This will assist GSA in its tracking and analysis of the comments received.

    Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Francine Serafin, 202-705-8659, or via email at [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    GSA published a document in the Federal Register at 82 FR 24652 on May 30, 2017, seeking input on lease acquisition regulations, policies, standards, business practices and guidance issued by GSA. The comment period is extended to provide additional time for interested parties to the review and submit comments on the document.

    Dated: July 18, 2017. Michael Downing, Office of the Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2017-15454 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-61-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Transit Administration 49 CFR Part 650 [Docket No. FTA-2016-0008] RIN 2132-AB27 Private Investment Project Procedures AGENCY:

    Federal Transit Administration, Department of Transportation.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM); request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is proposing new, experimental procedures to encourage increased project management flexibility, more innovation in project funding, improved efficiency, timely project implementation, and new project revenue streams. A primary goal is to address impediments to the greater use of public-private partnerships (P3s) and private investment in public transportation capital projects (Private Investment Project Procedures or PIPP). FTA anticipates using the lessons learned from these experimental procedures to develop more effective approaches to including private participation and investment in project planning, project development, finance, design, construction, maintenance, and operations.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received September 29, 2017. Any comments filed after this deadline will be considered to the extent practicable.

    ADDRESSES:

    Please identify your submission by Docket Number (FTA-2016-0008) or RIN number (2132-AB27) through one of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Submit electronic comments and other data to http://www.regulations.gov.

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

    Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building, Ground Floor, at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9:00 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations, U.S. Department of Transportation, at (202) 493-2251.

    Instructions: You must include the agency name (Federal Transit Administration) and Docket Number (FTA-2016-0008) for this notice or RIN (2132-AB27), at the beginning of your comments. If sent by mail, submit two copies of your comments. Due to security procedures in effect since October 2001, mail received through the U.S. Postal Service may be subject to delays. Parties submitting comments should consider using an express mail firm to ensure the prompt filing of any submissions not filed electronically or by hand. If you wish to receive confirmation that FTA received your comments, you must include a self-addressed stamped postcard. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. You may review the complete U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Privacy Act Statement published in the Federal Register on April 11, 2000, at 65 FR 19477-8 or http://DocketsInfo.dot.gov.

    Electronic Access and Filing: This document and all comments received may be viewed online through the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Electronic submission and retrieval help and guidelines are available on the Web site. It is available 24 hours each day, 365 days a year. Please follow the instructions. An electronic copy of this document may also be downloaded from the Office of the Federal Register's home page at https://www.federalregister.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For program matters, Tom Yedinak, Office of Budget and Policy, (202) 366-5137 or [email protected] For legal matters, Charla Tabb, Office of Chief Counsel, (202) 366-4011 or [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents I. Background II. Section-by-Section Analysis III. Regulatory Analyses and Notices I. Background A. History

    Over the past decade, Federal legislation has evolved to encourage increased use of public-private partnerships and private investment in public transportation capital projects. Pursuant to section 3011(c) of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), Public Law 109-59, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) established a pilot program, commonly referred to as “Penta-P,” to demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of public-private partnerships for certain new fixed guideway capital projects. 72 FR 2583-01 (January 19, 2007). SAFETEA-LU also required that the Secretary identify and examine the costs, benefits, and efficiencies of applying P3 delivery approaches to transit projects. The resulting report, entitled “Report to Congress on the Costs, Benefits, and Efficiencies of Public-Private Partnerships for Fixed Guideway Capital Projects,” 1 was transmitted to Congress in December 2007.

    1http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/Costs_Benefits_Efficiencies_of_Public-Private_Partnerships.pdf.

    In order to facilitate increased private sector participation in project development, finance, design, construction, maintenance, and operations of transit projects, in 2008 and 2009, FTA, along with the National Council of Public-Private Partnerships, sponsored eight public workshops on P3s in transit and a one-day workshop for FTA employees. Each workshop attracted almost 100 participants and provided technical assistance to transit agencies, local officials, and consultants on legal and regulatory issues, financing, and contract matters related to P3s.

    In 2009, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report, “Public Transportation—Federal Project Approval Process Remains a Barrier to Greater Private Sector Role and DOT Could Enhance Efforts to Assist Project Sponsors, (GAO-10-19)” 2 (GAO Report), which recommended that FTA increase efforts to better equip project sponsors by developing guidance and providing technical assistance on P3s. In response to the GAO Report, FTA created a Private Sector Participation Web site that provides guidance, technical support and resources to those project sponsors considering P3s.3

    2http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d1019.pdf.

    3https://www.transit.dot.gov/funding/funding-finance-resources/private-sector-participation/private-sector-participation-1.

    More recently, Section 20013(b)(1) of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), Public Law 112-141 (July 6, 2012), directed FTA to identify impediments in chapter 53 of title 49 of the United States Code, and any regulations or practices thereunder, to the use of public-private partnerships and private investment in public transportation capital projects, and to develop and implement procedures on a project basis that address such impediments in a manner similar to the Special Experimental Project Number 15 of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), commonly referred to as “SEP-15”. Additionally, Section 3005(b) of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, Public Law 114-94 (December 4, 2015), authorizes an expedited project delivery program for capital investment projects that requires projects be supported, at least in part, by public-private partnerships.

    Moreover, project sponsors have used the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) (23 U.S.C. 181-189, 601-609), the private activity bonds (PABs) legislation (26 U.S.C. 141-147) and the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) program (45 U.S.C. 821-823) to help finance public transit capital projects. TIFIA provides Federal credit assistance in the form of direct loans, loan guarantees, and standby lines of credit. The PABs legislation authorized the Department of Transportation to offer PABs allocations to private developers and operators, providing them access to tax-exempt interest rates and potentially more favorable interest rates. The RRIF program provides Federal credit assistance in the form of direct loans and loan guarantees.

    FTA also has issued guidance to facilitate private sector participation, such as Circular 7050.1, “Federal Transit Administration Guidance on Joint Development,” which provides guidance on how transit agencies may use FTA funds or FTA-funded real property for joint development with the private sector.

    Section 9001 of the FAST Act established the National Surface Transportation and Innovative Finance Bureau (referred to as the Build America Bureau), in the Department which aims to drive transportation infrastructure development projects in the United States by streamlining credit opportunities and grants more quickly and transparently, while providing technical assistance and encouraging innovative best practices in project planning, financing, delivery, and monitoring. The Bureau works with project sponsors to educate them on how they can best utilize innovative project delivery approaches, such as P3s, and offers project-specific technical assistance.

    B. Perceived Barriers

    Pursuant to Section 20013(b)(1) of MAP-21, FTA has undertaken research on potential impediments to the greater use of public-private partnerships and private investment in public transportation capital projects. FTA has reviewed a number of Federal agency reports on the use of private investment in public infrastructure projects and has reviewed statements from the private sector, financial institutions, transit agencies, other transit industry organizations and the public about perceived barriers that exist industry-wide and in FTA's policies. FTA also conducted an online dialogue from October 2014 to January 2015 with grantees and stakeholders to help inform this rulemaking process.

    In general, commenters suggested that FTA grant processes should be further streamlined in order to encourage greater use of public-private partnerships and private investment in public transportation capital projects. In addition, some commenters suggested that the timing of grant awards can discourage lender interest because it is perceived to be incompatible with the timing of private financing schedules, public agency procurement schedules and DOT financing programs, such as TIFIA, RRIF and PABs. Commenters recommended that the level of Federal oversight could be more flexible and dependent upon the experience of the project sponsor, terms of agreements, and the existence of concurrent, independent oversight, such as state or regulatory agencies, and type of financing. Commenters also suggested that FTA rely more heavily upon approvals of third parties with jurisdiction over a project, rather than replicate certain reviews, and questioned whether any necessary FTA reviews could be expedited by having them performed by an independent third party selected by FTA, but paid for by the project sponsor. Some comments were unrelated to the subject matter of the online dialogue or provided only opinions as to the benefits or disadvantages of private investment in public projects, without offering any suggestions that FTA could apply to draft this proposed rule.

    This proposed rule aims to address the comments received during the online dialogue as well as other potential impediments identified in FTA's research. Under the proposed rule, recipients funding a public transportation capital project subject to 49 U.S.C. chapter 53 with FTA, RRIF, TIFIA or other Federal financial assistance could request a modification or waiver, in whole or in part, of a specific FTA regulation, practice, procedure or guidance document (including a circular) that may be an impediment to the use of P3s or private investment in that project. For example, an applicant could propose that FTA rely upon approvals of third parties with jurisdiction over an eligible project, rather than replicate certain FTA oversight reviews.

    C. Purpose of Regulatory Action

    Section 20013(b)(1) of MAP-21 required FTA to identify any provisions of 49 U.S.C. chapter 53, and any regulations or practices thereunder, that impede greater use of P3s and private investment. FTA must develop and implement on a project basis procedures and approaches that address such impediments in a manner similar to FHWA's SEP-15 and protect the public interest and any public investment in public transportation capital projects that involve P3s or private investment. Section 20013(b)(5) of MAP-21 requires the issuance of a rule to carry out the procedures and approaches developed under section 20013(b)(1).

    In 2004 FHWA initiated SEP-15, pursuant to authority granted the Secretary by 23 U.S.C. 502(b), to create a procedure to waive the requirements of title 23 of the United States Code and implementing regulations on a case-by-case basis in order to encourage tests and experimentation in the entire project development process, specifically aimed at attracting private investment, leading to increased project management flexibility, more innovation, improved efficiency, timely project implementation, and new revenue streams. 69 FR 59983 (October 6, 2004). SEP-15 permits FHWA to experiment in four major areas of project delivery—contracting, right-of-way acquisition, project finance, and compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321, et seq., and other environmental requirements. SEP-15 enables FHWA to actively explore changes in the way it approaches the oversight and delivery of highway projects to further the Administration's goals of reducing congestion and preserving transportation infrastructure. A key feature of SEP-15 is that it allows FHWA to identify current FHWA laws, regulations, and practices that inhibit greater use of P3s and private investment in transportation improvements and allows FHWA to develop procedures and approaches that address these impediments.

    FHWA currently administers several projects under SEP-15, including the two examples provided below.4

    4http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ipd/p3/tools_programs/sep15.aspx.

    FHWA SEP-15 Projects

    1. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is replacing 558 bridges throughout the State as a single P3 project. At PennDOT's request, FHWA allowed the private partner in the P3 to be responsible for preparing, in coordination with the overall replacement schedule, the NEPA supporting documentation and draft environmental decision documents for each bridge. In addition, the private partner was allowed to select the consultant that prepares the NEPA document and retain exclusive control over the consultant. These are deviations from FHWA design-build regulations codified at 23 CFR part 636. FHWA's acceptance of the PennDOT proposal was conditional and contingent on the inclusion of specific safeguards to protect the integrity of the environmental decision-making process. FHWA and PennDOT remain responsible for issuing the final environmental determinations under NEPA, and FHWA and PennDOT remain responsible for the scope and contents of the NEPA documents.

    2. The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) recently completed a ten-year capital program that added 120 miles to Idaho's highway system, including many new or improved bridges and interchanges. The program was funded primarily through a series of grant anticipation bonds, or GARVEEs, and delivered by a private sector program manager. FHWA allowed ITD to initiate final design and acquire right of way (by voluntary sale only) prior to conclusion of the NEPA process, through deviations from multiple provisions of 23 CFR parts 710 and 771. FHWA's acceptance of these waivers required ITD to put in place specific safeguards to, for example, avoid the appearance of undue influence on property owners and perceptions of unfavorable treatment for those properties not acquired. ITD was also required to show that the acquisition of properties did not influence the NEPA decisions.

    Having concluded its research, and pursuant to Section 20013(b)(5) of MAP-21, FTA is proposing the PIPP, which would be similar to FHWA's SEP-15, and would help address impediments to the greater use of public-private partnerships and private investment in public transportation capital projects identified by FTA. The PIPP are intended to encourage project sponsors to seek modifications of Federal requirements that will accelerate the project development process, attract private investment and lead to increased project management flexibility, more innovation, improved efficiency, and/or new revenue streams.

    A key goal of the PIPP would be to identify provisions of current FTA regulations, practices, procedures, and guidance documents that may be impediments to the greater use of public-private partnerships and private investment in public transportation capital projects, and, where possible, modify such requirements while ensuring protection of the public interest and any public investment in the project. In accordance with Section 20013(b)(6) of MAP-21, the PIPP could not be used to waive any requirement under NEPA, 49 U.S.C. chapter 53 (including 49 U.S.C. 5333), or any other provision of Federal statute. Thus, the PIPP would allow for innovations in project delivery while maintaining FTA's stewardship responsibilities. The lessons learned from projects approved under the PIPP would aid FTA in developing more effective approaches to project planning, project development, finance, design, construction, maintenance, and operations.

    As with the SEP-15 program, a recipient could apply to FTA to request modification or waiver of specific FTA requirements that the recipient contends make a project unattractive from the P3 or private investment standpoint. The FTA Administrator would have discretion to grant a modification or waiver of a requirement under certain circumstances. Applications would be required to include specific information in order to be considered for the PIPP; FTA is considering creating a standard format for applications that would assist applicants in ensuring the completeness of their applications, and allow for electronic submission of applications via the FTA Web site. FTA recognizes that PIPP project proposals could include multi-modal components. FTA would coordinate the review of multi-modal project proposals with the appropriate DOT modal administration(s). In addition, if PIPP project proposals anticipate financing under TIFIA, RRIF or PABs, FTA would coordinate with the Bureau.

    II. Summary of Provisions

    The proposed rule would add a new part 650, “Private Investment Project Procedures,” to title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The rule proposes to implement the statutory requirements of section 20013(b)(1) of MAP-21. The rule would be composed of four subparts.

    Subpart A, sections 650.1 through 650.5, would contain the definitive terms of the rule: The purpose, applicability and defined terms.

    Subpart B, section 650.11, would describe who may submit an application, the type of project eligible for consideration, and factors that the applicant must demonstrate in order for FTA to consider waiving or modifying its requirements. The proposed section 650.13 would provide limitations on FTA's ability to waive or modify certain requirements despite implementation of the proposed rule.

    Subpart C, section 650.21 would require successful applicants to submit a report following completion of the project that would analyze the impact of the experimental procedures on project delivery.

    Subpart D, section 650.31, would describe the application process, including the minimum requirements for applications. One of the minimum requirements is evidence of committed financing for the project, including from private partners or investors in a proposed project. FTA seeks comment on whether requiring evidence of committed financing would be premature at the time of application.

    III. Regulatory Analyses and Notices Executive Order 12866 and 13563; USDOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct Federal agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits—including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity. Also, Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. The proposed rule would encourage tests and experimentation in the project development process and is specifically aimed at attracting public-private partnerships and private investment. Public-private partnerships of capital projects are rare in the U.S. transit industry, although they are common in other countries. The proposed rule would provide an avenue to address existing impediments to P3 projects with the aim of increasing their use, but it is unlikely, on its own, to significantly increase the level of P3 activity in the U.S. transit industry.

    FTA has determined this rulemaking is a non-significant regulatory action within the meaning of Executive Order 12866 and is non-significant within the meaning of the U.S. Department of Transportation's regulatory policies and procedures. FTA has examined the potential economic impacts of this rulemaking and has determined that this rulemaking is not economically significant because it will not result in an effect on the economy of $100 million or more. The proposals set forth in today's rule will not adversely affect the economy, interfere with actions taken or planned by other agencies, or generally alter the budgetary impact of any entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs.

    Executive Order 13771

    This proposed rule is expected to be an EO 13771 deregulatory action because FTA believes it would reduce the cost of complying with FTA's requirements. However, FTA is unable at this time to quantify the cost savings due to the lack of information about (1) the types of waivers that would be requested, (2) the number of waivers that would be requested, and (3) the difference in cost between complying with FTA's existing requirements and complying with the requirements of a waiver and this proposed rule. FTA requests public comments on estimating the cost savings of this proposed rule.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    In compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (Pub. L. 96-354; 5 U.S.C. 601-612), FTA has evaluated the likely effects of the proposals set forth in this NPRM on small entities, and has determined that the NPRM would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This proposed rulemaking would not impose unfunded mandates as defined by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4; 109 Stat. 48).

    Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    This proposed rulemaking has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and criteria established by Executive Order 13132 (Aug. 4, 1999). FTA has determined that the proposed action would not have sufficient Federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism assessment. FTA has also determined that this proposed action would not preempt any State law or State regulation or affect the States' abilities to discharge traditional State governmental functions. Moreover, consistent with Executive Order 13132, FTA has examined the direct compliance costs of the NPRM on State and local governments and has determined that the collection and analysis of the data are eligible for Federal funding under FTA's grant programs.

    Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Review)

    The regulations effectuating Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and activities apply to this proposed rulemaking.

    Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.), Federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget for each collection of information they conduct, sponsor, or require through regulations. FHWA has received an average of less than one application per year for the SEP-15 program since its inception. Therefore, FTA believes that this proposed rule will not generate collection of information requirements that impact ten or more applicants. FTA seeks comment on whether FTA should anticipate ten or more applications to the PIPP on an annual basis.

    National Environmental Policy Act

    NEPA requires Federal agencies to analyze the potential environmental effects of their proposed actions in the form of a categorical exclusion, environmental assessment, or environmental impact statement. This proposed rulemaking is categorically excluded under FTA's environmental impact procedure at 23 CFR 771.118(c)(4), pertaining to planning and administrative activities that do not involve or lead directly to construction, such as the promulgation of rules, regulations, and directives. FTA has determined that no unusual circumstances exist in this instance, and that a categorical exclusion is appropriate for this rulemaking.

    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 (March 15, 1998), Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

    Executive Order 12898 (Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations)

    Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, and DOT Order 5610.2(a) (77 FR 27534) require DOT agencies to achieve environmental justice (EJ) as part of their mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects, including interrelated social and economic effects, of their programs, policies and activities on minority and/or low-income populations. The DOT Order requires DOT agencies to address compliance with the Executive Order and the DOT Order in all rulemaking activities. In addition, on July 17, 2014, FTA issued a circular to update its EJ Policy Guidance for Federal Transit Recipients (www.fta.dot.gov/legislation_law/12349_14740.html), which addresses administration of the Executive Order and DOT Order.

    FTA has evaluated this rule under the Executive Order, the DOT Order, and the FTA Circular and has determined that this rulemaking will not cause disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects on minority or low income populations.

    Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    This action meets the applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988 (February 5, 1996), Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

    Executive Order 13045 (Protection of Children)

    FTA has analyzed this proposed rulemaking under Executive Order 13045 (April 21, 1997), Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. FTA certifies that this proposed rule will not cause an environmental risk to health or safety that may disproportionately affect children.

    Executive Order 13175 (Tribal Consultation)

    FTA has analyzed this action under Executive Order 13175 (November 6, 2000), and believes that it will not have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes; will not impose substantial direct compliance costs on Indian tribal governments; and will not preempt tribal laws. Therefore, a tribal summary impact statement is not required.

    Executive Order 13211 (Energy Effects)

    FTA has analyzed this proposed rulemaking under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (May 18, 2001). FTA has determined that this action is not a significant energy action under the Executive Order, given that the action 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 requirement.

    Privacy Act

    Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of FTA's dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment or signing the comment if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, or any other entity. You may review USDOT's complete Privacy Act Statement published in the Federal Register on April 11, 2000, at 65 FR 19477-8.

    Statutory/Legal Authority for This Rulemaking

    This rulemaking is issued under the authority of section 20013(b)(1) of MAP-21, which requires the Secretary to issue rules to carry out procedures and approaches for alleviating impediments to P3s or private investment in public transportation.

    Regulation Identifier Number

    A Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) is assigned to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations. The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of each year. The RIN set forth in the heading of this document can be used to cross-reference this action with the Unified Agenda.

    List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 650

    Grant programs—transportation, Mass transportation.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, and under the authority of Section 20013(b)(1) of The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (Pub. L. 112-141) and the delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.91, FTA hereby proposes to amend Chapter VI of Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations by adding Part 650 to read as follows:

    PART 650—PRIVATE INVESTMENT PROJECT PROCEDURES Sec. Subpart A—General Provisions 650.1 Purpose. 650.3 Applicability. 650.5 Definitions. Subpart B—Private Investment Project Procedures 650.11 Private investment project procedures. 650.13 Limitation. Subpart C—Reporting 650.21 Lessons learned report. Subpart D—Application Process 650.31 Application requirements. Authority:

    Sec. 20013(b)(5), Pub. L. 112-141, 126 Stat 405; 49 CFR 1.91.

    Subpart A—General Provisions
    § 650.1 Purpose.

    This part establishes private investment project procedures that seek to identify and address Federal Transit Administration requirements that are impediments to the greater use of public-private partnerships and private investment in public transportation capital projects, while protecting the public interest and any public investment in such projects.

    § 650.3 Applicability.

    This part applies to any recipient subject to 49 U.S.C. chapter 53 that funds a public transportation capital project with Federal financial assistance under 49 U.S.C. chapter 53, the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) (23 U.S.C. 181-189, 601-609), the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) program (45 U.S.C. 821-823), or with any other Federal financial assistance.

    § 650.5 Definitions.

    All terms defined in 49 U.S.C. chapter 53 are applicable to this part. The following definitions also apply to this part:

    Administrator means the Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration.

    Application means the formal documentation of an applicant's request to modify FTA requirements for an eligible project.

    Eligible project means any surface transportation capital project that is subject to 49 U.S.C. chapter 53 and that will be implemented as a public-private partnership, a joint development, or with other private sector investment.

    FTA means the Federal Transit Administration.

    FTA requirements means, for purposes of this part, existing FTA regulations and mandatory provisions of practices, procedures or guidance documents, including circulars.

    Joint development has the meaning ascribed to it in FTA Circular 7050.1 “Federal Transit Administration Guidance on Joint Development” and, for purposes of this part, includes private sector contributions, whether in the form of cash investment, capital construction contributed at the private sector's cost or other contribution determined by the Administrator to qualify.

    Other private sector investment means a financial or capital contribution to an eligible project from a private sector investor that is not provided through a public-private partnership or joint development.

    Private investment project procedures means the procedures by which applicants may propose, and the Administrator may agree, subject to the requirements of this part, to modify or waive existing FTA requirements for an eligible project.

    Private sector investor means the private sector entity that proposes to contribute funding to an eligible project.

    Public-private partnership (P3) means a contractual agreement formed between a public agency and a private sector entity that is characterized by private sector investment and risk-sharing in the delivery, financing and operation of a project.

    Recipient means an entity that proposes to receive Federal financial assistance for an eligible project under 49 U.S.C. chapter 53, RRIF, TIFIA or other Federal financial assistance program.

    Subpart B—Private Investment Project Procedures
    § 650.11 Private investment project procedures.

    (a) A recipient may, subject to the requirements of this part, submit applications to modify or waive existing FTA requirements for an eligible project. For projects with multiple recipients, recipients may, but are not required to, submit an application for a project jointly; however, only one application per project may be submitted. All applications shall comply with the requirements of § 650.31.

    (b) Subject to § 650.13, the Administrator may modify or waive FTA requirements if the Administrator determines that the recipient has demonstrated that—

    (1) The FTA requirement proposed for modification discourages the use of a public-private partnership, a joint development, or other private sector investment in a Federally assisted public transportation capital project,

    (2) The proposed modification or waiver of the FTA requirements is likely to have the effect of encouraging a public-private partnership, a joint development, or other private sector investment in a Federally-assisted public transportation capital project,

    (3) The amount of private sector participation or risk transfer proposed is sufficient to warrant modification or waiver of FTA requirements, and

    (4) Modification or waiver of the FTA requirements can be accomplished while protecting the public interest and any public investment in the proposed Federally assisted public transportation capital project.

    § 650.13 Limitation.

    (a) Nothing in this part may be construed to allow the Administrator to modify or waive any requirement under-

    (1) 49 U.S.C. 5333;

    (2) The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321, et seq.) or

    (3) Any other provision of Federal statute.

    (b) The Administrator's consideration of an application under this part does not commit Federal-aid funding for the project.

    Subpart C—Reporting
    § 650.21 Lessons learned report.

    No later than one year after completion of a project for which the Administrator has modified or waived any FTA requirement pursuant to this part, the recipient shall submit to FTA a report that evaluates the effect of the modification or waiver of Federal requirements on the delivery of the project. The report shall describe the modification or waiver applied to the project; evaluate the success or failure of the modification or waiver; evaluate the extent to which the modification or waiver addressed impediments to greater use of public-private partnerships and private investment in public transportation capital projects; and may include any recommended statutory, regulatory or other changes with an explanation of how the changes would encourage greater use of public-private partnerships and private investment in public transportation capital projects.

    Subpart D—Applications
    § 650.31 Application process.

    (a) Applications must be submitted to the FTA Private Sector Liaison at the Federal Transit Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    (b) To be considered, an application submitted under this part must—

    (1) Describe the proposed project with respect to anticipated scope, cost, schedule, and anticipated source and amount of Federal financial assistance,

    (2) Identify whether the project is to be delivered as a public-private partnership, as a joint development or with other private sector investment,

    (3) Describe in detail the role of the private sector investor, if any, in delivering the project,

    (4) Identify the specific FTA requirement that the recipient requests to have modified or waived and a proposal as to how a requirement should be modified,

    (5) Provide a justification for the modification or waiver, including an explanation of how the FTA requirement presents an impediment to a public-private partnership, joint development, or other private sector investment,

    (6) Explain how the public interest and public investment in the project will be protected and how FTA can ensure the appropriate level of public oversight and control, as determined by the Administrator, is undertaken if the modification or waiver is allowed,

    (7) Provide other recipients' concurrence with submission of the application and waiver of the right to submit a separate application for the same project, where a project has more than one recipient at the time of application,

    (8) Provide a financial plan identifying sources and uses of funds committed to the project, and

    (9) Explain the expected benefits that the modification or waiver of FTA requirements would provide to address impediments to the greater use of public-private partnerships and private investment in the project.

    (c) The Administrator shall notify the recipient in writing if the application fails to meet the requirements of § 650.31(b). If the recipient does not supplement an incomplete application within thirty days of the date of the Administrator's notification, the application will be considered withdrawn without prejudice. The Administrator will not consider an application until the application is complete. The Administrator reserves the right to request additional information beyond the requirements in 650.31(b) upon determining that more information is needed to evaluate an application.

    (d) For applications that have been deemed complete, the Administrator will notify the recipient in writing as to whether the request for modification or waiver is approved or denied. Any approval may be given in whole or in part and may be conditioned or contingent upon the recipient satisfying the conditions identified in the approval.

    Issued on: July 25, 2017. Matthew J. Welbes, Executive Director.
    [FR Doc. 2017-15985 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    82 145 Monday, July 31, 2017 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request July 26, 2017.

    The Department of Agriculture has submitted the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. Comments are requested regarding (1) whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of burden including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Comments regarding this information collection received by August 30, 2017 will be considered. Written comments should be addressed to: Desk Officer for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), New Executive Office Building, 725—17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20502. Commenters are encouraged to submit their comments to OMB via email to: [email protected] or fax (202) 395-5806 and to Departmental Clearance Office, USDA, OCIO, Mail Stop 7602, Washington, DC 20250-7602. Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling (202) 720-8958.

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number and the agency informs potential persons who are to respond to the collection of information that such persons are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

    Title: U.S. Origin Health Certificate, OMB Control Number: 0579-0020.

    Summary of Collection: The Animal Health Protection Act (AHPA) of 2002 is the primary Federal law governing the protection of animal health. The AHPA is contained in Title X, Subtitle E, Sections 10401-18 of Public Law 107-171, May 13, 2002, the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. As part of its mission to facilitate the export of U.S. animals and products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Veterinary Services (VS), maintains information regarding the import health requirements of other countries for animals and animal products exported from the United States. Most countries require a certification that the animals are disease free.

    To ensure a favorable balance of trade and compliance with export health requirements, APHIS uses information collection activities such as U.S. Origin Health Certificates; U.S. Interstate and International Certificates of Health Examinations for Small Animals; U.S. Origin Health Certificates for the Export of Horses from the United States to Canada; Health Certificates for the Export of Live Finfish, Mollusks, and Crustaceans (and their Gametes); Undue Hardship Explanations-Animals; Applications for Approval of Inspection Facility-Environmental Certification; Annual Inspections of Inspection Facilities; Opportunities to Present Views Concerning Withdrawal of Facility Approval; Certifications to Carry Livestock; Inspections of Vessel Prior to Voyage; Notarized Statements; Aircraft Cleaning and Disinfection; Country-Specific Health Care; and Travel Time.

    Need and Use of the Information: The collection of this information prevents unhealthy animals from being exported from the United States. The information collected is used to: (1) Establish that the animals are moved in compliance with USDA regulations, (2) verify that the animals destined for export are listed on the health certificate by means of an official identification, (3) verify to the consignor and consignee that the animals are healthy, (4) prevent unhealthy animals from being exported and (5) satisfy the import requirements of receiving countries. If these certifications were not provided, other countries would not accept animals from the United States.

    Description of Respondents: Farms; Business or other for profit.

    Number of Respondents: 2,226.

    Frequency of Responses: Reporting: On occasion.

    Total Burden Hours: 17,170.

    Ruth Brown, Departmental Information Collection Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16020 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-580-836] Certain Cut-to-Length Carbon-Quality Steel Plate Products From the Republic of Korea: Rescission of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review in Part; 2016-2017 AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (the Department) is partially rescinding its administrative review on certain cut-to-length carbon-quality steel plate products (CTL plate) from the Republic of Korea (Korea) for the period of review (POR) February 1, 2016, through January 31, 2017.

    DATES:

    Effective July 31, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Yang Jin Chun AD/CVD Operations, Office I, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-5760.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On February 8, 2017, we published a notice of opportunity to request an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on CTL plate from Korea for the POR February 1, 2016, through January 31, 2017.1 On April 10, 2017, in response to timely requests from, inter alia, Nucor Corporation and in accordance with section 751(a) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), and 19 CFR 351.221(c)(1)(i), we initiated an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on CTL plate from Korea with respect to 14 companies.2 On July 10, 2017, Nucor Corporation timely withdrew its request for an administrative review for Bookuk Steel Co., Ltd., Daewoo International Corp., Hyundai Glovis Co., Ltd., Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Co., Ltd., Hyosung Corporation, Samsung C&T Corp., Samsung C&T Engineering & Construction Group, Samsung C&T Trading and Investment Group, Samsung Heavy Industries, SK Networks Co., Ltd., Steel N People Ltd., and Sung Jin Steel Co., Ltd.3

    1See Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Order, Finding, or Suspended Investigation; Opportunity to Request Administrative Review, 82 FR 9709 (February 8, 2017).

    2See Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews, 82 FR 17188, 17194 (April 10, 2017).

    3See Nucor Corporation's withdrawal of review request dated July 10, 2017. Because the 90th day from the publication of the Initiation Notice was Sunday, July 9, 2017, the actual due date for filing the withdrawal of review request was Monday, July 10, 2017. See 19 CFR 351.303(b)(1) (“For both electronically filed and manually filed documents, if the applicable due date falls on a non-business day, the Secretary will accept documents that are filed on the next business day.”).

    Rescission of Administrative Review in Part

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1), the Department will rescind an administrative review, “in whole or in part, if a party that requested a review withdraws the request within 90 days of the date of publication of notice of initiation of the requested review.” Because Nucor Corporation withdrew its review request in a timely manner, and because no other party requested a review of the 12 companies identified above, we are rescinding the administrative review in part with respect to these 12 companies.

    Assessment

    The Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to assess antidumping duties on all appropriate entries. For these 12 companies, for which the review is rescinded, antidumping duties shall be assessed at the rate equal to the cash deposit of estimated antidumping duties required at the time of entry, or withdrawal from warehouse, for consumption, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(c)(1)(i). The Department intends to issue appropriate assessment instructions to CBP within 15 days after publication of this notice.

    Notifications To Importers

    This notice serves as a final reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f)(2) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of antidumping duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during this review period. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in the Department's presumption that reimbursement of antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of doubled antidumping duties.

    Notification Regarding Administrative Protective Orders

    This notice also serves as a reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (APO) of their responsibility concerning the disposition of proprietary information disclosed under APO, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3). Timely written notification of the return or destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and the terms of an APO is a sanctionable violation.

    This notice is issued and published in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.213(d)(4).

    Dated: July 24, 2017. James Maeder, Senior Director performing the duties of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16037 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [Application No. 94-5A007] Export Trade Certificate of Review ACTION:

    Notice of issuance of an amended Export Trade Certificate of Review to Florida Citrus Exports, L.C. (FCE), application No. 94-5A007.

    SUMMARY:

    The Secretary of Commerce, through the Office of Trade and Economic Analysis (OTEA), issued an amended Export Trade Certificate of Review to FCE on July 17, 2017. A previous amended Export Trade Certificate of Review was issued to FCE on October 13, 2010, and a notice of its issuance was published in the Federal Register on October 25, 2010.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Joseph Flynn, Director, Office of Trade and Economic Analysis, International Trade Administration, (202) 482-5131 (this is not a toll-free number) or email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title III of the Export Trading Company Act of 1982 (15 U.S.C. Sections 4001-21) (the Act) authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to issue Export Trade Certificates of Review. An Export Trade Certificate of Review protects the holder and the members identified in the Certificate from State and Federal government antitrust actions and from private treble damage antitrust actions for the export conduct specified in the Certificate and carried out in compliance with its terms and conditions. The regulations implementing Title III are found at 15 CFR part 325 (2015). OTEA is issuing this notice pursuant to 15 CFR 325.6(b), which requires the Secretary of Commerce to publish a summary of the certification in the Federal Register. Under Section 305(a) of the Act and 15 CFR 325.11(a), any person aggrieved by the Secretary's determination may, within 30 days of the date of this notice, bring an action in any appropriate district court of the United States to set aside the determination on the ground that the determination is erroneous.

    Description of Certified Conduct

    FCE's Export Trade Certificate of Review has been amended to:

    • Add the following new Member of the Certificate within the meaning of section 325.2(1) of the Regulations (15 CFR 325.2(1)): Premier Citrus Marketing, LLC.

    FCE's Export Trade Certificate of Review Membership, as amended, is listed below:

    Golden River Fruit Co., Vero Beach, Florida Hogan and Sons, Inc., Vero Beach, Florida Indian River Exchange Packers, Inc., Vero Beach, Florida Leroy E. Smith's Sons, Inc., Vero Beach, Florida The Packers of Indian River, Ltd., Ft. Pierce, Florida Premier Citrus Marketing, LLC, Vero Beach, Florida River One International Marketing, Inc., Vero Beach, Florida Riverfront Packing Co. LLC, Vero Beach, Florida Seald Sweet LLC, Vero Beach, Florida

    The effective date of the amended certificate is April 17, 2017, the date on which FCE's application to amend was deemed submitted.

    Dated: July 24, 2017. Joseph E. Flynn, Director, Office of Trade and Economic Analysis, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.
    [FR Doc. 2017-15847 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DR-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Review of National Marine Sanctuaries and Marine National Monuments Designated or Expanded Since April 28, 2007; Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment AGENCY:

    Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS), National Ocean Service (NOS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice; reopening of public comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    On June 26, 2017, NOAA published a notice in the Federal Register (82 FR 28827) to request comments to inform the review the Department of Commerce is conducting pursuant to Executive Order 13795—Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy, signed on April 28, 2017. The Department of Commerce is conducting a review of all designations and expansions of National Marine Sanctuaries and Marine National Monuments since April 28, 2007. The June 26, 2017, notice provides more information on the scope of the review, including a list of the eleven National Marine Sanctuaries and Marine National Monuments subject to the review. The Secretary of Commerce will use the review to inform the preparation of a report under Executive Order 13795, Sec. 4(b)(ii). This notice reopens the public comment period by an additional 15 days.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted no later than August 15, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket ID NOAA-NOS-2017-0066 by either of the following methods:

    Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov//#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NOS-2017-0066, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: E.O. 13795 Review, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring Metro Campus Building 4 (SSMC4), Eleventh Floor, 1305 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NOAA. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter will be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NOAA will accept anonymous comments (for electronic comments submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    William Douros, 831-647-1920, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring Metro Campus Building 4 (SSMC4), Eleventh Floor, 1305 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

    Authority:

    Executive Order 13795.

    Dated: July 25, 2017. Nicole R. LeBoeuf, Deputy Assistant Administrator For Ocean Services and Coastal Management.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16012 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-NK-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0658-XF568 Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Pacific Fishery Management Council's (Pacific Council) Highly Migratory Species Management Team (HMSMT) will hold a meeting, which is open to the public.

    DATES:

    The HMSMT meeting will be on Tuesday, August 8, 2017 to Thursday, August 10, 2017. This meeting will start at 8:30 a.m. and continue until business is concluded on each day.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held in the Pacific Room at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, 8901 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037-1508; phone: (858) 546-7000.

    Council address: Pacific Council, 7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 101, Portland, OR 97220-1384.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Kit Dahl, Pacific Council; phone: (503) 820-2422.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The purpose of the HMSMT meeting is to respond to Council guidance from its June 2017 meeting on further development of a range of alternatives for authorizing a fishery using deep-set buoy gear. The HMSMT will provide an updated range of alternatives at the Council's September 2017 meeting. The Council is scheduled to adopt the range of alternatives for public review. The HMSMT may also discuss other HMS topics on the Council's September agenda. These topics include final action on Amendment 4 to the HMS Fishery Management Plan, international management issues, review of exempted fishing permit proposals to use deep-set buoy gear, and swordfish management project planning. Although not on the September Council meeting agenda, the HMSMT may also discuss updates to the HMS Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation document and HMS-related matters scheduled on future Council agendas.

    Although nonemergency issues not contained in the meeting agenda may be discussed, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during these meetings. Action will be restricted to those issues specifically listed in this document and any issues arising after publication of this document that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, provided the public has been notified of the intent to take final action to address the emergency.

    Special Accommodations

    The meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt at (503) 820-2411 at least 10 days prior to the meeting date.

    Dated: July 26, 2017. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16033 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XF411 Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Dismantling of the Original East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; issuance of an incidental harassment authorization.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) as amended, notification is hereby given that the NMFS has issued an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) to take small numbers of six species of marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to the dismantling of the original East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (SFOBB) in the San Francisco Bay (SFB), California.

    DATES:

    This IHA will be valid from September 1, 2017, through August 31, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dale Youngkin, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401. Electronic copies of the application and supporting documents, as well as a list of references cited in this document, may be obtained at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/construction.htm. In case of problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed above.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) direct the Secretary of Commerce to allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if certain findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, a notice of a proposed authorization is provided to the public for review.

    An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings are set forth.

    NMFS has defined “negligible impact” in 50 CFR 216.103 as an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival.

    The MMPA states that the term “take” means to harass, hunt, capture, kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal.

    Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the MMPA defines “harassment” as: Any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A harassment); or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering (Level B harassment).

    National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

    NMFS prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the take of marine mammals incidental to construction of the East Span of the SFOBB and made a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) on November 4, 2003. Due to the modification of part of the construction project and the mitigation measures, NMFS reviewed additional information from CALTRANS regarding empirical measurements of pile driving noises for the smaller temporary piles without an air bubble curtain system and the use of vibratory pile driving. NMFS prepared a Supplemental Environmental Assessment (SEA) and analyzed the potential impacts to marine mammals that would result from the modification of the action. A FONSI was signed on August 5, 2009. In addition, for CALTRANS' Piers E4 and E5 demolition using controlled implosion, NMFS prepared an SEA and analyzed the potential impacts to marine mammals that would result from the modification. A FONSI was signed on September 3, 2015. The proposed activity and expected impacts remain within what was previously analyzed in the EA and SEAs. Therefore, no additional NEPA analysis is warranted. A copy of the SEA and FONSI is available at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/construction.htm. In case of problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed above.

    Summary of Request

    On April 5, 2017, CALTRANS submitted a request to NMFS for an IHA to take marine mammals incidental to the dismantling of the original East Span of the SFOBB in the San Francisco Bay. On May 1, 2017, NMFS deemed the application adequate and complete. CALTRANS requested authorization for incidental take by harassment only and NMFS concurs that mortality is not expected to result from this activity. NMFS is proposing to issue an IHA that will authorize take by Level B harassment of Pacific harbor seal, California sea lion, northern elephant seal, northern fur seal, harbor porpoise, and bottlenose dolphin incidental to CALTRANS' activities. As described in the Overview section, previous IHAs have been issued to CALTRANS for similar activities, specifically for the use of mechanical dismantling and controlled blasts to implode piers of the original East Span of the SFOBB.

    Description of the Specified Activity Overview

    CALTRANS proposes removal of the original East Span of the SFOBB by mechanical dismantling and by use of controlled charges to implode 13 piers (Piers E6-E18) into their open cellular chambers below the mudline. Activities associated with dismantling the original East Span may potentially result in incidental take of marine mammals due to the use of highly controlled charges to dismantle the marine foundations of the piers.

    Several previous one-year IHAs have been issued to CALTRANS for pile driving/removal and construction of the new SFOBB East Span beginning in 2003. NMFS has issued 10 IHAs to CALTRANS for the SFOBB Project. The first five IHAs (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011) addressed potential impacts associated with pile driving for the construction of the new East Span of the SFOBB. IHAs issued in 2013, 2014 and July 2015 addressed activities associated with both constructing the new East Span and dismantling the original East Span, specifically addressing vibratory pile driving, vibratory pile extraction/removal, attenuated impact pile driving, pile proof testing, and mechanical dismantling of temporary and permanent marine foundations. On September 9, 2015, NMFS issued an IHA to CALTRANS for incidental take associated with the demolition of Pier E3 of the original SFOBB by highly controlled explosives (80 FR 57584, September 24, 2015). On September 30, 2016, NMFS issued an IHA authorizing the incidental take of marine mammals associated with both pile driving/removal and controlled implosion of Piers E4 and E5 (81 FR 67313). CALTRANS is requesting this IHA to continue dismantling the original East Span of the SFOBB using mechanical means as well as five to six implosion events to dismantle 13 piers (Piers E6-E18). CALTRANS does not anticipate any further in-water pile installation or pile removal for the SFOBB project, and is not requesting coverage under this IHA to conduct pile driving/removal activities.

    A detailed description of the planned SFOBB dismantling project is provided in the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (82 FR 26063, June 6, 2017). Since that time, no changes have been made to the planned activities. Therefore, a detailed description is not provided here. Please refer to that Federal Register notice for the description of the specific activity.

    Comments and Responses

    A notice of NMFS' proposal to issue an IHA to CALTRANS for the SFOBB project was published in the Federal Register on June 6, 2017 (82 FR 26063). That notice described, in detail, CALTRANS' activity, the marine mammal species that may be affected by the activity, and the anticipated effects on marine mammals. During the 30-day public comment period, NMFS received only one pertinent comment letter, from the Marine Mammal Commission (Commission).

    Comment 1: The Commission concurs with NMFS' preliminary finding and recommends that NMFS issue the incidental harassment authorization, subject to the inclusion of the proposed mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures.

    Response: NMFS thanks the Commission for its comment and concurs with the Commission's recommendations. NMFS has issued the IHA to CALTRANS.

    Description of Marine Mammals in the Area of the Specified Activity

    A detailed description of the species likely to be affected by CALTRANS' SFOBB project, including brief introductions to the species and relevant stocks as well as available information regarding population trends and threats, and information regarding local occurrence were provided in the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (82 FR 26063, June 6, 2017). Since that time, we are not aware of any changes in the status of those species and stocks that would affect our analyses or determinations; therefore, detailed descriptions are not provided here.

    Table 1 lists all species and stocks with potential for occurrence in the San Francisco Bay and summarizes information related to the species or stock, including potential biological removal (PBR). Since the time of the proposed IHA, NMFS' SARs have been updated and finalized; however, there were no changes for the marine mammal species or stocks with potential for occurrence in the San Francisco Bay. For taxonomy, we follow Committee on Taxonomy (2016). PBR is defined by the MMPA as the maximum number of animals, not including natural mortalities that may be removed from a marine mammal stock while allowing that stock to reach or maintain its optimum sustainable population. PBR is considered in concert with the known sources of ongoing anthropogenic mortality to assess the population-level effects of the anticipated mortality from a specific project (as described in NMFS's SARs). While no mortality is anticipated or authorized here, PBR information is included here as a gross indicator of the status of the species and other threats. Gray whales are a species that could potentially occur in the proposed project area but are not expected to have reasonable potential to be harassed by CALTRANS' SFOBB actions because they are unlikely to occur in the project area, as discussed above. This species is included in Table 1 but is omitted from further analysis. For species status, we provide information regarding U.S. regulatory status under the MMPA and ESA in Table 2.

    Table 1—Marine Mammal Species Potentially Present in Region of Activity Common name Scientific name ESA/MMPA
  • status
  • Occurrence Seasonality Range Stock abundance Potential
  • biological
  • removal
  • (PBR)
  • Harbor seal (CA stock) Phoca vitulina richardii NL/ND Common Year round California 30,968 1,641 California sea lion (US stock) Zalophus californianus NL/ND Common Year round California 296,750 9,200 Northern fur seal (CA stock) Callorhinus ursinus NL/ND Rare Year round California 12,844 451 Northern elephant seal (CA breeding stock) Mirounga angustirostris NL/ND Occasional Spring & fall California 179,000 4,882 Gray whale (Eastern north Pacific stock) Eschrichtius robustus NL*/ND Rare Spring & fall Mexico to the U.S. Arctic Ocean 20,990 624 Harbor porpoise (SF-Russian River stock) Phocoena phocoena NL/ND Rare Year round California 9,886 66 Coastal Bottlenose dolphin (CA coastal stock) Tursiops truncatus NL/ND Rare Year round California 323 2.4 NL = Not Listed; * The E. North Pacific population is not listed under the ESA.; ND = Not Depleted under the MMPA
    Potential Effects of the Specified Activity on Marine Mammals and Their Habitat

    The proposed CALTRANS SFOBB work using controlled charges (i.e., implosion events) could adversely affect marine mammal species and stocks by exposing them to elevated noise levels in the vicinity of the activity area. Based on the nature of the other activities associated with the dismantling of Piers E6 through E18 of the original SFOBB East Span (mechanical dismantling) and measured sound levels from those activities during past monitoring associated with previous IHAs, NMFS does not expect activities other than implosion events to contribute to underwater noise levels such that take of marine mammals would potentially occur. The project would not result in permanent impacts to habitats used directly be marine mammals, nor impact food sources in any significant adverse way. The Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (82 FR 26063, June 6, 2017) included a discussion of the effects of disturbance on marine mammals and their habitat. That information has not changed and is not repeated here. Please refer to the Federal Register notice for that information.

    Estimated Take

    This section provides a summary of the number of incidental takes authorized through the IHA, which informed both NMFS' consideration of whether the number of takes is “small” and the negligible impact determination.

    Detailed information on how estimated take was calculated was provided in the Estimated Take section of the proposed IHA Federal Register notice (82 FR 26063, June 6, 2017; 26070-26074). Please refer to that Federal Register notice for that detailed information. Harassment is the only type of take expected to result from these activities. Authorized takes would be by Level B harassment only, in the form of disruption of behavioral patterns and/or TTS for individual marine mammals resulting from exposure to noise from the controlled implosions of 13 piers of the original East Span of the SFOBB. Based on the nature of activity and past results from controlled implosions of Piers E3, E4, and E5, Level A harassment is neither anticipated nor authorized.

    A summary of the authorized number of takes by implosion of Piers E6 through E18 is provided in Table 2.

    Table 2—Summary of Authorized Takes of Marine Mammals for the Pier E4 and E5 Implosions Species Level B
  • behavioral
  • Level B
  • TTS
  • Stock
  • abundance
  • Percent
  • take of
  • population
  • Pacific harbor seal 66 48 30,968 0.37 California sea lion 18 12 296,750 0.01 Northern elephant seal 6 3 179,000 0.01 Northern fur seal 6 3 12,844 0.21 Harbor porpoise 18 9 9,886 0.09 Bottlenose dolphin 6 3 323 2.8 Total 120 78
    Mitigation

    In order to issue an incidental take authorization under section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA, NMFS must set forth the permissible methods of taking pursuant to such activity, and other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on such species or stock and its habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on the availability of such species or stock for taking for certain subsistence uses (the latter is not applicable for this action). NMFS' regulations require applicants for incidental take authorizations to include information about the availability and feasibility (economic and technological) of equipment, methods, and manner of conducting such activity or other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact upon the affected species or stocks and their habitat (50 CFR 216.104(a)(11)).

    In evaluating how mitigation may or may not be appropriate to ensure the least practicable adverse impact on species or stocks and their habitat, as well as subsistence uses where applicable, we carefully weigh two primary factors: (1) The manner in which, and the degree to which, the successful implementation of the measure(s) is expected to reduce impacts to marine mammals, marine mammal species or stocks, and their habitat, which considers the nature of the potential adverse impact being mitigated (likelihood, scope, range), as well as the likelihood that the measure will be effective if implemented; and (2) the practicability of the measures for applicant implementation, which may consider such things as cost and impact on operations.

    Mitigation Measures for Confined Implosion

    For CALTRANS's proposed controlled implosions of Piers E6 through E18, CALTRANS will utilize the mitigation measures discussed below to minimize the potential impacts to marine mammals in the project vicinity, which were developed and successfully employed for previous controlled implosions of other piers of the original East Span of the SFOBB. The primary purposes of these mitigation measures are to minimize impacts by reducing sound levels from the activities and to monitor for marine mammals within designated exclusion zones and zones of influence (ZOI). Specific mitigation measures are:

    Time Restriction

    Implosion of Piers E6 through E18 will only be conducted during daylight hours, with enough time for pre and post implosion monitoring during daylight hours. Implosion events will also only be conducted during periods with good visibility when the largest exclusion zone can be visually monitored. In addition, to minimize impacts on biological resources, implosion events will be conducted at slack tides between September and November.

    Installation of Blast Attenuation System (BAS)

    Prior to the demolition of Piers E6 through E18, CALTRANS will install a Blast Attenuation System (BAS) as described above to reduce the noise and shockwave from the implosion.

    Establishment of Level A Exclusion Zone

    CALTRANS will establish marine mammal exclusion zones (MMEZ) for both the mortality and Level A harassment zone (including permanent threshold shift (PTS), GI track injury, and slight lung injury) using the criteria threshold that extends out the furthest distance (refer to Table 3). As an additional conservative measure to ensure that no marine mammals are taken by Level A harassment, the field-implemented MMEZ will be 20 percent larger than the calculated distances to threshold criteria.

    Table 3—Threshold Distances (Feet (Meters)) Calculated for Each Implosion Scenario Group Species Level B harassment Behavioral
  • (ft (m))
  • TTS (pk/SELcum)
  • (ft (m))
  • Level A harassment PTS (pk/SELcum)
  • (ft (m))
  • Serious injury GI tract
  • (ft (m))
  • Slight lung (ft (m)) Mortality
  • (ft (m))
  • Implosion of Pier E6 Mid-freq cetacean Bottlenose dolphin 1,330 ft/(405m) 180ft/881ft (55m/57m) 98ft/256ft (30m/78m) 48ft (15m) 48ft (15 m) <40ft (<12m). High-freq cetacean Harbor porpoise 12,567ft (3,830m) 3,127ft/8,358ft (953m/2,548m) 1,697ft/2,459ft (517m/750m) 48ft (15m) 48ft (15 m) <40ft (<12m). Phocidae Harbor seal & northern elephant seal 2,220ft (677m) 613ft/1,484ft (187m/452m) 332ft/443ft (101m/135m) 48ft (15m) 48ft (15 m) <40ft (<12m). Otariidae California sea lion & northern fur seal 554ft (169m) 147ft/367ft (45m/112m) 80ft/106ft (24m/48m) 48ft (15m) 48ft (15 m) <40ft (<12m). Implosion of Two 504-ft Span Piers Mid-freq cetacean Bottlenose dolphin 1,055ft (322m) 166ft/685ft (51m/208m) 90ft/190ft (27m/58m) 48ft (15m) <40ft (<12m) <40ft (<12m). High-freq cetacean Harbor porpoise 10,300ft (3,139m) 2,882ft/6,800ft (878m/2,073m) 1,564ft/1,966ft (477m/599m) 48ft (15m) <40ft (<12m) <40ft (<12m). Phocidae Harbor seal & northern elephant seal 1,790ft (546m) 565ft/1,186ft (172m/361m) 306ft/333ft (93m/101m) 48ft (15m) <40ft (<12m) <40ft (<12m). Otariidae California sea lion & northern fur seal 421ft (128m) 136ft/274ft (41m/84m) 74ft/78ft (23m/24m) 48ft (15m) <40ft (<12m) <40ft (<12m). Implosion of Two 288-ft Span Piers Mid-freq cetacean Bottlenose dolphin 798ft (243m) 166ft/517ft (51m/158m) 90ft/126ft (27m/38m) 48ft (15m) <40ft (<12m) <40ft (<12m). High-freq cetacean Harbor porpoise 7,700ft (2,347m) 2,882ft/5,140ft (878m/1,567m) 1,564ft/1,493ft (477m/455m) 48ft (15m) <40ft (<12m) <40ft (<12m). Phocidae Harbor seal & northern elephant seal 1,359ft (414m) 565ft/900ft (172m/274m) 306ft/232ft (93m/71m) 48ft (15m) <40ft (<12m) <40ft (<12m). Otariidae California sea lion & northern fur seal 304ft (93m) 136ft/185ft (41m/56m) 74ft/52ft (23m/16m) 48ft (15m) <40ft (<12m) <40ft (<12m). Implosion of Three 288-ft Span Piers Mid-freq cetacean Bottlenose dolphin 1,000ft (305m) 166ft/629ft (51m/192m) 90ft/132ft (27m/40m) 48ft (15m) <40ft (<12m) <40ft (<12m). High-freq cetacean Harbor porpoise 9,403ft (2,866m) 2,882ft/5,900ft (878m/1,798m) 1,564ft/1,722ft (477m/525m) 48ft (15m) <40ft (<12m) <40ft (<12m). Phocidae Harbor seal & northern elephant seal 1,580ft (482m) 565ft/1,045ft (172m/319m) 306ft/258ft (93m/79m) 48ft (15m) <40ft (<12m) <40ft (<12m). Otariidae California sea lion & northern fur seal 339ft (103m) 136ft/201ft (41m/61m) 74ft/52ft (23m/16m) 48ft (15m) <40ft (<12m) <40ft (<12m). Implosion of Four 288-ft Span Piers Mid-freq cetacean Bottlenose dolphin 1,000ft (305m) 166ft/629ft (51m/192m) 90ft/132ft (27m/40m) 48ft (15m) <40ft (<12m) <40ft (<12m). High-freq cetacean Harbor porpoise 9,935ft (3,028m) 2,882ft/6,590ft (878m/2,009m) 1,564ft/1,917ft (477m/584m) 48ft (15m) <40ft (<12m) <40ft (<12m). Phocidae Harbor seal & northern elephant seal 1,730ft (527m) 565ft/1,135ft (172m/346m) 306ft/264ft (93m/80m) 48ft (15m) <40ft (<12m) <40ft (<12m). Otariidae California sea lion & northern fur seal 349ft (106m) 136ft/204ft (41m/62m) 74ft/52ft (23m/16m) 48ft (15m) <40ft (<12m) <40ft (<12m).

    The isopleths for PTS for phocids (harbor seal and elephant seal) cover the entire area for both Level A harassment and mortality for all pinnipeds (including California sea lions and northern fur seals), as well as bottlenose dolphins. Therefore, the pinniped and dolphin exclusion zone will be established at the radial distance to the phocid PTS Level A harassment threshold plus an additional 20 percent conservative factor. The harbor porpoise exclusion zone will be established at the radial distance to the high-frequency cetacean PTS Level A harassment threshold plus an additional 20 percent conservative factor (see Table 23 and Figures 12-14 and 17-21 of the IHA application). These MMEZs will be monitored by marine mammal observers (MMOs), and if any marine mammals are observed within the MMEZs, the implosion will be delayed until the animal leaves the area or at least 15 minutes have passed since the last observation of pinnipeds and small cetaceans and at least 30 minutes have passed since the last observation of bottlenose dolphins.

    Establishment of Level B Behavioral Harassment and Temporary Hearing Threshold Shift (TTS) Monitoring Zones

    Marine mammal monitoring zones will be established for both behavioral response and temporary threshold shift (TTS) (Level B harassment). Hydroacoustic monitoring results from the implosions of Piers E3, E4, and E5 were used to calculate distances to these thresholds for the implosions of Piers E6 through E18 (see Chapter 6 and Tables 9 to 18 of the IHA application). As a conservative measure, the field-implemented behavioral response and TTS monitoring zones will be 20 percent larger than the calculated distances to threshold criteria shown in Tables 9 to 18 of the IHA application.

    The isopleths for Level B harassment to phocids (harbor seals and elephant seals) for all pier implosion scenarios cover the entire area for Level B harassment to all pinnipeds including otariids (California sea lions and fur seals) as well as bottlenose dolphins. Therefore, the pinniped and dolphin Level B harassment monitoring zones for each pier implosion scenario will be established at the radial distance to the phocid Level B harassment threshold plus an additional 20 percent conservative factor (see Tables 24 and 25 and Figures 12-16 of the IHA application).

    Communication

    All MMOs will be equipped with mobile phones and a VHF radio as a backup. One person will be designated as the Lead MMO and will be in constant contact with the Resident Engineer on site and the blasting crew. The Lead MMO will coordinate marine mammal sightings with the other MMOs. MMOs will contact the other MMOs when a sighting is made within the exclusion zone or near the exclusion zone so that the MMOs within overlapping areas of responsibility can continue to track the animal and the Lead MMO is aware of the animal. If an animal has entered the exclusion zone or is near it within 30 minutes of blasting, the Lead MMO will notify the Resident Engineer and blasting crew. The Lead MMO will keep them informed of the disposition of the animal.

    Mitigation Conclusions

    NMFS has carefully evaluated the applicant's proposed mitigation measures and considered a range of other measures in the context of ensuring that NMFS prescribes the means of effecting the least practicable impact on the affected marine mammal species and stocks and their habitat. Our evaluation of potential measures included consideration of the following factors in relation to one another:

    • The manner in which, and the degree to which, the successful implementation of the measure is expected to minimize adverse impacts to marine mammals;

    • The proven or likely efficacy of the specific measure to minimize adverse impacts as planned; and

    • The practicability of the measure for applicant implementation.

    Any mitigation measure(s) prescribed by NMFS should be able to accomplish, have a reasonable likelihood of accomplishing (based on current science), or contribute to the accomplishment of one or more of the general goals listed below:

    (1) Avoidance or minimization of injury or death of marine mammals wherever possible (goals 2, 3, and 4 may contribute to this goal);

    (2) A reduction in the numbers of marine mammals (total number or number at biologically important time or location) exposed to received levels of activities expected to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to 1, above, or to reducing harassment takes only);

    (3) A reduction in the number of times (total number or number at biologically important time or location) individuals would be exposed to received levels of activities expected to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to 1, above, or to reducing harassment takes only);

    (4) A reduction in the intensity of exposures (either total number or number at biologically important time or location) to received levels of activities expected to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to a, above, or to reducing the severity of harassment takes only);

    (5) Avoidance or minimization of adverse effects to marine mammal habitat, paying special attention to the food base, activities that block or limit passage to or from biologically important areas, permanent destruction of habitat, or temporary destruction/disturbance of habitat during a biologically important time; and/or

    (6) For monitoring directly related to mitigation—an increase in the probability of detecting marine mammals, thus allowing for more effective implementation of the mitigation.

    Based on our evaluation of the applicant's proposed measures, as well as other measures considered by NMFS, NMFS has determined that the mitigation measures provide the means of effecting the least practicable impact on marine mammals species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance.

    Monitoring and Reporting

    In order to issue an IHA for an activity, section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA states that NMFS must set forth, requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking. The MMPA implementing regulations at 50 CFR 216.104 (a)(13) indicate that requests for Incidental Take Authorizations (ITA) must include the suggested means of accomplishing the necessary monitoring and reporting that will result in increased knowledge of the species and of the level of taking or impacts on populations of marine mammals that are expected to be present in the proposed action area. Effective reporting is critical to both compliance as well as ensuring that the most value is obtained from the required monitoring. CALTRANS has proposed marine mammal monitoring measures as part of the IHA application found at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental.htm.

    Monitoring measures NMFS prescribes shall improve our understanding of one or more of the following:

    • Occurrence of marine mammal species or stocks in the area in which take is anticipated (e.g., presence, absence, distribution, density);

    • Nature, scope, or context of likely marine mammal exposure to potential stressors/impacts (individual or cumulative, acute or chronic), through better understanding of: (1) Action or environment (e.g., source characterization, propagation, ambient noise); (2) affected species (e.g., life history, dive patterns); (3) co-occurrence of marine mammal species with the action; or (4) biological or behavioral context of exposure (e.g., age, calving, or feeding areas);

    • Individual marine mammal responses (behavioral or physiological) to acoustic stressors (acute, chronic, or cumulative), other stressors, or cumulative impacts from multiple stressors;

    • How anticipated responses to stressors impact either: (1) Long-term fitness and survival of individual marine animals; or (2) populations, species, or stocks;

    • Effects on marine mammal habitat (e.g., marine mammal prey species, acoustic habitat, or other important physical components of marine mammal habitat); and/or

    • Mitigation and monitoring effectiveness.

    Monitoring Measures

    As most elements of marine mammal monitoring plans for pile driving activities are similar to what would be required for underwater implosions, monitoring for impacts to marine mammals from the implosion activities for Piers E3, E4, and E5 were based on the SFOBB pile driving monitoring protocol. Monitoring for the implosion events for Piers E6 through E18 will also be based on the SFOBB pile driving monitoring protocol and past implosion activities for Piers E3, E4, and E5. These monitoring plans include monitoring an exclusion zone and ZOIs for TTS and behavioral harassment described above as well as the following:

    (1) Marine Mammal Observers

    A minimum of 10 MMOs will be required during the controlled implosions of Piers E6 through E18 so that the MMEZ, Level B Harassment TTS and Behavioral ZOIs, and surrounding area can be monitored. Up to 15 MMOs will be required for implosion events involving multiple piers in order to monitor the full extent of these areas. One MMO will be designated as the Lead MMO and would receive updates from other MMOs on the presence or absence of marine mammals within the MMEZ and will notify the Environmental Compliance Manager of a cleared exclusion zone to the implosion(s).

    (2) Monitoring Protocol

    Implosions of Piers E6 through E18 will be conducted only during daylight hours and with enough time for pre and post-implosion monitoring during daylight hours, and with good visibility (i.e., clear skies and no high winds). This work will be completed so that MMOs will be able to detect marine mammals within the exclusion zones and beyond. The Lead MMO will be in contact with other MMOs and if any marine mammals enter an exclusion zone within 30 minutes of blasting, the Lead MMO will notify the Environmental Compliance Manager that the implosion may need to be delayed. The Lead MMO will keep the Environmental Compliance Manager informed about the disposition of the animal. If the animal remains in the MMEZ, blasting will be delayed until it has left the exclusion zone. If the animal dives and is not seen again, blasting will be delayed at least 15 minutes for pinnipeds and small cetacean (harbor porpoise), and 30 minutes for bottlenose dolphin. After the implosion has occurred, the MMOs will continue to monitor the area for at least 60 minutes.

    (3) Data Collection

    Each MMO will record the observation position, start and end times of observations, and weather conditions (i.e., sunny/cloudy, wind speed, fog, visibility). For each marine mammal sighting, the following will be recorded, if possible:

    • Species;

    • Number of animals (with or without pup/calf);

    • Age class (pup/calf, juvenile, adult);

    • Identifying marks or color (e.g., scars, red pelage, damaged dorsal fin);

    • Position relative to piers being imploded (distance and direction);

    • Movement (direction and relative speed); and

    • Behavior (e.g., logging (resting at the surface), swimming, spy-hopping (raising above the water surface to view the area), foraging).

    (4) Post-Implosion Survey

    Although any injury or mortality from the implosions of Piers E6 through E18 is very unlikely, boat or shore surveys will be conducted daily for 3 days following the event, to determine whether any injured or stranded marine mammals are in the area. If an injured or dead animal is discovered during these surveys or by other means, the NMFS-designated stranding team will be contacted to pick up the animal. Veterinarians will treat the animal or will conduct a necropsy to attempt to determine whether it stranded because of the pier implosions.

    Reporting Measures

    CALTRANS is required to submit a draft monitoring report within 90 days after completion of the construction work or the expiration of the IHA, whichever comes first. This draft report will detail the monitoring protocol, summarize the data recorded during monitoring, and estimate the number of marine mammals that may have been harassed. NMFS will have an opportunity to provide comments on the draft report within 30 days, and if NMFS has comments, CALTRANS will address the comments and submit a final report to NMFS within 30 days. If no comments are provided by NMFS after 30 days of receiving the report, the draft report will be considered final.

    Marine Mammal Stranding Plan

    Stranding plans for the pier implosions of Piers E3, E4, and E5 were prepared in cooperation with the local NMFS-designated marine mammal stranding, rescue, and rehabilitation center. An updated version of this plan will be implemented during implosions of Piers E6 through E18. Although avoidance and minimization measures likely will prevent any injuries, preparations will be made in the unlikely event that marine mammals are injured. Elements of the plan will include the following:

    1. The stranding crew will prepare treatment areas at an NMFS-designated facility for cetaceans or pinnipeds that may be injured from the implosions. Preparation will include equipment to treat lung injuries, auditory testing equipment, dry and wet caged areas to hold animals, and operating rooms if surgical procedures are necessary;

    2. A stranding crew and a veterinarian will be on call near the piers at the time of the implosions to quickly recover any injured marine mammals, provide emergency veterinary care, stabilize the animal's condition, and transport individuals to an NMFS-designated facility. If an injured or dead animal is found, NMFS (both the regional office and headquarters) will be notified immediately, even if the animal appears to be sick or injured from causes other than the implosions;

    3. Post-implosion surveys will be conducted immediately after the event and over the following 3 days to determine whether any injured or dead marine mammals are in the area; and

    4. Any veterinarian procedures, euthanasia, rehabilitation decisions, and time of release or disposition of the animal will be at the discretion of the NMFS-designated facility staff and the veterinarians treating the animals. Any necropsies to determine whether the injuries or death of an animal was the result of an implosion or other anthropogenic or natural causes will be conducted at an NMFS-designated facility by the stranding crew and veterinarians. The results will be communicated to both the CALTRANS and to NMFS as soon as possible, followed by a written report within a month.

    Negligible Impact Analysis and Determinations

    NMFS has defined negligible impact as an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (50 CFR 216.103). A negligible impact finding is based on the lack of likely adverse effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (i.e., population-level effects). An estimate of the number of Level B harassment takes, alone, is not enough information on which to base an impact determination. In addition to considering estimates of the number of marine mammals that might be “taken” through behavioral harassment, NMFS must consider other factors, such as the likely nature of any responses (their intensity, duration, etc.), the context of any responses (e.g., critical reproductive time or location, migration, etc.), as well as effects on habitat, and the likely effectiveness of the mitigation. We also assess the number, intensity, and context of estimated takes by evaluating this information relative to population status. Consistent with the 1989 preamble for NMFS' implementing regulations (54 FR 40338; September, 29, 1989), the impacts from other past and ongoing anthropogenic activities are incorporated into this analysis via their impacts on the environmental baseline (e.g., as reflected in the regulatory status of the species, population size and growth rate where known, ongoing sources of human-caused mortality, or ambient noise levels).

    To avoid repetition, this introductory discussion of our analyses applies to all the species and stocks listed in Table 2, given that the anticipated effects of CALTRANS' SFOBB construction activities involving controlled implosions for Piers E6 through E18 on marine mammals are expected to be relatively similar in nature.

    No injuries or mortalities are anticipated to occur as a result of CALTRANS' SFOBB activity associated with the controlled implosions to demolish Piers E6 through E18, and none are authorized. The relatively low marine mammal density and small Level A exclusion zones make injury takes of marine mammals unlikely, based on take calculation described above. In addition, the Level A exclusion zones will be thoroughly monitored before the proposed implosion, and detonation activity will be postponed if any marine mammal is sighted within the exclusion zone.

    The takes that are anticipated and authorized are expected to be limited to short-term Level B harassment (behavioral responses and TTS). Due to implementation of mitigation measures and proven success in implementation of these measures as evidenced during previous SFOBB activities, more significant acute stress responses, serious injury or mortality, and more significant behavioral responses are not anticipated as a result of the proposed activities. Marine mammals (Pacific harbor seal, northern elephant seal, California sea lion, northern fur seal, harbor porpoise, and bottlenose dolphin) present in the vicinity of the action area and taken by Level B harassment would most likely show overt brief disturbance (startle reaction) and avoidance of the area from elevated noise level during the implosion noise. A few marine mammals could experience TTS if they occur within the Level B TTS ZOI. However, TTS is a temporary loss of hearing sensitivity when exposed to loud sound, and the hearing threshold is expected to recover completely within minutes to hours. Therefore, it is not considered an injury. In addition, even if an animal receives a TTS, the TTS would be a one-time event from a brief impulse noise (about 5 seconds), making it unlikely that the TTS would lead to PTS. Finally, there is no critical habitat or other biologically important areas in the vicinity of CALTRANS' proposed controlled implosion areas (Calambokidis et al., 2015).

    The project also is not expected to have significant adverse effects on affected marine mammals' habitat, as analyzed in detail in the “Potential Effects of the Specified Activity on Marine Mammals and their Habitat” section of the proposed IHA Federal Register notice (82 FR 26063, June 6, 2017; 26067-26070). There is no biologically important area in the vicinity of the SFOBB project area. The project activities would not permanently modify existing marine mammal habitat. The activities may kill some fish and cause other fish to leave the area temporarily, thus impacting marine mammals' foraging opportunities in a limited portion of the foraging range; but, because of the short duration of the activities and the relatively small area of the habitat that may be affected, the impacts to marine mammal habitat are not expected to cause significant or long-term negative consequences.

    Based on the best available information, the likely effects of the specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into consideration the implementation of the proposed monitoring and mitigation measures, NMFS finds that the total marine mammal take from CALTRANS's SFOBB demolition via controlled implosions of Piers E6 through E18 will have a negligible impact on the affected marine mammal species or stocks.

    Small Numbers

    Table 2 presents the numbers of marine mammals that could be taken by Level B harassment incidental to CALTRAN's activities. Our analysis shows that less than 2.8 percent of the affected stocks could be taken by behavioral harassment and TTS (see Table 2 in this document). Therefore, the numbers of marine mammals estimated to be taken are small relative to total populations of the affected species or stocks. In addition, the mitigation and monitoring measures (described previously in this document) prescribed in the IHA are expected to reduce even further any potential disturbance to marine mammals.

    Based on the analysis contained herein of the likely effects of the specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into consideration the implementation of the mitigation and monitoring measures, NMFS finds that small numbers of marine mammals will be taken relative to the populations of the affected species or stocks.

    Impact on Availability of Affected Species for Taking for Subsistence Uses

    There are no subsistence uses of marine mammals in the proposed project area; and, thus, no subsistence uses impacted by this action. Therefore, NMFS has determined that the total taking of affected species or stocks would not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of such species or stocks for taking for subsistence purposes.

    Endangered Species Act

    NMFS has determined that issuance of the IHA will have no effect on listed marine mammals, as none are known to occur in the action area.

    Authorization

    NMFS has issued an IHA to CALTRANS for conducting SFOBB activities involving demolition via controlled implosion of Piers E6 through E18, provided the previously mentioned mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements are incorporated.

    Dated: July 24, 2017. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-15890 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary Revised Non-Foreign Overseas per Diem Rates AGENCY:

    Defense Travel Management Office, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice of revised non-foreign overseas per diem rates.

    SUMMARY:

    The Defense Travel Management Office is publishing Civilian Personnel Per Diem Bulletin Number 306. This bulletin lists revisions in the per diem rates prescribed for U.S. Government employees for official travel in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands and Possessions of the United States when applicable. Actual Expense Allowance changes announced in Bulletin Number 194 remain in effect. Bulletin Number 306 is being published in the Federal Register to assure that travelers are paid per diem at the most current rates.

    DATES:

    The revised per diem rates go into effect August 1, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Sonia Malik, 571-372-1276.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This document gives notice of revisions in per diem rates prescribed by the Defense Travel Management Office for non-foreign areas outside the contiguous United States. Per Diem Bulletins published periodically in the Federal Register now constitute the only notification of revisions in per diem rates to agencies and establishments outside the Department of Defense. For more information or questions about per diem rates, please contact your local travel office. Civilian Bulletin 306 includes updated rates for Hawaii, Midway Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

    Dated: July 26, 2017. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. Maximum Per Diem Rates for Official Travel in Alaska, Hawaii, the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico and the Northern Islands and Possessions of the United States by Federal Government Civilian Employees Locality Maximum lodging amount Meals and incidentals rate Maximum per diem rate Effective date (A) + (B) = (C) ALASKA: [OTHER]: 01/01-12/31 120 88 208 03/01/2017 ADAK: 10/01-04/30 150 60 210 03/01/2017 05/01-09/30 192 60 252 03/01/2017 ANCHORAGE [INCL NAV RES]: 05/16-09/30 229 94 323 03/01/2017 10/01-05/15 199 94 293 03/01/2017 BARROW: 05/01-09/30 238 89 327 03/01/2017 10/01-04/30 205 89 294 03/01/2017 BARTER ISLAND LRRS: 01/01-12/31 120 88 208 03/01/2017 BETHEL: 01/01-12/31 219 108 327 03/01/2017 BETTLES: 01/01-12/31 175 70 245 03/01/2017 CAPE LISBURNE LRRS: 01/01-12/31 120 88 208 03/01/2017 CAPE NEWENHAM LRRS: 01/01-12/31 120 88 208 03/01/2017 CAPE ROMANZOF LRRS: 01/01-12/31 120 88 208 03/01/2017 CLEAR AB: 01/01-12/31 120 88 208 03/01/2017 COLD BAY LRRS: 01/01-12/31 120 88 208 03/01/2017 COLDFOOT: 01/01-12/31 165 70 235 10/01/2006 COPPER CENTER: 05/15-09/15 169 84 253 03/01/2017 09/16-05/14 97 84 181 03/01/2017 CORDOVA: 01/01-12/31 140 111 251 03/01/2017 CRAIG: 04/01-09/30 254 78 332 03/01/2017 10/01-03/31 90 78 168 03/01/2017 DEADHORSE: 01/01-12/31 170 51 221 03/01/2016 DELTA JUNCTION: 05/01-09/30 169 78 247 03/01/2017 10/01-04/30 139 78 217 03/01/2017 DENALI NATIONAL PARK: 06/01-08/31 185 86 271 03/01/2017 09/01-05/31 139 86 225 03/01/2017 DILLINGHAM: 10/02-05/14 220 85 305 03/01/2017 05/15-10/01 350 85 435 03/01/2017 DUTCH HARBOR-UNALASKA: 01/01-12/31 142 101 243 03/01/2017 EARECKSON AIR STATION: 01/01-12/31 146 74 220 07/01/2016 EIELSON AFB: 05/15-09/15 154 90 244 03/01/2017 09/16-05/14 75 90 165 03/01/2017 ELFIN COVE: 01/01-12/31 275 86 361 03/01/2017 ELMENDORF AFB: 05/16-09/30 229 94 323 03/01/2017 10/01-05/15 199 94 293 03/01/2017 FAIRBANKS: 05/15-09/15 154 90 244 03/01/2017 09/16-05/14 75 90 165 03/01/2017 FOOTLOOSE: 01/01-12/31 175 18 193 10/01/2002 FORT YUKON LRRS: 01/01-12/31 120 88 208 03/01/2017 FT. GREELY: 10/01-04/30 139 78 217 03/01/2017 05/01-09/30 169 78 247 03/01/2017 FT. RICHARDSON: 05/16-09/30 229 94 323 03/01/2017 10/01-05/15 199 94 293 03/01/2017 FT. WAINWRIGHT: 05/15-09/15 154 90 244 03/01/2017 09/16-05/14 75 90 165 03/01/2017 GAMBELL: 01/01-12/31 133 51 184 03/01/2016 GLENNALLEN: 05/15-09/15 169 84 253 03/01/2017 09/16-05/14 97 84 181 03/01/2017 HAINES: 01/01-12/31 107 101 208 01/01/2011 HEALY: 09/01-05/31 139 86 225 03/01/2017 06/01-08/31 185 86 271 03/01/2017 HOMER: 05/01-09/30 200 70 270 03/01/2017 10/01-04/30 160 70 230 03/01/2017 JB ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON: 05/16-09/30 229 94 323 03/01/2017 10/01-05/15 199 94 293 03/01/2017 JUNEAU: 05/01-09/15 189 106 295 03/01/2017 09/16-04/30 169 106 275 03/01/2017 KAKTOVIK: 01/01-12/31 165 86 251 10/01/2002 KAVIK CAMP: 01/01-12/31 250 51 301 03/01/2016 KENAI-SOLDOTNA: 05/01-09/30 179 103 282 03/01/2017 10/01-04/30 99 103 202 03/01/2017 KENNICOTT: 01/01-12/31 295 89 384 03/01/2017 KETCHIKAN: 05/01-09/01 243 96 339 03/01/2017 09/02-04/30 220 96 316 03/01/2017 KING SALMON: 05/01-10/01 225 91 316 10/01/2002 10/02-04/30 125 81 206 10/01/2002 KING SALMON LRRS: 01/01-12/31 120 88 208 03/01/2017 KLAWOCK: 04/01-09/30 254 78 332 03/01/2017 10/01-03/31 90 78 168 03/01/2017 KODIAK: 05/01-09/30 180 90 270 03/01/2017 10/01-04/30 152 90 242 03/01/2017 KOTZEBUE: 01/01-12/31 299 98 397 03/01/2017 KULIS AGS: 05/16-09/30 229 94 323 03/01/2017 10/01-05/15 199 94 293 03/01/2017 MCCARTHY: 01/01-12/31 295 89 384 03/01/2017 MCGRATH: 01/01-12/31 160 75 235 03/01/2017 MURPHY DOME: 05/15-09/15 154 90 244 03/01/2017 09/16-05/14 75 90 165 03/01/2017 NOME: 05/01-09/30 185 96 281 03/01/2017 10/01-04/30 165 96 261 03/01/2017 NOSC ANCHORAGE: 05/16-09/30 229 94 323 03/01/2017 10/01-05/15 199 94 293 03/01/2017 NUIQSUT: 01/01-12/31 234 51 285 03/01/2016 OLIKTOK LRRS: 01/01-12/31 120 88 208 03/01/2017 PETERSBURG: 01/01-12/31 120 88 208 03/01/2017 POINT BARROW LRRS: 01/01-12/31 120 88 208 03/01/2017 POINT HOPE: 01/01-12/31 175 81 256 03/01/2017 POINT LAY: 01/01-12/31 295 51 346 03/01/2017 POINT LAY LRRS: 01/01-12/31 295 51 346 03/01/2017 POINT LONELY LRRS: 01/01-12/31 120 88 208 03/01/2017 PORT ALEXANDER: 01/01-09/30 165 51 206 03/01/2017 10/01-12/31 155 51 206 03/01/2017 PORT ALSWORTH: 01/01-12/31 135 88 233 10/01/2002 PRUDHOE BAY: 01/01-12/31 170 51 221 03/01/2016 SELDOVIA: 05/01-09/30 200 70 270 03/01/2017 10/01-04/30 160 70 230 03/01/2017 SEWARD: 10/01-04/30 159 85 244 03/01/2017 05/01-0930 279 85 364 03/01/2017 SITKA-MT. EDGECUMBE: 01/01-12/31 200 98 298 03/01/2016 SKAGWAY: 05/01-09/01 243 96 339 03/01/2017 09/02-04/30 220 96 316 03/01/2017 SLANA: 05/01-09/30 139 >55 194 02/01/2005 10/01-04/30 99 55 154 02/01/2005 SPARREVOHN LRRS: 01/01-12/31 120 88 208 03/01/2017 SPRUCE CAPE: 05/01-09/30 180 90 270 03/01/2017 10/01-04/30 152 90 242 03/01/2017 ST. GEORGE: 01/01-12/31 220 51 271 03/01/2016 TALKEETNA: 01/01-12/31 100 89 189 10/01/2002 TANANA: 05/01-09/30 185 96 281 03/01/2017 10/01-04/30 165 96 261 03/01/2017 TATALINA LRRS: 01/01-12/31 120 88 208 03/01/2017 TIN CITY LRRS: 01/01-12/31 120 88 208 03/01/2017 TOK: 01/01-12/31 99 97 196 03/01/2017 VALDEZ: 05/01-09/09 185 110 295 03/01/2017 09/10-04/30 127 110 237 03/01/2017 WAINWRIGHT: 01/01-12/31 175 83 258 01/01/2011 WAKE ISLAND DIVERT AIRFIELD: 01/01-12/31 120 88 208 03/01/2017 WASILLA: 05/01-09/30 170 89 259 03/01/2017 10/01-04/30 90 89 179 03/01/2017 WRANGELL: 09/02-04/30 220 96 316 03/01/2017 05/01-09/01 243 96 339 03/01/2017 YAKUTAT: 01/01-12/31 105 94 199 01/01/2011 AMERICAN SAMOA: AMERICAN SAMOA: 01/01-12/31 139 69 208 06/01/2015 PAGO PAGO: 01/01-12/31 139 69 208 12/01/2015 GUAM: GUAM (INCL ALL MIL INSTAL): 01/01-12/31 159 87 246 07/01/2015 JOINT REGION MARIANAS (ANDERSEN): 01/01-12/31 159 87 246 07/01/2015 JOINT REGION MARIANAS (NAVAL BASE): 01/01-12/31 159 87 246 07/01/2015 TAMUNING: 01/01-12/31 159 87 246 12/01/2015 HAWAII: [OTHER]: 01/01-12/31 199 117 316 08/01/2017 CAMP H M SMITH: 01/01-12/31 177 138 315 08/01/2017 EASTPAC NAVAL COMP TELE AREA: 01/01-12/31 177 138 315 08/01/2017 FT. DERUSSEY: 01/01-12/31 177 138 315 08/01/2017 FT. SHAFTER: 01/01-12/31 177 138 315 08/01/2017 HICKAM AFB: 01/01-12/31 177 138 315 08/01/2017 HILO: 01/01-12/31 199 177 316 08/01/2017 HONOLULU: 01/01-12/31 177 138 315 08/01/2017 ISLE OF HAWAII: HILO 01/01-12/31 199 117 316 08/01/2017 ISLE OF HAWAII: OTHER: 03/24-12/17 189 161 350 08/01/2017 12/18-03/25 239 161 400 08/01/2017 ISLE OF KAUAI: 01/01-12/31 325 135 460 04/01/2016 ISLE OF MAUI: 01/01-12/31 269 160 429 08/01/2017 ISLE OF OAHU: 01/01-12/31 177 138 315 08/01/2017 JB PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM: 01/01-12/31 177 138 315 08/01/2017 KAPOLEI: 01/01-12/31 177 138 315 08/01/2017 KEKAHA PACIFIC MISSILE RANGE FAC: 01/01-12/31 325 135 460 04/01/2016 KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP: 01/01-12/31 199 117 316 08/01/2017 LANAI: 01/01-12/31 254 111 365 08/01/2017 LIHUE: 01/01-12/31 325 135 460 04/01/2016 LUALUALEI NAVAL MAGAZINE: 01/01-12/31 177 138 315 08/01/2017 MCB HAWAII: 01/01-12/31 177 138 315 08/01/2017 MOLOKAI: 01/01-12/31 176 115 291 08/01/2017 NOSC PEARL HARBOR: 01/01-12/31 177 138 315 08/01/2017 PEARL HARBOR: 01/01-12/31 177 138 315 08/01/2017 PMRF BARKING SANDS: 01/01-12/31 325 135 460 10/01/2016 SCHOFIELD BARRACKS: 01/01-12/31 177 138 315 08/01/2017 TRIPLER ARMY MEDICAL CENTER: 01/01-12/31 177 138 315 08/01/2017 WAHIAWA NCTAMS PAC: 01/01-12/31 177 138 315 08/01/2017 WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD: 01/01-12/31 177 138 315 08/01/2017 MIDWAY ISLANDS: MIDWAY ISLANDS: 01/01-12/31 125 81 206 08/01/2017 NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS: [OTHER]: 01/01-12/31 69 84 153 08/01/2017 ROTA: 01/01-12/31 130 107 237 07/01/2015 SAIPAN: 01/01-12/31 161 101 262 08/01/2017 TINIAN: 01/01- 12/31 69 84 153 08/01/2017 PUERTO RICO: [OTHER]: 01/01-12/31 109 112 221 06/01/2012 AGUADILLA: 01/01-12/31 171 84 255 11/01/2015 BAYAMON: 06/01-11/30 167 88 255 12/01/2015 12/01-05/31 195 88 283 12/01/2015 CAROLINA: 06/01-11/30 167 88 255 12/01/2015 12/01-05/31 195 88 283 12/01/2015 CEIBA: 01/01-12/31 139 92 231 10/01/2012 CULEBRA: 01/01-12/31 150 98 248 03/01/2012 FAJARDO [INCL ROOSEVELT RDS NAVSTAT]: 01/01-12/31 139 92 231 10/01/2012 FT. BUCHANAN [INCL GSA SVC CTR, GUAYNABO]: 06/01-11/30 167 88 255 12/01/2015 12/01-05/31 195 88 283 12/01/2015 HUMACAO: 01/01-12/31 139 92 231 10/01/2012 LUIS MUNOZ MARIN IAP AGS: 06/01-11/30 167 88 255 12/01/2015 12/01-05/31 195 88 283 12/01/2015 LUQUILLO: 01/01-12/31 139 92 231 10/01/2012 MAYAGUEZ: 01/01-12/31 109 112 221 09/01/2010 PONCE: 01/01-12/31 149 89 238 09/01/2012 RIO GRANDE: 01/01-12/31 169 123 292 06/01/2012 SABANA SECA [INCL ALL MILITARY]: 06/01-11/30 167 88 255 12/01/2015 12/01-05/31 195 88 283 12/01/2015 SAN JUAN & NAV RES STA: 12/01-05/31 195 88 283 12/01/2015 06/01-11/30 167 88 255 12/01/2015 VIEQUES: 01/01-12/31 175 95 270 03/01/2012 VIRGIN ISLANDS (U.S.): ST. CROIX: 04/15-12/14 247 110 357 06/01/2015 12/15-04/14 299 116 415 06/01/2015 ST. JOHN: 05/01-12/03 170 107 277 08/01/2015 12/04-04/30 230 113 343 08/01/2015 ST. THOMAS: 04/15-12/15 249 110 359 03/01/2017 12/16-04/14 339 110 449 03/01/2017 WAKE ISLAND: WAKE ISLAND: 01/01-12/31 129 70 199 07/01/2016
    [FR Doc. 2017-16043 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DELAWARE RIVER BASIN COMMISSION Notice of Public Hearing and Business Meeting August 16 and September 14, 2017

    Notice is hereby given that the Delaware River Basin Commission will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at the Washington Crossing Historic Park Visitor Center, 1112 River Road, Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania. A business meeting will be held the following month on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at the Linksz Pavilion, Bucks County Community College, 275 Swamp Road, Newtown, Pennsylvania. The hearing and meeting are open to the public.

    Public Hearing. The public hearing on August 16, 2017 will begin at 1:30 p.m. Hearing items will include draft dockets for withdrawals, discharges, and other water-related projects subject to the Commission's review.

    The list of projects scheduled for hearing, including project descriptions, will be posted on the Commission's Web site, www.drbc.net, in a long form of this notice at least ten days before the hearing date. Any draft resolutions scheduled for hearing also will be posted at www.drbc.net ten or more days prior to the hearing.

    Written comments on matters scheduled for hearing on August 16 will be accepted through 5:00 p.m. on August 21. Time permitting, an opportunity for Open Public Comment will be provided upon the conclusion of Commission business at the September 13 Business Meeting; in accordance with recent format changes, this opportunity will not be offered upon completion of the Public Hearing.

    The public is advised to check the Commission's Web site periodically prior to the hearing date, as items scheduled for hearing may be postponed if additional time is deemed necessary to complete the Commission's review, and items may be added up to ten days prior to the hearing date. In reviewing docket descriptions, the public is also asked to be aware that project details commonly change in the course of the Commission's review, which is ongoing.

    Public Meeting. The public business meeting on September 13, 2017 will begin at 10:30 a.m. and will include: Adoption of the Minutes of the Commission's June 14, 2017 Business Meeting, announcements of upcoming meetings and events, a report on hydrologic conditions, reports by the Executive Director and the Commission's General Counsel, and consideration of any items for which a hearing has been completed or is not required. The latter are expected to include resolutions: (1) Authorizing the Executive Director to enter into an agreement with the Wildlands Conservancy for project services associated with dam removals to be performed as mitigation for natural resource damages associated with the 2005 ash slurry spill from the PPL Martins Creek Steam Electric Station in Lower Mount Bethel Township, Pa.; (2) authorizing the Executive Director to establish a purchasing card (“P-Card”) system for making electronic payments for certain Commission expenses; and (3) providing for replacement of the 1970's-era HVAC system at the Commission's West Trenton office building. After all scheduled business has been completed and as time allows, the Business Meeting will also include up to one hour of Open Public Comment.

    There will be no opportunity for additional public comment for the record at the September 13 Business Meeting on items for which a hearing was completed on August 16 or a previous date. Commission consideration on September 13 of items for which the public hearing is closed may result in approval of the item (by docket or resolution) as proposed, approval with changes, denial, or deferral. When the Commissioners defer an action, they may announce an additional period for written comment on the item, with or without an additional hearing date, or they may take additional time to consider the input they have already received without requesting further public input. Any deferred items will be considered for action at a public meeting of the Commission on a future date.

    Advance Sign-Up for Oral Comment. Individuals who wish to comment on the record during the public hearing on August 16 or to address the Commissioners informally during the Open Public Comment portion of the meeting on September 13 as time allows, are asked to sign-up in advance through EventBrite, the online registration process recently introduced by the Commission. Links to EventBrite for the Public Hearing and the Business Meeting are available at drbc.net. For assistance, please contact Ms. Paula Schmitt of the Commission staff, at [email protected]

    Addresses for Written Comment. Written comment on items scheduled for hearing may be made through SmartComment, the web-based comment system recently introduced by the Commission, a link to which is posted at drbc.net. Although use of SmartComment is strongly preferred, comments may also be delivered by hand at the public hearing; or by hand, U.S. Mail or private carrier to Commission Secretary, P.O. Box 7360, 25 Cosey Road, West Trenton, NJ 08628. For assistance, please contact Paula Schmitt at [email protected]

    Accommodations for Special Needs. Individuals in need of an accommodation as provided for in the Americans with Disabilities Act who wish to attend the informational meeting, conference session or hearings should contact the Commission Secretary directly at 609-883-9500 ext. 203 or through the Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) at 711, to discuss how we can accommodate your needs.

    Additional Information, Contacts. Additional public records relating to hearing items may be examined at the Commission's offices by appointment by contacting Carol Adamovic, 609-883-9500, ext. 249. For other questions concerning hearing items, please contact Judith Scharite, Project Review Section assistant at 609-883-9500, ext. 216.

    Dated: July 25, 2017. Pamela M. Bush, Commission Secretary and Assistant General Counsel.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16041 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6360-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [FRL-9964-99-Region 2] Proposed CERCLA Cost Recovery Settlement for the Computer Circuits Superfund Site, Hauppauge, Suffolk County, New York AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice; request for public comment.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, as amended (“CERCLA”), notice is hereby given by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), Region 2, of a proposed cost recovery settlement agreement pursuant to CERCLA, with 145 Marcus Blvd., Inc. (“Settling Party”) for the Computer Circuits Superfund Site (“Site”), located in Hauppauge, Suffolk County, New York.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before August 30, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    The proposed settlement is available for public inspection at EPA Region 2 offices at 290 Broadway, New York, New York 10007-1866. Comments should reference the Computer Circuits Superfund Site, Hauppauge, Suffolk County, New York, Index No. II-CERCLA-02-2017-2017. To request a copy of the proposed settlement agreement, please contact the EPA employee identified below.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Henry Guzman, Attorney, Office of Regional Counsel, New York/Caribbean Superfund Branch, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 290 Broadway, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10007-1866. Email: [email protected] Telephone: 212-637-3166.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Settling Party agrees to pay EPA $261,000.00 in reimbursement of EPA's past response costs paid at or in connection with the Site.

    The settlement includes a covenant by EPA not to sue or to take administrative action against the Settling Party pursuant to Section 107(a) of CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. 9607(a), with regard to the response costs related to the work at the Site enumerated in the settlement agreement. For thirty (30) days following the date of publication of this notice, EPA will receive written comments relating to the settlement. EPA will consider all comments received and may modify or withdraw its consent to the settlement if comments received disclose facts or considerations that indicate that the proposed settlement is inappropriate, improper, or inadequate. EPA's response to any comments received will be available for public inspection at EPA Region 2, 290 Broadway, New York, New York 10007-1866.

    Dated: July 5, 2017. John Prince, Acting Director, Emergency and Remedial Response Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16069 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION Notice to All Interested Parties of the Termination of the Receivership of 10381—LandMark Bank of Florida Sarasota, Florida

    Notice is hereby given that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as Receiver for LandMark Bank of Florida, Sarasota, Florida (“the Receiver”) intends to terminate its receivership for said institution. The FDIC was appointed Receiver of LandMark Bank of Florida, Sarasota, Florida on July 22, 2011. 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 34.6, 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: July 26, 2017. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16038 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6714-01-P
    FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION Notice to All Interested Parties of the Termination of the Receivership of 10397—Citizens Bank of Northern California; Nevada City, California

    Notice is hereby given that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) as Receiver for Citizens Bank of Northern California, Nevada City, California (“the Receiver”) intends to terminate its receivership for said institution. The FDIC was appointed receiver of Citizens Bank of Northern California on September 23, 2011. 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 34.6, 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: July 26, 2017. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16067 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6714-01-P
    FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION Notice to All Interested Parties of the Termination of the Receivership of 10395—The First National Bank of Florida Milton, Florida

    Notice is hereby given that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as Receiver for The First National Bank of Florida, Milton, Florida (“the Receiver”) intends to terminate its receivership for said institution. The FDIC was appointed Receiver of The First National Bank of Florida, Milton, Florida on September 9, 2011. 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 34.6, 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: July 26, 2017. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16039 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6714-01-P
    FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY [No. 2017-N-07] Proposed Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Federal Housing Finance Agency.

    ACTION:

    30-Day notice of submission of information collection for approval from Office of Management and Budget.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA or the Agency) is seeking public comments concerning an information collection known as the “Monthly Survey of Rates and Terms on Conventional 1-Family Nonfarm Mortgage Loans (MIRS),” which has been assigned control number 2590-0004 by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). FHFA intends to submit the information collection to OMB for review and approval of a three-year extension of the control number, which is due to expire on July 31, 2017.

    DATES:

    Interested persons may submit comments on or before August 30, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of the Office of Management and Budget, Attention: Desk Officer for the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Washington, DC 20503, Fax: (202) 395-3047, Email: [email protected] Please also submit comments to FHFA, identified by “Proposed Collection; Comment Request: `Monthly Survey of Rates and Terms on Conventional 1-Family Nonfarm Mortgage Loans (MIRS), (No. 2017-N-07)' ” by any of the following methods:

    Agency Web site: www.fhfa.gov/open-for-comment-or-input.

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. If you submit your comment to the Federal eRulemaking Portal, please also send it by email to FHFA at [email protected] to ensure timely receipt by the agency.

    Mail/Hand Delivery: Federal Housing Finance Agency, Eighth Floor, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC 20219, ATTENTION: Proposed Collection; Comment Request: “Monthly Survey of Rates and Terms on Conventional 1-Family Nonfarm Mortgage Loans (MIRS), (No. 2017-N-07)”.

    We will post all public comments we receive without change, including any personal information you provide, such as your name and address, email address, and telephone number, on the FHFA Web site at http://www.fhfa.gov. In addition, copies of all comments received will be available for examination by the public on business days between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., at the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Eighth Floor, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC 20219. To make an appointment to inspect comments, please call the Office of General Counsel at (202) 649-3804.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    David L. Roderer, Senior Financial Analyst, [email protected], (202) 649-3206; or Eric Raudenbush, Associate General Counsel, [email protected], (202) 649-3084 (these are not toll-free numbers); Federal Housing Finance Agency, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC 20219. The Telecommunications Device for the Hearing Impaired is (800) 877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A. Need for and Use of the Information Collection

    FHFA's Monthly Survey of Rates and Terms on Conventional 1-Family Nonfarm Mortgage Loans, commonly referred to as the “Monthly Interest Rate Survey” or “MIRS,” is a monthly survey of mortgage lenders that solicits information on the terms and conditions on all conventional, single-family, fully amortized, purchase-money mortgage loans closed during the last five working days of the preceding month. The MIRS collects monthly information on interest rates, loan terms, and house prices by property type (i.e., new or previously occupied), by loan type (i.e., fixed- or adjustable-rate), and by lender type (i.e., mortgage companies, savings associations, commercial banks, and savings banks), as well as information on 15-year and 30-year fixed-rate loans. In addition, the survey collects quarterly information on conventional loans by major metropolitan area and by Federal Home Loan Bank district. The MIRS does not collect information on loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or guaranteed by the Veterans Administration (VA), loans secured by multifamily property or manufactured housing, or loans created by refinancing another mortgage. The MIRS is one of the most timely and comprehensive sources of information on conventional mortgage rates and terms in the United States.

    The MIRS originated with one of FHFA's predecessor agencies, the former Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB), in the 1960s and was conducted by the former Federal Housing Finance Board from 1989 through 2008. Data collected through the MIRS was used to derive the FHLBB's National Average Contract Mortgage Rate for the Purchase of Previously Occupied Homes by Combined Lenders (ARM Index), which was used by lenders to set mortgage rates on adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs). For a period of years, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were required by statute to use MIRS data in making annual adjustments to their conforming loan limits.

    Since 2008, FHFA has continued to conduct the MIRS and to produce the ARM Index.1 For various reasons, the number of loans reported to MIRS has fallen dramatically over the long term, which has resulted in the data sample sizes becoming deficient.2 Although the volume of loans reported has increased moderately over the last several years, FHFA possesses limited means to compel survey recipients to provide additional data. Despite this, the agency believes it has a legal obligation to continue to carry out the survey, and its results continue to be relied upon by many outside parties.

    1 The MIRS and the ARM Index are described at 12 CFR 906.5.

    2 All publications of MIRS data include a note stating, “The indices are based on a small monthly survey of mortgage lenders, which may not be representative. The sample is not a statistical sample but is rather a convenience sample.”

    While adjustments in the conforming loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are no longer based solely on data collected through the MIRS, MIRS data remains one of the factors that FHFA is required to consider in assessing the national average one-family house price for purposes of making those adjustments.3 A few lenders use FHFA's ARM Index, derived from MIRS data, to set interest rates on fixed rate loans. In addition, businesses, trade associations, and government agencies at both the federal and state level rely upon the MIRS data for various business and regulatory purposes. For example, economic policy makers have used the MIRS data to determine trends in the mortgage markets, including interest rates, down payments, terms to maturity, terms on ARMs, and initial fees and charges on mortgage loans. Other federal banking agencies, such as the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Council of Economic Advisors, have used the MIRS results for research purposes. The Bureau of Economic Analysis of the U.S. Department of Commerce uses MIRS as a key component of some of the economic statistics it is responsible for tracking. In addition, statutes in several states and U.S. territories refer to, or rely upon, the MIRS or the ARM Index for various purposes.4

    3See 12 U.S.C. 4542.

    4See, e.g., Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1916.7(b)(5)(A) and 1916.8(b)(1) (mortgage rates); Mich. Comp. Laws § 445.1621(d), 445.1624 (mortgage index rates); N.J. Rev. Stat. 31:1-1(d) (interest rates); Wis. Stat. § 138.056(1)(a) (variable loan rates); V.I. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 951(b)(2) (legal rate of interest).

    The OMB control number for this information collection is 2590-0004. The current clearance for the information collection expires on July 31, 2017.

    B. Burden Estimate

    The Agency received a total of 1,369 monthly MIRS data submissions from 45 unique survey respondents over the period 2014-2016, representing an average of 456.3 monthly submissions per year from all respondents. Based on that figure and the expectation that it may receive slightly fewer data submissions going forward as compared to the last three years, FHFA estimates that it will receive an average of 450 data submissions annually over the next three years.

    Most MIRS respondents submit their monthly MIRS data electronically through FHFA's MIRS web interface. Several, primarily larger, respondents transmit an electronic data file to FHFA, which then uploads the data to the same web interface. A few respondents still elect to complete FHFA Form #075 and submit it by facsimile. FHFA believes that, on average, a respondent will spend 20 minutes transmitting each monthly MIRS data set.

    Thus, FHFA estimates that the annualized hour burden on all respondents imposed by this information collection over the next three years will be 150 hours (450 submissions x 0.33 hours).

    C. Comments Request

    In accordance with the requirements of 5 CFR 1320.8(d), FHFA published a request for public comments regarding this information collection in the Federal Register on May 25, 2017.5 The 60-day comment period closed on July 24, 2017. FHFA received one comment letter, from the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the U.S. Department of Commerce (BEA). In its letter, BEA states that it strongly supports FHFA's continued collection of data for the MIRS, noting that the data are “crucial to key components of BEA's economic statistics.” Specifically, BEA uses MIRS data to track contract rates of interest and to estimate financial costs as part of its estimate of rental income of persons in the national income and product accounts (NIPAs). Indirectly, the data are used in the industry annual and quarterly Input-Output and GDP-by-Industry accounts in the estimates of gross output and value added for the real estate sub-sector.

    5See 82 FR 24127 (May 25, 2017).

    In accordance with the requirements of 5 CFR 1320.10(a), FHFA is publishing this second notice to request comments regarding the following: (1) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of FHFA functions, including whether the information has practical utility; (2) the accuracy of FHFA's estimates of the burdens of the collection of information; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; and (4) 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 should be submitted in writing to both OMB and FHFA as instructed above in the COMMENTS section.

    Dated: July 25, 2017. Kevin Winkler, Chief Information Officer, Federal Housing Finance Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16042 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8070-01-P
    FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM Change in Bank Control Notices; Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding Company

    The notificants listed below have applied under the Change in Bank Control Act (12 U.S.C. 1817(j)) and § 225.41 of the Board's Regulation Y (12 CFR 225.41) to acquire shares of a bank or bank holding company. The factors that are considered in acting on the notices are set forth in paragraph 7 of the Act (12 U.S.C. 1817(j)(7)).

    The notices are available for immediate inspection at the Federal Reserve Bank indicated. The notices also will be available for inspection at the offices of the Board of Governors. Interested persons may express their views in writing to the Reserve Bank indicated for that notice or to the offices of the Board of Governors. Comments must be received not later than August 15, 2017.

    A. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis (Brendan S. Murrin, Assistant Vice President) 90 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55480-0291:

    1. Scott H. Soderberg, Eden Prairie, Minnesota, individually and as trustee of the Elizabeth Ann Soderberg Irrevocable Trust dated 12/20/12, New Richmond, Wisconsin, and Elizabeth A. Soderberg, Minnetonka, Minnesota, individually and as trustee of the Scott H. Soderberg Irrevocable Trust dated 12/20/12, New Richmond, Wisconsin; to acquire voting shares of One Corporation and thereby indirectly acquire shares of First National Community Bank, both of New Richmond, Wisconsin.

    B. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City (Dennis Denney, Assistant Vice President) 1 Memorial Drive, Kansas City, Missouri 64198-0001:

    1. Robert L. Lampert Trust No. 1 and the Andra V. Lampert Trust No. 1, both of Beloit, Kansas; individually and part of the Lamber Family Group to retain voting shares of First National Bankshares of Beloit, Inc. (the company), and thereby indirectly retain shares of The First National Bank of Beloit, both of Beloit, Kansas. Additionally, the Larry D. Lampert Trust No. 1, Beloit, Kansas, to join the the Lampert Family Group, which acting in concert controls the company.

    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, July 26, 2017. Yao-Chin Chao, Assistant Secretary of the Board.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16065 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6210-01-P
    FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION [File No. 171 0052] Baxter International Inc., Claris Lifesciences Limited, and Arjun Handa; Analysis To Aid Public Comment AGENCY:

    Federal Trade Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed Consent Agreement.

    SUMMARY:

    The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of federal law prohibiting unfair methods of competition. The attached Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the complaint and the terms of the consent orders—embodied in the consent agreement—that would settle these allegations.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before August 21, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested parties may file a comment online or on paper, by following the instructions in the Request for Comment part of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. Write: “In the Matter of Baxter International Inc., File No. 171-0052” on your comment, and file your comment online at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/baxterclarisconsent by following the instructions on the web-based form. If you prefer to file your comment on paper, write “In the Matter of Baxter International Inc., File No. 171-0052” on your comment and on the envelope, and mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite CC-5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20580, or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street SW., 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20024.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kari Wallace (202-326-3085), Bureau of Competition, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Pursuant to Section 6(f) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 2.34, 16 CFR 2.34, notice is hereby given that the above-captioned consent agreement containing a consent order to cease and desist, having been filed with and accepted, subject to final approval, by the Commission, has been placed on the public record for a period of thirty (30) days. The following Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes the terms of the consent agreement, and the allegations in the complaint. An electronic copy of the full text of the consent agreement package can be obtained from the FTC Home Page (for July 20, 2017), on the World Wide Web, at https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/commission-actions.

    You can file a comment online or on paper. For the Commission to consider your comment, we must receive it on or before August 21, 2017. Write “In the Matter of Baxter International Inc., File No. 171-0052” on your comment. Your comment—including your name and your state—will be placed on the public record of this proceeding, including, to the extent practicable, on the public Commission Web site, at https://www.ftc.gov/policy/public-comments.

    Postal mail addressed to the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security screening. As a result, we encourage you to submit your comments online. To make sure that the Commission considers your online comment, you must file it at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/baxterclarisconsent by following the instructions on the web-based form. If this Notice appears at http://www.regulations.gov/#!home, you also may file a comment through that Web site.

    If you prefer to file your comment on paper, write “In the Matter of Baxter International Inc., File No. 171-0052” on your comment and on the envelope, and mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite CC-5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20580, or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street SW., 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20024. If possible, submit your paper comment to the Commission by courier or overnight service.

    Because your comment will be placed on the publicly accessible FTC Web site at https://www.ftc.gov, you are solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include any sensitive or confidential information. In particular, your comment should not include any sensitive personal information, such as your or anyone else's Social Security number; date of birth; driver's license number or other state identification number, or foreign country equivalent; passport number; financial account number; or credit or debit card number. You are also solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include any sensitive health information, such as medical records or other individually identifiable health information. In addition, your comment should not include any “trade secret or any commercial or financial information which . . . is privileged or confidential”—as provided by Section 6(f) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 4.10(a)(2), 16 CFR 4.10(a)(2)—including in particular competitively sensitive information such as costs, sales statistics, inventories, formulas, patterns, devices, manufacturing processes, or customer names.

    Comments containing material for which confidential treatment is requested must be filed in paper form, must be clearly labeled “Confidential,” and must comply with FTC Rule 4.9(c). In particular, the written request for confidential treatment that accompanies the comment must include the factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from the public record. See FTC Rule 4.9(c). Your comment will be kept confidential only if the General Counsel grants your request in accordance with the law and the public interest. Once your comment has been posted on the public FTC Web site—as legally required by FTC Rule 4.9(b)—we cannot redact or remove your comment from the FTC Web site, unless you submit a confidentiality request that meets the requirements for such treatment under FTC Rule 4.9(c), and the General Counsel grants that request.

    Visit the FTC Web site to read this Notice and the news release describing it. The FTC Act and other laws that the Commission administers permit the collection of public comments to consider and use in this proceeding, as appropriate. The Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments that it receives on or before August 21, 2017. For information on the Commission's privacy policy, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, see https://www.ftc.gov/site-information/privacy-policy.

    Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Orders To Aid Public Comment I. Introduction

    The Federal Trade Commission (“Commission”) has accepted, subject to final approval, an Agreement Containing Consent Orders (“Consent Agreement”) from Baxter International Inc. (“Baxter”) and Claris Lifesciences Limited and Arjun Handa (collectively “Claris”) that is designed to remedy the anticompetitive effects resulting from Baxter's acquisition of voting securities of certain entities and related assets from Claris. Under the terms of the proposed Consent Agreement, the parties are required to divest all of Claris's rights and assets related to fluconazole in saline intravenous bags and milrinone in dextrose intravenous bags to Renaissance Lakewood LLC (“Renaissance”).

    The proposed Consent Agreement has been placed on the public record for thirty days for receipt of comments from interested persons. Comments received during this period will become part of the public record. After thirty days, the Commission will again evaluate the proposed Consent Agreement, along with any comments received, to make a final decision as to whether it should withdraw from the proposed Consent Agreement or make final the Decision and Order (“Order”).

    Pursuant to agreements dated December 15, 2016, Baxter proposes to acquire voting securities of certain entities and related assets from Claris in two related transactions valued at approximately $625 million (the “Proposed Acquisition”). The Commission alleges in its Complaint that the Proposed Acquisition, if consummated, would violate Section 7 of the Clayton Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C. 18, and Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C. 45, by lessening current competition in the market for fluconazole in saline intravenous bags and future competition in the market for milrinone in dextrose intravenous bags in the United States. The proposed Consent Agreement will remedy the alleged violations by preserving the competition that otherwise would be eliminated by the Proposed Acquisition.

    II. The Products and Structure of the Markets

    The Proposed Acquisition would reduce the current competition in the market for fluconazole in saline intravenous bags, and reduce future competition in the market for milrinone in dextrose intravenous bags.

    Fluconazole is an antifungal agent used to treat a variety of fungal and yeast infections. Five companies currently sell generic intravenous fluconazole bags in the United States: Baxter, Claris, Pfizer Inc. (“Pfizer”), Sagent Pharmaceuticals, and Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC (“Hikma”), but only four of these companies are significant competitors. Baxter and Claris have a combined estimated market share of nearly 60%.

    Intravenous milrinone is a vasodilator that dilates the blood vessels, lowering blood pressure and allowing blood to flow more easily through the cardiovascular system. The product is used as a short-term treatment for life-threatening heart failure. Three companies—Baxter, Hikma, and Pfizer—currently sell the product in the United States. Claris is expected to enter this market shortly, once its pending application at the FDA is approved, a development expected to occur in the very near future.

    III. Entry

    Entry into the two markets at issue would not be timely, likely, or sufficient in magnitude, character, and scope to deter or counteract the anticompetitive effects of the Proposed Acquisition. The combination of drug development times and regulatory requirements, including approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), is costly and lengthy.

    IV. Effects

    The Proposed Acquisition likely would cause significant anticompetitive harm to consumers by eliminating current competition between Baxter and Claris in the market for fluconazole in saline intravenous bags. Fluconazole in saline intravenous bags is a commodity product, and prices typically are inversely correlated with the number of competitors in each market. As the number of suppliers offering a therapeutically equivalent drug increases, the price for that drug generally decreases due to the direct competition between the existing suppliers and each additional supplier. The Proposed Acquisition would combine two of only four significant companies selling the product, likely leading consumers to pay higher prices. Customers also have indicated that the presence of an independent Claris has allowed them to negotiate lower prices for fluconazole bags.

    In addition, the Proposed Acquisition likely would cause significant anticompetitive harm to consumers by eliminating future competition that would otherwise have occurred if Baxter and Claris remained independent in the market for milrinone in dextrose intravenous bags. The evidence shows that the Proposed Acquisition, absent a remedy, would eliminate an additional independent entrant in the currently concentrated market for milrinone in dextrose intravenous bags, which would have enabled customers to negotiate lower prices. Customers and competitors have observed—and pricing data confirms—that the price of these pharmaceutical products decreases with new entry even after several other suppliers have entered the market. Thus, absent a remedy, the Proposed Acquisition likely will cause U.S. consumers to pay significantly higher prices for milrinone in dextrose intravenous bags in the future.

    V. The Consent Agreement

    The proposed Consent Agreement effectively remedies the competitive concerns raised by the acquisition in both markets at issue by requiring Claris to divest all its rights to fluconazole in saline intravenous bags and milrinone in dextrose intravenous bags to Renaissance. Renaissance is a pharmaceutical corporation that develops, manufacturers, sells, and distributes injectable pharmaceutical products in the United States. The parties must accomplish these divestitures no later than ten days after they consummate the Proposed Acquisition.

    The Commission's goal in evaluating possible purchasers of divested assets is to maintain the competitive environment that existed prior to the Proposed Acquisition. If the Commission determines that Renaissance is not an acceptable acquirer, or that the manner of the divestitures is not acceptable, the proposed Order requires the parties to unwind the sale of rights to Renaissance and then divest the products to a Commission-approved acquirer within six months of the date the Order becomes final. The proposed Order further allows the Commission to appoint a trustee in the event the parties fail to divest the products as required.

    The proposed Consent Agreement and Order contain several provisions to help ensure that the divestitures are successful. Baxter will supply Renaissance with fluconazole in saline intravenous bags and milrinone in dextrose intravenous bags for up to five years while the company transfers the manufacturing technology to Renaissance or its contract manufacturing designee. The proposed Order also requires Baxter to provide transitional services to Renaissance to assist it in establishing its manufacturing capabilities and securing all of the necessary FDA approvals. These transitional services include technical assistance to manufacture fluconazole in saline intravenous bags and milrinone in dextrose intravenous bags in substantially the same manner and quality employed or achieved by Claris. It also includes advice and training from knowledgeable employees of the parties. Under the proposed Consent Agreement, the Commission also will appoint an Interim Monitor.

    The purpose of this analysis is to facilitate public comment on the proposed Consent Agreement, and it is not intended to constitute an official interpretation of the proposed Order or to modify its terms in any way.

    By direction of the Commission.

    Donald S. Clark, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16017 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6750-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION [OMB Control No. 9000-0024; Docket 2017-0053; Sequence 2] Information Collection; Federal Acquisition Regulation: Buy American, Trade Agreements, and Duty-Free Entry AGENCY:

    Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of request for public comments regarding an extension to an existing OMB clearance.

    SUMMARY:

    Under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB) will be submitting to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request for revision and an extension to existing OMB clearances regarding the Buy American statute, Trade Agreements, and duty-free entry.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before September 29, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments identified by Information Collection 9000-0024, Buy American, Trade Agreements, and Duty-Free Entry, by any of the following methods:

    Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov.

    Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching the OMB control number 9000-0024. Select the link “Comment Now” that corresponds with “Information Collection 9000-0024, Buy American, Trade Agreements, and Duty-Free Entry. Follow the instructions provided on the screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “Information Collection 9000-0024, Buy American, Trade Agreements, and Duty-Free Entry” on your attached document.

    Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405. ATTN: Ms. Sosa/IC 9000-0024, Buy American, Trade Agreements, and Duty-Free Entry.

    Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite Information Collection 9000-0024, Buy American, Trade Agreements, and Duty-Free Entry, in all correspondence related to this collection. Comments received generally will be posted, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal and/or business confidential information provided. To confirm receipt of your comment(s), please check www.regulations.gov, approximately two to three days after submission to verify posting (except allow 30 days for posting of comments submitted by mail).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Cecelia L. Davis, Procurement Analyst, Acquisition Policy Division, GSA (202) 219-0202 or email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    A. This information collection requirement pertains to information that an offeror must submit in response to the requirements of the provisions and clauses in FAR 52.225 that relate to the following:

    * The Buy American statute (41 U.S.C. chapter 83 and E.O. 10582).

    * The Trade Agreements Act (19 U.S.C. 2501-2515), including the World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement and various free trade agreements.

    * The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Pub. L. 111-5) (Recovery Act).

    * Subchapters VIII and X of Chapter 98 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (19 U.S.C. 1202).

    a. 52.225-2, Buy American Certificate, as prescribed in FAR 25.1101 (a)(2), requires the offeror to identify in its proposal supplies that do not meet the definition of domestic end product. The Buy American statute does not apply to acquisitions of commercial information technology.

    b. 52.225-4, Buy American—Free Trade Agreements—Israeli Trade Act Certificate, as prescribed in FAR 25.1101(b)(2)(i), requires separate listing of foreign products that are eligible under a trade agreement, and listing of all other foreign end products.

    c. 52.225-6, Trade Agreements Certificate, as prescribed in FAR 25.1101(c)(2), requires the offeror to certify that all end products are either U.S.-made or designated country end products, except as listed in paragraph (b) of the provision. Offerors are not allowed to provide other than a U.S.-made or designated country end product, unless the requirement is waived.

    d. Construction provisions and clauses:

    • 52.225-9, Buy American-Construction Materials

    • 52.225-10, Notice of Buy American Requirement—Construction Materials

    • 52.225-11, Buy American—Construction Materials under Trade Agreements

    • 52.225-12, Notice of Buy American Requirement—Construction Materials under Trade Agreements

    • 52.225-21, Required Use of American Iron, Steel and Manufactured Goods—Buy American—Construction Materials

    • 52.225-23, Required Use of American Iron, Steel and Manufactured Goods—Buy American—Construction Materials under Trade Agreements.

    The listed provisions and clauses, as prescribed in FAR 25.1102(a) through (e), provide that an offeror/contractor requesting to use foreign construction material due to unreasonable cost of domestic construction material shall provide adequate information to permit evaluation of the request.

    e. 52.225-8, Duty-Free Entry (formerly OMB clearance 9000-0022), as prescribed in FAR 25.1101(e), requires the contractor to notify the contracting officer when it purchases foreign supplies, in order to determine whether the supplies should be duty-free. In addition, all shipping documents and containers must specify certain information to assure the duty-free entry of the supplies.

    B. Annual Reporting Burden

    1. Buy American and Trade Agreements-Supplies:

    FAR Clause 52.225-2, Buy American Certificate, requires the offeror to identify in its proposal supplies for use in the United States that do not meet the definition of domestic end product. The Buy American statute does not apply to acquisitions of commercial information technology.

    Respondents: 3,306.

    Responses per Respondent: 5.

    Total Responses: 16,530.

    Hours per Response: .25.

    Total Burden Hours: 4,133.

    FAR Clause 52.225-4, Buy American-Free Trade Agreements-Israeli Trade Act Certificate, requires separate listing of foreign products that are eligible under a trade agreement, and listing of all other foreign end products.

    Respondents: 1,977.

    Responses per Respondent: 5.

    Total Responses: 9,885.

    Hours per Response: .25.

    Total Burden Hours: 2,471.

    FAR Clause 52.225-6, Trade Agreements Certificate, requires the offeror to certify that all end products are either U.S.-made or designated country end products, except as listed in paragraph (b) of the provision. Offerors are not allowed to provide other than a U.S.-made or designated country end product, unless the requirement is waived.

    Respondents: 397.

    Responses per Respondent: 2.

    Total Responses: 794.

    Hours per Response: .25.

    Total Burden Hours: 199.

    2. Buy American and Trade Agreements—Construction provisions and clauses provide that an offeror/contractor requesting to use foreign construction material due to unreasonable cost of domestic construction material shall provide adequate information to permit evaluation of the request.

    —52.225-9, Buy American—Construction Materials —52.225-10, Notice of Buy American Requirements—Construction Materials —52.225-11, Buy American—Construction Materials under Trade Agreements —52.225-12, Notice of Buy American Requirements—Construction Materials under Trade Agreements —52.225-21, Required Use of American Iron, Steel and Manufactured Goods—Buy American—Construction Materials —52.225-23, Required Use of American Iron, Steel and Manufactured Goods—Buy American—Construction Materials under Trade Agreements

    Respondents: 853.

    Responses per Respondent: 2.3.

    Total Responses: 1,990.

    Hours per Response: 5.

    Total Burden Hours: 10,045.

    3. Duty-Free Entry. The clause at FAR 52.225-8, Duty-Free Entry (formerly OMB clearance 9000-0022), is included in solicitations and contracts for supplies that may be imported into the United States and for which duty-free entry may be obtained in accordance with FAR 25.903(a), if the value of the acquisition (1) exceeds the simplified acquisition threshold; or (2) does not exceed the simplified acquisition threshold, but the savings from waiving the duty is anticipated to be more than the administrative cost of waiving the duty. The contracting officer analyzes the information submitted by the contractor to determine whether or not supplies should enter the country duty-free.

    Respondents: 1,330.

    Responses per Respondent: 10.

    Total Responses: 13,300.

    Hours per Response: 0.5.

    Total Burden Hours: 6,650.

    4. Summary

    Respondents: 7,863.

    Responses per Respondent: 5.4.

    Total Responses: 42,499.

    Hours per Response: .5.

    Total Burden Hours: 23,497.

    C. Public Comments:

    Public comments are particularly invited on: Whether this collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of functions of the FAR, and whether it will have practical utility; whether our estimate of the public burden of this collection of information is accurate, and based on valid assumptions and methodology; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways in which we can minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through the use of appropriate technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Obtaining Copies of Proposals: Requesters may obtain a copy of the information collection documents from the General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405, telephone 202-501-4755.

    Please cite OMB Control No. 9000-0024, Buy American, Trade Agreements, and Duty-Free Entry in all correspondence.

    Dated: July 25, 2017. Lorin S. Curit, Director, Federal Acquisition Policy Division, Office of Government-wide Acquisition Policy, Office of Acquisition Policy, Office of Government-wide Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16022 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-EP-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [Document Identifiers: CMS-10110] Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is announcing an opportunity for the public to comment on CMS' intention to collect information from the public. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (the PRA), federal agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information (including each proposed extension or reinstatement of an existing collection of information) and to allow 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 the necessity and utility of the proposed information collection for the proper performance of the agency's functions, the accuracy of the estimated burden, ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected, and the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology to minimize the information collection burden.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by September 29, 2017.

    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:

    William Parham at (410) 786-4669.

    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-10110 Manufacturer Submission of Average Sales Prices (ASP) Data for Medicare Part B Drugs

    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.

    Information Collection

    1. Type of Information Collection Request: Revision of a currently approved collection;

    Title of Information Collection: Manufacturer Submission of Average Sales Prices (ASP) Data for Medicare Part B Drugs; Use: In accordance with Section 1847A of the Social Security Act (the Act), Medicare Part B covered drugs and biologicals not paid on a cost or prospective payment basis are paid based on the average sales price (ASP) of the drug or biological, beginning in Calendar Year (CY) 2005. The ASP data reporting requirements are specified in Section 1927 of the Act. The reported ASP data are used to establish the Medicare payment amounts. Form Number: CMS-10110 (OMB control number: 0938-0921); Frequency: Quarterly; Affected Public: Business or other For-profits; Number of Respondents: 180; Total Annual Responses: 720; Total Annual Hours: 9360. (For policy questions regarding this collection contact Felicia Eggleston at 410-786-9287.)

    Dated: July 25, 2017. William N. Parham, III, Director, Paperwork Reduction Staff, Office of Strategic Operations and Regulatory Affairs.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16016 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4120-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS-7045-N] Health Insurance MarketplaceSM, Medicare, Medicaid, and Children's Health Insurance Programs; Announcement of the Renewal of the Charter for the Advisory Panel on Outreach and Education (APOE) AGENCY:

    Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice announces the renewal of the charter of the Advisory Panel on Outreach and Education APOE (the Panel) in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The Panel advises and makes recommendations to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of consumer education strategies concerning the Health Insurance MarketplaceSM, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Additional information about the Panel is available on the Internet at: http://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Guidance/FACA/APOE.html. Press inquiries are handled through the CMS Press Office at (202) 690-6145.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Thomas Dudley, (410) 786-1442.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    The Advisory Panel for Outreach and Education (APOE) (the Panel) is governed by the provisions of Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) (Pub. L. 92-463), as amended (5 U.S.C. appendix 2), which sets forth standards for the formation and use of federal advisory committees. The Panel is authorized by section 1114(f) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1314(f)) and section 222 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 217a).

    On January 21, 1999, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (the Secretary) signed the charter establishing the Citizen's Advisory Panel on Medicare Education 1 (the predecessor to the APOE) to advise and make recommendations to the Secretary and the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on the effective implementation of national Medicare education programs, including with respect to the Medicare+Choice (M+C) program added by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (Pub. L. 105-33). (For more detailed information, see the February 17, 1999 Federal Register (64 FR 7899)).

    1 We note that the Citizen's Advisory Panel on Medicare Education is also referred to as the Advisory Panel on Medicare Education (65 FR 4617). The name was updated in the Second Amended Charter approved on July 24, 2000.

    The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) (Pub. L. 108-173) expanded the existing health plan options and benefits available under the M+C program and renamed it the Medicare Advantage (MA) program. CMS has substantial responsibilities to provide information to Medicare beneficiaries about the range of health plan options available and better tools to evaluate these options. Successful MA program implementation required CMS to consider views and policy input from a variety of private sector constituents and to develop a broad range of public-private partnerships.

    In addition, Title I of the MMA authorized the Secretary and the Administrator of CMS (by delegation) to establish the Medicare prescription drug benefit. The drug benefit allows beneficiaries to obtain qualified prescription drug coverage. In order to effectively administer the MA program and the Medicare prescription drug benefit, CMS has substantial responsibilities to provide information to Medicare beneficiaries about the range of health plan options and benefits available and to develop better tools to evaluate these plans and benefits.

    The Affordable Care Act (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Public Law 111-148, and Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, Public Law 111-152) expanded the availability of options for health care coverage and enacted a number of changes to Medicare as well as to Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Qualified individuals and qualified employers are now able to purchase private health insurance coverage through competitive marketplaces, called an Affordable Insurance Exchange (also called Health Insurance MarketplaceSM,2 or MarketplaceSM). In order to effectively implement and administer these changes, we must provide information to consumers, providers, and other stakeholders through education and outreach programs regarding how existing programs will change and the expanded range of health coverage options available, including private health insurance coverage through the MarketplaceSM. The Panel allows us to consider a broad range of views and information from interested audiences in connection with this effort and to identify opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of education strategies concerning the Affordable Care Act.

    2 Health Insurance MarketplaceSM and MarketplaceSM are service marks of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

    The scope of this panel also includes advising on issues pertaining to the education of providers and stakeholders with respect to the Affordable Care Act and certain provisions of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

    On January 21, 2011, the Panel's charter was renewed and the Panel was renamed the Advisory Panel for Outreach and Education.

    II. Provisions of This Notice

    Pursuant to the charter approved on January 19, 2017, the APOE was renewed. The APOE will advise the Department of Health and Human Services and CMS on developing and implementing education programs that support individuals enrolled in or eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, the CHIP, coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace and other CMS programs about options for selecting health care coverage under these and other programs envisioned under health care reform to ensure improved access to quality care, including prevention services. The scope of this FACA group also includes advising on education of providers and stakeholders with respect to health care reform and certain provisions of the HITECH Act enacted as part of ARRA. The charter will terminate on January 19, 2019, unless renewed by appropriate action. The APOE was chartered under 42 U.S.C. 217a, section 222 of the Public Health Service Act, as amended. The APOE is governed by provisions of Public Law 92-463, as amended (5 U.S.C. appendix 2), which sets forth standards for the formation and use of advisory committees.

    Pursuant to the renewed charter, the APOE will advise the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the CMS Administrator concerning optimal strategies for the following:

    • Developing and implementing education and outreach programs for individuals enrolled in or eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP or health coverage available through the Health Insurance Marketplace and other CMS programs.

    • Enhancing the Federal government's effectiveness in informing the Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP or the Health Insurance Marketplace consumers, issuers, providers and stakeholders pursuant to education and outreach programs of issues regarding these programs, including the appropriate use of public-private partnerships to leverage the resources of the private sector in educating beneficiaries, providers, and stakeholders.

    • Expanding outreach to vulnerable and underserved communities, including racial and ethnic minorities, in the context of Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and Health Insurance Marketplace education programs and other CMS programs as designated.

    • Assembling and sharing an information base of “best practices” for helping consumers evaluate health coverage options.

    • Building and leveraging existing community infrastructures for information, counseling, and assistance.

    • Drawing the program link between outreach and education, promoting consumer understanding of health care coverage choices, and facilitating consumer selection/enrollment, which in turn support the overarching goal of improved access to quality care, including preventive services, envisioned under the Affordable Care Act.

    The current members of the Panel are: Kellan Baker, Associate Director, Center for American Progress; Robert Blancato, President, Matz, Blancato & Associates; Dale Blasier, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Orthopaedics, Arkansas Children's Hospital; Deborah Britt, Executive Director of Community & Public Relations, Piedmont Fayette Hospital; Deena Chisolm, Associate Professor of Pediatrics & Public Health, The Ohio State University, Nationwide Children's Hospital; Josephine DeLeon, Director, Anti-Poverty Initiatives, Catholic Charities of California; Robert Espinoza, Vice President of Policy, Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute; Louise Scherer Knight, Director, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins; Roanne Osborne-Gaskin, M.D., Senior Medical Director, MDWise, Inc.; Cathy Phan, Outreach and Education Coordinator, Asian American Health Coalition DBA HOPE Clinic; Kamilah Pickett, Litigation Support, Independent Contractor; Brendan Riley, Outreach and Enrollment Coordinator, NC Community Health Center Association; Alvia Siddiqi, Medicaid Managed Care Community Network (MCCN) Medical Director, Advocate Physician Partners, Carla Smith, Executive Vice President, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS); Tobin Van Ostern, Vice President and Co-Founder, Young Invincibles Advisors; and Paula Villescaz, Senior Consultant, Assembly Health Committee, California State Legislature.

    III. Copies of the Charter

    The Secretary's Charter for the APOE is available on the CMS Web site at: https://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Guidance/FACA/Downloads/APOECharter2017.pdf or you may obtain a copy of the charter by submitting a request to: Thomas Dudley, Designated Federal Official (DFO), Office of Communications, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 7500 Security Boulevard, Mailstop S1 05-06, Baltimore, MD 21244 1850 or via email at [email protected]

    Dated: July 21, 2017. Seema Verma, Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
    [FR Doc. 2017-15960 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4120-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2017-N-4179] Cardiac Troponin Assays; Public Workshop; Request for Comments AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public workshop; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA, the Agency, or we) is announcing the following public workshop entitled “Cardiac Troponin Assays.” The purpose of the workshop is to discuss the development of innovative troponin assays designed to aid in the diagnosis of myocardial infarction (MI) and additional clinical uses of these assays. The workshop is intended to enhance engagement with stakeholders to facilitate device development and to discuss scientific and regulatory challenges associated with the analytical and clinical validation methods for troponin assay devices. Public input and feedback gained through this workshop may aid in the development of science-based approaches to aid in the efficient development of innovative, safe and effective, troponin diagnostic assays, which may lead to better patient care.

    DATES:

    The public workshop will be held on November 28, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Submit either electronic or written comments on this public workshop by November 27, 2017. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for registration date and information.

    ADDRESSES:

    The public workshop will be held at FDA's White Oak Campus, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 31, Rm. 1503 (The Great Room), Silver Spring, MD 20993. Entrance for the public workshop participants (non-FDA employees) is through Building 1 where routine security check procedures will be performed. For parking and security information, please refer to http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/WorkingatFDA/BuildingsandFacilities/WhiteOakCampusInformation/ucm241740.htm.

    You may submit comments as follows. Please note that late, untimely filed comments will not be considered. Electronic comments must be submitted on or before November 27, 2017. The https://www.regulations.gov electronic filing system will accept comments until midnight Eastern Time at the end of November 27, 2017. Comments received by mail/hand delivery/courier (for written/paper submissions) will be considered timely if they are postmarked or the delivery service acceptance receipt is on or before that date.

    Electronic Submissions

    Submit electronic comments in the following way:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Comments submitted electronically, including attachments, to https://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 https://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): Dockets Management Staff (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    • For written/paper comments submitted to the Dockets Management Staff, 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-2017-N-4179 for “Cardiac Troponin Assays.” Received comments, those filed in a timely manner (see ADDRESSES) will be placed in the docket and, except for those submitted as “Confidential Submissions,” publicly viewable at https://www.regulations.gov or at the Dockets Management Staff 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 https://www.regulations.gov. Submit both copies to the Dockets Management Staff. 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: https://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-09-18/pdf/2015-23389.pdf.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or the electronic and written/paper comments received, go to https://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 Dockets Management Staff, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Paula Caposino, Food and Drug Administration, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 66, Rm. 4644, Silver Spring, MD 20993, 301-796-6160, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    Since first discovered, cardiac troponin has become increasingly valuable as a biomarker of MI. In 2007, the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry Laboratory Medicine Practice Guidelines and the Joint European Society of Cardiology, American College of Cardiology Foundation, American Heart Association, and the World Heart Federation Task Force Guidelines recommended the use of cardiac troponin as a biomarker for the diagnosis of MI when used in conjunction with clinical evidence of myocardial ischemia (Refs. 1 and 2). Cardiac troponin has also been recommended in current clinical guidelines as a prognostic marker in patients with symptoms of acute coronary syndrome with respect to mortality, MI, or ischemic events. These recommendations solidified troponin's importance in MI diagnosis and triage; at the same time, they formalized an adjustment in the clinical cutoffs and changed the way troponin results were interpreted and used. There is a lot of interest in developing innovative troponin assays that aid in the diagnosis of MI and to support additional clinical uses of these assays. We are holding this public workshop to discuss several topics of interest that are important for the development of innovative cardiac troponin assays. The goal of the workshop is to enhance engagement with stakeholders concerning the development and validation of innovative troponin assay devices.

    II. Topics for Discussion at the Public Workshop

    This public workshop will consist of brief presentations providing information to frame the discussion, followed by interactive panel discussions. Following the presentations, a moderated discussion is planned to ask speakers and additional panelists to provide their individual perspectives. Topics for discussion include:

    • Clinical study design considerations and challenges • Subgroup differences for troponin's clinical use (e.g., the need for sex-specific cutoffs) • Reference range study design considerations and best practices for reference range study design and methods for calculating upper reference limits • The use of deltas in the diagnosis of MI • Point of care testing

    In light of the changes to how troponin is used clinically, there is a need to explore and discuss troponin assay device development and evaluation. We are soliciting comments and feedback from stakeholders regarding additional topics for FDA to consider for discussion. These comments can be submitted to the docket prior to the meeting (see ADDRESSES). We anticipate that the comments and discussion at this public workshop will help facilitate the development of innovative troponin devices and lessen regulatory burden. The ultimate goal is to facilitate the availability of innovative, safe and effective troponin assay devices for patient care.

    III. Participating in the Public Workshop

    Registration: To register for the public workshop, please visit FDA's Medical Devices News & Events—Workshops & Conferences calendar at http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/NewsEvents/WorkshopsConferences/default.htm. (Select this public workshop from the posted events list.) Please provide complete contact information for each attendee, including name, title, affiliation, address, email, and telephone.

    Registration is free and based on space availability, with priority given to early registrants. Persons interested in attending this public workshop must register by November 17, 2017, by 4 p.m. Eastern Time. Early registration is recommended because seating is limited; therefore, FDA may limit the number of participants from each organization. Registrants will receive confirmation when they have been accepted. If time and space permit, onsite registration on the day of the public workshop will be provided beginning at 7:30 a.m. We will let registrants know if registration closes before the day of the public workshop.

    If you need special accommodations due to a disability, please contact Susan Monahan, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 66, Rm. 4321, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 301-796-5661, email: [email protected], no later than November 14, 2017.

    Requests for Oral Presentations: During online registration you may indicate if you wish to present during a public comment session, and which topic(s) you wish to address. We will do our best to accommodate requests to make public comments. Individuals and organizations with common interests are urged to consolidate or coordinate their presentations, and request time for a joint presentation. Following the close of registration, we will determine the amount of time allotted to each presenter and the approximate time each oral presentation is to begin, and will select and notify participants by November 20, 2017. All requests to make oral presentations must be received by the close of registration on November 17, 2017 by 4 p.m. If selected for presentation, any presentation materials must be emailed to Paula Caposino (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) no later than November 21, 2017. No commercial or promotional material will be permitted to be presented or distributed at the public workshop.

    Streaming Webcast of the public workshop: This public workshop will also be Webcast. The Webcast link will be available on the registration Web page after November 21, 2017. Organizations are requested to register all participants, but to view using one connection per location.

    If you have never attended a Connect Pro event before, test your connection at https://collaboration.fda.gov/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm. To get a quick overview of the Connect Pro program, visit http://www.adobe.com/go/connectpro_overview. FDA has verified the Web site addresses in this document, as of the date this document publishes in the Federal Register, but Web sites are subject to change over time.

    Transcripts: Please be advised that as soon as a transcript of the public workshop is available, it will be accessible at https://www.regulations.gov. It may be viewed at the Dockets Management Staff (see ADDRESSES). A link to the transcript will also be available approximately 45 days after the public workshop on the Internet at http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/NewsEvents/WorkshopsConferences/default.htm. (Select this public workshop from the posted events list).

    IV. References

    The following references are on display in the Dockets Management Staff (see ADDRESSES) and are available for viewing by interested persons between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday; they are also available electronically at https://www.regulations.gov.

    1. “National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry Laboratory Medicine Practice Guidelines: Clinical Characteristics and Utilization of Biochemical Markers in Acute Coronary Syndromes.” Circulation, 2007; 115, 356-375. 2. “Universal Definition of Myocardial Infarction.” Circulation, 2007: 116, 2634-2653. Dated: July 20, 2017. Anna K. Abram, Deputy Commissioner for Policy, Planning, Legislation, and Analysis.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16007 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2017-N-0001] Developing a Framework for Regulatory Use of Real-World Evidence; Public Workshop AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public workshop.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA, the Agency, or we) is announcing the following public workshop entitled “Developing a Framework for Regulatory Use of Real-World Evidence.” Convened by the Duke-Robert J. Margolis, MD, Center for Health Policy at Duke University and supported by a cooperative agreement with FDA, the purpose of the public workshop is to bring the stakeholder community together to discuss a variety of topics related to the use of real-world data (RWD) and real-world evidence (RWE) in drug development and regulatory decision making. Topics will include an update on FDA's activities to address the use of RWE in regulatory decisions and the development of a framework for tackling challenges related to RWE's regulatory acceptability. In addition, panelists will discuss opportunities to improve data development activities, study designs, and analytical methods used to create robust RWE.

    DATES:

    The public workshop will be held on September 13, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Eastern Time.

    ADDRESSES:

    The public workshop will be held at the Conference Center at 1777 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20006. For additional travel and hotel information, please refer to the following Web site: https://healthpolicy.duke.edu/events/public-workshop-developing-framework-regulatory-use-real-world-evidence. There will also be a live webcast for those unable to attend the meeting in person (see Streaming Webcast of Public Workshop).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kayla Garvin, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 51, Rm. 6314, Silver Spring, MD 20993, (301) 796-7578, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    RWD (data relating to patient health status and/or the delivery of health care routinely collected from a variety of sources) and RWE (clinical evidence regarding the usage and potential benefits or risks of a drug derived from analysis of RWD) are increasingly being used by multiple stakeholders within the health care system. Payers may rely on RWD and RWE to refine formularies or assist in coverage decisions. Physicians and professional societies can utilize RWE to further tailor clinical practice guidelines and decision-support tools. Medical product developers can use RWE to further develop a product's benefit-risk profile, monitor postmarket safety and adverse events, or generate additional hypotheses for continued clinical development.

    The 21st Century Cures Act, section 3022 (Pub. L. 114-255), enacted on December 13, 2016, directed FDA to establish a program to evaluate the potential use of RWE. The framework of the program was to include information describing the sources of RWE, the gaps in data collection, standards and methods for collection and analysis, and the priority areas and challenges.

    To date, RWD and RWE have been used in very specific regulatory contexts. Some treatments for rare diseases, for example, have utilized RWE as part of the historical controls used for clinical study and, ultimately, regulatory submission. Postmarket safety surveillance has also relied heavily on RWD-generating networks. As part of exploring the opportunities for enhanced use of these types of data and evidence in additional regulatory decision-making contexts, FDA is seeking input on the opportunities and challenges in using RWE to support the approval of a new indication for an already approved drug, and to help support or satisfy postapproval study requirements.

    This public workshop is being held to engage external stakeholders in discussions around the current state of RWE development and potential challenge areas for using RWE in regulatory decisions beyond postmarket safety surveillance.

    II. Topics for Discussion at the Public Workshop

    During the course of the public workshop, speakers and participants will cover a range of issues related to the development of RWE and its applicability within specific regulatory decision-making contexts. This will include, but not be limited to, challenges related to RWD collection and quality, innovative methods for developing RWE from RWD, and promising areas for RWE pilot demonstrations.

    III. Participating in the Public Workshop

    Registration: To register for the public workshop, please visit the following Web site before September 12, 2017: https://healthpolicy.duke.edu/events/public-workshop-developing-framework-regulatory-use-real-world-evidence. There will be no onsite registration. Please provide complete contact information for each attendee, including name, title, affiliation, address, email, and telephone.

    Registration is free and based on space availability, with priority given to early registrants. Early registration is recommended because seating is limited; therefore, FDA may limit the number of participants from each organization. A 1-hour lunch break is scheduled, but food will not be provided. There are multiple restaurants within walking distance of the Conference Center.

    If you need special accommodations due to a disability, please contact Joanna Higgison at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, 908-432-4872, [email protected], no later than September 6, 2017.

    Streaming Webcast of the Public Workshop: This public workshop will also be webcast and archived video footage will be available at the Duke-Margolis Web site (https://healthpolicy.duke.edu/events/public-workshop-developing-framework-regulatory-use-real-world-evidence) following the workshop. Persons interested in viewing the live webcast must register online by September 12, 2017, at 5 p.m. Eastern Time (see Registration). Early registration is recommended because webcast connections are limited. Organizations are requested to register all participants, but to view using one connection per location whenever possible. Webcast participants will be sent technical system requirements in advance of the event. Prior to joining the streaming webcast of the public workshop, it is recommended that you review these technical system requirements.

    FDA has verified the Web site addresses in this document, as of the date this document publishes in the Federal Register, but Web sites are subject to change over time.

    Meeting Materials: All event materials will be provided to registered attendees via email prior to the workshop and publicly available at the Duke-Margolis Web site (https://healthpolicy.duke.edu/events/public-workshop-developing-framework-regulatory-use-real-world-evidence).

    Transcripts: Please be advised that transcripts will not be available.

    Dated: July 25, 2017. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16021 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics: Meeting

    Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces the following advisory committee meeting.

    Name: National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS), Full Committee and Population Health Subcommittee Meetings.

    Dates and Times:

    Monday, September 11, 2017: 9:00 a.m.-5:45 p.m. Tuesday, September 12, 2017: 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 13, 2017: 8:45 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Thursday, September 14, 2017: 8:30 a.m.-3:15 p.m.

    Place: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Avenue SW., Room 705A, Washington, DC 20201.

    Status: Open.

    Purpose: At the September 11-12, 2017 hearing, the Population Health Subcommittee will focus on Next Generation Vital Statistics. The purpose of the hearing is to assess the current state of the national vital statistics system (NVSS) to address concerns regarding sustainability and viability of the system infrastructure. The focus will be on the system's capacity to provide timely, high quality, secure vital administrative and statistical data for identity establishment and protection, identification of trends in disease and epidemics, e.g., the recent surge in opioid-related deaths, and a host of critical uses for research, finance, planning, public records and services.

    At the September 13-14, 2017 full meeting, the Committee will hear presentations, hold discussions on several health data policy topics and begin to formulate its work plan for 2018. To inform the work plan, the Committee will be briefed by the Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking (CEP) regarding the release of its report and recommendations as well as hear from HHS leadership regarding data needs and gaps. A panel will be held to discuss the new topic “Beyond HIPAA,” an exploration of challenges that extend beyond HIPAA and the range of policy options that may be available to the Department related to privacy, security and access measures to protect individually identifiable health information in an environment of electronic networking and multiple uses of data. Additional discussions are planned on the Predictability Roadmap project in follow up to a Standards Subcommittee workshop focused on possible approaches to improve the predictability and improvements in the adoption and processes related to updating standards and operating rules for electronic administrative transactions (e.g. claims, eligibility, electronic funds transfer); and on terminology & vocabulary development, maintenance, and dissemination processes. The Committee also plans to finalize the update to its strategic plan and selection criteria for undertaking new Committee projects. The times and topics are subject to change. Please refer to the posted agenda for any updates.

    Contact person for more information: Substantive program information may be obtained from Rebecca Hines, MHS, Executive Secretary, NCVHS, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3311 Toledo Road, Hyattsville, Maryland 20782, telephone (301) 458-4715. Summaries of meetings and a roster of Committee members are available on the home page of the NCVHS Web site: http://www.ncvhs.hhs.gov/, where further information including an agenda and instructions to access the audio broadcast of the meetings will also be posted. Should you require reasonable accommodation, please contact the CDC Office of Equal Employment Opportunity on (770) 488-3210 as soon as possible.

    Dated: July 25, 2017. Laina Bush, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16036 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4151-05-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders; Notice of Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of a meeting of the National Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Advisory Council.

    The meeting will be open to the public as indicated below, with attendance limited to space available. 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 in advance of the meeting.

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and/or contract proposals and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications and/or contract proposals, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Advisory Council.

    Date: September 15, 2017.

    Closed: 8:30 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, Building 31, Conference Room 6, 31 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892.

    Open: 9:50 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

    Agenda: Staff reports on divisional, programmatic, and special activities.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, Building 31, Conference Room 6, 31 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892.

    Contact Person: Craig A. Jordan, Ph.D., Director, Division of Extramural Activities NIDCD, NIH, Room 8345, MSC 9670, 6001 Executive Blvd., Bethesda, MD 20892-9670, 301-496-8693, [email protected]

    Any interested person may file written comments with the committee by forwarding the statement to the Contact Person listed on this notice. The statement should include the name, address, telephone number and when applicable, the business or professional affiliation of the interested person.

    In the interest of security, NIH has instituted stringent procedures for entrance onto the NIH campus. All visitor vehicles, including taxicabs, hotel, and airport shuttles will be inspected before being allowed on campus. Visitors will be asked to show one form of identification (for example, a government-issued photo ID, driver's license, or passport) and to state the purpose of their visit.

    Information is also available on the Institute's/Center's home page: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/about/Pages/Advisory-Groups-and-Review-Committees.aspx, where an agenda and any additional information for the meeting will be posted when available.

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.173, Biological Research Related to Deafness and Communicative Disorders, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: July 25, 2017. Sylvia L. Neal, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16006 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Special Emphasis Panel, Perinatal Stroke.

    Date: August 22, 2017.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Embassy Suites at the Chevy Chase Pavilion, 4300 Military Road NW., Washington, DC 20015.

    Contact Person: Susan Wohler Sunnarborg, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Office of Scientific Review/DERA National, Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 7182, Bethesda, MD 20892 [email protected].

    Name of Committee: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Special Emphasis Panel, NIH Regenerative Medicine 2017.

    Date: August 23, 2017.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: The William F. Bolger Center 9600 Newbridge Drive, Potomac, MD 20854.

    Contact Person: Tony L Creazzo, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Office of Scientific Review/DERA National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 7180, Bethesda, MD 20892-7924, 301-827-7913, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.233, National Center for Sleep Disorders Research; 93.837, Heart and Vascular Diseases Research; 93.838, Lung Diseases Research; 93.839, Blood Diseases and Resources Research, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: July 25, 2017. Michelle Trout, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16005 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; Notice of Meeting

    Pursuant to Public Law 92-463, notice is hereby given of the combined meeting on August 11, 2017, of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) four National Advisory Councils: The SAMHSA National Advisory Council (NAC), the Center for Mental Health Services NAC, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention NAC, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment NAC; and the two SAMHSA Advisory Committees: Advisory Committee for Women's Services (ACWS) and the Tribal Technical Advisory Committee (TTAC).

    SAMHSA's National Advisory Councils were established to advise the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, SAMHSA; and SAMHSA's Center Directors concerning matters relating to the activities carried out by and through the Centers and the policies respecting such activities.

    Under Section 501 of the Public Health Service Act, the ACWS is statutorily mandated to advise the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, SAMHSA, and the Associate Administrator for Women's Services on appropriate activities to be undertaken by SAMHSA and its Centers with respect to women's substance abuse and mental health services.

    Pursuant to Presidential Executive Order No. 13175, November 6, 2000, and the Presidential Memorandum of September 23, 2004, SAMHSA established the TTAC for working with Federally-recognized Tribes to enhance the government-to-government relationship, and honor Federal trust responsibilities and obligations to Tribes and American Indian and Alaska Natives. The SAMHSA TTAC serves as an advisory body to SAMHSA.

    The theme for the August 11, 2017 combined meeting is spirituality and resiliency. It will include remarks from the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, and a report on SAMHSA's priorities and updates by the Centers and Office Directors.

    The meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD, 20857. Attendance by the public will be limited to space available. Interested persons may present data, information, or views orally or in writing, on issues pending before the Council. Written submissions should be forwarded to the contact person by one week prior to the meeting. Oral presentations from the public will be scheduled at the conclusion of the meeting. Individuals interested in making oral presentations are encouraged to notify the contact by one week prior to the meeting. Five minutes will be allotted for each presentation. The meeting may be accessed via telephone and web conferencing will be available. To attend on site; obtain the call-in number, access code, and/or web access link; submit written or brief oral comments; or request special accommodations for persons with disabilities, please register on-line at: http://nac.samhsa.gov/Registration/meetingsRegistration.aspx, or communicate with SAMHSA's Committee Management Officer, CDR Carlos Castillo (see contact information below).

    Meeting information and a roster of Council members may be obtained either by accessing the SAMHSA Council's Web site at http://www.samhsa.gov/about-us/advisory-councils/ or by contacting CDR Castillo. Substantive program information may be obtained after the meeting by accessing the SAMHSA Council's Web site, http://nac.samhsa.gov/, or by contacting CDR Castillo.

    Council Names: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Advisory Council, Center for Mental Health Services National Advisory Council, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention National Advisory Council, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment National Advisory Council, Advisory Committee for Women's Services, Tribal Technical Advisory Committee.

    Date/Time/Type: August 11, 2017, 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT, Open

    Place: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, Maryland 20857.

    Contact: CDR Carlos Castillo, Committee Management Officer and Designated Federal Official, SAMHSA National Advisory Council, Room 18E77A, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, Maryland 20857 (mail), Telephone: (240) 276-2787, Email: [email protected]

    Carlos R. Castillo, Committee Management Officer, SAMHSA.
    [FR Doc. 2017-15990 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4162-20-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT [Docket No. FR-5997-N-26] 30-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Lender Qualifications for Multifamily Accelerated Processing (MAP) Guide AGENCY:

    Office of the Chief Information Officer, HUD.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    HUD submitted the proposed information collection requirement described below to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act. The purpose of this notice is to allow for 30 days of public comment.

    DATES:

    Comments Due Date: August 30, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding this proposal. Comments should refer to the proposal by name and/or OMB Control Number and should be sent to: HUD Desk Officer, Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503; fax: 202-395-5806, Email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Inez C. Downs, Reports Management Officer, QMAC, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Washington, DC 20410; email [email protected], or telephone 202-402-8046. This is not a toll-free number. Persons with hearing or speech impairments may access this number through TTY by calling the toll-free Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

    Copies of available documents submitted to OMB may be obtained from Ms. Downs.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This notice informs the public that HUD is seeking approval from OMB for the information collection described in Section A.

    The Federal Register notice that solicited public comment on the information collection for a period of 60 days was published on January 31, 2017 at 82 FR 8838.

    A. Overview of Information Collection

    Title of Information Collection: Lender Qualifications for Multifamily Accelerated Processing (MAP) Guide.

    OMB Approval Number: 2502-0541.

    Type of Request: Revision of currently approved.

    Form Number: 4430.G.

    Description of the need for the information and proposed use: The Multifamily Accelerated Processing Guide, January 2016 is being renewed by the Department. The MAP Guide is a procedural guide that permits approved Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Lenders to prepare, process, and submit loan applications for FHA multifamily mortgage insurance.

    Respondents: (i.e. affected public): FHA approved MAP Lenders.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 90.

    Estimated Number of Responses: 828.

    Frequency of Response: 1.

    Average Hours per Response: 540.

    Total Estimated Burden: 123,574.

    B. Solicitation of Public Comment

    This notice is soliciting comments from members of the public and affected parties concerning the collection of information described in Section A on the following:

    (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

    (2) The accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information;

    (3) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    (4) Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond: Including through the use of appropriate automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

    HUD encourages interested parties to submit comment in response to these questions.

    Authority:

    Section 3507 of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35.

    Date: July 21, 2017. Inez C. Downs, Department Reports Management Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16047 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210-67-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT [Docket No. FR-5997-N-40] 30-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Section 8 Renewal Policy Guide AGENCY:

    Office of the Chief Information Officer, HUD.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    HUD submitted the proposed information collection requirement described below to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act. The purpose of this notice is to allow for 30 days of public comment.

    DATES:

    Comments Due Date: August 30, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding this proposal. Comments should refer to the proposal by name and/or OMB Control Number and should be sent to: HUD Desk Officer, Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503; fax: 202-395-5806, Email: OIRA [email protected].

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Inez C. Downs, Reports Management Officer, QMAC, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Washington, DC 20410; email [email protected], or telephone 202-402-8046. This is not a toll-free number. Person with hearing or speech impairments may access this number through TTY by calling the toll-free Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

    Copies of available documents submitted to OMB may be obtained from Ms. Downs.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This notice informs the public that HUD is seeking approval from OMB for the information collection described in Section A.

    The Federal Register notice that solicited public comment on the information collection for a period of 60 days was published on May 11, 2017 at 82 FR 22015.

    A. Overview of Information Collection

    Title of Information Collection: Section 8 Renewal Policy Guide.

    OMB Approval Number: 2502-0587.

    Type of Request: Extension of currently approved collection.

    Form Number: HUD-9624, HUD-9625, HUD-9626, HUD-9627, HUD-9629, HUD-9630, HUD-9631, HUD-9632, HUD-9634, HUD-9635, HUD-9636, HUD-9637, HUD-9639, HUD-9640, HUD-9641, HUD-9642, HUD-9643, HUD-9644, HUD-9646, HUD-9648A, HUD-9648D, HUD-9649, HUD-9651, HUD-93181, HUD-93182, and HUD-93184.

    Description of the need for the information and proposed use: The modifications of the Section 8 renewal policy and recent legislation are implemented to address the essential requirement to preserving low income rental housing affordability and availability. The Section 8 Renewal Policy Guide will include recent legislation modifications for renewing of expiring Section 8 policy(ies) Guidebook, as authorized by the 24 CFR part 401 and 24 CFR part 402. The Multifamily Housing Reform and Affordability Act of 1997 (MAHRA) for Fiscal Year 1998 (Pub. L. 105-65, enacted on October 27, 1997), required that expiring Section 8 project-based assistance contracts be renewed under MAHRA. Established in the MAHRA policies renewal of Section 8 project-based contracts rent is based on market rents instead of the Fair Market Rent (FMR) standard.

    MAHRA renewals submission should include a Rent Comparability Study (RCS). If the RCS indicated rents were at or below comparable market rents, the contract was renewed at current rents adjusted by Operating Cost Adjustment Factor (OCAF), unless the Owner submitted documentation justifying a budget-based rent increase or participation in Mark-Up-To-Market. The case is that no renewal rents could exceed comparable market rents. If the RCS indicated rents were above comparable market rents, the contract was referred to the Office of Affordable Housing Preservation (OAHP) for debt restructuring and/or rent reduction. The Preserving Affordable Housing for Senior Citizens and Families in to the 21st Century Act of 1999 (public law 106-74, enacted on October 20, 1999), modified MAHRA.

    The Section 8 Renewal Policy Guide sets forth six renewal options from which a project owner may choose when renewing their expiring Section 8 contract: Option One—Mark-Up-To-Market, Option Two—Other Contract Renewal with Current Rents at or Below Comparable Market Rents, Option Three—Referral to the Office of Affordable Preservation (OAHP), Option Four—Renewal of Projects Exempted From OMHAR, Option Five—Renewal of Portfolio Reengineering Demonstration or Preservation Projects, and Option Six—Opt Outs. Owners should select one of six options which are applicable to their project and should submit contract renewal on an annual basis to renew contract.

    The Section 8 Renewal Guide sets forth six renewal options from which a project owner may choose when renewing their expiring Section 8 contracts. Option One (Mark-Up-To-Market), Option Two (Other Contract Renewals with Current Rents at or Below Comparable Market Rents), Option Three (Referral to the Office of Multifamily Housing Assistant Restructuring—OHAP), Option Four (Renewal of Projects Exempted from OHAP), Option Five (Renewal of Portfolio Reengineering Demonstration or Preservation Projects), and Option Six (Opt-Outs).

    Respondents: (i.e. affected public) Business or other for profit and nonprofit.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 25,439.

    Estimated Number of Responses: 25,439.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion.

    Average Hours per Response: 1 hour.

    Total Estimated Burden: 24,680.

    B. Solicitation of Public Comment

    This notice is soliciting comments from members of the public and affected parties concerning the collection of information described in Section A on the following:

    (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

    (2) The accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information;

    (3) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    (4) Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond: Including through the use of appropriate automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. HUD encourages interested parties to submit comment in response to these questions.

    Authority:

    Section 3507 of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35.

    Date: July 11, 2017. Inez C. Downs, Department Reports Management Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16045 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210-67-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS-R2-ES-2017-N075; FXES11140200000-178-FF02ENEH00] Intent To Prepare a Draft National Environmental Policy Act Analysis and Associated Documents for LCRA Transmission Services Corporation's Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan, TX AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of intent; announcement of public scoping meetings; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, advise the public that we intend to evaluate the impacts of, and alternatives to, the proposed issuance of an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, to LCRA Transmission Services Corporation (LCRA TSC; applicant) for incidental take of approximately 35 federally listed species for construction, operation, upgrade, decommissioning, and maintenance of the applicant's facilities within the proposed plan area (approximately 241 counties). LCRA TSC proposes to draft a Habitat Conservation Plan in support of the ITP. We also announce plans for public scoping meetings and the opening of a public comment period under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA).

    DATES:

    Written comments on alternatives and issues to be addressed must be received by close of business on or before August 30, 2017. Four public scoping meetings will be held throughout the proposed plan area. Exact meeting locations and times will be announced in local newspapers and on the Service's Austin Ecological Services Office Web site, https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/AustinTexas/, at least 2 weeks prior to each meeting.

    ADDRESSES:

    To request further information or submit written comments, use one of the following methods, and note that your information request or comment is in reference to the LCRA TSC NEPA analysis:

    Email: [email protected];

    U.S. Mail: Field Supervisor, Austin Ecological Services Field Office, 10711 Burnet Road, Ste. 200, Austin, Texas 78758;

    Fax: (512) 490-0974; or

    Telephone: (512) 490-0057.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), advise the public that we intend to evaluate the impacts of, and alternatives to, the proposed issuance of an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C 1531 et seq.; ESA), to LCRA Transmission Services Corporation (LCRA TSC; applicant) for incidental take of approximately 35 federally listed species during construction, operation, upgrade, decommissioning, and maintenance of the applicant's facilities within the proposed plan area (approximately 241 Texas counties). LCRA TSC proposes to draft a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) in support of the ITP. We also announce plans for public scoping meetings and the opening of a public comment period.

    We publish this notice in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321, et seq.; NEPA), and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1501.7, 1506.6, and 1508.22), and section 10(c) of the ESA. We will use and coordinate the NEPA process to fulfill our obligations under the National Historic Preservation Act (Pub. L. 89-665, as amended by Pub. L. 96-515, and as provided in 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3) and 800.8(c)). We intend to gather the information necessary to determine impacts and alternatives to support a decision regarding the potential issuance of an ITP to LCRA TSC under the ESA.

    The applicant proposes to develop an HCP as part of their application for an ITP. The proposed HCP will describe, among other things, the measures necessary to minimize and mitigate the impacts, to the maximum extent practicable, of potential proposed taking of federally listed species and the habitats upon which they depend, resulting from operations, maintenance, upgrade, decommissioning, and construction of LCRA TSC facilities. At this time, we intend to evaluate the impacts of, and alternatives to, the proposed issuance of an ITP under the Act to LCRA TSC.

    National Environmental Policy Act Process

    Upon completion of the public scoping process and completion of our review of the applicant's proposed HCP, we will determine whether an environmental assessment (EA) or Environmental Impact Statement is the appropriate NEPA analysis to support potential issuance of the ITP.

    Background

    Section 9 of the ESA and its implementing regulations prohibit “take” of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA. The ESA defines “take” as “to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect listed animal species, or attempt to engage in such conduct” (16 U.S.C. 1533). The term “harm” is defined in the regulations as significant habitat modification or degradation that results in death or injury to listed species by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). However, the Service may, under specified circumstances, issue permits that allow the take of federally listed species, provided that the take is incidental to, but not the purpose of, otherwise lawful activity. Regulations governing ITPs for endangered and threatened species are at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32, respectively.

    Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA contains provisions for issuing such ITPs to non-Federal entities for the take of endangered and threatened species, provided the following criteria are met: (1) The taking will be incidental; (2) the applicant will, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize and mitigate the impact of such taking; (3) the applicant will develop a conservation plan and ensure that adequate funding for the plan will be provided; (4) the taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of the species in the wild; and (5) the applicant will carry out any other measures that we may require as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the HCP (16 U.S.C. 1539(a)(1)(B) and 1539(a)(2)(A)).

    Thus, the purpose of issuing an ITP is to authorize take associated with the proposed activities while conserving covered species and their habitats. Implementation of a comprehensive multispecies HCP, rather than a project-by-project approach, will maximize the benefits of conservation measures for the covered species and eliminate expensive and time-consuming efforts associated with processing individual ITPs for each project the applicant undertakes. We expect that the applicant will request ITP coverage for a period of 30 years.

    Scoping Meetings

    A primary purpose of the scoping process is to receive suggestions and information on the scope of issues and alternatives for the Service to consider. The Service is planning to have scoping meetings. The time and exact locations will be published in local newspapers of record and posted on the Austin Ecological Service Field Office Web site (https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/AustinTexas/) no later than two weeks prior to holding the meetings. Written comments will be accepted at the meetings. Comments can also be submitted to persons listed in the ADDRESSES section.

    Alternatives

    The Proposed Action presented in our analysis will be compared to the No-Action alternative. The No-Action alternative represents estimated future conditions to which the Proposed Action's estimated future conditions can be compared.

    No-Action Alternative

    Because the proposed activities are necessary for providing services to accommodate future population growth and energy demand, these activities would continue regardless of whether the proposed ITP is sought or issued. Under the no-action alternative, the applicant would comply with the ESA by avoiding and minimizing impacts to listed species where practicable. Where impacts to listed species cannot be avoided, and where a Federal nexus exists, the applicant would address such impacts pursuant to the consultation process prescribed by section 7 of the ESA. Absent a Federal nexus, if the applicant is unable to avoid take, they would apply for an ITP on a project-by-project basis. This project-by-project approach would be more time-consuming and less efficient, and could result in an isolated, independent mitigation approach.

    Proposed Alternative

    The Proposed Action is the issuance of an ITP for the proposed covered species for the proposed covered activities within the Plan Area. The proposed HCP, which must meet the requirements in section 10(a)(2)(A) of the ESA by providing measures to minimize and mitigate the effects of the potential incidental take of covered species to the maximum extent practicable, would be developed in coordination with the Service and implemented by the applicant.

    This alternative will allow for a comprehensive mitigation approach for unavoidable impacts and result in a more efficient and timely permit processing effort for the Service and the applicant. Actions covered under the requested ITP may include possible take of the species associated with the proposed activities.

    The proposed activities include construction, operation, upgrade, decommissioning, and maintenance activities associated with current and future LCRA TSC electrical transmission lines, substations, access roads, and related infrastructure and facilities. More specifically, these may include general activities associated with new construction, maintenance, and emergency response and restoration, including stormwater discharges from construction sites, equipment access, and surveying. Construction activities covered for new facilities would include new overhead transmission lines, new support facilities such as substations and switching stations, adding a second circuit on an existing structure, and underground electric installation. Typical maintenance activities would include vegetation management within a right-of-way, expansion of existing support facilities, line upgrades, hardware replacement, and maintenance of above-ground and underground electric facilities.

    The Plan Area encompasses 241 Texas counties, including: Anderson, Andrews, Angelina, Aransas, Archer, Armstrong, Atascosa, Austin, Bandera, Bastrop, Baylor, Bee, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Borden, Bosque, Bowie, Brazoria, Brazos, Brewster, Briscoe, Brooks, Brown, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Calhoun, Callahan, Cameron, Camp, Carson, Castro, Chambers, Cherokee, Childress, Clay, Coke, Coleman, Collin, Collingsworth, Colorado, Comal, Comanche, Concho, Cooke, Coryell, Cottle, Crane, Crockett, Crosby, Culberson, Dallas, Dawson, DeWitt, Deaf Smith, Delta, Denton, Dickens, Dimmit, Donley, Duval, Eastland, Ector, Edwards, Ellis, Erath, Falls, Fannin, Fayette, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Fort Bend, Franklin, Freestone, Frio, Gaines, Galveston, Garza, Gillespie, Glasscock, Goliad, Gonzales, Gray, Grayson, Gregg, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hale, Hall, Hamilton, Hansford, Hardeman, Harris, Harrison, Hartley, Haskell, Hays, Hemphill, Henderson, Hidalgo, Hill, Hood, Hopkins, Houston, Howard, Hudspeth, Hunt, Hutchinson, Irion, Jack, Jackson, Jasper, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Johnson, Jones, Karnes, Kaufman, Kendall, Kenedy, Kent, Kerr, Kimble, King, Kinney, Kleberg, Knox, La Salle, Lamar, Lamb, Lampasas, Lavaca, Lee, Leon, Liberty, Limestone, Lipscomb, Live Oak, Llano, Loving, Lubbock, Lynn, Madison, Martin, Mason, Matagorda, Maverick, McCulloch, McLennan, McMullen, Medina, Menard, Midland, Milam, Mills, Mitchell, Montague, Montgomery, Moore, Morris, Motley, Nacogdoches, Navarro, Nolan, Nueces, Ochiltree, Oldham, Palo Pinto, Panola, Parker, Parmer, Pecos, Polk, Potter, Presidio, Rains, Randall, Reagan, Real, Red River, Reeves, Refugio, Roberts, Robertson, Rockwall, Runnels, Rusk, San Augustine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, San Saba, Schleicher, Scurry, Shackelford, Shelby, Smith, Somervell, Starr, Stephens, Sterling, Stonewall, Sutton, Swisher, Tarrant, Taylor, Terrell, Terry, Throckmorton, Titus, Tom Green, Travis, Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Upton, Uvalde, Val Verde, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Ward, Washington, Webb, Wharton, Wheeler, Wichita, Wilbarger, Willacy, Williamson, Wilson, Winkler, Wise, Wood, Young, Zapata, and Zavala Counties.

    The applicant may apply for an ITP to cover 35 species listed as endangered or threatened within the proposed permit area. However, the ultimate list of species covered by the proposed ITP and associated HCP may change based on the outcome of more detailed reviews of the best available science, changes to the list of protected species, or further assessments of the likelihood of take from the proposed activities. At this time, LCRA TSC expects to include the following species:

    Endangered birds: Golden-cheeked warbler (Setophaga [=Dendroica] chrysoparia), black-capped vireo (Vireo atricapilla), whooping crane (Grus americana), interior least tern (Sterna antillarum athalassos), southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus), Northern aplomado falcon (Falco femoralis septentrionalis), and red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis).

    Threatened birds: Piping plover (Charadrius melodus), rufa red knot (Calidris canutus rufa), and western yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus).

    Endangered mammals: Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) and Gulf Coast jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi cacomitli).

    Endangered Amphibians: Barton Springs salamander (Eurycea sosorum) and Houston toad (Bufo houstonensis).

    Threatened Amphibians: Georgetown salamander (Eurycea naufragia), Jollyville Plateau salamander (Eurycea tonkawae), Salado Springs salamander (Eurycea chisholmensis), and San Marcos salamander (Eurycea nana).

    Endangered Invertebrates: Comal Springs riffle beetle (Heterelmis comalensis), Bee Creek Cave harvestman (Texella reddelli), Bone Cave harvestman (Texella reyesi), Cokendolpher Cave harvestman (Texella cokendolpheri), Tooth Cave pseudoscorpion (Tartarocreagris texana), Tooth Cave spider (Tayshaneta myopica), Inner Space Cavern mold beetle (Batrisodes texanus), Kretschmarr Cave mold beetle (Texamaurops reddelli), Tooth Cave ground beetle (Rhadine persephone), Braken Bat Cave meshweaver (Cicurina venii), Government Canyon Bat Cave meshweaver (Cicurina vespera), Madla Cave meshweaver (Cicurina madla), Robber Baron Cave meshweaver (Cicurina baronia), Government Canyon Bat Cave spider (Tayshaneta microps), Helotes mold beetle (Batrisodes venyivi), Rhadine exilis, and Rhadine infernalis.

    Other Alternatives

    We seek information regarding other reasonable alternatives during this scoping period and will evaluate the impacts associated with such alternatives in our analysis.

    Public Availability of Comments

    Written comments received will become part of the public record associated with this action. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that the entire comment—including your personal identifying information—will be publicly available. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Environmental Review

    The Service will draft our environmental review to analyze the proposed action, as well as other alternatives, and the associated impacts of each alternative on the human environment and each species covered for the range of alternatives to be addressed. Our analysis is expected to provide biological descriptions of the affected species and habitats, as well as the effects of the alternatives on other resources, such as vegetation, wetlands, wildlife, geology and soils, air quality, water resources, water quality, cultural resources, land use, recreation, water use, local economy, and environmental justice. Following completion of the environmental review, the Service will publish a notice of availability and a request for comment on our environmental analysis and the applicants' permit application, which will include the draft HCP.

    Joy E. Nicholopoulos, Acting Regional Director, Region 2, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16056 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Indian Affairs [178A2100DD/AAKC001030/A0A501010.999900 253G; OMB Control Number 1076-0164] Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Homeliving Programs and School Closure and Consolidation AGENCY:

    Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of information collection; request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) is proposing to renew an information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before August 30, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send written comments on this information collection request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget's Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior by email at [email protected]; or via facsimile to (202) 395-5806. Please provide a copy of your comments to Ms. Juanita Mendoza, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Education, 1849 C Street NW., Washington, DC 20240; fax: (202) 208-3312; email: [email protected] Please reference OMB Control Number 1076-0164 in the subject line of your comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request additional information about this ICR, contact Ms. Juanita Mendoza, (202) 208-6123. You may also view the ICR at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    We, the BIE, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, provide the general public and other Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps us assess the impact of our information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand our information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format.

    A Federal Register notice with a 60-day public comment period soliciting comments on this collection of information was published on May 26, 2017, (82 FR 24384). No comments were received.

    We are again soliciting comments on the proposed ICR that is described below. We are especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is the collection necessary to the proper functions of the BIE; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the BIE enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the BIE minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology.

    Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of public record. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    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.

    Title of Collection: Homeliving Programs and School Closure and Consolidation.

    OMB Control Number: 1076-0164.

    Form Number: None.

    Type of Review: Extension without change of currently approved collection. Respondents/Affected Public: Indian Tribes.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 730 per year, on average.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 1,344 hours.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Respondents: There are 65 schools with residential programs, of which 13 are Bureau-operated and 52 are Tribally-operated. Thus, the collection of information must be cleared for 52 of the 65 residential schools.

    Estimated Completion Time per Response: Ranges from 1 minute to 40 hours, depending on the activity.

    Respondent's Obligation: Response is required to obtain a benefit.

    Frequency of Collection: Annual or on occasion, depending on the activity.

    Total Estimated Annual Nonhour Burden Cost: $0.

    Abstract: The regulations at 25 CFR 36, Subpart G, Home-living Programs, implement section 1122 of the Native American Education Improvement Act of 2001 (Pub. L. 95-561, title XI, § 1120, as added Pub. L. 107-110, title X, § 1042, Jan. 8, 2002, 115 Stat. 2007). These regulations require the BIE to implement national standards for home-living situations in all BIE-funded residential schools. The BIE must collect information from all BIE-funded residential schools in order to assess each school's progress in meeting the national standards. Submission of this information allows the BIE to ensure that minimum academic standards for the education of Indian children and criteria for dormitory situations in Bureau-operated schools and Indian-controlled contract schools are met.

    The authorities for this action are 25 U.S.C. 2000-2021 and the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.

    Elizabeth K. Appel, Director, Office of Regulatory Affairs and Collaborative Action—Indian Affairs.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16001 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4337-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLCA942000 L57000000.BX0000 15X L5017AR] Filing of Plats of Survey: California AGENCY:

    Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of official filing.

    SUMMARY:

    The plats of survey of lands described in this notice are scheduled to be officially filed in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), California State Office, Sacramento, California. The surveys which were executed at the request of Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the BLM, are necessary for the management of these lands.

    DATES:

    Protests must be received by the BLM by August 30, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    A copy of the plats may be obtained from the BLM, California State Office, 2800 Cottage Way W-1623, Sacramento, California 95825, upon required payment. Please use this address when filing written protests.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jon Kehler, Chief, Branch of Cadastral Survey, Bureau of Land Management, California State Office, 2800 Cottage Way W-1623, Sacramento, California 95825; 1-916-978-4323; [email protected] Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. The Service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The lands surveyed are:

    San Bernardino Meridian, California T. 3 S., R. 1 E., supplemental plat of portion of sections 1, 2, and 12, accepted June 30, 2017. T. 7 S., R. 8 E., dependent resurvey and metes-and-bounds survey, accepted July 12, 2017.

    A person or party who wishes to protest a survey must file a notice that they wish to protest with the Chief, Branch of Cadastral Survey. A statement of reasons for a protest may be filed with the notice of protest and must be filed with the Chief, Branch of Cadastral Survey within 30 days after the protest is filed. If a protest against the survey is received prior to the date of official filing, the filing will be stayed pending consideration of the protest. A plat will not be officially filed until the day after all protests have been dismissed or otherwise resolved.

    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 the BLM in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Authority:

    43 U.S.C. Chapter 3.

    Jon L. Kehler, Chief Cadastral Surveyor.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16055 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-40-P
    NATIONAL INDIAN GAMING COMMISSION Protocol for Categorical Exclusions Supplementing the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act for Certain National Indian Gaming Commission Actions and Activities AGENCY:

    The National Indian Gaming Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice of final action.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC or “the Commission”) is amending its protocol for categorical exclusions under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended, Executive Order 11514, as amended, and Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA for certain NIGC actions.

    DATES:

    The NIGC will implement this protocol immediately upon publication.

    ADDRESSES:

    Andrew Mendoza, Staff Attorney, National Indian Gaming Commission, 1849 C Street NW., Mailstop #1621, Washington, DC 20240; fax at (202) 632-7066; or by email to: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Andrew Mendoza, Staff Attorney at the National Indian Gaming Commission: 202-632-7003 (not a toll-free number).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    On December 4, 2009, the Commission published a draft NEPA manual in the Federal Register (74 FR 63765). The purpose of the manual was to establish the Commission's NEPA-related policies and procedures and to integrate environmental considerations into the Commission's decision-making processes. The draft manual identified one type of major federal action performed under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) that triggered NEPA review, specifically, the approval of contracts for the management of Indian gaming facilities pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 2711. In addition to identifying major federal actions applicable to the Commission, the draft manual also established the Commission's NEPA-related roles and responsibilities and created a framework for the preparation of NEPA documentation appropriate for each level of environmental review. The draft manual also identified three categories of actions taken by the NIGC that are categorically excluded from further NEPA review. Categorical exclusions (CATEX) are actions that do not normally require preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), absent extraordinary circumstances.

    On May 22, 2012, after reviewing the comments submitted on the draft NEPA manual, the Commission published a Protocol for Categorical Exclusions Supplementing the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act for Certain National Indian Gaming Commissions Actions and Activities (77 FR 30315) and requested comments by June 30, 2012. This publication formally adopted two of the three categorical exclusions listed in the draft NEPA manual.

    In 2015, after evaluating its past environmental reviews for management contract approvals and the comments received on the 2009 draft NEPA manual, the Commission decided to revisit its policies and procedures for implementing NEPA. To obtain updated views from the regulated community, the Commission held several consultation sessions over a two-year period with tribal nations and solicited comments regarding the scope and extent of its NEPA responsibilities. Following consultation, the Commission evaluated the newly submitted comments in conjunction with those received in response to the 2009 draft manual and decided to amend the 2012 Protocol to include a third CATEX for Management Contract and Agreement Review Activities. This CATEX will apply to certain management contract approvals that are not associated with an application to take land into trust and do not provide for construction or expansion of existing structures. In identifying this category of actions, the NIGC relied on its past experience, several environmental professionals' opinions and comparisons with other Federal agency actions that are categorically excluded.

    Comments

    On January 11, 2017, the Commission published a notice of proposed action and request for comments on the amended protocol in the Federal Register (82 FR 3352). In response, it received only one comment. The commenter requested that the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) 25 U.S.C. 3001-3013 be included within the list of examples of environmental laws with which parties seeking to apply the categorical exclusion must comply. The Commission agrees and updated the language accordingly.

    The same commenter also questioned how the Commission would interpret the term “known” with respect to the extraordinary circumstances involving “known cultural or archaeological resources.” Given the potential for confusion regarding this term, the Commission eliminated the term and, instead, references the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) 16 U.S.C. 470aa-470mm, and NAGPRA. The Commission believes that referencing the particular statutes sufficiently demonstrates its intent to abide by the objective, legal definitions and processes set forth therein.

    After considering the comments, the Commission hereby adopts the amended protocol set forth below for determining whether a categorical exclusion applies to particular action as well as the categories of actions the Commission has determined are eligible for categorical exclusions.

    A copy of this Federal Register publication, as well as the administrative record for the newly established categorical exclusion, is available at http://www.nigc.gov. A copy of the Federal Register publication is available at http://www.regulations.gov.

    Tribal Consultation

    The National Indian Gaming Commission is committed to fulfilling its tribal consultation obligations—whether directed by statute or administrative action such as Executive Order (EO) 13175 (Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments)—by adhering to the consultation framework described in its Consultation Policy published July 15, 2013. Pursuant to the Order, the Commission engaged in extensive consultation on this topic.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This Protocol will not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities as defined under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq. Indian tribes are not considered to be small entities for the purposes of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This Protocol is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This Protocol does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. This rule will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, state or local government agencies or geographic regions, and does not have a significant adverse effect on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Commission, as an independent regulatory agency within the Department of the Interior, is exempt from compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. 2 U.S.C. 1502(1); 2 U.S.C. 658(1).

    Takings

    In accordance with Executive Order 12630, the Commission has determined that this Protocol does not have significant takings implications. A takings implication assessment is not required.

    Civil Justice Reform

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988, the Office of General Counsel has determined that the Protocol does not unduly burden the judicial system and meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the Executive Order.

    National Environmental Policy Act

    This Protocol supplements CEQ regulations and provides guidance to NIGC employees regarding procedural requirements for the application of NEPA provisions to certain NIGC actions. The CEQ does not direct agencies to prepare a NEPA analysis or document before establishing agency procedures for implementing NEPA.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, the National Indian Gaming Commission establishes the following Protocol:

    Protocol for Categorical Exclusions (CATEX) of Certain Actions

    The use of a CATEX can only be applied to an action if all of the following criteria are met:

    1. The responsible NIGC official must determine that the entirety of the NIGC action is encompassed by one of the listed CATEXs.

    2. The responsible NIGC official must determine that the action has not been segmented in order for the NIGC action to meet the definition of an action that can qualify for a CATEX. Segmentation occurs when an action is broken into smaller parts in an effort to avoid properly documenting impacts associated with the complete action. Segmentation also occurs when the NIGC action is too narrowly defined and the potential impacts are minimized in order to avoid a higher level of NEPA documentation. Connected and cumulative actions must be considered (See 40 CFR 1508.25).

    3. The responsible NIGC official must determine if the NIGC action will involve any extraordinary circumstances that would prevent the use of a categorical exclusion.

    Categorical Exclusions

    The NIGC, based on past experience with similar actions, has determined that the following types of actions are categorically excluded and do not require the preparation of an EA or EIS because they will not individually or cumulatively result in a significant impact on the human environment. These types of federal actions meet the criteria established in 40 CFR 1508.4.

    Category 1—Administrative and Routine Office Activities

    A. Normal personnel, fiscal, and administrative activities involving personnel (recruiting, hiring, detailing, processing, paying, supervising and records keeping).

    B. Preparation of administrative or personnel-related studies, reports, or investigations.

    C. Routine procurement of goods and services to support operations and infrastructure, including routine utility services and contracts, conducted in accordance with applicable procurement regulations, executive orders, and policies (e.g. Executive Order 13101).

    D. Normal administrative office functions (record keeping; inspecting, examining, and auditing papers, books, and records; processing correspondence; developing and approving budgets; setting fee payments; responding to request for information).

    E. Routine activities and operations conducted on or in an existing structure that are within the scope and compatibility of the present functional use of the building, will not result in a substantial increase in waste discharge to the environment, will not result in substantially different waste discharges from current or previous activities, and will not result in emissions that exceed established permit limits, if any. In these cases, a Record of Environmental Consideration (REC), documentation is required.

    F. NIGC training in classrooms, meeting rooms, gaming facilities, or via the internet.

    Category 2—Regulation, Monitoring and Oversight of Indian Gaming Activities

    A. Promulgation or publication of regulations, procedures, manuals, and guidance documents.

    B. Support of compliance and enforcement functions by conducting compliance training for tribal gaming regulators and managers in classrooms, meeting rooms, gaming facilities, or via the internet.

    C. Preparing and issuing subpoenas, holding hearings, and taking depositions for informational gathering purposes, not associated with administrative enforcement actions.

    Category 3—Management Contract and Agreement Review Activities

    A. Approval or disapproval of management contracts, management contract amendments and collateral agreements that meet the following criteria: (1) Are not associated with an application to take land into trust; (2) does not provide for construction or expansion of existing facilities; (3) ensures compliance with all federal, state, local and tribal environmental laws (e.g. Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, National Historic Preservation Act, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, etc.), regulations, and permit requirements; and (4) ensures adequate provision of utilities, law enforcement, fire protection, and other emergency service coverage without effects on neighboring areas. In these cases, a Record of Environmental Consideration (REC), documentation is required.

    B. Conducting background investigations in connection with a management contract or management contract amendment.

    Extraordinary Circumstances

    Actions that can normally be categorically excluded may not qualify for a CATEX because an extraordinary circumstance exists (See 40 CFR 1508.4). If the proposed action has one or more of the following conditions, extraordinary circumstances exist and the action cannot be categorically excluded:

    A. The proposed action/project would threaten a violation of applicable federal, state, local or tribal statutory, regulatory, or permit requirements with regard to public health and safety.

    B. The proposed action/project has effects on the environment that involve risks that are highly uncertain, unique, or are scientifically controversial.

    C. The proposed action/project violates one or more federal, tribal, state, or local environmental laws, regulations, permit requirements, or Executive Order.

    D. The proposed action/project has an adverse effect on a property or structure eligible for listing or listed on the National Register of Historical Places as determined by-the Commission, the State Historic Preservation Officer, the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, or a consulting party under 36 CFR 800. Adverse effects include the degradation, loss, or destruction of (1) scientific, cultural, or historical resources protected by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended; (2) on World Heritage properties; or (3) other significant scientific, cultural, or historical resources.

    E. The proposed action/project has adverse effects on natural, ecological, or scenic resources of federal, tribal, state and/or local significance. These resources include: (1) Resources protected by Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA); (2) resources protected by the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act; (3) prime, unique, tribal, state or locally important farmlands; (4) cultural items or archaeological resources as defined by the Archaeological Resources Protection Act and/or Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act; (5) park lands; (6) federal or state listed wild or scenic rivers; and/or (7) other ecologically critical areas.

    F. The proposed action/project is related to other actions that may, when considered cumulatively, have significant adverse effects.

    G. The proposed action/project may adversely affect (1) a federal or state listed endangered, threatened, or candidate species; or (2) designated or proposed critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

    H. The proposed action/project has effects which will impact floodplains and/or wetlands on Federal property.

    I. The proposed action/project has effects that will cause a criteria pollutant listed under the Clean Air Act to exceed the threshold level of one or more of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for the surrounding geographical area.

    J. The proposed action/project has effects that may cause disproportionately high adverse environmental or health impacts specific to children, minorities, or low-income populations.

    K. The proposed action/project is likely to have adverse effects on migratory bird populations.

    L. The proposed action/project has the potential to disturb hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants, or CERCLA-excluded petroleum and natural gas products that preexist in the environment such that there would be uncontrolled or unpermitted releases.

    M. The proposed action/project has effects that are highly controversial on environmental grounds.

    Categorical Exclusion Documentation

    The purpose of categorical exclusions is to reduce paperwork and delay. The NIGC is not required to repeatedly document actions that qualify for a categorical exclusion and do not involve an extraordinary circumstance (See 40 CFR 1500.4(p)). The NIGC will document its decision to treat a particular action as categorically excluded from further NEPA review, when the CATEX applied specifically requires the preparation of a REC. In those cases, a REC will include:

    A. A complete description of the proposed action/project;

    B. The CATEX relied upon, including a brief discussion of why there are no extraordinary circumstances;

    C. Supplemental documentation that supports the conclusions in the narrative. Examples include exhibit(s) showing boundaries of historical or archeological site(s) previously identified near the proposed project, documentation from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service noting that no endangered species or habitat is present near the proposed project, evidence that the proposed project site is located outside any non-attainment area(s), etc. In some cases, a “no effect” determination from the State Historic Preservation Office or Tribal Historic Preservation Office may be required;

    D. The following statement: I certify that, to the best of my knowledge, the information provided is the best available information and is accurate;

    E. A signature from an environmental professional with a signature block that includes the professional's credentials.

    Dated: July 14, 2017. Jonodev O. Chaudhuri, Chairman. Kathryn Isom-Clause, Vice Chair. E. Sequoyah Simermeyer, Commissioner.
    [FR Doc. 2017-15498 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7565-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement [S1D1S SS08011000 SX066A0067F 178S180110; S2D2D SS08011000 SX066A00 33F 17XS501520] Agency Information Collection Activities: OMB Control Number 1029-0091; Requirements for Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation Operations on Indian Lands AGENCY:

    Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments for 1029-0091.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) is announcing that the information collection request for the requirements for surface coal mining and reclamation operations on Indian lands has been forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. The information collection request describes the nature of the information collection and the expected burden and cost.

    DATES:

    OMB has up to 60 days to approve or disapprove the information collection, but may respond after 30 days. Therefore, public comments should be submitted to OMB by August 30, 2017, in order to be assured of consideration.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Attention: Department of the Interior Desk Officer, by telefax at (202) 395-5806 or via email at [email protected] Also, please send a copy of your comments to John Trelease, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 1951 Constitution Ave. NW., Room 202-SIB, Washington, DC 20240, or electronically at [email protected] Please refer to OMB control number 1029-0091 in your correspondence.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To receive a copy of the information collection request, contact John Trelease at (202) 208-2783, or electronically at [email protected] You may also review this collection by going to http://www.reginfo.gov (Information Collection Review, Currently Under Review, Agency is Department of the Interior, DOI-OSMRE).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    OMB regulations at 5 CFR 1320, which implement provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13), require that interested members of the public and affected agencies have an opportunity to comment on information collection and recordkeeping activities [see 5 CFR 1320.8(d)]. OSMRE has submitted a request to OMB to renew its approval of the collection of information for 30 CFR 750—Requirements for surface coal mining and reclamation operations on Indian lands. OSMRE is requesting a 3-year term of approval for this information collection activity.

    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. The OMB control number for this collection of information is 1029-0091. Applicants are required to respondent to obtain a benefit.

    As required under 5 CFR 1320.8(d), a Federal Register notice soliciting comments for this collection of information was published on April 5, 2017 (82 FR 16621). No comments were received. This notice provides the public with an additional 30 days in which to comment on the following information collection activity:

    Title: 30 CFR 750—Requirements for Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation Operations on Indian Lands.

    OMB Control Number: 1029-0091.

    Summary: Surface coal mining permit applicants who conduct or propose to conduct surface coal mining and reclamation operations on Indian lands must comply with the requirements of 30 CFR 750 pursuant to Section 710 of SMCRA.

    Bureau Form Number: None.

    Frequency of Collection: Once.

    Description of Respondents: Applicants for coal mining permits.

    Total Annual Responses: One new permit, one significant revision, 25 minor revisions annually.

    Total Annual Burden Hours: 16,427 hours annually.

    Total Annual Non-Wage Burden Costs: $34,000.

    Send comments on the need for the collection of information for the performance of the functions of the agency; the accuracy of the agency's burden estimates; ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information collection; and ways to minimize the information collection burden on respondents, such as use of automated means of collection of the information, to the addresses listed under ADDRESSES. Please refer to the appropriate OMB control number 1029-0091 in your correspondence.

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Authority:

    The authorities for this action are the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, as amended (30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.), and the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

    Dated: June 15, 2017. John A. Trelease, Acting Chief, Division of Regulatory Support.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16044 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-05-P
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Antitrust Division Notice Pursuant to the National Cooper, Ative Research and Production Act of 1993—Vehicle To Infrastructure Consortium

    Notice is hereby given that, on June 29, 2017, pursuant to Section 6(a) of the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993, 15 U.S.C. 4301 et seq. (“the Act”), Vehicle to Infrastructure Consortium (“V2I Consortium”) has filed written notifications simultaneously with the Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission disclosing changes in its membership. The notifications were filed for the purpose of extending the Act's provisions limiting the recovery of antitrust plaintiffs to actual damages under specified circumstances. Specifically, Chrysler Group, LLC, Auburn Hills, MI, and Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA, have withdrawn as a parties to this venture.

    No other changes have been made in either the membership or planned activity of the group research project. Membership in this group research project remains open, and V2I Consortium intends to file additional written notifications disclosing all changes in membership.

    On December 3, 2014, V2I Consortium filed its original notification pursuant to Section 6(a) of the Act. The Department of Justice published a notice in the Federal Register pursuant to Section 6(b) of the Act on December 31, 2014 (79 FR 78908).

    Patricia A. Brink, Director of Civil Enforcement, Antitrust Division.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16050 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Drug Enforcement Administration [Docket No. DEA-392] Bulk Manufacturer of Controlled Substances Application: Isosciences, LLC ACTION:

    Notice of application.

    DATES:

    Registered bulk manufacturers of the affected basic classes, and applicants therefore, may file written comments on or objections to the issuance of the proposed registration in accordance with 21 CFR 1301.33(a) on or before September 29, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments should be sent to: Drug Enforcement Administration, Attention: DEA Federal Register Representative/DRW, 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Attorney General has delegated his authority under the Controlled Substances Act to the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), 28 CFR 0.100(b). Authority to exercise all necessary functions with respect to the promulgation and implementation of 21 CFR part 1301, incident to the registration of manufacturers, distributors, dispensers, importers, and exporters of controlled substances (other than final orders in connection with suspension, denial, or revocation of registration) has been redelegated to the Assistant Administrator of the DEA Diversion Control Division (“Assistant Administrator”) pursuant to section 7 of 28 CFR part 0, appendix to subpart R.

    In accordance with 21 CFR 1301.33(a), this is notice that on May 17, 2017, Isosciences, LLC, 1017 West 9th Avenue, Building 10, Suite B, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania 19406 applied to be registered as a bulk manufacturer of the following basic classes of controlled substances:

    Controlled substance Drug code Schedule Cathinone 1235 I Methcathinone 1237 I Lysergic acid diethylamide 7315 I 3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine 7400 I 3,4-Methylenedioxy-N-ethylamphetamine 7404 I Amphetamine 1100 II Methamphetamine 1105 II Codeine 9050 II Morphine 9300 II

    The company plans to manufacture small quantities of the listed controlled substances to make reference standards which will be distributed to their customers.

    Dated: July 24, 2017. Demetra Ashley, Acting Assistant Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16060 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-09-P
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Drug Enforcement Administration [Docket No. DEA-392] Importer of Controlled Substances Application: R & D Systems, Inc. ACTION:

    Notice of application.

    DATES:

    Registered bulk manufacturers of the affected basic classes, and applicants therefore, may file written comments on or objections to the issuance of the proposed registration in accordance with 21 CFR 1301.34(a) on or before August 30, 2017. Such persons may also file a written request for a hearing on the application pursuant to 21 CFR 1301.43 on or before August 30, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments should be sent to: Drug Enforcement Administration, Attention: DEA Federal Register Representative/DRW, 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152. All requests for hearing must be sent to: Drug Enforcement Administration, Attn: Administrator, 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152. All request for hearing should also be sent to: (1) Drug Enforcement Administration, Attn: Hearing Clerk/LJ, 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152; and (2) Drug Enforcement Administration, Attn: DEA Federal Register Representative/DRW, 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Attorney General has delegated his authority under the Controlled Substances Act to the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), 28 CFR 0.100(b). Authority to exercise all necessary functions with respect to the promulgation and implementation of 21 CFR part 1301, incident to the registration of manufacturers, distributors, dispensers, importers, and exporters of controlled substances (other than final orders in connection with suspension, denial, or revocation of registration) has been redelegated to the Assistant Administrator of the DEA Diversion Control Division (“Assistant Administrator”) pursuant to section 7 of 28 CFR part 0, appendix to subpart R.

    In accordance with 21 CFR 1301.34(a), this is notice that on March 7, 2017, R & D Systems, Inc., Bio-Techne, 614 McKinley Place NE., Minneapolis, Minnesota 55413 applied to be registered as an importer of the following basic classes of controlled substances:

    Controlled substance Drug code Schedule Mephedrone (4-Methyl-N-methylcathinone) 1248 I JWH-018 (also known as AM678) (1-Pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole) 7118 I CP-47,497 (5-(1,1-Dimethylheptyl)-2-[(1R,3S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl-phenol) 7297 I Marihuana 7360 I Tetrahydrocannabinols 7370 I 4-Bromo-2,5-dimethoxyamphetamine 7391 I 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine 7405 I Dimethyltryptamine 7435 I Psilocyn 7438 I Pentobarbital 2270 II Phencyclidine 7471 II Cocaine 9041 II

    The company plans to import bulk active pharmaceutical controlled substances for distribution to its customers for analytical purposes.

    In reference to drug codes 7360 and 7370, the company plans to import a synthetic cannabidiol and a synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol. No other activity for these drug codes is authorized for this registration.

    Dated: July 24, 2017. Demetra Ashley, Acting Assistant Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16064 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-09-P
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Drug Enforcement Administration [Docket No. DEA-392] Importer of Controlled Substances Application: Sigma-Aldrich International GMBH ACTION:

    Notice of application.

    DATES:

    Registered bulk manufacturers of the affected basic classes, and applicants therefore, may file written comments on or objections to the issuance of the proposed registration in accordance with 21 CFR 1301.34(a) on or before August 30, 2017. Such persons may also file a written request for a hearing on the application pursuant to 21 CFR 1301.43 on or before August 30, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments should be sent to: Drug Enforcement Administration, Attention: DEA Federal Register Representative/DRW, 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152. All requests for hearing must be sent to: Drug Enforcement Administration, Attn: Administrator, 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152. All request for hearing should also be sent to: (1) Drug Enforcement Administration, Attn: Hearing Clerk/LJ, 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152; and (2) Drug Enforcement Administration, Attn: DEA Federal Register Representative/DRW, 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152. Comments and requests for hearings on applications to import narcotic raw material are not appropriate. 72 FR 3417, (January 25, 2007).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Attorney General has delegated his authority under the Controlled Substances Act to the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), 28 CFR 0.100(b). Authority to exercise all necessary functions with respect to the promulgation and implementation of 21 CFR part 1301, incident to the registration of manufacturers, distributors, dispensers, importers, and exporters of controlled substances (other than final orders in connection with suspension, denial, or revocation of registration) has been redelegated to the Assistant Administrator of the DEA Diversion Control Division (“Assistant Administrator”) pursuant to section 7 of 28 CFR part 0, appendix of subpart R.

    In accordance with 21 CFR 1301.34(a), this is notice that on January 19, 2016, Sigma-Aldrich International GMBH, Sigma Aldrich Co. LLC, 3500 Dekalb Street, Saint Louis, Missouri 63118 applied to be registered as an importer of the following basic classes of controlled substances:

    Controlled substance Drug code Schedule Cathinone 1235 I Methcathinone 1237 I Mephedrone (4-Methyl-N-methylcathinone) 1248 I N-Ethylamphetamine 1475 I Aminorex 1585 I Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid 2010 I Methaqualone 2565 I Alpha-ethyltryptamine 7249 I Ibogaine 7260 I Lysergic acid diethylamide 7315 I Marihuana 7360 I Tetrahydrocannabinols 7370 I Mescaline 7381 I 4-Bromo-2,5-dimethoxyamphetamine 7391 I 4-Bromo-2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine 7392 I 4-Methyl-2,5-dimethoxyamphetamine 7395 I 2,5-Dimethoxyamphetamine 7396 I 3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine 7400 I N-Hydroxy-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine 7402 I 3,4-Methylenedioxy-N-ethylamphetamine 7404 I 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine 7405 I 4-Methoxyamphetamine 7411 I Bufotenine 7433 I Diethyltryptamine 7434 I Dimethyltryptamine 7435 I Psilocybin 7437 I Psilocyn 7438 I 1-[1-(2-Thienyl)cyclohexyl]piperidine 7470 I N-Benzylpiperazine 7493 I MDPV (3,4-Methylenedioxypyrovalerone) 7535 I Butylone 7541 I Heroin 9200 I Normorphine 9313 I Etonitazene 9624 I Amobarbital 2125 II Pentobarbital 2270 II Secobarbital 2315 II Glutethimide 2550 II Nabilone 7379 II Phencyclidine 7471 II Diphenoxylate 9170 II Ecgonine 9180 II Ethylmorphine 9190 II Levorphanol 9220 II Meperidine 9230 II Thebaine 9333 II Opium, powdered 9639 II Levo-alphacetylmethadol 9648 II

    The company plans to import the listed controlled substances for sale to research facilities for drug testing and analysis.

    Dated: July 24, 2017. Demetra Ashley, Acting Assistant Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16059 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-09-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Employment and Training Administration Nominations for the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion; Correction AGENCY:

    Employment and Training Administration, Labor.

    ACTION:

    Solicitation of Nominations to Serve on the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Labor published a document in the Federal Register of July 25, 2017 (82 FR 34553), concerning requests for nominations for the task force on apprenticeship expansion. The document contained an incorrect email address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Please contact Ms. Natalie S. Linton, Program Analyst, Employment and Training Administration, Office of Apprenticeship, at [email protected], telephone (202) 693-3592 (this is not a toll-free number).

    Correction

    In the Federal Register of July 25, 2017, in FR Doc. 2017-15682, in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section located in the third column of page 34553, correct the email address to read: [email protected]

    Byron Zuidema, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Employment and Training Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16062 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-FR-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Office of the Secretary Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Standard for Construction and General Industry and Electrical Protective Equipment for Construction and General Industry ACTION:

    Notice of availability; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    On July 31, 2017, the Department of Labor (DOL) will submit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sponsored information collection request (ICR) titled, “Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Standard for Construction and General Industry and Electrical Protective Equipment for Construction and General Industry,” to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval for continued use, without change, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA). Public comments on the ICR are invited.

    DATES:

    The OMB will consider all written comments that agency receives on or before August 30, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    A copy of this ICR with applicable supporting documentation; including a description of the likely respondents, proposed frequency of response, and estimated total burden may be obtained free of charge from the RegInfo.gov Web site at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=201706-1218-002 (this link will only become active as of August 1, 2017) or by contacting Michel Smyth by telephone at 202-693-4129, TTY 202-693-8064, (these are not toll-free numbers) or by email at [email protected]

    Submit comments about this request by mail or courier to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attn: OMB Desk Officer for DOL-OSHA, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10235, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503; by Fax: 202-395-5806 (this is not a toll-free number); or by email: [email protected] Commenters are encouraged, but not required, to send a courtesy copy of any comments by mail or courier to the U.S. Department of Labor-OASAM, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Attn: Departmental Information Compliance Management Program, Room N1301, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; or by email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michel Smyth by telephone at 202-693-4129, TTY 202-693-8064, (these are not toll-free numbers) or by email at [email protected]

    Authority:

    44 U.S.C. 3507(a)(1)(D).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This ICR seeks to extend PRA authority for the Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Standard for Construction and General Industry and Electrical Protective Equipment Standard for Construction and General Industry information collection requirements codified in regulations 29 CFR 1910.137; 1910.269; 1926, subpart V; and 1926.97 that are designed to help ensure an Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) covered employer subject to the Standards provides employees with safe work practices that guard against exposure to electrical shock hazards in workplace. OSH Act sections 2, 6, and 8 authorize this information collection. See 29 U.S.C. 651, 655, 657.

    This information collection is subject to the PRA. A Federal agency generally cannot conduct or sponsor a collection of information, and the public is generally not required to respond to an information collection, unless it is approved by the OMB under the PRA and displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. In addition, notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no person shall generally be subject to penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information that does not display a valid Control Number. See 5 CFR 1320.5(a) and 1320.6. The DOL obtains OMB approval for this information collection under Control Number 1218-0253.

    OMB authorization for an ICR cannot be for more than three (3) years without renewal, and the current approval for this collection is scheduled to expire on July 31, 2017. The DOL seeks to extend PRA authorization for this information collection for three (3) more years, without any change to existing requirements. The DOL notes that existing information collection requirements submitted to the OMB receive a month-to-month extension while they undergo review. For additional substantive information about this ICR, see the related notice published in the Federal Register on April 5, 2017 (82 FR 16627).

    Interested parties are encouraged to send comments to the OMB, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the address shown in the ADDRESSES section within 30 days of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. In order to help ensure appropriate consideration, comments should mention OMB Control Number 1218-0253. The OMB is particularly interested in comments that:

    • 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;

    • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are 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.

    Agency: DOL-OSHA.

    Title of Collection: Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Standard for Construction and General Industry and Electrical Protective Equipment for Construction and General Industry.

    OMB Control Number: 1218-0253.

    Affected Public: Private Sector—businesses or other for-profits.

    Total Estimated Number of Respondents: 19,746.

    Total Estimated Number of Responses: 952,348.

    Total Estimated Annual Time Burden: 365,094 hours.

    Total Estimated Annual Other Costs Burden: $0.

    Dated: July 25, 2017. Michel Smyth, Departmental Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16025 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-26-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Office of the Secretary Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Portable Fire Extinguishers Standard ACTION:

    Notice of availability; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    On July 31, 2017, the Department of Labor (DOL) will submit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sponsored information collection request (ICR) titled, “Portable Fire Extinguishers Standard,” to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval for continued use, without change, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA). Public comments on the ICR are invited.

    DATES:

    The OMB will consider all written comments that agency receives on or before August 30, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    A copy of this ICR with applicable supporting documentation; including a description of the likely respondents, proposed frequency of response, and estimated total burden may be obtained free of charge from the RegInfo.gov Web site at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=20171606-1218-004 or by contacting Michel Smyth by telephone at 202-693-4129, TTY 202-693-8064, (these are not toll-free numbers) or by email at [email protected]

    Submit comments about this request by mail or courier to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attn: OMB Desk Officer for DOL-OSHA, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10235, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503; by Fax: 202-395-5806 (this is not a toll-free number); or by email: [email protected] Commenters are encouraged, but not required, to send a courtesy copy of any comments by mail or courier to the U.S. Department of Labor-OASAM, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Attn: Departmental Information Compliance Management Program, Room N1301, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; or by email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michel Smyth by telephone at 202-693-4129, TTY 202-693-8064, (these are not toll-free numbers) or by email at [email protected]

    Authority:

    44 U.S.C. 3507(a)(1)(D).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This ICR seeks to extend PRA authority for the Portable Fire Extinguishers Standard information collection codified in regulations 29 CFR 1910.157(e)(3). The Standard requires an Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) covered employer to subject each portable fire extinguisher to an annual maintenance inspection and to record the date of the inspection. The regulation requires the employer to retain the inspection record for one year after the last entry or for the life of the shell, whichever is less, and to make the record available to the OSHA on request. This recordkeeping requirement assures employees and OSHA compliance officers that any portable fire extinguisher located in the workplace will operate normally in case of fire; in addition, this requirement provides evidence to an OSHA compliance officer during an inspection that the employer performed the required maintenance checks on the portable fire extinguishers. OSH Act sections 2 and 8 authorize this information collection. See 29 U.S.C. 651, 657.

    This information collection is subject to the PRA. A Federal agency generally cannot conduct or sponsor a collection of information, and the public is generally not required to respond to an information collection, unless it is approved by the OMB under the PRA and displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. In addition, notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no person shall generally be subject to penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information that does not display a valid Control Number. See 5 CFR 1320.5(a) and 1320.6. The DOL obtains OMB approval for this information collection under Control Number 1218-0238.

    OMB authorization for an ICR cannot be for more than three (3) years without renewal, and the current approval for this collection is scheduled to expire on July 31, 2017. The DOL seeks to extend PRA authorization for this information collection for three (3) more years, without any change to existing requirements. The DOL notes that existing information collection requirements submitted to the OMB receive a month-to-month extension while they undergo review. For additional substantive information about this ICR, see the related notice published in the Federal Register on April 24, 2017 (82 FR 18930).

    Interested parties are encouraged to send comments to the OMB, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the address shown in the ADDRESSES section within thirty (30) days of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. In order to help ensure appropriate consideration, comments should mention OMB Control Number 1218-0238. The OMB is particularly interested in comments that:

    • 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;

    • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are 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.

    Agency: DOL-OSHA.

    Title of Collection: Portable Fire Extinguishers Standard.

    OMB Control Number: 1218-0238.

    Affected Public: Private Sector—businesses or other for-profits.

    Total Estimated Number of Respondents: 5,869,911.

    Total Estimated Number of Responses: 5,869,911.

    Total Estimated Annual Time Burden: 293,496 hours.

    Total Estimated Annual Other Costs Burden: $95,386,054.

    Dated: July 25, 2017. Michel Smyth, Departmental Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16029 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-26-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Office of the Secretary Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Rigging Equipment for Material Handling ACTION:

    Notice of availability; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    On July 31, 2017, the Department of Labor (DOL) will submit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sponsored information collection request (ICR) titled, “Rigging Equipment for Material Handling,” to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval for continued use, without change, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA). Public comments on the ICR are invited.

    DATES:

    The OMB will consider all written comments that agency receives on or before August 30, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    A copy of this ICR with applicable supporting documentation; including a description of the likely respondents, proposed frequency of response, and estimated total burden may be obtained free of charge from the RegInfo.gov Web site at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=201706-1218-005 or by contacting Michel Smyth by telephone at 202-693-4129, TTY 202-693-8064, (these are not toll-free numbers) or by email at [email protected]

    Submit comments about this request by mail or courier to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attn: OMB Desk Officer for DOL-OSHA, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10235, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503; by Fax: 202-395-5806 (this is not a toll-free number); or by email: [email protected] Commenters are encouraged, but not required, to send a courtesy copy of any comments by mail or courier to the U.S. Department of Labor-OASAM, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Attn: Departmental Information Compliance Management Program, Room N1301, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; or by email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michel Smyth by telephone at 202-693-4129, TTY 202-693-8064, (these are not toll-free numbers) or by email at [email protected]

    Authority:

    44 U.S.C. 3507(a)(1)(D).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This ICR seeks to extend PRA authority for the Rigging Equipment for Material Handling information collection requirements codified in regulations at 29 CFR 1926.251(b)(1); (b)(6)(i) and (ii); (c)(15)(ii); (e)(1)(i), (ii), and (iii); and (f)(2) that require affixing identification tags or markings on rigging equipment, developing and maintaining inspection records, and retaining proof-testing certificates. Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 sections 2, 6, and 8 authorize this information collection. See 29 U.S.C. 651, 655, 657.

    This information collection is subject to the PRA. A Federal agency generally cannot conduct or sponsor a collection of information, and the public is generally not required to respond to an information collection, unless it is approved by the OMB under the PRA and displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. In addition, notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no person shall generally be subject to penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information that does not display a valid Control Number. See 5 CFR 1320.5(a) and 1320.6. The DOL obtains OMB approval for this information collection under Control Number 1218-0233.

    OMB authorization for an ICR cannot be for more than three (3) years without renewal, and the current approval for this collection is scheduled to expire on July 31, 2017. The DOL seeks to extend PRA authorization for this information collection for three (3) more years, without any change to existing requirements. The DOL notes that existing information collection requirements submitted to the OMB receive a month-to-month extension while they undergo review. For additional substantive information about this ICR, see the related notice published in the Federal Register on April 24, 2017 (82 FR 18934).

    Interested parties are encouraged to send comments to the OMB, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the address shown in the ADDRESSES section within 30 days of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. In order to help ensure appropriate consideration, comments should mention OMB Control Number 1218-0233. The OMB is particularly interested in comments that:

    • 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;

    • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are 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.

    Agency: DOL-OSHA.

    Title of Collection: Rigging Equipment for Material Handling.

    OMB Control Number: 1218-0233.

    Affected Public: Private Sector—businesses or other for-profits.

    Total Estimated Number of Respondents: 278,343.

    Total Estimated Number of Responses: 278,343.

    Total Estimated Annual Time Burden: 52,428 hours.

    Total Estimated Annual Other Costs Burden: $0.

    Dated: July 25, 2017. Michel Smyth, Departmental Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16028 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-26-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Office of the Secretary Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Anhydrous Ammonia Storage and Handling Standard ACTION:

    Notice of availability; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    On July 31, 2017, the Department of Labor (DOL) will submit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sponsored information collection request (ICR) titled, “Anhydrous Ammonia Storage and Handling Standard,” to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval for continued use, without change, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA). Public comments on the ICR are invited.

    DATES:

    The OMB will consider all written comments that agency receives on or before August 30, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    A copy of this ICR with applicable supporting documentation; including a description of the likely respondents, proposed frequency of response, and estimated total burden may be obtained free of charge from the RegInfo.gov Web site at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=201707-1218-001 (this link will only be active as of August 1, 2017) or by contacting Michel Smyth by telephone at 202-693-4129, TTY 202-693-8064, (these are not toll-free numbers) or by email at [email protected]

    Submit comments about this request by mail or courier to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attn: OMB Desk Officer for DOL-OSHA, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10235, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503; by Fax: 202-395-5806 (this is not a toll-free number); or by email: [email protected] Commenters are encouraged, but not required, to send a courtesy copy of any comments by mail or courier to the U.S. Department of Labor-OASAM, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Attn: Departmental Information Compliance Management Program, Room N1301, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; or by email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michel Smyth by telephone at 202-693-4129, TTY 202-693-8064, (these are not toll-free numbers) or by email at [email protected]

    Authority:

    44 U.S.C. 3507(a)(1)(D).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This ICR seeks to extend PRA authority for the Anhydrous Ammonia Storage and Handling Standard information collection requirements codified in regulations 29 CFR 1910.111. Markings the Standard requires help to ensure that an Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH ACT) covered employer subject to the Standard uses only properly designed and tested containers and systems to store anhydrous ammonia, thereby, preventing accidental release of, and exposure of workers to this highly toxic and corrosive substance. OSH Act sections 2 and 8 authorize this information collection. See 29 U.S.C. 651, 657.

    This information collection is subject to the PRA. A Federal agency generally cannot conduct or sponsor a collection of information, and the public is generally not required to respond to an information collection, unless it is approved by the OMB under the PRA and displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. In addition, notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no person shall generally be subject to penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information that does not display a valid Control Number. See 5 CFR 1320.5(a) and 1320.6. The DOL obtains OMB approval for this information collection under Control Number 1218-0208.

    OMB authorization for an ICR cannot be for more than three (3) years without renewal, and the current approval for this collection is scheduled to expire on July 31, 2017. The DOL seeks to extend PRA authorization for this information collection for three (3) more years, without any change to existing requirements. The DOL notes that existing information collection requirements submitted to the OMB receive a month-to-month extension while they undergo review. For additional substantive information about this ICR, see the related notice published in the Federal Register on April 25, 2017 (82 FR 19087).

    Interested parties are encouraged to send comments to the OMB, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the address shown in the ADDRESSES section within 30 days of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. In order to help ensure appropriate consideration, comments should mention OMB Control Number 1218-0208. The OMB is particularly interested in comments that:

    • 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;

    • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are 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.

    Agency: DOL-OSHA.

    Title of Collection: Anhydrous Ammonia Storage and Handling Standard.

    OMB Control Number: 1218-0208.

    Affected Public: Private Sector—farms.

    Total Estimated Number of Respondents: 1,980.

    Total Estimated Number of Responses: 1,980.

    Total Estimated Annual Time Burden: 337 hours.

    Total Estimated Annual Other Costs Burden: $0.

    Dated: July 25, 2017. Michel Smyth, Departmental Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16026 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-26-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Office of the Secretary Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Process for Expedited Approval of an Exemption for Prohibited Transaction, Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 1996-62 ACTION:

    Notice of availability; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    On July 31, 2017, the Department of Labor (DOL) will submit the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) sponsored information collection request (ICR) titled, “Process for Expedited Approval of an Exemption for Prohibited Transaction, Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 1996-62,” to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval for continued use, without change, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA). Public comments on the ICR are invited.

    DATES:

    The OMB will consider all written comments that agency receives on or before August 30, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    A copy of this ICR with applicable supporting documentation; including a description of the likely respondents, proposed frequency of response, and estimated total burden may be obtained free of charge from the RegInfo.gov Web site at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=201706-1210-002 or by contacting Michel Smyth by telephone at 202-693-4129, TTY 202-693-8064, (these are not toll-free numbers) or by email at [email protected]

    Submit comments about this request by mail or courier to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attn: OMB Desk Officer for DOL-EBSA, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10235, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503; by Fax: 202-395-5806 (this is not a toll-free number); or by email: [email protected] Commenters are encouraged, but not required, to send a courtesy copy of any comments by mail or courier to the U.S. Department of Labor-OASAM, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Attn: Departmental Information Compliance Management Program, Room N1301, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; or by email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michel Smyth by telephone at 202-693-4129, TTY 202-693-8064, (these are not toll-free numbers) or by email at [email protected]

    Authority:

    44 U.S.C. 3507(a)(1)(D).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This ICR seeks to extend PRA authority for the information collection requirements contained in Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption (PTE) 1996-62, which provides for accelerated approval of an exemption permitting a plan to engage in a transaction that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) might otherwise prohibit. The PTE may be granted following a demonstration to the DOL that the transaction: (1) Is substantially similar in all material respects to at least two other transactions for which the DOL recently granted administrative relief from the same restriction; and (2) presents little, if any, opportunity for abuse or risk of loss to a plan's participants and beneficiaries. Under the PTE, a party may proceed with a transaction in as little as seventy-eight (78) days from the acknowledgment of receipt by the DOL of a written submission filed in accordance with the terms of the PTE. Internal Revenue Code section 4975 and ERISA section 408 authorize this information collection. See 26 U.S.C. 4975 and 29 U.S.C. 1108.

    This information collection is subject to the PRA. A Federal agency generally cannot conduct or sponsor a collection of information, and the public is generally not required to respond to an information collection, unless it is approved by the OMB under the PRA and displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. In addition, notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no person shall generally be subject to penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information that does not display a valid Control Number. See 5 CFR 1320.5(a) and 1320.6. The DOL obtains OMB approval for this information collection under Control Number 1210-0098.

    OMB authorization for an ICR cannot be for more than three (3) years without renewal, and the current approval for this collection is scheduled to expire on July 31, 2017. The DOL seeks to extend PRA authorization for this information collection for three (3) more years, without any change to existing requirements. The DOL notes that existing information collection requirements submitted to the OMB receive a month-to-month extension while they undergo review. For additional substantive information about this ICR, see the related notice published in the Federal Register on October 28, 2016 (81 FR 75157).

    Interested parties are encouraged to send comments to the OMB, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the address shown in the ADDRESSES section within 30 days of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. In order to help ensure appropriate consideration, comments should mention OMB Control Number 1210-0098. The OMB is particularly interested in comments that:

    • 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;

    • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are 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.

    Agency: DOL-EBSA.

    Title of Collection: Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 1996-62, Process for Expedited Approval of an Exemption for Prohibited Transaction.

    OMB Control Number: 1210-0098.

    Affected Public: Private Sector—businesses or other for-profits and not-for-profit institutions.

    Total Estimated Number of Respondents: 5.

    Total Estimated Number of Responses: 3,515.

    Total Estimated Annual Time Burden: 88 hours.

    Total Estimated Annual Other Costs Burden: $20,457.

    Dated: July 25, 2017. Michel Smyth, Departmental Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16027 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-29-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Office of the Secretary Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Requirements for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Training Institute Education Centers Program and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Outreach Training Program ACTION:

    Notice of availability; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Labor (DOL) is submitting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sponsored information collection request (ICR) revision titled, “Requirements for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Training Institute Education Centers Program and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Outreach Training Program,” to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval for use in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995. Public comments on the ICR are invited.

    DATES:

    The OMB will consider all written comments that agency receives on or before August 30, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    A copy of this ICR with applicable supporting documentation; including a description of the likely respondents, proposed frequency of response, and estimated total burden may be obtained free of charge from the RegInfo.gov Web site at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=201707-1218-005 (this link will only become active as of August 1, 2017) or by contacting Michel Smyth by telephone at 202-693-4129, TTY 202-693-8064, (these are not toll-free numbers) or sending an email to [email protected]

    Submit comments about this request by mail to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attn: OMB Desk Officer for DOL-OSHA, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10235, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503; by Fax: 202-395-5806 (this is not a toll-free number); or by email: [email protected] Commenters are encouraged, but not required, to send a courtesy copy of any comments by mail or courier to the U.S. Department of Labor-OASAM, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Attn: Departmental Information Compliance Management Program, Room N1301, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; or by email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michel Smyth by telephone at 202-693-4129, TTY 202-693-8064, (these are not toll-free numbers) or sending an email to [email protected]

    Authority:

    44 U.S.C. 3507(a)(1)(D).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This ICR seeks approval under the PRA for revisions to the Requirements for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Training Institute Education Centers Program and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Outreach Training Program information collection. The OSHA has two educational programs, the OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Centers Program and the OSHA Outreach Training Program (Outreach). To be a participant in the OTI Education Centers Program or the Outreach Training Program, an individual/organization must provide the OSHA with certain information. The requested information is necessary to evaluate the applicant organization and to implement, oversee, and monitor the OTI Education Centers and Outreach Training Programs, courses, and trainers. This information collection has been classified as a revision, because the OSHA is adding a form that will require OTI education centers to provide a listing of all authorized Outreach trainers to the National Office. Occupational Safety and Health Act section 21 authorizes this information collection. See U.S.C. 670.

    This information collection is subject to the PRA. A Federal agency generally cannot conduct or sponsor a collection of information, and the public is generally not required to respond to an information collection, unless it is approved by the OMB under the PRA and displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. In addition, notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no person shall generally be subject to penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information that does not display a valid Control Number. See 5 CFR 1320.5(a) and 1320.6. The DOL obtains OMB approval for this information collection under Control Number 1218-0262. The current approval is scheduled to expire July 31, 2017; however, the DOL notes that existing information collection requirements submitted to the OMB receive a month-to-month extension while they undergo review. New requirements would only take effect upon OMB approval. For additional substantive information about this ICR, see the related notice published in the Federal Register on April 25, 2017 (82 FR 19089).

    Interested parties are encouraged to send comments to the OMB, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the address shown in the ADDRESSES section within thirty (30) days of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. In order to help ensure appropriate consideration, comments should mention OMB Control Number 1218-0262. The OMB is particularly interested in comments that:

    • 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;

    • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are 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.

    Agency: DOL-OSHA.

    Title of Collection: Requirements for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Training Institute Education Centers Program and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Outreach Training Program.

    OMB Control Number: 1218-0262.

    Affected Public: Federal Government; State, Local, and Tribal Governments; and Private Sector—business or other for-profit and not for-profit institutions; Individuals or Households.

    Total Estimated Number of Respondents: 13,027.

    Total Estimated Number of Responses: 54,729.

    Total Estimated Annual Time Burden: 15,913 hours.

    Total Estimated Annual Other Costs Burden: $0.

    Dated: July 25, 2017. Michel Smyth, Departmental Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16024 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Office of the Secretary Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Hydrostatic Testing Provision of the Portable Fire Extinguishers Standard ACTION:

    Notice of availability; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Labor (DOL) is submitting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sponsored information collection request (ICR) titled, “Hydrostatic Testing Provision of the Portable Fire Extinguishers Standard,” to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval for continued use, without change, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA). Public comments on the ICR are invited.

    DATES:

    The OMB will consider all written comments that agency receives on or before August 30, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    A copy of this ICR with applicable supporting documentation; including a description of the likely respondents, proposed frequency of response, and estimated total burden may be obtained free of charge from the RegInfo.gov Web site at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=201707-1218-002 (this link will only become active on August 1, 2017) or by contacting Michel Smyth by telephone at 202-693-4129, TTY 202-693-8064, (these are not toll-free numbers) or by email at [email protected]

    Submit comments about this request to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attn: OMB Desk Officer for DOL-OSHA, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10235, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503; by Fax: 202-395-5806 (this is not a toll-free number); or by email: [email protected] Commenters are encouraged, but not required, to send a courtesy copy of any comments by mail or courier to the U.S. Department of Labor-OASAM, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Attn: Departmental Information Compliance Management Program, Room N1301, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; or by email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michel Smyth by telephone at 202-693-4129, TTY 202-693-8064, (these are not toll-free numbers) or by email at [email protected]

    Authority:

    44 U.S.C. 3507(a)(1)(D).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This ICR seeks to extend PRA authority for the Hydrostatic Testing Provision of the Portable Fire Extinguishers Standard information collection requirements codified in regulations 1910.157(f)(16) that require and Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) covered employer subject to the Standard to keep the most recent certification record verifying that hydrostatic testing of fire extinguishers has been performed at intervals specified in Table L-1 of the Standard. Table L-1 requires testing of fire extinguishers at intervals varying between 5 to 12 years, depending on the type of fire extinguisher. An employer who tests fire extinguishers only at these intervals is required to retain testing certification records for longer than 3 years. OSH Act section 8 authorizes this information collection. See 29 U.S.C. 657

    This information collection is subject to the PRA. A Federal agency generally cannot conduct or sponsor a collection of information, and the public is generally not required to respond to an information collection, unless it is approved by the OMB under the PRA and displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. In addition, notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no person shall generally be subject to penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information that does not display a valid Control Number. See 5 CFR 1320.5(a) and 1320.6. The DOL obtains OMB approval for this information collection under OMB Control Number 1218-0218.

    OMB authorization for an ICR cannot be for more than three (3) years without renewal, and the current approval for this collection is scheduled to expire on July 31, 2017. The DOL seeks to extend PRA authorization for this information collection for three (3) more years, without any change to existing requirements. The DOL notes that existing information collection requirements submitted to the OMB receive a month-to-month extension while they undergo review. For additional substantive information about this ICR, see the related notice published in the Federal Register on May 23, 2017 (82 FR 23609).

    Interested parties are encouraged to send comments to the OMB, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the address shown in the ADDRESSES section within thirty (30) days of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. In order to help ensure appropriate consideration, comments should mention OMB Control Number 1218-0218. The OMB is particularly interested in comments that:

    • 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;

    • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are 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.

    Agency: DOL-OSHA.

    Title of Collection: Hydrostatic Testing Provision of the Portable Fire Extinguishers Standard.

    OMB Control Number: 1218-0218.

    Affected Public: Private Sector—business or other for-profits.

    Total Estimated Number of Respondents: 5,217,699.

    Total Estimated Number of Responses: 5,217,699.

    Total Estimated Annual Time Burden: 519,161 hours.

    Total Estimated Annual Other Costs Burden: $72,069,467.

    Dated: July 25, 2017. Michel Smyth, Departmental Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16023 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-26-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Office of the Secretary Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Overhead and Gantry Cranes Standard ACTION:

    Notice of availability; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    On July 31, 2017, the Department of Labor (DOL) will submit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sponsored information collection request (ICR) titled, “Overhead and Gantry Cranes Standard,” to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval for continued use, without change, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA). Public comments on the ICR are invited.

    DATES:

    The OMB will consider all written comments that agency receives on or before August 30, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    A copy of this ICR with applicable supporting documentation; including a description of the likely respondents, proposed frequency of response, and estimated total burden may be obtained free of charge from the RegInfo.gov Web site at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=201706-1218-006 (this link will only become active on the day following publication of this notice) or by contacting Michel Smyth by telephone at 202-693-4129, TTY 202-693-8064, (these are not toll-free numbers) or by email at [email protected]

    Submit comments about this request by mail or courier to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attn: OMB Desk Officer for DOL-OSHA, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10235, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503; by Fax: 202-395-5806 (this is not a toll-free number); or by email: [email protected] Commenters are encouraged, but not required, to send a courtesy copy of any comments by mail or courier to the U.S. Department of Labor-OASAM, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Attn: Departmental Information Compliance Management Program, Room N1301, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; or by email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michel Smyth by telephone at 202-693-4129, TTY 202-693-8064 (these are not toll-free numbers) or by email at [email protected]

    Authority:

    44 U.S.C. 3507(a)(1)(D).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This ICR seeks to extend PRA authority for the Overhead and Gantry Cranes Standard information collection codified in regulations 29 CFR 1910.179. More specifically, the regulatory provisions include requirements for (1) marking the rated load of a crane; (2) preparing a certification record to verify the inspection of a crane hook, hoist chain, or rope; and (3) preparing a report of the rated load test for a repaired hook or modified crane. An Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) covered employer subject to the Standard must maintain the records and reports and disclose them upon request. OSH Act sections 6 and 8 authorize this information collection. See 29 U.S.C. 655, 657.

    This information collection is subject to the PRA. A Federal agency generally cannot conduct or sponsor a collection of information, and the public is generally not required to respond to an information collection, unless it is approved by the OMB under the PRA and displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. In addition, notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no person shall generally be subject to penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information that does not display a valid Control Number. See 5 CFR 1320.5(a) and 1320.6. The DOL obtains OMB approval for this information collection under Control Number 1218-0224.

    OMB authorization for an ICR cannot be for more than three (3) years without renewal, and the current approval for this collection is scheduled to expire on July 31, 2017. The DOL seeks to extend PRA authorization for this information collection for three (3) more years, without any change to existing requirements. The DOL notes that existing information collection requirements submitted to the OMB receive a month-to-month extension while they undergo review. For additional substantive information about this ICR, see the related notice published in the Federal Register on April 25, 2017 (82 FR 19090).

    Interested parties are encouraged to send comments to the OMB, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the address shown in the ADDRESSES section within thirty (30) days of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. In order to help ensure appropriate consideration, comments should mention OMB Control Number 1218-0224. The OMB is particularly interested in comments that:

    • 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;

    • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are 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.

    Agency: DOL-OSHA.

    Title of Collection: Overhead and Gantry Cranes Standard.

    OMB Control Number: 1218-0224.

    Affected Public: Private Sector—businesses or other for-profits.

    Total Estimated Number of Respondents: 31,495.

    Total Estimated Number of Responses: 642,566.

    Total Estimated Annual Time Burden: 321,345 hours.

    Total Estimated Annual Other Costs Burden: $0.

    Dated: July 25, 2017. Michel Smyth, Departmental Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16030 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-26-P
    NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [NRC-2017-0065] Information Collection: NRC Form 5, “Occupational Dose Record for a Monitoring Period” AGENCY:

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice of submission to the Office of Management and Budget; request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has recently submitted a request for renewal of an existing collection of information to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. The information collection is entitled, NRC Form 5, “Occupational Dose Record for a Monitoring Period.”

    DATES:

    Submit comments by August 30, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments directly to the OMB reviewer at: Aaron Szabo, Desk Officer, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (3150-0006), NEOB-10202, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20503; telephone: 202-395-3621, email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    David Cullison, NRC Clearance Officer, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-2084; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments A. Obtaining Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2017-0065 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information for this action. You may obtain publicly-available information related to this action by any of the following methods:

    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2017-0065.

    NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select “ADAMS Public Documents” and then select “Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.” For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by email to [email protected] A copy of the collection of information and related instructions may be obtained without charge by accessing ADAMS Accession No. ML17171A255. The supporting statement and Cumulative Occupational Exposure History is available in ADAMS under Accession No. ML17163A136.

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

    NRC's Clearance Officer: A copy of the collection of information and related instructions may be obtained without charge by contacting the NRC's Clearance Officer, David Cullison, Office of the Chief Information Officer, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-2084; email: [email protected]

    B. Submitting Comments

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

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

    II. Background

    Under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the NRC recently submitted a request for renewal of an existing collection of information to OMB for review entitled, “NRC Form 5, Occupational Dose Record for a Monitoring Period.” The NRC hereby informs potential respondents that an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and that a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    The NRC published a Federal Register notice with a 60-day comment period on this information collection on April 7, 2017 (82 FR 17044).

    1. The title of the information collection: NRC Form 5, Occupational Dose Record for a Monitoring Period.

    2. OMB approval number: 3150-0006.

    3. Type of submission: Extension.

    4. The form number if applicable: NRC Form 5.

    5. How often the collection is required or requested: Annually.

    6. Who will be required or asked to respond: NRC licensees who are required to comply with part 20 of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR).

    7. The estimated number of annual responses: 4,339 responses (198 reporting responses plus 4,141 recordkeepers).

    8. The estimated number of annual respondents: 4,141 respondents (99 reactors plus 4,042 materials licenses).

    9. An estimate of the total number of hours needed annually to comply with the information collection requirement or request: 125,373 hours (5,940 hours reporting plus 119,443 hours recordkeeping).

    10. Abstract: NRC Form 5 is used to record and report the results of individual monitoring for occupational radiation exposure during a monitoring period (one calendar year) to ensure regulatory compliance with annual radiation dose limits specified in 10 CFR 20.1201.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 25th day of July, 2017.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    David Cullison, NRC Clearance Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16035 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-81201; File No. SR-NYSEArca-2017-06] Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Designation of a Longer Period for Commission Action on Proceedings To Determine Whether To Approve or Disapprove a Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 2, Relating to the Listing and Trading of Shares of the Bitcoin Investment Trust Under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.201 July 25, 2017.

    On January 25, 2017, NYSE Arca, Inc. (“Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”), pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”) 1 and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,2 a proposed rule change to list and trade shares of the Bitcoin Investment Trust under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.201. The proposed rule change was published for comment in the Federal Register on February 9, 2017.3

    1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).

    2 17 CFR 240.19b-4.

    3See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 79955 (Feb. 3, 2017), 82 FR 10086 (Feb. 9, 2017).

    On March 22, 2017, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act,4 the Commission designated a longer period within which to approve the proposed rule change, disapprove the proposed rule change, or institute proceedings to determine whether to approve or disapprove the proposed rule change.5 On April 6, 2017, the Exchange filed Amendment No. 1 to the proposed rule change. On April 27, 2017, the Commission published notice of Amendment No. 1 and instituted proceedings to determine whether to approve or disapprove the proposed rule change, as modified by Amendment No. 1.6 On May 11, 2017, the Exchange filed Amendment No. 2 to the proposed rule change, and on May 25, 2017, the Commission published notice of Amendment No. 2.7 The Commission has received fourteen comment letters on the proposed rule change.8

    4 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(2).

    5See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 80297 (Mar. 22, 2017), 82 FR 15408 (Mar. 28, 2017).

    6See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 80502 (Apr. 21, 2017), 82 FR 19398 (Apr. 27, 2017). Specifically, the Commission instituted proceedings to allow for additional analysis of the proposed rule change's consistency with Section 6(b)(5) of the Act, which requires, among other things, that the rules of a national securities exchange be “designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade,” and “to protect investors and the public interest.” See id. at 19411-12.

    7See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 80729 (May 19, 2017), 82 FR 24185 (May 25, 2017).

    8 All comments on the proposed rule change are available on the Commission's Web site at: https://www.sec.gov/comments/sr-nysearca-2017-06/nysearca201706.htm.

    Section 19(b)(2) of the Act 9 provides that, after initiating disapproval proceedings, the Commission shall issue an order approving or disapproving the proposed rule change not later than 180 days after the date of publication of notice of filing of the proposed rule change. The Commission may extend the period for issuing an order approving or disapproving the proposed rule change by not more than 60 days if the Commission determines that a longer period is appropriate and publishes the reasons for such determination. The proposed rule change was published for notice and comment in the Federal Register on February 9, 2017. August 8, 2017 is 180 days from that date, and October 7, 2017 is 240 days from that date.

    9 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(2).

    The Commission finds it appropriate to designate a longer period within which to issue an order approving or disapproving the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider this proposed rule change. Accordingly, the Commission, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act,10 designates October 7, 2017 as the date by which the Commission shall either approve or disapprove the proposed rule change (File No. SR-NYSEArca-2017-06).

    10Id.

    For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.11

    11 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(57).

    Eduardo A. Aleman, Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-15992 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-81204; File No. SR-MRX-2017-02] Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq MRX, LLC; Order Approving Proposed Rule Change To Amend Various Rules in Connection With a System Migration to Nasdaq INET Technology July 25, 2017. I. Introduction

    On May 17, 2017, the Nasdaq MRX, LLC (“MRX” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”), pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),1 and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,2 a proposed rule change to amend various Exchange rules in connection with a system migration to Nasdaq, Inc. (“Nasdaq”) supported technology. The proposed rule change was published for comment in the Federal Register on June 5, 2017.3 On July 14, 2017, the Commission designated a longer period for Commission action on the proposed rule change, until September 3, 2017.4 The Commission received no comment letters on the proposed rule change. This order approves the proposed rule change.

    1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).

    2 17 CFR 240.19b-4.

    3See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 80815 (May 30, 2017), 82 FR 25827 (“Notice”).

    4See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 81151 (July 14, 2017, 82 FR 33527 (July 20, 2017).

    II. Discussion and Commission Findings

    After careful review, the Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder applicable to a national securities exchange.5 In particular, the Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Act,6 which requires, among other things, that the rules of a national securities exchange be designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in facilitating transactions in securities, to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system, and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest. As noted above, the Commission received no comment letters regarding the proposed rule change.

    5 In approving this proposed rule change, the Commission has considered the proposed rule's impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. See 15 U.S.C. 78c(f).

    6 15 U.S.C. 78f(b)(5).

    The Exchange proposes to amend various Exchange rules to reflect the MRX system migration to a Nasdaq INET technology.7 In connection this system migration, as discussed below, the Exchange intends to adopt certain trading functionality currently utilized on Nasdaq Exchanges.8

    7 INET is utilized across Nasdaq's markets, including The NASDAQ Options Market LLC (“NOM”), NASDAQ PHLX LLC (“Phlx”), and NASDAQ BX, Inc. (collectively, the “Nasdaq Exchanges”). See Notice, supra note 3, at 25827. The Commission also recently approved Nasdaq ISE, LLC's (formerly International Securities Exchange, LLC) (“ISE”) and Nasdaq GEMX, LLC's (formerly ISE Gemini, LLC) migrations to INET. See Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 80225 (March 13, 2017), 82 FR 14243 (March 17, 2017) (SR-ISE-2017-02); 80432 (April 11, 2017), 82 FR 18191 (April 17, 2017) (SR-ISE-2017-03); 80011 (February 10, 2017), 82 FR 10927 (February 16, 2017) (SR-ISEGemini-2016-17); 80014 (February 10, 2017), 82 FR 10952 (February 16, 2017) (SR-ISEGemini-2016-18).

    8See Notice, supra note 3, at 25827. The Exchange anticipates that it will begin implementation of the proposed rule changes in the third quarter of 2017. See id. According to the Exchange, the system migration will be on a symbol by symbol basis. The Exchange will issue an alert to members in the form of an Options Trader Alert to provide notification of the symbols that will migrate and the relevant dates. See id. The Exchange has also separately filed a companion proposed rule change to amend the Exchange's opening process in connection with the system migration to INET technology. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 80937 (June 15, 2017), 82 FR 28113 (June 20, 2017) (SR-MRX-2017-01). The Exchange proposes to replace its current opening process at Rule 701 with Phlx's opening process. See Phlx Rule 1017.

    A. Trading Halts 1. Cancellation of Quotes

    The Exchange proposes to amend MRX Rule 702 (Trading Halts) to conform the treatment of orders and quotes on the Exchange to Phlx Rule 1047(f). Specifically, the Exchange proposes to amend Rule 702(a)(2) to provide that during a halt the Exchange will maintain existing orders on the book but not existing quotes. Pursuant to the revision, during the halt, the Exchange will accept orders and quotes and, for such orders and quotes, process cancels and modifications. Currently, the Exchange maintains existing orders and quotes during a trading halt. With respect to cancels and modifications during a trading halt, the Exchange represents that the current process on MRX will not change under the proposed rule change.9

    9See Notice, supra note 3, at 25827.

    The Exchange represents that its proposal to maintain existing orders on the book but not existing quotes during a halt would provide market participants with clarity as to the manner in which interests will be handled by the system.10 The Exchange believes that, during a trading halt, the market may move and create risk to market participants with respect to resting interests.11

    10See Notice, supra note 3, at 25834.

    11See id.

    The Commission believes that that cancelling existing quotes during a trading halt would provide market participants the opportunity to update potentially stale quotes. Further, the Commission notes that the Exchange will process cancels and modifications for orders as well as quotes received during a halt. Finally, the Commission further notes that the proposed treatment of quotes during a halt is consistent with existing Phlx Rule 1047(f).

    2. Limit Up-Limit Down

    The Exchange proposes to replace existing MRX Rule 703A (Trading During Limit Up-Limit Down States in Underlying Securities) with proposed MRX Rule 702(d).12 Specifically, proposed MRX Rule 702(d) will provide that during a Limit State and Straddle State in the underlying NMS stock 13 the Exchange will not open an affected option.14 However, provided the Exchange has opened an affected option for trading, the Exchange will: (i) Reject Market Orders 15 and notify members of the reason for such rejection; 16 (ii) continue to process Market Orders exposed at the NBBO, pursuant to Supplementary Material .02 to ISE Rule 1901, pending in the system, and cancel such Market Order if at the end of the exposure period the affected underlying is in a Limit or Straddle State; 17 and (iii) elect Stop Orders if the condition as provided in MRX Rule 715(d) is met, and, because such orders become Market Orders, cancel them back and notify members of the reason for such rejection.18 Moreover, when the security underlying an option class is in a Limit State or Straddle State, the Exchange will suspend the maximum quotation spread requirements for market maker quotes in MRX Rule 803(b)(4) and the continuous quotation requirements in MRX Rule 804(e).19 Additionally, the Exchange will not consider the time periods associated with Limit States and Straddle States when evaluating whether a market maker has complied with its continuous quotation requirements in MRX Rule 804(e).20

    12 The Exchange represents that proposed MRX Rule 702(d) is similar to Phlx Rule 1047(d). See Notice, supra note 3, at 25828.

    13 Proposed MRX Rule 702(d) states that capitalized terms used in Rule 702(d) will have the same meaning as provided for in the Plan to Address Extraordinary Market Volatility Pursuant to Rule 608 of Regulation NMS, as it may be amended from time to time.

    14See proposed MRX Rule 702(d)(1). The Exchange states that its rules do not currently address the opening rotation in the event that the underlying NMS stock is open but has entered into a Limit or Straddle State. See Notice, supra note 3, at 25828.

    15 For the definition of the term “Market Orders,” see MRX Rule 715(a).

    16See proposed MRX Rule 702(d)(2).

    17See proposed MRX Rule 702(d)(2). If the affected underlying is no longer in a Limit or Straddle State after the exposure period, the Market Order will be processed with normal handling. See id. The Exchange currently cancels Market Orders pending in the system upon initiation of a Limit or Straddle State. See Notice, supra note 3, at 25828.

    18See proposed MRX Rule 702(d)(3). MRX currently does not elect Stop Orders that are pending in the system during a Limit or Straddle State. Under the proposal, the Exchange will elect Stop Orders that are pending in the system during a Limit or Straddle State, if conditions for such election are met; however, because such orders become Market Orders, they will be cancelled back to the member with a reason for such rejection. See Notice, supra note 3, at 25828.

    19See proposed MRX Rule 702(d)(4).

    20See id.

    The Commission believes that the proposed Rule 702(d) would provide certainty to market participants regarding the manner in which Limit or Straddle States would impact the opening process as well as Market Orders and Stop Orders. The Commission believes that the rejection of Market Orders (including elected Stop Orders) is reasonably designed to potentially prevent executions of un-priced orders during times of significant volatility.21 The Commission also notes that processing rather than cancelling existing Market Orders is reasonable because these Market Orders are only pending in the system if they are exposed at the NBBO pursuant to Supplementary Material .02 to ISE Rule 1901 and would, in any case, be cancelled if at the end of the exposure period the affected underlying is still in a Limit or Straddle State.22 Further, the Commission believes that it is reasonable to permit the election of Stop Orders that are pending in the system during a Limit or Straddle State, since, upon election, the orders would be cancelled back to the members.23 Lastly, the Commission notes that proposed MRX Rule 702(d)(4) is substantively identical to existing MRX Rule 703A(c), which is being deleted.

    21See Notice, supra note 3, at 25834.

    22See Notice, supra note 3, at 25835.

    23See id.

    3. Auction Handling During a Trading Halt

    The Exchange proposes to amend certain rules to account for the impact of a trading halt on the Exchange's auction mechanisms. First, the Exchange proposes to amend MRX Rule 723 (Price Improvement Mechanism for Crossing Transactions) regarding the manner in which a trading halt will impact an order entered into the Price Improvement Mechanism (“PIM”). Today, if a trading halt is initiated after an order is entered into the PIM, the Exchange terminates such auction and eligible interest is executed.24 The Exchange proposes to amend the current process by terminating the auction and not executing eligible interest when a trading halt occurs.25 Similarly, the Exchange also proposes to amend to MRX Rule 716 (Block Trades) to state that, if a trading halt is initiated after an order is entered into the Block Order Mechanism, Facilitation Mechanism, or Solicited Order Mechanism, the Exchange will automatically terminate such auction without execution.26

    24See Notice, supra note 3, at 25829.

    25See proposed MRX Rule 723(d)(5).

    26See proposed subsections (c)(3), (d)(3)(iv), and (e)(2)(iv) of MRX Rule 716. The Exchange represents that this proposed amendment represents the current process on MRX and is generally consistent with Phlx Rule 1047(c). See Notice, supra note 3, at 25829.

    The Exchange believes that its proposal to terminate the PIM auction, Block Order Mechanism, Facilitation Mechanism, and Solicited Order Mechanism and not execute eligible interest when a trading halt occurs will provide certainty to participants regarding how their interest will be handled.27 The Exchange believes that, during a trading halt, the market may move and create risk to market participants with respect to resting interest.28 The Commission believes that the proposed rule is consistent with the Act and provides transparency and clarity regarding the handling of these orders during a trading halt.

    27See Notice, supra note 3, at 25835.

    28See id.

    B. Market Order Spread Protection

    The Exchange proposes to amend MRX Rule 711 (Acceptance of Quotes and Orders) by adopting a new mandatory risk protection entitled Market Order Spread Protection which will apply to Market Orders.29 Pursuant to proposed MRX Rule 711(c), if the NBBO is wider than a preset threshold at the time a Market Order is received by the Exchange, the Exchange will reject the order. The Exchange will notify members of the threshold with a notice, and, thereafter, will notify members of any subsequent changes to the threshold.30 The Exchange represents that the Market Order Spread Protection will be the same for all options traded on the Exchange and is applicable to all members that submit Market Orders.31

    29 The Exchange states that this mandatory feature is currently offered on NOM to protect Market Orders from being executed in very wide markets. See Notice, supra note 3, at 25829. See also NOM Rules at Chapter VI, Section 6(c).

    30See Notice, supra note 3, at 25829. The Exchange proposes to initially set the threshold to $5, similar to the threshold set on NOM. See id. The Exchange states that NOM set the differential at $5 to match the maximum bid/ask differential permitted for quotes on that exchange. See id. MRX also uses a similar $5 differential. See id.

    31See Notice, supra note 3, at 25829.

    The Exchange believes, and the Commission concurs, that the proposed Market Order Spread Protection would help mitigate risks associated with trading errors and help reduce the number of executions at dislocated prices.32 The Commission also notes that the protection is similar to a mandatory feature currently offered on NOM.33

    32See Notice, supra note 3, at 25835.

    33See NOM Rules at Chapter VI, Section 6(c).

    C. Acceptable Trade Range

    Today, MRX offers a Price Level Protection that places a limit on the number of price levels at which an incoming order or quote to sell (buy) would be executed automatically when there are no bids (offers) from other exchanges at any price for the options series.34 The Exchange proposes to replace the current Price Level Protection with Phlx's Acceptable Trade Range.35 The Exchange states that the proposed Acceptable Trade Range is a mechanism designed to prevent the system from experiencing dramatic price swings by preventing the market from moving beyond set thresholds.36 The system will calculate an Acceptable Trade Range to limit the range of prices at which an order or quote will be allowed to execute.37 Upon receipt of a new order or quote, the Acceptable Trade Range is calculated by taking the reference price, plus or minus a value to be determined by the Exchange, where the reference price is the National Best Bid (“NBB”) for sell orders/quotes and the National Best Offer (“NBO”) for buy orders/quotes. Accordingly, the Acceptable Trade Range is: the reference price − (x) for sell orders/quotes; and the reference price + (x) for buy orders.38 If an order or quote reaches the outer limit of the Acceptable Trade Range (the “Threshold Price”) without being fully executed, then any unexecuted balance will be cancelled.39 The Acceptable Trade Range will not be available for All-or-None Orders.40

    34See Notice, supra note 3, at 25829; MRX Rule 714(b)(1).

    35See Phlx Rule 1080(p). Unlike Phlx, MRX does not offer a general continuous re-pricing mechanism. See id. Accordingly, the Exchange states that the proposed Acceptable Trade Range will not include the posting period functionality available today on Phlx. See Notice, supra note 3, at 25830, n.15. The Exchange will not post interest that exceeds the outer limit of the Acceptable Trade Range; rather the interest will be cancelled. See Notice, supra note 3, at 25830. Orders that do not exceed the outer limit of the Acceptable Trade Range will post to the order book and will reside on the order book at such price until they are either executed in full or cancelled by the member. See id.

    36See Notice, supra note 3, at 25830.

    37See proposed MRX Rule 714(b)(1)(i).

    38 The Exchange states that the Acceptable Trade Range settings are tied to the option premium. See Notice, supra note 3, at 25830, n.16. A table consisting of several steps based on the premium of an option will be displayed on the Exchange Web site and used to determine how far the market for a given option will be allowed to move. See Notice, supra note 3, at 25831. Updates to the table would be announced via an Exchange alert, generally the prior day. See id.

    39See proposed MRX Rule 714(b)(1)(ii).

    40See proposed MRX Rule 714(b)(1)(ii). Today, MRX's Price Level Protection rule is also not available for All-or-None Orders. See Notice, supra note 3, at 25830, n.17.

    The Exchange represents that it will set the Acceptable Trade Range at levels to ensure that it is triggered infrequently.41 While the Acceptable Trade Range settings will be tied to the option premium, other factors will be considered when determining the exact settings.42 For example, the Exchange states that acceptable ranges may change if market-wide volatility is high or if overall market liquidity is low based on historical trends.43 To ensure a well-functioning market, the Exchange believes that different market conditions may require adjustments to the threshold amounts from time to time.44 Further, while the Acceptable Trade Range settings will generally be the same across all options traded on the Exchange, MRX proposes to set them separately based on characteristics of the underlying security.45 For example, the Exchange has generally observed that options subject to the Penny Pilot program quote with tighter spreads than options not subject to the Penny Pilot. Accordingly, the Exchange will set Acceptable Trade Ranges for three categories of options: (1) Penny Pilot Options trading in one cent increments for options trading at less than $3.00 and increments of five cents for options trading at $3.00 or more; (2) Penny Pilot Options trading in one-cent increments for all prices; and (3) Non-Penny Pilot Options.46

    41See Notice, supra note 3, at 25830.

    42See Notice, supra note 3, at 25831.

    43See id.

    44See id.

    45See id.

    46See proposed MRX Rule 714(b)(1)(iii).

    The Exchange represents that the Acceptable Trade Range should prevent the system from experiencing dramatic price swings by preventing the market from moving beyond set thresholds.47 The Commission believes that the Acceptable Trade Range is reasonably designed to prevent executions of orders and quotes at prices that are significantly worse than the NBBO at the time of an order's submission and may reduce the potential negative impacts of unanticipated volatility in individual options. Further, the Commission notes that the proposed Acceptable Trade Range is similar to an existing mechanism on Phlx.48

    47See Notice, supra note 3, at 25835.

    48See Notice, supra note 3, at 25829; Phlx Rule 1080(p).

    D. PMM Order Handling and Opening Obligations

    The Exchange proposes to eliminate the Primary Market Maker (“PMM”) order handling and opening obligations in MRX Rule 803(c).49 As described above, with the migration of MRX to the Nasdaq INET architecture, the Exchange is adopting the Acceptable Trade Range and opening rotation functionality currently offered on NOM and Phlx, which do not contain similar requirements for the PMMs as in MRX Rule 803(c).

    49 MRX Rule 803(c) provides that, in addition to the obligations contained in Rule 803 for market makers generally, for options classes to which a market maker is the appointed PMM, the PMM shall have the responsibility to: (1) As soon as practical, address Priority Customer Orders that are not automatically executed pursuant to Rule 714(b)(1) in a manner consistent with its obligations under Rule 803(b) by either (i) executing all or a portion of the order at a price that at least matches the NBBO and that improves upon the Exchange's best bid (in the case of a sell order) or the Exchange's best offer (in the case of a buy order); or (ii) releasing all or a portion of the order for execution against bids and offers on the Exchange; and (2) initiate trading in each series pursuant to Rule 701 (Trading Rotations).

    The Exchange represents that PMMs' current obligations are no longer necessary due to the introduction of the Acceptable Trade Range and proposed changes to the Exchange's opening process.50 The Exchange states that its proposal to conform the Exchange's opening process to Phlx Rule 1017 will result in an opening initiated by the receipt of an appropriate number of valid width quotes by the PMM or Competitive Market Maker, instead of an opening process initiated by a PMM.51 Similarly, the Exchange believes the proposed Acceptable Trade Range functionality will continue to provide order protection to members without imposing any PMM obligations.52 The Exchange further represents that NOM and Phlx do not impose similar PMM order handling and opening obligations.53 Accordingly, the Commission believes that these changes are consistent with the Act.

    50See Notice, supra note 3, at 25832. See also supra note 8.

    51See Notice, supra note 3, at 25831-32. See also supra note 8.

    52See Notice, supra note 3, at 25832. The Exchange states that Phlx does not currently have similar roles for a Specialist on its market. See id.

    53See Notice, supra note 3, at 25831.

    E. Back-Up PMM

    The Exchange proposes to amend Supplementary Material .03 to MRX Rule 803 to eliminate Back-Up PMMs. Today, any MRX member that is approved to act in the capacity of a PMM or an “Alternative Primary Market Maker” may voluntarily act as a Back-Up PMM in an options series in which it is quoting as a Competitive Market Maker (“CMM”).54 With the technology migration, the Exchange believes that a Back-Up PMM is no longer necessary because under INET the Exchange will not utilize the order handling obligations present on the Exchange today.55 The Exchange further represents that the proposed new opening process obviates the importance of such a role because it would no longer rely on a market maker to initiate the opening process.56 Accordingly, the Commission believes that these changes are consistent with the Act.

    54See MRX Rule 803, Supplementary Material .03.

    55See Notice, supra note 3, at 25832.

    56See Notice, supra note 3, at 25832. See also supra note 8.

    F. Market Maker Speed Bump

    The Exchange proposes to amend MRX Rule 804 (Market Maker Quotations) to establish default parameters for certain risk functionality. The Exchange currently offers a risk protection mechanism for market maker quotes that removes a member's quotes in an options class if a specified number of curtailment events occur during a set time period (“Market Maker Speed Bump”).57 In addition, the Exchange offers a market-wide risk protection that removes a market maker's quotes across all classes if a number of curtailment events occur (“Market-Wide Speed Bump”).58 MRX Rule 804(g) currently requires that market makers set curtailment parameters for both the Market Maker Speed Bump and the Market-Wide Speed Bump. Today, if a market maker does not set these parameters, for each Market Maker Speed Bump and the Market-Wide Speed Bump, the system rejects their quotes.59 With the technology migration, the Exchange proposes to provide default curtailment parameters, which will be determined by the Exchange and announced to members.60 The Commission believes that this change is consistent with the Act and notes that, although the Exchange will establish default curtailment settings, market makers will have discretion to set different curtailment settings appropriate for their trading and risk tolerance.

    57See MRX Rule 804(g)(1).

    58See MRX Rule 804(g)(2).

    59See Notice, supra note 3, at 25832.

    60See id.

    G. Anti-Internalization

    The Exchange proposes to amend Supplementary Material .03 to MRX Rule 804 (Market Maker Quotations) to adopt an anti-internalization rule. Today, MRX's functionality prevents Immediate-or-Cancel orders entered by a market maker from trading with the market maker's own quote.61 The Exchange proposes to replace this self-trade protection with anti-internalization functionality currently offered on Phlx.62 The Exchange proposes to provide that quotes and orders entered by market makers using the same member identifier will not be executed against quotes and orders entered on the opposite side of the market by the same market maker using the same member identifier. In such a case, the system will cancel the resting quote or order back to the entering party prior to execution. The proposed anti-internalization functionality will not apply in any auction. The Exchange states that this proposed functionality does not modify the duty of best execution owed to public customer orders.63

    61See id.

    62See Phlx Rule 1080(p)(2).

    63See Notice, supra note 3, at 25833.

    The Exchange represents that the proposal is designed to assist market makers in reducing trading costs from unwanted executions potentially resulting from the interaction of executable interest from the same firm performing the same market making function.64 The Commission believes that the proposed rule is reasonably designed to prevent the unwanted execution of quotes and orders entered by market makers using the same member identifier.

    64See Notice, supra note 3, at 25833, n.33.

    H. Minimum Execution Quantity Orders

    The Exchange proposes to amend MRX Rule 715 (Types of Orders) to remove minimum quantity orders in subpart (q).65 The Exchange states that members have not adopted this feature, and therefore proposes to remove this order type.66 Furthermore, the Exchange proposes to remove two references to minimum quantity orders in Supplementary Material .02 to MRX Rule 713 and in Supplementary Material .04 to MRX Rule 717.

    65 A Minimum Quantity Order is an order that is initially available for partial execution only for a specified number of contracts or greater. A member may specify whether any subsequent executions of the order must also be for the specified number of contracts or greater, or if the balance may be executed as a regular order. If all executions are to be for the specified number of contracts or greater and the balance of the order after one or more partial execution(s) is less than the minimum, such balance is treated as all-or-none. See MRX Rule 715(q).

    66See Notice, supra note 3, at 25833.

    The Exchange states that removing the minimum quantity order type would simplify functionality available on the Exchange and reduce the complexity of its order types.67 The Exchange further represents that members have not adopted this feature.68 Accordingly, the Commission believes it is appropriate for the Exchange to remove references to the minimum quantity order type.

    67See Notice, supra note 3, at 25836.

    68See Notice, supra note 3, at 25833.

    I. Cancel and Replace Orders

    The Exchange proposes to amend Supplementary Material .02 to MRX Rule 715 (Types of Orders) to memorialize how the Exchange system will handle cancel and replace orders in connection with the Exchange's technology migration to INET.69 Currently, Exchange members can send a Cancel and Replace Order in one message, which allows the replacement order to retain the time priority of the cancelled order, subject to certain exceptions.70 However, currently the Exchange does not apply price or other reasonability checks to the replacement order for all Cancel and Replace Orders.71 For example, the Exchange notes that currently, a Cancel and Replace Order which reduced the size of an original order from 600 to 300 contracts would not be subject to price or other reasonability checks.72

    69See id.

    70See id. The Exchange notes that, instead of sending a Cancel and Replace Order, a Member can separately send a cancellation message and a new order, for which the Exchange would apply price or other reasonability checks, but the new order would not retain the priority of the original order. See id. This behavior will not change. See id.

    71See Notice, supra note 3, at 25833.

    72See id.

    The Exchange now proposes to define the Cancel and Replace Order to ensure that price and other reasonability checks are applied to Cancel and Replace Orders.73 The Exchange proposes to define a Cancel and Replace Order as a single message for the immediate cancellation of a previously received order and the replacement of that order with a new order. If the previously placed order is already partially filled or in its entirety, the replacement order is automatically canceled or reduced by the number of contracts that were executed. Additionally, the replacement order will retain the priority of the cancelled order, if the order posts to the order book, provided the price is not amended, size is not increased, or in the case of Reserve Orders, size is not changed. However, if the replacement portion of a Cancel and Replace Order does not satisfy the system's price or other reasonability checks the existing order will be cancelled and not replaced.74

    73See proposed MRX Rule 715, Supplementary Material .02.

    74 Price and reasonability checks that would be applied include MRX Rule 710 (Minimum Trading Increments), MRX Rule 711(c) (proposed Market Order Spread Protection) and MRX Rule 714(b)(2) (Limit Order Price Protection). See Notice, supra note 3 at 25833, n.40. The Exchange also notes that, as for other orders, the Exchange may cancel an order because it does not satisfy a format or other requirement specified in the Exchange's rules and specifications. See id.

    The Exchange represents that conducting price or other reasonability checks for all Cancel and Replace Orders will validate orders against current market conditions prior to proceeding with the request to modify the order.75 The Exchange further believes that memorializing Cancel and Replace Order handling will add transparency to the Exchange's rules and reduce the potential for investor confusion.76

    75See Notice, supra note 3 at 25836.

    76See id.

    The Commission notes that other exchanges with a similar order type permit an order to retain priority if only the size of the order is decremented.77 Accordingly, the Commission believes it is appropriate for the Exchange to define Cancel and Replace Orders in the manner proposed.

    77See id.; see Phlx Rule 1080(b)(i)(A).

    J. All-Or-None Orders

    The Exchange proposes to amend MRX Rule 715(c) to provide that All-Or-None Orders78 may only be entered into the Exchange's system with a time-in-force designation of Immediate-Or-Cancel.79 Currently, the Exchange allows users to submit All-Or-None Orders with any time-in-force designation. As proposed, an All-Or-None Order would be required to be submitted as an Immediate-Or-Cancel Order and thus will either execute in its entirety or be cancelled. Because All-Or-None Orders will either be executed or cancelled, the Exchange also proposes to remove language stating that All-Or-None Orders can be maintained in the system in Supplementary Material .02 to MRX Rule 713 and to delete Supplementary Material .04 to Rule 717, which concerns the exposure of non-marketable All-Or-None Orders.80

    78 An All-Or-None Order is a limit or market order that is to be executed in its entirety or not at all. See MRX Rule 715(c).

    79 An Immediate-Or-Cancel Order is a limit order that is to be executed in whole or in part upon receipt, and any portion not so executed is to be treated as cancelled. See MRX Rule 715(b)(3).

    80See Notice, supra note 3, at 25834.

    The Exchange states that this change would remove uncertainty with respect to the manner in which All-Or-None Orders would be handled in the order book, because the All-Or-None Order would be canceled if it cannot be immediately executed in its entirety.81 Accordingly, the Commission believes it is appropriate for the Exchange to require that All-Or-None Orders be entered with a time-in-force designation of Immediate-Or-Cancel.

    81See Notice, supra note 3, at 25837.

    K. Delay of Implementation of Directed Orders

    Currently, MRX rules provide for the use of Directed Orders.82 The Exchange proposes to amend MRX Rule 811 (Directed Orders) to note that this functionality will not be available as of a certain date in the third quarter of 2017 to be announced in a notice. The Exchange represents that it will recommence the Directed Orders functionality on MRX within one year from the date of the filing of the proposed rule change. Otherwise, the Exchange will file a rule proposal with the Commission to remove these rules.

    82See MRX Rule 811.

    The Exchange represents that it proposes to delay the implementation of the Directed Order functionality on MRX to provide the Exchange additional time to rebuild the required technology on the new platform.83 The Exchange further represents that members have been given adequate notice of the implementation dates and that the Exchange will provide further notifications to members to ensure clarity about the delay of implementation of these functionalities.84 The Commission believes that the proposed rule change helps ensure clarity about the delay of implementation of this functionality.

    83See Notice, supra note 3, at 25836.

    84See id.

    For these reasons, the Commission believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act.

    IV. Conclusion

    It is Therefore Ordered, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act,85 that the proposed rule change (SR-MRX-2017-02) be, and hereby is, approved.

    85 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(2).

    For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.86

    86 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).

    Eduardo A. Aleman, Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-15994 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-81199; File No. SR-CTA/CQ-2017-03] Consolidated Tape Association; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of the Twenty-Eight Substantive Amendment to the Second Restatement of the CTA Plan and the Twentieth Amendment to the Restated CQ Plan July 25, 2017.

    Pursuant to Section 11A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),1 and Rule 608 thereunder,2 notice is hereby given that on June 30, 2017, the Consolidated Tape Association (“CTA”) Plan participants (“Participants”) 3 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) a proposal to amend the Second Restatement of the CTA Plan and the Restated Consolidated Quotation (“CQ”) Plan (“Plans”).4 These amendments represent the Twenty-Eighth Substantive Amendment to the CTA Plan and the Twentieth Amendment to the CQ Plan (“Amendments”). The Amendments seek to amend the Plans in order to reflect changes to the names and addresses of certain Participants, as set forth in Section III(a) of the Plans. Pursuant to Rule 608(b)(3)(ii) under Regulation NMS,5 the Participants designate the Amendments as concerned solely with the administration of the Plans and as “Ministerial Amendments” under both Section IV(b) of the CTA Plan and Section IV(c) of the CQ Plan. As a result, the Amendments were effective upon filing and were submitted by the Chairman of the Plan's Operating Committee. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments from interested persons on the proposed Amendments.

    1 15 U.S.C. 78k-1.

    2 17 CFR 242.608.

    3 The Participants are: Bats BYX Exchange, Inc., BATS BZX Exchange, Inc., Bats EDGA Exchange, Inc., Bats EDGX Exchange, Inc., Chicago Board Options Exchange, Inc., Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc., Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., International Securities Exchange, LLC, Investors' Exchange LLC, NASDAQ BX, Inc., NASDAQ PHLX, Inc., NASDAQ Stock Market LLC, New York Stock Exchange LLC, NYSE Arca, Inc., NYSE MKT LLC, and NYSE National, Inc.

    4See Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 10787 (May 10, 1974), 39 FR 17799 (May 20, 1974) (declaring the CTA Plan effective); 15009 (July 28, 1978), 43 FR 34851 (August 7, 1978) (temporarily authorizing the CQ Plan); and 16518 (January 22, 1980), 45 FR 6521 (January 28, 1980) (permanently authorizing the CQ Plan). The most recent restatement of both Plans was in 1995. The CTA Plan, pursuant to which markets collect and disseminate last sale price information for non-NASDAQ listed securities, is a “transaction reporting plan” under Rule 601 under the Act, 17 CFR 242.601, and a “national market system plan” under Rule 608 under the Act, 17 CFR 242.608. The CQ Plan, pursuant to which markets collect and disseminate bid/ask quotation information for listed securities, is a “national market system plan” under Rule 608 under the Act, 17 CFR 242.608.

    5 17 CFR 242.608(b)(3)(ii).

    I. Rule 608(a) A. Purpose of the Amendments

    The Amendments effectuate changes that certain Participants have made to their names and addresses, as set forth in Section III(a) of the Plans.

    B. Governing or Constituent Documents

    Not applicable.

    C. Implementation of the Amendments

    Because the Amendments constitute “Ministerial Amendments” under both Section IV(b) of the CTA Plan and Section IV(c) under the CQ Plan, the Chairman of the Plan's Operating Committee may submit the Amendments to the Commission on behalf of the Participants in the Plans. Because the Participants have designated the Amendments as concerned solely with the administration of the Plans, the Amendments become effective upon filing with the Commission.

    D. Development and Implementation Phases

    Not applicable.

    E. Analysis of Impact on Competition

    The Participants assert that the Amendments do not impose any burden on competition because they merely effectuate a change in the names and addresses of certain Participants. For the same reasons, the Participants do not believe that the Amendments introduce terms that are unreasonably discriminatory for purposes of Section 11A(c)(1)(D) of the Exchange Act.

    F. Written Understanding or Agreements Relating to Interpretation of, or Participation in, Plan

    Not applicable.

    G. Approval by Sponsors in Accordance With Plan

    See Item I.C. above.

    H. Description of Operation of Facility Contemplated by the Proposed Amendments

    Not applicable.

    I. Terms and Conditions of Access

    Not applicable.

    J. Method of Determination and Imposition, and Amount of, Fees and Charges

    Not applicable.

    K. Method and Frequency of Processor Evaluation

    Not applicable.

    L. Dispute Resolution

    Not applicable.

    II. Rule 601(a) A. Equity Securities for Which Transaction Reports Shall be Required by the Plan

    Not applicable.

    B. Reporting Requirements

    Not applicable.

    C. Manner of Collecting, Processing, Sequencing, Making Available and Disseminating Last Sale Information

    Not applicable.

    D. Manner of Consolidation

    Not applicable.

    E. Standards and Methods Ensuring Promptness, Accuracy and Completeness of Transaction Reports

    Not applicable.

    F. Rules and Procedures Addressed to Fraudulent or Manipulative Dissemination

    Not applicable.

    G. Terms of Access to Transaction Reports

    Not applicable.

    H. Identification of Marketplace of Execution

    Not applicable.

    III. Solicitation of Comments

    The Commission seeks general comments on the Amendments. Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed Amendments are consistent with the Act. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Comments

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

    • Send an email to [email protected] Please include File Number SR-CTA/CQ-2017-03 on the subject line.

    Paper Comments

    • Send paper comments in triplicate to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.

    All submissions should refer to File Number SR-CTA/CQ-2017-03. This file number should be included on the subject line if email is used. To help the Commission process and review your comments more efficiently, please use only one method. The Commission will post all comments on the Commission's Web site (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml). Copies of the submission, all written statements with respect to the proposed Amendments that are filed with the Commission, and all written communications relating to the proposed Amendments between the Commission and any person, other than those that may be withheld from the public in accordance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552, will be available for Web site viewing and printing in the Commission's Public Reference Room, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549, on official business days between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Copies of the filing also will be available for Web site viewing and printing at the principal office of the Plans. All comments received will be posted without change; the Commission does not edit personal identifying information from submissions. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. All submissions should refer to File Number SR-CTA/CQ-2017-03 and should be submitted on or before August 21, 2017.

    By the Commission.

    Brent J. Fields, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-16000 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-81203; File No. SR-NSCC-2017-010] Self-Regulatory Organizations; National Securities Clearing Corporation; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change To Expand the Application of the Family-Issued Securities Charge July 25, 2017.

    Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”) 1 and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,2 notice is hereby given that on July 10, 2017, National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II and III below, which Items have been prepared by the clearing agency.3 The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons.

    1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).

    2 17 CFR 240.19b-4.

    3 On July 10, 2017, NSCC filed this proposed rule change as an advance notice (SR-NSCC-2017-804) with the Commission pursuant to Section 806(e)(1) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act entitled the Payment, Clearing, and Settlement Supervision Act of 2010, 12 U.S.C. 5465(e)(1), and Rule 19b-4(n)(1)(i) of the Act, 17 CFR 240.19b-4(n)(1)(i). A copy of the advance notice is available at http://www.dtcc.com/legal/sec-rule-filings.aspx.

    I. Clearing Agency's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

    The proposed change consists of amendments to the NSCC Rules and Procedures (“Rules”) 4 in order to (i) expand the application of NSCC's existing family-issued securities charge 5 to apply to all Members, as described below, and (ii) include a definition of “Family-Issued Security” as a security that was issued by a Member or by an affiliate of that Member, as described in greater detail below.

    4 Terms not defined herein are defined in the Rules, available at www.dtcc.com/~/media/Files/Downloads/legal/rules/nscc_rules.pdf.

    5 The family-issued securities charge is currently described in Procedure XV, Section I.(B)(1) of the Rules, supra note 4.

    II. Clearing Agency's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

    In its filing with the Commission, the clearing agency included statements concerning the purpose of and basis for the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. The clearing agency has prepared summaries, set forth in sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements.

    (A) Clearing Agency's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change 1. Purpose

    Currently, in calculating its Members' required deposits to the Clearing Fund, NSCC excludes positions in Family-Issued Securities of certain Members from its parametric volatility Clearing Fund component (“VaR Charge”), and instead charges an amount calculated by multiplying the absolute value of the long, net unsettled positions in that Member's Family-Issued Securities by a percentage that is no less than 40 percent (“FIS Charge”). The FIS Charge is currently only applied to Members that are rated 5, 6, or 7 on the Credit Risk Rating Matrix (“CRRM”). The proposed change would expand the application of the FIS Charge to the positions in Family-Issued Securities of all Members to help NSCC cover the specific wrong-way risk posed by Family-Issued Securities, as described further below.6 Therefore, NSCC is proposing to amend (i) Rule 1 (Definitions and Descriptions) to add a definition of “Family-Issued Security,” and (ii) Procedure XV (Clearing Fund Formula and Other Matters) to expand the application of the FIS Charge to all Members by moving the description of FIS Charge from Section I.(B)(1) to Sections I.(A)(1) and I.(A)(2) in order to make clear that the FIS Charge would be included as a component of the Clearing Fund formula calculated for all Members.

    6 Members that do not trade in Family-Issued Securities would not be subject to the FIS Charge.

    As a central counterparty, NSCC occupies an important role in the securities settlement system by interposing itself between counterparties to financial transactions and thereby reducing the risk faced by participants and contributing to global financial stability. The effectiveness of a central counterparty's risk controls and the adequacy of its financial resources are critical to achieving these risk-reducing goals. In that context, NSCC continuously reviews its margining methodology in order to ensure the reliability of its margining in achieving the desired coverage. In order to be most effective, NSCC must take into consideration the risk characteristics specific to certain securities when margining those securities.

    Among the various risks that NSCC considers when evaluating the effectiveness of its margining methodology are its counterparty risks and identification and mitigation of “wrong-way” risk, particularly specific wrong-way risk, defined as the risk that an exposure to a counterparty is highly likely to increase when the creditworthiness of that counterparty deteriorates.7 NSCC has identified an exposure to specific wrong-way risk when it acts as central counterparty to a Member with respect to positions in Family-Issued Securities. In the event that a Member with unsettled long positions in Family-Issued Securities defaults, NSCC would close out those positions following a likely drop in the credit-worthiness of the issuer, possibly resulting in a loss to NSCC.

    7See Principles for financial market infrastructures, issued by the Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems and the Technical Committee of the International Organization of Securities Commissions 47 n.65 (April 2012), available at http://www.bis.org/publ/cpss101a.pdf.

    In 2015, NSCC proposed to address its exposure to specific wrong-way risk in two ways.8 First, NSCC proposed to apply the FIS Charge to its Members that are rated a 5, 6, or 7 on the CRRM (i.e., Members on the Watch List).9 Today, following implementation of the FIS Phase 1 Rule Change, the FIS Charge is applied by excluding positions in Family-Issued Securities of those Members from NSCC's VaR Charge, and instead charging an amount calculated by multiplying the absolute value of the long net unsettled positions in that Member's Family-Issued Securities by a percentage.10 That percentage is no less than 40 percent and up to 100 percent, and is determined by NSCC based on the Member's rating on the CRRM and on the type of Family-Issued Securities submitted to NSCC. As such, under Procedure XV (1) fixed income securities that are Family-Issued Securities are charged a haircut rate of no less than 80 percent for Members that are rated 6 or 7 on the CRRM, and no less than 40 percent for Members rated 5 on the CRRM; and (2) equity securities that are Family-Issued Securities are charged a haircut rate of 100 percent for Members that are rated 6 or 7 on the CRRM, and no less than 50 percent for Members that are rated 5 on the CRRM. Members that have a rating on the CRRM of 1 through 4 are not currently subject to the FIS Charge. As stated above, Family-Issued Securities present NSCC with specific wrong-way risk such that, in the event that a Member with unsettled long positions in Family-Issued Securities defaults, NSCC would close out those positions following a likely drop in the credit-worthiness of the issuer, possibly resulting in a loss to NSCC. Therefore, the FIS Charge is applied to the unsettled long positions in Family-Issued Securities, which are the positions that NSCC would close out following a Member default, as opposed to the short positions in net unsettled securities. The haircut rates were calibrated based on historical corporate issue recovery rate data, and address the risk that the Family-Issued Securities of a Member would be devalued in the event of that Member's default.

    8See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 76077 (October 5, 2015), 80 FR 61256 (October 9, 2015), (SR-NSCC-2015-003) (“FIS Phase 1 Rule Change”).

    9 As part of its ongoing monitoring of its membership, NSCC utilizes the CRRM to rate its risk exposures to its Members based on a scale from 1 (the strongest) to 7 (the weakest). Members that fall within the higher risk rating categories (i.e., 5, 6, and 7) are placed on NSCC's “Watch List,” and may be subject to enhanced surveillance or additional margin charges, as permitted under the Rules. See Rule 2B, Section 4 and Procedure XV, Section I.(B)(1) of the Rules, supra note 4. See also Securities Exchange Act Release No. 80734 (May 19, 2017), 82 FR 24174 (May 25, 2017), (SR-DTC-2017-002, SR-FICC-2017-006, SR-NSCC-2017-002) (approving proposed changes to the CRRM methodology).

    10 Procedure XV (Clearing Fund Formula and Other Matters), Section I.(B)(1), supra note 4.

    The FIS Charge is currently applied only to Members on the Watch List because these Members present a heightened credit risk to NSCC or have demonstrated higher risk related to their ability to meet settlement, and, as such, at the time the FIS Phase 1 Rule Change was proposed, NSCC believed there was a clear and more urgent need to address NSCC's exposure to specific wrong-way risk presented by these Members' positions in Family-Issued Securities.

    Second, NSCC proposed to further evaluate its exposure to wrong-way risk presented by positions in Family-Issued Securities by reviewing the impact of expanding the application of the FIS Charge to positions in Family-Issued Securities of all Members.11 Following its evaluation, NSCC has determined that the risk characteristics to be considered when margining Family-Issued Securities extend beyond Members' creditworthiness. More specifically, exposure to specific wrong-way risk is based on the correlation to the default of the issuer Member, and NSCC may face this risk with respect to positions in Family-Issued Securities of all of its Members, not only those Members on the Watch List. As such, in order to more effectively mitigate its exposure to specific wrong-way risk, NSCC is proposing to apply the FIS Charge to positions in Family-Issued Securities of all Members.

    11 FIS Phase 1 Rule Change, supra note 8.

    In order to implement this proposal, NSCC would amend Procedure XV to move the FIS Charge from Section I.(B)(1), where it is currently described as an additional deposit for Members on surveillance, to Sections I.(A)(1) and (2), to include the FIS Charge as a component of the Clearing Fund formula that is calculated for each Member.12 Under the proposed change, the calculation of the FIS Charge would not change as applied to Members that are rated 5, 6, or 7 on the CRRM. NSCC is proposing to revise the description of the FIS Charge to include Members that are rated 1 through 4 on the CRRM.13 Specifically, NSCC is proposing to amend the description of the FIS Charge in Procedure XV such that (1) fixed-income securities that are Family-Issued Securities would be charged a haircut rate of no less than 80 percent for Members that are rated 6 or 7 on the CRRM, and no less than 40 percent for Members that are rated 1 through 5 on the CRRM; and (2) equities that are Family-Issued Securities would be charged a haircut rate of 100 percent for Members rated 6 or 7 on the CRRM, and no less than 50 percent for Members that are rated 1 through 5 on the CRRM.

    12 Procedure XV, Sections I.(A)(1) and (2) and I.(B), supra note 4.

    13 Members that are not rated on the CRRM are not subject to the FIS Charge and would not be subject to the FIS Charge under the proposed change.

    The proposed change would also amend NSCC Rule 1 (Definitions and Descriptions) to include a definition of Family-Issued Securities in order to provide more clarity to the Rules. Under the proposed change, “Family-Issued Security” would be defined as a security that was issued by a Member or an affiliate of that Member.

    2. Statutory Basis

    NSCC believes that the proposed change is consistent with the requirements of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder applicable to a registered clearing agency. In particular, NSCC believes that the proposed change is consistent with Section 17A(b)(3)(F) of the Act,14 and Rules 17Ad-22(e)(4)(i), and (6)(i) and (v),15 each promulgated under the Act, for the reasons described below.

    14 15 U.S.C. 78q-1(b)(3)(F).

    15 17 CFR 240.17Ad-22(e)(4) and (e)(6).

    Section 17A(b)(3)(F) of the Act requires, in part, that the Rules be designed to promote the prompt and accurate clearance and settlement of securities transactions and to protect investors and the public interest.16 By enhancing the margin methodology applied to Family-Issued Securities of all Members, the proposal will assist NSCC in collecting margin that more accurately reflects NSCC's exposure to a Member that clears Family-Issued Securities and will assist NSCC in its continuous efforts to improve the reliability and effectiveness of its risk-based margining methodology by taking into account specific wrong-way risk. As such, the proposal will help NSCC, as a central counterparty, promote robust risk management, and thus promote the prompt and accurate clearance and settlement of securities transactions, as well as, in general, protect investors and the public interest, consistent with the requirements of Section 17A(b)(3)(F) of the Act.

    16 15 U.S.C. 78q-1(b)(3)(F).

    Rule 17Ad-22(e)(4)(i) under the Act requires, in part, that each covered clearing agency establish, implement, maintain and enforce written policies and procedures reasonably designed to effectively identify, measure, monitor, and manage its credit exposures to participants and those arising from its payment, clearing, and settlement processes, including by maintaining sufficient financial resources to cover its credit exposure to each participant fully with a high degree of confidence.17 The specific wrong-way risk presented by Family-Issued Securities is the risk that, in the event that a Member with unsettled long positions in Family-Issued Securities defaults, NSCC would close out those positions following a likely drop in the credit-worthiness of the issuer, possibly resulting in a loss to NSCC. The haircut rates of the FIS Charge more accurately reflect this risk because they were calibrated based on historical corporate issue recovery rate data, and, therefore, address the risk that the Family-Issued Securities of a Member would be devalued in the event of that Member's default. In this way, NSCC has determined that the margining methodology used in calculating the FIS Charge more accurately reflects the risk characteristics of Family-Issued Securities than applying its VaR Charge, and would permit NSCC to more accurately identify, measure, monitor and manage its credit exposures to those Members with positions in Family-Issued Securities. Further, by expanding the application of the FIS Charge to all Members, the proposed change would assist NSCC in collecting and maintaining financial resources that reflect its credit exposures to those Members. Therefore, NSCC believes the proposed change is consistent with Rule 17Ad-22(e)(4)(i).

    17 17 CFR 240.17Ad-22(e)(4)(i).

    Rule 17Ad-22(e)(6)(i) under the Act requires, in part, that each covered clearing agency that provides central counterparty services establish, implement, maintain and enforce written policies and procedures reasonably designed to cover its credit exposures to its participants by establishing a risk-based margin system that, at a minimum, considers, and produces margin levels commensurate with, the risks and particular attributes of each relevant product, portfolio, and market.18 Rule 17Ad-22(e)(6)(v) under the Act requires, in part, that each covered clearing agency that provides central counterparty services establish, implement, maintain and enforce written policies and procedures reasonably designed to cover its credit exposures to its participants by establishing a risk-based margin system that, at a minimum, uses an appropriate method for measuring credit exposure that accounts for relevant product risk factors and portfolio effects across products.19

    18 17 CFR 240.17Ad-22(e)(6)(i).

    19 17 CFR 240.17Ad-22(e)(6)(v).

    As stated above, Family-Issued Securities present NSCC with specific wrong-way risk that, in the event that a Member with unsettled long positions in Family-Issued Securities defaults, NSCC would close out those positions following a likely drop in the credit-worthiness of the issuer, possibly resulting in a loss to NSCC. Therefore, the haircut rates were calibrated based on historical corporate issue recovery rate data, and address the risk that the Family-Issued Securities of a Member would be devalued in the event of that Member's default, and would more accurately reflect the risk characteristics of Family-Issued Securities than applying its VaR Charge. In this way, the proposal would assist NSCC in maintaining a risk-based margin system that considers, and produces margin levels commensurate with, the risks and particular attributes of Family-Issued Securities. Additionally, NSCC believes application of the FIS Charge to positions in Family-Issued Securities of all Members is an appropriate method for measuring its credit exposures, because the FIS Charge accounts for the risk factors presented by these securities, i.e. the risk that these securities would be devalued in the event of a Member default. Therefore, NSCC believes the proposed change is consistent with Rule 17Ad-22(e)(6)(i) and (v).

    (B) Clearing Agency's Statement on Burden on Competition

    By expanding the application of the FIS Charge to all Members, and, therefore, increasing the amount of margin that Members may be charged under the Rules, the proposed change may impose a burden on competition. However, because the FIS Charge would be imposed on all Members on an individualized basis in an amount reasonably calculated to mitigate the risks posed to NSCC by those Members' positions in Family-Issued Securities, NSCC does not believe any burden on competition imposed by the proposed change would be significant.

    Further, NSCC believes that any burden on competition imposed by the proposed change would be both necessary and appropriate in furtherance of the Act.20 The proposal to expand the application of the FIS Charge to positions in Family-Issued Securities of all Members is necessary for NSCC to limit its credit exposures posed by these securities. Additionally, by permitting NSCC to calculate and collect margin that more accurately reflects the risk characteristics of these securities, the proposed change would assist NSCC in limiting its potential losses from defaults by Members. As stated, the FIS Charge would be imposed on Members on an individualized basis in an amount reasonably calculated to mitigate the risks posed to NSCC by those Members' positions in Family-Issued Securities. In this way, NSCC believes the proposed change would promote the prompt and accurate clearance and settlement of securities transactions and protect investors and the public interest. As such, NSCC believes any burden on competition imposed by the expansion of the application of the FIS Charge to all Members would be necessary and appropriate in furtherance of the Act.

    20 15 U.S.C. 78q-1(b)(3)(I).

    (C) Clearing Agency's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants, or Others

    NSCC has not received or solicited any written comments relating to this proposal. NSCC will notify the Commission of any written comments received by NSCC.

    III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change, and Timing for Commission Action

    Within 45 days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or within such longer period up to 90 days (i) as the Commission may designate if it finds such longer period to be appropriate and publishes its reasons for so finding or (ii) as to which the self- regulatory organization consents, the Commission will:

    (A) By order approve or disapprove such proposed rule change, or

    (B) institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule change should be disapproved.

    IV. Solicitation of Comments

    Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Comments

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

    • Send an email to [email protected] Please include File Number SR-NSCC-2017-010 on the subject line.

    Paper Comments

    • Send paper comments in triplicate to Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549.

    All submissions should refer to File Number SR-NSCC-2017-010. This file number should be included on the subject line if email is used. To help the Commission process and review your comments more efficiently, please use only one method. The Commission will post all comments on the Commission's Internet Web site (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml). Copies of the submission, all subsequent amendments, all written statements with respect to the proposed rule change that are filed with the Commission, and all written communications relating to the proposed rule change between the Commission and any person, other than those that may be withheld from the public in accordance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552, will be available for Web site viewing and printing in the Commission's Public Reference Room, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549 on official business days between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Copies of the filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of NSCC and on DTCC's Web site (http://dtcc.com/legal/sec-rule-filings.aspx). All comments received will be posted without change; the Commission does not edit personal identifying information from submissions. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. All submissions should refer to File Number SR-NSCC-2017-010 and should be submitted on or before August 21, 2017.

    For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.21

    21 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).

    Eduardo A. Aleman, Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-15993 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-81205; File No. SR-MRX-2017-01] Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq MRX, LLC; Order Approving Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 2, To Amend the Exchange Opening Process July 25, 2017. I. Introduction

    On May 31, 2017, Nasdaq MRX, LLC (“MRX” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”), pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),1 and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,2 a proposed rule change to amend the Exchange's opening process. On June 14, 2017, the Exchange filed Amendment No. 1 to the proposal. On June 14, 2017, the Exchange withdrew Amendment No. 1 and filed Amendment No. 2 to the proposal, which replaced and superseded the original filing in its entirety. The proposed rule change, as modified by Amendment No. 2, was published for comment in the Federal Register on June 20, 2017.3 The Commission received no comment letters on the proposed rule change. This order approves the proposed rule change, as modified by Amendment No. 2.

    1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).

    2 17 CFR 240.19b-4.

    3See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 80937 (June 15, 2017), 82 FR 28113 (“Notice”).

    II. Description of the Proposal, as Modified by Amendment No. 2

    The Exchange proposes to delete the entirety of current MRX Rule 701 and replace the current Exchange opening process with an opening process reflected in proposed MRX Rules 701 and 715(t).4 The new opening process is similar to the process used by Phlx,5 as well as the new opening process recently adopted by ISE Gemini, LLC (“ISE Gemini”) 6 and Nasdaq ISE, LLC (“ISE”).7 The Exchange's current and proposed opening processes are described below.8

    4 The Exchange represents that this proposed rule change is being made in connection with a technology migration to a Nasdaq, Inc. (“Nasdaq”) supported architecture called INET which is utilized on The NASDAQ Options Market LLC, NASDAQ PHLX LLC (“Phlx”) and NASDAQ BX, Inc. See id.

    5See Phlx Rule 1017. See also Securities Exchange Act Release No. 79274 (November 9, 2016), 81 FR 80694 (November 16, 2016) (SR-Phlx-2016-79).

    6See ISE Gemini Rules 701 and 715(t). See also Securities Exchange Act Release No. 10952 (February 10, 2017), 82 FR 10952 (February 16, 2017) (SR-ISEGemini-2016-18).

    7See ISE Rules 701 and 715(t). See also Securities Exchange Act Release No. 80225 (March 13, 2017), 82 FR 14243 (March 17, 2017) (SR-ISE-2017-02).

    8 In connection with the new opening process, the Exchange proposes to adopt a new “Definitions” section in proposed Rule 701(a), similar to Phlx Rule 1017(a), to define several terms that are used throughout the opening rule. Proposed Rule 701(a) will define: ABBO, “market for the underlying security,” Opening Price, Opening Process, Potential Opening Price, Pre-Market BBO, Quality Opening Market, Valid Width Quote, and Zero Bid Market. For definitions of these terms, see Notice supra note 3 at 28114.

    A. Current Exchange Opening Process

    Currently, a Primary Market Maker (“PMM”) on MRX initiates the “trading rotation” in a specified options class.9 The Exchange may direct that one or more trading rotations be employed on any business day to aid in producing a fair and orderly market.10 For each rotation, except as the Exchange may direct, rotations are conducted in the order and manner the PMM determines to be appropriate under the circumstances.11 The PMM, with the approval of the Exchange, has the authority to determine the rotation order and manner or deviate from the rotation procedures.12 Such authority may be exercised before and during a trading rotation.13 Additionally, two or more trading rotations may be employed simultaneously, if the PMM, with the approval of the Exchange, so determines.14

    9See MRX Rule 701(a).

    10See MRX Rule 701(a)(1).

    11See MRX Rule 701(a)(2).

    12See MRX Rule 701(a)(3).

    13See MRX Rule 701(a)(3).

    14See MRX Rule 701(a)(4).

    Pursuant to MRX Rule 701(b), the opening rotation for each class of options is held promptly following the opening of the market for the underlying security.15 In the event the underlying security has not opened within a reasonable time after 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time, the PMM reports the delay to the Exchange and an inquiry is made to determine the cause of the delay.16 The opening rotation for the affected options series is then delayed until the market for the underlying security has opened, unless the Exchange determines that the interests of a fair and orderly market are best served by opening trading in the options contracts.17

    15See MRX Rule 701(b)(2). For purposes of MRX Rule 701(b)(2), the “market for the underlying security” is either the primary listing market, the primary volume market (defined as the market with the most liquidity in that underlying security for the previous two calendar months), or the first market to open the underlying security, as determined by the Exchange on an issue-by-issue basis and announced to the membership on the Exchange's Web site. See id.

    16See MRX Rule 701(b)(3).

    17See id. Additionally, the Exchange may delay the commencement of the opening rotation in any class of options in the interests of a fair and orderly market. See MRX Rule 701(b)(4).

    Currently, in connection with a trading rotation, MRX Rule 701(c) specifies how transactions may be effected in a class of options after the end of normal trading hours. A trading rotation may be employed whenever the Exchange concludes that such action is appropriate in the interests of a fair and orderly market.18 The decisions to employ a trading rotation in non-expiring options are disseminated prior to the commencement of such rotation and, in general, the Exchange will commence no more than one trading rotation after the normal close of trading.19 If a trading rotation is in progress and the Exchange determines that a final trading rotation is needed to assure a fair and orderly market close, the rotation in progress will be halted and a final rotation will begin as promptly as possible.20 Finally, any trading rotation in non-expiring options conducted after the normal close of trading may not begin until five minutes after news of such rotation is disseminated by the Exchange.21

    18See MRX Rule 701(c)(1). The factors that may be considered include, but are not limited to, whether there has been a recent opening or reopening of trading in the underlying security, a declaration of a “fast market” pursuant to MRX Rule 704, or a need for a rotation in connection with expiring individual stock options or index options, an end of the year rotation, or the restart of a rotation which is already in progress. See id.

    19See MRX Rule 701(c)(2).

    20See MRX Rule 701(c)(3).

    21See MRX Rule 701(c)(4).

    B. Proposed New Opening Process 1. Opening Sweep

    At the outset, the Exchange proposes to adopt a new order type, “Opening Sweep,” for the new opening process.22 Proposed Rule 701(b)(1)(i) states that a Market Maker assigned to a particular option may only submit an Opening Sweep if, at the time of entry, that Market Maker has already submitted and maintains a Valid Width Quote.23 Opening Sweeps may be entered at any price with a minimum price variation applicable to the affected series, on either side of the market, at single or multiple price level(s), and may be cancelled and re-entered.24 A single Market Maker may enter multiple Opening Sweeps, with each Opening Sweep at a different price level.25 If a Market Maker submits multiple Opening Sweeps, the system will consider only the most recent Opening Sweep at each price level submitted by such Market Maker in determining the Opening Price (described below).26 Unexecuted Opening Sweeps will be cancelled once the affected series is open.27

    22 The Exchange proposes to define an “Opening Sweep” as a Market Maker order submitted for execution against eligible interest in the system during the Opening Process pursuant to proposed Rule 701(b)(1). See proposed Rule 715(t).

    23 All Opening Sweeps in the affected series entered by a Market Maker will be cancelled immediately if that Market Maker fails to maintain a continuous quote with a Valid Width Quote in the affected series. See proposed Rule 701(b)(1)(i).

    24See proposed Rule 701(b)(1)(ii).

    25See id.

    26See id. The Exchange proposes to define “Opening Price” by cross-referencing proposed Rule 701(h) and (j). See proposed Rule 701(a)(3).

    27See id.

    2. Interest Included in the Opening Process

    The first part of the Opening Process determines what constitutes “eligible interest.” The Exchange proposes that eligible interest during the Opening Process 28 will include Valid Width Quotes,29 Opening Sweeps, and orders.30 Quotes, other than Valid Width Quotes, will not be included in the Opening Process.31 All-or-None Orders that can be satisfied, and the displayed and non-displayed portions of Reserve Orders, are considered for execution and in determining the Opening Price throughout the Opening Process.32 The system will aggregate the size of all eligible interest for a particular participant category at a particular price level for trade allocation purposes pursuant to Rule 713.33 Only Public Customer interest is routable during the Opening Process.34

    28 The Exchange proposes to define “Opening Process” by cross-referencing proposed Rule 701(c). See proposed Rule 701(a)(4).

    29 The Exchange proposes to define “Valid Width Quote” as a two-sided electronic quotation submitted by a Market Maker that consists of a bid/ask differential that is compliant with MRX Rule 803(b)(4). See proposed Rule 701(a)(8).

    30See proposed Rule 701(b).

    31See id.

    32See id.

    33See proposed Rule 701(b)(2).

    34See proposed Rule 701(b).

    Market Maker Valid Width Quotes and Opening Sweeps received starting at 9:25 a.m. Eastern Time are included in the Opening Process.35 Orders entered at any time before an option series opens are included in the Opening Process.36

    35See proposed Rule 701(c).

    36See id.

    3. Opening Process and Reopening After a Trading Halt

    The Exchange proposes that the Opening Process for an option series will be conducted pursuant to proposed Rules 701(f)-(j) on or after 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time if: (1) The ABBO,37 if any, is not crossed; and (2) the system has received, within two minutes (or such shorter time as determined by the Exchange and disseminated to membership on the Exchange's Web site) of the opening trade or quote on the market for the underlying security 38 in the case of equity options, or the receipt of the opening price in the underlying index in the case of index options, or market opening for the underlying security in the case of U.S. dollar-settled foreign currency options, any of the following: (i) A PMM's Valid Width Quote; (ii) the Valid Width Quotes of at least two Competitive Market Makers (“CMM”); or (iii) if no PMM's Valid Width Quote nor two CMMs' Valid Width Quotes within such timeframe, one CMM's Valid Width Quote.39

    37 The Exchange proposes to define “ABBO” as the Away Best Bid or Offer. See proposed Rule 701(a)(1). The ABBO does not include MRX's market. See Notice, supra note 3, at 28114.

    38 The Exchange proposes to define “market for the underlying security” as either the primary listing market or the primary volume market (defined as the market with the most liquidity in that underlying security for the previous two calendar months), as determined by the Exchange by underlying and announced to the membership on the Exchange's Web site. See proposed Rule 701(a)(2).

    39See proposed Rule 701(c)(1). The Exchange represents that it anticipates initially setting the timeframe during which a PMM's Valid Width quote or the presence of at least two CMMs' Valid Width Quotes will initiate the Opening Process at 30 seconds. See Notice, supra note 3, at 28115 n.18. The Exchange represe