Federal Register Vol. 82, No.230,

Federal Register Volume 82, Issue 230 (December 1, 2017)

Page Range56859-57104
FR Document

82_FR_230
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
82 FR 57015 - Sunshine Act MeetingsPDF
82 FR 57020 - Sunshine Act MeetingsPDF
82 FR 56886 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, Chesapeake, VAPDF
82 FR 57027 - Renewal of Currently Approved Information Collection: Comment Request for Customer Satisfaction and Opinion Surveys, and Focus Group InterviewsPDF
82 FR 57066 - Medicare Program; Cancellation of Advancing Care Coordination Through Episode Payment and Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive Payment Models; Changes to Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Payment Model: Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Policy for the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Payment ModelPDF
82 FR 56922 - Marketing Order Regulating the Handling of Spearmint Oil Produced in the Far West; Revision of the Salable Quantity and Allotment Percentage for Class 3 (Native) Spearmint Oil for the 2017-2018 Marketing YearPDF
82 FR 56941 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
82 FR 57030 - Agency Information Collection Activity: Designation of Certifying OfficialPDF
82 FR 57028 - Agency Information Collection Activity: Application for Ordinary LifePDF
82 FR 57029 - Agency Information Collection Activity: Application for Change of Permanent Plan-MedicalPDF
82 FR 57028 - Agency Information Collection Activity: Application for ConversionPDF
82 FR 57031 - Agency Information Collection Activity: Insurance Deduction AuthorizationPDF
82 FR 57029 - Agency Information Collection Activity: Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation by Parent(s) (Including Accrued Benefits and Death Compensation When Applicable)PDF
82 FR 56890 - National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan; National Priorities List: Deletion of the Hatheway & Patterson Superfund SitePDF
82 FR 56939 - National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan; National Priorities List: Deletion of the Hatheway & Patterson Superfund SitePDF
82 FR 56972 - Information Session; Implementation of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014; CorrectionPDF
82 FR 56983 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Federal Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Declaration FormPDF
82 FR 56984 - Notice of Utilization of Streamlined Procedures for Environmental Assessments Associated With Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and NatePDF
82 FR 57021 - Norfolk Southern Railway Company-Abandonment Exemption-in Aurora, Portage County, Ohio; Cleveland Commercial Railroad Company, LLC-Discontinuance of Lease and Operation Authority-in Aurora, Portage County, OhioPDF
82 FR 56980 - Cooperative Research and Development Agreement: Cellular Phone Geolocation DevelopmentPDF
82 FR 56996 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Request for Comments; Consumer Expenditure Surveys: Quarterly Interview and DiaryPDF
82 FR 57003 - Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc., Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Units 3 and 4; Central Chilled Water System Optimization ChangesPDF
82 FR 56996 - Notice of Decisions on States' Applications for Relief From Tax Credit Reductions Provided Under Section 3302 of the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) Applicable in 2017PDF
82 FR 56992 - Kofi E. Shaw-Taylor, M.D. Decision and OrderPDF
82 FR 56994 - Importer of Controlled Substances Application: ABBVIE LTDPDF
82 FR 56976 - Barr Laboratories, Inc. et al.; Withdrawal of Approval of 68 Abbreviated New Drug ApplicationsPDF
82 FR 56971 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Survey of Postgraduate Outcomes for the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) Program (Tracking Survey)PDF
82 FR 56971 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Survey of Postgraduate Outcomes for the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship Program (Tracking Survey)PDF
82 FR 56909 - Calling Number Identification Service-Caller IDPDF
82 FR 56993 - Bulk Manufacturer of Controlled Substances Application: Nanosyn, Inc.PDF
82 FR 56979 - Nominations to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDSPDF
82 FR 57025 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Information Collection Revisions; Submission for OMB Review; Regulation C; Fair Housing Home Loan Data System RegulationPDF
82 FR 56969 - Notice Inviting Statements of Interest From Nonprofit Organizations Interested in Partnering To Expand the #GoOpen NetworkPDF
82 FR 56949 - Glycine From the People's Republic of China: Rescission of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2016-2017PDF
82 FR 56975 - Antimicrobial Drugs Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting; Establishment of a Public Docket; Request for CommentsPDF
82 FR 56953 - Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Gull and Climate Research in Glacier Bay National Park, AlaskaPDF
82 FR 57020 - Presidential Declaration Amendment of a Major Disaster for the US Virgin IslandsPDF
82 FR 56973 - Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding CompaniesPDF
82 FR 56972 - Environmental Impact Statements; Notice of AvailabilityPDF
82 FR 57020 - Presidential Declaration of a Major Disaster for Public Assistance Only for the State of MississippiPDF
82 FR 56947 - Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, Sheet, and Strip (PET Film) From Taiwan: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2015-2016PDF
82 FR 56949 - Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, Sheet, and Strip From the United Arab Emirates: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Preliminary Determination of No Shipments; 2015-2016PDF
82 FR 56951 - Lightweight Thermal Paper From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2015-2016PDF
82 FR 57020 - Presidential Declaration Amendment of a Major Disaster for Public Assistance Only for the US Virgin IslandsPDF
82 FR 56974 - Determination That METICORTEN (Prednisone) Tablets, 1 Milligram and 5 Milligrams, Were Not Withdrawn From Sale for Reasons of Safety or EffectivenessPDF
82 FR 56968 - Uniform Formulary Beneficiary Advisory Panel; Notice of Federal Advisory Committee MeetingPDF
82 FR 56895 - Maritime Security ProgramPDF
82 FR 56902 - Revision of the America's Marine Highway Program RegulationsPDF
82 FR 56899 - Requirements To Document U.S.-Flag Fishing Industry Vessels of 100 Feet or Greater in Registered LengthPDF
82 FR 56978 - National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics: TeleconferencePDF
82 FR 57003 - Advisory Committee for Computer and Information Science and Engineering; Notice of MeetingPDF
82 FR 56994 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Approval of a New CollectionPDF
82 FR 57029 - Veterans' Advisory Committee on Rehabilitation; Notice of MeetingPDF
82 FR 56986 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Revision of a Currently Approved Collection: Application To File Declaration of IntentionPDF
82 FR 56990 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Incidental Take Permit Application; Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan for the Coastal California Gnatcatcher and Associated Documents; Brea, CaliforniaPDF
82 FR 56987 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Revision of a Currently Approved Collection: USCIS Electronic Payment ProcessingPDF
82 FR 57024 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel DAKOTA; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
82 FR 57023 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel LA PAVO REAL; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
82 FR 57023 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel LA VIDA LOCA; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
82 FR 57024 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel SEA PIRATE; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
82 FR 57022 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel ZENYATTA; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
82 FR 56887 - International Trademark Classification ChangesPDF
82 FR 56995 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Proposed Collection; Comments Requested: Form USM-234, District/Aviation Security Officers (DSO/ASO) Personal Qualifications StatementPDF
82 FR 56941 - Notice of Public Meeting of the Texas Advisory CommitteePDF
82 FR 57022 - Petition for Exemption; Summary of Petition ReceivedPDF
82 FR 56973 - Draft-National Occupational Research Agenda for Transportation, Warehousing and UtilitiesPDF
82 FR 56987 - Notice of Availability of a Draft Habitat Conservation Plan and Draft Environmental Assessment for the Lalamilo Wind Farm Repowering Project, Island of Hawaii, HawaiiPDF
82 FR 56972 - Notice to All Interested Parties of Intent To Terminate the Receivership of 10189, Rainier Pacific Bank, Tacoma, WashingtonPDF
82 FR 56965 - Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Advisory Panel for Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review WorkshopsPDF
82 FR 56982 - Accreditation and Approval of Intertek USA, Inc. (Harvey, LA), as a Commercial Gauger and LaboratoryPDF
82 FR 56982 - Approval of Inspectorate America Corporation (Baton Rouge, LA), as a Commercial GaugerPDF
82 FR 56981 - Accreditation of Intertek USA, Inc. (Baytown, TX), as a Commercial LaboratoryPDF
82 FR 56947 - First Responder Network Authority; First Responder Network Authority Combined Committee and Board MeetingPDF
82 FR 57010 - Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc., Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Units 3 and 4; Consistency Update to the Raceway Separation Requirements in the Main Control Room and Remote Shutdown RoomPDF
82 FR 57004 - Dominion Energy Nuclear Connecticut, Inc.; Millstone Power StationPDF
82 FR 56999 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Current Population Survey-Displaced Worker, Job Tenure, and Occupational Mobility SupplementPDF
82 FR 56997 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Annual Refiling SurveyPDF
82 FR 57001 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Quick Business Survey Operations Test; Office of the SecretaryPDF
82 FR 56998 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Quarterly Census of Employment and WagesPDF
82 FR 57000 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Leave Supplement to the American Time Use SurveyPDF
82 FR 56890 - Secure Tests: Extension of Comment PeriodPDF
82 FR 57012 - Submission for OMB Review; Comments RequestPDF
82 FR 57015 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The Options Clearing Corporation; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 1, Concerning the Adoption of a New Minimum Cash Requirement for the Clearing FundPDF
82 FR 57013 - Self-Regulatory Organizations: Investors Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend Rules 2.220(a)(7) and 11.410(a) To Reflect the Name Change of Bats BZX Exchange, Inc. to Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc., Bats EDGA Exchange, Inc. to Cboe EDGA Exchange, Inc., Bats EDGX Exchange, Inc. to Cboe EDGX Exchange, Inc., and Bats BYX Exchange, Inc. to Cboe BYX Exchange, Inc.PDF
82 FR 56966 - Procurement List; Additions and DeletionsPDF
82 FR 57002 - Notice of Permit Applications Received Under the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978PDF
82 FR 57012 - New Postal ProductsPDF
82 FR 57002 - Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education; Notice of MeetingPDF
82 FR 57001 - State, Local, Tribal, and Private Sector Policy Advisory Committee (SLTPS-PAC)PDF
82 FR 57014 - Investment Company Act Release No. 32922; File No. 812-14786; Ausdal Unit Investment Trust and Ausdal Financial Partners, Inc.PDF
82 FR 57019 - Notice of Applications for Deregistration Under Section 8(f) of the Investment Company Act of 1940PDF
82 FR 56917 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Regulatory Amendment 6 to the Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin IslandsPDF
82 FR 56985 - Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan Template and Progress ReportPDF
82 FR 56869 - Senior Community Service Employment Program; Performance AccountabilityPDF
82 FR 56968 - Notice of a Pilot Program on Medication Therapy Management Under the TRICARE ProgramPDF
82 FR 56865 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus AirplanesPDF
82 FR 56859 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus AirplanesPDF
82 FR 56926 - Statutory Cable, Satellite, and DART License Reporting PracticesPDF
82 FR 57034 - Revolving Loan Fund Program Changes and General Updates to PWEDA RegulationsPDF
82 FR 56942 - Implementation of Revolving Loan Fund Risk Analysis SystemPDF

Issue

82 230 Friday, December 1, 2017 Contents Agricultural Marketing Agricultural Marketing Service PROPOSED RULES Handling of Spearmint Oil Produced in the Far West: Revision of Salable Quantity and Allotment Percentage for Class 3 (Native) Spearmint Oil; Marketing Order, 2017-2018 Marketing Year, 56922-56926 2017-25965 Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Agricultural Marketing Service

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 56941 2017-25944
Centers Disease Centers for Disease Control and Prevention NOTICES Requests for Comments: Draft—National Occupational Research Agenda for Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities, 56973-56974 2017-25876 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services RULES Medicare Program: Cancellation of Advancing Care Coordination through Episode Payment and Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive Payment Models, etc., 57066-57104 2017-25979 Civil Rights Civil Rights Commission NOTICES Meetings: Texas Advisory Committee, 56941-56942 2017-25878 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Drawbridge Operations: Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, Chesapeake, VA, 56886-56887 2017-26072 NOTICES Cooperative Research and Development Agreements: Cellular Phone Geolocation Development, 56980-56981 2017-25926 Commerce Commerce Department See

Economic Development Administration

See

First Responder Network Authority

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

See

Patent and Trademark Office

Committee for Purchase Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled NOTICES Procurement List; Additions and Deletions, 56966-56968 2017-25854 Comptroller Comptroller of the Currency NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Regulation C; Fair Housing Home Loan Data System Regulation, 57025-57027 2017-25914 Copyright Office Copyright Office, Library of Congress RULES Secure Tests, 56890 2017-25859 PROPOSED RULES Statutory Cable, Satellite, and DART License Reporting Practices, 56926-56939 2017-25487 Defense Department Defense Department NOTICES Meetings: Uniform Formulary Beneficiary Advisory Panel, 56968 2017-25899 Pilot Program on Medication Therapy Management under TRICARE Program, 56968-56969 2017-25823 Drug Drug Enforcement Administration NOTICES Decisions and Orders: Kofi E. Shaw-Taylor, M.D., 56992-56993 2017-25922 Importers of Controlled Substances; Applications: ABBVIE, Ltd., 56994 2017-25921 Manufacturers of Controlled Substances; Applications: Nanosyn, Inc., 56993-56994 2017-25916 Economic Development Economic Development Administration RULES Revolving Loan Fund Program Changes and General Updates to Public Works and Economic Development Act Regulations, 57034-57063 2017-25277 NOTICES Implementation of Revolving Loan Fund Risk Analysis System, 56942-56947 2017-25276 Education Department Education Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Survey of Postgraduate Outcomes for Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Program, 56971-56972 2017-25919 Survey of Postgraduate Outcomes for the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship Program, 56971 2017-25918 Statements of Interest from Nonprofit Organizations Interested in Partnering to Expand GoOpen Network, 56969-56971 2017-25913 Employment and Training Employment and Training Administration RULES Senior Community Service Employment Program: Performance Accountability, 56869-56886 2017-25834 NOTICES Determinations on States' Applications: Relief from Tax Credit Reductions, 56996 2017-25923 Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES National Priorities List: National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan; Deletion of Hatheway and Patterson Superfund Site, 56890-56895 2017-25937 PROPOSED RULES National Priorities List: National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan; Deletion of Hatheway and Patterson Superfund Site, 56939-56940 2017-25936 NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Weekly Receipts, 56972 2017-25907 Meetings: Information Session; Implementation of Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014; Correction, 56972 2017-25935 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: Airbus Airplanes, 56859-56869 2017-25557 2017-25763 NOTICES Petitions for Exemptions; Summaries: The Boeing Company, 57022 2017-25877 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission RULES Calling Number Identification Service—Caller ID, 56909-56917 2017-25917 Federal Deposit Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation NOTICES Terminations of Receivership: Rainier Pacific Bank, Tacoma, WA, 56972-56973 2017-25873 Federal Emergency Federal Emergency Management Agency NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Federal Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Declaration Form, 56983-56984 2017-25934 Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate; Utilization of Streamlined Procedures, 56984-56985 2017-25933 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System NOTICES Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding Companies, 56973 2017-25908 FIRSTNET First Responder Network Authority NOTICES Meetings: Combined Committee and Board, 56947 2017-25868 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service NOTICES Endangered and Threatened Species: Incidental Take Permit Application; Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan for Coastal California Gnatcatcher and Associated Documents; Brea, CA, 56990-56992 2017-25889 Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Draft Habitat Conservation Plan for Lalamilo Wind Farm Repowering Project, Island of Hawaii, HI, 56987-56990 2017-25875 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration NOTICES Determinations that Products were Not Withdrawn from Sale for Reasons of Safety or Effectiveness: METICORTEN (Prednisone) Tablets, 1 Milligram and 5 Milligrams, 56974-56975 2017-25900 Meetings: Antimicrobial Drugs Advisory Committee; Establishment of Public Docket, 56975-56976 2017-25911 New Drug Applications: Barr Laboratories, Inc. et al.; Withdrawal of Approval, 56976-56978 2017-25920 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Food and Drug Administration

NOTICES Meetings: National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics; Teleconference, 56978-56979 2017-25895 Requests for Nominations: Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, 56979-56980 2017-25915
Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

Federal Emergency Management Agency

See

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

See

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

NOTICES Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan Template and Progress Report, 56985-56986 2017-25846
Information Information Security Oversight Office NOTICES Meetings: State, Local, Tribal, and Private Sector Policy Advisory Committee, 57001-57002 2017-25850 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Glycine from the People's Republic of China, 56949 2017-25912 Lightweight Thermal Paper from the People's Republic of China; Preliminary Results of Administrative Review; 2015-2016, 56951-56953 2017-25903 Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, Sheet, and Strip from Taiwan, 56947-56948 2017-25905 Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, Sheet, and Strip from United Arab Emirates, 56949-56951 2017-25904 Justice Department Justice Department See

Drug Enforcement Administration

See

United States Marshals Service

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 56994-56995 2017-25893
Labor Department Labor Department See

Employment and Training Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Annual Refiling Survey, 56997-56998 2017-25864 Consumer Expenditure Surveys: Quarterly Interview and Diary, 56996-56997 2017-25925 Current Population Survey—Displaced Worker, Job Tenure, and Occupational Mobility Supplement, 56999-57000 2017-25865 Leave Supplement to American Time Use Survey, 57000-57001 2017-25861 Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, 56998-56999 2017-25862 Quick Business Survey Operations Test, 57001 2017-25863
Library Library of Congress See

Copyright Office, Library of Congress

Maritime Maritime Administration RULES Maritime Security Program, 56895-56899 2017-25898 Requirements to Document U.S.-Flag Fishing Industry Vessels of 100 Feet or Greater in Registered Length, 56899-56901 2017-25896 Revision of America's Marine Highway Program Regulations, 56902-56909 2017-25897 NOTICES Requests for Administrative Waivers of Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel DAKOTA, 57024 2017-25886 Vessel LA PAVO REAL, 57023 2017-25885 Vessel LA VIDA LOCA, 57023-57024 2017-25884 Vessel SEA PIRATE, 57024-57025 2017-25883 Vessel ZENYATTA, 57022-57023 2017-25882 National Archives National Archives and Records Administration See

Information Security Oversight Office

National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic: Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan of Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands; Regulatory Amendment, 56917-56921 2017-25847 NOTICES Requests for Nominations: Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Advisory Panel for Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review Workshops, 56965-56966 2017-25872 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities: Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Gull and Climate Research in Glacier Bay National Park, AK, 56953-56965 2017-25910 National Science National Science Foundation NOTICES Antarctic Conservation Act Permits, 57002 2017-25853 Meetings: Advisory Committee for Computer and Information Science and Engineering, 57003 2017-25894 Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education, 57002 2017-25851 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Confirmatory Orders: Dominion Energy Nuclear Connecticut, Inc.; Millstone Power Station, 57004-57010 2017-25866 Exemptions and Combined Licenses; Amendments: Southern Nuclear Operating Co., Inc., Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Units 3 and 4; Central Chilled Water System Optimization Changes, 57003-57004 2017-25924 Southern Nuclear Operating Co., Inc., Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Units 3 and 4; Consistency Update to Raceway Separation Requirements in Main Control Room and Remote Shutdown Room, 57010-57012 2017-25867 Overseas Overseas Private Investment Corporation NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 57012 2017-25858 Patent Patent and Trademark Office RULES International Trademark Classification Changes, 56887-56890 2017-25880 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 57012-57013 2017-25852 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Applications: Ausdal Unit Investment Trust and Ausdal Financial Partners, Inc., 57014-57015 2017-25849 Deregistration, 57019 2017-25848 Meetings; Sunshine Act, 57015, 57020 2017-26102 2017-26103 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: Investors Exchange, LLC, 57013-57014 2017-25856 Options Clearing Corp., 57015-57019 2017-25857 Small Business Small Business Administration NOTICES Major Disaster Declarations: Mississippi, 57020-57021 2017-25906 US Virgin Islands; Amendment 3, 57020 2017-25909 US Virgin Islands; Public Assistance Only; Amendment 1, 57020 2017-25902 Surface Transportation Surface Transportation Board NOTICES Abandonments and Discontinuances of Service Exemptions: Norfolk Southern Railway Co. in Aurora, Portage County, OH; Cleveland Commercial Railroad Co., LLC in Aurora, Portage County, OH, 57021-57022 2017-25932 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Maritime Administration

Treasury Treasury Department See

Comptroller of the Currency

See

United States Mint

U.S. Citizenship U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Application to File Declaration of Intention, 56986-56987 2017-25890 Electronic Payment Processing, 56987 2017-25887 Customs U.S. Customs and Border Protection NOTICES Accreditations and Approvals: Commercial Gauger and Laboratory; Intertek USA, Inc. (Harvey, LA), 56982-56983 2017-25871 Commercial Gauger; Inspectorate America Corp. (Baton Rouge, LA), 56982 2017-25870 Commercial Laboratory; Intertek USA, Inc. (Baytown, TX), 56981-56982 2017-25869 U.S. Marshals United States Marshals Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: District/Aviation Security Officers Personal Qualifications Statement, 56995-56996 2017-25879 U.S. Mint United States Mint NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 57027 2017-26027 Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Application for Change of Permanent Plan—Medical, 57029 2017-25941 Application for Conversion, 57028 2017-25940 Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation by Parent(s) (Including Accrued Benefits and Death Compensation when Applicable), 57029-57030 2017-25938 Application for Ordinary Life, 57028-57029 2017-25942 Designation of Certifying Official, 57030 2017-25943 Insurance Deduction Authorization, 57031 2017-25939 Meetings: Veterans' Advisory Committee on Rehabilitation, 57029 2017-25891 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Commerce Department, Economic Development Administration, 57034-57063 2017-25277 Part III Health and Human Services Department, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 57066-57104 2017-25979 Reader Aids

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82 230 Friday, December 1, 2017 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2017-0476; Product Identifier 2016-NM-110-AD; Amendment 39-19111; AD 2017-24-07] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2014-08-01, which applied to all Airbus Model A318, A319, A320, and A321 series airplanes. AD 2014-08-01 required an inspection for part numbers of the interconnecting struts and, for affected interconnecting struts, identification of the part and serial numbers of the associated target and proximity sensors and replacement or re-identification of the flap interconnecting strut if necessary. This AD continues to require an inspection to verify the interconnecting strut part number. This AD also provides a new compliance time and an additional inspection for previously inspected airplanes. This AD was prompted by an investigation that showed that when a certain combination of target/proximity sensor serial numbers is installed on a flap interconnecting strut, a “target FAR” signal cannot be detected when reaching the mechanical end stop of the interconnecting strut. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

This AD is effective January 5, 2018.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of January 5, 2018.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain other publication listed in this AD as of March 26, 2014 (79 FR 9398, February 19, 2014).

ADDRESSES:

For service information identified in this final rule, contact Airbus, Airworthiness Office—EIAS, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 44 51; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.airbus.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Standards Branch, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-0476.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-0476; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for the Docket Office (telephone 800-647-5527) is Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1405; fax 425-227-1149.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 to supersede AD 2014-08-01, Amendment 39-17825 (79 FR 23900, April 29, 2014) (“AD 2014-08-01”). AD 2014-08-01 applied to all Airbus Model A318, A319, A320, and A321 series airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on May 19, 2017 (82 FR 22918).

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD 2016-0113, dated June 15, 2016 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for all Airbus Model A318, A319, A320, and A321 series airplanes. The MCAI states:

The flap interconnecting strut is a safety device of the High Lift System which acts as an alternative load path from one flap surface to another in case of a flap drive system disconnection. In such a failure case, the installed proximity sensors provide information to the slat flap control computer (SFCC) and the operation of the flap drive system is inhibited.

An engineering investigation showed that, when a certain combination of target/sensor serial number (s/n) is installed on a flap interconnecting strut, a “target FAR” signal cannot be detected when reaching the mechanical end stop of the interconnecting strut.

This condition, if not corrected, could cause a flap down drive disconnection to remain undetected, due to an already-failed interconnecting strut sensor, potentially resulting in asymmetric flap panel movement and consequent loss of control of the aeroplane.

To address this potential unsafe condition, Airbus issued Service Bulletin (SB) A320-27-1206 and SB A320-57-1164, to provide identification and replacement instructions for struts that have a certain target/sensor s/n combination installed. Aeroplanes on which modification (mod) 27956 had been accomplished in production were identified as not affected by the unsafe condition. Consequently, EASA issued [EASA] AD 2012-0012 [which corresponds to FAA AD 2014-08-01] to require accomplishment of these inspections and corrective actions.

Since that [EASA] AD was issued, Airbus has informed EASA about a batch of aeroplanes that were delivered with pre-mod 27956 Part Number (P/N) flap interconnecting strut(s) installed, but declared to be in post-mod configuration in the Aircraft Inspection Report. Airbus SB A320-57-1202 has been issued to provide instructions to verify the interconnecting strut P/N, and to update aircraft documentation.

In addition, to ensure that all pre-mod parts are checked and corrected as required, SB A320-27-1206 was revised to include a wider range of P/N of affected interconnecting struts.

For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD retains the requirements of EASA AD 2012-0012, which is superseded, expands the Applicability [adds affected part numbers], changes the compliance time and requires an additional inspection for aeroplanes that have already been inspected.

You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-0476.

Comments

We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. The following presents the comments received on the NPRM and the FAA's response to each comment. United Airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association, International supported the NPRM.

Request To Add Additional Identification Steps

Delta Airlines (DAL) requested that additional identification steps be required in the NPRM to ensure that the affected parts are correctly identified. DAL stated that figure 1 to paragraphs (g) and (h) of the proposed AD contains part numbers for affected interconnecting struts. DAL commented that a review of its records from inspections conducted during compliance with AD 2014-08-01 determined that other part numbers were possible. DAL stated that it has had at least one instance of a part with the part number D5757032200000A.

DAL stated that figure 2 to paragraphs (i)(2), (k), and (l) of the proposed AD adds the provision that additional alphanumeric characters may exist. DAL commented that while the NPRM removes some of the ambiguity that existed in AD 2014-08-01, a review of Airbus's Aircraft Illustrated Parts Catalog (AIPC) does not show any parts with a “letter” suffix. DAL provided a photo that showed that the part number appears to “wrap” (to the next line) on the part. DAL stated that this “wrapping” condition has led to confusion in identifying the parts.

DAL stated that per the Airbus AIPC Front Matter, the 13th, 14th, and 15th characters are controlled in specific ways. DAL also stated that the 13th and 14th characters are expected to be “00” and are used to fill out 12-digit base numbers on the part installed during production. DAL stated that the 15th character is a paint code designator and found the use of a paint code designator unusual on a part that is not viewable or expected to be painted to match an air carrier paint scheme. DAL commented that it believes the AD should be updated to show 00A, 00B, or the list of true possibilities, and the XXX allowance creates a significant number of possible part numbers that DAL must identify as prohibited.

We agree to clarify the requirement to identify affected parts. Regarding the characters in the part number, identifying the last three characters are not required to identify a discrepant part; only the first twelve base numbers are required. Therefore, we do not agree to revise this AD to include a complete list of all possible combinations of these characters.

We acknowledge the commenter's concern about the “wrapping” condition for part identification. However, in the photo provided by the commenter only the last three characters are “wrapped.” As stated previously, the last three characters are not required to identify a discrepant part.

Formatting Change to a Figure

Figure 3 to paragraph (k)(1) of this AD has been reformatted to clarify affected manufacturer serial numbers.

Records Review

We have determined that a review of maintenance records is acceptable for complying with the actions specified in paragraphs (i)(1) and (i)(2) of this AD, provided the part number of the installed interconnecting struts and the part number and the serial number of the associated target and proximity sensor can be conclusively determined from that review. We have revised paragraph (i) of this AD accordingly.

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

Airbus has issued Service Bulletin A320-27-1206, Revision 02, dated November 2, 2015. The service information describes procedures for an inspection to determine the part number of the installed interconnecting struts and the part number and serial number of the associated target and proximity sensors, and procedures for replacement and re-identification of the interconnecting struts. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 1,032 airplanes of U.S. registry.

We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Cost on U.S.
  • operators
  • Inspection and replacement (retained actions from AD 2014-08-01) 8 work-hours × $85 per hour = $680 $0 $680 $701,760 Inspection and replacement (new action) 15 work-hours × $85 per hour = $1,275 0 1,275 1,315,800

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

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    This AD is issued in accordance with authority delegated by the Executive Director, Aircraft Certification Service, as authorized by FAA Order 8000.51C. In accordance with that order, issuance of ADs is normally a function of the Compliance and Airworthiness Division, but during this transition period, the Executive Director has delegated the authority to issue ADs applicable to transport category airplanes to the Director of the System Oversight Division.

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2014-08-01, Amendment 39-17825 (79 FR 23900, April 29, 2014), and adding the following new AD: 2017-24-07 Airbus: Amendment 39-19111; Docket No. FAA-2017-0476; Product Identifier 2016-NM-110-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective January 5, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 2014-08-01, Amendment 39-17825 (79 FR 23900, April 29, 2014) (“AD 2014-08-01”).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Airbus Model A318-111, -112, -121, and -122 airplanes; Model A319-111, -112, -113, -114, -115, -131, -132, and -133 airplanes; Model A320-211, -212, -214, -231, -232, and -233 airplanes; and Model A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, and -232 airplanes; certificated in any category; all manufacturer serial numbers.

    (d) Subject

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

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by an investigation that showed that when a certain combination of target/proximity sensor serial numbers is installed on a flap interconnecting strut, a “target FAR” signal cannot be detected when reaching the mechanical end stop of the interconnecting strut. We are issuing this AD to prevent an undetected flap down drive disconnection due to an already-failed interconnecting strut sensor, which could result in asymmetric flap panel movement and consequent loss of control of the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Retained Inspection To Determine the Part Number of the Interconnecting Struts, With Revised Service Information

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (g) of AD 2014-08-01, with revised service information. Within 8,000 flight hours after March 26, 2014 (the effective date of AD 2014-03-08, Amendment 39-17745 (79 FR 9398, February 19, 2014) (“AD 2014-03-08”)), inspect to determine the part number of the interconnecting struts installed on both the left-hand (LH) and right-hand (RH) wings of the airplane, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27-1206, Revision 01, dated October 10, 2011; or Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27-1206, Revision 02, dated November 2, 2015. A review of the airplane maintenance records is acceptable for determining the part number of the installed interconnecting struts, in lieu of the inspection, if the part number of the installed interconnecting struts, and the part number and the serial number of the associated target and proximity sensor, can be conclusively determined from that review. Accomplishment of the requirements of paragraph (i) of this AD terminates the requirements of this paragraph.

    (1) Airplanes on which Airbus Modification 27956 has been embodied in production, and on which no interconnecting strut has been replaced with a strut having a part number specified in figure 1 to paragraphs (g) and (h) of this AD since the airplane's first flight: No further work is required by paragraph (g) of this AD.

    (2) If, during the inspection required by paragraph (g) of this AD, any interconnecting strut is installed with a part number specified in figure 1 to paragraphs (g) and (h) of this AD: Within 8,000 flight hours after March 26, 2014 (the effective date of AD 2014-03-08), determine the part number and the serial number of the associated target and proximity sensor.

    (i) For airplanes having conditions specified in paragraphs (g)(2)(i)(A), (g)(2)(i)(B), (g)(2)(i)(C), and (g)(2)(i)(D) of this AD: Before further flight, replace the interconnecting strut with a serviceable unit, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27-1206, Revision 01, dated October 10, 2011; or Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27-1206, Revision 02, dated November 2, 2015. For the purposes of paragraph (g) of this AD, a serviceable interconnecting strut is a unit that has been determined to be in compliance with the requirements of paragraph (g) of this AD.

    (A) A target part number (P/N) ABS0121-13 or P/N 8-536-01; and

    (B) A target serial number lower than 1600, or a target serial number that is unreadable; and

    (C) A proximity sensor having P/N ABS0121-31 or P/N 8-372-04; and

    (D) A proximity sensor having a serial number between C59198 and C59435, or a serial number (S/N) C500000 or higher.

    (ii) For a target having S/N 1600 or higher and target P/N ABS0121-13 or P/N 8-536-01: Within 8,000 flight hours after March 26, 2014 (the effective date of AD 2014-03-08), re-identify the interconnecting strut, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27-1206, Revision 01, dated October 10, 2011; or Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27-1206, Revision 02, dated November 2, 2015.

    BILLING CODE 4910-13-P ER01DE17.000 (h) Retained Parts Installation Prohibition, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (h) of AD 2014-08-01, with no changes. As of March 26, 2014 (the effective date of AD 2014-03-08), no person may install an interconnecting strut with a part number specified in figure 1 to paragraphs (g) and (h) of this AD, on any airplane, except for parts identified in paragraph (g)(2)(ii) of this AD, provided that the actions in paragraph (g)(2)(ii) are done. As of the effective date of this AD, comply with the requirements of paragraph (l) of this AD in lieu of the requirements of this paragraph.

    (i) New Requirements of This AD: Inspection To Determine the Part Number of the Interconnecting Struts and the Part Number and Serial Number of the Associated Target and Proximity Sensor

    Within 24 months after the effective date of this AD, accomplish the actions specified in paragraphs (i)(1) and (i)(2) of this AD, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27-1206, Revision 02, dated November 2, 2015. Accomplishment of the actions specified in this paragraph terminates the requirements of paragraph (g) of this AD. In lieu of doing the actions specified in paragraphs (i)(1) and (i)(2) of this AD, a review of the airplane maintenance records is acceptable for determining the part number of the installed interconnecting struts and the part number and the serial number of the associated target and proximity sensor, if the part number and serial numbers can be conclusively determined from that review.

    (1) Inspect to determine the part number of the interconnecting struts installed on both the LH and RH wings on the airplane.

    (2) If an interconnecting strut is installed with a part number specified in figure 2 to paragraphs (i)(2), (k), and (l) of this AD, identify the part number and the serial number of the associated target and proximity sensor; and for the target and proximity sensor part number and serial number combination specified in paragraph (j) of this AD, within the compliance times specified in paragraph (j) of this AD, do the actions specified in paragraph (j) of this AD for that interconnecting strut.

    ER01DE17.001 (j) New Requirements of This AD: Replacement or Re-Identification

    (1) If the target serial number is lower than 1600 or is unreadable, and the proximity sensor part number is P/N ABS0121-31 or P/N 8-372-04 with a serial number between S/N C59198 and C59435, or S/N C500000 or higher: Before further flight, do the actions specified by paragraph (j)(1)(i) or (j)(1)(ii) of this AD. For the purposes of paragraph (j) of this AD, a serviceable interconnecting strut is a unit that has been determined to be in compliance with the requirements of paragraphs (i) and (j) of this AD.

    (i) Replace the interconnecting strut with a serviceable unit, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27-1206, Revision 02, dated November 2, 2015.

    (ii) Do a general visual inspection of the flap down drive to detect discrepancies, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27-1206, Revision 02, dated November 2, 2015.

    (A) If no discrepancy is found, within 50 flight cycles after the inspection, replace the interconnecting strut with a serviceable unit, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27-1206, Revision 02, dated November 2, 2015.

    (B) If any discrepancy is found, before further flight, replace the interconnecting strut with a serviceable unit, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27-1206, Revision 02, dated November 2, 2015.

    (2) If the target serial number is 1600 or higher (with any proximity sensor part number and serial number): Within 24 months after the effective date of this AD, re-identify the interconnecting strut, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27-1206, Revision 02, dated November 2, 2015.

    (k) Additional Provisions of This AD

    (1) Airplanes on which Airbus Modification 27956 has been embodied in production, and on which no interconnecting strut with a part number identified in figure 2 to paragraphs (i)(2), (k), and (l) of this AD has been installed since the airplane's first flight, are not affected by the requirements of paragraph (i) of this AD, except for those manufacturer serial numbers specified in figure 3 to paragraph (k)(1) of this AD. Airplanes having manufacturer serial numbers specified in figure 3 to paragraph (k)(1) of this AD are affected by the requirements of paragraph (i) of this AD.

    (2) For an airplane that has already been inspected before the effective date of this AD as specified in the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27-1206, dated January 28, 2011; or Revision 01, dated October 10, 2011: Within the compliance time specified in paragraph (i) of this AD, accomplish the additional work specified in and in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27-1206, Revision 02, dated November 2, 2015, unless it is determined that no interconnecting strut with a part number specified in figure 2 to paragraphs (i)(2), (k), and (l) of this AD is installed on that airplane. A review of airplane maintenance records is acceptable to make this determination, provided the part number can be conclusively identified from that review.

    ER01DE17.002 BILLING CODE 4910-13-C (l) New Requirement of This AD: Parts Installation Limitations

    As of the effective date of this AD, no person may install, on any airplane, an interconnecting strut with a part number specified in figure 2 to paragraphs (i)(2), (k), and (l) of this AD, unless it is in compliance with the requirements of this AD.

    (m) Credit for Previous Actions

    This paragraph provides credit for the actions required by paragraph (g) of this AD, if those actions were performed before March 26, 2014 (the effective date of AD 2014-03-08), using Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27-1206, dated January 28, 2011, and if additional work since March 26, 2014 (the effective date of AD 2014-03-08) has been accomplished using Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27-1206, Revision 01, dated October 10, 2011.

    (n) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the International Section, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (o)(2) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: [email protected]

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

    (ii) AMOCs approved previously for AD 2014-08-01 are approved as AMOCs for the corresponding provisions of paragraphs (g) and (h) of this AD.

    (2) Contacting the Manufacturer: As of the effective date of this AD, for any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer, the action must be accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA; or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA); or Airbus's EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA). If approved by the DOA, the approval must include the DOA-authorized signature.

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

    (o) Related Information

    (1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA AD 2016-0113, dated June 15, 2016, for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-0476.

    (2) For more information about this AD, contact Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1405; fax 425-227-1149.

    (3) Service information identified in this AD that is not incorporated by reference is available at the addresses specified in paragraphs (p)(5) and (p)(6) of this AD.

    (p) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (3) The following service information was approved for IBR on January 5, 2018.

    (i) Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27-1206, Revision 02, dated November 2, 2015.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (4) The following service information was approved for IBR on March 26, 2014 (79 FR 9398, February 19, 2014).

    (i) Airbus Service Bulletin A320-27-1206, Revision 01, dated October 10, 2011.

    (ii) Reserved.

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

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

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

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on November 16, 2017. Chris Spangenberg, Acting Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25557 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2017-0708; Product Identifier 2017-NM-035-AD; Amendment 39-19113; AD 2017-24-09] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2016-20-11, which applied to certain Airbus Model A300 B4-600, B4-600R, and F4-600R series airplanes, and Model A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes (collectively called Model A300-600 series airplanes); and Airbus Model A310 series airplanes. AD 2016-20-11 required repetitive inspections of the external area of the aft cargo door sill beam for cracking, repetitive inspections for fatigue cracking of the cargo door sill beam, lock fitting, and torsion box plate, and repair if necessary. This new AD retains the inspections for cracking, and repair if necessary; and requires reinforcement of the aft cargo door sill beam area. This AD was prompted by the development of a reinforcement modification of the aft cargo door sill beam area, which constitutes terminating action for the repetitive inspections. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    This AD is effective January 5, 2018.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of July 2, 2014 (79 FR 34403, June 17, 2014).

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain other publications listed in this AD as of January 3, 2017 (81 FR 85837, November 29, 2016).

    ADDRESSES:

    For service information identified in this final rule, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAW, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 44 51; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.airbus.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Standards Branch, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-0708.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-0708; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for the Docket Office (telephone 800-647-5527) is Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-2125; fax 425-227-1149.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

    We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 to supersede AD 2016-20-11, Amendment 39-18677 (81 FR 85837, November 29, 2016) (“AD 2016-20-11”). AD 2016-20-11 applied to certain Airbus Model A300-600 series airplanes; and Airbus Model A310 series airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on July 27, 2017 (82 FR 34891). The NPRM was prompted by a determination that reinforcement of the aft cargo door sill beam area is necessary to address the unsafe condition, which constitutes terminating action for the repetitive inspections. The NPRM proposed to continue to require repetitive inspections of the external area of the aft cargo door sill beam for cracking, repetitive inspections for fatigue cracking of the cargo door sill beam, lock fitting, and torsion box plate, and repair if necessary. The NPRM also proposed to require reinforcement of the aft cargo door sill beam area. We are issuing this AD to prevent fatigue cracking of the cargo door sill beam, lock fitting, and torsion box plate, which could result in the loss of the door locking function and subsequently, loss of the cargo door in flight and rapid decompression.

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD 2017-0048, dated March 15, 2017; corrected April 20, 2017 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for certain Airbus Model A300-600 series airplanes; and Airbus Model A310 series airplanes. The MCAI states:

    In the frame of the widespread fatigue damage (WFD) compliance study and after an in-service occurrence, the area of the aft cargo door sill beam and adjacent structure was identified as sensitive to the fatigue loads.

    This condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to failure of multiple lock fittings, possibly resulting in loss of the cargo door in flight and consequent explosive decompression of the aeroplane.

    To address this potential unsafe condition, Airbus issued Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) A53W005-14 providing inspection instructions and, consequently, EASA issued Emergency AD 2014-0097-E [which corresponded to FAA AD 2014-12-06, Amendment 39-17867, (79 FR 34403, June 17, 2014)] to require repetitive ultrasonic inspections (US) or detailed inspections (DET) of the aft cargo door sill beam area [and corrective actions if necessary].

    After that [EASA] AD was issued, further analysis indicated that repetitive high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspections needed to be introduced, and Airbus published Service Bulletin (SB) A310-53-2139 and SB A300-53-6179 to provide instructions. Prompted by this determination, EASA issued AD 2015-0150 [which corresponded to FAA AD 2016-20-11], retaining the requirements of EASA Emergency AD 2014-0097-E, which was superseded, and required repetitive HFEC inspections of the concerned areas. The first HFEC inspection terminated the repetitive US/DET inspections. That [EASA] AD also required the inspection results to be reported.

    Since that [EASA] AD was issued, Airbus developed a reinforcement modification of the aft cargo door sill beam area, and published Airbus SB A310-53-2141 and SB A300-53-6181, which were revised lately, to make this available for in-service application.

    For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD retains the requirements of EASA AD 2015-0150, which is superseded, and requires modification [reinforcement] of the aft cargo door sill beam, which constitutes terminating action for the repetitive inspections.

    This [EASA] AD is re-published to correct the compliance time description in Table 4.

    You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-0708.

    Comments

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

    Request To Make the Mandatory Terminating Modification Optional

    FedEx requested that the terminating modification in paragraph (n) of the proposed AD be made an optional action. FedEx stated that they have inspected their airplanes as required by AD 2016-20-11 and have not found any cracks during HFEC inspections. FedEx noted that they have inspected airplanes having accumulated anywhere from 12,000 total flight cycles to 40,000 total flight cycles. FedEx suggested that the modification would be necessary on less than 1 percent of inspected airplanes over the next 10 years. FedEx claimed that the modification is an unproven change that has not been subjected to full scale fatigue testing. For these reasons, FedEx argued that inspections alone will maintain safe airworthiness for the affected airplanes.

    We disagree with the commenter's request. EASA, as the State of Design Authority for Airbus products, has determined an unsafe conditions exists after conducting a risk analysis taking into consideration in-service data for the worldwide fleet. We agree with EASA's risk assessment and their decision to mitigate the risk by mandating the modification in this AD. FedEx has not provided sufficient data to support their request to allow inspections in lieu of the modification. We have not changed this AD in this regard.

    Request To Update the Costs for the Modification

    FedEx requested that we update the labor costs for the modification in the proposed AD. FedEx stated that their labor costs for the modification will be an additional $10,000 per airplane. FedEx further noted that the modification would extend their service checks, resulting in additional out-of-service time for their airplanes and additional expenses.

    We partially agree with the commenter's request. The number of work-hours to complete the modification depends on the airplane's configuration. In the NPRM, we used the 40 work-hours estimate for the configuration that requires less time to modify. We have updated this final rule to reflect work-hour costs of up to 68 hours (the estimated work-hours for the other configuration) for the required modification.

    Regarding the additional costs related to extended service checks, we do not consider it appropriate to attribute the costs associated with aircraft “downtime” to the AD. Normally, compliance with the AD will not necessitate any additional downtime beyond that of a regularly scheduled maintenance hold. Even if additional downtime is necessary for some airplanes in some cases, we do not have sufficient information to evaluate the number of airplanes that may be affected or the amount of additional downtime that may be required. Therefore, we are unable to provide an estimate for these variable costs. We have made no further change to this final rule regarding this issue.

    Conclusion

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

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

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

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    Airbus has issued Service Bulletin A300-53-6181, Revision 01, dated July 2, 2015; and Service Bulletin A310-53-2141, Revision 01, dated July 2, 2015. This service information describes procedures for reinforcing the aft cargo door sill beam area. These documents are distinct since they apply to different airplane models.

    Airbus has also issued Service Bulletin A300-53-6179, dated December 12, 2014; and Service Bulletin A310-53-2139, dated December 12, 2014. This service information describes procedures for repetitive HFEC inspections of the cargo door sill beam, lock fitting, and torsion box plate. These documents are distinct since they apply to different airplane models.

    Airbus has also issued Alert Operators Transmission AOT A53W005-14, Revision 01, dated April 29, 2014, which describes procedures for doing an ultrasonic inspection or detailed inspection of the aft cargo door sill beam external area for cracking.

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

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects 75 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

    Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per product Cost on U.S.
  • operators
  • Inspection (retained action from AD 2016-20-11) 12 work-hours × $85 per hour = $1,020 per inspection cycle N/A $1,020 per inspection cycle $76,500 per inspection cycle. Modification (new action) Up to 68 work-hours × $85 per hour = $5,780 $96,890 Up to $102,670 Up to $7,700,250. Reporting (retained action from AD 2016-20-11) 1 work hour × $85 per hour = $85 per inspection cycle $0 $85 per inspection cycle $6,375 per inspection cycle.

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

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to penalty for failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of information displays a current valid OMB control number. The control number for the collection of information required by this AD is 2120-0056. The paperwork cost associated with this AD has been detailed in the Costs of Compliance section of this document and includes time for reviewing instructions, as well as completing and reviewing the collection of information. Therefore, all reporting associated with this AD is mandatory. Comments concerning the accuracy of this burden and suggestions for reducing the burden should be directed to the FAA at 800 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20591, ATTN: Information Collection Clearance Officer, AES-200.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    This AD is issued in accordance with authority delegated by the Executive Director, Aircraft Certification Service, as authorized by FAA Order 8000.51C. In accordance with that order, issuance of ADs is normally a function of the Compliance and Airworthiness Division, but during this transition period, the Executive Director has delegated the authority to issue ADs applicable to transport category airplanes to the Director of the System Oversight Division.

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2016-20-11, Amendment 39-18677 (81 FR 85837, November 29, 2016), and adding the following new AD: 2017-24-09 Airbus: Amendment 39-19113; Docket No. FAA-2017-0708; Product Identifier 2017-NM-035-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective January 5, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 2016-20-11, Amendment 39-18677 (81 FR 85837, November 29, 2016) (“AD 2016-20-11”).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to the airplanes identified in paragraphs (c)(1) through (c)(5) of this AD, certificated in any category, all manufacturer serial numbers on which Airbus modification 05438 has been embodied in production, except those on which Airbus modification 12046 has been embodied in production.

    (1) Airbus Model A300 B4-601, B4-603, B4-620, and B4-622 airplanes.

    (2) Airbus Model A300 B4-605R and B4-622R airplanes.

    (3) Airbus Model A300 F4-605R and F4-622R airplanes.

    (4) Airbus Model A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes.

    (5) Airbus Model A310-203, -204, -221, -222, -304, -322, -324, and -325 airplanes.

    (d) Subject

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

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by reports of fatigue cracks on the cargo door sill beam, lock fitting, and torsion box plate. We are issuing this AD to prevent fatigue cracking of the cargo door sill beam, lock fitting, and torsion box plate, which could result in the loss of the door locking function and subsequently, loss of the cargo door in flight and rapid decompression.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Retained Inspection, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (g) of AD 2016-20-11, with no changes. Within the compliance time identified in paragraph (g)(1), (g)(2), or (g)(3) of this AD, as applicable: Do an ultrasonic inspection or detailed inspection of the aft cargo door sill beam external area for cracking, in accordance with Airbus Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) A53W005-14, dated April 22, 2014; or Airbus AOT A53W005-14, Revision 01, dated April 29, 2014. Repeat the inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 275 flight cycles. As of January 3, 2017 (the effective date of AD 2016-20-11), use only Airbus AOT A53W005-14, Revision 01, dated April 29, 2014, to comply with the requirements of this paragraph.

    (1) For airplanes that have accumulated 30,000 flight cycles or more since the airplane's first flight as of July 2, 2014 (the effective date of AD 2014-12-06, Amendment 39-17867, (79 FR 34403, June 17, 2014) (“AD 2014-12-06”)): Within 50 flight cycles after July 2, 2014.

    (2) For airplanes that have accumulated 18,000 flight cycles or more, but fewer than 30,000 flight cycles since the airplane's first flight as of July 2, 2014 (the effective date of AD 2014-12-06): Within 275 flight cycles after July 2, 2014.

    (3) For airplanes that have accumulated fewer than 18,000 flight cycles since the airplane's first flight as of July 2, 2014 (the effective date of AD 2014-12-06): Before exceeding 18,275 flight cycles since the airplane's first flight.

    (h) Retained Optional Terminating Action, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the provisions of paragraph (h) of AD 2016-20-11, with no changes. Accomplishment of a high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspection for cracking, in accordance with Airbus AOT A53W005-14, dated April 22, 2014; or AOT A53W005-14, Revision 01, dated April 29, 2014; terminates the repetitive inspections required by paragraph (g) of this AD for that airplane. If any cracking is found during the HFEC inspection, before further flight, repair using a method approved by the Manager, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA; or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA); or Airbus's EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA).

    (i) Retained Reporting Requirement, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (i) of AD 2016-20-11, with no changes. Submit a report of the findings (both positive and negative) of the inspection required by paragraph (g) of this AD to “Airbus Service Bulletin Reporting Online Application” on Airbus World (https://w3.airbus.com/), at the applicable time specified in paragraph (i)(1) or (i)(2) of this AD. The report must include the inspection results, including no findings.

    (1) If the inspection was done on or after January 3, 2017 (the effective date of AD 2016-20-11): Submit the report within 30 days after the inspection.

    (2) If the inspection was done before January 3, 2017 (the effective date of AD 2016-20-11): Submit the report within 30 days after January 3, 2017.

    (j) Retained Definition of Airplane Groups, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the definitions specified in paragraph (j) of AD 2016-20-11, with no changes. Paragraphs (k)(1), (k)(2), and (k)(3) of this AD refer to airplane groups, as identified in paragraphs (j)(1), (j)(2), and (j)(3) of this AD.

    (1) Airplanes on which an HFEC inspection was accomplished as specified in Airbus AOT A53W005-14.

    (2) Airplanes on which no HFEC inspection was accomplished as specified in Airbus AOT A53W005-14, that have accumulated more than 18,000 total flight cycles as of January 3, 2017 (the effective date of AD 2016-20-11).

    (3) Airplanes on which no HFEC inspection was accomplished as specified in Airbus AOT A53W005-14, that have accumulated 18,000 total flight cycles or fewer as of January 3, 2017 (the effective date of AD 2016-20-11).

    (k) Retained Repetitive HFEC Inspections, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (k) of AD 2016-20-11, with no changes. At the applicable time specified in paragraph (k)(1), (k)(2), or (k)(3) of this AD: Do an HFEC inspection for fatigue cracking of the cargo door sill beam, lock fitting, and torsion box plate, in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6179, dated December 12, 2014; or Airbus Service Bulletin A310-53-2139, dated December 12, 2014; as applicable. Repeat the HFEC inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 4,600 flight cycles.

    (1) For airplanes identified in paragraph (j)(1) of this AD: Inspect within 4,600 flight cycles after the most recent HFEC inspection specified in Airbus AOT A53W005-14.

    (2) For airplanes identified in paragraph (j)(2) of this AD: Inspect within 2,000 flight cycles after January 3, 2017 (the effective date of AD 2016-20-11).

    (3) For airplanes identified in paragraph (j)(3) of this AD: Inspect before exceeding 13,000 total flight cycles since the airplane's first flight, or within 2,000 flight cycles after January 3, 2017 (the effective date of AD 2016-20-11), whichever occurs later.

    (l) Retained Corrective Action, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (l) of AD 2016-20-11, with no changes. If any crack is found during any inspection required by paragraph (g) or (k) of this AD: Before further flight, repair using a method approved by the Manager, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA; or EASA; or Airbus's EASA DOA.

    (m) Retained Terminating Action for Repetitive Inspections in Paragraph (g) of This AD, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the terminating action of paragraph (m)(1) of AD 2016-20-11, with no changes. For any airplane identified in paragraphs (j)(2) and (j)(3) of this AD, accomplishment of the initial inspection required by paragraph (k) of this AD terminates the repetitive inspections required by paragraph (g) of this AD.

    (n) New Cargo Door Reinforcement

    At the latest of the applicable times specified in paragraphs (n)(1), (n)(2), and (n)(3) of this AD: Reinforce the aft cargo door sill beam area, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6181, Revision 01, dated July 2, 2015; or Airbus Service Bulletin A310-53-2141, Revision 01, dated July 2, 2015; as applicable.

    (1) Before exceeding 19,600 flight cycles since first flight of the airplane.

    (2) Within 2,300 flight cycles after the last HFEC or detailed inspection required by this AD that was accomplished before the effective date of this AD.

    (3) Within 12 months after the effective date of this AD.

    (o) New Terminating Action

    Modification of an airplane as required by paragraph (n) of this AD constitutes terminating action for the repetitive inspections required by paragraphs (g) and (k) of this AD for the modified airplane only.

    (p) Credit for Previous Actions

    This paragraph provides credit for actions required by paragraph (n) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6181, dated June 26, 2015; or Airbus Service Bulletin A310-53-2141, dated June 26, 2015; as applicable.

    (q) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the International Section, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (r)(2) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: [email protected]

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

    (ii) AMOCs approved previously for AD 2016-20-11 are approved as AMOCs for the corresponding provisions of this AD.

    (2) Contacting the Manufacturer: As of the effective date of this AD, for any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer, the action must be accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA; or EASA; or Airbus's EASA DOA. If approved by the DOA, the approval must include the DOA-authorized signature.

    (3) Reporting Requirements: A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of information displays a current valid OMB Control Number. The OMB Control Number for this information collection is 2120-0056. Public reporting for this collection of information is estimated to be approximately 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, completing and reviewing the collection of information. All responses to this collection of information are mandatory. Comments concerning the accuracy of this burden and suggestions for reducing the burden should be directed to the FAA at: 800 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20591, Attn: Information Collection Clearance Officer, AES-200.

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

    (r) Related Information

    (1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA AD 2017-0048, dated March 15, 2017; corrected April 20, 2017, for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-0708.

    (2) For more information about this AD, contact Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-2125; fax 425-227-1149.

    (3) Service information identified in this AD that is not incorporated by reference is available at the addresses specified in paragraphs (s)(5) and (s)(6) of this AD.

    (s) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (3) The following service information was approved for IBR on July 2, 2014 (79 FR 34403, June 17, 2014).

    (i) Airbus Alert Operators Transmission A53W005-14, dated April 22, 2014.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (4) The following service information was approved for IBR on January 3, 2017, (81 FR 85837, November 29, 2016).

    (i) Airbus Alert Operators Transmission A53W005-14, Revision 01, dated April 29, 2014.

    (ii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6179, dated December 12, 2014.

    (iii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6181, Revision 01, dated July 2, 2015.

    (iv) Airbus Service Bulletin A310-53-2139, dated December 12, 2014.

    (v) Airbus Service Bulletin A310-53-2141, Revision 01, dated July 2, 2015.

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

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

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

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on November 22, 2017. Jeffrey E. Duven, Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25763 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Employment and Training Administration 20 CFR Part 641 [Docket No. ETA-2017-0005] RIN 1205-AB79 Senior Community Service Employment Program; Performance Accountability AGENCY:

    Employment and Training Administration, Labor.

    ACTION:

    Interim final rule; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the Department of Labor (Department) is issuing this Interim Final Rule (IFR) revising performance accountability measures for the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). Revised measures are necessary because the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2016 (OAA) amended the measures of performance for the SCSEP program in large part to align them with the performance measures mandated for programs under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). This IFR revises the Performance Accountability subpart of the SCSEP regulations to reflect changes necessitated by the passage of the 2016 OAA. In addition, this rule makes minor, non-substantive amendments to other subparts of the SCSEP regulations to reflect the OAA amendments that aligned the SCSEP program statutory language with WIOA, such as updating outdated terminology and outdated references to the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), which WIOA superseded. This IFR solicits public comment on this IFR, which the Department will consider when it issues a Final Rule.

    DATES:

    Effective date: This IFR is effective January 2, 2018.

    Compliance date: Performance information under the measures implemented in this IFR are required to be reported beginning July 1, 2018.

    Comment date: To ensure consideration, comments must be in writing and must be received on or before January 30, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number ETA-2017-0005 or the Regulatory Information Number (RIN) 1205-AB79, by any one of the following methods:

    Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the Web site instructions for submitting comments.

    Mail: Please address all written comments (including disk and CD-ROM submissions) to Adele Gagliardi, Administrator, Office of Policy Development and Research, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N-5641, Washington, DC 20210.

    Hand Delivery/Courier: Adele Gagliardi, Administrator, Office of Policy Development and Research, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N-5641, Washington, DC 20210.

    Instructions: Label all submissions with “RIN 1205-AB79.” Please submit your comments by only one method.

    Please be advised that the Department will post all comments received to this IFR on http://www.regulations.gov without making any change to the comments, including any personal information provided. The http://www.regulations.gov Web site is the Federal e-rulemaking portal and all comments posted there are available and accessible to the public. Therefore, the Department recommends that commenters not include their personal information such as Social Security Numbers, personal addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses in their comments, as such submitted information may become easily available to the public via the http://www.regulations.gov Web site. It is the responsibility of the commenter to safeguard personal information.

    Also, please note that due to security concerns, postal mail delivery in Washington, DC may be delayed. Therefore, the Department encourages the public to submit comments on http://www.regulations.gov.

    Docket: All comments on this IFR will be available on the http://www.regulations.gov Web site and can be found using RIN 1205-AB79. The Department will make all the comments it receives available for public inspection during normal business hours at the Office of Policy Development and Research (OPDR) at the above address. If you need assistance to review the comments, the Department will provide appropriate aids such as readers or print magnifiers. The Department will make copies of the rule available, upon request, in large print and electronic file on computer disk. To schedule an appointment to review the comments and/or obtain the rule in an alternative format, contact OPDR at (202) 693-3700 (VOICE). Please note this is not a toll-free number. Individuals with hearing or speech impairments may access the telephone number above via TTY by calling the Federal Information Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Amanda Ahlstrand, Administrator, Office of Workforce Investment, 202-693-3980. (This is not a toll-free number.)

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Preamble Table of Contents I. Background II. Section-by-Section Discussion of IFR III. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices I. Background

    The SCSEP, authorized by title V of the Older Americans Act (OAA), is the only Federally sponsored employment and training program targeted specifically to low-income older individuals who want to enter or re-enter the workforce. Participants must be 55 years of age or older, with incomes no more than 125 percent of the Federal poverty level. The program offers participants training at community service employment assignments in public and non-profit organizations and agencies so that they can gain on-the-job experience. The dual goals of the program are to promote useful opportunities in community service activities and also to move SCSEP participants into unsubsidized employment, where appropriate, so that they can achieve economic self-sufficiency.

    The OAA, Public Law 114-144 (Apr. 19, 2016), amended the statutory provisions authorizing SCSEP and requires the Department to implement the amendments to the SCSEP performance measures by December 31, 2017. See OAA sec. 513(d)(4) (42 U.S.C. 3056k(d)(4), as amended by 2016 OAA sec. 6(d)(4) 1 ). The purpose of this IFR is to fulfill that statutory requirement.

    1 Section 6 of the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2016 (2016 OAA), Public Law 114-144, amended secs. 502-518 of title V of the Older Americans Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 3056 et seq.). For ease of reference, this preamble will refer to the changes to title V made by the 2016 OAA by referring to the amended sections of the Older Americans Act, and will not continue to provide the citations to sec. 6 of the 2016 OAA.

    The OAA requires the Secretary to “implement the core measures of performance not later than December 31, 2017.” OAA sec. 513(d)(4), 42 U.S.C. 3056k(d)(4). Accordingly, this IFR includes both the definitions of the measures (as required by OAA sec. 513(b)(2)) and the processes used to implement these measures in the conduct of the SCSEP grants. These processes include how the Department and grantees initially determine and then adjust expected levels of performance for the grants, and how the Department determines whether a grantee fails, meets, or exceeds the levels of performance. This IFR updates the current processes so that they reflect the changes required by the OAA.

    The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) authorizes agencies to issue a rule without notice and comment upon a showing of good cause. 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B). The APA's good cause exception to public participation applies upon a finding that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B). According to the legislative history of the APA, “unnecessary” means unnecessary so far as the public is concerned, as would be the case if a minor or merely technical amendment in which the public is not particularly interested were involved.” Senate Report No. 752 at p. 200, 79th Cong. 1st Sess. (1945). As explained by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, “when regulations merely restate the statute they implement, notice-and-comment procedures are unnecessary.” Gray Panthers Advocacy Cmm. v. Sullivan, 936 F.2d 1284, 1291 (D.C. Cir. 1991). The Department has determined that there is good cause to find that a pre-publication comment period is unnecessary. The revisions set forth herein to the existing regulations at 20 CFR part 641 codify statutory changes requiring little to no agency discretion or are technical amendments updating terminology or outdated references to WIA, which WIOA superseded. For this reason, the Department's implementation of this rule as an IFR, with provision for post-promulgation public comment, is in accordance with sec. 553(b) of the APA.

    Grantees may submit comments on the IFR until January 30, 2018, and the Department will consider them prior to issuing the rule finalizing this IFR. The Department plans to make any additional changes to the SCSEP regulations not related to the performance measures through a notice-and-comment rulemaking process.

    The OAA requires the Department to establish and implement the new SCSEP performance measures after consultation with stakeholders. OAA sec. 513(b)(2). The Department satisfied these statutory requirements when it solicited public input on the definitions and implementation of the statutory performance measures in April and May of 2017. On May 8, 2017, the Department sent an email to 4,529 stakeholders, inviting them to register for the consultation. The invitees included 2,491 American Job Center managers, 523 SCSEP grantee and sub-grantee managers, 55 governors, 300 State workforce administrators, and 1,220 State Development Board chairs and directors. Those who registered received a reminder email on May 15, 2017.

    Stakeholders were also informed that they could submit written comments after the consultation.

    In response to this outreach effort, 394 individuals registered for the consultation from these stakeholder groups: Workforce development boards and American Job Centers; local, State, and Federal government; nonprofit organizations; direct providers of employment services; labor organizations; educational organizations; economic development organizations; and others. Of the 394 registered participants, 273 attended the consultation on May 16, 2017. At the start of the consultation, participants identified these affiliations: SCSEP grantees or sub-grantees (70 percent); WIOA partner, One-Stop operator, or American Job Center affiliate (18 percent); national or local aging agency (4 percent); SCSEP host agency (1 percent); Administration for Community Living (1 percent); and other (6 percent).

    During the consultation, 100 written comments were received via the chat function. Some attendees submitted multiple comments. After the consultation, three grantees each submitted multiple comments in writing. Thirty of the comments are not relevant to the subject of the consultation or this IFR. Most of these comments were directed at the mechanics of the online webinar through which the consultation was conducted, announced participants' arrivals or departures from the webinar, or were in other ways non-substantive. A few substantive comments are not relevant to this IFR in that they do not relate to the performance measures or other changes required by the OAA amendments. The program office will review these substantive comments to inform its continued operation of the program and its future technical assistance.

    Fifteen comments addressed SCSEP's overall relationship with WIOA. As set forth above, increased coordination with WIOA is one of the main purposes of the OAA amendments. However, except for the adoption of some of the WIOA core measures, the programmatic coordination with WIOA is not the subject of this IFR.

    Three questions asked specifically about the relationship between the SCSEP performance measures and WIOA: Whether WIOA will adopt measures of community service similar to the SCSEP measures, whether the SCSEP measures will be incorporated into the Participant Individual Record Layout (PIRL, the WIOA performance reporting system), and whether SCSEP performance will be factored into the statewide WIOA performance. The changes in this IFR to the SCSEP performance measurement system reflect in large part an alignment of the SCSEP performance measures with the three employment outcome indicators mandated for WIOA core programs under WIOA sec. 116(b)(2)(A)(i)(I)-(III). In addition to these three WIOA employment outcome indicators of performance, SCSEP has three measures related to participation in the program: Service level, hours of community service, and service to the most-in-need. These three measures are unique to SCSEP and are retained unchanged by the current OAA amendments. Although WIOA has several similar measures, these SCSEP measures are not directly applicable to WIOA. In addition, the WIOA primary indicators of performance include effectiveness in serving employers; the corresponding measure for SCSEP under the OAA, as discussed below at § 641.720, is not directly parallel because it includes participants and host agencies, as well as employers. All the SCSEP measures will be incorporated into the PIRL, along with other aspects of SCSEP performance. However, although the 2016 OAA amendments require SCSEP to adopt several of WIOA's primary indicators of performance, SCSEP is independent of WIOA, and SCSEP performance is not included in the WIOA State program or indicator scores.

    Two other general comments were received during the consultation:

    • One comment asked whether the Department will still require all grantees to use the SCSEP Performance and Results Quarterly Performance System (SPARQ). The Department is exploring a new case management system that may replace SPARQ in whole or in part. Grantees must continue using SPARQ until the Department informs them that a new system is available.

    • One grantee questioned whether the new performance measures apply to both State and national grantees. Like the current measures, the new measures apply to all grantees.

    Finally, another comment from a stakeholder requested that the Department provide grantees as much notice of the new measures as possible so grantees have time to program their internal computer systems. The Department is sensitive to the importance of providing ample notice to the grantees and of minimizing the burden of implementing the new regulations. With the publication of this IFR and the first required reporting of the new measures starting on July 1, 2018, grantees will have ample time to make the minimal changes required by the new measures. The Department will provide technical assistance and guidance as soon as possible in order to provide additional support to grantees in their implementation efforts.

    The Department carefully considered all comments received as we developed this IFR. In the following section of the preamble entitled “Section-by-Section Discussion of Interim Final Rule,” the Department summarizes and discusses the input received from stakeholders.

    The 2016 OAA changes to the SCSEP performance measurement system reflect in large part an alignment of the SCSEP performance measures with those mandated for WIOA core programs under WIOA sec. 116(b)(2)(A)(i). The WIOA performance measures were implemented in a joint final rule issued by the Departments of Labor and Education on August 19, 2016 (81 FR 55792) (Joint WIOA Final Rule), after notice and comment rulemaking, and are codified in 20 CFR part 677. This IFR revises 20 CFR part 641, subpart G (Performance Accountability) to codify the revised SCSEP performance measures in the 2016 OAA sec. 513, which in large part aligns the SCSEP performance measures with the WIOA performance measures. In addition, this rule makes technical amendments to other subparts of part 641 to reflect 2016 OAA amendments that aligned the SCSEP program statutory language with WIOA, such as updating outdated terminology and outdated references to WIA, which WIOA superseded.

    Coordination between the SCSEP and the WIOA programs continues to be an important objective of the OAA. SCSEP is a required partner in the workforce development system (per WIOA sec. 121(b)(1)(B)(v)), and SCSEP is required to coordinate with the WIOA One-Stop delivery system (OAA sec. 511, 42 U.S.C. 3056i), such as by accepting each other's assessments and Individual Employment Plans (OAA sec. 502(b)(3), 42 U.S.C. 3056(b)(3)). The underlying notion of the One-Stop delivery system is the coordination of programs, services, and governance structures, so that the customer has access to a seamless system of workforce development services. Although there are many similarities to the system established under WIA, there are also significant changes under WIOA that are intended to make substantial improvements to the public workforce delivery system. The Joint WIOA Final Rule requires partners to collaborate to support a seamless customer-focused service delivery network; requiring that programs and providers co-locate, coordinate, and integrate activities and information, so that the system as a whole is cohesive and accessible for individuals and employers alike.

    The Department remains committed to a system-wide continuous improvement approach grounded upon proven quality principles and practices. Although many of the SCSEP regulations remain unchanged from the 2010 SCSEP Final Rule (75 FR 53786), this IFR codifies the 2016 OAA revisions to the program that align senior employment services with the workforce development system under WIOA. In particular, this rule aligns the SCSEP performance measures related to employment and earnings with the performance measures established by WIOA to enhance consistency and coordination between the programs and ensure effective services for older Americans. The changes implemented by the rule are discussed in more detail in Section II.

    II. Section-by-Section Discussion of Interim Final Rule

    In this section, we discuss the changes made to the regulations as required by the 2016 OAA.

    Non-Substantive Technical Amendments

    In addition to the changes made to part 641, subpart G (Performance Accountability) codifying the 2016 OAA statutory revisions as described more fully below, this IFR makes non-substantive technical amendments throughout all of part 641 to reflect the 2016 OAA amendments and to align the SCSEP program language with WIOA, such as updating outdated terminology and outdated references to WIA, which WIOA superseded. The IFR revises § 641.140 by removing definitions that are no longer operational as a result of the 2016 OAA amendments and WIOA, revising definitions consistent with updates to governing law, and adding definitions to address new terminology as a result of statutory amendments.

    In particular, the IFR removes the definition of “additional measures” because the 2016 OAA removed them from the SCSEP performance requirements. The IFR also removes the definition of “volunteer work” because the 2016 OAA removed the term from the SCSEP performance measures. Also, as part of aligning SCSEP with WIOA, the IFR removes the definition for “Local Workforce Investment Area” and adds “Local Workforce Development Area.”

    The IFR updates the definition of “core measures” (which the 2016 OAA changed from “core indicators”) to refer to the new measures of performance laid out in amended OAA sec. 513(b)(1) and implemented by this rule. To align with WIOA, the IFR changes the terms “core services” and “intensive services” to “career services,” and updates the definitions of “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)” and “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act regulations” (changed from “Workforce Investment Act (WIA)” and “Workforce Investment Act regulations,” respectively). This update clearly establishes that the term “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act regulations” includes all WIOA and Wagner-Peyser Act regulations, including the regulations implementing WIOA sec. 188. Similarly, to align the text of the SCSEP definitions with the terms used in WIOA, the IFR revises the definitions of “Local Board,” “One-Stop Center,” “One-Stop delivery system,” and “State Board” to reflect the definitions as they have been updated under WIOA. Additionally, the IFR updates the WIA citations to use WIOA citations in the definitions of “Co-enrollment,” “Most-in-need,” “One-Stop partner,” and “Training Services.” Additionally, the IFR updates the OAA citations in the definitions “Pacific Island and Asian Americans,” “Supportive services,” and “Unemployed” to be consistent with the OAA as amended by the 2016 OAA.

    The IFR adds a definition of “community service employment” because that term is used in sec. 513 of the 2016 OAA. To avoid confusion, the definition of “community service employment” is the same as “community service assignment,” so those two terms can be used interchangeably.

    This IFR also adds a new § 641.370 to state that for a State that obtains approval of a WIOA Combined State Plan under 20 CFR 676.143, the requirements of WIOA sec. 103 and 20 CFR part 676 will apply in lieu of OAA sec. 503(a) and part 641, subpart C. This implements a provision added by the 2016 OAA to sec. 503 of the OAA, which aligns the requirements of the States submitting SCSEP State Plans with the WIOA State Plan requirements.

    Finally, the IFR updates the references to the regulations that implement sec. 188 of WIOA, the nondiscrimination and equal opportunity provisions of WIOA. Those regulations take the place of the WIA sec. 188 regulations. They were finalized in January 2017 and codified in 29 CFR part 38.

    Only the substantive subpart G revisions are described in detail in the remainder of this section-by-section discussion.

    Subpart G—Performance Accountability

    Throughout this subpart, the Department has revised the term “core indicator(s)” to “core measure(s)” to align the regulation with the 2016 OAA, specifically sec. 513(a), 42 U.S.C. 3056k(a). The amended statute also refers to “indicators.” However, because the statute uses the terms interchangeably, for consistency and to reduce the possibility of confusion, the Department uses only the term “measures” throughout this subpart. Other changes made to the sections of subpart G are described below.

    Section 641.700 What performance measures apply to Senior Community Service Employment Program grantees?

    The Department has made several revisions to paragraph (a) to align with the 2016 OAA and the WIOA performance measures. In addition to revising references to “indicators” to “measures” as described above, the Department has removed all reference to “additional indicators” throughout this section. The 2016 OAA removed the additional measures of performance that were not subject to goal-setting and corrective actions, as they were previously established in sec. 513(b)(2) of the 2006 OAA. In order to align with the 2016 OAA, the Department has replaced the first sentence in paragraph (a) that stated “There are currently eight performance measures, of which six are core indicators and two are additional indicators,” with the sentence “There are seven core performance measures.” In addition, the Department has deleted the last sentence that stated “Additional indicators (defined in § 641.710) are not subject to goal-setting and are, therefore, also not subject to corrective action.” Other revisions the Department has made to remove reference to “additional indicators” in other sections are discussed below.

    The Department also revised the second sentence of paragraph (a) to remove reference to the requirement that performance level goals for each core measure must be agreed upon by the grantee and the Department “before the start of each program year.” As described in the discussion of revisions in § 641.720 below, grantees and the Department no longer are required to reach agreement on levels of performance prior to each year. Rather, per 2016 OAA sec. 513(a)(2)(C), agreement on levels of performance is now required to be reached every 2 years, prior to each 2-year period of the SCSEP grants (that is, prior to the first program year and the third program year of the grant. The Department replaced the phrase “before the start of each program year” with a reference to § 641.720.

    The Department made several changes to paragraph (b), which now reads “Core measures,” to align with the 2016 OAA's amendments to the measures. Many of these changes align SCSEP's performance measures to the performance measures established by WIOA for the title I core programs, as implemented in 20 CFR 677.155. First, the Department made a technical change to paragraph (b) to replace the outdated reference to the 2006 OAA with a reference to the OAA as amended. The Department has not revised the core measure for hours of community service employment implemented in paragraph (b)(1) because the 2016 OAA did not amend this measure.

    In paragraph (b)(2), the Department replaced the second core measure “Entry into unsubsidized employment” with the core measure “The percentage of project participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after exit from the project.” This core measure is required by OAA sec. 513(b)(1)(B) and aligns with the measure as described in sec. 116(b)(2)(A)(i)(I) of WIOA and implemented in 20 CFR 677.155(a)(1)(i), except that the WIOA statute uses the term “program participants,” rather than “project participants.” The revised performance measure is different from the former SCSEP measure in that the 2016 OAA now clarifies that entry into unsubsidized employment is to be measured during the second quarter after exit. Previously, the 2006 OAA statute did not state when the rate was measured, and the 2006 regulations required it to be measured at the first quarter after exit, which was consistent with the WIA performance measures at that time.

    Next, in paragraph (b)(3), the Department replaced the third core measure “Retention in unsubsidized employment for six months” with the core measure “The percentage of project participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the fourth quarter after exit from the project.” This core measure is required by OAA sec. 513(b)(1)(C) and aligns with the measure as described in sec. 116(b)(2)(A)(i)(II) of WIOA and implemented in 20 CFR 677.155(a)(1)(ii). This is a separate and distinct employment measure for the fourth quarter after exit, which measures the employment rate in that quarter. A participant will be counted as a positive outcome for this measure if he or she is employed in the fourth quarter after exit regardless of whether he or she was also employed in the second quarter after exit.

    In paragraph (b)(4), the Department replaced the fourth core measure “Earnings,” with the core measure “The median earnings of project participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after exit from the project.” This core measure is required by OAA sec. 513(b)(1)(D) and aligns with the measure as described in sec. 116(b)(2)(A)(i)(III) of WIOA and implemented in 20 CFR 677.155(a)(1)(iii). This performance measure gauges median earnings at the same time frame as the above measure gauges the employment rate of participants. The use of a median is a shift from the use of an average under WIA and is consistent with the requirements of WIOA.

    The Department added a fifth performance measure in paragraph (b)(5) for “indicators of effectiveness in serving employers, host agencies, and project participants.” This core measure is required by OAA sec. 513(b)(1)(E) and partially aligns with the WIOA measure, “effectiveness in serving employers,” as described in sec. 116(b)(2)(A)(i)(VI) of WIOA and implemented in 20 CFR 677.155(a)(1)(vi). A similar measure for “satisfaction of the participants, employers, and their host agencies with their experiences and the services provided” was included as an additional measure in the 2006 OAA sec. 513(b)(2), which was not subject to goal-setting and corrective actions. (This same measure was also a core measure under the 2000 OAA amendments.) However, the 2016 OAA establishes this as a core measure of performance. This is further discussed below in the preamble text that corresponds to § 641.710(e).

    To accommodate the newly added fifth core performance measure, the Department renumbered former paragraphs (b)(5) and (6) as paragraphs (b)(6) and (7), respectively, to contain the sixth and seventh core measures, which remain the same as they were under the 2006 OAA.

    As discussed above, the 2016 OAA removed the additional measures of performance that were previously found at sec. 513(b)(2) of the 2006 OAA. Therefore, the Department has deleted former paragraphs (c)(1) through (4), “Additional indicators,” and has renumbered paragraphs (d) and (e) as (c) and (d), respectively. In addition, the Department has replaced the words “indicators of performance and additional indicators of performance” from the renumbered paragraph (c) with the word “measures”, and has replaced the words “indicators of performance and to report information on the additional indicators of performance” from the renumbered paragraph (d) with the word “measures,” to be consistent with the 2016 OAA amendments to these terms as described above.

    In addition to the regulatory text changes discussed above, various non-substantive changes have been made for purposes of correcting typographical errors and improving clarity.

    Section 641.710 How are the performance measures defined?

    The Department revised the core indicator (now “core measure”) definitions contained in this section to align with the revised core measures set forth in § 641.700 of this IFR. As discussed below, the Department deleted the entirety of former paragraph (b) to remove the definitions for the former “additional indicators,” which the 2016 OAA removed. Thus, as an initial change, the Department renumbered paragraphs (a)(1) through (6) to (a) through (g) (to include the definition for an added core measure, as discussed below).

    The Department did not revise paragraph (a), renumbered from former paragraph (a)(1), which contains the definition for the first core measure for hours of community service employment as currently implemented.

    In paragraph (b), renumbered from former paragraph (a)(2), the Department included a definition for the second performance measure, “percentage of project participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after exit from the project.” This performance measure is defined by the following formula: The number of participants who exited during the reporting period who are employed in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after the exit quarter, divided by the number of participants who exited during the reporting period. This figure will be multiplied by 100 and reported as a percentage. This definition aligns with the definition of the corresponding WIOA performance measure, as explained in Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) 10-16, Performance Accountability Guidance for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Title I, Title II, Title III and Title IV Core Programs, published December 19, 2016.

    In paragraph (c), renumbered from former paragraph (a)(3), the Department included a definition for the third performance measure, “percentage of project participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the fourth quarter after exit from the project.” This performance measure is defined by the following formula: The number of participants who exited during the reporting period who are employed in unsubsidized employment during the fourth quarter after the exit quarter divided by the number of participants who exited during the reporting period, multiplied by 100 so as to be reported as a percentage. This definition aligns with the definition of the corresponding WIOA performance measure, as explained in TEGL 10-16.

    In paragraph (d), renumbered from former paragraph (a)(4), the Department included a definition for the fourth performance measure, “median earnings of project participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after exit from the project.” This performance measure is defined by the following formula: For all participants who exited and are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after the exit quarter: The wage that is at the midpoint (of all the wages) between the highest and lowest wage earned in the second quarter after the exit quarter. This definition aligns with the definition of the corresponding WIOA performance measure, as explained in TEGL 10-16.

    Several comments received during the stakeholder consultation described at the beginning of this preamble questioned the adoption of the median as opposed to the mean for the new measure of earnings. One comment suggested that the first year under the new measures be designated as a baseline year since the Department does not have the ability to determine what the impact the change in calculation will have on performance. The use of the median is required by the 2016 OAA and the Department has no discretion in this matter. The Department understands, however, that all three of the new outcome measures use different calculations from the measures currently in effect and that it will take some time to establish a reliable baseline to use in setting goals for these measures. To help determine how performance under the current measures relates to performance under the new measures as set forth in this IFR, the Department will reanalyze prior grantee performance data reported under the existing measures using the calculations required for the new measures as established by this IFR and to create a cross-walk between the two sets of measures. If that proves to be an inadequate basis for setting the Program Year (PY) 2018 grantee goals, the Department will take that into consideration in the goal setting process and will take appropriate action. See discussion of § 641.730 below.

    During the consultative process, one stakeholder raised the concern that the new employment outcome measures set forth in this IFR at paragraphs (b), (c), and (d) will be harder for grantees to achieve than the measures that have been in effect and will make the program overall seem less effective than it actually is. The Department addressed this comment in discussion of § 641.740 below.

    The Department has added a definition in paragraph (e) for the fifth performance measure, “effectiveness in serving employers, host agencies, and project participants.” While this definition is similar to the definition used for this indicator under the 2006 OAA, when it was an additional indicator, the 2016 OAA revised the definition so that it focuses more specifically on effectiveness rather than satisfaction in general. The Department may revise the definition in paragraph (e) in the future once the Department finalizes the definition of the corresponding WIOA performance measure “effectiveness in serving employers”. For the WIOA core programs, the Department is initially implementing the effectiveness measure in the form of a pilot program. The pilot would allow several approaches (including wage records, the repeated use rate for employers' use of the core programs, and employers served) with the intent of assessing each approach, ultimately to develop a standardized measure.

    The Department received fifteen comments during the consultative process addressing this new core measure. Most comments assumed that the use of the current customer satisfaction surveys would continue for all or some of the three SCSEP customer groups, and several comments questioned how the Department would define “effectiveness.”

    • Six comments recommended that the administration of the employer survey be changed to include host agencies that hire SCSEP participants into unsubsidized jobs within their organizations. Under the survey administration procedures used for the existing measure, a host agency receives only a host agency survey (rather than an employer survey) even if the agency subsequently hires a participant assigned to it and thus becomes that individual's employer.

    • One comment stated that effectiveness is different from satisfaction and suggested that the survey questions would need to change to encompass customers' assessment of effectiveness. Another comment recommended that field staff review and comment on any revised or new survey questions.

    • One comment recommended that the surveys be distributed electronically and be available for distribution in hard copy as needed.

    • Three comments recommended that SCSEP use the WIOA approach to piloting new measures of effectiveness in serving employers. One of these comments further suggested the extension of the WIOA pilot approach to host agencies, allowing SCSEP grantees to vote on which measures SCSEP as a whole would pilot, and the retention of the current participant customer satisfaction survey. This comment also recommended training sessions for the grantees on various approaches for determining pilot measures. Another of the three commenters who recommended piloting measures of effectiveness in serving employers recommended that the Department provide grantees with customer relationship management (CRM) software.

    The Department appreciates the suggestions about ways to measure effectiveness in serving SCSEP's customers that build and improve on the current method of surveying those customers. Although the new SCSEP measure of effectiveness parallels the language of the WIOA measure, it differs because it also measures the effectiveness in serving participants and host agencies, as well as employers. As the comments appear to acknowledge, the WIOA approach to the measure, which is being piloted until 2019, does not have obvious application to SCSEP's other two customer groups. As a result, for the SCSEP measure, the Department has decided to continue surveying all three customer groups to assess the effectiveness of the services received as an interim measure at least until the WIOA pilot is complete and a WIOA measure is defined in final form. By using the same definition as that of the current customer satisfaction measure during this interim period, the Department will not require SCSEP customers to change their current practices or take on any additional burden. The Department welcomes comments on this measure.

    During this interim period, the Department will explore with grantees, and with its three customer groups, options for best measuring the effectiveness of SCSEP's services, including the suggestions made by the commenters. The Department will also explore ways to improve the efficiency of the current customer surveys (including the use of online surveys and changes to the administration of the employer survey) and will examine what, if any, new or revised questions would support an index of effectiveness as an alternative to the current index of satisfaction.

    To conform to the changes outlined above, the Department has renumbered former paragraph (a)(5) to (f). The Department also has renumbered former paragraph (a)(6)(i) through (xiii) to (g)(1) through (13). Renumbered paragraphs (f) and (g) correspond to the sixth and seventh SCSEP performance measures, the definitions of which are unchanged.

    Several comments regarding paragraph (g), the most-in-need measure, recommended adding ex-offender to the list of barriers to employment included in the statute for determining participants who are most in need of SCSEP services. The Department agrees that ex-offenders have serious and unique barriers to employment, but for purposes of this IFR, the Department will use the list provided in the statute. The Department also notes that ex-offender status is already incorporated into the most-in-need measure because it is a factor that would result in a participant having low employment prospects, one of the factors included in the most-in-need measure. However, as part of its review of the statistical model for the adjustment of grantee goals, the Department will consider whether ex-offender should be considered with the other participant characteristics currently used in the SCSEP model. See discussion of the statistical model in preamble text discussing § 641.720.

    Another comment regarding the most-in-need measure stated that the current definition of frail, which is one of the barriers to employment that the statute includes in the most-in-need measure, is incorrect because it could require a grantee to enroll someone who is in a nursing home. This theoretical objection to the definition of frail misunderstands its use in the SCSEP performance system. Frail is not part of the eligibility determination and is not one of the priorities of service required by the OAA. Rather, it is an additional barrier to employment that a participant may develop during enrollment and that potentially entitles a participant to have an extended period of enrollment.

    Nineteen comments received during the consultation and additional comments received from three grantees after the consultation were addressed to how the Department would compute or define the performance measures (other than the measure, “Indicators of effectiveness in serving employers, host agencies, and project participants,” which is addressed below). Several comments related to how the exit cohorts would be defined and what the timing rules would be. These questions have been addressed by the definitions provided in this IFR and the discussion in other parts of this preamble. As set forth below, separate guidance will be provided on the technical aspects of the timing and reporting requirements.

    The 2016 OAA removed the additional indicators of performance that were previously established in sec. 513(b)(2) of the 2006 OAA. Therefore, the Department has deleted former paragraphs (b)(1) through (3) that contained definitions for the additional indicators.

    In addition to the regulatory text changes discussed above, various non-substantive changes have been made to the regulations for purposes of correcting typographical errors and improving clarity.

    Section 641.720 How will the Department and grantees initially determine and then adjust expected levels of the core performance measures?

    The Department has made substantial revisions to this section to align with the 2016 OAA, which in large part mirrors the process for establishing the expected performance levels required by WIOA for the title I core programs, as implemented in 20 CFR 677.170.

    The revised paragraph (a), which requires agreement between the grantee and the Department for expected levels of performance for the first 2 program years of the grant, mirrors the statutory language in 2016 OAA sec. 513(a)(2)(B) and (C)(i) and aligns with WIOA sec. 116(b)(3)(A)(iv)(I). Specifically, paragraph (a) states that each grantee must reach agreement with the Department on levels of performance for each measure listed in § 641.700 for each of the first 2 program years covered by the grant agreement. In reaching the agreement, the grantee and the Department must take into account the expected levels of performance proposed by the grantee and the factors described in paragraph (c) of this section. This paragraph also states that the levels agreed to will be considered to be the expected levels of performance for the grantee for such program years, and funds may not be awarded under the grant until such agreement is reached. Lastly, this paragraph states that, at the conclusion of negotiations concerning the performance levels with all grantees, the Department will make available for public review the final negotiated expected levels of performance for each grantee, including any comments submitted by the grantee regarding the grantee's satisfaction with the negotiated levels.

    The Department considers PY 2016 and PY 2017 to be the first 2 program years under the current SCSEP grants. For national grantees, these were the first 2 program years following the last grant competition. For State grantees, these were the first 2 program years of the current SCSEP State Plans.

    The revised paragraph (b), which requires agreement for expected levels of performance for the third and fourth program years of the grant mirrors the statutory language provided in 2016 OAA sec. 513(a)(2)(B) and (C)(ii) and in alignment with WIOA sec. 116(b)(3)(A)(iv)(II). As explained above, the Department considers PY 2018 and PY 2019 to be the third and fourth program years of the current SCSEP grant agreements. Specifically, paragraph (b) states that each grantee must reach agreement with the Department, prior to the third program year covered by the grant agreement, on levels of performance for each measure listed in § 641.700, for each of the third and fourth program years of the grant. This paragraph states that, in reaching the agreement, the grantee and the Department must take into account the expected levels proposed by the grantee and the factors described in paragraph (c) of this section. This paragraph also states that the levels agreed to will be considered to be the expected levels of performance for the grantee for those program years. Lastly, like the requirement in paragraph (a), this paragraph states that, at the conclusion of negotiations concerning the performance levels with all grantees, the Department will make available for public review the final negotiated expected levels of performance for each grantee, including any comments submitted by the grantee regarding the grantee's satisfaction with the negotiated levels.

    The Department has added a new paragraph (c), “Factors,” to require that the negotiated levels of performance must be based on the three factors listed in paragraphs (c)(1) through (3), as required by 2016 OAA sec. 513(a)(2)(D) and in alignment with WIOA sec. 116(b)(3)(A)(v). Paragraph (c)(1) states that the negotiated levels must take into account how a grantee's levels of performance compare with the expected levels of performance established for other grantees. See OAA sec. 513(a)(2)(D)(i) and WIOA sec. 116(b)(3)(A)(v)(I). Paragraph (c)(2) states that the negotiated levels must be adjusted using an objective statistical model based on the model established by the Department of Labor with the Department of Education in accordance with WIOA sec. 116(b)(3)(A)(viii) and implemented in § 677.170(c). See 29 U.S.C. 3141(b)(3)(A)(viii), OAA sec. 513(a)(2)(D)(ii), and WIOA sec. 116(b)(3)(A)(v)(II). The objective statistical adjustment model will account for actual economic conditions and characteristics of participants, including the factors required by WIOA sec. 116(b)(3)(A)(v)(II). Paragraph (c)(3) states that the negotiated levels must take into account the extent to which the levels involved promote continuous improvement in performance accountability on the core measures and ensure optimal return on the investment of Federal funds. See OAA sec. 513(a)(2)(D)(iii) and WIOA sec. 116(b)(3)(A)(v)(III).

    In paragraph (d), the Department revises the adjustment requirements contained in former paragraph (b). The Department has replaced the adjustment factors specified in former (b)(1) through (3) with the requirement that the Department will, in accordance with the objective statistical model developed pursuant to paragraph (c)(2), adjust the expected levels of performance for a program year for grantees to reflect the actual economic conditions and characteristics of participants in the corresponding projects during such program year. These revisions align with OAA sec. 513(a)(2)(E).

    For consistency with the 2016 OAA, the IFR removes the language in paragraphs (a)(1) through (3) of § 641.720 that describes the negotiation process in detail. However, the negotiation process that the Department intends to use under these new performance measures is similar to the current process, and includes similar opportunities for input from the grantees:

    • In the spring of 2018, the Department will analyze grantees' baseline performance and issue proposed goals for the next 2 program years, PY 2018 and PY 2019, based on the new adjustment factors.

    • If a grantee disagrees with those goals, it may propose its own goals and may request to negotiate.

    • Prior to the negotiation, the grantee must provide the Department with the data on which the grantee's proposed goals are based.

    • The grantee and Department must reach agreement before funds for the coming 2 program years can be approved; the agreed upon goals will be the expected levels of performance upon which the annual evaluation of grantee performance will be based. If the grantee and the Department fail to reach agreement, no funds may be released.

    • At the conclusion of the negotiation, the grantee may submit comments regarding the grantee's satisfaction with the negotiated levels of performance, which the Department will publish, along with the expected levels of performance.

    • At the time of the annual evaluation of grantee performance, the expected levels of performance will be adjusted a second time using the latest available adjustment data. The evaluation will be based on the newly adjusted levels of performance. See preamble discussion of § 641.740.

    • The same process will be followed for subsequent 2-year periods.

    In addition to the regulatory text changes discussed above, various non-substantive changes have been made for purposes of correcting typographical errors and improving clarity.

    Eight comments addressed the negotiation process. Several comments raised questions about the use of a statistical model based on WIOA to adjust grantee goals, and one, noting that SCSEP already uses such a model, questioned what changes the Department anticipates. This comment is correct that SCSEP has long used a statistical model to adjust grantee goals. The model considers environmental factors like rates of unemployment and poverty and takes account of participant characteristics that may make some participants harder to serve than others. This model is similar to the model employed by WIA and the model recently adopted by WIOA. The Department will re-examine this model to determine if additional aspects of the WIOA model should be incorporated into the SCSEP model or if other changes are appropriate. (One comment suggested accounting for the percentage of participants who reside in rural areas.) The Department will provide the model to grantees prior to the first negotiations under the new performance measures, as requested by one of the comments.

    One comment suggested that all grantees operating within a State should have the same goals because conditions within the State are essentially the same for all grantees. The statute requires that in negotiating goals, the parties consider both the expected levels of performance for other grantees and the promotion of continuous improvement. Both factors require consideration of the circumstances of each grantee. Furthermore, the only grantees operating within a State, in addition to the State grantee, are national grantees. National grantees only have goals at the overall grantee level, not at the State level. In addition, the adjustments that are made to grantee goals are based, to the greatest extent practicable, on factors that prevail in the specific service area of each grantee. Because very few grantees serve an entire State uniformly, SCSEP uses data at a county level to customize the adjustments for all grantees, both State and national.

    Nine comments received during the consultation and additional comments received from three grantees after the consultation addressed the implementation of the new measures. Most of these questioned when the new measures would be effective and what the effect would be of collecting data for the new employment outcome measures and the old outcome measures since they will overlap for the first 4 quarters that the new measures are effective. The new measures being implemented by this IFR by promulgation on December 1, 2017 will become effective 30 days after publication. By effective, the Department means that they will be used during the second half of PY 2017, to negotiate the goals for PYs 2018 and 2019. Performance under the PY 2018 goals will begin to be reported starting July 1, 2018. The SCSEP Quarterly Progress Report (QPR) for PY 2017, will be based on the current measures, and the QPRs for PY 2018, will be based on the measures established in this IFR.

    SCSEP participants who exit during PY 2017, when goals based on the current measures are still in effect, will have their performance reported under the old measures for PY 2017. For this same cohort of exiters, reporting for the core employment outcome measures would also take place throughout PY 2018, under the new measures set forth in this IFR and would be reflected in the grantees' PY 2018 QPRs. For example, a participant who exits in Quarter 3 of PY 2017, will be included in the previous entered employment measure for Quarter 4 of PY 2017; this participant will also be reported in the IFR's new measure of employment in the second quarter after exit in Quarter 1 of PY 2018. Since the underlying data required for the new measures that will be reported in PY 2018 are the same data required for the existing measures, grantees will have to follow different timing rules for the collection of data in PY 2018, but they will not be required to collect any new or additional data beyond the data they would have reported under the old measures. The Department will provide technical assistance and guidance on the new timing and reporting requirements.

    A related comment asked is when reporting on the current SCSEP additional measures would cease. As with the existing core measures, the grantees will collect data for the additional measures not carried forward in this IFR throughout PY 2017, and the final QPR for PY 2017 will be the last report of the additional measures.

    Many comments urged the Department to obtain the access to unemployment insurance (UI) wage records for SCSEP in order to ease the burden of case management follow-up for purposes of collecting performance data. One comment recommended that the Department allow those grantees that were able to access wage records locally do so even if other grantees could not have access and had to continue using case management follow-up. Another comment recommended that if the Department is unable to secure access to wage records, the Department should adopt less stringent standards for case management follow-up.

    The Department understands that case management follow-up is a costly and not always effective means of obtaining performance data. The Department is investigating access to UI wage records for all SCSEP grantees, but until such access occurs, all grantees must continue using case management follow-up. Using different methods of data collection would compromise the consistency of the performance measures and would potentially provide an unfair advantage to those grantees with access to wage records. In the meantime, the Department will review the standards for case management follow-up as set forth in various guidance materials, will confer with grantees about the changes in procedures desired, and will issue revised guidance if appropriate.

    Many comments questioned whether the current exclusions from exit for purposes of the employment outcome measures will be continued, and several recommended that they be continued. As part of its adoption of the WIA common measures in PY 2007, SCSEP has been following the WIA exclusions. With the 2016 OAA's adoption of the measures consistent with the WIOA primary indicators of performance, SCSEP will examine the revised WIOA exclusions and will issue revised guidance as appropriate.

    Section 641.730 How will the Department assist grantees in the transition to the new core performance measures?

    The Department has made several changes in this section to update the Department's transition assistance plans to correspond with the 2016 OAA. First, as a non-substantive change, the Department has deleted the designation of paragraph (a) and its title “General transition provision” because the Department has deleted paragraph (b), as discussed below. This section now includes only two sentences.

    The first sentence as revised by this IFR now states that, as soon as practicable after the IFR becomes effective, the Department will determine whether a SCSEP grantee's performance under the measures in effect prior to the effective date of this IFR would have met the expected levels of performance for PY 2018. The second sentence as revised by this IFR now states that if the Department determines that a grantee would have failed to meet those expected levels of performance, then the Department will provide technical assistance to help the grantee to eventually meet the expected levels of performance under the measures in § 641.700, as those measures are revised by this IFR.

    The Department will only make the above determination for the three new employment outcome measures, defined in § 641.710(b) through (d) of this IFR, since no transition is required for the remaining four core measures (three are unchanged, and for the fourth, the “indicators of effectiveness in serving employers, host agencies, and participants,” the Department will use the same customer satisfaction measure that was used before the IFR). In making the determination, the Department intends to examine all relevant data, as feasible, in order to provide a cross-walk between the existing measures and the measures implemented in this IFR and to develop a new baseline from which to begin the development of goals for PY 2018 and PY 2019. The Department will provide the analysis to all grantees as soon as it is complete.

    As noted above, this IFR removes paragraph (b) from § 641.730, which provided that PY 2007 would be treated as a baseline year for the most-in-need indicator so that grantees and the Department may collect sufficient data to set a meaningful goal for the measure for PY 2008. Since this provision included dates that have already passed, and the Department has documented information on this measure, this provision is no longer required and has been deleted from this section.

    Section 641.740 How will the Department determine whether a grantee fails, meets, or exceeds the expected levels of performance and what will be the consequences of failing to meet expected levels of performance?

    With the exception of the technical changes noted below, the Department has not made any changes to this section.

    In paragraph (a), the Department has deleted the reference to national grantees because the evaluation process applies identically to both national grantees and State grantees. The Department has also added a reference to § 641.720(d) when referring to the adjustments to the grantee goals.

    In paragraph (b)(1)(iii) regarding recompetition for national grantees, the Department has deleted the parenthetical “(beginning with Program Year 2007),” after “any national grantee that has failed to meet the expected levels of performance for 4 consecutive years” to align with the 2016 OAA, which removed this phrase from OAA sec. 513(d)(2)(B)(iii). Due to this deletion, the “4 consecutive years” may include years under the measures in effect prior to this IFR with years under the new measures implemented by this IFR.

    In paragraph (b)(2)(iii) regarding competition for State grantees, the Department has deleted the parenthetical “(beginning with Program Year 2007),” after “if the Department determines that the State fails to meet the expected levels of performance for 3 consecutive Program Years” to align with the 2016 OAA, which removed this phrase from OAA sec. 513(d)(3)(B)(iii). Similar to the deletion in paragraph (b)(1)(iii), due to this deletion, the “3 consecutive years” may include years under the measures in effect prior to this IFR with years under the new measures implemented by this IFR.

    In paragraph (c) regarding evaluation, the Department has revised this paragraph to state that, for purposes of evaluation, the core measures of performance will be compared to the expected levels of performance established under § 641.720 (including any adjustments to such levels made in accordance with § 641.720(d)). The Department has deleted the former provision that the core measures also would be compared to “the actual performance of each grantee with respect to the levels achieved for each of the additional indicators of performance.” As discussed above, the Department has removed all references to “additional indicators” throughout part 641 to align with the 2016 OAA, which removed reference to additional indicators of performance not subject to goal-setting and corrective actions that were previously established in sec. 513(b)(2) of the 2006 OAA. This paragraph now states, “The Department will annually evaluate, publish and make available for public review, information on the actual performance of each grantee with respect to the levels achieved for each of the core measures of performance, compared to the expected levels of performance established under § 641.720 (including any adjustments to such levels made in accordance with § 641.720(d)).”

    One commenter questioned the impact of the new requirement to negotiate performance goals 2 years at a time on the assessment of grantee performance. Although the Department and the grantees will now negotiate performance goals for 2 years at a time, the Department will continue to assess whether grantees have met their expected level of performance at the end of each program year based on whether grantees have met their goals for that completed program year.

    Two comments noted that SCSEP goals are already hard to meet because older workers are harder to place than other job seekers. SCSEP has been using the WIA common employment outcome measures since July 1, 2007; the replacement of those measures with the WIOA core employment measures is not intended to change the basic approach of the negotiation process or to negate the focus on serving low-income seniors. In general, SCSEP has consistently met or exceeded its performance goals under the current measures, and the Department does not envision that the new measures will change that level of performance.

    Section 641.750 Will there be performance-related incentives?

    The Department has updated the reference to the OAA to reflect the 2016 OAA reauthorization amendments.

    III. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, Executive Order 13272, Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), 5 U.S.C. chapter 6, requires the Department to evaluate the economic impact of this rule with regard to small entities. The RFA defines small entities to include small businesses, small organizations including not-for-profit organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. The Department must determine whether the rule imposes a significant economic impact on a substantial number of such small entities.

    There are 75 SCSEP grantees; 50 of these are States and are not small entities as defined by the RFA. Six grantees are governmental jurisdictions other than States (four grantees are territories such as Guam, one grantee is Washington, DC, and another grantee is Puerto Rico). Governmental jurisdictions must have a population of less than 50,000 to qualify as a small entity for RFA purposes and the population of these 6 SCSEP grantees each exceeds 50,000. The remaining 19 grantees are non-profit organizations, which includes some large national non-profit organizations.

    The Department has determined that this Interim Final Rule will impose no additional burden on small entities affected. Since the alignment with WIOA involved only definitions, the grantees are not required to collect any additional information that may cause a burden increase. In addition, all costs are covered by the SCSEP program funds provided to grantees.

    The Departments certifies that this Interim Final Rule does not impose a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    Executive Order 12866

    Under Executive Order 12866, the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB's) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs determines whether a regulatory action is significant and, therefore, subject to the requirements of the Executive Order and review by OMB. 58 FR 51735. Section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 defines a “significant regulatory action” as an action that is likely to result in a rule that: (1) Has an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, or adversely affects in a material way a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local or tribal governments or communities (also referred to as economically significant); (2) creates serious inconsistency or otherwise interferes with an action taken or planned by another agency; (3) materially alters the budgetary impacts of entitlement grants, user fees, or loan programs, or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) raises novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in the Executive Order. Id. OMB has determined that this interim final rule is not a “significant regulatory action” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866.

    This rule is not an EO 13771 regulatory action because this rule is not significant under EO 12866.

    Executive Order 13563 directs agencies to propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that its benefits justify its costs; it is tailored to impose the least burden on society, consistent with achieving the regulatory objectives; and in choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, the agency has selected those approaches that maximize net benefits. Executive Order 13563 recognizes that some benefits are difficult to quantify and provides that, where appropriate and permitted by law, agencies may consider and discuss qualitatively values that are difficult or impossible to quantify, including equity, human dignity, fairness, and distributive impacts.

    OMB declined review of this IFR because it is not a significant regulatory action. As previously noted, the alignment with WIOA involved only definitions, and grantees are not required to collect any additional information that may cause a burden increase.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    The purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq., include minimizing the paperwork burden on affected entities. The PRA requires certain actions before an agency can adopt or revise the collection of information, including publishing a summary of the collection of information and a brief description of the need for and proposed use of the information.

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, the Department conducts a preclearance consultation program to provide the public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing collections of information in accordance with the PRA. See 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A). This activity helps to ensure that the public understands the Department's collection instructions, respondents can provide the requested data in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the Department can properly assess the impact of collection requirements on respondents.

    A Federal agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it is approved by OMB under the PRA and displays a currently valid OMB control number. The public is also not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. In addition, notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no person will be subject to penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information if the collection of information does not display a currently valid OMB control number (44 U.S.C. 3512).

    As part of its effort to streamline program performance reporting, the Department revised the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Performance Accountability, Information and Reporting System (OMB Control Number 1205-0521) information collection by adding the performance information collection requirements for SCSEP. The Department notes that the SCSEP information collection will retain its current approval (under OMB Control Number 1205-0040) for data elements not contained in the revised WIOA Performance Accountability, Information and Reporting System.

    The Department provided opportunities for the public to comment on the information collection through notices in the Federal Register that provided comment periods on the associated forms and instructions. This comment period provided at least 60 days for comments to be submitted to the agency. The ICRs was then submitted for OMB approval, and the Department published notices in the Federal Register that invited comments to be sent to OMB for a period lasting at least 30 days. The Department will publish a Federal Register Notice shortly to incorporate the information collection provisions of this Interim Final Rule.

    The information collection is summarized as follows.

    Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Performance Accountability, Information, and Reporting System

    Agency: DOL-ETA.

    Title of Collection: ETA Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Performance Accountability, Information, and Reporting System.

    Type of Review: Revision.

    OMB Control Number: 1205-0521.

    Affected Public: State, Local, and Tribal Governments; Individuals or Households; and Private Sector—businesses or other for-profits and not-for-profit institutions.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to Obtain or Retain Benefits.

    Estimated Total Annual Respondents: 17,532,542.

    Estimated Total Annual Responses: 35,064,970.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 8,938,029.

    Regulations sections: § 684.420, § 684.610, § 684.700, § 684.800, § 685.210, § 685.400, § 688.420, § 688.610. 641.700, § 641.710, § 641.720, § 641.730, § 641.740, § 641.750.

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    For purposes of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, this rule does not include any Federal mandate that may result in increased expenditures by State, local, and tribal governments in the aggregate of more than $100 million, or increased expenditures by the private sector of more than $100 million.

    Executive Order 13132

    The Department has reviewed this rule in accordance with Executive Order 13132 regarding federalism and has determined that it does not have “federalism implications.” The rule does not “have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.” This Interim Final Rule defines and implements performance measures for the SCSEP and while States are SCSEP grantees, this rule merely makes changes to data collection processes that are ongoing. Requiring State grantees to implement these changes does not constitute a “substantial direct effect” on the States, nor will it alter the relationship or responsibilities between the Federal and State governments.

    Executive Order 13045

    Executive Order 13045 concerns the protection of children from environmental health risks and safety risks. This rule defines and details the performance measures use by the SCSEP, a program for older Americans, and has no impact on safety or health risks to children.

    Executive Order 13175

    Executive Order 13175 addresses the unique relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribal governments. The order requires Federal agencies to take certain actions when regulations have “tribal implications.” Required actions include consulting with Tribal Governments prior to promulgating a regulation with tribal implications and preparing a tribal impact statement. The order defines regulations as having “tribal implications” when they have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

    The Department has reviewed this Interim Final Rule and concludes that it does not have tribal implications. While some tribes may be recipients of national SCSEP grantees, this rule will not have a substantial direct effect on those tribes because, as outlined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act section of the preamble above, there are only small cost increases associated with implementing this regulation. This regulation does not affect the relationship between the Federal Government and the tribes, nor does it affect the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Tribal Governments. Accordingly, we conclude that this rule does not have tribal implications for the purposes of Executive Order 13175.

    Environmental Impact Assessment

    The Department has reviewed this rule in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR part 1500), and the Department's NEPA procedures (29 CFR part 11). The rule will not have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment and, thus, the Department has not prepared an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement.

    Assessment of Federal Regulations and Policies on Families

    Section 654 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, enacted as part of the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1999 (Pub. L. 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681), requires the Department to assess the impact of this rule on family well-being. A rule that is determined to have a negative effect on families must be supported with an adequate rationale.

    The Department has assessed this rule and determines that it will not have a negative effect on families. Indeed, we believe the SCSEP strengthens families by providing job training and support services to low-income older Americans so that they can obtain fruitful employment and enjoy increased economic self-sufficiency.

    Privacy Act

    The Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, provides safeguards to individuals concerning their personal information that the Government collects. The Act requires certain actions by an agency that collects information on individuals when that information contains personally identifiable information such as SSNs or names. Because SCSEP participant records are maintained by SSN, the Act applies here.

    A key concern is for the protection of participant SSNs. Grantees must collect the SSN in order to properly pay participants for their community service work in host agencies. When participant files are sent to the Department for aggregation, the transmittal is protected by secure encryption. When participant files are retrieved within the internet-based SCSEP data management system of SPARQ, only the last four digits of the SSN are displayed. Any information that is shared or made public is aggregated by grantee and does not reveal personal information on specific individuals.

    The Department works diligently to ensure the highest level of security whenever personally identifiable information is stored or transmitted. All contractors that have access to individually identifying information are required to provide assurances that they will respect and protect the confidentiality of the data. ETA's Office of Performance and Technology has been an active participant in the development and approval of data security measures—especially as they apply to SPARQ.

    In addition to the above, a Privacy Act Statement is provided to grantees for distribution to all participants. The grantees were advised of the requirement in ETA's Older Worker Bulletin OWB-04-06. Participants receive this information when they meet with a case worker or intake counselor. When the programs are monitored, implementation of this term is included in the review.

    Executive Order 12630

    This rule is not subject to Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights, because it does not involve implementation of a policy with takings implications.

    Executive Order 12988

    This regulation has been drafted and reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, and will not unduly burden the Federal court system. The regulation has been written so as to minimize litigation and provide a clear legal standard for affected conduct, and has been reviewed carefully to eliminate drafting errors and ambiguities.

    Executive Order 13211

    This rule is not subject to Executive Order 13211, because it will not have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy.

    Plain Language

    The Department drafted this Interim Final Rule in plain language.

    List of Subjects in 20 CFR Part 641

    Aged, Employment, Government contracts, Grant programs-labor, Privacy, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Department of Labor amends 20 CFR part 641 as follows:

    PART 641—PROVISIONS GOVERNING THE SENIOR COMMUNITY SERVICE EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM 1. Revise the authority citation for part 641 to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 3056 et seq.; Pub. L. 114-144, 130 Stat. 334 (Apr. 19, 2016).

    2. Amend § 641.100 by revising the introductory text and paragraph (b) to read as follows: Subpart A—Purpose and Definitions
    § 641.100 . What does this part cover?

    Part 641 contains the Department of Labor's regulations for the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), authorized under title V of the Older Americans Act (OAA), 42 U.S.C. 3056 et seq., as amended by the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2016, Public Law 114-144 (Apr. 19, 2016). This part and other pertinent regulations set forth the regulations applicable to the SCSEP.

    (b) Subpart B of this part describes the required relationship between the OAA and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Public Law 113-128 (July 22, 2014). These provisions discuss the coordinated efforts to provide services through the integration of the SCSEP within the One-Stop delivery system.

    3. Amend § 641.140 as follows: a. Remove the definition of “Additional indicators”. b. Add the definition of “Career services,” in alphabetical order. c. Revise the definition of “Co-enrollment”. d. Add the definition of “Community Service Employment” in alphabetical order. e. Remove the definition of “Core indicators”. f. Add the definition of “Core measures” in alphabetical order. g. Remove the definitions of “Core services” and “Intensive services”. h. Revise the definition of “Local Board”. i. Add the definition of “Local Workforce Development Area” in alphabetical order. j. Remove the definition of “Local Workforce Investment Area or local area”. k. Revise the definitions of “Most-in-need,” “One-Stop Center,” “One-Stop delivery system,” “One-Stop partner,” “Pacific Island and Asian Americans,” “State Board,” “Supportive services,” “Training services,” and “Unemployed”. l. Remove the definition of “Volunteer work”. m. Add the definitions of “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA),” and “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) regulations” in alphabetical order. n. Remove the definitions of “Workforce Investment Act (WIA),” and “Workforce Investment Act (WIA) regulations”.

    The additions and revisions read as follows:

    § 641.140 What definitions apply to this part?

    Career services means those services described in sec. 134(c)(2) of WIOA.

    Co-enrollment applies to any individual who meets the qualifications for SCSEP participation and is also enrolled as a participant in WIOA or another employment and training program, as provided in the Individual Employment Plan (IEP).

    Community Service Employment means part-time, temporary employment paid with grant funds in projects at host agencies through which eligible individuals are engaged in community service and receive work experience and job skills that can lead to unsubsidized employment. (OAA sec. 518(a)(2).) The term community service assignment is used interchangeably with community service employment.

    Core measures means hours (in the aggregate) of community service employment; the percentage of project participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after exit from the project; the percentage of project participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the fourth quarter after exit from the project; the median earnings of project participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after exit from the project; indicators of effectiveness in serving employers, host agencies, and project participants; the number of eligible individuals served; and most-in-need (the number of individuals described in sec. 518(a)(3)(B)(ii) or (b)(2) of the OAA). (OAA sec. 513(b)(1).)

    Local Board means a Local Workforce Development Board established under sec. 107 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

    Local Workforce Development Area or local area means an area designated by the Governor of a State under sec. 106 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

    Most-in-need means participants with one or more of the following characteristics: Have a severe disability; are frail; are age 75 or older; are age-eligible but not receiving benefits under title II of the Social Security Act; reside in an area with persistent unemployment and have severely limited employment prospects; have limited English proficiency; have low literacy skills; have a disability; reside in a rural area; are veterans; have low employment prospects; have failed to find employment after using services provided under title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act; or are homeless or at risk for homelessness. (OAA sec. 513(b)(1)(F).)

    One-Stop Center means the One-Stop Center system in a WIOA local area, which must include a comprehensive One-Stop Center through which One-Stop partners provide applicable career services and which provides access to other programs and services carried out by the One-Stop partners. (See WIOA sec. 121(e)(2).)

    One-Stop delivery system means a system under which employment and training programs, services, and activities are available through a network of eligible One-Stop partners, which assures that information about and access to career services are available regardless of where the individuals initially enter the workforce development system. (See WIOA sec. 121(e)(2).)

    One-Stop partner means an entity described in sec. 121(b)(1) of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, i.e., required partners, or an entity described in sec. 121(b)(2) of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, i.e., additional partners.

    Pacific Island and Asian Americans means Americans having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands. (OAA sec. 518(a)(6).)

    State Board means a State Workforce Development Board established under WIOA sec. 101.

    Supportive services means services, such as transportation, health and medical services, special job-related or personal counseling, incidentals (such as work shoes, badges, uniforms, eye-glasses, and tools), child and adult care, housing, including temporary shelter, follow-up services, and needs-related payments, which are necessary to enable an individual to participate in activities authorized under the SCSEP. (OAA secs. 502(c)(6)(A)(iv) and 518(a)(8).)

    Training services means those services authorized by WIOA sec. 134(c)(3).

    Unemployed means an individual who is without a job and who wants and is available for work, including an individual who may have occasional employment that does not result in a constant source of income. (OAA sec. 518(a)(9).)

    Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) means the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Public Law 113-128 (July 22, 2014), as amended.

    Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) regulations means the regulations in parts 675 through 688 of this chapter, the Wagner-Peyser Act regulations in parts 651 through 654 and part 658 of this chapter, and the regulations implementing WIOA sec. 188 in 29 CFR part 38.

    4. Revise subpart B to read as follows: Subpart B—Coordination With the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Sec. 641.200 What is the relationship between the SCSEP and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act? 641.210 What services, in addition to the applicable career services, must SCSEP grantees and sub-recipients provide through the One-Stop delivery system? 641.220 Does title I of WIOA require the SCSEP to use OAA funds for individuals who are not eligible for SCSEP services or for services that are not authorized under the OAA? 641.230 Must the individual assessment conducted by the SCSEP grantee or sub-recipient and the assessment performed by the One-Stop delivery system be accepted for use by either entity to determine the individual's need for services in the SCSEP and adult programs under title I, subtitle B of WIOA? 641.240 Are SCSEP participants eligible for career and training services under title I of WIOA? Subpart B—Coordination With the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
    § 641.200 What is the relationship between the SCSEP and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act?

    The SCSEP is a required partner under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. As such, it is a part of the One-Stop delivery system. When acting in their capacity as WIOA partners, SCSEP grantees and sub-recipients are required to follow all applicable rules under WIOA and its regulations. See WIOA sec. 121(b)(1)(B)(v) and 20 CFR 678.400 through 678.440.

    § 641.210 What services, in addition to the applicable career services, must SCSEP grantees and sub-recipients provide through the One-Stop delivery system?

    In addition to providing career services, as defined at 20 CFR 678.430, SCSEP grantees and sub-recipients must make arrangements through the One-Stop delivery system to provide eligible and ineligible individuals with referrals to WIOA career and training services and access to other activities and programs carried out by other One-Stop partners.

    § 641.220 Does title I of WIOA require the SCSEP to use OAA funds for individuals who are not eligible for SCSEP services or for services that are not authorized under the OAA?

    No, SCSEP requirements continue to apply. OAA title V resources may not be used to serve individuals who are not SCSEP-eligible. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act creates a seamless service delivery system for individuals seeking workforce development services by linking the One-Stop partners in the One-Stop delivery system. Although the overall effect is to provide universal access to career services, SCSEP resources may only be used to provide services that are authorized and provided under the SCSEP to eligible individuals. Note, however, that one allowable SCSEP cost is a SCSEP project's proportionate share of One-Stop costs. See § 641.850(d). Title V funds can be used to pay wages to SCSEP participants receiving career and training services under title I of WIOA provided that the SCSEP participants have each received a community service assignment. All other individuals who are in need of the services provided under the SCSEP, but who do not meet the eligibility criteria to enroll in the SCSEP, should be referred to or enrolled in WIOA or other appropriate partner programs. WIOA sec. 121(b)(1). These arrangements should be negotiated in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which is an agreement developed and executed between the Local Workforce Development Board, with the agreement of the chief local elected official, and the One-Stop partners relating to the operation of the One-Stop delivery system in the local area. The MOU is further described in the WIOA regulations at 20 CFR 678.500 through 678.510.

    § 641.230 Must the individual assessment conducted by the SCSEP grantee or sub-recipient and the assessment performed by the One-Stop delivery system be accepted for use by either entity to determine the individual's need for services in the SCSEP and adult programs under title I, subtitle B of WIOA?

    Yes, sec. 502(b)(3) of the OAA provides that an assessment or IEP completed by the SCSEP satisfies any condition for an assessment, service strategy, or IEP completed at the One-Stop and vice-versa. (OAA sec. 502(b)(3).) These reciprocal arrangements and the contents of the SCSEP IEP and WIOA IEP should be negotiated in the MOU.

    § 641.240 Are SCSEP participants eligible for career and training services under title I of WIOA?

    (a) Although SCSEP participants are not automatically eligible for career and training services under title I of WIOA, local boards may deem SCSEP participants, either individually or as a group, as satisfying the requirements for receiving adult career and training services under title I of WIOA.

    (b) SCSEP participants who have been assessed and for whom an IEP has been developed have received a career service under 20 CFR 680.220(a) of the WIOA regulations. In order to enhance skill development related to the IEP, it may be necessary to provide training beyond the community service assignment to enable participants to meet their unsubsidized employment objectives. The SCSEP grantee or sub-recipient, the host agency, the WIOA program, or another One-Stop partner may provide training as appropriate and as negotiated in the MOU. (See § 641.540 for a further discussion of training for SCSEP participants.)

    Subpart C—The State Plan 5. Revise § 641.300 to read as follows:
    § 641.300 What is the State Plan?

    The State Plan is a plan, submitted by the Governor, or the highest government official, in each State, as an independent document or as part of the WIOA Combined State Plan, that outlines a 4-year strategy for the statewide provision of community service employment and other authorized activities for eligible individuals under the SCSEP as described in § 641.302. The State Plan also describes the planning and implementation process for SCSEP services in the State, taking into account the relative distribution of eligible individuals and employment opportunities within the State. The State Plan is intended to foster coordination among the various SCSEP grantees and sub-recipients operating within the State and to facilitate the efforts of stakeholders, including State and local boards under WIOA, to work collaboratively through a participatory process to accomplish the SCSEP's goals. (OAA sec. 503(a)(1).) The State Plan provisions are listed in § 641.325.

    6. Amend § 641.302 by revising paragraphs (f) and (g) to read as follows:
    § 641.302 What is a four-year strategy?

    (f) The State's strategy for continuous improvement in the level of performance for entry into unsubsidized employment;

    (g) Planned actions to coordinate activities of SCSEP grantees with the activities being carried out in the State under title I of WIOA, including plans for using the WIOA One-Stop delivery system and its partners to serve individuals aged 55 and older;

    7. Amend § 641.315 by revising paragraph (a)(2) to read as follows:
    § 641.315 Who participates in developing the State Plan?

    (a) * * *

    (2) State and local boards under WIOA;

    8. Amend § 641.320 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 641.320 Must all national grantees operating within a State participate in the State planning process?

    (b) National grantees serving older American Indians, or Pacific Island and Asian Americans, with funds reserved under OAA sec. 506(a)(3), are exempted from the requirement to participate in the State planning processes under sec. 503(a)(9) of the OAA. Although these national grantees may choose not to participate in the State planning process, the Department encourages their participation. Only those grantees using reserved funds are exempt; if a grantee is awarded one grant with reserved funds and another grant with non-reserved funds, the grantee is required under paragraph (a) of this section to participate in the State planning process for purposes of the non-reserved funds grant.

    9. Amend § 641.325 by revising paragraphs (c), (d), (e), and (f) to read as follows:
    § 641.325 What information must be provided in the State Plan?

    (c) The current and projected employment opportunities in the State (such as by providing information available under sec. 15 of the Wagner-Peyser Act (29 U.S.C. 49l-2) by occupation), and the types of skills possessed by eligible individuals;

    (d) The localities and populations for which projects of the type authorized by OAA title V are most needed;

    (e) Actions taken and/or planned to coordinate activities of SCSEP grantees in the State with activities carried out in the State under title I of WIOA;

    (f) A description of the process used to obtain advice and recommendations on the State Plan from representatives of organizations and individuals listed in § 641.315, and advice and recommendations on steps to coordinate SCSEP services with activities funded under title I of WIOA from representatives of organizations listed in § 641.335;

    10. Revise § 641.335 to read as follows:
    § 641.335 How should the Governor, or the highest government official, address the coordination of SCSEP services with activities funded under title I of WIOA?

    The Governor, or the highest government official, must seek the advice and recommendations from representatives of the State and local area agencies on aging in the State and the State and local boards established under title I of WIOA. (OAA sec. 503(a)(2).) The State Plan must describe the steps that are being taken to coordinate SCSEP activities within the State with activities being carried out under title I of WIOA. (OAA sec. 503(a)(4)(F).) The State Plan must describe the steps being taken to ensure that the SCSEP is an active partner in each One-Stop delivery system and the steps that will be taken to encourage and improve coordination with the One-Stop delivery system.

    11. Amend § 641.365 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 641.365 How must the equitable distribution provisions be reconciled with the provision that disruptions to current participants should be avoided?

    (a) Governors, or highest government officials, must describe in the State Plan the steps that are being taken to comply with the statutory requirement to avoid disruptions in the provision of services for participants. (OAA sec. 503(a)(7).)

    12. Add § 641.370 to subpart C to read as follows:
    § 641.370 May a State incorporate its 4-year plan for SCSEP into a Combined State Plan under WIOA?

    Yes. A State may include its 4-year plan for SCSEP in its WIOA Combined State Plan according to the requirements in 20 CFR 676.140 through 676.145. For a State that obtains approval of that Combined State Plan under 20 CFR 676.143, the requirements of sec. 103 of WIOA and 20 CFR part 676 will apply in lieu of sec. 503(a) of the OAA and this subpart, and any reference in this part to a “State Plan” will be considered to be a reference to that Combined State Plan.

    Subpart D—Grant Application and Responsibility Review Requirements for State and National SCSEP Grants 13. Amend § 641.410 by revising paragraph (c) to read as follows:
    § 641.410 How does an eligible entity apply?

    (c) State applicants. A State that submits a Combined State Plan under sec. 103 of WIOA may include the State's SCSEP grant application in its Combined State Plan. Any State that submits a SCSEP grant application as part of its WIOA Combined State Plan must address all of the application requirements as published in the Department's instructions. Sections 641.300 through 641.370 address State Plans and modifications.

    Subpart E—Services to Participants 14. Revise § 641.500 to read as follows:
    § 641.500 Who is eligible to participate in the SCSEP?

    Anyone who is at least 55 years old, unemployed (as defined in § 641.140), and who is a member of a family with an income that is not more than 125 percent of the family income levels prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services and approved by OMB (Federal poverty guidelines) is eligible to participate in the SCSEP. (OAA sec. 518(a)(3), (9).) A person with a disability may be treated as a “family of one” for income eligibility determination purposes at the option of the applicant.

    15. Revise § 641.512 to read as follows:
    § 641.512 May grantees and sub-recipients enroll otherwise eligible job ready individuals and place them directly into unsubsidized employment?

    No, grantees and sub-recipients may not enroll as SCSEP participants job-ready individuals who can be directly placed into unsubsidized employment. Such individuals should be referred to an employment provider, such as the One-Stop Center for job placement assistance under WIOA or another employment program.

    16. Amend § 641.535 by revising paragraphs (a)(2)(ii), (a)(3)(i), and (a)(7) to read as follows:
    § 641.535 What services must grantees and sub-recipients provide to participants?

    (a) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (ii) Performing an initial assessment upon program entry, unless an assessment has already been performed under title I of WIOA as provided in § 641.230. Subsequent assessments may be made as necessary, but must be made no less frequently than two times during a 12-month period (including the initial assessment);

    (3)(i) Using the information gathered during the initial assessment to develop an IEP that includes an appropriate employment goal for each participant, except that if an assessment has already been performed and an IEP developed under title I of WIOA, the WIOA assessment and IEP will satisfy the requirement for a SCSEP assessment and IEP as provided in § 641.230;

    (7) Providing appropriate services for participants, or referring participants to appropriate services, through the One-Stop delivery system established under WIOA (OAA sec. 502(b)(1)(O));

    17. Amend § 641.540 by revising paragraph (c) to read as follows:
    § 641.540 What types of training may grantees and sub-recipients provide to SCSEP participants in addition to the training received at a community service assignment?

    (c) Training may be in the form of lectures, seminars, classroom instruction, individual instruction, online instruction, and on-the-job experiences. Training may be provided by the grantee or through other arrangements, including but not limited to, arrangements with other workforce development programs such as WIOA. (OAA sec. 502(c)(6)(A)(ii).)

    18. Amend § 641.545 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 641.545 What supportive services may grantees and sub-recipients provide to participants?

    (a) Grantees and sub-recipients are required to assess all participants' need for supportive services and to make every effort to assist participants in obtaining needed supportive services. Grantees and sub-recipients may provide directly or arrange for supportive services that are necessary to enable an individual to successfully participate in a SCSEP project, including but not limited to payment of reasonable costs of transportation; health and medical services; special job-related or personal counseling; incidentals such as work shoes, badges, uniforms, eyeglasses, and tools; dependent care; housing, including temporary shelter; needs-related payments; and follow-up services. (OAA secs. 502(c)(6)(A)(iv), 518(a)(8).)

    19. Amend § 641.565 by revising paragraph (a)(1)(ii) to read as follows:
    § 641.565 What policies govern the provision of wages and benefits to participants?

    (a) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (ii) SCSEP participants may be paid the highest applicable required wage while receiving WIOA career services.

    Subpart F—Pilot, Demonstration, and Evaluation Projects 20. Amend § 641.630 by revising the section heading and paragraph (b)(2) to read as follows:
    § 641.630 What pilot, demonstration, and evaluation project activities are allowable under the Older Americans Act?

    (b) * * *

    (2) Improve the provision of services to eligible individuals under One-Stop delivery systems established under title I of WIOA;

    21. Revise subpart G to read as follows: Subpart G—Performance Accountability Sec. 641.700 What performance measures apply to Senior Community Service Employment Program grantees? 641.710 How are the performance measures defined? 641.720 How will the Department and grantees initially determine and then adjust expected levels of the core performance measures? 641.730 How will the Department assist grantees in the transition to the new core performance measures? 641.740 How will the Department determine whether a grantee fails, meets, or exceeds the expected levels of performance and what will be the consequences of failing to meet expected levels of performance? 641.750 Will there be performance-related incentives? Subpart G—Performance Accountability
    § 641.700 What performance measures apply to Senior Community Service Employment Program grantees?

    (a) Measures of performance. There are seven core performance measures. Core measures (defined in § 641.710) are subject to goal-setting and corrective action (described in § 641.720); that is, performance level goals for each core measure must be agreed upon between the Department and each grantee as described in § 641.720, and if a grantee fails to meet the performance level goals for the core measures, that grantee is subject to corrective action.

    (b) Core measures. Section 513(b)(1) of the OAA establishes the following core measures of performance:

    (1) Hours (in the aggregate) of community service employment;

    (2) The percentage of project participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after exit from the project;

    (3) The percentage of project participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the fourth quarter after exit from the project;

    (4) The median earnings of project participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after exit from the project;

    (5) Indicators of effectiveness in serving employers, host agencies, and project participants;

    (6) The number of eligible individuals served; and

    (7) The number of most-in-need individuals served (the number of participating individuals described in OAA sec. 518(a)(3)(B)(ii) or (b)(2)).

    (c) Affected entities. The core measures of performance are applicable to each grantee without regard to whether such grantee operates the program directly or through sub-contracts, sub-grants, or agreements with other entities. Grantees must assure that their sub-grantees and lower-tier sub-grantees are collecting and reporting program data.

    (d) Required evaluation and reporting. An agreement to be evaluated on the core measures of performance is a requirement for application for, and is a condition of, all SCSEP grants.

    § 641.710 How are the performance measures defined?

    The core measures are defined as follows:

    (a) “Hours of community service employment” is defined as the total number of hours of community service provided by SCSEP participants divided by the number of hours of community service funded by the grantee's grant, after adjusting for differences in minimum wage among the States and areas. Paid training hours are excluded from this measure.

    (b) “The percentage of project participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after exit from the project” is defined by the formula: The number of participants who exited during the reporting period who are employed in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after the exit quarter divided by the number of participants who exited during the reporting period multiplied by 100.

    (c) “The percentage of project participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the fourth quarter after exit from the project” is defined by the formula: The number of participants who exited during the reporting period who are employed in unsubsidized employment during the fourth quarter after the exit quarter divided by the number of participants who exited during the reporting period multiplied by 100.

    (d) “The median earnings of project participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after exit from the project” is defined by the formula: For all participants who exited and are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after the exit quarter: The wage that is at the midpoint (of all the wages) between the highest and lowest wage earned in the second quarter after the exit quarter.

    (e) “Indicators of effectiveness in serving employers, host agencies, and project participants” is defined as the combined results of customer assessments of the services received by each of these three customer groups.

    (f) “The number of eligible individuals served” is defined as the total number of participants served divided by a grantee's authorized number of positions, after adjusting for differences in minimum wage among the States and areas.

    (g) “Most-in-need” or the number of participating individuals described in OAA sec. 518(a)(3)(B)(ii) or (b)(2) is defined by counting the total number of the following characteristics for all participants and dividing by the number of participants served. Participants are characterized as most-in-need if they:

    (1) Have a severe disability;

    (2) Are frail;

    (3) Are age 75 or older;

    (4) Meet the eligibility requirements related to age for, but do not receive, benefits under title II of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 401 et seq.);

    (5) Live in an area with persistent unemployment and are individuals with severely limited employment prospects;

    (6) Have limited English proficiency;

    (7) Have low literacy skills;

    (8) Have a disability;

    (9) Reside in a rural area;

    (10) Are veterans;

    (11) Have low employment prospects;

    (12) Have failed to find employment after utilizing services provided under title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act; or

    (13) Are homeless or at risk for homelessness.

    § 641.720 How will the Department and grantees initially determine and then adjust expected levels of the core performance measures?

    (a) First 2 years. Before the beginning of the first program year of the grant, each grantee must reach agreement with the Department on levels of performance for each measure listed in § 641.700 for each of the first 2 program years covered by the grant agreement. In reaching the agreement, the grantee and the Department must take into account the expected levels of performance proposed by the grantee and the factors described in paragraph (c) of this section.

    The levels agreed to will be considered the expected levels of performance for the grantee for such program years. Funds may not be awarded under the grant until such agreement is reached. At the conclusion of negotiations concerning the performance levels with all grantees, the Department will make available for public review the final negotiated expected levels of performance for each grantee, including any comments submitted by the grantee regarding the grantee's satisfaction with the negotiated levels.

    (b) Third and fourth year. Each grantee must reach agreement with the Department prior to the third program year covered by the grant agreement, on levels of performance for each measure listed in § 641.700, for each of the third and fourth program years so covered. In reaching the agreement, the grantee and the Department must take into account the expected levels of performance proposed by the grantee and the factors described in paragraph (c) of this section. The levels agreed to will be considered to be the expected levels of performance for the grantee for such program years. Funds may not be awarded under the grant until such agreement is reached. At the conclusion of negotiations concerning the performance levels with all grantees, the Department will make available for public review the final negotiated expected levels of performance for each grantee, including any comments submitted by the grantee regarding the grantee's satisfaction with the negotiated levels.

    (c) Factors. In reaching the agreements described in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, each grantee and the Department must:

    (1) Take into account how the levels involved compare with the expected levels of performance established for other grantees;

    (2) Ensure that the levels involved are adjusted, using an objective statistical model based on the model established by the Secretary of Labor with the Secretary of Education in accordance with sec. 116(b)(3)(A)(viii) of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (29 U.S.C. 3141(b)(3)(A)(viii)); and

    (3) Take into account the extent to which the levels involved promote continuous improvement in performance accountability on the core measures and ensure optimal return on the investment of Federal funds.

    (d) Adjustments based on economic conditions and individuals served during the program year. The Department will, in accordance with the objective statistical model developed pursuant to paragraph (c)(2) of this section, adjust the expected levels of performance for a program year for grantees to reflect the actual economic conditions and characteristics of participants in the corresponding projects during such program year.

    § 641.730 How will the Department assist grantees in the transition to the new core performance measures?

    As soon as practicable after January 2, 2018, the Department will determine if a SCSEP grantee's performance under the measures in effect prior to January 2, 2018 would have met the expected levels of performance for the Program Year 2018. If the Department determines that the grantee would have failed to meet the Program Year 2018 expected levels of performance, the Department will provide technical assistance to help the grantee to transition to eventually meet the expected levels of performance under the measures in § 641.700.

    § 641.740 How will the Department determine whether a grantee fails, meets, or exceeds the expected levels of performance and what will be the consequences of failing to meet expected levels of performance?

    (a) Aggregate calculation of performance. Not later than 120 days after the end of each program year, the Department will determine if a grantee has met the expected levels of performance including any adjustments to such levels made in accordance with § 641.720(d) by aggregating the grantee's core measures. The aggregate is calculated by combining the percentage of goal achieved on each of the individual core measures to obtain an average score. A grantee will fail to meet its performance measures when it is does not meet 80 percent of the agreed-upon level of performance for the aggregate of all the core measures. Performance in the range of 80 to 100 percent constitutes meeting the level for the core performance measures. Performance in excess of 100 percent constitutes exceeding the level for the core performance measures.

    (b) Consequences—(1) National grantees. (i) If the Department determines that a national grantee fails to meet the expected levels of performance in a program year, as described in paragraph (a) of this section, the Department, after each year of such failure, will provide technical assistance and will require such grantee to submit a corrective action plan not later than 160 days after the end of the program year.

    (ii) The corrective action plan must detail the steps the grantee will take to meet the expected levels of performance in the next program year.

    (iii) Any national grantee that has failed to meet the expected levels of performance for 4 consecutive years will not be allowed to compete in the subsequent grant competition, but may compete in the next grant competition after that subsequent competition.

    (2) State grantees. (i) If the Department determines that a State fails to meet the expected levels of performance, as described in paragraph (a) of this section, the Department, after each year of such failure, will provide technical assistance and will require the State to submit a corrective action plan not later than 160 days after the end of the program year.

    (ii) The corrective action plan must detail the steps the State will take to meet the expected levels of performance in the next program year.

    (iii) If the Department determines that the State fails to meet the expected levels of performance for 3 consecutive program years the Department will require the State to conduct a competition to award the funds allotted to the State under sec. 506(e) of the OAA for the first full program year following the Department's determination. The new grantee will be responsible for administering the SCSEP in the State and will be subject to the same requirements and responsibilities as had been the State grantee.

    (c) Evaluation. The Department will annually evaluate, publish and make available for public review, information on the actual performance of each grantee with respect to the levels achieved for each of the core measures of performance, compared to the expected levels of performance established under § 641.720 (including any adjustments to such levels made in accordance with § 641.720(d)). The results of the Department's annual evaluation will be reported to Congress.

    § 641.750 Will there be performance-related incentives?

    The Department is authorized by OAA secs. 502(e)(2)(B)(iv) and 517(c)(1) to use recaptured SCSEP funds to provide incentive awards. The Department will exercise this authority at its discretion.

    Subpart H—Administrative Requirements 22. Amend § 641.827 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 641.827 What general nondiscrimination requirements apply to the use of SCSEP funds?

    (b) Recipients and sub-recipients of SCSEP funds are required to comply with the nondiscrimination provisions codified in the Department's regulations at 29 CFR part 38 if:

    (1) The recipient:

    (i) Is a One-Stop partner listed in sec. 121(b) of WIOA, and

    (ii) Operates programs and activities that are part of the One-Stop delivery system established under WIOA; or

    (2) The recipient otherwise satisfies the definition of “recipient” in 29 CFR 38.4.

    23. Amend § 641.833 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 641.833 What policies govern political patronage?

    (a) A recipient or sub-recipient must not select, reject, promote, or terminate an individual based on political services provided by the individual or on the individual's political affiliations or beliefs. In addition, as provided in § 641.827(b), certain recipients and sub-recipients of SCSEP funds are required to comply with WIOA nondiscrimination regulations in 29 CFR part 38. These regulations prohibit discrimination on the basis of political affiliation or belief.

    24. Amend § 641.850 by revising paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 641.850 Are there other specific allowable and unallowable cost requirements for the SCSEP?

    (d) One-Stop costs. Costs of participating as a required partner in the One-Stop delivery system established in accordance with sec. 121(e) of WIOA are allowable, provided that SCSEP services and funding are provided in accordance with the MOU required by WIOA and OAA sec. 502(b)(1)(O), and costs are determined in accordance with the applicable cost principles. The costs of services provided by the SCSEP, including those provided by participants/enrollees, may comprise a portion or the total of a SCSEP project's proportionate share of One-Stop costs.

    Subpart I—Grievance Procedures and Appeals Process 25. Amend § 641.910 by revising paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 641.910 What grievance procedures must grantees make available to applicants, employees, and participants?

    (d) Questions about, or complaints alleging a violation of, the nondiscrimination requirements of title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, sec. 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, sec. 188 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), or their implementing regulations, may be directed or mailed to the Director, Civil Rights Center, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-4123, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210. In the alternative, complaints alleging violations of WIOA sec. 188 may be filed initially at the grantee level. See 29 CFR 38.69, 38.72. In such cases, the grantee must use complaint processing procedures meeting the requirements of 29 CFR 38.69 through 38.76 to resolve the complaint.

    26. Amend § 641.920 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 641.920 What actions of the Department may a grantee appeal and what procedures apply to those appeals?

    (b) Appeals of suspension or termination actions taken on the grounds of discrimination are processed under 29 CFR part 31 or 29 CFR part 38, as appropriate.

    Rosemary Lahasky, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training, Labor.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25834 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-FN-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2017-0995] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, Chesapeake, VA 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 S168/Great Bridge bridge, which carries SR168 (Battlefield Boulevard South) over the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AICW), Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, mile 12.0, at Chesapeake, VA. The deviation is necessary to facilitate the Annual Chesapeake Rotary Christmas Parade. This deviation allows the bridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position.

    DATES:

    The deviation is effective from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., on Saturday, December 2, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2017-0995] is available at http://www.regulations.gov. Type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH”. Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this deviation.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this temporary deviation, call or email Mr. Michael Thorogood, Bridge Administration Branch Fifth District, Coast Guard, telephone 757-398-6557, email [email protected]

    SUPPLMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The City of Chesapeake, owner and operator of the S168/Great Bridge bridge that carries SR 168/Battlefield Boulevard South over the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AICW), Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, mile 12.0, at Chesapeake, VA, has requested a temporary deviation from the current operating regulations to ensure the safety of the increased volumes of spectators that will be participating in the Annual Chesapeake Rotary Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 2, 2017. This bridge is a double bascule drawbridge, with a vertical clearance of 8 feet above mean high water in the closed position and unlimited vertical clearance in the open position.

    The current operating regulation is set out in 33 CFR 117.997(g). Under this temporary deviation, the bridge will be maintained in the closed-to-navigation position from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, December 2, 2017.

    The AICW, Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, is used by a variety of vessels including U.S. government vessels, small commercial vessels, recreational vessels and tug and barge traffic. The Coast Guard has carefully coordinated the restrictions with waterway users in publishing this temporary deviation.

    Vessels able to pass through the bridge in the closed-to-navigation position may do so at anytime. The bridge will be able to open for emergencies and there is no immediate alternative route for vessels unable to pass through the bridge in the closed position. 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: November 28, 2017. Hal R. Pitts, Bridge Program Manager, Fifth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26072 Filed 11-29-17; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Patent and Trademark Office 37 CFR Part 6 [Docket No. PTO-T-2017-0040] RIN 0651-AD27 International Trademark Classification Changes AGENCY:

    United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issues a final rule to incorporate classification changes adopted by the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (Nice Agreement). These changes are effective January 1, 2018, and are listed in the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (11th ed., ver. 2018), which is published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

    DATES:

    This rule is effective on January 1, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Catherine Cain, Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Examination Policy, at (571) 272-8946 or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Purpose: As noted above, this final rule incorporates classification changes adopted by the Nice Agreement that will become effective on January 1, 2018. This rule benefits the public by providing notice regarding these changes.

    Summary of Major Provisions: The USPTO is revising § 6.1 in part 6 of title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations to incorporate classification changes and modifications that will become effective January 1, 2018, as listed in the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (11th ed., 2018) (Nice Classification), published by WIPO.

    The Nice Agreement is a multilateral treaty, administered by WIPO, which establishes the international classification of goods and services for the purposes of registering trademarks and service marks. As of September 1, 1973, this international classification system is the controlling system used by the United States, and it applies to all applications filed on or after September 1, 1973, and their resulting registrations, for all statutory purposes. See 37 CFR 2.85(a). Every signatory to the Nice Agreement must utilize the international classification system.

    Each state party to the Nice Agreement is represented in the Committee of Experts of the Nice Union (Committee of Experts), which meets annually to vote on proposed changes to the Nice Classification. Any state that is a party to the Nice Agreement may submit proposals for consideration by the other members in accordance with agreed-upon rules of procedure. Proposals are currently submitted on an annual basis to an electronic forum on the WIPO Web site, commented upon, modified, and compiled by WIPO for further discussion and voting at the annual Committee of Experts meeting.

    In 2013, the Committee of Experts began annual revisions to the Nice Classification. The annual revisions, which are published electronically and enter into force on January 1 each year, are referred to as versions and identified by edition number and year of the effective date (e.g., “Nice Classification, 10th edition, version 2013” or “NCL 10-2013”). Each annual version includes all changes adopted by the Committee of Experts since the adoption of the previous version. The changes consist of the addition of new goods and services to, and deletion of goods and services from, the Alphabetical List, and any modifications to the wording in the Alphabetical List, the class headings, and the explanatory notes that do not involve the transfer of goods or services from one class to another. New editions of the Nice Classification continue to be published electronically and include all changes adopted annually since the previous version, as well as goods or services transferred from one class to another or new classes that are created.

    The annual revisions contained in this final rule consist of modifications to the class headings that have been incorporated into the Nice Agreement by the Committee of Experts. Under the Nice Classification, there are 34 classes of goods and 11 classes of services, each with a class heading. Class headings generally indicate the fields to which goods and services belong. Specifically, this rule adds new, or deletes existing, goods and services from 10 class headings. The changes to the class headings further define the types of goods and/or services appropriate to the class. As a signatory to the Nice Agreement, the United States adopts these revisions pursuant to Article 1.

    Costs and Benefits: This rulemaking is not economically significant under Executive Order 12866 (Sept. 30, 1993).

    Discussion of Regulatory Changes

    The USPTO is revising § 6.1 as follows:

    In Class 1, the wording “Chemicals used in industry, science and photography” is amended to “Chemicals for use in industry, science and photography.” “Manures;” is deleted where it appears as a separate clause. The wording “fire extinguishing compositions” is amended to “fire extinguishing and fire prevention compositions.” “Chemical substances for preserving foodstuffs;” is deleted. The wording “tanning substances” is amended to “substances for tanning animal skins and hides.” The wording “adhesives used in industry” is amended to “adhesives for use in industry;” and “putties and other paste fillers; compost, manures, fertilizers; biological preparations for use in industry and science” is added thereafter.

    In Class 2, a comma is inserted after “colorants,” the term “dyes” is added, and the wording and punctuation “inks for printing, marking and engraving;” is added thereafter. “Mordants;” is deleted.

    “Non-medicated cosmetics and toiletry preparations; non-medicated dentifrices; perfumery, essential oils;” is added to the beginning of Class 3, and the capital letter in “Bleaching” is changed to lower case. A semi-colon is deleted after “abrasive preparations” and the wording “non-medicated soaps; perfumery, essential oils, non-medicated cosmetics, non-medicated hair lotions; non-medicated dentifrices” is also deleted from the end of Class 3.

    In Class 4, a comma is inserted after “greases” and the term “wax” is added thereafter. The wording and parentheses “(including motor spirit)” is deleted.

    In Class 7, “Machines and machine tools” is amended to “Machines, machine tools, power-operated tools.” A comma is added after “engines” and the parentheses around “except for land vehicles” are deleted. A comma is also inserted after “transmission components” and the parentheses around “except for land vehicles” are also deleted. The wording “agricultural implements other than hand-operated” is amended to “agricultural implements, other than hand-operated hand tools.”

    In Class 8, “Hand tools and implements (hand-operated)” is amended to “Hand tools and implements, hand-operated.” The wording “side arms” is amended to “side arms, except firearms.”

    In Class 16, “artists' and drawing materials” is amended to “drawing materials and materials for artists.”

    In Class 21, the wording “cookware and tableware, except forks, knives and spoons;” is added.

    In Class 29, “edible oils and fats” is amended to “oils and fats for food.”

    In Class 30, “(frozen water)” is added after the word “ice.”

    Rulemaking Requirements

    A. Administrative Procedure Act: The changes in this rulemaking involve rules of agency practice and procedure, and/or interpretive rules. See Perez v. Mortg. Bankers Ass'n, 135 S. Ct. 1199, 1204 (2015) (Interpretive rules “advise the public of the agency's construction of the statutes and rules which it administers.” (citation and internal quotation marks omitted)); Nat'l Org. of Veterans' Advocates v. Sec'y of Veterans Affairs, 260 F.3d 1365, 1375 (Fed. Cir. 2001) (Rule that clarifies interpretation of a statute is interpretive.); Bachow Commc'ns Inc. v. FCC, 237 F.3d 683, 690 (D.C. Cir. 2001) (Rules governing an application process are procedural under the Administrative Procedure Act.); Inova Alexandria Hosp. v. Shalala, 244 F.3d 342, 350 (4th Cir. 2001) (Rules for handling appeals were procedural where they did not change the substantive standard for reviewing claims.).

    Accordingly, prior notice and opportunity for public comment for the changes in this rulemaking are not required pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b) or (c), or any other law. See Perez, 135 S. Ct. at 1206 (Notice-and-comment procedures are required neither when an agency “issue[s] an initial interpretive rule” nor “when it amends or repeals that interpretive rule.”); Cooper Techs. Co. v. Dudas, 536 F.3d 1330, 1336-37 (Fed. Cir. 2008) (stating that 5 U.S.C. 553, and thus 35 U.S.C. 2(b)(2)(B), does not require notice and comment rulemaking for “interpretative rules, general statements of policy, or rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice” (quoting 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(A))).

    B. Regulatory Flexibility Act: As prior notice and an opportunity for public comment are not required pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553 or any other law, neither a Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis, nor a certification under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601, et seq.), is required. See 5 U.S.C. 603.

    C. Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review): This rulemaking has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.

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

    E. Executive Order 13771 (Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs): This rule is not an Executive Order 13771 regulatory action because this rule is not significant under Executive Order 12866.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    P. Paperwork Reduction Act: This final rule does not involve information collection requirements which are subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

    List of Subjects in 37 CFR Part 6

    Administrative practice and procedure, Classification, Trademarks.

    For the reasons given in the preamble and under the authority contained in 15 U.S.C. 1112, 1123 and 35 U.S.C. 2, as amended, the USPTO is amending part 6 of title 37 as follows:

    PART 6—CLASSIFICATION OF GOODS AND SERVICES UNDER THE TRADEMARK ACT 1. The authority citation for 37 CFR part 6 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Secs. 30, 41, 60 Stat. 436, 440; 15 U.S.C. 1112, 1123; 35 U.S.C. 2, unless otherwise noted.

    2. Revise § 6.1 to read as follows:
    § 6.1 International schedule of classes of goods and services. Goods

    1. Chemicals for use in industry, science and photography, as well as in agriculture, horticulture and forestry; unprocessed artificial resins, unprocessed plastics; fire extinguishing and fire prevention compositions; tempering and soldering preparations; substances for tanning animal skins and hides; adhesives for use in industry; putties and other paste fillers; compost, manures, fertilizers; biological preparations for use in industry and science.

    2. Paints, varnishes, lacquers; preservatives against rust and against deterioration of wood; colorants, dyes; inks for printing, marking and engraving; raw natural resins; metals in foil and powder form for use in painting, decorating, printing and art.

    3. Non-medicated cosmetics and toiletry preparations; non-medicated dentifrices; perfumery, essential oils; bleaching preparations and other substances for laundry use; cleaning, polishing, scouring and abrasive preparations.

    4. Industrial oils and greases, wax; lubricants; dust absorbing, wetting and binding compositions; fuels and illuminants; candles and wicks for lighting.

    5. Pharmaceuticals, medical and veterinary preparations; sanitary preparations for medical purposes; dietetic food and substances adapted for medical use or veterinary use, food for babies; dietary supplements for humans and animals; plasters, materials for dressings; material for stopping teeth, dental wax; disinfectants; preparations for destroying vermin; fungicides, herbicides.

    6. Common metals and their alloys, ores; metal materials for building and construction; transportable buildings of metal; non-electric cables and wires of common metal; small items of metal hardware; metal containers for storage or transport; safes.

    7. Machines, machine tools, power-operated tools; motors and engines, except for land vehicles; machine coupling and transmission components, except for land vehicles; agricultural implements, other than hand-operated hand tools; incubators for eggs; automatic vending machines.

    8. Hand tools and implements, hand-operated; cutlery; side arms, except firearms; razors.

    9. Scientific, nautical, surveying, photographic, cinematographic, optical, weighing, measuring, signalling, checking (supervision), life-saving and teaching apparatus and instruments; apparatus and instruments for conducting, switching, transforming, accumulating, regulating or controlling electricity; apparatus for recording, transmission or reproduction of sound or images; magnetic data carriers, recording discs; compact discs, DVDs and other digital recording media; mechanisms for coin-operated apparatus; cash registers, calculating machines, data processing equipment, computers; computer software; fire-extinguishing apparatus.

    10. Surgical, medical, dental and veterinary apparatus and instruments; artificial limbs, eyes and teeth; orthopaedic articles; suture materials; therapeutic and assistive devices adapted for the disabled; massage apparatus; apparatus, devices and articles for nursing infants; sexual activity apparatus, devices and articles.

    11. Apparatus for lighting, heating, steam generating, cooking, refrigerating, drying, ventilating, water supply and sanitary purposes.

    12. Vehicles; apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water.

    13. Firearms; ammunition and projectiles; explosives; fireworks.

    14. Precious metals and their alloys; jewellery, precious and semi-precious stones; horological and chronometric instruments.

    15. Musical instruments.

    16. Paper and cardboard; printed matter; bookbinding material; photographs; stationery and office requisites, except furniture; adhesives for stationery or household purposes; drawing materials and materials for artists; paintbrushes; instructional and teaching materials; plastic sheets, films and bags for wrapping and packaging; printers' type, printing blocks.

    17. Unprocessed and semi-processed rubber, gutta-percha, gum, asbestos, mica and substitutes for all these materials; plastics and resins in extruded form for use in manufacture; packing, stopping and insulating materials; flexible pipes, tubes and hoses, not of metal.

    18. Leather and imitations of leather; animal skins and hides; luggage and carrying bags; umbrellas and parasols; walking sticks; whips, harness and saddlery; collars, leashes and clothing for animals.

    19. Building materials (non-metallic); non-metallic rigid pipes for building; asphalt, pitch and bitumen; non-metallic transportable buildings; monuments, not of metal.

    20. Furniture, mirrors, picture frames; containers, not of metal, for storage or transport; unworked or semi-worked bone, horn, whalebone or mother-of-pearl; shells; meerschaum; yellow amber.

    21. Household or kitchen utensils and containers; cookware and tableware, except forks, knives and spoons; combs and sponges; brushes, except paintbrushes; brush-making materials; articles for cleaning purposes; unworked or semi-worked glass, except building glass; glassware, porcelain and earthenware.

    22. Ropes and string; nets; tents and tarpaulins; awnings of textile or synthetic materials; sails; sacks for the transport and storage of materials in bulk; padding, cushioning and stuffing materials, except of paper, cardboard, rubber or plastics; raw fibrous textile materials and substitutes therefor.

    23. Yarns and threads, for textile use.

    24. Textiles and substitutes for textiles; household linen; curtains of textile or plastic.

    25. Clothing, footwear, headgear.

    26. Lace and embroidery, ribbons and braid; buttons, hooks and eyes, pins and needles; artificial flowers; hair decorations; false hair.

    27. Carpets, rugs, mats and matting, linoleum and other materials for covering existing floors; wall hangings (non-textile).

    28. Games, toys and playthings; video game apparatus; gymnastic and sporting articles; decorations for Christmas trees.

    29. Meat, fish, poultry and game; meat extracts; preserved, frozen, dried and cooked fruits and vegetables; jellies, jams, compotes; eggs; milk and milk products; oils and fats for food.

    30. Coffee, tea, cocoa and artificial coffee; rice; tapioca and sago; flour and preparations made from cereals; bread, pastries and confectionery; edible ices; sugar, honey, treacle; yeast, baking-powder; salt; mustard; vinegar, sauces (condiments); spices; ice (frozen water).

    31. Raw and unprocessed agricultural, aquacultural, horticultural and forestry products; raw and unprocessed grains and seeds; fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs; natural plants and flowers; bulbs, seedlings and seeds for planting; live animals; foodstuffs and beverages for animals; malt.

    32. Beers; mineral and aerated waters and other non-alcoholic beverages; fruit beverages and fruit juices; syrups and other preparations for making beverages.

    33. Alcoholic beverages (except beers).

    34. Tobacco; smokers' articles; matches.

    Services

    35. Advertising; business management; business administration; office functions.

    36. Insurance; financial affairs; monetary affairs; real estate affairs.

    37. Building construction; repair; installation services.

    38. Telecommunications.

    39. Transport; packaging and storage of goods; travel arrangement.

    40. Treatment of materials.

    41. Education; providing of training; entertainment; sporting and cultural activities.

    42. Scientific and technological services and research and design relating thereto; industrial analysis and research services; design and development of computer hardware and software.

    43. Services for providing food and drink; temporary accommodation.

    44. Medical services; veterinary services; hygienic and beauty care for human beings or animals; agriculture, horticulture and forestry services.

    45. Legal services; security services for the physical protection of tangible property and individuals; personal and social services rendered by others to meet the needs of individuals.

    Dated: November 27, 2017. Joseph D. Matal, Associate Solicitor, performing the functions and duties of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25880 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-16-P
    LIBRARY OF CONGRESS U.S. Copyright Office 37 CFR Parts 201 and 202 [Docket No. 2017-8] Secure Tests: Extension of Comment Period AGENCY:

    U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress.

    ACTION:

    Interim rule with request for comments; extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Copyright Office is extending the deadline for the submission of written comments in response to its June 12, 2017 and November 13, 2017 interim rules, regarding changes to the special procedure for examining secure tests, and the creation of a new group registration option for secure tests, respectively.

    DATES:

    The comment period for the interim rules, published on June 12, 2017 (82 FR 26850), and November 13, 2017 (82 FR 52224), is extended. Comments must be made in writing and must be received in the U.S. Copyright Office no later than January 31, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    For reasons of government efficiency, the Copyright Office is using the regulations.gov system for the submission and posting of public comments in this proceeding. All comments are therefore to be submitted electronically through regulations.gov. Specific instructions for submitting comments are available on the Copyright Office Web site at https://www.copyright.gov/rulemaking/securetests/. If electronic submission of comments is not feasible due to lack of access to a computer and/or the internet, please contact the Office for special instructions using the contact information below.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Robert J. Kasunic, Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Registration Policy and Practice; Sarang Vijay Damle, General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights; Erik Bertin, Deputy Director of Registration Policy and Practice; or Abioye Ella Mosheim, Attorney-Advisor, by telephone at 202- 707-8040 or by email at [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    As detailed in a June 12, 2017 interim rule,1 the U.S. Copyright Office memorialized its special procedures for examining secure tests. As detailed in a November 13, 2017 interim rule,2 the Office established a new group registration option for secure test questions. The Office is extending the December 11, 2017 deadline for the submission of written comments to allow greater time for public comment following implementation of the November 13, 2017 interim rule.

    1 82 FR 26850 (June 12, 2017).

    2 82 FR 52224 (Nov. 13, 2017).

    Dated: November 27, 2017. Sarang V. Damle, General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25859 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1410-30-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 300 [EPA-HQ-SFUND-2002-0001; FRL-9971-32-Region 1] National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan; National Priorities List: Deletion of the Hatheway & Patterson Superfund Site AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency.

    ACTION:

    Direct final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 1 is publishing a direct final Notice of Deletion of the Hatheway & Patterson Superfund Site (Site), located in Mansfield and Foxborough, Massachusetts, from the National Priorities List (NPL). The NPL, promulgated pursuant to section 105 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, as amended, is an appendix of the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP). This direct final deletion is being published by EPA with the concurrence of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, through Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), because EPA has determined that all appropriate response actions under CERCLA, other than operation, maintenance, monitoring, and five-year reviews, have been completed. However, this deletion does not preclude future actions under Superfund.

    DATES:

    This direct final deletion is effective January 30, 2018 unless EPA receives adverse comments by January 2, 2018. If adverse comments are received, EPA will publish a timely withdrawal of the direct final deletion in the Federal Register informing the public that the deletion will not take effect.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-SFUND-2002-0001, at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Comments may also be submitted by email or mail to Kimberly White, Remedial Project Manager for Hatheway & Patterson Superfund Site, Office of Site Remediation and Restoration, Mail Code: OSRR07-1, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 1, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 100, Boston, MA 02109-3912, email: [email protected] or Emily Bender, Community Involvement Coordinator, Office of the Regional Administrator, Mail Code: ORA01-3, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 100, Boston, MA 02109-3912, email: [email protected] Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. The EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. The EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e. on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit https://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically through http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the site information repositories.

    Locations, contacts, phone numbers and viewing hours are: U.S. EPA Region 1, Superfund Records Center, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 100, Boston, MA 02109, Phone: 617-918-1440, Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday—Closed.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kimberly White, Remedial Project Manager for Hatheway & Patterson Superfund Site, Office of Site Remediation and Restoration, Mail Code: OSRR07-1, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 1, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 100, Boston, MA 02109-3912, telephone number: 617-918-1752, email address: [email protected] or Emily Bender, Community Involvement Coordinator, Office of the Regional Administrator, Mail Code: ORA01-3, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 100, Boston, MA 02109-3912, telephone number: 617-918-1037, email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents I. Introduction II. NPL Deletion Criteria III. Deletion Procedures IV. Basis for Site Deletion V. Deletion Action I. Introduction

    EPA Region 1 is publishing this direct final Notice of Deletion of the Hatheway & Patterson Superfund Site (Site), from the National Priorities List (NPL). The NPL constitutes Appendix B of 40 CFR part 300, which is the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP), which EPA promulgated pursuant to section 105 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, as amended. EPA maintains the NPL as the list of sites that appear to present a significant risk to public health, welfare, or the environment. Sites on the NPL may be the subject of remedial actions financed by the Hazardous Substance Superfund (Fund). As described in 300.425(e)(3) of the NCP, sites deleted from the NPL remain eligible for Fund-financed remedial actions if future conditions warrant such actions.

    Section II of this document explains the criteria for deleting sites from the NPL. Section III discusses procedures that EPA is using for this action. Section IV discusses the Hatheway & Patterson Superfund Site and demonstrates how it meets the deletion criteria. Section V discusses EPA's action to delete the Site from the NPL unless adverse comments are received during the public comment period.

    II. NPL Deletion Criteria

    The NCP establishes the criteria that EPA uses to delete sites from the NPL. In accordance with 40 CFR 300.425(e), sites may be deleted from the NPL where no further response is appropriate. In making such a determination pursuant to 40 CFR 300.425(e), EPA will consider, in consultation with the state, whether any of the following criteria have been met:

    i. Responsible parties or other persons have implemented all appropriate response actions required;

    ii. All appropriate Fund-financed response under CERCLA has been implemented, and no further response action by responsible parties is appropriate; or

    iii. The remedial investigation has shown that the release poses no significant threat to public health or the environment and, therefore, the taking of remedial measures is not appropriate.

    Pursuant to CERCLA section 121(c) and the NCP, EPA conducts five-year reviews to ensure the continued protectiveness of remedial actions where hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants remain at a site above levels that allow for unlimited use and unrestricted exposure. EPA conducts such five-year reviews even if a site is deleted from the NPL. EPA may initiate further action to ensure continued protectiveness at a deleted site if new information becomes available that indicates it is appropriate. Whenever there is a significant release from a site deleted from the NPL, the deleted site may be restored to the NPL without application of the hazard ranking system.

    III. Deletion Procedures

    The following procedures apply to deletion of the Site:

    (1) EPA consulted with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (the “state”) prior to developing this direct final Notice of Deletion and the Notice of Intent to Delete co-published today in the “Proposed Rules” section of the Federal Register.

    (2) EPA has provided the state 30 working days for review of this notice and the parallel Notice of Intent to Delete prior to their publication today, and the state, through the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), has concurred on the deletion of the Site from the NPL.

    (3) Concurrently with the publication of this direct final Notice of Deletion, a notice of the availability of the parallel Notice of Intent to Delete is being published in a major local newspaper, The Sun Chronicle, Attleboro, MA. The newspaper notice announces the 30-day public comment period concerning the Notice of Intent to Delete the Site from the NPL.

    (4) The EPA placed copies of documents supporting the proposed deletion in the deletion docket and made these items available for public inspection and copying at the Site information repository identified above.

    (5) If adverse comments are received within the 30-day public comment period on this deletion action, EPA will publish a timely notice of withdrawal of this direct final Notice of Deletion before its effective date and will prepare a response to comments and continue with the deletion process on the basis of the Notice of Intent to Delete and the comments already received.

    Deletion of a site from the NPL does not itself create, alter, or revoke any individual's rights or obligations. Deletion of a site from the NPL does not in any way alter EPA's right to take enforcement actions, as appropriate. The NPL is designed primarily for informational purposes and to assist EPA management. Section 300.425(e)(3) of the NCP states that the deletion of a site from the NPL does not preclude eligibility for future response actions, should future conditions warrant such actions.

    IV. Basis for Site Deletion

    The following information provides EPA's rationale for deleting the Site from the NPL:

    Site Background and History

    The Hatheway and Patterson Superfund Site (Site), known by EPA Site Identification Number: MAD001060805, is located in the towns of Mansfield and Foxborough, Massachusetts. Approximately 36 acres of the Site are located in the Town of Mansfield, which is zoned for commercial/industrial use. The remaining 1.77 acres are located in the Town of Foxborough, also zoned for commercial use. The Site is bisected by the Rumford River, which runs north to south, and by a railroad right-of-way, which runs east to west.

    Prior to the 1950's, the property was reportedly used for various activities, including railroad operations, coal storage, bulk chemical transfer, and storage of electric/utility poles and railroad ties. Beginning in 1952, wood treatment operations by Hatheway & Patterson Co., Inc. (Hatheway & Patterson) began. Operations at the Site included the preservation of wood sheeting, planking, timber, piling, poles and other wood products and included the use of pentachlorophenol (PCP), creosote, fluoro-chrome-arsenate-phenol (FCAP) salts, chromated copper-arsenate (CCA) salts, and fire retardants, including DriconTM (boric acid and anhydrous sodium tetraborate). Contamination was initially discovered in 1972, when a tar seep (approximately 62 feet long and 6 inches thick) was discovered on the banks of the Rumford River on the southern portion of the property.

    Following the initial discovery of contamination, Hatheway & Patterson took steps to control the “oily seepage” from 1973 to 1991. Hatheway & Patterson filed for bankruptcy in 1993, leading to a removal action by EPA in 1993-1995 to address the imminent hazard posed by abandoned chemicals and waste at the Site. The Site was placed on the National Priorities List (NPL) by publication in the Federal Register on September 5, 2002, 67 FR 56757.

    Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS)

    The Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study were completed in 2005. As part of the investigation, soil, surface water, groundwater, sediments and fish tissue were evaluated. The primary contaminants identified at the Site were arsenic, dioxin, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pentachlorophenol (PCP) and other semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs). Light Non-Aqueous Phase Liquid (LNAPL) hot spot areas/isolated pockets of free product and LNAPL-saturated subsurface soils were also detected throughout the Site.

    The baseline human health risk assessment concluded that exposure to surface and subsurface soil was associated with an unacceptable human health risk outside EPA's acceptable risk range under current and future exposure scenarios. On-site overburden and bedrock groundwater was also associated with an unacceptable human health risk. The baseline ecological risk assessment concluded that there was not a substantial risk from exposure to site-related contaminants. The FS evaluated alternatives with various combinations of soil treatment technologies, excavation, off-site disposal of contaminants, consolidation of contaminated soil and sediments under a cap and institutional controls.

    Selected Remedy

    In September 2005, EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) that set forth the Selected Remedy at the Hatheway and Patterson Superfund Site to address current and future risks due to direct contact and incidental ingestion of soil and risks to future users of groundwater. The Remedial Action Objectives (RAOs) for the Site outlined in the ROD were as follows:

    Surface Soil—Prevent current and future users from ingesting or contacting surface soils contaminated with arsenic, dioxin, pentachlorophenol, benzo(a)pyrene, and other Site contaminants that pose a risk to human health.

    Subsurface Soil—Prevent future users from ingesting or contacting subsurface soils contaminated with arsenic, dioxin, pentachlorophenol, benzo(a)pyrene, and other Site contaminants that pose a risk to human health.

    LNAPL—Prevent further contaminant transfer from LNAPL to groundwater by reducing LNAPL source material in soil excavation/treatment areas. Prevent further migration of LNAPL to groundwater and surface water by removing free product “hotspots” to the extent feasible.

    The Selected Remedy included: Demolition of buildings in and near Hatheway & Patterson's former manufacturing area; excavation and on-site consolidation of soils contaminated with arsenic and pentachlorophenol under a low-permeability cover, after being stabilized with cement to achieve leachability criteria; disposal of soil contaminated with dioxin and free product LNAPL at a licensed off-site facility; institutional controls to prohibit the use of Site groundwater and restrict land uses in a manner that ensures the protectiveness of the remedy as described in the ROD; long term monitoring of groundwater, surface water, sediment, as well as fish tissue analysis of specimens caught in the Rumford River; and Five-Year Reviews of the remedy.

    Modifications to the remedy were documented in the 2011 Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD). Based on a zoning change for the Foxborough parcel from residential use to “Limited Industrial” use, and intended reuse of the parcel as a parking lot, EPA and MassDEP determined that the Foxborough parcel should be remediated to a Reasonably Anticipated Future Use of commercial/open space. Therefore, the cleanup level for arsenic was changed for this parcel, and it was then used as a consolidation area for soils contaminated with arsenic and covered with asphalt in order to facilitate the use of the parcel as a parking lot. The ESD also documented that PCP and arsenic-contaminated soils in the Mansfield portion of the Site were disposed at an off-site facility rather than consolidated on-site as described in the ROD. In addition, the ESD clarified the extent of institutional controls to be placed on the Site properties.

    Response Actions

    Through an Interagency Agreement with EPA Region 1, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New England District (USACE) performed the Selected Remedy. Remedial construction activities commenced in September 2009 and were substantially completed in September 2010. A total of 34,000 tons of soil was removed from the Northern Mansfield Property and the Foxborough Property and 9,500 tons of soil was removed from the eastern portion of the Southern Mansfield Property for off-site disposal to a RCRA subtitle C hazardous waste landfill, Envirosafe of Oregon, Ohio. Approximately 5,000 tons of soil exceeding arsenic cleanup levels were consolidated in the “Capped Consolidation Area” on the Foxborough Property under a multi-layer low-permeability barrier (i.e., the asphalt cover). A small portion of land along the western boundary of the Foxborough Property, approximately 30 feet wide, was left unpaved. All portions of the Foxborough Property that are not part of the Capped Consolidation Area are referred to as the “Unpaved Area”. The Unpaved Area of the Foxborough Property was cleaned-up to the same level that was being used in the rest of the Site in Mansfield that was zoned open space/commercial.

    The properties owned by the towns of Mansfield and Foxborough have institutional controls in the form of Notice of Activity and Uses Limitations (NAULs), to prevent uncontrolled access to the remaining contamination. Institutional controls were also placed on the railroad right-of way, owned by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, in the form of signage to prevent the potential exposure to any future utility workers. The property owners are required comply with the institutional controls for the Site; this will be verified during the Five-Year Reviews.

    Cleanup Levels

    The source control remedy at the Site was performed in accordance with EPA-approved plans and specifications. No additional EPA construction is anticipated at the Site. The source control remedial cleanup levels (listed below) were set in the ROD based on commercial/open-space reuse:

    Contaminant Cleanup
  • level
  • (ppm)
  • Benzo(a)pyrene 2.1 Dioxin 0.001 Arsenic 16.0 Pentachlorophenol 90.0

    During the remedial action, if contaminants of concern (COCs) were detected above the clean-up criteria listed above, excavation continued horizontally and vertically until either: (1) Post-excavation confirmatory samples met the clean-up criteria; (2) planned excavation limits along County Street and the railroad right of way were met, or (3) for vertical excavation, the water table was reached.

    Post-excavation confirmatory sampling was performed in conjunction with excavation activities from the bottom of excavation and “clean” perimeter embankment and tested for the COCs. Generally, as excavation was completed in a grid cell area, confirmatory soil samples were collected from the bottom and sidewalls of the excavation. Bottom samples were comprised of a five-point composite sample collected from the center and four corners of the excavation cell. Sidewall samples were collected from the sidewalls of excavations when grids were adjacent to the Site perimeter. If excavation sidewalls were greater than three feet in depth, an additional sample was collected below this interval to the bottom of the excavation. All samples collected and analytical results are summarized in the Remedial Action Completion Report, dated August 2011.

    Operation and Maintenance Institutional Controls

    Institutional controls in the form of enforceable Notices of Activity and Use Limitations (NAULs) were recorded with the deed on properties associated with the Site, as listed below:

    Northern Mansfield Property, 35 County St., Mansfield, MA [Map 19 Lot 210, Book 6160 Page 89] (Northern Bristol County Registry of Deeds),

    Southern Mansfield Property, Morrow St., Mansfield, MA [Map 18 Lot 230-235, Book 2164 Page 64] (Northern Bristol County Registry of Deeds), and

    Foxborough Property, 41 County St., Foxborough, MA [Map 158 Lot 4060, Book 11412 Page 408] (Norfolk County Registry of Deeds).

    The NAUL on each property specifies the current allowable and prohibited uses of the property, and establishes limits and conditions on the future uses of contaminated portions of the property. The restrictions are different for each property, but generally restrict the use of groundwater and subsurface soils where contamination remains on the site. The NAUL provides information about the risks remaining at the Site for current and future owners and interest holders. The NAULs require that the site owner submit annual reports to EPA and MassDEP regarding the status of the ICs. EPA will also assess site conditions and interview town officials as part of the Five Year Review process to confirm that only the permitted uses have taken place on the restricted properties. Should there be violations of the restrictions contained in the NAUL, the state has the authority to take an enforcement action against any property owner.

    In addition to NAULs, institutional controls in the form of signage were used along the railroad right-of-way that intersects the Site stating to contact the property owner before soils are disturbed. The signage along the railroad right-of-way will be inspected periodically at a minimum every five years as part of EPA's Five Year Review process and/or during regular operation and maintenance activities conducted by the state.

    Long-Term Groundwater, Surface Water and Sediment Monitoring

    The ROD required long-term monitoring of groundwater, surface water, fish tissue and sediment, and operation and maintenance of the low-permeability cover. As a result of changes to the remedy documented in the ESD, the Hatheway and Patterson Operation and Maintenance Manual, dated August 2017 requires semi-annual monitoring of groundwater following the first five-year review, and sampling of sediment and surface water at least once every five years following the second five-year review. The 2017 Operation and maintenance (O&M) Manual also provides an explanation for eliminating the fish tissue sampling requirement which is primarily due to the lack of fish in the Rumford River.

    The ROD contains performance standards for on-site groundwater and for groundwater at the boundary of the Site. If monitoring indicates exceedances of the on-site groundwater performance standards, further evaluation of the impacts to surface water and sediments is needed. If monitoring indicates exceedances of the Site boundary groundwater performance standards, the ROD requires an evaluation of whether off-site receptors are at risk. MassDEP is the lead agency performing the O&M, including the groundwater, surface water and sediment monitoring for the Site.

    Five-Year Review

    Five-year reviews are required at the Site because hazardous substances will remain at the Site above concentration levels that would allow for unrestricted use and unrestricted exposure after the completion of all remedial actions. Pursuant to CERCLA Section 121(c), NCP Section 300.400(f)(4)(ii) and as provided in OSWER Directive 9355.7-03B-P, June 2001, Comprehensive Five-Year Review Guidance, EPA must conduct statutory five-year reviews at the Site. The purpose of these reviews is to evaluate whether the selected remedy remains protective of human health and the environment. These five-year reviews are required no less often than each five years after the initiation of the remedial action. EPA may terminate these reviews when no hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants remain at the Site above levels that allow for unrestricted use and unlimited exposure.

    The first five-year review was conducted in 2014, and found that the remedy at the Hatheway & Patterson Superfund Site currently protects human health and the environment. Several issues were raised in the 2014 Five-Year Review and resolved as discussed below.

    Institutional Controls: At the time of the 2014 Five-Year Review, institutional controls were not in place. Between 2015 and 2017, all institutional controls for the Site were implemented.

    Sediment Sampling: An issue was noted with the sediment sampling locations. To address the issue additional sediment sampling was performed and the results showed contaminants concentrations in sediment at the Site remain protective of human health and the environment.

    Fish Tissue and Surface Water Sampling: Fish tissue and surface water sampling were not performed as required by the ROD. To address this issue, the 2017 O&M Manual was written to reflect site conditions (a lack of fish in the Rumford River) and to require sediment and surface water monitoring at a minimum in conjunction with the five-year reviews.

    Groundwater: Two issues related to groundwater were raised in the 2014 Five-Year review. First, to determine whether a detection of a contaminant of concern at an off-site well was site actual and persistent; and second, to evaluate whether the active irrigation wells outside the compliance boundary have impacted groundwater flow directions. To address the first issue, additional sampling was performed at the off-site well which showed the contaminant was below state groundwater standards and was likely not site-related. To address the second issue, EPA compiled a technical memorandum documenting that the irrigations wells are not impacting groundwater flowpaths near the Site. Also, periodic groundwater monitoring will continue to confirm that off-site wells are not impacted.

    The 2014 Five-Year Review found that the remedy at the Hatheway & Patterson Superfund Site protects human health and the environment because remediation of the soil (soil removal and on-site consolidation) has been completed to cleanup levels that are considered protective for the anticipated future use of the property, and there is no current use of on-site groundwater which is classified as non-potable. Institutional controls have been created and recorded to restrict inappropriate land uses (including use of groundwater) and protect the consolidation area cover. Operation and maintenance activities have been initiated and will ensure that the consolidation area and associated components of the remedy (e.g., groundwater monitoring wells) remain in good condition. In addition, monitoring of groundwater will continue to assess the protectiveness of the remedy.

    Community Involvement

    Throughout the Site's history, EPA has kept the community and other interested parties apprised of Site activities through informational meetings, fact sheets, press releases, and public meetings. A Community Relations Plan was established before remedial actions were performed at the Site to address issues of community concern and community relation activities conducted by EPA. Activities included providing information concerning the progress of remedial activities to interested citizens and allowing those individuals or groups an opportunity to provide comments as EPA conducts remedial activities at the Site. EPA also issued press releases announcing the start and conclusion of the five-year review and will continue to do so.

    Determination That the Site Meets the Criteria for Deletion in the NCP

    Remedial Design and Remedial Action (RD/RA) activities at the Site were consistent with the ROD and EPA RD/RA Statements of Work provided to USACE. RA plans for all phases of construction included a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) dated October 2009 and QAPP Revision 1, dated March 2010. The QAPP incorporated all EPA and state quality assurance and quality control procedures and protocols (where necessary). All procedures and protocols were followed for soil, sediment, water, and air sampling during the RA. EPA analytical methods were used for all validation and monitoring samples during all RA activities. EPA has determined that the analytical results are accurate to the degree needed to assure satisfactory execution of the RA, and are consistent with the ROD and the RD/RA plans and specifications. All Institutional Controls are in place and currently EPA expects that no further Superfund response is needed to protect human health and the environment, except future Five Year Reviews.

    Operation and maintenance (O&M) activities were agreed upon by EPA and the state following construction of the remedy. The operation and maintenance activities are documented in the 2017 O&M Manual. The state preforms O&M at the Site and will follow state quality assurance/quality control plans associated with the 2017 O&M plan.

    This Site meets all the site completion requirements as specified in OSWER Directive 9320.2-09-A-P, Close Out Procedures for National Priorities List Sites. All cleanup actions specified in the ROD and ESD have been implemented. Confirmatory ground-water monitoring and institutional controls provide further assurance that the Site no longer poses any threats to human health or the environment. The only remaining activity to be performed is O&M that the state has guaranteed. Five year reviews and monitoring will also be conducted at the Site. A bibliography of all reports relevant to the completion of this Site under the Superfund program is in the administrative record for this deletion.

    V. Deletion Action

    The EPA, with concurrence of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through the Department of Environmental Protection, has determined that all appropriate response actions under CERCLA, other than operation and maintenance, monitoring, and five-year reviews have been completed. Therefore, EPA is deleting the Site from the NPL.

    Because EPA considers this action to be noncontroversial and routine, EPA is taking it without prior publication. This action will be effective January 30, 2018 unless EPA receives adverse comments by January 2, 2018. If adverse comments are received within the 30-day public comment period, EPA will publish a timely withdrawal of this direct final notice of deletion before the effective date of the deletion, and it will not take effect. EPA will prepare a response to comments and continue with the deletion process on the basis of the notice of intent to delete and the comments already received. There will be no additional opportunity to comment.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 300

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Chemicals, Hazardous substances, Hazardous waste, Intergovernmental relations, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Superfund, Water pollution control, Water supply.

    Dated: October 18, 2017. Deborah Szaro, Acting Regional Administrator, Region 1.

    For the reasons set out in this document, 40 CFR part 300 is amended as follows:

    PART 300—NATIONAL OIL AND HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES POLLUTION CONTINGENCY PLAN 1. The authority citation for part 300 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    33 U.S.C. 1321(d); 42 U.S.C. 9601-9657; E.O. 13626, 77 FR 56749, 3 CFR, 2013 Comp., p. 306; E.O. 12777, 56 FR 54757, 3 CFR, 1991 Comp., p. 351; E.O. 12580, 52 FR 2923, 3 CFR, 1987 Comp., p. 193.

    Appendix B to Part 300—[Amended] 2. Table 1 of appendix B to part 300 is amended by removing “MA”, “Hatheway and Patterson Company”, “Mansfield”.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25937 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Maritime Administration 46 CFR Part 296 RIN 2133-AB85 Maritime Security Program AGENCY:

    Maritime Administration, Department of Transportation.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Maritime Administration (“MARAD”) is amending its regulations to implement amendments to the Maritime Security Act of 2003 by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (“NDAA 2013”), the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (“CAA 2016”), and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (“NDAA 2016”). The revisions to the regulations, among other things, make changes to vessel eligibility for participation in the Maritime Security Program (“MSP”), authorize the extension of current MSP Operating Agreements, amend the procedures for the award of new MSP Operating Agreements, extend the MSP through 2025, update the MSP Operating Agreement payments and schedule of payments, and eliminate the Maintenance and Repair Pilot Program.

    DATES:

    This final rule becomes effective on January 2, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    William G. McDonald, Director, Office of Sealift Support, U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Telephone (202) 366-0688; Fax (202) 366-5904, electronic mail to [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    Section 3508 of the NDAA 2013 authorized the extension of the Maritime Security Program through fiscal year 2025. Under section 3508, the Secretary of Transportation, acting through the Maritime Administrator, is authorized to offer to extend the existing 60 MSP Operating Agreements through fiscal year 2025. Section 3508 authorized a new payment schedule of increasing MSP Operating Agreement payments through fiscal year 2025. These payment amounts were subsequently updated by the CAA 2016 and the NDAA 2016. Section 3508 of the NDAA 2013 also provided a new procedure for awarding MSP Operating Agreements, including a new priority system for the award of operating agreements. Under the new priority, award will be first based on vessel type as determined by military requirements and then based on the citizenship status of the applicant. Section 3508 revised the procedure for the transfer of MSP Operating Agreements by eliminating the requirement to first offer an MSP Operating Agreement to a U.S. Citizen under 46 U.S.C. 50501. In addition, Section 3508 eliminated the procedure for early termination of MSP Operating Agreements based on the availability of replacement vessels. Section 3508 also eliminated the eligibility of Lighter Aboard Ship (LASH) vessels to participate in the MSP Fleet as a stand-alone category of vessel. The rule eliminates the Maintenance and Repair Pilot Program, which has sunset and was not extended by the NDAA 2013. The rule also updates MARAD's address for the purposes of submitting required reports and vouchers.

    Rulemaking Analysis and Notices

    Executive Orders 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review), 13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review) and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures. Under E.O. 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993), supplemented by E.O. 13563 (76 FR 3821, January 18, 2011) and DOT policies and procedures, MARAD must determine whether a regulatory action is “significant” and, therefore, subject to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review and the requirements of the E.O.s. The Orders define “significant regulatory action” as one likely to result in a rule that may: (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal government or communities; (2) create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another Agency; (3) materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; and (4) raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in the E.O.s.

    A determination has been made that this rulemaking is not considered a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866. This rulemaking will not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. It is also not considered a major rule for purposes of Congressional review under Public Law 104-121. This rulemaking is also not significant under the Regulatory Policies and Procedures of the Department of Transportation (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979). The costs and overall economic impact of this rulemaking do not require further analysis because the rulemaking will create no additional costs or new substantive burdens to participants in or applicants to the existing program as it addresses only new processing procedures.

    Executive Order 13771 (Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs)

    This rule is not an E.O. 13771 regulatory action because this rule is not significant under E.O. 12866.

    Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    This rulemaking was analyzed in accordance with the principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 13132 (“Federalism”), and it has been determined that it does not have sufficient Federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism summary impact statement. The revisions to the regulations, among other things, make changes to vessel eligibility for participation in the MSP, authorize the extension of current MSP Operating Agreements, amend the procedures for the award of new MSP Operating Agreements, update the MSP Operating Agreement payments and schedule of payments, and eliminate the Maintenance and Repair Pilot Program. This rulemaking has no substantial effect on the States, or on the current Federal-State relationship, or on the current distribution of power and responsibilities among the various local officials. Nothing in this document preempts any State law or regulation. Therefore, MARAD did not consult with State and local officials because it was not necessary.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 requires MARAD to assess whether this rulemaking would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities and to minimize any adverse impact. MARAD certifies that this rulemaking will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because MSP participants (13 in total) and applicants (11 in the most recent solicitation for applications) do not constitute a substantial number of small entities.

    Executive Order 13211 (Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use)

    MARAD has determined that this rulemaking will not significantly affect energy supply, distribution, or use. Therefore, no Statement of Energy Effects is required.

    Executive Order 12630 (Taking of Private Property)

    This rulemaking will not effect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

    International Trade Impact Assessment

    This rulemaking does not contain standards-related activities that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States.

    Privacy Impact Assessment

    Section 522(a)(5) of the Transportation, Treasury, Independent Agencies, and General Government Appropriations Act, 2005 (Pub. L. 108-447, div. H, 118 Stat. 2809 at 3268) requires the Department of Transportation and certain other Federal agencies to conduct a privacy impact assessment of each proposed rule that will affect the privacy of individuals. Claims submitted under this rule will be treated the same as all legal claims received by MARAD. The processing and treatment of any claim within the scope of this rulemaking by MARAD shall comply with all legal, regulatory and policy requirements regarding privacy.

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires Agencies to evaluate whether an Agency action would result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $156 million or more (as adjusted for inflation) in any 1 year, and if so, to take steps to minimize these unfunded mandates. This rulemaking will not impose unfunded mandates under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995. It will not result in costs of $156 million or more to either State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or to the private sector, and is the least burdensome alternative that achieves the objectives of the rule.

    Regulation Identifier Number (RIN)

    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 contained in the heading of this document can be used to cross-reference this action with the Unified Agenda.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), Federal agencies must obtain approval from OMB for each collection of information they conduct, sponsor, or require through regulations. This rulemaking updates the regulations due to amendments to the Maritime Security Act. This rulemaking contains no new or amended information collection or recordkeeping requirements that have been approved or require approval by OMB.

    Comments on the Proposed Rule

    In response to the agency's Federal Register document published on August 5, 2015 (80 FR 46527) seeking public comment on its proposed revisions to 46 CFR part 296, a total of five separate comment submissions were made by or on behalf of the following entities: APL Marine Services, Ltd. and its affiliated companies (“APL”), American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier Group Inc. (“ARC Group”), Schuyler Line Navigation Company, LLC, Liberty Global Logistics LLC, and the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (“TTD”). The agency responds below to all comments.

    One commenter noted that 46 CFR 296.30(h)(2) of the existing regulations was omitted from the proposed rulemaking and should be retained in a final rule. We agree. The NDAA 2013 did not eliminate the provision permitting an owner or operator of an MSP vessel to transfer and register such a vessel under an acceptable foreign registry in the event sufficient funds are not appropriated for any fiscal year by the 60th day of that fiscal year. The text of 46 CFR 296.30(h)(2) is retained in the final rule.

    The commenter also noted that the definition of Foreign Commerce unduly omitted certain services that were not affected by the NDAA 2013. We agree. While excluding from the definition of Foreign Commerce certain bulk carrying services, the NDAA 2013 did not otherwise substantively change the definition of Foreign Commerce. The proposed definition unnecessarily eliminated currently MSP-eligible services. Therefore, these existing services are retained in the final rule. The commenter also recommended amending 46 CFR 296.31(d)(2), to make that section more consistent with the text of 46 U.S.C. 53105(a) and the regulatory definition of Foreign Commerce of 46 CFR 296.2. We agree that 46 CFR 296.31(d)(2), as currently drafted, is inconsistent with 46 U.S.C. 53105(a) with its use of “foreign trade,” an undefined term, instead of “foreign commerce” and thus may invite confusion. Accordingly, we are amending 46 CFR 296.31(d)(2) by replacing “foreign trade” with “foreign commerce” and retaining reference to the registry endorsement requirement.

    Three commenters recommended increasing annual payments under the MSP. Two recommended an annual payment of $5 million per vessel starting in fiscal year 2017. MSP payment amounts are established by statute. MARAD cannot adjust annual payment amounts without a corresponding legislative authorization. Nevertheless, the increased payments authorized by the NDAA 2016 and CAA 2016 are included in the final rule.

    Two commenters critiqued MARAD's administration of the MSP and made recommendations that would require significant amendments to our regulations. These recommendations are beyond the scope of the current rulemaking implementing the NDAA 2013, but will be considered in the event of a future rulemaking.

    List of Subjects in 46 CFR Part 296

    Assistance payments, Maritime carriers, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Maritime Administration amends 46 CFR part 296 as follows:

    PART 296—MARITIME SECURITY PROGRAM (MSP) 1. The authority citation for part 296 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

    Pub. L. 108-136, Pub. L. 109-163, Pub. L. 112-239; 49 U.S.C. 322(a), 46 U.S.C. chapter 531, 49 CFR 1.93.

    2. Amend § 296.2 by: a. Revising the definitions of Foreign Commerce, MSA 2003, Participating Fleet Vessel, and Section 2 Citizen; and b. Removing the definition of Lash Vessel.

    The revisions to read as follows:

    § 296.2 Definitions.

    Foreign Commerce means a cargo freight service, including direct and relay service, operated exclusively in the foreign trade or in mixed foreign and domestic trade allowed under a registry endorsement under 46 U.S.C. 12111 where the origination point or the destination point of any cargo carried is the United States, regardless of whether the vessel provides direct service between the United States and a foreign country, or commerce or trade between foreign countries.

    MSA 2003 means the Maritime Security Act of 2003, as amended.

    Participating Fleet Vessel means a vessel that—

    (1) On October 1, 2015—

    (i) Meets the requirements of paragraph (1), (2), (3), or (4) of section 53102(c) of the MSA; and

    (ii) Is less than 20 years of age if the vessel is a tank vessel, or is less than 25 years of age for all other vessel types; and

    (2) on December 31, 2014, is covered by an MSP Operating Agreement under 46 U.S.C. chapter 531.

    Section 2 Citizen means a United States citizen within the meaning of 46 U.S.C. 50501, without regard to any statute that “deems” a vessel to be owned and operated by a United States citizen within the meaning of 46 U.S.C. 50501.

    3. Amend § 296.11 by revising paragraph (a)(3) to read as follows:
    § 296.11 Vessel requirements.

    (a) * * *

    (3) The vessel is self-propelled and—

    (i) Is a tank vessel that is 10 years of age or less on the date the vessel is included in the Fleet; or

    (ii) Is any other type of vessel that is 15 years of age or less on the date the vessel is included in the Fleet;

    §§ 296.21, 296.22, 296.23 [Removed and reserved]
    4. Remove and reserve §§ 296.21 through 296.23. 5. Revise § 296.24 to read as follows:
    § 296.24 Subsequent awards of MSP Operating Agreements.

    (a) MARAD intends to ensure that all available MSP Operating Agreements are fully utilized at all times in order to maximize the benefit of the MSP. Accordingly, when an MSP Operating Agreement becomes available through termination by the Secretary or early termination by the MSP contractor, and no transfer under 46 U.S.C. 53105(e) is involved, MARAD will reissue the MSP Operating Agreement pursuant to the following criteria:

    (1) The proposed vessel shall meet the requirements for vessel eligibility in 46 U.S.C. 53102(b);

    (2) The applicant shall meet the vessel ownership and operating requirements for priority in 46 U.S.C. 53102(c); and

    (3) Priority will be assigned on the basis of vessel type established by military requirements specified by the Secretary of Defense. After consideration of military requirements, priority shall be given to an applicant that is a United States citizen under section 50501 of this title.

    (b) MARAD shall allow an applicant at least 30 days to submit an application for a new MSP Operating Agreement.

    (c) MARAD and USTRANSCOM will determine if the applications received form an adequate pool for award of a reissued MSP Operating Agreement. If so, MARAD will award a reissued MSP Operating Agreement from that pool of qualified applicants in its discretion according to the procedures of paragraph (a) of this section, subject to approval of the Secretary of Defense. MARAD and USTRANSCOM may decide to open a new round of applications. MARAD shall provide written reasons for denying applications. In as much as MSP furthers a public purpose and MARAD does not acquire goods or services through MSP, the selection process for award of MSP Operating Agreements does not constitute an acquisition process subject to any procurement law or the Federal Acquisition Regulations.

    6. Revise § 296.30 to read as follows:
    § 296.30 General conditions.

    (a) Approval. The Secretary, in conjunction with the Secretary of Defense, may approve applications to enter into a MSP Operating Agreement and make MSP Payments with respect to vessels that are determined by the Secretary to be commercially viable and deemed by the Secretary of Defense to be militarily useful for meeting the sealift needs of the United States in time of war or national emergencies. The Secretary announced an initial award of 60 MSP Operating Agreements on January 12, 2005. In June 2014, the Secretary extended the term of all 60 MSP Operating Agreements through FY 2025.

    (b) Effective date—(1) General rule. Unless otherwise provided, the effective date of an MSP Operating Agreement is October 1, 2005.

    (2) Exceptions. In the case of an Eligible Vessel to be included in an MSP Operating Agreement that is on charter to the U.S. Government, other than a charter under the provisions of an Emergency Preparedness Agreement (EPA) provided by 46 U.S.C. 53107, as amended, unless an earlier date is requested by the applicant, the effective date for an MSP Operating Agreement shall be:

    (i) The expiration or termination date of the Government charter covering the vessel; or

    (ii) Any earlier date on which the vessel is withdrawn from that charter, but not before October 1, 2005.

    (c) Replacement vessels. A Contractor may replace an MSP vessel under an MSP Operating Agreement with another vessel that is eligible to be included in the MSP under section 296.11(a), if the Secretary, in conjunction with the Secretary of Defense, approves the replacement vessel.

    (d) Termination by the Secretary. If the Contractor materially fails to comply with the terms of the MSP Operating Agreement:

    (1) The Secretary shall notify the Contractor and provide a reasonable opportunity for the Contractor to comply with the MSP Operating Agreement;

    (2) The Secretary shall terminate the MSP Operating Agreement if the Contractor fails to achieve such compliance; and

    (3) Upon such termination, any funds obligated by the relevant MSP Operating Agreement shall be available to the Secretary to carry out the MSP.

    (e) Early termination by Contractor, generally. An MSP Operating Agreement shall terminate on a date specified by the Contractor if the Contractor notifies the Secretary not later than 60 days before the effective date of the proposed termination that the Contractor intends to terminate the MSP Operating Agreement. The Contractor shall be bound by the provisions relating to vessel documentation and national security commitments, and by its EPA for the full term, from October 1, 2005, through September 30, 2025, of the MSP Operating Agreement.

    (f) [Reserved]

    (g) Non-renewal for lack of funds. If, by the first day of a fiscal year, sufficient funds have not been appropriated under the authority of MSA 2003, as amended, for that fiscal year, the Secretary will notify the Senate Committees on Armed Services and Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and the House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services, that MSP Operating Agreements for which sufficient funds are not available will not be renewed for that fiscal year if sufficient funds are not appropriated by the 60th day of that fiscal year. If only partial funding is appropriated by the 60th day of such fiscal year, then the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, shall select the vessels to retain under MSP Operating Agreements, based on the Secretaries' determinations of the most militarily useful and commercially viable vessels. In the event that no funds are appropriated, then all MSP Operating Agreements shall be terminated, and each Contractor shall be released from its obligations under the MSP Operating Agreement. Final payments under the terminated MSP Operating Agreements shall be made in accordance with § 296.41. To the extent that funds are appropriated in a subsequent fiscal year, former MSP Operating Agreements may be reinstated if mutually acceptable to the Administrator and the Contractor, provided the MSP vessel remains eligible.

    (h) Release of vessels from obligations. If sufficient funds are not appropriated for payments under an MSP Operating Agreement for any fiscal year by the 60th day of that fiscal year, then—

    (1) Each vessel covered by a terminated MSP Operating Agreement is released from any further obligation under the MSP Operating Agreement;

    (2) The owner and operator of a non-tank vessel may transfer and register the applicable vessel under foreign registry deemed acceptable by the Secretary and the SecDef, notwithstanding 46 U.S.C. chapter 561 and 46 CFR part 221;

    (3) If section 902 of the Act is applicable to a vessel that has been transferred to a foreign registry due to a terminated MSP Operating Agreement, then that vessel is available to be requisitioned by the Secretary pursuant to section 902 of the Act; and

    (4) Paragraph (h) of this section is not applicable to vessels under MSP Operating Agreements that have been terminated for any other reason.

    (i) Foreign transfer of vessel. A Contractor may transfer a non-tank vessel to a foreign registry, without approval of the Secretary, if the Secretary, in conjunction with the Secretary of Defense, determines that the contractor will provide a replacement vessel:

    (1) Of equal or greater military capability and of a capacity that is equivalent or greater as measured in deadweight tons, gross tons, or container equivalent units, as appropriate;

    (2) That is a documented vessel under 46 U.S.C. chapter 121 by the owner of the vessel to be placed under a foreign registry; and

    (3) That is not more than 10 years of age on the date of that documentation.

    (j) Transfer of MSP Operating Agreements. A contractor under an MSP Operating Agreement may transfer the agreement (including all rights and obligations under the MSP Operating Agreement) to any person that is eligible to enter into the MSP Operating Agreement under this chapter if the Secretary and the Secretary of Defense determine that the transfer is in the best interests of the United States. A transaction shall not be considered a transfer of an MSP Operating Agreement if the same legal entity with the same vessels remains the contracting party under the MSP Operating Agreement.

    7. Amend § 296.31 by revising paragraphs (a) and (d)(2) to read as follows:
    § 296.31 MSP assistance conditions.

    (a) Term of MSP Operating Agreement. MSP Operating Agreements are authorized for 20 years, starting on October 1, 2005, and ending on September 30, 2025, but payments to Contractors are subject to annual appropriations each fiscal year. MARAD may enter into MSP Operating Agreements for a period less than the full term authorized under the MSA 2003, as amended.

    (d) * * *

    (2) Operation: Be operated exclusively in the foreign commerce or in mixed foreign commerce and domestic trade allowed under a registry endorsement issued under 46 U.S.C. 12111, and shall not otherwise be operated in the coastwise trade of the United States; and

    8. Amend § 296.32 by revising the introductory text to read as follows:
    § 296.32 Reporting requirements.

    The Contractor shall submit to the Director, Office of Financial Approvals, Maritime Administration, 2nd Floor, West Building, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., Washington, DC 20590, one of the following reports, including management footnotes where necessary to make a fair financial presentation:

    9. Revise § 296.40 to read as follows:
    § 296.40 Billing procedures.

    Submission of voucher. For contractors operating under more than one MSP Operating Agreement, the contractor may submit a single monthly voucher applicable to all its MSP Operating Agreements. Each voucher submission shall include a certification that the vessel(s) for which payment is requested were operated in accordance with § 296.31(d) and applicable MSP Operating Agreements with MARAD, and consideration shall be given to reductions in amounts payable as set forth in § 296.41(b) and (c). All submissions shall be forwarded to the Director, Office of Accounting, MAR-330, Maritime Administration, 2nd Floor, West Building, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., Washington, DC 20590. Payments shall be paid and processed under the terms and conditions of the Prompt Payment Act, 31 U.S.C. 3901.

    10. Amend § 296.41 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 296.41 Payment procedures.

    (a) Amount payable. An MSP Operating Agreement shall provide, subject to the availability of appropriations and to the extent the MSP Operating Agreement is in effect, for each Agreement Vessel, an annual payment equal to $2,600,000 for FY 2006, FY 2007, FY 2008; $2,900,000 for FY 2009, FY 2010, FY 2011; $3,100,000 for FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014, and FY 2015; $3,500,000 for FY 2016; $4,999,950 for FY 2017; $5,000,000 for FY 2018, FY 2019, and FY 2020; $5,233,463 for FY 2021; and $3,700,000 for FY 2022, FY 2023, FY 2024, and FY 2025. This amount shall be paid in equal monthly installments at the end of each month. The annual amount payable shall not be reduced except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section.

    Subpart G—[Removed] 11. Remove Subpart G, consisting of § 296.60. Dated: November 28, 2017.

    By Order of the Maritime Administrator.

    T. Mitchell Hudson, Jr., Secretary, Maritime Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25898 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-81-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Maritime Administration 46 CFR Part 356 RIN 2133-AB86 Requirements To Document U.S.-Flag Fishing Industry Vessels of 100 Feet or Greater in Registered Length AGENCY:

    Maritime Administration, Department of Transportation.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Maritime Administration (“MARAD”) is amending its regulations which implement new requirements regarding certain large fishing industry vessels set forth in the American Fisheries Act of 1998 (“AFA”), as amended by the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 (“CGAA”) and the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2012 (“CGMTA”). The revisions to the regulation adds two new exceptions to the restrictions on the eligibility of vessels over 165 feet in registered length to be documented with fishery endorsements, eliminates the 15-day application deadline for vessels whose fishery endorsements have become invalid, limits fishery endorsement eligibility for certain large fishing industry vessels, and eliminates certain exemptions for specific vessels that were deleted in the CGMTA. In addition, MARAD is revising its Large Vessel Certification form to incorporate these new requirements.

    DATES:

    This final rule becomes effective on January 2, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michael C. Pucci, Attorney Advisor, Division of Maritime Programs, Maritime Administration, at (202) 366-5320. You may send mail to Michael C. Pucci at Maritime Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., MAR 222, W24-214, Washington, DC 20590-0001. You may send electronic mail to [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    Section 602(a) of the CGAA added two new exceptions to the restrictions on the eligibility of vessels over 165 feet in registered length to be documented with fishery endorsements found at 46 U.S.C. 12113(d): (1) Replaced or rebuilt vessels and (2) fish tender vessels. The CGAA also eliminated the 15-day application deadline for vessels whose fishery endorsements had become invalid. Exemptions from the large fishing industry vessel restrictions are found in our regulations at 46 CFR 356.47.

    In addition, section 601(b)(2) of the CGAA repealed section 203(g) of the AFA, which exempted particular vessels from the ownership requirements of 46 U.S.C. 12113. These exempt vessels are currently listed in our regulations at 46 CFR 356.51.

    Section 307 of the CGMTA (“Section 307”) added further restrictions on large vessels under 46 U.S.C. 12113(d) by limiting those vessels from participating in the non-AFA trawl catcher processor subsector.

    Accordingly, MARAD is updating its regulations under 46 CFR part 356 to reflect these amendments to the AFA and 46 U.S.C. 12113.

    In addition to updating our regulations under 46 CFR part 356, MARAD is revising its Large Vessel Certificate to reflect the amendments to 46 U.S.C. 12113. Owners of fishing industry vessels 165 feet or greater in registered length are required to submit a Large Vessel Certificate to MARAD on an annual basis under 46 CFR 356.47(e). The revisions to the form include provisions for the replacement and fish tender vessels as well as a provision that an AFA sector vessel is neither participating in nor eligible to participate in the non-AFA trawl catcher-processor sector.

    Finally, MARAD is amending 46 CFR 356.47(a) to update the statutory citation to the current code sections.

    Rulemaking Analysis and Notices

    Executive Orders 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review), 13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review) and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures. Under E.O. 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993), supplemented by E.O. 13563 (76 FR 3821, January 18, 2011) and DOT policies and procedures, MARAD must determine whether a regulatory action is “significant,” and, therefore, subject to OMB review and the requirements of the E.O. The Order defines “significant regulatory action” as one likely to result in a rule that may: (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal government or communities. (2) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another Agency. (3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof. (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in the E.O.

    MARAD has determined that this final rule is not a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, it was not reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. This rulemaking will not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. It is also not considered a major rule for purposes of Congressional review under Public Law 104-121. This rulemaking is also not significant under the Regulatory Policies and Procedures of the Department of Transportation (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979). The costs and overall economic impact of this rulemaking do not require further analysis.

    Executive Order 13771 (Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs)

    This rule is not an E.O. 13771 regulatory action because this rule is not significant under E.O. 12866.

    Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    We analyzed this rulemaking in accordance with the principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 13132 (“Federalism”) and have determined that it does not have sufficient Federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism summary impact statement. This rulemaking has no substantial effect on the States, on the current Federal-State relationship, or on the current distribution of power and responsibilities among the various local officials. Nothing in this document preempts any State law or regulation. Therefore, MARAD did not consult with State and local officials because it was not necessary.

    Executive Order 13175 (Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments)

    MARAD does not believe that this rulemaking will significantly or uniquely affect the communities of Indian tribal governments when analyzed under the principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 13175 (Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments). Therefore, the funding and consultation requirements of this Executive Order do not apply.

    Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Review)

    The regulations implementing Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and activities do not apply to this rulemaking.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 requires MARAD to assess whether this rulemaking would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities and to minimize any adverse impact. MARAD certifies that this rulemaking will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    Environmental Assessment

    We have analyzed this rulemaking for purposes of compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and have concluded that under the categorical exclusions provision in section 4.05 of Maritime Administrative Order (MAO) 600-1, “Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts,” 50 FR 11606 (March 22, 1985), neither the preparation of an Environmental Assessment, an Environmental Impact Statement, nor a Finding of No Significant Impact for this rulemaking is required. This rulemaking has no environmental impact.

    Executive Order 13211 (Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use)

    MARAD has determined that this rulemaking will not significantly affect energy supply, distribution, or use. Therefore, no Statement of Energy Effects is required.

    Executive Order 13045 (Protection of Children)

    Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks, requires agencies issuing “economically significant” rules that involve an environmental health or safety risk that may disproportionately affect children, to include an evaluation of the regulation's environmental health and safety effects on children. As discussed previously, this rulemaking is not economically significant, and will cause no environmental or health risk that disproportionately affects children.

    Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    This action meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of E.O. 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

    Executive Order 12630 (Taking of Private Property)

    This rulemaking will not effect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

    International Trade Impact Assessment

    This rulemaking is not expected to contain standards-related activities that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States.

    Privacy Impact Assessment

    Section 522(a)(5) of the Transportation, Treasury, Independent Agencies, and General Government Appropriations Act, 2005 (Pub. L. 108-447, div. H, 118 Stat. 2809 at 3268) requires the Department of Transportation and certain other Federal agencies to conduct a privacy impact assessment of each proposed rule that will affect the privacy of individuals. Claims submitted under this rule will be treated the same as all legal claims received by MARAD. The processing and treatment of any claim within the scope of this rulemaking by MARAD shall comply with all legal, regulatory and policy requirements regarding privacy.

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires agencies to evaluate whether an Agency action would result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $141.3 million or more (as adjusted for inflation) in any 1 year, and if so, to take steps to minimize these unfunded mandates. This rulemaking will not impose unfunded mandates under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995. It will not result in costs of $141.3 million or more to either State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or to the private sector, and is the least burdensome alternative that achieves the objectives of the rule.

    Regulation Identifier Number (RIN)

    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 contained in the heading of this document can be used to cross-reference this action with the Unified Agenda.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), Federal agencies must obtain approval from OMB for each collection of information they conduct, sponsor, or require through regulations. This rulemaking updates the regulations with two new exceptions to the restrictions on the eligibility of vessels over 165 feet in registered length to be documented with fishery endorsements, removes certain exemptions relating to specific vessels, and adds restrictions on large vessels by limiting those vessels from participating in the non-AFA trawl catcher processor subsector. This rulemaking contains no new or amended information collection or recordkeeping requirements that have been approved or require approval by the Office of Management and Budget.

    Comments on the Proposed Rule

    In response to the agency's Federal Register document seeking public comment on its proposed revisions to 46 CFR part 356 published on June 10, 2014 (79 FR 33160), a total of three separate comment submissions were made by or on behalf of the following entities: Groundfish Forum, O'Hara Corporation, and the At-Sea Processors Association. The agency responds below to all comments.

    Two commenters suggested that 46 CFR 356.47(b) be revised to clarify that the restrictions imposed by Section 307 apply to all the vessels listed in paragraphs (1) through (20) of section 208(e) of the American Fisheries Act (non-Amendment 80 AFA catcher-processor vessels) regardless of which large vessel exemption the vessel falls under in 46 U.S.C. 12113(d)(2) in order to preserve the statutory distinction between the AFA and Amendment 80 sectors. To accomplish this, one of the commenters recommended adopting the technical advice provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to Congress during its consideration of Section 307. We acknowledge that Section 307 of the CGMTA is intended to codify and maintain the separation of the AFA sector from the non-AFA trawler sector as evidenced by statements of Senators Cantwell, Murkowski, and Begich in the Congressional Record and the text of the statute. 158 Cong. Rec. S7972 (Dec. 12, 2012). We note, however, that NOAA's technical advice that would have edited Section 307 to accomplish this separation was not ultimately adopted by Congress because the non-AFA trawler sector restrictions on AFA sector vessels were only inserted in the regional fishery management council provision and the replacement vessel exemptions to the large vessel prohibition of 46 U.S.C. 12113(d) (sections 12113(d)(2)(B) and (C), respectively). In light of the fact that the statutory amendments of Section 307 are sufficiently complete as to be self-executing, MARAD finds that the best way to implement the restrictions on AFA sector vessels consistent with the statutory language of Section 307 and Congressional intent is to insert the restrictions in our regulations as they appear in the statute. Nevertheless, to assure that the sector separation of section 307 is clear, MARAD is revising its Large Vessel Certificate (see below) to require all AFA sector vessels subject to the large vessel restrictions of 46 U.S.C. 12113(d) to certify that they are neither eligible nor participating in the non-AFA trawler sector. In order to be eligible for a fishery endorsement, all large fishing industry vessels subject to 46 U.S.C. 12113(d) must submit a Large Vessel Certificate under MARAD regulation 46 CFR 356.47.

    Another commenter noted that the revisions to 46 CFR 356.47(b) omitted subsection (2) providing that a large vessel is still eligible for a fishery endorsement if it is not placed under foreign registry after October 1998. This omission was inadvertent. Neither the CGMTA nor the CGAA repealed this provision. The final rule will contain subsection (2).

    Authority:

    46 U.S.C. 12113(d).

    List of Subjects in 46 CFR Part 356

    Citizenship and naturalization, Fishing vessels, Mortgages, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Vessels.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Maritime Administration amends 46 CFR part 356 as follows:

    PART 356—REQUIREMENTS FOR VESSELS OF 100 FEET OR GREATER IN REGISTERED LENGTH TO OBTAIN A FISHERY ENDORSEMENT TO THE VESSEL'S DOCUMENTATION 1. The authority citation for part 356 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    46 U.S.C. 12102; 46 U.S.C. 12151; 46 U.S.C. 31322; Pub. L. 105-277, division C, title II, subtitle I, section 203 (46 U.S.C. 12102 note), section 210(e), and section 213(g), 112 Stat. 2681; Pub. L. 107-20, section 2202, 115 Stat. 168-170; Pub. L. 114-74; 49 CFR 1.93.

    2. Amend § 356.47 by revising paragraphs (a) through (c) to read as follows:
    § 356.47 Special requirements for large vessels.

    (a) Unless exempted in paragraph (b), (c) or (d) of this section, a vessel is not eligible for a fishery endorsement under 46 U.S.C. 12113 if:

    (1) It is greater than 165 feet in registered length;

    (2) It is more than 750 gross registered tons (as measured pursuant to 46 U.S.C. Chapter 145) or 1900 gross registered tons (as measured pursuant to 46 U.S.C. Chapter 143); or

    (3) It possesses a main propulsion engine or engines rated to produce a total of more than 3,000 shaft horsepower; such limitation shall not include auxiliary engines for hydraulic power, electrical generation, bow or stern thrusters, or similar purposes.

    (b) A vessel that meets one or more of the conditions in paragraph (a) of this section may still be eligible for a fishery endorsement if:

    (1)(i) A certificate of documentation was issued for the vessel and endorsed with a fishery endorsement that was effective on September 25, 1997; and

    (ii) The vessel is not placed under foreign registry after October 1998;

    (2) The vessel—

    (i) Is either a rebuilt vessel or replacement vessel under section 208(g) of the American Fisheries Act (title II of division C of Pub. L. 105-277; 112 Stat. 2681-627);

    (ii) Is eligible for a fishery endorsement under this section; and

    (iii) In the case of a vessel listed in paragraphs (1) through (20) of section 208(e) of the American Fisheries Act (title II of division C of Pub. L. 105-277; 112 Stat. 2681-625 et seq.) is neither participating in nor eligible to participate in the non-AFA trawl catcher processor subsector (as that term is defined under section 219(a)(7) of the Department of Commerce and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2005 (Pub. L. 108-447; 118 Stat. 2887)); or

    (3) The vessel is a fish tender vessel that is not engaged in harvesting or processing of fish.

    (c) A vessel that is prohibited from receiving a fishery endorsement under paragraph (a) of this section will be eligible if the owner of such vessel demonstrates to MARAD that:

    (1) The regional fishery management council of jurisdiction established under section 302(a)(1) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1852(a)(1)) has recommended after October 21, 1998, and the Secretary of Commerce has approved, conservation and management measures in accordance with the American Fisheries Act (Pub. L. 105-277, div. C, title II) (16 U.S.C. 1851 note) to allow the vessel to be used in fisheries under the council's authority; and

    (2) In the case of a vessel listed in paragraphs (1) through (20) of section 208(e) of the American Fisheries Act (title II of division C of Pub. L. 105-277; 112 Stat. 2681-625 et seq.), the vessel is neither participating in nor eligible to participate in the non-AFA trawl catcher processor subsector (as that term is defined under section 219(a)(7) of the Department of Commerce and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2005 (Pub. L. 108-447; 118 Stat. 2887)).

    § 356.51 [Amended]
    3. Amend § 356.51 by removing paragraphs (a) through (d) and redesignating paragraphs (e) through (f) as new paragraphs (a) and (b), respectively. Dated: November 28, 2017.

    By Order of the Maritime Administrator.

    T. Mitchell Hudson, Jr., Secretary, Maritime Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25896 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-81-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Maritime Administration 46 CFR Part 393 RIN 2133-AB84 Revision of the America's Marine Highway Program Regulations AGENCY:

    Maritime Administration, Department of Transportation.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Maritime Administration (MARAD) is amending its America's Marine Highway Program (AMHP) regulations to implement provisions of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2012 (CGMTA), the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 (NDAA), and to clarify AMHP processes. The revisions expand the purpose of the AMHP to include promoting short sea transportation, update the definition of short sea transportation, and streamline the regulation to highlight procedures and resources available to program participants.

    DATES:

    This final rule becomes effective on January 2, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Tim Pickering, Office of Marine Highways and Passenger Services, at (202) 366-0704, or via email at [email protected] You may send mail to Mr. Pickering at Office of Marine Highways and Passenger Services, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background What laws authorize the America's Marine Highway Program?

    The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) authorized the Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) to promulgate regulations to implement the AMHP. The Secretary of Transportation delegated authority to the Maritime Administrator to issue AMHP implementing regulations. On April 9, 2010, MARAD published in the Federal Register final regulations implementing the AMHP (75 FR 18101).

    The Secretary, in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency, submitted a Report to Congress in April 2011that included a description of the benefits of the AMHP and activities conducted under the program. It also included recommendations for further legislative and administrative action that the Secretary considered appropriate.

    In December 2012, the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2012 (CGMTA), which built on some of the ideas in the report, was signed into law. The CGMTA expanded the scope of the AMHP by adding the words “or to promote short sea transportation” to the existing purpose of reducing landside congestion. This added language expanded the focus of the AMHP to include efforts that increase utilization or efficiency of short sea transportation on designated Marine Highway Routes.

    In November 2015, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 added to the definition of short sea transportation, that is the subject of the AMHP, to include the carriage by a documented vessel of cargo that is: (1) Shipped in discrete units, or packages that are handled individually, palletized; or, (2) unitized for purposes of transportation or freight vehicles carried aboard commuter ferry boats.

    Discussion Why and how is MARAD revising the regulations?

    As part of our routine systematic review of existing regulations, MARAD is updating its AMHP implementing regulations to conform to statutory changes and streamline the regulations for ease of use. Accordingly, the rule revises in full the AMHP implementing regulations to: (1) Add “promote short sea shipping” as a purpose of the AMHP; (2) re-designate “corridors, connectors, and crossings” as used in the rule as “Routes” for purposes of simplicity; (3) expand and clarify the definition of AMHP-eligible cargo to include discrete units or packages that are handled individually, palletized, or unitized as well as freight vehicles carried aboard commuter ferry boats; (4) add a requirement for the project sponsors to provide updates on project status; (5) expand the eligibility criteria for services and Routes that may participate in AMHP; (6) clarify criteria for Project Designation; and, (7) reorganize the regulations for ease of use.

    What is the purpose of the AMHP?

    Congress authorized the AMHP to promote short sea shipping by designating routes, also called Marine Highways, as a way to relieve congestion on America's roads and railways. Marine Highway designations are intended to assist the maritime industry in meeting national freight transportation needs. The AMHP encourages the use of marine transportation to reduce freight and passenger travel delays caused by congestion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve energy, improve safety, and reduce landside infrastructure maintenance costs.

    Congestion on the U.S. surface transportation system significantly impacts America's economic prosperity and way of life. Overall, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) estimates that congestion on our roads, bridges, railways, and in ports costs the United States as much as $200 billion a year and projects that cargoes moving through our ports will nearly double over the next 15 years. Most of this additional cargo will ultimately move along our surface transportation corridors, many of which are already at or beyond capacity.

    Rulemaking Analysis and Notices Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review), 13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review) and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    Under Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993), supplemented by E.O. 13563 (76 FR 3821, January 18, 2011) and USDOT policies and procedures, MARAD must determine whether a regulatory action is “significant,” and therefore subject to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review and the requirements of the Order. The Order defines “significant regulatory action” as one likely to result in a rule that may: (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal government or communities. (2) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another Agency. (3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof. (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in the E.O.

    MARAD has determined that this rulemaking is not considered a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of E.O. 12866 and, therefore, it was not reviewed by OMB. This rulemaking will not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. It is also not considered a major rule for purposes of Congressional review under Public Law 104-121. This rulemaking is also not significant under the Regulatory Policies and Procedures of the Department of Transportation (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979). The costs and overall economic impact of this rulemaking do not require further analysis.

    Executive Order 13771 (Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs)

    This rule is not an E.O. 13771 regulatory action because this rule is not significant under E.O. 12866.

    Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    MARAD analyzed this rulemaking in accordance with the principles and criteria contained in E.O. 13132 (“Federalism”) and has determined that it does not have sufficient Federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism summary impact statement. This rulemaking has no substantial effect on the States, or on the current Federal-State relationship, or on the current distribution of power and responsibilities among the various local officials. Nothing in this document preempts any State law or regulation. Therefore, MARAD was not required to consult with State and local officials.

    Executive Order 13175 (Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments)

    MARAD does not believe that this rulemaking will significantly or uniquely affect the communities of Indian tribal governments when analyzed under the principles and criteria contained in E.O. 13175 (Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments); therefore, the funding and consultation requirements of this Executive Order do not apply.

    Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Review)

    The regulations implementing E.O. 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and activities do not apply to this rulemaking.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 requires MARAD to assess whether this rulemaking would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities and to minimize any adverse impact. MARAD certifies that this rulemaking will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    Environmental Assessment

    MARAD has evaluated this rulemaking under Maritime Administrative Order (MAO) 600-1, “Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts,” 50 FR 11606 (March 22, 1985), which guides MARAD in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq. MARAD has determined that this rulemaking is not a major action (requiring the preparation of an environmental impact statement or environmental assessment) because it is categorically excluded from detailed environmental review pursuant to section 4.05 of MAO 600-1. Section 4.05 reads, in pertinent part, “[c]ategorical exclusions are Maritime Administration actions or groups of actions that do not have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment, individually or cumulatively. Categorical exclusions do not require preparation of environmental documents. Appendix 1 of this order [MAO-600-1] describes the Maritime Administration's categorical exclusions.” This action falls under Categorical Exclusion #3 because MARAD's revisions to the regulations “do not require a regulatory impact analysis under section 3 of Executive Order 12291 or do not have a potential to cause a significant effect on the environment . . .” MAO 600-1, App.1, pg. 1.

    In accordance with section 4.05 and Appendix 2 of MAO 600-1, the Agency has further concluded that no extraordinary circumstances exist with respect to this regulation that might trigger the need for a more detailed environmental review. As a result, MARAD finds that this regulatory revision is not a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.

    Executive Order 13211 (Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use)

    MARAD has determined that this rulemaking will not significantly affect energy supply, distribution, or use. Therefore, no Statement of Energy Effects is required.

    Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    This action meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of E.O. 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminates ambiguity, and reduce burden.

    Executive Order 12630 (Taking of Private Property)

    This rulemaking will not affect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under E.O. 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

    International Trade Impact Assessment

    This rulemaking is not expected to contain standards-related activities that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States.

    Privacy Impact Assessment

    Section 522(a)(5) of the Transportation, Treasury, Independent Agencies, and General Government Appropriations Act, 2005 (Pub. L. 108-447, div. H, 118 Stat. 2809 at 3268) requires the USDOT and certain other Federal agencies to conduct a privacy impact assessment of each proposed rule that will affect the privacy of individuals. Claims submitted under this rule will be treated the same as all legal claims received by MARAD. The processing and treatment of any claim within the scope of this rulemaking by MARAD shall comply with all legal, regulatory and policy requirements regarding privacy.

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires Agencies to evaluate whether an Agency action would result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $141.3 million or more (as adjusted for inflation) in any 1 year, and if so, to take steps to minimize these unfunded mandates. This rulemaking will not impose unfunded mandates under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995. It will not result in costs of $141.3 million or more to either State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or to the private sector, and is the least burdensome alternative that achieves the objectives of the rule.

    Regulation Identifier Number (RIN)

    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 number contained in the heading of this document can be used to cross-reference this action with the Unified Agenda.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), Federal agencies must obtain approval from OMB for each collection of information they conduct, sponsor, or require through regulations. This rulemaking updates the regulations due to changes made by the CGMTA, the NDAA, and to clarify AMH program procedures. This rulemaking contains no new or amended information collection or recordkeeping requirements that have been approved or require approval by OMB.

    Comments on the Proposed Rule

    In response to the agency's Federal Register document seeking public comment on its proposed revisions to 46 CFR part 393 published on January 11, 2017 (82 FR 3250), we received one comment from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). The commenter requests that MARAD analyze the revisions' impacts and the impacts of the AMHP as a whole under NEPA, and consult on impacts of the revisions to species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq. Specifically, CBD requests that MARAD consider the impacts arising from increased shipping noise and risk of ship strikes to endangered and threatened marine species resulting from increased traffic as a result of the AMHP. CBD also requests that the revisions to the rule require proponents of individual AMH corridors and projects to prepare environmental assessments as a condition for designation. CBD further requests that the revisions to the rule also require MARAD to consult on impacts to ESA-listed species before designation.

    Pursuant to the requirements of the CGMTA and NDAA, this rulemaking expands the purpose of the AMHP to promote short sea transportation, updates the definition of short sea transportation, and clarifies AMHP procedures highlighting resources available to program participants. CBD provided no specific comments with respect to the Agency's proposed changes in this rulemaking to conform the AMH implementing regulations to the relevant statutory amendments, and therefore CBD's comments are outside the scope of this rulemaking. Nevertheless, in response to CBD's comments, MARAD states that it complies with all environmental laws in the administration of its programs. All future project proposals under the AMHP will be reviewed in accordance with the requirements contained in NEPA and all applicable environmental laws.

    In regard to CBD's request that MARAD analyze the environmental impacts of the revisions to the rule and the AMHP under NEPA and to participate in interagency consultation under the ESA for any impacts the revisions may have upon listed species, MARAD has performed the required environmental review for this rulemaking under NEPA and MAO 600-1 “Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts.”

    In response to the agency's Federal Register document seeking public comment on its proposed revisions to 46 CFR part 393, we received one comment from the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL/CIO) Transportation Trades Department (TDD). The comment offered their strong support for the proposed rule citing the need to address congested corridors, reduce shipping costs and improve safety. The commenter credited the AMHP with providing meaningful options for companies utilizing short sea shipping and for promoting job growth in the maritime industry. In addition, TDD noted challenges facing the maritime industry and MARAD in the areas of Title XI loan guarantees and potential double taxation of goods transported using domestic short sea shipping via the Harbor Maintenance Tax. Both of these areas of concern are outside of the scope of the AMH Program.

    The Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) funds the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) to fund port and harbor dredging activities by the Corps of Engineers. The HMT and HMTF are not managed by the Department of Transportation. Economic soundness is a key requirement and projects need to have a viable business case or the Maritime Administration cannot approve it. To date, no operators have applied for a Title XI loan guarantee for an AMH Project.

    List of Subjects in 46 CFR Part 393

    Vessels.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Maritime Administration revises 46 CFR part 393 to read as follows: PART 393—AMERICA'S MARINE HIGHWAY PROGRAM Subpart A—General Provisions Sec. 393.1 Special definitions. Subpart B—Marine Highway Route and Project Designations 393.2 Marine Highway Routes. 393.3 Marine Highway Projects. Subpart C—Department of Transportation Efforts to Foster and Support America's Marine Highways 393.4 DOT Support for planning activities. 393.5 DOT Support for Marine Highway-related research. 393.6 America's Marine Highway Program Project grants. Authority:

    Pub. L. 110-140, title XI, subtitle C, sections 1121-1123, 121 Stat. 1494; Pub. L. 112-213, title IV, section 405, 126 Stat. 1541; 49 CFR 1.92 and 1.93(a), 46 U.S.C. 55601, 55604, 55605.

    Subpart A—General Provisions
    § 393.1 Special definitions.

    For the purposes of this part:

    (a) Administrator means the Maritime Administrator, Maritime Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation USDOT. The Administrator is responsible for administering the America's Marine Highway Program (AMHP) and making route and project recommendations to the Secretary.

    (b) Department means the U.S. Department of Transportation.

    (c) Cargo on a Marine Highway service means goods transported in commerce and generally refers to, but is not limited by, the types and kinds of cargo that are described in the definition of “Short sea transportation”, in paragraph (k) of this section. Neither weight nor proportionality are considered under this definition. The term as used in this context is generally interchangeable with the term “Freight”, defined in paragraph (d) of this section.

    (d) Freight on a Marine Highway service means goods transported in commerce and generally refers to, but is not limited by, the types and kinds of cargo that are described in the definition of “Short sea transportation”, in paragraph (k) of this section. Neither weight nor proportionality are considered under this definition. The term as used in this context is generally interchangeable with the term “Cargo”, defined in paragraph (c) of this section.

    (e) Marine Highway Routes or Routes mean commercially navigable coastal, inland, and intracoastal waters of the United States as designated by the Secretary. This includes connections between U.S. ports and Canadian ports on the Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Seaway System, and non-contiguous U.S. ports. Marine Highway Routes are a component of the Nation's surface transportation system. Each Marine Highway Route is described in terms of the specific landside transportation routes (road or railway) that it supplements or to which it connects. All previously designated Marine Highway “corridors,” “connectors,” and “crossings” are now designated as “Routes.”

    (f) Marine Highway Projects are planned or contemplated new services, or expansions of existing services, on designated Marine Highway Routes, that seek to provide new modal choices to shippers, reduce transportation costs, and/or provide public benefits, which include reduced air emissions, reduced road maintenance costs, and improved safety and resiliency impacts. Project Applicants propose projects and the Secretary may designate projects consistent with this part.

    (g) Project Applicant means a public entity with operations, or administrative areas of responsibility, that are adjacent to or near the relevant Route that applies for designation of a Marine Highway Project pursuant to this part. Eligible applicants include State governments (including State departments of transportation), metropolitan planning organizations, port authorities and tribal governments.

    (h) Program Office means Office of Marine Highways and Passenger Services.

    (i) Route Sponsors are public entities with operations or administrative areas of responsibility that are adjacent to or related to the relevant Route that recommend a commercially navigable waterway for designation as a Marine Highway Route. Eligible Route Sponsors include State governments (including State departments of transportation), metropolitan planning organizations, port authorities, non-Federal navigation districts and tribal governments.

    (j) Secretary means the Secretary of Transportation.

    (k) Short sea transportation means the carriage by a U.S. documented vessel of cargo—

    (1) That is—

    (i) Contained in intermodal cargo containers and loaded by crane on the vessel;

    (ii) Loaded on the vessel by means of wheeled technology;

    (iii) Shipped in discrete units or packages that are handled individually, palletized, or unitized for purposes of transportation; or

    (iv) Freight vehicles carried aboard commuter ferry boats; and

    (2) That is—

    (i) Loaded at a port in the United States and unloaded either at another port in the United States or at a port in Canada located in the Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Seaway System; or,

    (ii) Loaded at a port in Canada located in the Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Seaway System and unloaded at a port in the United States.

    (l) United States documented vessel means a vessel documented under 46 CFR part 67.

    Subpart B—Marine Highway Route and Project Designations
    § 393.2 Marine Highway Routes. (a) What are the minimum eligibility requirements for MARAD to recommend a Marine Highway Route for the Secretary to designate?

    (1) MARAD may recommend Marine Highway Routes that relieve landside congestion along coastal corridors or that promote short sea transportation; and

    (2) That advance the objectives of the AMHP in paragraph (c) of this section.

    (b) When can a Route Sponsor request designation of a Marine Highway Route?

    (1) The Department accepts Marine Highway Route designation requests any time. Route Sponsors must submit designation requests through the Program Office.

    (2) The Maritime Administration publishes all designated Routes on its Web site. Go to http://www.marad.dot.gov and search “America's Marine Highways” to see the current list.

    (c) What should Route Sponsors consider when preparing Marine Highway Route designation requests?

    (1) Route Sponsors designation requests should explain how a proposed route will help achieve the following objectives:

    (i) Establishing Marine Highway Routes as extensions of the national surface transportation system;

    (ii) Developing multi-jurisdictional coalitions and partnerships that focus public and private efforts to improve reliability and resiliency of the Route for freight and passengers;

    (iii) Obtaining public benefits as described in paragraph (d)(1)(vi) of this section; and

    (iv) Identifying potential savings that could be realized by providing an alternative to existing supply chains through short sea transportation.

    (2) [Reserved]

    (d) What information should Route Sponsors include in their designation requests?

    (1) One or more eligible Route Sponsors may submit Marine Highway Route designation requests to the Program Office. Designation requests should include the following information:

    (i) Physical Description of the Proposed Marine Highway Route. Describe the proposed Marine Highway Route, and its connection to existing or planned transportation infrastructure and intermodal facilities. Include key navigational factors such as available draft, channel width, bridge air draft, or lock clearance, and any foreseeable impacts on navigation or commerce. When available, include one or more maps of the proposed Route.

    (ii) Surface transportation regions served. (A) Land transportation routes that would benefit. Provide a summary of any land transportation route that the Marine Highway Route would benefit. Include a description of the route, its primary users, the nature, locations and occurrence of travel delays, urban areas affected, and other geographic or jurisdictional issues that impact its overall operation and performance.

    (B) U.S. Domestic Shipping Lane Served. For Marine Highway Routes that pass through waters outside U.S. territorial waters, provide a summary of the shipping routes or trade lanes that the Marine Highway Route would benefit. Include a description of the route, its primary users, the nature, locations and occurrence of travel delays, urban areas affected, and other geographic or jurisdictional issues that impact its overall operation and performance.

    (iii) Involved parties. Provide the organizational structure of the Route Sponsors and supporters recommending the Route designation, including business affiliations and private sector stakeholders. Multi-jurisdictional coalitions may include State Departments of Transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, municipalities and other governmental entities (including tribal governments). Include the extent to which these entities have expressed support for the route designation and describe any affiliations with environmental groups or civic associations, or affiliations with any foreign interests.

    (iv) Volume and characteristics. If authoritative data are available, provide the volume of passengers and/or cargo that are candidates for shifting to water transportation on the proposed Route. Otherwise provide estimates for this information, include identified shippers, manufacturers, distributors, and other entities that could benefit from a Marine Highway alternative, and the extent to which these entities have expressed support for the Marine Highway Route designation request.

    (v) Congestion reduction. Describe the extent to which the proposed Route could relieve landside congestion in measurable terms, if applicable. Include any known offsetting land transportation infrastructure savings (either construction or maintenance) that would likely result from the Route, if applicable.

    (vi) Public benefits. Provide, if known, the net savings over status quo in emissions, including greenhouse gases, energy consumption, landside infrastructure maintenance costs, safety and system resiliency. Specify if the Marine Highway Route represents the most cost-effective option among other modal improvements. Include consideration of the implications future growth may have on the proposed Route.

    (vii) Public costs. If applicable and known, identify any costs that may result from designation of the route. If able, provide costs that are quantifiable such as the additional cost of emissions or energy consumption required to effectively leverage the benefits of the designated route. These costs should be a component in the net savings identified in paragraph (d)(1)(vi) of this section.

    (viii) Impediments. Describe known or anticipated obstacles to utilization of the proposed Marine Highway Route. Include any strategies, either in place or proposed, to deal with the impediments.

    (2) [Reserved]

    (e) How will the Program Office evaluate and recommend Marine Highway Route designation requests?

    (1) The Program Office will evaluate and recommend Route Designations based on an analysis and technical review of the information provided by the Route Sponsor. The Maritime Administration will recommend Routes that receive a favorable technical review, and meet other criteria described in this part, for designation by the Secretary.

    (2) The Program Office may consider additional factors and may request supplemental information during the review process. USDOT will notify Route Sponsors as to the status of their request in writing once the Secretary makes a determination.

    § 393.3 Marine Highway Projects. (a) What are the minimum eligibility requirements for MARAD to recommend a Marine Highway Project for the Secretary to designate?

    (1) MARAD may recommend only those Marine Highway Projects that will use U.S. documented vessels and mitigate landside congestion or promote short sea transportation.

    (2) MARAD may recommend only those Marine Highway Projects that:

    (i) Involve the carriage of cargo in Short Sea Transportation as defined in paragraph (k) of this section;

    (ii) Involve new or expand existing services for the carriage of cargo; and

    (iii) Are on a designated Marine Highway Route.

    (3) Proposed Route Designations are accepted at any time, and may be submitted together with the proposed Project Designation.

    (4) Successful Project Applicants must demonstrate a direct connection between a proposed Marine Highway Project and the carriage of cargo through ports on Designated Marine Highway Routes.

    (b) When does the Program Office accept Marine Highway Project designation applications?

    (1) The Administrator will announce by notice in the Federal Register and on MARAD's AMHP Web site open season periods to allow Project Applicants opportunities to submit Marine Highway Project designation applications.

    (2) [Reserved]

    (c) What should Project Applicants include when preparing a Marine Highway Project designation application?

    (1) The market or customer base to be served by the service and the service's value proposition to customers. This includes—

    (i) A description of how the market is currently served by transportation options;

    (ii) Identities of shippers that have indicated an interest in, and level of commitment to, the proposed service;

    (iii) Specific commodities, markets, and shippers the Project is expected to attract;

    (iv) Extent to which interested entities have been educated about the Project and expressed support, and

    (v) A marketing strategy for the project if one exists.

    (2) Operational framework. A description of the proposed operational framework of the project including origin/destination pairs, transit times, vessel types, and service frequency.

    (3) The cost model for the proposed service. The cost model should be broken down by container, trailer, or other freight unit, including loading and discharge costs, vessel operating costs, drayage costs, and other ancillary costs. Provide a comparison cost model outlining the current costs for transportation using landside mode (truck and rail) alternatives for the identified market that the proposed project will serve. Provide the project's financial plan and provide projected revenues and expenses. Include labor and operating costs, drayage, fixed and recurring infrastructure and maintenance costs, vessel or equipment acquisition or construction costs, etc. Include any anticipated changes in local or regional short sea transportation, policy or regulations, ports, industry, or other developments affecting the project. In the event that public sector financial support is being sought, describe the amount, form and duration of public investment required. Applicants may email [email protected] to request a sample cost model.

    (4) An overall quantification of the net public benefits estimated to be gained through the successful initiation of the Marine Highway Project, including highway miles saved, road maintenance savings, air emissions savings, and safety and resiliency impacts.

    (5) Marine Highway Route(s). Identify the designated Marine Highway Routes the Project will utilize.

    (6) Organization. Provide the organizational structure of the proposed project, including an outline of the business affiliations, environmental, non-profit organizations and governmental or private sector stakeholders.

    (7) Partnerships:—(i) Private sector partners. Identify private sector partners and describe their levels of commitment to the proposed service. Private sector partners can include terminals, vessel operators, shipyards, shippers, trucking companies, railroads, third-party logistics providers, shipping lines, labor, workforce and other entities deemed appropriate by the Secretary.

    (ii) Public sector partners. Identify State Departments of Transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, municipalities and other governmental entities, including tribal entities, that Project Applicants have engaged and the extent to which they support the service. Include any affiliations with environmental groups or civic associations.

    (iii) Documentation. Provide documents affirming commitment or support from entities involved in the project.

    (8) Public benefits. These measures reflect current law and are consistent with USDOT's Strategic Goals. Project Applicants should organize external net cost savings and public benefits of the Project based on the following six categories:

    (i) Emissions benefits. Address any net savings, in quantifiable terms, now and in the future, over current emissions practices, including greenhouse gas emissions, criteria air pollutants or other environmental benefits the project offers.

    (ii) Energy savings. Provide an analysis of potential net reductions in energy consumption, in quantifiable terms, now and in the future, over the current practice.

    (iii) Landside transportation infrastructure maintenance savings. To the extent the data is available indicate, in dollars per year, the projected net savings of public funds that would result in road or railroad maintenance or repair, including pavement, bridges, tunnels or related transportation infrastructure from a proposed project. Include the impacts of accelerated infrastructure deterioration caused by vehicles currently using the route, especially in cases of oversize or overweight vehicles. This information applies only to projects for a marine highway service where a landside alternative exists.

    (iv) Economic competitiveness. To the extent the data is available, describe how the project will measurably result in transportation efficiency gains for the U.S. public. For purposes of aligning a project with this outcome, applicants should provide evidence of how improvements in transportation outcomes (such as time savings, operating cost savings, and increased utilization of assets) translate into long-term economic productivity benefits.

    (v) Safety improvements. Describe, in measurable terms, the projected safety improvements that would result from the proposed operation.

    (vi) System resiliency and redundancy. To the extent data is available, describe, if applicable, how a proposed Marine Highway Project offers a resilient route or service that can benefit the public. Where land transportation routes serving a locale or region are limited, describe how a proposed project offers an alternative and the benefit this could offer when other routes are interrupted as a result of natural or man-made incidents.

    (9) Proposed project timeline. Include a proposed project timeline with estimated start dates and key milestones. If applicable, include the point in the timeline at which the enterprise is anticipated to attain self-sufficiency.

    (10) Support and investment required. Describe any known or anticipated obstacles to either implementation or long-term success of the project. Include any strategies, either in place or proposed, to mitigate impediments. Identify specific infrastructure gaps such as docks, cranes, ramps, etc. that will need to be addressed in order for the project to become economically viable. Include estimates for the required investments needed to address the infrastructure gaps.

    (11) Environmental considerations. Project Applicants must provide all information necessary to assist MARAD's environmental analysis of the proposed project, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and other environmental requirements.

    (d) How will the Program Office evaluate and recommend Marine Highway Project applications for designation?

    (1) The Program Office will evaluate and recommend for designation by the Secretary those Projects based on an analysis and technical review of the information provided by the Project Applicant. MARAD will recommend Projects that operate on a designated Marine Highway Route, receive a favorable technical review, and meet other criteria described in this part, for designation by the Secretary.

    (2) The Program Office may consider additional factors and may request supplemental information during the review process. USDOT will notify Project Applicants as to the status of their application in writing once the Secretary makes a determination.

    (e) How will MARAD support designated America's Marine Highway Projects?

    (1) Upon designation as a Marine Highway Project, the Department Program Office will coordinate with the Project Applicants to identify the most appropriate departmental actions to support the project. USDOT support could include any of the following, as appropriate and subject to agency resources:

    (i) Promote the service with appropriate governmental, regional, State, local or tribal government transportation planners, private sector entities or other decision makers to the extent permitted by law.

    (ii) Coordinate with ports, State Departments of Transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, localities, other public agencies and the private sector to support the designated service. Efforts can be aimed at identifying resources, obtaining access to land or terminals, developing landside facilities and infrastructure, and working with Federal, regional, State, local or Tribal governmental entities to remove barriers to success.

    (iii) Pursue commitments from Federal entities to transport Federally owned or generated cargo using the services of the designated project, when practical or available.

    (iv) In cases where transportation infrastructure is needed, Project Applicants may request to be included on the Secretary's list of high-priority transportation infrastructure projects under E.O. 13274, “Environmental Stewardship and Transportation Infrastructure Project Review.”

    (v) Assist with developing individual performance measures for Marine Highway Projects.

    (vi) Work with Federal entities and regional, State, local and tribal governments to include designated Projects in transportation planning.

    (vii) Coordinate with public and private entities to resolve impediments to the success of Marine Highway Projects.

    (viii) Conduct research on issues specific to Marine Highway Projects.

    (ix) Advise Project Applicants on the availability of various Federal funding mechanisms to support the Projects.

    (x) Maintain liaison with Project Applicants and representatives of designated Projects to provide ongoing support and identify lessons learned and best practices for other projects and the overall Marine Highway program.

    (2) [Reserved]

    (f) How will the Department protect confidential information?

    (1) If your application, including attachments, includes information that you consider to be a trade secret or confidential commercial or financial information, or otherwise exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552), as implemented by the Department at 49 CFR part 7, you may assert a claim of confidentiality.

    (2) What should I do if I believe my Project designation application contains confidential or business sensitive information?

    (i) Note on the front cover that the submission “Contains Confidential Business Information (CBI);”

    (ii) Mark each affected page “CBI;” and

    (iii) Clearly highlight or otherwise denote the CBI portions. The USDOT protects such information from disclosure to the extent allowed under applicable law.

    (3) What will happen if information related to my Project designation application is the subject of a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)? We will apply the procedures contained in 49 CFR part 7 to a request from non-Federal third-parties for information related to documents you submit under this part. We will consider your claim of confidentiality at the time someone requests the information under FOIA. Only information that is ultimately determined to be confidential under that procedure will be exempt from disclosure under FOIA.

    (g) Is there a specific format required for project designation applications and attached documents?

    (1) When responding to specific solicitations for Marine Highway Projects by the Program Office, Project Applicants should include all of the information requested by paragraph (c) of this section organized in a manner consistent with the elements set forth in that section. The Program Office reserves the right to ask any applicant to supplement the data in its application, but expects applications to be complete upon submission. The narrative portion of an application should not exceed 20 pages in length. Documentation supporting the assertions made in the narrative portion may also be provided in the form of appendices, but limited to relevant information. Applications may be submitted electronically via regulations.gov (http://www.regulations.gov). Applications submitted in writing must include the original and three copies and must be on 8.5″ x 11″ single spaced paper, excluding maps, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) representations, etc.

    (2) In the event that the Project Applicant of a Marine Highway Project that has already been designated by the Secretary seeks a modification to the designation because of a change in project scope, an expansion of the project, or other significant change to the project, the Project Applicant should request the change in writing to the Secretary via the Maritime Administrator. The request must contain any changed or new information that is relevant to the project.

    (h) What does the Program Office do to ensure designated projects are developing properly?

    (1) Once designated projects enter the operational phase (either start of a new service, or expansion of existing service), the Program Office will evaluate them regularly to determine if the project is likely to achieve its objectives.

    (2) Overall project performance will be assessed according to three categories—exceeds, meets, or does not meet original projections—in each of the three areas defined below:

    (i) Public benefit. Does the Project meet the stated goals in shifting specific numbers of vehicles (number of trucks, rail cars or automobiles) off the designated landside routes? The Program Office will assume other public benefits, including energy savings, reduced emissions, and safety improvements to be a direct derivative of either numbers of vehicles reduced, or vehicle/ton miles avoided, unless specific factors change (such as a change in vessel fuel or emissions).

    (ii) Public cost. Is the overall cost to the Federal Government (if any) on track with estimates at the time of designation? The overall cost to the Federal Government represents the amount of Federal investment (i.e., direct funding, loan guarantees or similar mechanisms) reduced by the offsetting savings the project represents (road/bridge wear and tear avoided, infrastructure construction or expansion deferred).

    (iii) Timeliness factor. Is the project on track for the point at which the enterprise is projected to attain self-sufficiency? For example, if the project was anticipated to attain self-sufficiency after 36 months of operation, is it on track at the point of evaluation to meet that objective? This can be determined by assessing revenues, cargo and passenger trends, expenses and other factors established in the application review process.

    (i) Can a Project designation expire or be terminated?

    (1) Project Designations are effective for a period of five years, or until the date the project is completed, or MARAD cancels the designation. Project Designation will expire after three years of inactivity.

    (2) Project Applicants wishing to extend a Project Designation must submit an updated application no later than six months before the five-year designation period ends. Project Applicants who no longer wish to maintain project designation may submit a request to the Secretary to revoke their designation.

    Subpart C—Department of Transportation Efforts To Foster and Support America's Marine Highways
    § 393.4 DOT Support for planning activities. (a) How does DOT provide support?

    (1) The Program Office engages in coordination and planning activities with Federal, State, local and tribal governments and planning and private entities organizations to encourage the use of designated Marine Highway Routes and Projects. These activities include:

    (i) Working with these entities to assess plans and develop strategies, where appropriate, to incorporate Marine Highway transportation and other short sea transportation solutions to their statewide and metropolitan transportation plans, including the Statewide Transportation Improvement Programs and State Freight Plans.

    (ii) Facilitating groups of States and multi-State transportation entities to determine how Marine Highway transportation can address port congestion, traffic delays, bottlenecks, and other interstate transportation challenges to their mutual benefit.

    (iii) Identifying other Federal agencies that have jurisdiction over services, or which currently provide funding for components of services, in order to determine which agencies should be consulted and assist in the coordination process.

    (iv) Organizing the Department's modal administrations, including Federal Highway Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, and Federal Transit Administration, as appropriate, for support and to evaluate costs and benefits of proposed Marine Highway Routes and Projects.

    (2) [Reserved]

    (b) [Reserved]

    § 393.5 DOT Support for Marine Highway-related research. (a) How does DOT support research?

    (1) The Program Office works in consultation with public and private entities as appropriate, within the limits of available resources, to identify impediments, develop incentives, and conduct innovative research, in support of the America's Marine Highway Program or in direct support of specific designated Marine Highway Routes and Projects. The primary objectives of selected research projects are to:

    (i) Identify markets, cargoes, and service parameters that could facilitate the development of new or expanded Marine Highway Services.

    (ii) Identify existing or emerging technology, vessel design, infrastructure designs, and other improvements that would reduce emissions, increase fuel economy, and lower costs of Marine Highway transportation and increase the efficiency of intermodal transfers.

    (iii) Identify impediments to the establishment of Marine Highway services.

    (iv) Identify incentives to increase the use and efficiency of Marine Highway services.

    (b) The Secretary, in consultation with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, may conduct research on short sea transportation regarding:

    (1) The environmental and transportation benefits to be derived from short sea transportation alternatives for other forms of transportation;

    (2) Technology, vessel design, and other improvements that would reduce emissions, increase fuel economy, and lower costs of short sea transportation and increase the efficiency of intermodal transfers; and

    (3) Solutions to impediments to short sea transportation projects designated.

    § 393.6 America's Marine Highway Program Project grants. (a) How does MARAD administer the AMHP grant program?

    (1) The Associate Administrator for Intermodal Systems Development manages the program under the guidance and the immediate administrative direction of the Maritime Administrator.

    (2) MARAD establishes grant program priorities as reflected in its grant opportunity announcements and, from time-to-time, issues clarifying guidance documents through the MARAD Web site and the Federal Register.

    (3) The Administrator makes funding recommendations to the Secretary, who has the authority to award grants.

    (b) How does MARAD make grant opportunities known?

    (1) MARAD determines which grant opportunities it will offer, and establishes application deadlines and programmatic requirements when grant funds become available to the AMHP.

    (2) The MARAD staff prepares Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) announcements consisting of all information necessary to apply for each grant and publishes the announcement in the Federal Register and on grants.gov.

    (c) How may an applicant apply for an AMHP grant?

    (1) Applicants may apply for a grant using grants.gov or, in connection with a Federal Register announcement, by submitting the necessary information to the AMHP Office in electronic form.

    (2) [Reserved]

    By Order of the Maritime Administrator.

    Dated: November 28, 2017. T. Mitchell Hudson, Jr., Secretary, Maritime Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25897 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-81-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 64 [CC Docket No. 91-281; FCC 17-132] Calling Number Identification Service—Caller ID AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document, the Commission amends its Caller Identification (Caller ID) privacy rules to allow law enforcement and security personnel, as directed by law enforcement, to obtain quick access to blocked Caller ID information needed to identify and thwart threatening callers. The Commission exempts threatening calls from blocked numbers from its caller privacy rules. Studies and reports show a disturbing increase in threatening calls in recent years. Many threatening calls come from blocked numbers. It directs carries that upon report of such a threatening call by law enforcement on behalf of the threatened party, the carrier will provide any CPN of the calling party to law enforcement and, as directed by law enforcement, to security personnel for the called party for the purpose of identifying the party responsible for the threatening call. The Commission also amends its rules to allow non-public emergency services to obtain blocked Caller ID information associated with calls requesting assistance.

    DATES:

    Effective January 2, 2018, except for 47 CFR 64.1601(d)(4)(ii) and (f), which contain new or modified information collection requirements that require review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), shall become effective 30 days after the Commission's publication of a document in the Federal Register, which will announce approval by OMB under the PRA.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Nellie A. Foosaner, Consumer Policy Division, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB), at (202) 418-2925, email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Commission's Report and Order, FCC 17-132, CC Docket No. 91-281, adopted on October 24, 2017, and released on October 25, 2017. The full text of this document will be available for public inspection and copying via ECFS, and during regular business hours at the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. The full text of this document and any subsequently filed documents in this matter may also be found by searching ECFS at: http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/ (insert CC Docket No. 91-281 into the Proceeding block).

    Congressional Review Act

    The Commission sent a copy of this Report and Order to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).

    Final Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis

    This document contains modified information collection requirements. The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, will invite the general public to comment on the information collection requirements contained in Report and Order as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, Public Law 104-13. In addition, the Commission notes that, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), the Commission previously sought comment on how the Commission might “further reduce the information burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.”

    Synopsis

    1. In Report and Order, the Commission helps security and law enforcement personnel obtain quick access to blocked Caller ID information needed to identify and thwart threatening callers. It also amends its rules to allow non-public emergency services to obtain blocked Caller ID information associated with calls requesting assistance.

    2. The number of threatening phone calls has increased dramatically in recent years. These calls traumatize communities and result in substantial disruption to schools, religious organizations, and other entities. They also drain public resources by requiring the deployment of police and bomb units. Schools and others receiving threats have suggested that blocked Caller ID information hinders a rapid response. The Commission's action moves away from case-by-case waivers to a streamlined approach that will help protect the safety of threatened parties in a timely way.

    Caller ID Exemption for Threatening Calls

    3. The Need for an Exemption. The Commission Modifies its Caller ID rules to exempt threatening calls from the Calling Party Number (CPN) privacy rules so that security personnel and law enforcement have quick access to information they need to aid their investigations. The Commission agrees with the vast majority of commenters that the exemption promotes public safety.

    4. This new exemption is consistent with the Commission's prior approach in this area. The Commission has previously concluded, for example, that to the extent Caller ID services are used to deliver emergency services, privacy requirements should not apply to delivery of CPN to a public agency's emergency lines, a poison control line, or in conjunction with 911 emergency services. In these instances, the Commission concluded that Caller ID blocking mechanisms could jeopardize emergency services and therefore pose a serious threat to safety. The Commission believes that threatening calls present equally compelling circumstances in which the need to ensure public safety, in accordance with the Commission's fundamental statutory mission, outweighs any CPN privacy interest of the threatening caller.

    5. The Commission disagrees with the sole commenter who urges it to not adopt an exemption but instead continue to issue case-by-case waivers, albeit on a streamlined basis. The waiver process, even if streamlined, would not provide equivalent benefits in combatting threatening calls. Investigation of these cases can depend on immediate action to stop a potentially catastrophic event. An exemption would allow for virtually immediate access to blocked Caller ID information upon proper request in threatening situations. The Commission thus agrees with the commenters who point out that threatening calls should be addressed immediately through an exemption in the Commission's rules rather than a case-by-case waiver process.

    6. The Commission also disagrees with commenters who urge that carriers should have discretion to decline law enforcement requests to get Caller ID information. CTIA—The Wireless Association claims that a mandate is not necessary, noting both the industry's long and successful track record of cooperation with law enforcement and that the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) utilizes a voluntary disclosure provision. While the Commission believes that the industry's record may indeed be laudatory, the Commission concludes that mandatory disclosure is essential to its exemption. The Commission declines to define a “valid request” from law enforcement, as suggested by CenturyLink, because CTIA states carriers have an excellent track record of complying with law enforcement requests under ECPA. The Commission declines at this time to create a new law enforcement request process because the record reveals no evidence that law enforcement requests for this information have been ineffective or unreliable in the past. The record reveals no scenarios where a request for Caller ID by law enforcement, as the Commission describes below, should give carriers reason to question the validity of the emergency. Further, the imminent and grave nature of threatening calls, as defined below, leave little time for the exercise of discretion in whether to disclose information after law enforcement has become involved. As discussed below, the Commission adopts the ECPA standard for disclosure of information. The Commission does not find that standard to be inconsistent with a mandatory disclosure requirement. Carriers that are required to make disclosures in the very specific, narrowly defined scenario covered by the Commission's new exemption will not violate the more flexible ECPA standard by complying with the Commission's requirement. Moreover, the Commission believes that a law enforcement request based on the possibility of death or serious injury can satisfy ECPA's “good faith” standard to justify a carrier's voluntary disclosure of such information.

    7. The Commission agrees with AT&T that carriers should not be subject to liability for violation of its Caller ID privacy rules if they disclose blocked Caller ID pursuant to the new exemption. As CTIA notes, “[l]aw enforcement has the experience and the thousands of officers in communities throughout the country who are already positioned to evaluate whether a threat is genuine.” Law enforcement's determination of a threatening call coupled with the mandatory nature of the disclosure removes any justification for placing liability on carriers who comply with a proper request for blocked Caller ID. CTIA suggests that the Commission adopts a provision in its rule § 64.1601(b)'s stating that prohibition on overriding a privacy indicator does not apply when “CPN delivery . . . (iv) Is provided in connection with any lawful request by a law enforcement agency for assistance in an emergency.” Such a provision is unnecessary in light of the Commission's existing rule, § 64.1601(d)(4)(iii), exempting “legally authorized call tracing or trapping procedures specifically requested by a law enforcement agency.” To the extent that AT&T and NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association ask the Commission to somehow exempt carriers from any other legal liability, the Commission declines to do so. The Commission's concern is only with ensuring that its rules do not interfere with the ability of carriers to respond to law enforcement requests as allowed under law.

    8. Definition of “Threatening Call.” The Commission defines the term “threatening call,” which triggers the application of the new exemption, as “any call that conveys an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person requiring disclosure without delay of information relating to the emergency.” Typically, a call from a person simply reporting a threat, where the facts of the call indicate that the caller wishes to remain anonymous, would not be subject to disclosure because disclosure would not be necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury. In the event disclosure is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury, however, the rule would allow disclosure only to law enforcement. The Commission thinks this is appropriate and permitted by ECPA's emergency exception. The Commission does not wish to deter anonymous tips made to law enforcement. This definition ensures consistency with the emergency-disclosure provision of ECPA, as urged by several commenters, and because it satisfies the Commission's goal of targeting the most threatening calls. NCTA states that the Commission “should define a threatening call under § 64.1600 of its rules as `any call that includes a threat involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person.' ” The Commission declines to use NCTA's definition because referring to “emergency” rather than to “threat” encompasses more situations where immediate disclosure is necessary to address an emergency. Additionally, its proposed definition is consistent with ECPA. Finally, the Commission includes “disclosure without delay” within the definition to further align its disclosure requirement under circumstances where ECPA allows it.

    9. Because carriers are already familiar with the ECPA standard and ECPA covers the imminent nature of the dangers envisioned by the Caller ID NPRM, published at 82 FR 33856, July 21, 2017, and commenters, the Commission tailors its rule to align with the ECPA definition for purposes of this new exemption. The Commission agrees that it makes sense to align its definition of a threatening call with existing federal law to ensure that carriers have consistent legal standards to apply in situations where both the Commission's rules and ECPA apply. The Commission also agrees with commenters that the ECPA definition would sufficiently cover the types of calls it seeks to exempt from the Caller ID blocking rule, without being either over- or under-inclusive, or including terms that could be ambiguous.

    10. Law Enforcement Involvement. The Commission finds that, to ensure the exemption is not abused, a request for blocked Caller ID information associated with a threatening call must be made by law enforcement on behalf of the threatened party. The Commission believes that this requirement will, among other things, ensure that such requests concern a bona fide threatening call and will not be a pretext for obtaining blocked Caller ID for other purposes. As CTIA commented, such a requirement will ensure there is no ambiguity regarding the necessary level of law enforcement involvement.

    11. The Commission agrees with commenters that law enforcement involvement at this stage of the process is essential to avoid having carriers make a determination on what constitutes a threatening call. AT&T avers that the involvement of law enforcement would help ensure compliance with the ECPA disclosure requirements, and would help prevent overbroad disclosures of blocked caller ID information that may harm the privacy of non-threatening callers. According to AT&T, law enforcement officials are “indisputably better qualified to validate the existence of emergency circumstances than carrier personnel,” and are likely more familiar with the facts giving rise to a requested disclosure. CTIA adds that requiring law enforcement involvement when restricted Caller ID information is requested would deter parties from manipulating the unblocking process. The Commission agrees with commenters that law enforcement personnel are in the best position to determine the existence of a credible threat that necessitates revealing CPN to investigate the threatening call.

    12. Likewise, the Commission finds that only law enforcement personnel and, as directed by law enforcement, others directly responsible for the safety and security of the threatened party should receive the otherwise protected Caller ID information in the case of threatening calls. Security personnel may only receive the blocked Caller ID information from the providers as directed by law enforcement because law enforcement will generally be in a better position than providers to determine who qualifies as security personnel. The Commission limits the disclosure of the blocked Caller ID information to prevent abuse, and to protect the privacy interests of parties who may block their Caller ID for valid privacy interests, such as domestic violence victims. By limiting the disclosure to law enforcement or, as directed by law enforcement, to security personnel for purposes of investigating a threat, the Commission seeks to prevent exploitations of the amended rule, such as an abuser tracking down a victim. The Commission defines security personnel as “those individuals directly responsible for maintaining safety of the threatened entity consistent with the nature of the threat.” For example, employees whose duties include security at an institution would qualify as security personnel; by contrast, an employee who merely answered the threatening phone or an individual homeowner would not. Security personnel may include, but are not limited to, corporate and government agency security personnel, and school or university security staff acting within the scope of their duties. In the case of an individual homeowner, law enforcement can take reasonable action to protect the homeowner as it conducts its investigation of a threatening call. The Commission allows disclosure to security personnel as directed by law enforcement to encompass situations where security personnel need access to the blocked Caller ID information for investigative purposes, as in instances when a large institution with its own security force, like a university or government agency, receives a threat.

    13. The Commission agrees with CTIA's recommendation that “called parties should not be the recipients of information,” and the “use of disclosed CPN should be restricted—by rule—in a manner consistent with prior waivers.” In its reply comments, NTCA asserts that, in times of exigency or in remote or insular areas, Caller ID information should be available to volunteer rescuers and similar non-law enforcement personnel with a safe harbor provision for carriers. The rules the Commission adopts here make Caller ID information available to “security personnel,” as directed by law enforcement, as well as law enforcement, and the Commission's definition of “security personnel” does not necessarily exclude the types of situations NTCA describes. The determination NTCA urges would dependent on the facts of a specific situation, and is, therefore, not appropriate for the general exemption the Commission adopts here. Accordingly, the Commission includes the following conditions in its rule for law enforcement or, as directed by law enforcement, security personnel of the called party investigating the threat: (1) The CPN on incoming restricted calls may not be passed on to the line called; (2) any system used to record CPN must be operated in a secure way, limiting access to designated telecommunications and security personnel, as directed by law enforcement; (3) telecommunications and security personnel, as directed by law enforcement, may access restricted CPN data only when investigating calls involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person requiring disclosure without delay of information relating to the emergency, and shall document that access as part of the investigative report; (4) carriers transmitting restricted CPN information must take reasonable measures to ensure the security of such communications; (5) CPN information must be destroyed in a secure manner after a reasonable retention period; and, (6) any violation of these conditions must be reported promptly to the Commission. The Commission expects that these boundaries on how the disclosed Caller ID information must be treated will advance public safety efforts while protecting valid privacy interests. The Commission has imposed these conditions on waivers both to ensure that the Caller ID information in question is accessible only to persons with direct involvement in investigating the threatening calls and to ensure that the information is used only for that purpose. The Commission has no indication that these conditions did not properly protect privacy interests in the cases underlying the waivers, and the record does not reveal any reason to doubt their efficacy more generally.

    14. Carrier Obligations Under Section 222 of the Act. The Commission finds that the disclosure required by the new exemption the Commission adopts here is consistent with section 222 of the Act. Section 222(a) of the Act states that “[e]very telecommunications carrier has a duty to protect the confidentiality of proprietary information of, and relating to, other telecommunication carriers, equipment manufacturers, and customers, including telecommunication carriers reselling telecommunications services provided by a telecommunications carrier.” The Commission's amended rule requiring carriers to disclose blocked Caller ID information when law enforcement requests it to investigate threatening calls does not contravene carriers' obligations under section 222 of the Act.

    15. In addressing the threatening calls recently received by Jewish Community Centers, the Bureau discussed section 222 of the Act in connection with the statutory protection of customer proprietary network information. The Commission agrees with the Bureau's view that section 222(d) of the Act allows for carriers to disclose blocked Caller ID in the case of unlawful activity because section 222(d) of the Act states, “[n]othing in this section prohibits a telecommunications carrier from using, disclosing, or permitting access to customer proprietary network information obtained from its customers, either directly or indirectly through its agents . . . to protect users of those services and other carriers from fraudulent, abusive, or unlawful use of, or subscription to, such services.” As described above, the Commission defines a “threatening call” as “any call that conveys an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person requiring disclosure without delay of information relating to the emergency.” By limiting the disclosure of blocked Caller ID to narrowly defined cases of threatening calls that raise the “danger of death or serious physical injury to any person,” the Commission ensures that carriers are within their obligations under section 222 of the Act.

    The Jewish Community Centers' Temporary Waiver

    16. On February 28, 2017, Senator Charles E. Schumer submitted a letter to the Commission expressing concern regarding recent bomb threats made via phone against various Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) in New York and across the nation. Senator Schumer noted that the Commission has played a valuable role in ensuring law enforcement and others are not hindered in their access to the caller information of threatening calls and suggested consideration of the grant of a waiver. On March 3, 2017, CGB granted to JCCs, and any carriers that serve JCCs, a temporary, emergency waiver of § 64.1601(b) of the Commission's rules. In so doing, CGB indicated that this temporary waiver would remain in effect until the Commission determined whether the waiver should be made permanent. In addition, CGB sought comment on whether to make this waiver permanent. Comments filed in response support the waiver and note the public interest in promoting efforts to identify and thwart individuals making threatening calls to JCCs. No commenter opposed the waiver.

    17. In the Caller ID NPRM, the Commission confirmed that good cause continued to exist to maintain the temporary waiver of § 64.1601(b) of the Commission's rules granted to JCCs and the carriers who serve them for disclosure of CPN associated with threatening calls. The Caller ID NPRM stated that in the event the Commission were to amend its rules to recognize a more general exemption for threatening calls, the JCC waiver would be encompassed within the protections afforded by that exemption. In Report and Order, the Commission recognizes an exemption for threatening calls thereby encompassing the JCC waiver. Accordingly, the JCC waiver is no longer necessary, and is superseded by document FCC 17-32 and terminated as of the effective date of the rule changes adopted herein.

    Exemption for Non-Public Entities Providing Emergency Services

    18. The Commission also amends its rules to allow non-public emergency services to receive the CPN of all incoming calls from blocked numbers requesting assistance. The Commission believes amending its rules to allow non-public emergency services access to blocked Caller ID promotes the public interest by ensuring timely provision of emergency services without undermining any countervailing privacy interests.

    19. The Commission previously concluded that “[t]o the extent that CPN-based services are used to deliver emergency services, the Commission finds that privacy requirements for CPN-based services should not apply to delivery of the CPN to a public agency's emergency line, a poison control line, or in conjunction with 911 emergency services” and has noted that “in an emergency, a caller is not likely to remember to dial or even know to dial an unblocking code.” Here the Commission takes its previous conclusions a logical step further by amending the rules to allow non-public emergency services to retrieve from carriers the blocked Caller ID of callers seeking assistance. The Commission believes these callers would want an emergency service, whether a public agency or non-public entity, to be able to quickly and easily contact or locate them using their phone number to provide assistance.

    20. The Bureau previously waived the Caller ID privacy rule for a private ambulance service, Chevrah Hatzalah Volunteer Ambulance Corps Inc. (Hatzalah). In granting the waiver, the Bureau noted that Hatzalah's automatic dial retrieval system “. . . is disrupted when the incoming call comes from a caller who has requested that his/her number not be revealed to the called party. In this circumstance, Hatzalah states that the inability to automatically identify callers creates several problems that can delay or even prevent the timely provision of emergency care.” In its petition, Hatzalah further argued that allowing it to access blocked Caller ID information “would not frustrate [the] purpose [of the Commission's rule] because the Commission has recognized that a caller's privacy interest should not interfere with the delivery of emergency services.”

    21. The Bureau found that the waiver served the public interest “because Hatzalah will be better able to respond to emergency situations by saving the crucial time taken when requesting phone number and location information from the caller.” The Bureau also noted, “. . . people seeking emergency services are often under great stress when they call, which can lead to difficulty in accurately communicating the vital telephone number and location information.” Finally, the Bureau agreed with Hatzalah “that a caller seeking emergency services has an interest in the number becoming known to the emergency provider to speed the provision of emergency services and, therefore, any privacy concerns are minimized in this context.”

    22. In the Caller ID NPRM, the Commission sought comment on whether it should extend the proposed exemption to non-public entities that provide emergency services such as private ambulance companies. Hatzalah urges us to amend its rules for the same reasons the Bureau granted it a waiver so that other non-public emergency services will also have access to blocked Caller ID to provide the requested assistance. The Commission agrees that the Hatzalah Order's reasoning should apply more generally and find that allowing non-public emergency services to access blocked Caller ID promotes public safety and does not undermine any countervailing privacy interests associated with revealing CPN. Petition of Chevrah Hatzalah Volunteer Ambulance Corps Inc. for Waiver of Section 1601(b) of the Commission's Rules—Blocked Telephone Numbers, CC Docket No. 91-281, Order, 28 FCC Rcd 1253 (CGB 2013) (order was not published in the Federal Register). In order to facilitate the public safety goals of non-public emergency services, the Commission amends its Caller ID privacy rules to allow such services to obtain blocked Caller ID from carriers.

    23. Consistent with the Hatzalah Order, entities providing emergency services must be licensed by a state or municipality to provide such services to qualify for this exemption. Unlike the threatened callers discussed above, non-public emergency services do not have to act in conjunction with law enforcement to obtain blocked Caller ID information from carriers. Involving public emergency services in this scenario would undermine the goal of allowing providers of emergency services to provide quick and effective assistance to individuals seeking such assistance.

    Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

    24. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended, (RFA), the Commission incorporated an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) into the Caller ID NPRM. The Commission sought written comment on the proposals in the Caller ID NPRM, including comment on the IRFA. No comments were received on the IRFA.

    Need for, and Objectives of, the Order

    25. The Report and Order takes an important step to help security and law enforcement personnel responsible for the safety of parties receiving certain threatening calls obtain quick access to the Caller ID information needed to identify and thwart threatening callers. The Report and Order moves away from case-by-case waivers to the streamlined approach necessary to help protect the safety of threatened parties in a timely way. Specifically, Report and Order clears the way for carriers to disclose blocked Caller ID information associated with threatening calls to facilitate the investigation of such threats and amends the Commission's rules to allow non-public emergency services to obtain blocked Caller ID information associated with calls requesting assistance.

    26. Caller ID Exemption for Threatening Calls. The Report and Order modifies the Commission's Caller ID rules to exempt threatening calls from the CPN privacy rules, so that security personnel and associated law enforcement have quick access to information they need to aid their investigations. The Report and Order defines the term “threatening call,” which triggers the application of the new exemption, as “any call that conveys an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person requiring disclosure without delay of information relating to the emergency.” This definition is consistent with the emergency-disclosure provision of ECPA, and it satisfies the Commission's goal of targeting the most threatening calls.

    27. Law Enforcement Involvement. To ensure the exemption is not abused, a request for blocked Caller ID associated with a threatening call must be made by law enforcement on behalf of the threatened party. The Commission believes that this requirement will, among other things, ensure that such requests concern a bona fide threatening call and will not be a pretext for obtaining blocked Caller ID for other purposes.

    28. Only Law Enforcement and Security Personnel Receive Blocked Caller ID. Only law enforcement personnel and others responsible for the safety and, as directed by law enforcement, security personnel of the threatened party should receive the otherwise protected Caller ID information in the case of threatening calls. The Report and Order limits the disclosure of the blocked Caller ID information to prevent abuse of the disclosure process, and to protect the privacy interests of parties who may block their Caller ID for valid privacy interests, such as domestic violence victims. The Report and Order defines security personnel as “those individuals directly responsible for maintaining safety of the threatened entity consistent with the nature of the threat.”

    29. Conditions on Receipt of Blocked Caller ID Information. The Report and Order includes the following conditions in the Commission's rule for law enforcement or security personnel of the called party investigating the threat: (1) The CPN on incoming restricted calls may not be passed on to the line called; (2) any system used to record CPN must be operated in a secure way, limiting access to designated telecommunications and, as directed by law enforcement, security personnel; (3) telecommunications and, as directed by law enforcement, security personnel may access restricted CPN data only when investigating calls involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person requiring disclosure without delay of information relating to the emergency, and shall document that access as part of the investigative report; (4) carriers transmitting restricted CPN information must take reasonable measures to ensure the security of such communications; (5) CPN information must be destroyed in a secure manner after a reasonable retention period; and (6) any violation of these conditions must be reported promptly to the Commission.

    30. Carrier Obligations Under Section 222 of the Act. The disclosure required by the new exemption adopted in the Report and Order is consistent with section 222 of the Act. Section 222(a) of the Act states that “[e]very telecommunications carrier has a duty to protect the confidentiality of proprietary information of, and relating to, other telecommunication carriers, equipment manufacturers, and customers, including telecommunication carriers reselling telecommunications services provided by a telecommunications carrier.” The Commission's amended rule requiring carriers to disclose blocked Caller ID information when law enforcement requests it does not contravene carriers' obligations under section 222 of the Act.

    31. Jewish Community Center Temporary Waiver. The Report and Order recognizes an exemption for threatening calls thereby encompassing the JCC waiver. Accordingly, the JCC waiver is no longer necessary, and is superseded by the Report and Order.

    32. Non-Public Emergency Services. The Report and Order also amends the Commission's rules to allow non-public emergency services to receive the CPN of all incoming calls from blocked numbers requesting assistance. Amending the Commission's rules to allow non-public emergency services access to blocked Caller ID promotes the public interest by ensuring timely provision of emergency services without undermining any countervailing privacy interests.

    Response to Comments by the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration

    33. Pursuant to the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, which amended the RFA, the Commission is required to respond to any comments filed by the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA), and to provide a detailed statement of any change made to the proposed rules as a result of those comments. The Chief Counsel did not file any comments in response to the proposed rules in this proceeding.

    Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the Rules Will Apply

    34. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that will be affected by the proposed rules, if adopted. The RFA generally defines the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,” “small organization,” and “small governmental jurisdiction.” In addition, the term “small business” has the same meaning as the term “small business concern” under the Small Business Act. Under the Small Business Act, a “small business concern” is one that: (1) Is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) meets any additional criteria established by the Small Business Administration. Nationwide, there are a total of approximately 28.8 million small businesses, according to the SBA.

    Wireline Carriers

    35. Wired Telecommunications Carriers. The U.S. Census Bureau defines this industry as “establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired communications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or a combination of technologies. Establishments in this industry use the wired telecommunications network facilities that they operate to provide a variety of services, such as wired telephony services, including VoIP services, wired (cable) audio and video programming distribution, and wired broadband internet services. By exception, establishments providing satellite television distribution services using facilities and infrastructure that they operate are included in this industry.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for Wired Telecommunications Carriers, which consists of all such companies having 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2012 shows that there were 3,117 firms that operated that year. Of this total, 3,083 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees. Thus, under this size standard, the majority of firms in this industry can be considered small.

    36. Local Exchange Carriers (LECs). Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for local exchange services. The closest applicable size standard under SBA rules is for the category wired telecommunications carriers. The U.S. Census Bureau defines this industry as “establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired communications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or a combination of technologies. Establishments in this industry use the wired telecommunications network facilities that they operate to provide a variety of services, such as wired telephony services, including VoIP services, wired (cable) audio and video programming distribution, and wired broadband internet services. By exception, establishments providing satellite television distribution services using facilities and infrastructure that they operate are included in this industry.” Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2012 show that there were 3,117 firms that operated that year. Of this total, 3,083 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that most providers of local exchange service are small businesses.

    37. Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (Incumbent LECs). Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for incumbent local exchange services. The closest applicable size standard under SBA rules is for the category wired telecommunications carriers. The U.S. Census Bureau defines this industry as “establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired communications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or a combination of technologies. Establishments in this industry use the wired telecommunications network facilities that they operate to provide a variety of services, such as wired telephony services, including VoIP services, wired (cable) audio and video programming distribution, and wired broadband internet services. By exception, establishments providing satellite television distribution services using facilities and infrastructure that they operate are included in this industry.” Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2012 show that there were 3,117 firms that operated that year. Of this total, 3,083 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that most providers of incumbent local exchange service are small businesses.

    38. Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (Competitive LECs), Competitive Access Providers (CAPs), Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and Other Local Service Providers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for these service providers. The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the category wired telecommunications carriers. The U.S. Census Bureau defines this industry as “establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired communications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or a combination of technologies. Establishments in this industry use the wired telecommunications network facilities that they operate to provide a variety of services, such as wired telephony services, including VoIP services, wired (cable) audio and video programming distribution, and wired broadband internet services. By exception, establishments providing satellite television distribution services using facilities and infrastructure that they operate are included in this industry.” Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2012 show that there were 3,117 firms that operated that year. Of this total, 3,083 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that most providers of competitive local exchange service, competitive access providers, Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and other local service providers are small entities.

    39. The Commission has included small incumbent LECs in this present RFA analysis. As noted above, a “small business” under the RFA is one that, inter alia, meets the pertinent small business size standard (e.g., a telephone communications business having 1,500 or fewer employees), and “is not dominant in its field of operation.” The SBA's Office of Advocacy contends that, for RFA purposes, small incumbent LECs are not dominant in their field of operation because any such dominance is not “national” in scope. The Commission has therefore included small incumbent LECs in this RFA analysis, although it emphasizes that this RFA action has no effect on Commission analyses and determinations in other, non-RFA contexts.

    40. Interexchange Carriers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for providers of interexchange services (IXCs). The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the category wired telecommunications carriers. The U.S. Census Bureau defines this industry as “establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired communications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or a combination of technologies. Establishments in this industry use the wired telecommunications network facilities that they operate to provide a variety of services, such as wired telephony services, including VoIP services, wired (cable) audio and video programming distribution, and wired broadband internet services. By exception, establishments providing satellite television distribution services using facilities and infrastructure that they operate are included in this industry.” Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2012 show that there were 3,117 firms that operated that year. Of this total, 3,083 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of IXCs are small entities.

    41. Other Toll Carriers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a size standard for small businesses specifically applicable to other toll carriers. This category includes toll carriers that do not fall within the categories of interexchange carriers, operator service providers, prepaid calling card providers, satellite service carriers, or toll resellers. The closest applicable size standard under SBA rules is for wired telecommunications carriers. The U.S. Census Bureau defines this industry as “establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired communications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or a combination of technologies. Establishments in this industry use the wired telecommunications network facilities that they operate to provide a variety of services, such as wired telephony services, including VoIP services, wired (cable) audio and video programming distribution, and wired broadband internet services. By exception, establishments providing satellite television distribution services using facilities and infrastructure that they operate are included in this industry.” Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2012 show that there were 3,117 firms that operated that year. Of this total, 3,083 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees. Thus, under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of other toll carriers can be considered small.

    Wireless Carriers

    42. Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite). Since 2007, the Census Bureau has placed wireless firms within this new, broad, economic census category. Under the present and prior categories, the SBA has deemed a wireless business to be small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. For the category of wireless telecommunications carriers (except Satellite), Census data for 2012 show that there were 967 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 955 firms had fewer than 1,000 employees. Thus, under this category and the associated size standard, the Commission estimates that the majority of wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite) are small entities. Similarly, according to internally developed Commission data, 413 carriers reported that they were engaged in the provision of wireless telephony, including cellular service, Personal Communications Service (PCS), and Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) services. Of this total, an estimated 261 have 1,500 or fewer employees. Thus, using available data, the Commission estimates that the majority of wireless telecommunications carriers can be considered small.

    43. Satellite Telecommunications Providers. The category of satellite telecommunications “comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing telecommunications services to other establishments in the telecommunications and broadcasting industries by forwarding and receiving communications signals via a system of satellites or reselling satellite telecommunications.” This category has a small business size standard of $32.5 million or less in average annual receipts, under SBA rules. For this category, Census Bureau data for 2012 show that there were a total of 333 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 299 firms had annual receipts of under $25 million. Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of satellite telecommunications firms are small entities.

    44. All Other Telecommunications. All other telecommunications comprise, inter alia, “establishments primarily engaged in providing specialized telecommunications services, such as satellite tracking, communications telemetry, and radar station operation. This industry also includes establishments primarily engaged in providing satellite terminal stations and associated facilities connected with one or more terrestrial systems and capable of transmitting telecommunications to, and receiving telecommunications from, satellite systems. Establishments providing Internet services or voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) services via client-supplied telecommunications connections are also included in this industry.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for the category of All Other Telecommunications. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has $32.5 million in annual receipts. For this category, Census Bureau data for 2012 show that there were a total of 1,442 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 1,400 had annual receipts below $25 million per year. Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of all other telecommunications firms are small entities.

    Resellers

    45. Toll Resellers. The Commission has not developed a definition for toll resellers. The closest NAICS Code Category is Telecommunications Resellers. The Telecommunications Resellers industry comprises establishments engaged in purchasing access and network capacity from owners and operators of telecommunications networks and reselling wired and wireless telecommunications services (except satellite) to businesses and households. Establishments in this industry resell telecommunications; they do not operate transmission facilities and infrastructure. Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are included in this industry. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for the category of Telecommunications Resellers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2012 show that 1,341 firms provided resale services during that year. Of that number, 1,341 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees. Thus, under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of these resellers can be considered small entities. According to Commission data, 881 carriers have reported that they are engaged in the provision of toll resale services. Of this total, an estimated 857 have 1,500 or fewer employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of toll resellers are small entities.

    46. Local Resellers. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for the category of telecommunications resellers. The telecommunications resellers industry comprises establishments engaged in purchasing access and network capacity from owners and operators of telecommunications networks and reselling wired and wireless telecommunications services (except satellite) to businesses and households. Establishments in this industry resell telecommunications; they do not operate transmission facilities and infrastructure. Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are included in this industry. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2012 show that 1,341 firms provided resale services during that year. Of that number, all operated with fewer than 1,000 employees. Thus, under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of these prepaid calling card providers can be considered small entities.

    47. Prepaid Calling Card Providers. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for the category of telecommunications resellers. The telecommunications resellers industry comprises establishments engaged in purchasing access and network capacity from owners and operators of telecommunications networks and reselling wired and wireless telecommunications services (except satellite) to businesses and households. Establishments in this industry resell telecommunications; they do not operate transmission facilities and infrastructure. Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are included in this industry. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2012 show that 1,341 firms provided resale services during that year. Of that number, all operated with fewer than 1,000 employees. Thus, under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of these prepaid calling card providers can be considered small entities.

    Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements for Small Entities

    48. The Report and Order creates an exemption for threatening calls and calls to non-public emergency services from the Commission's Caller ID privacy rules. These changes affect small and large companies equally, and apply equally to all classes of regulated entities identified above.

    49. Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements. There are no new reporting requirements. The Report and Order amends the caller privacy rules to exempt threatening calls from the CPN privacy rules, so that associated law enforcement and, as directed by law enforcement, security personnel have quick access to information they need to aid their investigations. Voice service providers do not need to change their current recordkeeping as they have been able to provide CPN when requested in the past.

    50. The Report and Order adds a recordkeeping requirement. The Commission amends its rules to allow non-public emergency services to obtain blocked Caller ID information associated with calls requesting assistance. Voice service providers will need to keep a record of when they provide blocked Caller ID associated with calls requesting assistance to non-public emergency services providers.

    51. Other Compliance Requirements. Voice service providers will be required to release blocked Caller ID information when it is requested by law enforcement in conjunction with circumstances amounting to a threatening call and when a non-public emergency service requests blocked Caller ID. To do so, voice service providers must comply with law enforcement requests for CPN as they currently do under ECPA. The Commission anticipates the impact will be small because of the statutory requirements already in place.

    Steps Taken To Minimize the Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and Significant Alternatives Considered

    52. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered in reaching its approach, which may include the following four alternatives, among others: (1) the establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance or reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; (3) the use of performance, rather than design, standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities.

    53. The Commission considered feedback from the Caller ID NPRM in crafting the final order. The Commission evaluated the comments in light of the goal of removing regulatory roadblocks to help security and law enforcement personnel responsible for the safety of parties receiving certain threatening calls obtain quick access to the Caller ID information needed to identify and thwart threatening callers. While a commenter suggested permissive rules, the Commission implemented mandatory rules in light of public safety concerns. The Commission adopts an exemption instead of simply streamlining the waiver process to allow for virtually immediate access to blocked Caller ID information upon proper request in threatening situations. The Commission considered continuing the waiver process, but inherent delays in the waiver process do not meet the goal of streamlining access to information needed to investigate threatening calls. In addition, the Commission reduced uncertainty, burdens and costs on small business providers that seek to relay the blocked Caller ID information, by putting the identification of “security personnel” in the hands of law enforcement as opposed to providers.

    54. The Commission does not see a need to establish a special timetable for small entities to reach compliance with the modification to the rules. No small business has asked for a delay in implementing the rules. In considering the burden on small business, the Commission notes that they already have responsibilities under ECPA, and the Commission aligns its threatening call definition with that of ECPA. Similarly, there are no design standards or performance standards to consider in this rulemaking.

    Federal Rules Which Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With, the Commission's Rules

    55. None.

    Ordering Clauses

    56. Pursuant to the authority contained in sections 1-4, 201 and 222 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151-154, 201, 222, This Report and Order IS ADOPTED and that part 64 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 64.1600, 64.1601, are amended.

    57. The Commission's Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, sent a copy of the Report and Order to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).

    List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 64

    Communications common carriers, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Telecommunications, Telephone.

    Federal Communications Commission. Katura Jackson, Federal Register Liaison Officer, Office of the Secretary. Final Rules

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission amends 47 CFR part 64 as follows:

    PART 64—MISCELLANEOUS RULES RELATING TO COMMON CARRIERS 1. The authority citation for part 64 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    47 U.S.C. 154, 225, 254(k), 403(b)(2)(B), (c), 715, Pub. L. 104-104, 110 Stat. 56. Interpret or apply 47 U.S.C. 201, 218, 222, 225, 226, 227, 228, 254(k), 616, 620, and the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. 112-96, unless otherwise noted.

    2. Amend § 64.1600 by adding paragraph (l) to read as follows:
    § 64.1600 Definitions.

    (l) Threatening Call. The term “threatening call” is any call that conveys an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person requiring disclosure without delay of information relating to the emergency.

    3. Amend § 64.1601 by revising paragraph (d)(4)(ii) and by adding paragraphs (f) and (g) to read as follows:
    § 64.1601 Delivery requirements and privacy restrictions.

    (d) * * *

    (4) * * *

    (ii) Is used on a public agency's emergency telephone line or in conjunction with 911 emergency services, on a telephone line to contact non-public emergency services licensed by the state or municipality, or on any entity's emergency assistance poison control telephone line; or

    (f) Paragraph (b) of this section shall not apply when CPN delivery is made in connection with a threatening call. Upon report of such a threatening call by law enforcement on behalf of the threatened party, the carrier will provide any CPN of the calling party to law enforcement and, as directed by law enforcement, to security personnel for the called party for the purpose of identifying the party responsible for the threatening call.

    (g) For law enforcement or security personnel of the called party investigating the threat:

    (1) The CPN on incoming restricted calls may not be passed on to the line called;

    (2) Any system used to record CPN must be operated in a secure way, limiting access to designated telecommunications and security personnel, as directed by law enforcement;

    (3) Telecommunications and security personnel, as directed by law enforcement, may access restricted CPN data only when investigating phone calls of a threatening and serious nature, and shall document that access as part of the investigative report;

    (4) Carriers transmitting restricted CPN information must take reasonable measures to ensure security of such communications;

    (5) CPN information must be destroyed in a secure manner after a reasonable retention period; and

    (6) Any violation of these conditions must be reported promptly to the Commission.

    [FR Doc. 2017-25917 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 170510477-7999-02] RIN 0648-BG88 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Regulatory Amendment 6 to the Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS issues regulations to implement the measures described in Regulatory Amendment 6 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) (FMP), as prepared and submitted by the Caribbean Fishery Management Council (Council). This final rule revises the method used to trigger the application of accountability measures (AM) for Council-managed reef fish species or species groups in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off Puerto Rico. The purpose of this final rule is to increase the likelihood that optimum yield (OY) is achieved on a continuing basis and to minimize, to the extent practicable, adverse socio-economic effects of AM-based closures.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective January 2, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Electronic copies of Regulatory Amendment 6, which includes an environmental assessment, a Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) analysis, and a regulatory impact review, may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/caribbean/index.html.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sarah Stephenson, telephone: 727-824-5305; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In the U.S. Caribbean EEZ, the reef fish fishery is managed under the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the Council and is implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.).

    On September 19, 2017, NMFS published a proposed rule for Regulatory Amendment 6 and requested public comment (82 FR 43733). The proposed rule and Regulatory Amendment 6 outline the rationale for the actions contained in this final rule. A summary of the management measures described in the Regulatory Amendment 6 and implemented by this final rule is provided below.

    The current AMs in the EEZ off Puerto Rico, applicable to Council-managed reef fish species or species groups, require NMFS to reduce the length of the Federal fishing season in the fishing year following a determination that landings for a species or species group exceeded the applicable sector annual catch limit (ACL). As specified in the FMP, the landings determination is based on the applicable 3-year landings average. Currently, an AM-based closure is triggered and applied when the sector ACL is exceeded, even if the total ACL (i.e., combined commercial and recreational ACLs) for a species or species group is not exceeded. For all Council-managed reef fish species or species groups, the total ACL equals the annual estimate of OY and is set at a level that is considered to be sustainable for the species or species group. Therefore, the application of the current AM for Puerto Rico reef fish could translate into yield below the OY from the affected species or species group (if the sector ACL is exceeded, but the total ACL is not), potentially resulting in negative socio-economic impacts.

    Sector-specific data are not available for other federally-managed species in the EEZ off Puerto Rico (e.g., queen conch, spiny lobster) or for other federally-managed species or species groups in the U.S. Caribbean EEZ, so those species and species groups are not included in Regulatory Amendment 6. Therefore, Regulatory Amendment 6 and this proposed rule apply only to federally-managed reef fish species and species groups in the EEZ off Puerto Rico.

    Management Measure Contained in This Final Rule

    This final rule revises the trigger for implementing AM-based fishing season reductions for all reef fish species or species groups managed by the Council in the EEZ off Puerto Rico. Specifically, an AM-based closure will be triggered only when both the applicable sector (recreational or commercial) ACL and the total ACL for a species or species group are exceeded. If both the sector ACL and the total ACL are exceeded, the AM will be applied to the sector or sectors that experienced the overage. The duration of any implemented AM-based closure will continue to be based on the extent to which the applicable sector ACL was exceeded and will be calculated and applied using the current practices and methods. However, consistent with the current regulations, if NMFS determines that either the sector or total ACL was exceeded because of enhanced data collection and monitoring efforts, instead of an increase in catch, NMFS will not reduce the length of the fishing season.

    This final rule to implement Regulatory Amendment 6 is expected to increase the likelihood that OY is achieved on a continuing basis and to minimize adverse socio-economic effects from the implementation of AMs, while still helping to ensure that AM-based closures constrain harvest to the total ACL and prevent overfishing. Modifying the AM trigger for a fishing season reduction, from an overage of the sector ACL to an overage of both the sector and the total ACL, increases the likelihood that OY for a species or species group will be achieved on a continuing basis. Additionally, the revision to the AM is likely to result in the AM being triggered less frequently and thereby result in fewer fishing season reductions. Sector fishing season reductions that are shorter in duration and that may occur less frequently are expected to result in increased socio-economic benefits to the applicable sector and the associated fishing communities. NMFS notes that the method for calculating the landings determination using the 3-year landings average for a species or species group will not change through this final rule.

    NMFS notes that in the codified text for this final rule, amendatory instruction 2 revises the entire § 622.12. While this final rule only affects management in Puerto Rico Federal waters, the section as a whole is revised as a result of the action to more clearly and distinctly describe the AMs and ACLs throughout the U.S. Caribbean EEZ. This final rule also revises some regulatory citations within §§ 622.12 and 622.491 to reflect changes made to the regulatory text as a result of this final rule.

    Comments and Responses

    NMFS received three total comments on the proposed rule. One comment expressed overall support for the amendment and the rule. One comment was not related to the action in the amendment or the proposed rule. The other comment, as well as NMFS' response, is summarized below.

    Comment 1: The AM closure trigger should not be revised to allow a given sector to stay open and continue fishing after it has reached its ACL as any harvest in excess of the sector ACL is not sustainable. Fishing within each sector must be sustainable to avoid negative economic impact.

    Response: NMFS disagrees. Under the current application of AMs for Council-managed reef fish in Puerto Rico, yield may be below the OY for a species or species group over time. The Council developed Regulatory Amendment 6 as a means to increase the likelihood that OY for a species or species group will be achieved on a continuing basis while preventing overfishing, and, to the extent practicable, minimizing adverse socio-economic effects to fishers and fishing communities from the application of AMs. For all Council-managed reef fish species or species groups, the total ACL equals an annual estimate of OY and is set at a level that is considered to be sustainable for the species or species group. Therefore, the application of the current AM for Puerto Rico reef fish could translate into yield below the OY from the affected species or species group (if the sector ACL is exceeded, but the total ACL is not), potentially resulting in negative socio-economic impacts. Since sector-specific data is available for reef fish species or species groups in the EEZ off Puerto Rico, sector-specific ACLs were established, yet the overall health of the stocks continues to be managed in relation to the total ACL. Ensuring that the total ACL for a stock is not exceeded, even if there is a specific sector ACL overage, maintains the overall health of the stock and is also consistent with the use of AMs for reef fish throughout the rest of the Caribbean EEZ, where fishing is not managed by sectors. The AM trigger revision in this final rule increases the likelihood that OY for a species or species group will be achieved on a continuing basis without reducing the long-term sustainability of the resource.

    Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS has determined that this final rule is consistent with Regulatory Amendment 6, the FMPs, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law.

    This final rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.

    The Magnuson-Stevens Act provides the statutory basis for this rule. No duplicative, overlapping, or conflicting Federal rules have been identified. In addition, no new reporting, record-keeping, or other compliance requirements are introduced by this final rule.

    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration during the proposed rule stage that this rule would not have a significant adverse economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for this determination was published in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. No changes to this final rule were made in response to public comments. As a result, a final regulatory flexibility analysis was not required and none was prepared.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622

    Accountability measures, Annual catch limits, Caribbean, Fisheries, Fishing, Puerto Rico.

    Dated: November 27, 2017. Alan D. Risenhoover, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 622 is amended as follows:

    PART 622—FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF OF MEXICO, AND SOUTH ATLANTIC 1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    2. Revise § 622.12 to read as follows:
    § 622.12 Annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs) for Caribbean island management areas/Caribbean EEZ.

    (a) Puerto Rico management area. See appendix E of this part for specification of the Puerto Rico management area.

    (1) Queen conch. See § 622.491 regarding seasonal and area closure provisions and ACL closure provisions applicable to queen conch.

    (i) Commercial ACL. For the EEZ only, 0 lb (0 kg), round weight.

    (ii) Recreational ACL. For the EEZ only, 0 lb (0 kg), round weight.

    (2) Reef fish. Landings will be evaluated relative to the applicable ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMP. With the exceptions of goliath grouper, Nassau grouper, midnight parrotfish, blue parrotfish, and rainbow parrotfish, ACLs are based on the combined Caribbean EEZ and territorial landings for the Puerto Rico management area. As described in the FMP, for each species or species group in this paragraph (a)(2), any fishing season reduction required under paragraph (a)(2)(i) or (ii) of this section will be applied from September 30 backward, toward the beginning of the fishing year. If the length of the required fishing season reduction exceeds the time period of January 1 through September 30, any additional fishing season reduction will be applied from October 1 forward, toward the end of the fishing year.

    (i) Commercial sector. If commercial landings, as estimated by the SRD, have exceeded the applicable species or species group commercial ACL, as specified in this paragraph (a)(2)(i), and the combined commercial and recreational landings have exceeded the applicable combined commercial and recreational sector ACL (total ACL), as specified in paragraph (a)(2)(iii) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, to reduce the length of the fishing season for the applicable species or species groups for the commercial sector that year by the amount necessary to ensure that commercial landings do not exceed the applicable commercial ACL for the species or species group. If NMFS determines that either the applicable commercial ACL or total ACL for a particular species or species group was exceeded because of enhanced data collection and monitoring efforts instead of an increase in catch of the species or species group, NMFS will not reduce the length of the commercial fishing season for the applicable species or species group the following fishing year. The commercial ACLs, in round weight, are as follows:

    (A) Parrotfishes—52,737 lb (23,915 kg).

    (B) Snapper Unit 1—284,685 lb (129,131 kg).

    (C) Snapper Unit 2—145,916 lb (66,186 kg).

    (D) Snapper Unit 3—345,775 lb (156,841 kg).

    (E) Snapper Unit 4—373,295 lb (169,324 kg).

    (F) Groupers—177,513 lb (80,519 kg).

    (G) Angelfish—8,984 lb (4,075 kg).

    (H) Boxfish—86,115 lb (39,061 kg).

    (I) Goatfishes—17,565 lb (7,967 kg).

    (J) Grunts—182,396 lb (82,733 kg).

    (K) Wrasses—54,147 lb (24,561 kg).

    (L) Jacks—86,059 lb (39,036 kg).

    (M) Scups and porgies, combined—24,739 lb (11,221 kg).

    (N) Squirrelfish—16,663 lb (7,558 kg).

    (O) Surgeonfish—7,179 lb (3,256 kg).

    (P) Triggerfish and filefish, combined—58,475 lb (26,524 kg).

    (ii) Recreational sector. If recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, have exceeded the applicable species or species group recreational ACL, as specified in this paragraph (a)(2)(ii), and the combined commercial and recreational landings have exceeded the applicable combined commercial and recreational sector ACL (total ACL), as specified in paragraph (a)(2)(iii) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, to reduce the length of the fishing season for the applicable species or species groups for the recreational sector that year by the amount necessary to ensure that recreational landings do not exceed the applicable species or species group recreational ACL. If NMFS determines that either the applicable recreational ACL or total ACL for a particular species or species group was exceeded because of enhanced data collection and monitoring efforts instead of an increase in catch of the species or species group, NMFS will not reduce the length of the fishing season for the applicable species or species group the following fishing year. The recreational ACLs, in round weight, are as follows:

    (A) Parrotfishes—15,263 lb (6,921 kg).

    (B) Snapper Unit 1—95,526 lb (43,330 kg).

    (C) Snapper Unit 2—34,810 lb (15,790 kg).

    (D) Snapper Unit 3—83,158 lb (37,720 kg).

    (E) Snapper Unit 4—28,509 lb (12,931 kg).

    (F) Groupers—77,213 lb (35,023 kg).

    (G) Angelfish—4,492 lb (2,038 kg).

    (H) Boxfish—4,616 lb (2,094 kg).

    (I) Goatfishes—362 lb (164 kg).

    (J) Grunts—5,028 lb (2,281 kg).

    (K) Wrasses—5,050 lb (2,291 kg).

    (L) Jacks—51,001 lb (23,134 kg).

    (M) Scups and porgies, combined—2,577 lb (1,169 kg).

    (N) Squirrelfish—3,891 lb (1,765 kg).

    (O) Surgeonfish—3,590 lb (1,628 kg).

    (P) Triggerfish and filefish, combined—21,929 lb (9,947 kg).

    (iii) Total ACLs. The total ACLs (combined commercial and recreational ACL), in round weight, are as follows:

    (A) Parrotfishes—68,000 lb (30,844 kg).

    (B) Snapper Unit 1—380,211 lb (172,461 kg).

    (C) Snapper Unit 2—180,726 lb (81,976 kg).

    (D) Snapper Unit 3—428,933 lb (194,561 kg).

    (E) Snapper Unit 4—401,804 lb (182,255 kg).

    (F) Groupers—254,726 lb (115,542 kg).

    (G) Angelfish—13,476 lb (6,113 kg).

    (H) Boxfish—90,731 lb (41,155 kg).

    (I) Goatfishes—17,927 lb (8,132 kg).

    (J) Grunts—187,424 lb (85,014 kg).

    (K) Wrasses—59,197 lb (26,851 kg).

    (L) Jacks—137,060 lb (62,169 kg).

    (M) Scups and porgies, combined—27,316 lb (kg).

    (N) Squirrelfish—20,554 lb (9,323 kg).

    (O) Surgeonfish—10,769 lb (4,885 kg).

    (P) Triggerfish and filefish, combined—80,404 lb (36,471 kg).

    (3) Spiny lobster. Landings will be evaluated relative to the ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMP. The ACL is based on the combined Caribbean EEZ and territorial landings for the Puerto Rico management area. If landings, as estimated by the SRD, have exceeded the ACL, as specified in this paragraph (a)(3), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, to reduce the length of the fishing season for spiny lobster that year by the amount necessary to ensure landings do not exceed the ACL. If NMFS determines the ACL was exceeded because of enhanced data collection and monitoring efforts instead of an increase in total catch, NMFS will not reduce the length of the fishing season the following fishing year. As described in the FMP, any fishing season reduction required as a result of this paragraph (a)(3) will be applied from September 30 backward, toward the beginning of the fishing year. If the length of the required fishing season reduction exceeds the time period of January 1 through September 30, any additional fishing season reduction will be applied from October 1 forward, toward the end of the fishing year. The ACL is 327,920 lb (148,742 kg), round weight.

    (b) St. Croix management area. See appendix E of this part for specification of the St. Croix management area.

    (1) Queen conch. See § 622.491 regarding seasonal and area closure provisions and ACL closure provisions applicable to queen conch. The ACL is 50,000 lb (22,680 kg), round weight.

    (2) Reef fish. Landings will be evaluated relative to the applicable ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMP. With the exception of goliath grouper, Nassau grouper, midnight parrotfish, blue parrotfish, and rainbow parrotfish, ACLs are based on the combined Caribbean EEZ and territorial landings for the St. Croix management area. If landings, as estimated by the SRD, have exceeded the applicable ACL for a species or species group, as specified in this paragraph (b)(2), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, to reduce the length of the fishing season for the applicable species or species group that year by the amount necessary to ensure landings do not exceed the applicable ACL. If NMFS determines the ACL for a particular species or species group was exceeded because of enhanced data collection and monitoring efforts instead of an increase in total catch of the species or species group, NMFS will not reduce the length of the fishing season for the applicable species or species group the following fishing year. As described in the FMP, for each species or species group in this paragraph (b)(2), any fishing season reduction required as a result of this paragraph (b)(2) will be applied from September 30 backward, toward the beginning of the fishing year. If the length of the required fishing season reduction exceeds the time period of January 1 through September 30, any additional fishing season reduction will be applied from October 1 forward, toward the end of the fishing year. The ACLs, in round weight, are as follows:

    (i) Parrotfishes—240,000 lb (108,863 kg).

    (ii) Snappers—102,946 lb (46,696 kg).

    (iii) Groupers—30,435 lb (13,805 kg).

    (iv) Angelfish—305 lb (138 kg).

    (v) Boxfish—8,433 lb (3,825 kg).

    (vi) Goatfishes—3,766 lb (1,708 kg).

    (vii) Grunts—36,881 lb (16,729 kg).

    (viii) Wrasses—7 lb (3 kg).

    (ix) Jacks—15,489 lb (7,076 kg).

    (x) Scups and porgies, combined—4,638 lb (2,104 kg).

    (xi) Squirrelfish—121 lb (55 kg).

    (xii) Surgeonfish—33,603 lb (15,242 kg).

    (xiii) Triggerfish and filefish, combined—24,980 lb (11,331 kg).

    (3) Spiny lobster. Landings will be evaluated relative to the ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMP. The ACL is based on the combined Caribbean EEZ and territorial landings for the St. Croix management area. If landings, as estimated by the SRD, have exceeded the ACL, as specified in this paragraph (b)(3), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, to reduce the length of the fishing season that year by the amount necessary to ensure landings do not exceed the ACL. If NMFS determines the ACL was exceeded because of enhanced data collection and monitoring efforts instead of an increase in total catch, NMFS will not reduce the length of the fishing season for the following fishing year. As described in the FMP, any fishing season reduction required as a result of this paragraph (b)(3) will be applied from September 30 backward, toward the beginning of the fishing year. If the length of the required fishing season reduction exceeds the time period of January 1 through September 30, any additional fishing season reduction will be applied from October 1 forward, toward the end of the fishing year. The ACL is 107,307 lb (48,674 kg), round weight.

    (c) St. Thomas/St. John management area. See appendix E of this part for specification of the St. Thomas/St. John management area.

    (1) Queen conch. See § 622.491 regarding seasonal and area closure provisions and ACL closure provisions applicable to queen conch. The ACL is 0 lb (0 kg), round weight, for the EEZ only.

    (2) Reef fish. Landings will be evaluated relative to the applicable ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMP. With the exception of goliath grouper, Nassau grouper, midnight parrotfish, blue parrotfish, and rainbow parrotfish, ACLs are based on the combined Caribbean EEZ and territorial landings for St. Thomas/St. John management area. If landings, as estimated by the SRD, have exceeded the applicable ACL for a species or species group, as specified in this paragraph (c)(2), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, to reduce the length of the fishing season for the applicable species or species group that year by the amount necessary to ensure landings do not exceed the applicable ACL. If NMFS determines the ACL for a particular species or species group was exceeded because of enhanced data collection and monitoring efforts instead of an increase in total catch of the species or species group, NMFS will not reduce the length of the fishing season for the applicable species or species group the following fishing year. As described in the FMP, for each species or species group in this paragraph (c)(2), any fishing season reduction required as a result of this paragraph (c)(2) will be applied from September 30 backward, toward the beginning of the fishing year. If the length of the required fishing season reduction exceeds the time period of January 1 through September 30, any additional fishing season reduction will be applied from October 1 forward, toward the end of the fishing year. The ACLs, in round weight, are as follows:

    (i) Parrotfishes—42,500 lb (19,278 kg).

    (ii) Snappers—133,775 lb (60,679 kg).

    (iii) Groupers—51,849 lb (23,518 kg).

    (iv) Angelfish—7,897 lb (3,582 kg).

    (v) Boxfish—27,880 lb (12,646 kg).

    (vi) Goatfishes—320 lb (145 kg).

    (vii) Grunts—37,617 lb (17,063 kg).

    (viii) Wrasses—585 lb (265 kg).

    (ix) Jacks—52,907 lb (23,998 kg).

    (x) Scups and porgies, combined—21,819 lb (9,897 kg).

    (xi) Squirrelfish—4,241 lb (1,924 kg).

    (xii) Surgeonfish—29,249 lb (13,267 kg).

    (xiii) Triggerfish and filefish, combined—74,447 lb (33,769 kg).

    (3) Spiny lobster. Landings will be evaluated relative to the ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMP. The ACL is based on the combined Caribbean EEZ and territorial landings for the St. Thomas/St. John management area. If landings, as estimated by the SRD, have exceeded the ACL, as specified in this paragraph (c)(3), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, to reduce the length of the fishing season that year by the amount necessary to ensure landings do not exceed the ACL. If NMFS determines the ACL was exceeded because of enhanced data collection and monitoring efforts instead of an increase in total catch, NMFS will not reduce the length of the fishing season for the following fishing year. As described in the FMP, any fishing season reduction required as a result of this paragraph (c)(3) will be applied from September 30 backward, toward the beginning of the fishing year. If the length of the required fishing season reduction exceeds the time period of January 1 through September 30, any additional fishing season reduction will be applied from October 1 forward, toward the end of the fishing year. The ACL is 104,199 lb (47,264 kg), round weight.

    (d) Caribbean EEZ. Landings will be evaluated relative to the applicable ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMPs. The ACLs are based on the combined Caribbean EEZ and territorial landings, throughout the Caribbean EEZ. If landings from the Caribbean EEZ for tilefish and aquarium trade species, as estimated by the SRD, have exceeded the applicable ACL, as specified in this paragraph (d), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, to reduce the length of the fishing season for the applicable species or species groups that year by the amount necessary to ensure landings do not exceed the applicable ACL. If NMFS determines the applicable ACL was exceeded because of enhanced data collection and monitoring efforts instead of an increase in total catch, NMFS will not reduce the length of the fishing season for the following fishing year. As described in the FMPs, for each species or species group in this paragraph (d), any fishing season reduction required as a result of this paragraph (d) will be applied from September 30 backward, toward the beginning of the fishing year. If the length of the required fishing season reduction exceeds the time period of January 1 through September 30, any additional fishing season reduction will be applied from October 1 forward, toward the end of the fishing year. The ACLs, in round weight, are as follows:

    (1) Tilefish—14,642 lb (6,641 kg).

    (2) Aquarium trade species—8,155 lb (3,699 kg).

    (e) Closure provisions—(1) Restrictions applicable after a Puerto Rico closure. (i) Restrictions applicable after a Puerto Rico commercial closure for reef fish species or species groups. During the closure period announced in the notification filed pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section, the commercial sector for species or species groups included in the notification is closed and such species or species groups in or from the Puerto Rico management area may not be purchased or sold. Harvest or possession of such species or species groups in or from the Puerto Rico management area is limited to the recreational bag and possession limits unless the recreational sector for the species or species group is closed and the restrictions specified in paragraph (e)(1)(iii) of this section apply.

    (ii) Restrictions applicable after a Puerto Rico recreational closure for reef fish species or species groups. During the closure period announced in the notification filed pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this section, the recreational sector for species or species groups included in the notification is closed and the recreational bag and possession limits for such species or species groups in or from the Puerto Rico management area are zero. If the seasons for both the commercial and recreational sectors for such species or species groups are closed, the restrictions specified in paragraph (e)(1)(iii) of this section apply.

    (iii) Restrictions applicable when both Puerto Rico commercial and Puerto Rico recreational sectors for reef fish species or species groups are closed. If the seasons for both the commercial and recreational sectors for a species or species group are closed, such species or species groups in or from the Puerto Rico management area may not be harvested, possessed, purchased, or sold, and the bag and possession limits for such species or species groups in or from the Puerto Rico management area are zero.

    (iv) Restrictions applicable after a spiny lobster closure in Puerto Rico. During the closure period announced in the notification filed pursuant to paragraph (a)(3) of this section, both the commercial and recreational sectors are closed. Spiny lobster in or from the Puerto Rico management area may not be harvested, possessed, purchased, or sold, and the bag and possession limits for spiny lobster in or from the Puerto Rico management area are zero.

    (2) Restrictions applicable after a St. Croix, St. Thomas/St. John, or Caribbean EEZ closure. During the closure period announced in the notification filed pursuant to paragraph (b), (c), or (d) of this section, such species or species groups in or from the applicable management area of the Caribbean EEZ may not be harvested, possessed, purchased, or sold, and the bag and possession limits for such species or species groups in or from the applicable management area of the Caribbean EEZ are zero.

    3. In § 622.491, revise the first sentence of paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 622.491 Seasonal and area closures.

    (b) Pursuant to the procedures and criteria established in the FMP for Queen Conch Resources in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, when the ACL, as specified in § 622.12(b)(1), is reached or projected to be reached, the Regional Administrator will close the Caribbean EEZ to the harvest and possession of queen conch, in the area east of 64°34′ W. longitude which includes Lang Bank, east of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, by filing a notification of closure with the Office of the Federal Register. * * *

    [FR Doc. 2017-25847 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    82 230 Friday, December 1, 2017 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 985 [Doc. No. AMS-SC-16-0107; SC17-985-1A PR] Marketing Order Regulating the Handling of Spearmint Oil Produced in the Far West; Revision of the Salable Quantity and Allotment Percentage for Class 3 (Native) Spearmint Oil for the 2017-2018 Marketing Year AGENCY:

    Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This proposed rule would implement a recommendation from the Far West Spearmint Oil Administrative Committee (Committee) to revise the quantity of Class 3 (Native) spearmint oil that handlers may purchase from, or handle on behalf of, producers during the 2017-2018 marketing year, which began on June 1, 2017. This proposal would increase the Native spearmint oil salable quantity and the allotment percentage. The Committee recommended this action for the purpose of avoiding extreme fluctuations in supplies and prices and to help maintain stability in the Far West spearmint oil market. This proposal also contains a formatting change to subpart references to bring the language into conformance with the Office of the Federal Register requirements.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by December 18, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

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

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dale Novotny, Marketing Specialist, or Gary D. Olson, Regional Director, Northwest Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (503) 326-2724, Fax: (503) 326-7440, or Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This action, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, proposes an amendment to regulations issued to carry out a marketing order as defined in 7 CFR 900.2(j). This proposed rule is issued under Marketing Order No. 985 (7 CFR part 985), as amended, regulating the handling of spearmint oil produced in the Far West (Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and designated parts of Nevada and Utah). Part 985 (referred to as “the Order”) is effective under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601-674), hereinafter referred to as the “Act.” The Committee locally administers the Marketing Order and is comprised of spearmint oil producers operating within the area of production, and a public member.

    The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing this proposed rule in conformance with Executive Orders 13563 and 13175. This action falls within a category of regulatory actions that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) exempted from Executive Order 12866 review. Additionally, because this proposed rule does not meet the definition of a significant regulatory action it does not trigger the requirements contained in Executive Order 13771. See OMB's Memorandum titled “Interim Guidance Implementing Section 2 of the Executive Order of January 30, 2017, titled `Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs' ” (February 2, 2017).

    This proposal has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. Under the provisions of the Order now in effect, salable quantities and allotment percentages may be established for classes of spearmint oil produced in the Far West. This proposed rule would increase the quantity of Native spearmint oil produced in the Far West that handlers may purchase from, or handle on behalf of, producers during the 2017-2018 marketing year, which ends on May 31, 2018.

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

    This proposal invites comments on revisions to the quantity of Native spearmint oil that handlers may purchase from, or handle on behalf of, producers during the 2017-2018 marketing year under the Order. Prior to this proposed rule, the salable quantity and allotment percentage for Native spearmint oil was initially established at 1,075,051 pounds and 44 percent, respectively, in a final rule published May 25, 2017 (82 FR 24001). This proposed rule would increase the Native spearmint oil salable quantity from 1,075,051 pounds to 1,514,902 pounds and the allotment percentage from 44 percent to 62 percent.

    Under the volume regulation provisions of the Order, the Committee meets each year to adopt a marketing policy for the ensuing year. When the Committee's marketing policy considerations indicate a need for limiting the quantity of spearmint oil available to the market to establish or maintain orderly marketing conditions, the Committee submits a recommendation to the Secretary of Agriculture for volume regulation.

    Volume regulation under the Order is effectuated through the establishment of a salable quantity and allotment percentage applicable to each class of spearmint oil handled in the production area during a marketing year. The salable quantity is the total quantity of each class of oil that handlers may purchase from, or handle on behalf of, producers during a given marketing year. The allotment percentage for each class of oil is derived by dividing the salable quantity by the total industry allotment base for that same class of oil. The total industry allotment base is the aggregate of all allotment base held individually by producers. Producer allotment base is the quantity of each class of spearmint oil that the Committee has determined is representative of a producer's spearmint oil production. Each producer is allotted a pro rata share of the total salable quantity of each class of spearmint oil each marketing year. Each producer's annual allotment is determined by applying the allotment percentage to the producer's individual allotment base for each applicable class of spearmint oil.

    The full Committee met on October 19, 2016, to consider its marketing policy for the 2017-2018 marketing year. At that meeting, the Committee determined that marketing conditions indicated a need for volume regulation of both classes of spearmint oil for the 2017-2018 marketing year. The Committee recommended salable quantities of 774,645 pounds and 1,075,051 pounds, and allotment percentages of 36 percent and 44 percent, respectively, for Scotch and Native spearmint oil. A proposed rule to that effect was published in the Federal Register on March 31, 2017 (82 FR 16001). Comments on the proposed rule were solicited from interested persons until May 1, 2017. No comments were received. Subsequently, a final rule establishing the salable quantities and allotment percentages for Scotch and Native spearmint oil for the 2017-2018 marketing year was published in the Federal Register on May 25, 2017 (82 FR 24001).

    Pursuant to authority contained in §§ 985.50, 985.51, and 985.52, the full eight-member Committee met again on September 25, 2017, and October 25, 2017, to evaluate the current year's volume control regulation. At the meetings, the Committee assessed the current market conditions for spearmint oil in relation to the salable quantities and allotment percentages established for the 2017-2018 marketing year. The Committee considered a number of factors, including the current and projected supply, estimated future demand, production costs, and producer prices for all classes of spearmint oil. The Committee determined that the established salable quantity and allotment percentage in effect for Native spearmint oil for the 2017-2018 marketing year should be increased to take into account the unanticipated rise in market demand for that class of spearmint oil.

    At the September 25, 2017, meeting, the Committee recommended increasing the 2017-2018 marketing year Native spearmint oil salable quantity from 1,075,051 pounds to 1,221,696 pounds and the allotment percentage from 44 percent to 50 percent. The recommendation to increase the salable quantity and allotment percentage passed with a vote of seven members in favor and one opposed. The member opposed to the recommendation favored increasing the Native spearmint oil salable quantity and allotment percentage for the 2017-2018 marketing year, but at an undetermined level lower than what was recommended.

    At the October 25, 2017, meeting, the Committee met again to consider an additional increase to the 2017-2018 marketing year salable quantity and allotment percentage for Native spearmint oil. The Committee recommended further increasing the 2017-2018 marketing year Native spearmint oil salable quantity from 1,221,696 pounds to 1,514,902 pounds and the allotment percentage from 50 percent to 62 percent. The recommendation to further increase the salable quantity and allotment percentage passed with a unanimous vote.

    Thus, this proposal would make additional amounts of Native spearmint oil available to the market by increasing the salable quantity and allotment percentage previously established under the Order for the 2017-2018 marketing year. This proposed rule would increase the Native spearmint oil salable quantity by 439,851 pounds, to 1,514,902 pounds, and would raise the allotment percentage 18 percentage points, to 62 percent. Such additional oil would come from releasing Native spearmint oil held by producers in the reserve pool. As of May 31, 2017, the Committee records show that the reserve pool for Native spearmint oil contained 996,050 pounds of oil, an amount considered excessive relative to market conditions.

    At both the September and October 2017 meetings, the Committee staff reported that demand for Native spearmint oil has been greater than previously anticipated. Committee records indicate that 2017-2018 marketing year sales to date (945,683 pounds) are tracking fairly closely to sales for the same period in the 2016-2017 marketing year (1,095,112 pounds). However, handlers reported to the Committee that an additional 345,446 pounds of Native spearmint oil are committed to be sold, which would leave a deficit of 216,078 pounds of oil (1,075,051 pounds salable quantity minus 945,683 pounds sold to date and 345,446 pounds committed) to supply the market until May 31, 2018. Another factor that contributed to the short supply was that only 143,011 pounds of salable product carried over from the 2016-2017 marketing year into the 2017-2018 marketing year, which was 46,809 pounds less than expected. The Committee initially estimated in October 2016 that the total available supply of Native spearmint oil for the 2017-2018 marketing year would be 1,264,871 pounds, but that amount was reduced to 1,218,158 when the smaller carry-in quantity is accounted for.

    The Committee initially estimated the trade demand for Native spearmint oil for the 2017-2018 marketing year to be 1,250,000. At the September 25, 2017, meeting, the Committee revised the expected trade demand for the 2017-2018 marketing year to be 1,338,820. At the October 25, 2017, meeting, the Committee further revised the expected trade demand for the 2017-2018 marketing year to 1,600,000 pounds. If realized, trade demand would be 381,842 pounds above the quantity of Native spearmint oil available under the volume control levels implemented in May 2017 (1,218,158 pounds available prior to this rule minus 1,600,000 pounds estimated demand equals a deficit of 381,842 pounds). Without increasing the salable quantity and allotment percentage, the market for Native spearmint oil may be shorted. The increased quantity of Native spearmint oil (439,851 pounds) that would be made available to the market as a result of this rulemaking would ensure that market demand is fully satisfied in the current year and that there would be approximately 20,171 pounds of Native spearmint oil salable inventory available to the market for the start of the 2018-2019 marketing year, which begins on June 1, 2018.

    In making the recommendation to increase the salable quantity and allotment percentage of Native spearmint oil, the Committee considered all currently available information on the price, supply, and demand of Native spearmint oil. The Committee also considered reports and other information from handlers and producers in attendance at the meeting. Lastly, the Committee manager presented information and reports that were provided to the Committee staff by handlers and producers.

    This proposal would increase the 2017-2018 marketing year Native spearmint oil salable quantity by 439,851 pounds, to a total of 1,514,902 pounds. However, the Committee expects that not all producers have Native spearmint oil held in reserve. As such, the Committee calculates that 37,796 pounds of the Native spearmint oil salable quantity will go unfulfilled. Therefore, the total supply of Native spearmint oil that the Committee anticipates actually being available to the market over the course of the 2017-2018 marketing year would be increased to 1,620,117 pounds (2017-2018 marketing year salable quantity plus salable carry-in of 143,011 pounds from the 2016-2017 marketing year minus an unused allotment of 37,796 pounds due to lack of pool oil). Actual sales of Native spearmint oil for the 2016-2017 marketing year totaled 1,287,691 pounds. The 5-year average of Native spearmint oil sales is 1,309,793 pounds.

    The Committee estimates that this action would result in 20,171 pounds of salable Native spearmint oil being carried into the 2018-2019 marketing year. While 20,171 pounds is a relatively low quantity of salable Native spearmint oil to end the marketing year, reserve pool oil could be released into the market under a future relaxation of the volume regulation should it be necessary to adequately supply the market prior to the beginning of the 2018-2019 marketing year. The Committee estimates that a total of 1,237,237 pounds of Native spearmint oil would be available from the reserve pool if needed.

    As mentioned previously, when the original 2017-2018 marketing policy statement was drafted, handlers estimated the demand for Native spearmint oil for the 2017-2018 marketing year to be 1,250,000 pounds. The Committee's initial recommendation for the establishment of the Native spearmint oil salable quantity and allotment percentage for the 2017-2018 marketing year was based on that estimate. The Committee did not anticipate the increase in demand for Native spearmint oil that the market is currently experiencing and did not make allowances for it when the marketing policy was initially adopted.

    At the September 25, 2017, meeting, the Committee revised its estimate of the current trade demand to 1,338,820 pounds, and further increased that estimate to 1,600,000 pounds at the October 25, 2017, meeting. The Committee now believes that the supply of Native spearmint oil available to the market under the initially established salable quantity and allotment percentage would be insufficient to satisfy the current level of demand for oil at reasonable price levels. The Committee further believes that the increase in the salable quantity and allotment percentage proposed in this action is vital to ensuring an adequate supply of Native spearmint oil is available to the market moving forward.

    The Committee's stated intent in the use of the Order's volume control regulation is to keep adequate supplies available to meet market needs and to maintain orderly marketing conditions. With that in mind, the Committee developed its recommendation for increasing the Native spearmint oil salable quantity and allotment percentage for the 2017-2018 marketing year based on the information discussed above, as well as the summary data outlined below.

    (A) Initial estimated 2017-2018 Native Allotment Base—2,443,297 pounds. This is the allotment base estimate on which the original 2017-2018 salable quantity and allotment percentage was based.

    (B) Revised 2017-2018 Native Allotment Base—2,443,391 pounds. This is 94 pounds more than the initial estimated allotment base of 2,443,297 pounds. The difference is the result of annual adjustments made to the allotment base according to the provisions of the Order.

    (C) Initial 2017-2018 Native Allotment Percentage—44 percent. This was unanimously recommended by the Committee on October 19, 2016.

    (D) Initial 2017-2018 Native Salable Quantity—1,075,051 pounds. This figure is 44 percent of the original estimated 2017-2018 allotment base of 2,443,297 pounds.

    (E) Adjusted Initial 2017-2018 Native Salable Quantity—1,075,092 pounds. This figure reflects the salable quantity actually available at the beginning of the 2017-2018 marketing year. This quantity is derived by applying the initial 44-percent allotment percentage to the revised allotment base of 2,443,391.

    (F) Proposed Revision to the 2017-2018 Native Salable Quantity and Allotment Percentage:

    (1) Proposed Increase in the Native Allotment Percentage—18 percent. The Committee recommended an increase of six percentage points at its September 25, 2017, meeting, and a further 12 percentage points at its October 25, 2017, meeting for a total increase of 18 percentage points over the initial Native allotment percentage.

    (2) Proposed Revised 2017-2018 Native Allotment Percentage—62 percent. This number was derived by adding the increase of 18 percentage points to the initially established 2017-2018 allotment percentage of 44 percent.

    (3) Proposed Revised 2017-2018 Native Salable Quantity—1,514,902 pounds. This amount is 62 percent of the revised 2017-2018 allotment base of 2,443,391 pounds.

    (4) Computed Increase in the 2017-2018 Native Salable Quantity as a Result of the Proposed Revision—439,851 pounds. This figure represents 18 percent of the 2017-2018 revised allotment base.

    (5) Expected Actual Increase in the Native Spearmint Oil Available to the Market for the 2017-2018 Marketing Year—402,055 pounds. This amount is based on the Committee's estimation of Native spearmint oil that is actually held by producers in the reserve pool that may enter the market as a result of this proposal. The Committee estimates that approximately 37,796 pounds of the computed increase would go unfulfilled due to producers who do not have sufficient Native spearmint oil in reserve to utilize their full allotted salable quantity.

    Scotch spearmint oil is also regulated by the Order. As mentioned previously, a salable quantity and allotment percentage for Scotch spearmint oil was established in a final rule published in the Federal Register on May 25, 2017 (82 FR 24001). At the September 25, 2017, meeting, the Committee considered the current production, inventory, and marketing conditions for Scotch spearmint oil. After receiving reports from the Committee staff and comments from the industry, the consensus of the Committee was that the previously established salable quantity and allotment percentage for Scotch spearmint oil was appropriate for the current market conditions. As such, the Committee took no further action with regards to Scotch spearmint oil for the 2017-2018 marketing year.

    This proposed rule would relax the regulation of Native spearmint oil and would allow producers to meet market demand while improving producer returns. In conjunction with the issuance of this proposed rule, the Committee's revised marketing policy statement for the 2017-2018 marketing year has been reviewed by USDA. The Committee's marketing policy statement, a requirement whenever the Committee recommends implementing volume regulations or recommends revisions to existing volume regulations, meets the intent of § 985.50. During its discussion of revisions to the 2017-2018 salable quantities and allotment percentages, the Committee considered: (1) The estimated quantity of salable oil of each class held by producers and handlers; (2) the estimated demand for each class of oil; (3) the estimated production of each class of oil; (4) the total of allotment bases of each class of oil for the current marketing year and the estimated total of allotment bases of each class for the ensuing marketing year; (5) the quantity of reserve oil, by class, in storage; (6) producer prices of oil, including prices for each class of oil; and (7) general market conditions for each class of oil, including whether the estimated season average price to producers is likely to exceed parity. Conformity with USDA's “Guidelines for Fruit, Vegetable, and Specialty Crop Marketing Orders” has also been reviewed and confirmed.

    The proposed increase in the Native spearmint oil salable quantity and allotment percentage would account for the anticipated market needs for that class of oil. In determining anticipated market needs, the Committee considered changes and trends in historical sales, production, and demand.

    Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

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

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

    There are eight spearmint oil handlers subject to regulation under the Order, and approximately 41 producers of Scotch spearmint oil and approximately 94 producers of Native spearmint oil in the regulated production area. Small agricultural service firms are defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as those having annual receipts of less than $7,500,000, and small agricultural producers are defined as those having annual receipts of less than $750,000 (13 CFR 121.201).

    Based on the SBA's definition of small entities, the Committee estimates that only two of the eight handlers regulated by the Order could be considered small entities. Most of the handlers are large corporations involved in the international trading of essential oils and the products of essential oils. In addition, the Committee estimates that 12 of the 39 Scotch spearmint oil producers and 31 of the 94 Native spearmint oil producers could be classified as small entities under the SBA definition. Thus, the majority of handlers and producers of Far West spearmint oil may not be classified as small entities.

    The use of volume control regulation allows the spearmint oil industry to fully supply spearmint oil markets while avoiding the negative consequences of over-supplying these markets. Without volume control regulation, the supply and price of spearmint oil would likely fluctuate widely. Periods of oversupply could result in low producer prices and a large volume of oil stored and carried over to future crop years. Periods of undersupply could lead to excessive price spikes and drive end users to source flavoring needs from other markets, potentially causing long-term economic damage to the domestic spearmint oil industry. The Order's volume control provisions have been successfully implemented in the domestic spearmint oil industry since 1980 and provide benefits for producers, handlers, manufacturers, and consumers.

    This proposed rule would increase the quantity of Native spearmint oil that handlers may purchase from, or handle on behalf of, producers during the 2017-2018 marketing year, which ends May 31, 2018. The 2017-2018 Native spearmint oil salable quantity was initially established at 1,075,051 pounds and the allotment percentage initially set at 44 percent. This proposed rule would increase the Native spearmint oil salable quantity to 1,514,902 pounds and the allotment percentage to 62 percent.

    Based on the information and projections available at the September 25, 2017, and October 25, 2017, meetings, the Committee considered several alternatives to this increase. The Committee considered leaving the salable quantity and allotment percentage unchanged, and also considered other potential levels of increase. The Committee reached its recommendation to increase the salable quantity and allotment percentage for Native spearmint oil after careful consideration of all available information and input from all interested industry participants, and believes that the levels recommended would achieve the desired objectives. Without the increase, the Committee believes the industry would not be able to satisfactorily meet market demand.

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the Order's information collection requirements have been previously approved by OMB and assigned OMB No. 0581-0178 (Generic Specialty Crops). No changes are necessary in those requirements as a result of this action. Should any changes become necessary, they would be submitted to OMB for approval.

    This proposed rule would relax the volume regulation requirements established under the Order. Accordingly, this action would not impose any additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large spearmint oil handlers. As with all Federal marketing order programs, reports and forms are periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and duplication by industry and public sector agencies.

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

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

    In addition, the Committee's meeting was widely publicized throughout the Far West spearmint oil industry and all interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations on all issues. The September 25, 2017, and October 25, 2017, meetings were public and all entities, both large and small, were able to express views on this issue. Finally, interested persons are invited to submit comments on this proposed rule, including the regulatory and information collection impacts of this action on small businesses.

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

    A 15-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to respond to this proposal. Fifteen days is deemed appropriate because handlers are aware of this action, which was recommended by the Committee at a public meeting, and the subject matter of this proposal is not complex. All written comments timely received will be considered before a final determination is made on this matter.

    List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 985

    Marketing agreements, Oils and fats, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Spearmint oil.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 985 is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 985—MARKETING ORDER REGULATING THE HANDLING OF SPEARMINT OIL PRODUCED IN THE FAR WEST 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 985 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 601-674.

    [Subpart Redesignated as Subpart A] 2. Redesignate “Subpart—Order Regulating Handling” as “Subpart A—Order Regulating Handling”. [Subpart Redesignated as Subpart B and Amended] 3. Redesignate “Subpart—Administrative Rules and Regulations” as subpart B and revise the heading to read as follows: Subpart B—Administrative Requirements 4. In § 985.236, revise paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 985.236 Salable quantities and allotment percentages—2017-2018 marketing year.

    (b) Class 3 (Native) oil—a salable quantity of 1,514,902 pounds and an allotment percentage of 62 percent.

    Dated: November 28, 2017. Bruce Summers, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25965 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-02-P
    LIBRARY OF CONGRESS U.S. Copyright Office 37 CFR Part 201 [Docket No. 2005-6] Statutory Cable, Satellite, and DART License Reporting Practices AGENCY:

    U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Copyright Office (“Office”) is seeking comment on proposed rules governing the royalty reporting practices of cable operators under section 111 and proposed revisions to the Statement of Account forms, and on proposed amendments to the Statement of Account filing requirements. With this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Office intends to resolve issues raised in an earlier Notice of Inquiry directed towards cable reporting practices,1 as well as address additional issues that have subsequently arisen. Further, to the extent this rulemaking proposes changes to the Office's section 111 regulations governing the processing of refunds, supplemental or amended payments, or calculation of interest, as well as case management procedures, the Office proposes similar changes with regard to the regulations governing the statutory licenses for satellite carriers and digital audio recording devices or media.

    1 71 FR 45749 (Aug. 10, 2006).

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on January 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    For reasons of government efficiency, the Copyright Office is using the regulations.gov system for the submission and posting of public comments in this proceeding. All comments are therefore to be submitted electronically through regulations.gov. Specific instructions for submitting comments are available on the Copyright Office Web site at https://copyright.gov/rulemaking/section111. If electronic submission of comments is not feasible due to lack of access to a computer and/or the internet, please contact the Office using the contact information below for special instructions.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sarang V. Damle, General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights, by email at [email protected], Regan A. Smith, Deputy General Counsel, by email at [email protected], or Anna Chauvet, Assistant General Counsel, by email at [email protected], or any of them by telephone at 202-707-8350.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    Section 111 of the Copyright Act (“Act”), title 17 of the United States Code, provides cable operators with a statutory license to retransmit a performance or display of a work embodied in a “primary transmission” made by a television station licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”). Cable operators that retransmit broadcast signals in accordance with this provision are required to pay royalty fees to the Copyright Office (“Office”), among other requirements. Payments made under section 111 are remitted semi-annually to the Office, which invests the royalties in United States Treasury securities pending distribution of these funds to copyright owners eligible to receive a share of the royalties.2 In conjunction with royalty payments, cable operators must also complete and file statements of account (“SOAs”), which provide a record regarding the cable operators' retransmissions and royalty payments to “promote uniform and accurate reporting, assist cable operators in meeting their obligations under the Act and regulations, and aid copyright owners, the Copyright Office, and the Copyright [Royalty Judges] in reviewing and using the information provided.” 3 Information provided on SOAs includes, among other things, the number of channels on which the cable system made secondary transmissions, the number of subscribers to the cable system, and the gross amount paid to the cable system by subscribers for the basic service of providing secondary transmissions.4 Cable operators file the SOAs with the Office using an appropriate form provided by the Office.5

    2 The Office distributes those royalties in accordance with periodic distribution orders entered by the Copyright Royalty Board.

    3 42 FR 61051, 61054 (Dec. 1, 1977) (explaining benefits of using a standard SOA form, referencing the Copyright Royalty Tribunal, a precursor to the current Copyright Royalty Judges system).

    4 37 CFR 201.17(e)(5)-(7).

    5Id. 201.17(d). The SOA forms are available in PDF and Excel format on the Office's Web site at https://www.copyright.gov/licensing/sec_111.html.

    In 2005, the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (“MPAA”), on behalf of its member companies and other producers and/or distributors of movies and television series (hereinafter, “Program Suppliers”), filed a petition for rulemaking with the Copyright Office requesting the commencement of a proceeding to address several issues related to the SOA reporting practices of cable operators under section 111 (the “Petition”). The Petition asked the Office to adopt a number of changes to its section 111 regulations and SOAs to “improve the nature of the information reported on the SOAs by cable operators,” believing them to be “critical to efficient and effective compliance review” of SOAs by copyright owners.6 The Office published a notice of inquiry (“NOI”) seeking comment on Program Suppliers' proposals and recommendations,7 and multiple parties filed comments in response to the NOI, as well as reply comments.8

    6 Program Suppliers, Petition for Rulemaking 2 (June 7, 2005) (“Petition”).

    7 71 FR 45749.

    8 The initial and reply comments have been posted on the Office's Web site at https://copyright.gov/rulemaking/section111.

    Since the Office issued that NOI, the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 (“STELA”) and STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014 (“STELARA”) updated section 111 in several respects.9 Among other things, STELA modified the calculation of royalty rates paid by cable operators, and updated certain provisions to accommodate the transition to digital television broadcasts.10 In addition, pursuant to STELA, the Copyright Office issued a regulation implementing a confidential procedure under which a qualified independent auditor working on behalf of all copyright owners can “confirm the correctness of the calculations and royalty payments reported” on a cable SOA filed for accounting periods commencing on or after January 1, 2010.11 STELARA, in turn, amended section 111 to expand the local service area of low power television stations.12

    9See Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010, Public Law 111-175, 124 Stat. 1218 (2010) (“STELA”); STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014, Public Law 113-200, 128 Stat. 2059 (2014) (“STELARA”).

    10 17 U.S.C. 111(d)(1)(B)-(F), (f)(4); see generally 75 FR 56868 (Sept. 17, 2010) (interim rule implementing STELA).

    11 17 U.S.C. 111(d)(6); 37 CFR 201.16(h), (l), (o).

    12 17 U.S.C. 111(f)(5).

    This notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) addresses issues raised in response to the NOI that are still relevant, and notes where intervening statutory and/or regulatory changes may have mooted some issues. This NPRM also proposes revisions to SOA forms and/or the Office's regulations that are intended to streamline administration of SOAs by the Office's Licensing Division, some of which would also apply to remitters making use of the section 119 (satellite) or chapter 10 (“DART”) licenses.

    The Office welcomes public input on the following proposed changes, as well as other suggestions on streamlining or otherwise improving reporting practices for the section 111 license.

    II. Proposed Section 111—Specific Changes A. Relationship Between Gross Receipts (Space K) and Subscriber and Rate Information (Space E)

    Section 111 requires cable operators to report, in public filings to the Copyright Office, a variety of information regarding the secondary transmissions licensed under the statute, including the number of channels by which the system made secondary transmissions, the names and locations of all primary transmitters used, and, as particularly relevant here, the “total number of [cable system] subscribers” and the “gross amounts” paid to the cable system by these subscribers “for the basic service of providing secondary transmissions of primary broadcast transmitters.” 13 Cable operators pay a percentage from these reported gross receipts “for the privilege” of providing such secondary transmissions (that is, a base rate), and additional amounts for any distant signal equivalent (“DSEs”) carried by the cable system. These amounts in turn are distributed as royalty fees to copyright owners whose works have been broadcast pursuant to the statutory license.14 The statute further provides that copyright owners may conduct confidential audits to verify the information provided on the SOAs, including the number of subscribers and relevant subscription rates, as well as the total amount of gross receipts collected from these subscribers at the reported rates, to ensure that they have received accurate compensation under the statutory license.15

    13 17 U.S.C. 111(d)(1)(A).

    14Id. 111(d)(1)(B)(i)-(iv).

    15Id. 111(d)(6).

    In accordance with this statutory design, the Copyright Office has implemented these requirements through its regulations 16 and SOA forms. The Office addressed the statutory requirements to report the “number of subscribers” and “gross amounts” paid to cable operators as part of its initial regulations implementing section 111. In a notice of proposed rulemaking, the Office noted that reporting “[t]he `number of subscribers' alone will serve no real purpose.” 17 Instead, the Office concluded that the statutory requirement was “intended to provide copyright owners with a basis for a comparison with the reported gross receipts.” 18 Accordingly, the Office “proposed . . . that the number of subscribers be accompanied by certain related information concerning subscriber categories and charges in order reasonably to accomplish this purpose.” 19 In a subsequent final rule adopting regulatory language almost identical to the present section 201.17(e)(6), the Office noted that “although this information `will not provide a definitive or detailed comparison with the reported gross receipts,' it will be useful for at least a rough comparison with the reported gross receipts, and gives meaning to the statutory requirement that the `number of subscribers' be given.” 20

    16 37 CFR 201.17(e)(6)-(7).

    17 42 FR at 61054.

    18Id.

    19Id.

    20 43 FR 958, 959 (Jan. 5, 1978).

    To facilitate this “rough comparison with the reported gross receipts,” under section 201.17(e)(6) cable operators must provide “[a] brief description of each subscriber category for which a charge is made by the cable system for the basic service of providing secondary transmissions of primary broadcast transmitters”; “[t]he number of subscribers to the cable system in each such subscriber category”; and “[t]he charge or charges made per subscriber to each such subscriber category for the basic service of providing such secondary transmissions.” 21 These regulatory requirements are reflected in Space E of the SOA forms (titled “Secondary Transmission Service: Subscribers and Rates”), which requests information that “should cover all categories of secondary transmission service of the cable system,” including “the number of subscribers to the cable system, broken down by categories of secondary transmission service,” and the “rate charged for each category of service.” 22 Section 201.17(e)(7) of the Office's regulation addresses the statutory reference to “gross amounts” and is reflected in Space K (titled “Gross Receipts”), which requires cable operators to “[e]nter the total of all amounts (gross receipts) paid to [the] cable system by subscribers for the system's secondary transmission service (as identified in Space E) during the accounting period.” 23

    21 37 CFR 201.17(e)(6)(i)-(iii).

    22 Paper Form SA1-2 at 2, Space E (“Short Form SOA”); Paper Form SA3 at 2, Space E (“Long Form SOA”).

    23 Short Form SOA at 6, Space K; Long Form SOA at 7, Space K; see also 37 CFR 201.17(e)(6)-(7) (describing corresponding SOA requirements).

    Many of the issues raised by Program Suppliers' Petition address whether the subscriber and rate information provided by cable operators under the Office's current regulations is sufficient to provide the copyright owner with the intended “rough comparison” with the required gross receipts information, a concern the Office understands remains germane as the cable marketplace continues to evolve since the regulation was first promulgated. Program Suppliers stated that SOAs do not “require adequate information for a meaningful comparison between Space E and Space K,” 24 and requested the Office to “require greater congruity between the `gross receipts' information and the subscriber and rate information provided on the SOAs,” and “greater detail concerning the nature of revenues that a cable operator includes and excludes in its `gross receipts.' ” 25 As explained below, while the Office tentatively concludes that it is not advisable to adopt all of the Program Suppliers' recommendations, the Office proposes some changes to the information sought in Space E to better facilitate the ability of copyright owners to verify gross receipts and other information provided on SOAs through the auditing mechanism set forth in 37 CFR 201.16.

    24 Program Suppliers Comments at 6. Broadcast Music, Inc., The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Broadcast Music Inc., and SESAC, Inc. (collectively, “Music Claimants”) submitted their own comments in response to the NOI, stating that “as a general matter, [they] support MPAA's comments and proposed revisions to the SOAs.” Music Claimants Comments at 2.

    25 Petition at 3; see also Program Suppliers Comments at 5-7.

    1. Proposed Requirement to Explain Variation in Data Between Spaces E and K

    In proposing that the Office require “greater congruity” between these spaces, Program Suppliers specifically requested that the Office instruct remitters that the gross receipts reported in Space K should approximate calculated gross receipts (i.e., the number of subscribers in each category identified in Space E, multiplied by the applicable rate) and require cable operators to explain briefly in Space K any variation of more than 10% between calculated and reported gross receipts.26 National Association of Broadcasters (“NAB”) supported this proposal, stating that “requiring greater congruity between the `gross receipts' information in Space K . . . and the subscriber and rate information in Space E would allow the Office to conduct its compliance reviews with the benefit of more readily comparable base data.” 27

    26 Program Suppliers Comments at 5-6, 8.

    27 NAB Comments at 1.

    Cable associations National Cable & Telecommunications Association (“NCTA”) and American Cable Association (“ACA”) opposed this suggestion. Specifically, ACA maintained that title 17 does not require such detailed reporting and suggested that instead, copyright owners should request additional information about individual SOAs if the filing appeared questionable.28 NCTA stated that even if the Office adopted all of the Program Suppliers' proposed changes to the SOA (discussed further below), the “calculated gross receipts” derived from Space E and actual gross receipts would still not be identical. For example, NCTA asserted that simply multiplying tier charges by the number of subscribers per tier would not equal gross receipts since both tier charges and subscribership fluctuate over six months due to, among other things, periodic rate adjustments to “reflect inflation, changes in the channels offered, [and] increased programming costs for the basic tier.” 29 NCTA also stated that variations between gross receipts derived from using the data in Space E and the actual gross receipts reported under Space K result because the number of subscribers in Space E are reported as of the last day of the accounting period, whereas gross receipts are accumulated over the entire six-month period.30

    28 ACA Comments at 5-6.

    29 NCTA Comments at 5.

    30Id.

    The Office understands Program Suppliers' position that a variance explanation requirement would aid copyright owners in making a rough comparison between the amount of “gross receipts” given in Space K and the result of multiplying the number of subscribers by the rates given in Space E. This requirement, however, would go beyond what has traditionally been required of remitters and may be inappropriate in light of differences in how data is reported in the two spaces. For example, the amount in Space K may vary depending on whether the cable system's accounting is done on an accrual or cash basis and, as noted by NCTA, a comparison between Spaces E and K is difficult since the information in the two spaces reflects different time periods (i.e., Space E calls for figures as of the last day of the accounting period whereas Space K calls for gross receipts for the entire accounting period).

    The Office is also concerned that a variance explanation requirement could increase burdens on the Office, by requiring its Licensing Division examiners to assume a far greater role in examination of SOAs than has traditionally been the case. Under the current examination scheme, the Office simply checks whether SOAs contain “obvious errors or omissions”—not to identify all possible deficiencies.31 It has never been the Office's practice to compute totals in Space E and compare the result with Space K, or otherwise attempt to validate the information provided in those spaces. The variance explanation requirement, however, apparently envisions a role of the Office in calculating the proposed 10% variance that would go beyond checking for obvious errors and omissions.

    31See 37 CFR 201.17(c)(2).

    For the same reasons, while the Office is considering adding an instruction to its SOAs generally explaining that Space E is intended to allow for a rough comparison with reported gross receipts, the Office tentatively concludes that it is not appropriate to adopt Program Suppliers' related proposal to explicitly instruct remitters that the gross receipts reported in Space K should approximate the number of subscribers in each category identified in Space E, multiplied by the applicable rate.

    2. Proposed Requirement To Provide More Detailed Reporting of Subscriber and Rate Information (Space E)

    As noted above, Program Suppliers' Petition proposed “greater congruity” between gross receipts and subscriber and rate information on SOAs. In response, the Office agrees that it may be advisable to update the subscriber and rate information required by Space E to provide private parties with more granular information to make a rough comparison with the gross receipts information provided in Space K, including by making use of the audit mechanism provided by the regulations.32 With the exception of one amendment to the regulatory usage of the word “converter,” which, as discussed below, is intended to be technical, these proposed changes are to the Office's forms and not its regulations.

    32Id. § 201.16.

    While the audit right established by STELA provides a mechanism for copyright owners to verify information provided by cable operators and ensure they are being accurately compensated for use of their intellectual property under the compulsory license, these audits are limited in various ways, including by accounting period, frequency, and scope of initial and expanded audits as proscribed in the Offices regulations.33 These audits are not intended to substitute for accurate and complete information provided by cable operators on the SOAs; nor is there an expectation that every single SOA would be audited. Indeed, it is important for SOAs to provide meaningful information to facilitate copyright owners' determination of whether or not to initiate an audit. Accordingly, this section outlines proposed changes or clarifications to reporting requirements in Space E concerning categories of service and other rate information.

    33 17 U.S.C. 111(d)(6); 37 CFR 201.16.

    Space E implements 37 CFR 201.17(e)(6), which requires remitters to provide “[a] brief description of each subscriber category for which a charge is made by the cable system for the basic service of providing secondary transmissions of primary broadcast transmitters.” 34 The regulation further states that “[e]ach entity (for example, the owner of a private home, the resident of an apartment, the owner of a motel, or the owner of an apartment house) . . . shall be considered one subscriber” 35 subject to charges by the cable system for the basic service of providing secondary transmissions. These requirements are intended to complement the regulatory definition of “gross receipts,” which includes “the full amount of monthly (or other periodic) service fees for any and all services or tiers of services which include one or more secondary transmissions of television or radio broadcast signals, for additional set fees, and for converter fees.” 36

    34 37 CFR 201.17(e)(6)(i).

    35Id. 201.17(e)(6)(iii)(B).

    36Id. 201.17(e)(b)(i).

    As depicted below, Space E currently requires cable operators to report their number of subscribers and corresponding rate, “broken down by categories of secondary transmission service” offered to subscribers.37 As the form instructs, “[t]he information in Space E should cover all categories of secondary transmission service of the cable system, that is, the retransmission of television and radio broadcasts by your system to subscribers.” This information is reported through “Block 1,” which “lists the categories of secondary transmission service that cable systems most commonly provide to their subscribers,” and “Block 2,” which allows cable systems to add brief descriptions of additional categories for secondary transmission service that they offer to customers:

    37 Short Form SOA at 2, Space E; Long Form SOA at 2, Space E.

    Block 1 Category of service Number of subscribers Rate Block 2 Category of service Number of subscribers Rate Residential: • Service to first set • Service to additional set(s) • FM radio (if separate rate) Motel, hotel Commercial Converter: • Residential • Non-residential

    As the Petition suggested, and as the Licensing Division's examination of recently filed SOAs illustrates, there appear to be opportunities to improve the consistency and quality of information reported in Space E. Specifically, Program Suppliers noted that there currently is “scant information” about the tiers of service (e.g., basic, expanded, digital) offered by cable operators that contain broadcast signals.38 Program Suppliers requested that the Office revise its SOAs to require a variety of information, including:

    38 Petition at 8 (citing 37 CFR 201.17(e)(7)).

    (1) Each tier of service they provide for a separate fee, noting which tiers contain broadcast signals, (2) the rates associated with each service tier, and whether the fees collected for each package are included or excluded from their gross receipts calculation, (3) the number of subscribers receiving each service tier, (4) the lowest tier of service including secondary broadcast transmissions that is available for independent subscription, and (5) any tier of service or equipment for which purchase is required as a prerequisite to obtaining another tier of service.39

    39Id. at 9-10.

    In addition, the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Football League, National Hockey League, Women's National Basketball Association, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (a group collectively referred to as “Joint Sports Claimants” or “JSC”) expressed concerns that cable operators could limit the reporting of gross receipts to revenues derived solely from the lowest priced tier of service carrying broadcast signals and exclude revenues derived from higher priced tiers that also carry such signals.40

    40 JSC Comments at 2-3.

    While the Office does not endorse every proposal of the Petition, in light of the increased variation in rates offered by cable operators, the Office agrees with revising Space E to require a somewhat more granular breakdown of the number of subscribers and rates charged for the various pertinent categories of service provided to subscribers. Remitters would be instructed to list the total number of subscribers for each category of service as well as the corresponding rate (or range of rates), and to mark “N/A” if they did not offer service in a given category. The Office hopes that these changes will make it easier for cable operators to more accurately report the number of subscribers for the various services they offer.

    Specifically, the Office proposes to update the various bolded categories of service—currently listed in Block 1 of Space E as “Residential,” “Motel, hotel,” “Commercial,” and “Converter.” The Office proposes to replace these categories with the following: “Single-unit residential,” “Multi-unit residential,” “Motel, hotel,” “Commercial,” “Other MDU,” and “Equipment.” In addition, the Office proposes to add additional space below each category for providers to provide a further breakdown that captures each relevant category of retransmission of television and radio broadcasts offered to subscribers. In doing so, the proposed rule would replace the existing categories of service listed under what is currently labeled “Residential”— “Service to first set,” “Service to additional set(s),” and “FM radio (if separate rate)”—with the more generic categories “basic service 1,” “service 2,” and “service 3.” In addition, the proposed rule would list these same categories underneath most of the additional types of subscribers (e.g., “motel, hotel,” or “commercial”). The category “equipment” would retain the current subcategories “residential” and “non-residential.” Remitters could add additional categories of service as relevant to their business in empty lines, currently labeled “Block 2” of Space E. The Office is also considering whether space should be provided for cable operators to briefly describe these additional services to reflect the specific offering (e.g., “expanded” or “sports and news bundle”). Finally, the Office proposes clarifying in its instructions that cable operators should separately list the number of subscribers and rate information for each cable service offered that contains any broadcast signals.

    The proposal to break up the existing “Residential” category into single- and multi-unit sub-categories is intended to alleviate some discrepancy in reporting practices for residential multiple-dwelling units (“MDUs”), as noted in earlier stakeholder comments, as well as better organize the type of rate information provided. For example, in their Petition, Program Suppliers stated that while some cable operators report the “total subscriber counts” for each of the MDUs they serve (albeit in a manner that leaves it unclear how these numbers are derived), others report each MDU simply as one subscriber, while still others leave the lines relating to “motel, hotel” or “commercial” categories of service blank.41 Under the proposal here, the Office intends for remitters to report single-family homes and individual unit apartment or condominium subscribers on the “single-unit residential” space, and subscribers on behalf of an overall apartment or condominium building on the “multi-unit residential” space. If an operator has a single contract for cable service on behalf of the residents or occupants of a multi-unit residential building, the operator should report that building served as one multi-unit residential subscriber, and the rate (or range of rates) the operator receives for cable service from those subscribers.42 In addition, the replacement of the term “converter” with “equipment” on the SOA forms and in the regulation is simply intended to modernize regulatory terminology. The Office seeks comment on these proposed changes, including whether it would be advisable to specifically add the category of “other MDU,” which could encompass subscriptions for non-commercial multi-dwelling units such as penitentiaries, churches, or schools, or whether it is sufficient to allow cable operators to add categories of service as needed in the blank section of Space E.

    41 Petition at 6-7 (citing Short Form SOA at 2, Space E; Long Form SOA at 2, Space E); see also 71 FR at 45750 (noting Program Suppliers' concerns over Space E).

    42See 37 CFR 201.17(e)(6)(iii)(B) (listing a private home owner, apartment owner, apartment resident, motel owner as subscriber examples).

    These proposed changes are also intended to recognize the increased variety in cable subscription rates by providing a flexible table to allow cable operators to report each category of service “for which a charge is made by the cable system for the basic service of providing secondary transmissions of primary broadcast transmitters.” 43 For example, since the Petition was received, the cable marketplace has experimented with a variety of service offerings, ranging from tiers of packages offering over 400 channels to skinny bundles emphasizing family friendly or sports-related programming. Meanwhile, the Office recognizes that it is no longer commonplace for cable operators to charge additional fees for “service to additional sets” or “FM radio,” but any remitter who does offer these services for a separate fee could list them as a separate service.

    43Id. 201.17(e)(6)(i).

    In addition, for each service offered to a category of subscribers, the Office proposes to allow cable operators to report a range of rates that the cable operator actually charged on the last day of the accounting period.44 This instruction is intended to address pricing variations, as well as concerns from NCTA that reporting each rate charged to MDU subscribers based on individual negotiations would be “enormously difficult, and would unfairly require operators to divulge competitively sensitive information.” 45 As noted above, cable operators could also add additional categories of services to report rates that correspond to different types of service. The Office invites comment on whether there should be a limit on the variance that may be reported for a single service, such as a requirement that the highest amount may be no more than 100% of the lowest amount in a range (e.g., a range of $14.99-$26.99 would be permissible, but not a range of $24.00-$78.00), and whether any variance limit should be higher for MDUs to reflect the more individualized nature of services offered.

    44See Petition at 7; Program Suppliers Reply Comments at 12-14.

    45 NCTA Comments at 6.

    Finally, the Office proposes that information regarding categories of service shall not be left blank.46 If a cable operator does not serve a specific category, a “zero” or a “N/A” (not applicable) should be reported in the appropriate space. These revisions are intended to facilitate the review of cable SOAs.

    46See Program Suppliers Reply Comments at 12-14.

    Further, the Office intends to revise Space E's instructions and its regulatory definition of “gross receipts” to specifically note that cable operators' gross receipts must include revenue from subscription to non-broadcast tier(s) and/or from equipment sales or leases if they are required to obtain tiers with broadcast signals. If a tier or other service has no broadcast signals, and is not required to be purchased to obtain access to broadcast signals, it need not be reported in Space E. This addition does not represent a substantive change in policy, but is intended to provide more detailed guidance in furtherance of the Office's current regulatory definition of “gross receipts.” 47 This change is also in accordance with Cablevision v. MPAA, which found this definition and the Office's longstanding requirement that “revenues from all tiers other than pay cable and from all channels within each included tier must be included in gross receipts” to be reasonable.48

    47See 37 CFR 201.17(b)(1).

    48Cablevision Sys. Dev. Co. v. Motion Picture Ass'n of Am., Inc., 836 F.2d 599, 602, 611 (D.C. Cir. 1988).

    In sum, by updating the pre-populated categories listed in Space E and requiring more detail regarding the categories of service offered (i.e., by breaking out currently-reported subscriptions into separate tiers of service and listing the per-tier rate or range of rates), the Office hopes to address concerns about the adequacy of reported information. At the same time, the Office does not propose to adopt every information category proposed by Program Suppliers, tentatively agreeing with NCTA and ACA that requiring filers to provide information on offerings that do not contain broadcast signals (or are not prerequisites to obtaining service containing any broadcast signals) would be inappropriate, as those tiers do not contribute to gross receipts.49

    49See NCTA Comments at 7; ACA Comments at 7-8.

    3. Reporting of Bundled Services in Gross Receipts and Subscriber Rates (Spaces E and K)

    For years, cable operators and other multichannel video programming distributors have marketed video, internet data, and voice services as a single bundle of communication products to subscribers for a set price. Bundling offers certain subscriber benefits, such as price discounts and a single monthly bill. While pricing models vary, subscribers generally pay less for a bundled package than if purchasing each service individually.

    From time to time, the Office receives questions on how to report the price of cable television service in gross receipts on their SOAs when it is sold as part of a bundle of services. The Office is considering whether to amend its regulations to provide specific guidance on how remitters should report cable television services sold as a bundled service. The Office welcomes comments on how cable operators currently report the price of cable television service in gross receipts on their SOAs when it is sold as part of a bundle of services, and whether the Office's regulations should be amended to provide more guidance.

    B. Definition of Cable System

    The Office proposes to amend the regulatory definition of “cable system” to reflect both the Copyright Office's longstanding position that such systems are limited to systems providing only localized retransmissions of limited availability, and the uniform case law holding that internet-based retransmission services are excluded from the section 111 compulsory license.50

    50See, e.g., Fox Television Stations, Inc. v. Aereokiller, LLC, 851 F.3d 1002, 1007 n.1 (9th Cir. 2017) (noting that seven other federal courts held that “Internet-based transmission services” did not qualify as a “cable systems” under the Copyright Act).

    As the Ninth Circuit recently explained, Congress did not intend for section 111 “to service the entire secondary transmission community . . . without regard to the technological makeup of its members,” and instead limited the cable license to a narrower subset of providers that the statute defines in a “detailed, if arguably ambiguous, way.” 51

    51Id. at 1009.

    The Act requires a “cable system” to make secondary transmissions by “wires, cables, microwave, or other communications channels.” 52 As the Ninth Circuit recognized, when read in conjunction with the whole of section 111 and the rest of the Copyright Act, it is clear that Congress did not intend section 111 “to sweep in secondary transmission services with indifference to their technological profile.” 53 As the Office has previously noted, “at the time Congress created the cable compulsory license, the FCC regulated the cable industry as a highly localized medium of limited availability, suggesting that Congress, cognizant of the FCC's regulations and the market realities, fashioned a compulsory license with a local rather than a national scope.” 54 Indeed, the localized nature of the cable statutory license is reflected throughout section 111. For example, in defining “cable system,” section 111 states that two or more systems operating from “one headend” 55 are considered a single system; the same section also makes references to “contiguous communities.” 56 Thus, as the Ninth Circuit properly concluded, the Office's established understanding of the section 111 license “aligns with [section] 111's many instances of location-sensitive language.” 57

    52 17 U.S.C. 111(f)(3).

    53Aereokiller, 851 F.3d at 1009.

    54 62 FR 18705, 18707 (Apr. 17, 1997); see also Aereokiller, 851 F.3d at 1014 (quoting same).

    55 Under FCC regulations, a “principal headend” is defined as “(1) the headend, in the case of a cable system with a single headend or, (2) in the case of a cable system with more than one headend, the principal headend designated by the cable operator, except that such designation shall not undermine or evade [the broadcast signal carriage requirements.]” 47 CFR 76.5(pp).

    56 17 U.S.C. 111(f)(3).

    57Aereokiller, 851 F.3d at 1013.

    Indeed, the overall operation of the section 111 license assumes cable systems operate as localized retransmission services. The royalty structure for the license is predicated upon determining whether the retransmission of television programming is “local” to or “distant” from the local service area of the primary transmitter of such programming.58 Specifically, royalty rates for larger (i.e., Long Form SOA) cable systems are calculated based on a value known as the “distant signal equivalent,” 59 which is calculated based on the type and number of stations with “non-network television programming carried by a cable system in whole or in part beyond the local service area of the primary transmitter of such programming.” 60 The statute, in turn, defines “local service area” in precise geographic terms. For example, for low power stations, the statute itself defines the local service area in terms of a specific radius in miles around a transmitter site.61 Accordingly, for a cable station to accurately calculate royalties under the statutory license, it must know with some precision the locations to which the cable system has retransmitted a broadcast station's signal—and whether that retransmission was within or outside the local service area of that station. This is something that is possible with traditional, hard-wired cable systems and their equivalent, because of the localized nature of their retransmission services.

    58See 17 U.S.C. 111(d)(1), (f)(4), (5).

    59See, e.g., id. 111(d)(1)(B).

    60Id. 111(f)(5)(i) (emphasis added).

    61See 17 111(f)(4). Specifically, the statute defines the local service area for “low power stations” as comprising “the designated market area . . . that encompasses the community of license of such station,” plus communities outside the designated market area that are either “wholly or partially within 35 miles of the transmitter site” or, in the case of stations located in larger metropolitan areas, “wholly or partially within 20 miles of such transmitter site.” Id.; see also id. 122(j)(2)(C) (defining “designated market area”).

    Other aspects of the statutory scheme similarly underscore the localized nature of the statutory license. As discussed in greater detail below, for purposes of categorizing cable systems for royalty purposes, the statute specifies that two or more cable systems constitute a single cable system for purposes of section 111 if they are under common ownership or control and “are located in the same or contiguous communities.” 62 Similarly, the Office's section 111 regulations require cable operators to report the communities served by each cable system (i.e., the cities or towns).63 Thus, determining what “community” a cable system serves requires knowing with some precision where retransmitted signals are being sent, which necessarily implies that a “cable system” is one that operates via a localized transmission system.64

    62Id. 111(f)(3).

    63 37 CFR 201.17(e)(4).

    64Cf. Aereokiller, 851 F.3d at 1013-14 (deferring to Copyright Office interpretation based on section 111's use of “location-sensitive language”).

    Consistent with this understanding of the overall legislative scheme, the Office in prior rulemakings has held a consistent view that a “cable system” under the meaning of section 111 must operate in an inherently localized retransmission medium. For instance, in 1992 and 1997, in the context of rulemakings to determine whether satellite and wireless cable retransmission systems could qualify for the section 111 license, the Office concluded that the section 111 license “applies only to localized retransmission services,” 65 and that “a provider of broadcast signals [must] be an inherently localized transmission media of limited availability to qualify as a cable system.” 66 Applying this standard, the Office found that satellite carriers could not qualify as cable systems.67 The Eleventh Circuit upheld the reasonableness of that determination.68 Congress established the section 119 and 122 licenses to provide for a separate statutory licensing scheme for satellite carriers.69 Thus, as the Ninth Circuit recently noted, “if Congress meant § 111 to sweep in secondary transmission services with indifference to their technological profile, then it was strange for Congress to have provided separate compulsory license provisions—§§ 119 and 122—for broadcast retransmissions by satellite carriers.” 70

    65 57 FR 3284-01, 3292 (Jan. 29, 1992) (codified at 37 CFR pt. 201).

    66 62 FR 18705, 18707 (Apr. 17, 1997) (codified at 37 CFR pt. 201).

    67 57 FR at 3292, 3296. In this 1992 rulemaking, the Copyright Office also concluded that “wireless” cable systems could not qualify as “cable systems” under section 111. Id. at 3293-95. Congress amended section 111 in 1992 to reverse that decision. Satellite Home Viewer Act of 1994, Public Law 103-369, 108 Stat. 3477 (1994); 59 FR 67635 (Dec. 30, 2004). In doing so, however, Congress did not question the Copyright Office's conclusion that the statute was limited to localized retransmission services. To the contrary, Congress recognized that such wireless cable systems would have to be treated the same as wired systems for purposes of calculating distant signal royalties under the statutory license. See S. Rep. No 103-407 at 14 (1994); H.R. Rep. No. 103-703 at 19 (1994); see generally 62 FR at 18709 (discussing legislative history).

    68Satellite Broad. & Commc'ns Ass'n of Am. v. Oman, 17 F.3d 344, 346-48 (11th Cir. 1994); see also 37 CFR 201.17(k) (1992) (“Satellite carriers, [and] satellite resale carriers . . . are not eligible for the cable compulsory license based upon an interpretation of the whole of section 111 of title 17 of the United States Code.”).

    69 Satellite Home Viewer Act of 1994, Public Law 103-369, 108 Stat. 3477 (1994); 59 FR 67635 (Dec. 30, 2004).

    70Aereokiller, 851 F.3d at 1009.

    Similarly, in policy reports and testimony before Congress, the Office consistently communicated its position that internet-based retransmission services are not “cable systems” under section 111.71 As explained in more detail in those reports, the Office's view was based on an understanding that, unlike other systems qualifying for the cable license, online streaming services are not closed, localized systems, and so are outside the statutory license. By contrast, in a 2008 policy report, the Office opined that video programming distribution systems using Internet Protocol technology, by virtue of the fact that they were inherently closed systems delivering content to a limited set of subscribers at their homes, could meet the definition of “cable system” 72

    71See, e.g., Register of Copyrights, A Review of the Copyright Licensing Regimes Covering Retransmission of Broadcast Signals 97-99 (1997), https://www.copyright.gov/reports/study.pdf; Copyrighted Webcast Programming on the Internet: Hearing Before the H. Subcomm. on Courts and Intell. Prop., 106th Cong. 5-6 (2000) (statement of Marybeth Peters, Register of Copyrights and Dir., U.S. Copyright Office); Register of Copyrights, Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act Section 109 Report 193-94 (2008), http://www.copyright.gov/reports/section109-final-report.pdf (“Section 109 Report”); Register of Copyrights, Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Localism Act Section 302 Report 47-49 (2011), https://www.copyright.gov/reports/section302-report.pdf.

    72 Section 109 Report at 197-99; see also id. at 200 (concluding that retransmission of broadcast signals to mobile devices should be outside statutory license).

    In sum, in light of the Office's understanding of section 111, its longstanding policy views, and the uniform direction of case law, the Office proposes adding the following sentence to its regulatory definition of “cable system”: “A provider of broadcast signals must be an inherently localized and closed transmission system of limited availability to qualify as a cable system.”

    C. Interpretation of Community and Reporting of Area Served (Space D) 1. Cable Headend Location

    Section 111(f) of the Copyright Act states in relevant part that: “For purposes of determining the royalty fee under subsection (d)(1), two or more cable systems in contiguous communities under common ownership or control or operating from one headend shall be considered as one system.” 73 Moreover, two cable systems operating from the same headend are considered to be one system for purposes of calculating the section 111 royalties “even if they are owned by different entities.” 74 Currently, a cable operator is required to identify on its SOA only the community or communities in which it operates and not the location of the headend(s) serving those communities.75

    73 17 U.S.C. 111(f)(3); see also 37 CFR 201.17(b)(2).

    74 Short Form SOA at ii; Long Form SOA at ii; see also 43 FR at 958.

    75See 37 CFR 201.17(e)(4); Short Form SOA at 1b, Space D; Long Form SOA at 1b, Space D.

    In their Petition, Program Suppliers requested that the Office revise Space D of the SOA form to require cable operators to identify the location of each headend and the specific communities served from that headend.76 Program Suppliers stated that this information will help them determine whether cable operators are, in fact, complying with the section 111(f) requirement to treat all cable systems operating from a common headend as a single cable system and suggested that a headend identification requirement would not burden cable operators, as the FCC already requires them to maintain records of the location of principal headends.77 As to which headend a cable operator should report where there are multiple headends, Program Suppliers stated that an operator should be required to identify the location of each headend that serves communities listed by its systems.78 NAB concurred that including the specific location of headends would enhance the Office's review of SOAs.79

    76 Petition at 10-11.

    77See Program Suppliers Comments at 12-13 (citing 47 CFR 76.1708, 76.1716). The Office notes that the FCC recently eliminated the requirement that cable operators maintain for public inspection the designation and location of the cable system's principal headend. In re Revisions to Public Inspection File Requirements—Broadcaster Correspondence File & Cable Principal Headend Location, 32 FCC Rcd. 1565 (2017), https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-17-3A1.pdf.

    78Id. at 13.

    79 NAB Comments at 1-2.

    By contrast, NCTA remarked that if a single system uses more than one headend, it should make no difference to copyright owners which one is identified; in that instance, an operator has already determined that it operates a single system for copyright purposes.80 ACA commented that if a Program Supplier has a legitimate question regarding the location of a headend, it can request clarification from that particular operator, and that Program Suppliers have employees and outside counsel devoted to precisely that type of activity.81

    80 NCTA Comments at 8.

    81 ACA Comments at 11.

    The Office tentatively concludes that it is not clear that artificial fragmentation by cable systems seeking to avoid paying a higher royalty rate (i.e., a Long Form SOA cable system reporting as several Short Form cable systems) is currently a pressing concern, or that requiring the reporting of headend information would significantly help lessen this issue, compared to the additional burden imposed upon cable operators. Given the lack of a strong record demonstrating the need for this information, the Office declines to adopt a headend-reporting requirement at this time.

    2. County Information

    The Office's regulations currently require a cable operator to report the name of the community or communities served by its cable system.82 Space D of the SOAs require a cable operator to identify the communities it serves, including by listing the “city or town” and “state” served.83 The SOAs do not currently require identification of the county in which the given community is located, although some operators report counties on a voluntary basis.

    82 37 CFR 201.17(e)(4).

    83 Short Form SOA at 1b, Space D; Long Form SOA at 1b, Space D.

    In their Petition, Program Suppliers requested that the Office require cable operators to identify the county where each cable community is located, in addition to the city and state.84 They commented that this information would help clarify whether a signal is local, distant, or partially distant (i.e., distant to some subscribers but local to others) for section 111 purposes.85 NCTA agreed that the absence of county designations has hampered legitimate efforts to review certain SOAs and did not object to modification of the SOA forms to require inclusion of county information in Space D.86 Similarly, ACA stated that this requirement will impose minimal additional burdens and will facilitate review of SOAs by the Licensing Division.87

    84 Petition at 11-13.

    85Id. at 12.

    86 NCTA Comments at 9.

    87 ACA Comments at 4.

    Because the parties agreed that inclusion of the county on the SOA would be beneficial, the Office proposes that Space D should be revised to require “county” information, but seeks comment on whether this proposed change remains desirable to stakeholders. The Office concludes that regulatory change is not necessary to implement this update to the form.

    3. Definition of “Community”

    Under the Copyright Act and the Office's regulations, two or more cable systems constitute a single cable system for purposes of section 111 if, as relevant here, they are under common ownership or control and are located in the same or “contiguous communities.” 88 Where common ownership of cable systems is established, defining the “community” served is important to determine whether two or more cable facilities operate in “contiguous communities,” and whether those facilities should file as a single cable system, preventing artificial fragmentation of large cable systems into multiple smaller systems to avoid the higher royalty payments Form 3 cable systems pay under section 111.89

    88 17 U.S.C. 111(f)(3); 37 CFR 201.17(b)(2).

    89See 43 FR 958 (Jan. 5, 1978) (“[T]he legislative history of the Act indicates that the purpose of this sentence [in section 111(f)] is to avoid the artificial fragmentation of cable systems.”).

    The Office's regulations currently state that a cable system's “community,” for purposes of section 111, is the same geographic area as that specified under the definition of “community unit” as defined in the FCC's rules and regulations.90 FCC regulations define “community unit” as “[a] cable television system, or portion of a cable television system, that operates or will operate within a separate and distinct community or municipal entity (including unincorporated communities within unincorporated areas and including single, discrete unincorporated areas).” 91

    90 37 CFR 201.17(e)(4); see also Short Form SOA at 1b, Space D; Long Form SOA at 1b, Space D.

    91 47 CFR 76.5(dd).

    Program Suppliers requested that the Office amend the regulatory definition of the term “community” so that a cable operator's “franchise area” should be the de facto regulatory boundary for defining cable communities instead of the FCC's community unit definition. In support, Program Suppliers noted that the FCC itself, in written opinions, has interpreted “community unit” to mean cable franchise areas.92 But while it may be true that the FCC has itself at times equated its regulatory definition of “community unit” with a given cable system's franchise area, that is, the political jurisdiction for which a local government body has granted it the right to provide cable television to its residents, the regulatory definition refers more broadly to a “distinct community” and the Petition itself suggests the FCC has not been uniform in that interpretation. In its NOI, the Office asked if there is a general pattern of disaggregation by cable operators to support a rule change, and if so, whether it would be reasonable to equate the term “community” with a cable operator's “franchise area.” 93

    92 Petition at 16 (citation omitted).

    93 71 FR at 45752.

    In comments, NCTA suggested that the FCC community unit concept was part of a long-established cable copyright paradigm.94 It explained that the cable industry's signal carriage obligations under current FCC rules, notably the syndicated exclusivity rules, continue to depend on the community unit definition, and were necessary under the FCC's former distant signal rules for establishing whether a distant signal is permitted for copyright purposes. NCTA further stated that Program Suppliers offered no evidence that Congress intended franchise areas to play a decisive role in defining a single cable system for copyright purposes. NCTA noted that with the advent of statewide franchising in some states, the proposed rule change could result in the artificial joinder of systems that could be hundreds of miles apart and not interconnected in any way.95 In reply comments, NAB agreed that the Copyright Office should continue to rely upon the FCC's regulatory definition of community unit, and suggested that a literal application of those rules would prevent artificial fragmentation by requiring cable operators to list all contiguous units that shared a franchise authority.96

    94 NCTA Comments at 11.

    95Id. at 11-13.

    96 NAB Reply Comments at 12-13.

    The Copyright Office tentatively concludes that the facts and the law do not support replacing the community unit definition with a franchise area definition. Moreover, since the receipt of the Petition, the Office has not noted a practice of fragmentation, and has learned that this issue may be of less interest to stakeholders. The Office invites public comments on whether this issue is still significant to stakeholders.

    D. Grade B Contour (Parts 6 and 7)

    Under the Copyright Act, the definition of “local service area of a primary transmitter” establishes the difference between “local” and “distant” signals and “therefore the line between signals which are subject to payment under the compulsory license [under section 111] and those that are not.” 97 The shifting technologies used for television transmission, as reflected in STELA, have led the Copyright Office to question whether certain parts of its regulations and SOA forms should be modified or eliminated.

    97 H.R. Rep. No. 94-1476, at 99 (1976), as reprinted in 1976 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5659, 5714.

    Specifically, the parts of the Long Form SOA which reference the “Grade B contour,” an FCC construct used for many years in the context of analog television stations, appear to be obsolete. Section 111 imported this construct, as detailed in FCC rules and regulations, with respect to determining the local service area of certain signals.98 Subsequently, with the advent of digital television signals, the FCC has recognized a new standard known as the “noise-limited service contour.” STELA amended section 111 by adding to the definition of “local service area” any area “within the noise-limited contour as defined in 73.622(e)(1) of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations.” 99

    98 17 U.S.C. 111(f)(4).

    99 STELA at sec.104, 124 Stat. at 1235; 17 U.S.C. 111(f)(4).

    Two parts of the form appear to have been overtaken by these technological developments. First, the Long Form SOA asks for certain information related to certain UHF signals within a Grade B contour, for purposes of calculating royalties paid under a 3.75% fee in Part 6, Block B of the form. Under the FCC's old “market quota” rules, which were incorporated by reference into section 111, a cable operator could carry a certain number of distant signals based upon a complex scheme involving the type of the television market and the type of signal available. A cable operator, however, could carry more signals than its market quota of distant signals if the station was considered “permitted” by the FCC's 1976-era rules. The concept of “permitted” stations has been imported into the section 111 license. Under section 111, an operator that carries a non-permitted signal above its market quota is generally subject to a 3.75% fee for carriage of that signal, in lieu of the minimum royalty rate.100 There are several bases of “permitted” carriage, however, for which retransmission will not trigger the 3.75% fee. One of these bases—basis “G”—includes carriage of commercial UHF stations within a Grade B contour.101 On cable SOAs, permitted signals, including those under basis “G,” must be reported in Part 6, Block B, or be subject to the 3.75% fee calculation in Part 6/Block C.102

    100See 37 CFR 387.2. All cable systems filing Long Form SOAs must pay at least the minimum fee which is 1.064% of gross receipts. The cable system pays either the minimum fee or the sum of the base rate fee and the 3.75% fee, whichever is larger, and a Syndicated Exclusivity Surcharge, as applicable. Long Form SOA at 10.

    101See Long Form SOA at 13.

    102See Long Form SOA at 13.

    The Office, in a 2008 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning digital broadcast signals (“Digital Signals NPRM”) that pre-dated STELA,103 made initial conclusions concerning the continued relevance of the “basis G” for the cable retransmission of digital television signals. With regard to commercial UHF stations placing a Grade B contour over a cable system, the Office noted that the Grade B contour could not be replaced by the noise limited service contour as the appropriate measurement to determine whether a commercial UHF station is “permitted” for copyright purposes because the new contour parameters were not in use at the time Section 111 was enacted.104

    103See 73 FR 31399 (June 2, 2008). Because STELA confirmed the application of section 111 to digital broadcast signals, the Office considers the Digital Signals NPRM to be closed.

    104Id. at 31408-409.

    As noted, after the Digital Signals NPRM, STELA amended the definition of “local service area of a primary transmitter” in section 111 so that such area would include the area within the noise limited service contour.105 This amendment confirms to the Office that the noise limited service contour is the proper standard by which to measure the reach of digital television signals with respect to the section 111 license, including digital UHF signals. And, as most relevant here, the amendment appears to render “basis G” obsolete as it currently exists. That is because, as stated above, royalty rates under the section 111 license are calculated based on the “secondary transmission of any non-network television programming carried by a cable system in whole or in part beyond the local service area of the primary transmitter of such programming.” 106 Any digital signals within the noise-limited service contour are “local” and thus are not subject to the section 111 royalty rate. Thus, it appears that there is no need to treat any station within the noise limited contour as “permitted,” because locally retransmitted stations do not count against the market quota in the first place.

    105See STELA at sec.104, 124 Stat. at 1235; 17 U.S.C. 111(f)(4).

    106 17 U.S.C. 111(f)(5) (emphasis added).

    To the extent that the “Grade B contour” construct theoretically may continue to apply to analog signals, the Office questions whether it has become obsolete as a practical matter. From running database queries on submitted SOAs, the Office has learned that permitted basis “G” in Part 6/Block B is rarely, if ever, used. Moreover, in the few cases where cable operators have reported the permitted basis of carriage category “G,” the Office believes the cable operators may have used the noise-limited contour (for digital signals) interchangeably with the Grade B contour (for analog signals) because they historically reported “G” in the all-analog world (prior to the mandated FCC digital conversion in 2009), and continue to report the “G” permitted basis out of habit. Accordingly, the Office proposes eliminating permitted basis “G” in Part 6/Block B on the cable SOAs (i.e., commercial UHF stations within a Grade B contour). The Office invites public comment on this proposal. The Office is particularly interested in learning whether cable operators still retransmit broadcast signals using analog signals, and if so, to what extent the permitted basis “G” is relevant to this carriage.

    Second, the Grade B contour has, in the past, had relevance to other aspects of the statutory license under section 111, including the calculation of a “syndicated exclusivity surcharge.” Cable systems located in whole or in part within a major television market, as defined by FCC rules and regulations, must calculate a syndicated exclusivity surcharge for the carriage of any commercial VHF station that places a Grade B contour, in whole or in part, over the cable system that would have been subject to the FCC's syndicated exclusivity rules in effect on June 24, 1981.107 Cable operators report any syndicated exclusivity surcharge in Part 7, Block B of cable Long Form SOAs.

    107See 37 CFR 201.17(i)(1)(ii), (i)(2)(ii).

    From running database queries on submitted SOAs, however, the Office has learned that the last time Part 7 of the cable SOA was used (i.e., Computation of the Syndicated Exclusivity Charge) was in 2013, on a single SOA. Accordingly, the Office invites public comment on whether Part 7 of the cable SOA should be amended, and whether, more generally, the Office's related regulations should be amended to remove references to a Grade B contour.

    E. Changes to SOA Due to Copyright Royalty Board's Proposed Rule Relating to the Retransmission of Sports Programming

    In May 2017, the Copyright Royalty Board (“CRB”) issued a notice of proposed settlement and proposed rule to require covered cable systems to pay a separate per-telecast royalty (a “Sports Surcharge”) in addition to the other royalties that cable systems must pay under section 111.108 In September, the CRB issued an additional notice concerning whether non-participants to the settlement could be eligible to receive royalties stemming from the Sports Charge, but did not otherwise alter its proposed rule.109 Under the CRB's proposed rule, the “Sports Surcharge would amount to 0.025 percent of the cable system's `gross receipts' during the relevant semi-annual accounting period for the secondary transmission of each affected broadcast of a sports event, provided that all of the conditions of the proposed rule are satisfied.” 110 “Thus, if a covered cable system made a secondary transmission of one affected broadcast, it would pay 0.025 percent of `gross receipts' during the relevant semi-annual accounting period for that transmission; if it made secondary transmissions of two affected broadcasts, it would pay 0.025 percent of `gross receipts' during the relevant semi-annual accounting period for each of those transmissions (or a total of 0.050 percent of its `gross receipts').” 111

    108 82 FR 24611 (May 30, 2017).

    109 82 FR 44368 (Sept. 22, 2017).

    110 82 FR at 24612.

    111Id.

    Assuming the CRB's rule is adopted, the Office intends to amend its cable SOA forms to account for the new Sports Surcharge for semi-annual accounting periods by adding a new Space R that would allow for calculations of this surcharge. No amendments to the Office's regulations are needed to accommodate this change.

    F. Interest Payments and Copyright Infringement Liability

    The Office's current regulations require cable operators to pay interest on late or underpaid royalty payments.112 In their Petition, Program Suppliers asserted that such payments do not preclude copyright owners from bringing an action against cable operators for copyright infringement during the time period in which the cable operators' royalty payments were not properly remitted, and requested that the Office amend its regulations and revise its SOA forms to include language clarifying that the assessment of interest does not absolve cable operators from copyright infringement liability for failure to make timely royalty payments.113 Cable associations disagreed, with ACA stating that “[s]ound policy supports maintaining the ability of a cable operator to correct an[y] SOA and pay additional royalties with interest, without the imminent threat of copyright infringement,” and that the ability to file amended or late SOAs with interest “provides an efficient means to correct good faith errors in filings[,] while at the same time providing copyright claimants with their full compensation plus interest.” 114

    112See 37 CFR 201.17(k)(4); see also Short Form SOA at 8, Space Q; Long Form SOA at 9, Space Q.

    113 Petition at 13.

    114 ACA Comments at 12; see also NCTA Comments at 9.

    The Office declines Program Suppliers' suggestion to modify the SOA to state that a payment made after the due date does not bar an infringement action against the cable operator. While section 111(d)(1)(A) directs the Register to issue regulations governing the filing of SOAs, including identification of all secondary retransmissions of broadcast stations, number of subscribers, and gross revenues paid to the cable system, it does not require the Office to determine the scope of liability for copyright infringement; in the Office's view, this question is more properly reserved for the courts in appropriate cases.115

    115 There are two other provisions, aside from 17 U.S.C. 111(d)(1)(A), which require action by the Register in the cable statutory licensing context. These are the authority to set filing fees for SOAs under 17 U.S.C. 111(d)(1)(G) and the authority to issue audit regulations under 17 U.S.C. 111(d)(6).

    G. Removing Outdated References to the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act

    After Congress enacted STELA in 2010, the Office issued implementing regulations that, among other things, established the accounting period for which the new cable operator royalty fee rates would take effect.116 In the seven years since STELA was enacted, however, some references to STELA in the Office's regulations appear to have become outdated and unnecessary. The Office understands that cable operators rarely file SOAs for periods dating back further than the last five years (i.e., for periods prior to the enactment of STELA). Accordingly, the Office proposes amending section 201.17 by deleting outdated references to STELA, and adding language for remitters to contact the Licensing Division for instructions should they need to file SOAs for accounting periods further back than the last five years. The Office invites public comment on this proposal.

    116 37 CFR 201.17(g)(4).

    H. Technical Amendments

    The Office's current regulations provide a number of instructions to cable operators on how to complete SOAs, many of which duplicate the instructions on the SOA forms themselves.117 The Office proposes removing regulatory provisions that are duplicative of information provided on cable operator SOA forms and/or on the Office's Web site.

    117See id. 201.17(e)(1)-(4), (8), (10)-(13).

    In addition, the Office's current regulations instruct which information must be provided as part of the electronic funds transfer (“EFT”) to pay royalty fees.118 The Office proposes removing this language from the regulations and incorporating it into the instructions for the SOA forms themselves.

    118Id. 201.17(k)(1).

    These changes are intended to improve the readability of existing regulations and do not represent substantive changes in policy.

    III. Reporting Practices—Cable, Satellite and DART

    The Office has identified a number of additional issues relating to cable SOA reporting practices, and finds it is administratively efficient to address these new cable reporting practice matters here rather than initiate a new proceeding. Because some of these issues are also pertinent to the filing of SOAs for other statutory licenses, the Office proposes to amend certain reporting rules for cable operators (under section 201.17), satellite carriers (under section 201.11) and digital audio recording equipment manufacturers and importers (under sections 201.27 and 201.28), where applicable, so that there are parallel requirements for all three licenses in the Office's regulations. Each of the following proposed changes are reflected in the updated proposed regulatory language below.

    A. Closing Out Statements of Account

    During an initial examination of SOAs, the Office's Licensing Division often makes inquiries of cable system operators regarding the information provided in the SOA.119 Generally, the Office does not make an entire SOA available to the public until the cable operator has responded to the Office's inquiry and the initial examination process has been completed. But oftentimes, the Office may not receive a response to its inquiry until long after the Office's letter or email. In some cases, replies are not received in the Office until years later. Currently, if this happens, the Office re-examines the original SOA in light of the request.

    119 These inquiries generally seek missing or clarifying information pertaining to an element(s) of the SOA and might raise the possibility that there has been an underpayment or overpayment of the royalty fee.

    To streamline the administrative process and encourage timely responses to Office inquiries, the Office proposes to close out SOA examination if a filer fails to reply to an Office correspondence request after 90 days from the date of the last correspondence from the Office. After an SOA is closed, it would be placed with other publicly available SOA records. At that point, a cable operator wishing to submit a reply or pay additional royalties or make necessary corrections would need to file an amended SOA along with a filing fee as prescribed in 37 CFR 201.3(e). But, to be clear, operators failing to respond within the prescribed 90-day window would forfeit any potential refund of an overpayment associated with any issue with the SOA identified by the Office in its correspondence.

    The Office tentatively concludes that 90 days is a reasonable timeframe for operators to reply to any issues arising from examination of an SOA and that the proposed amendments will facilitate the timely disposition of SOAs. The Office proposes harmonizing this practice across regulations affecting SOAs for cable operators, satellite carriers, and digital audio recording equipment manufacturers and importers.

    B. Royalty Refunds

    Because the administrative cost of issuing royalty refunds of less than $50.00 can exceed the amount actually refunded, under the Office's proposed rule, refunds for amounts of $50.00 or less will issue only where the refund is specifically requested before the SOA is closed and made available for public inspection. If a refund is not requested before the SOA is closed, the amount will be added to the relevant royalty pool. The proposed rule will harmonize this practice across regulations affecting royalty refunds for cable operators, satellite carriers, and digital audio recording equipment manufacturers and importers.

    C. Payment of Supplemental Royalty Fees and Filing Fees by EFT

    The Office proposes to amend its regulations to require payment of supplemental royalty fees and filing fees by EFT for cable operators, satellite carriers, and digital audio recording equipment manufacturers and importers, and eliminate the ability to pay by paper check or money order. Use of EFT has enhanced the efficiency of the Office's royalty collection process by avoiding problems associated with a paper check or money order (e.g., lost checks or delays in processing mail) and by lessening the Office's administrative workload.

    D. Interest Assessment

    Current regulations regarding the treatment of interest assessment for late payments or underpayments of royalties are similar, but not uniform, for cable operators, satellite carriers, and digital audio recording equipment manufacturers and importers. The Office proposes to harmonize these regulations so that interest begins accruing on the first day after the close of the period for filing SOAs for all underpayments or late payments of royalties; the accrual period shall end on the date the payment submitted by the remitter is received by the Office; and the applicable interest rate shall be the Current Value of Funds Rate, established by section 8025.4 of the Treasury Finance Manual. In addition, interest payments shall not be required if the interest charge is less than $5.00.

    IV. Conclusion

    The Copyright Office hereby seeks comment from the public on the amendments proposed in this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

    List of Subjects in 37 CFR Part 201

    Cable television, Copyright, Recordings, Satellites.

    Proposed Regulations

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Copyright Office proposes to amend 37 CFR part 201 as follows:

    PART 201—GENERAL PROVISIONS 1. The authority citation for part 201 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    17 U.S.C. 702.

    2. Amend § 201.11 by: a. Revising paragraph (f)(1). b. Revising paragraph (h)(3)(iv). c. Adding paragraph (h)(3)(vii). d. Adding paragraphs (h)(5) and (h)(6).

    The revisions and additions read as follows:

    § 201.11 Satellite carrier statements of account covering statutory licenses for secondary transmissions.

    (f) * * *

    (1) All royalty fees, including supplemental royalty payments, must be paid by a single electronic funds transfer (EFT), and must be received in the designated bank by the filing deadline for the relevant accounting period. Satellite carriers must provide specific information as part of the EFT and as part of the remittance advice, as listed in the instructions for the Statement of Account form.

    (h) * * *

    (3) * * *

    (iv) All requests for correction or refunds must be accompanied by a filing fee in the amount prescribed in § 201.3(e) for each Statement of Account involved, paid by EFT. No request will be processed until the appropriate filing fees are received, and no supplemental royalty fee will be deposited until an acceptable remittance in the full amount of the supplemental royalty fee has been received.

    (vii) A refund payment in the amount of fifty dollars ($50.00) or less will not be refunded unless specifically requested before the statement of account is closed, at which point any excess payment will be treated as part of the royalty fee. A request for a refund payment in an amount of over fifty dollars ($50.00) is not necessary where the Licensing Division, during its examination of a Statement of Account or related document, discovers an error that has resulted in a royalty overpayment. In this case, the Licensing Division will affirmatively send the royalty refund to the satellite carrier owner named in the Statement of Account without regard to the time limitations provided for in paragraph (h)(3)(i) of this section.

    (5) Interest on late payments or underpayments. Royalty fee payments submitted as a result of late or amended filings shall include interest. Interest shall begin to accrue beginning on the first day after the close of the period for filing statements of account for all underpayments or late payments of royalties for the satellite carrier statutory license for secondary transmissions for private home viewing and viewing in commercial establishments occurring within that accounting period. The accrual period shall end on the date the full payment submitted by a remitter is received by the Copyright Office. The interest rate applicable to a specific accounting period beginning with the 1992/2 period shall be the Current Value of Funds Rate, as established by section 8025.40 of the Treasury Financial Manual and published in the Federal Register, in effect on the first business day after the close of the filing deadline for that accounting period. Satellite carriers wishing to obtain the interest rate for a specific accounting period may do so by consulting the Federal Register for the applicable Current Value of Funds Rate, or by consulting the Copyright Office Web site. Interest is not required to be paid on any royalty underpayment or late payment from a particular accounting period if the interest charge is less than or equal to five dollars ($5.00).

    (6) A statement of account shall be considered closed in cases where a licensee fails to reply within ninety days to the request for further information from the Copyright Office or, in the case of subsequent correspondence that may be necessary, ninety days from the date of the last correspondence from the Office.

    3. Amend § 201.17 by: a. Revising paragraphs (b)(1) and (2). b. Revising paragraph (c) introductory text and paragraph (c)(3). c. Adding paragraph (c)(5). d. Revising paragraph (d). e. Revising paragraph (e) introductory text. f. Removing paragraphs (e)(1) through (4), (e)(8), and (e)(10) through (13). g. Redesignating paragraph (e)(5) as (e)(1), paragraph (e)(6) as (e)(2), paragraph (e)(7) as (e)(3), paragraph (e)(9) as (e)(4), and paragraph (e)(14) as (e)(5). h. Removing ““Secondary Transmission Service: Subscribers and Rates”,” and adding in its place ““Secondary Transmission Service: Subscribers and Rates,”” in the newly redesignated paragraph (e)(2). i. Adding “or, in the case of a cable system ceasing operations during the accounting period, the facts existing on the last day of operations” after “Statement” in the newly redesignated paragraph (e)(2)(iii)(A). j. Revising newly redesignated paragraph (e)(2)(iii)(B). k. Adding paragraph (e)(2)(iii)(C). l. Removing ““Gross Receipts”,” and adding in its place ““Gross Receipts,”” in the newly redesignated paragraph (e)(3). m. Removing “Television”,” and adding in its place “Television,”” and removing “and required to be specially identified by paragraph (e)(11) of this section,” in the newly redesignated paragraph (e)(4) in the introductory text. n. Revising newly redesignated paragraph (e)(4)(iv). o. Removing paragraphs (g)(2) and (g)(4). p. Redesignating paragraph (g)(3) as paragraph (g)(2). q. Revising paragraph (k) introductory text and paragraph (k)(1). r. Removing “satellite carrier” and adding in its place “cable operator” in paragraph (k)(4). s. Revising paragraph (l)(1). t. Removing “(m)(4)” and adding in its place “(l)(4)” in paragraph (l)(2). u. Removing “, for any reason except that mentioned in paragraph (m)(2)(iii) of this section,” in paragraph (l)(2)(ii). v. Removing “(m)(2)” and adding in its place “(l)(2)” in paragraph (l)(4). w. Removing “(m)(2)(i)” and adding in its place “(l)(2)(i)” in paragraph (l)(4)(iii)(A). x. Removing “(m)(2)(ii)” and adding in its place “(l)(2)(ii)” in paragraph (l)(4)(iii)(B). y. Revising paragraph (l)(4)(iv). z. Removing “(m)” and adding in its place “(l)”, and removing “(e)(14)” and adding in its place “(e)(5)” in paragraph (l)(4)(v). aa. Removing “(m)(4)(i)” and adding in its place “(l)(4)(i)” in paragraph (l)(4)(vi). bb. Adding paragraph (l)(4)(vii). cc. Redesignating paragraph (l)(5) as (l)(7). dd. Revising newly redesignated paragraph (l)(5). ee. Adding paragraph (l)(6). ff. Removing “(m)” and adding in its place “(l)” in newly redesignated paragraph (l)(7).

    The revisions and additions read as follows:

    § 201.17 Statements of Account covering compulsory licenses for secondary transmissions by cable systems.

    (b) * * *

    (1) Gross receipts for the “basic service of providing secondary transmissions of primary broadcast transmitters” include the full amount of monthly (or other periodic) service fees for any and all services or tiers of services which include one or more secondary transmissions of television or radio broadcast signals. Gross receipts also include fees for non-broadcast tier(s) of services if such purchase is required to obtain tiers of services with broadcast signals, and fees for any other type of equipment or device necessary to receive broadcast signals that is supplied by the cable operator. In no case shall gross receipts be less than the cost of obtaining the signals of primary broadcast transmitters for subsequent retransmission. All such gross receipts shall be aggregated and the distant signal equivalent (DSE) calculations shall be made against the aggregated amount. Gross receipts for secondary transmission services do not include installation (including connection, relocation, disconnection, or reconnection) fees, separate charges for security, alarm or facsimile services, charges for late payments, or charges for pay cable or other program origination services: Provided that, the origination services are not offered in combination with secondary transmission service for a single fee. In addition, gross receipts shall not include any fees collected from subscribers for the sale of Internet services or telephony services when such services are bundled together with cable service; instead, when cable services are sold as part of a bundle of other services, gross receipts shall include fees in the amount that would have been collected if such subscribers received cable service as an unbundled stand-alone product.

    (2) A cable system is a facility, located in any State, Territory, Trust Territory, or Possession, that in whole or in part receives signals transmitted or programs broadcast by one or more television broadcast stations licensed by the Federal Communications Commission, and makes secondary transmissions of such signals or programs by wires, cables, microwave, or other communications channels to subscribing members of the public who pay for such service. A provider of broadcast signals must be an inherently localized and closed transmission system of limited availability to qualify as a cable system. A system that meets this definition is considered a “cable system” for copyright purposes, even if the FCC excludes it from being considered a “cable system” because of the number or nature of its subscribers or the nature of its secondary transmissions. The Statements of Account and royalty fees to be deposited under this section shall be recorded and deposited by each individual cable system desiring its secondary transmissions to be subject to compulsory licensing. The owner of each individual cable system on the last day of the accounting period covered by a Statement of Account is responsible for depositing the Statement of Account and remitting the copyright royalty fees. For these purposes, and the purpose of this section, an “individual” cable system is each cable system recognized as a distinct entity under the rules, regulations, and practices of the Federal Communications Commission in effect on the last day of the accounting period covered by a Statement of Account, in the case of the preparation and deposit of a Statement of Account and copyright royalty fee. For these purposes, two or more cable facilities are considered as one individual cable system if the facilities are either:

    (i) In contiguous communities under common ownership or control or

    (ii) Operating from one headend.

    (c) Submission of Statement of Account, accounting periods, and deposit.

    (3) Statements of Account and royalty fees received before the end of the particular accounting period they purport to cover will not be processed by the Copyright Office except for cases where the cable system has ceased operation before the account period closes. Statements of Account and royalty fees received after the filing deadlines of July 30 or January 30, respectively, will be accepted for whatever legal effect they may have, if any.

    (5) A cable system that changes ownership during an accounting period is obligated to file only a single Statement of Account at the end of the accounting period. Statements of Account and royalty fees received after the filing deadlines of August 29 or March 1, respectively, will be accepted for whatever legal effect they may have, if any.

    (d) Statement of Account forms and submission. Cable systems should submit each Statement of Account using an appropriate form provided by the Copyright Office on its Web site and following the instructions for completion and submission provided on the Office's Web site or the form itself. To file a Statement of Account for an accounting period that includes dates prior to five years from submission of the form, please contact the Licensing Division for instructions.

    (e) Contents. In addition to the instructions for completion and submission provided on the Office's Web site or the form itself, each Statement of Account shall contain the following information:

    (2) * * *

    (iii) * * *

    (A) The description, the number of subscribers, and the charge or charges made shall reflect the facts existing on the last day of the period covered by the Statement or, in the case of a cable system ceasing operations during the accounting period, the facts existing on the last day of operations; and

    (B) Each entity (for example, the owner of a private home, the resident of an apartment, the owner of a motel, or the owner of an apartment house) which is charged by the cable system for the basic service of providing secondary transmissions shall be considered one subscriber. For short-stay multiple dwelling units (e.g., motel, hotels), the operator shall report each building served as one subscriber if the operator has a single agreement for cable service with the units' proprietor, landlord, or owner on behalf of the residents or occupants of the structure. If the operator does not serve any type of multiple dwelling unit, residential or commercial, or any hotel or motel, a “zero” or a “N/A” (for “not applicable”) must be reported in the appropriate space on the statement of account form.

    (C) A cable operator shall on its Statement of Account separately report, line by line, for both single and multiple dwelling unit buildings, the number of subscribers served, gross receipts for the sale of each tier containing broadcast programming, any revenue derived from non-broadcast tier(s) of services if such purchase is required to obtain tiers of services with broadcast signals, and fees for any other type of equipment or device necessary to receive broadcast signals that is supplied by the cable operator. Information regarding multiple dwelling units shall not be left blank.

    (4) * * *

    (iv) A designation as to whether that primary transmitter is a “network station,” an “independent station,” or a “noncommercial educational station.”

    (k) Royalty fee payment. (1) All royalty fees, including supplemental royalty fees, must be paid by a single electronic funds transfer (EFT), and must be received in the designated bank by the filing deadline for the relevant accounting period. Cable systems must provide specific information as part of the EFT and as part of the remittance advice, as listed in the instructions for the Statement of Account form.

    (l) * * *

    (1) To amend or request a refund relating to a Statement of Account for an accounting period that includes dates prior to five years from submission of the form, please contact the Licensing Division for instructions.

    (4) * * *

    (iv) All requests for correction or refunds must be accompanied by a filing fee in the amount prescribed in § 201.3(e) for each Statement of Account involved, paid by EFT. No request will be processed until the appropriate filing fees are received, and no supplemental royalty fee will be deposited until an acceptable remittance in the full amount of the supplemental royalty fee has been received.

    (vii) A refund payment in the amount of fifty dollars ($50.00) or less will not be refunded unless specifically requested before the statement of account is closed, at which point any excess payment will be treated as part of the royalty fee. A request for a refund payment in an amount of over fifty dollars ($50.00) is not necessary where the Licensing Division, during its examination of a Statement of Account or related document, discovers an error that has resulted in a royalty overpayment. In this case, the Licensing Division will affirmatively send the royalty refund to the cable system owner named in the Statement of Account.

    (5) Interest on late payments or underpayments. Royalty fee payments submitted as a result of late or amended filings shall include interest. Interest shall begin to accrue beginning on the first day after the close of the period for filing statements of account for all underpayments or late payments of royalties for the cable statutory license occurring within that accounting period. The accrual period shall end on the date the payment submitted by a remitter is received by the Copyright Office. The interest rate applicable to a specific accounting period beginning with the 1992/2 period shall be the Current Value of Funds Rate, as established by section 8025.40 of the Treasury Financial Manual and published in the Federal Register, in effect on the first business day after the close of the filing deadline for that accounting period. Cable operators wishing to obtain the interest rate for a specific accounting period may do so by consulting the Federal Register for the applicable Current Value of Funds Rate, or by consulting the Copyright Office Web site. Interest is not required to be paid on any royalty underpayment or late payment from a particular accounting period if the interest charge is less than or equal to five dollars ($5.00).

    (6) A statement of account shall be considered closed in cases where a licensee fails to reply within ninety days to the request for further information from the Copyright Office or, in the case of subsequent correspondence that may be necessary, ninety days from the date of the last correspondence from the Office.

    4. Amend 201.28 by: a. Revising paragraph (h)(1). b. Revising paragraph (j)(3)(v). c. Adding paragraph (j)(3)(viii) d. Adding paragraphs (j)(4) and (j)(5).

    The revisions and additions read as follows:

    § 201.28 Statement of Account for digital audio recording devices or media.

    (h) * * *

    (1) All royalty fees, including supplemental royalty fee payments, must be paid by a single electronic funds transfer (EFT), and must be received in the designated bank by the filing deadline for the relevant accounting period. Remitters must provide specific information as part of the EFT and as part of the remittance advice, as listed in the instructions for the Statement of Account form.

    (j) * * *

    (3) * * *

    (v) All requests for correction or refunds must be accompanied by a filing fee in the amount prescribed in § 201.3(e) for each Statement of Account involved, paid by EFT. No request will be processed until the appropriate filing fees are received, and no supplemental royalty fee will be deposited until an acceptable remittance in the full amount of the supplemental royalty fee has been received.

    (viii) A refund payment in the amount of fifty dollars ($50.00) or less will not be refunded unless specifically requested before the statement of account is closed, at which point any excess payment will be treated as part of the royalty fee. A request for a refund payment in an amount of over fifty dollars ($50.00) is not necessary where the Licensing Division, during its examination of a Statement of Account or related document, discovers an error that has resulted in a royalty overpayment. In this case, the Licensing Division will affirmatively send the royalty refund to the manufacturing or importing party named in the Statement of Account.

    (4) Interest on late payments or underpayments. Royalty fee payments submitted as a result of late or amended filings shall include interest. Interest shall begin to accrue beginning on the first day after the close of the period for filing statements of account for all underpayments or late payments of royalties for the digital audio recording obligation occurring within that accounting period. The accrual period shall end on the date the payment submitted by a remitter is received by the Copyright Office. The interest rate applicable to a specific accounting period beginning with the 1992/2 period shall be the Current Value of Funds Rate, as established by section 8025.40 of the Treasury Financial Manual and published in the Federal Register, in effect on the first business day after the close of the filing deadline for that accounting period. Manufacturers or importing parties wishing to obtain the interest rate for a specific accounting period may do so by consulting the Federal Register for the applicable Current Value of Funds Rate, or by consulting the Copyright Office Web site. Interest is not required to be paid on any royalty underpayment or late payment from a particular accounting period if the interest charge is less than or equal to five dollars ($5.00).

    (5) A statement of account shall be considered closed in cases where a licensee fails to reply within ninety days to the request for further information from the Copyright Office or, in the case of subsequent correspondence that may be necessary, ninety days from the date of the last correspondence from the Office.

    Sarang V. Damle, General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25487 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1410-30-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 300 [EPA-HQ-SFUND-2002-0001; FRL-9971-31-Region 1] National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan; National Priorities List: Deletion of the Hatheway & Patterson Superfund Site AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; notice of intent.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 1 is issuing a Notice of Intent to Delete the Hatheway & Patterson Superfund Site (Site) located in Mansfield and Foxborough, Massachusetts, from the National Priorities List (NPL) and requests public comments on this proposed action. The NPL, promulgated pursuant to section 105 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, as amended, is an appendix of the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP). The EPA and the State of Massachusetts, through the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), have determined that all appropriate response actions under CERCLA, other than operation, maintenance, monitoring, and five-year reviews, have been completed. However, this deletion does not preclude future actions under Superfund.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by January 2, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-SFUND-2002-0001, by mail or email to: Kimberly White, Remedial Project Manager for Hatheway & Patterson Superfund Site, Office of Site Remediation and Restoration, Mail Code: OSRR07-1, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 1, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 100, Boston, MA 02109-3912, email: [email protected] or Emily Bender, Community Involvement Coordinator, Office of the Regional Administrator, Mail Code: ORA01-3, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 100, Boston, MA 02109-3912, email: [email protected] Comments may also be submitted electronically or through hand delivery/courier by following the detailed instructions in the ADDRESSES section of the direct final rule located in the rules section of this Federal Register.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kimberly White, Remedial Project Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 1, MC: OSRR07-1 5 Post Office Sq., Boston, MA 02119, phone: (617) 918-1752, email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In the “Rules and Regulations” Section of today's Federal Register, we are publishing a direct final Notice of Deletion of Hatheway & Patterson Superfund Site without prior Notice of Intent to Delete because we view this as a noncontroversial revision and anticipate no adverse comment. We have explained our reasons for this deletion in the preamble to the direct final Notice of Deletion, and those reasons are incorporated herein. If we receive no adverse comment(s) on this deletion action, we will not take further action on this Notice of Intent to Delete. If we receive adverse comment(s), we will withdraw the direct final Notice of Deletion, and it will not take effect. We will, as appropriate, address all public comments in a subsequent final Notice of Deletion based on this Notice of Intent to Delete. We will not institute a second comment period on this Notice of Intent to Delete. Any parties interested in commenting must do so at this time.

    For additional information, see the direct final Notice of Deletion which is located in the Rules section of this Federal Register.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 300

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Chemicals, Hazardous substances, Hazardous waste, Intergovernmental relations, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Superfund, Water pollution control, Water supply.

    Authority:

    33 U.S.C. 1321(d); 42 U.S.C. 9601-9657; E.O. 13626, 77 FR 56749, 3 CFR, 2013 Comp., p. 306; E.O. 12777, 56 FR 54757, 3 CFR, 1991 Comp., p. 351; E.O. 12580, 52 FR 2923, 3 CFR, 1987 Comp., p. 193.

    Dated: October 18, 2017. Deborah A. Szaro, Acting Regional Administrator, Region 1.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25936 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    82 230 Friday, December 1, 2017 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request November 28, 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 required 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 January 2, 2018 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.

    Farm Service Agency

    Title: County Committee Election.

    OMB Control Number: 0560-0229.

    Summary of Collection: As specified in the 2002 Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, the Secretary prepares a report of election that includes, among other things, “the race, ethnicity and gender of each nominee, as provided through the voluntary self-identification of each nominee”. The information will be collected using form FSA-669-A and FSA-669A-2, “Nomination Form for County FSA Committee Election”. Completion of the form is voluntary.

    Need and Use of the Information: FSA will collect information on race, ethnicity and gender of each nominee as provided through the voluntary self-identification of each nominee agreeing to run for a position. The information will be sent to Kansas City for preparation of the upcoming election. The Secretary will review the information annually. If the information is not collected in any given year, the Secretary would not be able to prepare the report as required by the regulations.

    Description of Respondents: Individuals or households.

    Number of Respondents: 10,000.

    Frequency of Responses: Reporting: Annually.

    Total Burden Hours: 6,700.

    Ruth Brown, Departmental Information Collection Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25944 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-05-P
    COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Notice of Public Meeting of the Texas Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

    ACTION:

    Announcement of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the provisions of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) that a meeting of the Texas Advisory Committee (Committee) to the Commission will be held at 11:30 a.m. (Central Time) Thursday, December 7, 2017. The purpose of the meeting is for the Committee to begin planning for briefing on voting rights.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Thursday, December 7, 2017, at 11:30 a.m. CT.

    Public Call Information:

    Dial: 800-263-8506.

    Conference ID: 3696022.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ana Victoria Fortes (DFO) at [email protected] or (213) 894-3437.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This meeting is available to the public through the following toll-free call-in number: 800-263-8506, conference ID number: 3696022. Any interested member of the public may call this number and listen to the meeting. Callers can expect to incur charges for calls they initiate over wireless lines, and the Commission will not refund any incurred charges. Callers will incur no charge for calls they initiate over land-line connections to the toll-free telephone number. Persons with hearing impairments may also follow the proceedings by first calling the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 and providing the Service with the conference call number and conference ID number.

    Members of the public are entitled to make comments during the open period at the end of the meeting. Members of the public may also submit written comments; the comments must be received in the Regional Programs Unit within 30 days following the meeting. Written comments may be mailed to the Western Regional Office, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 300 North Los Angeles Street, Suite 2010, Los Angeles, CA 90012. They may be faxed to the Commission at (213) 894-0508, or emailed Ana Victoria Fortes at [email protected] Persons who desire additional information may contact the Regional Programs Unit at (213) 894-3437.

    Records and documents discussed during the meeting will be available for public viewing prior to and after the meeting at https://facadatabase.gov/committee/meetings.aspx?cid=276. Please click on the “Meeting Details” and “Documents” links. Records generated from this meeting may also be inspected and reproduced at the Regional Programs Unit, as they become available, both before and after the meeting. Persons interested in the work of this Committee are directed to the Commission's Web site, http://www.usccr.gov, or may contact the Regional Programs Unit at the above email or street address.

    Agenda I. Welcome II. Discuss Potential Panelists III. Discuss Potential Panel Categories IV. Public Comment V. Next Steps VI. Adjournment

    Exceptional Circumstance: Pursuant to 41 CFR 102-3.150, the notice for this meeting is given less than 15 calendar days prior to the meeting because of the exceptional circumstance of the Committee needing to plan a briefing on voting rights to satisfy the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights' 2018 Statutory Enforcement report timeline.

    Dated: November 27, 2017. David Mussatt, Supervisory Chief, Regional Programs Unit.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25878 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Economic Development Administration Implementation of Revolving Loan Fund Risk Analysis System AGENCY:

    Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed performance measures and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice outlines and solicits public comments on the performance measures that the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has selected to implement the Risk Analysis System to monitor the Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Program. The Risk Analysis System, which is being implemented by concurrent changes to EDA regulations, is designed to lessen reporting and compliance burdens on RLF Recipients while providing for more efficient and effective oversight of the RLF Program. The Risk Analysis System measures are adapted from the Uniform Financial Institutions Rating System and evaluate RLF Recipients based on factors used by that system and data provided by RLF Recipients via the standard RLF Financial Report, Form ED-209. This notice seeks public comment on the measures EDA will use to assess performance under the Risk Analysis System.

    DATES:

    Written comments are due on or before January 2, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments on the notice may be submitted through any of the following methods:

    Email: [email protected] Include “Comments on EDA Notice” and “Implementation of Revolving Loan Fund Risk Analysis System” in the subject line of the message.

    Fax: (202) 482-5671. Please indicate “Attention: Office of the Chief Counsel,” “Comments on EDA Notice,” and “Implementation of Revolving Loan Fund Risk Analysis System” on the cover page.

    Mail: Ryan Servais, Attorney Advisor, Office of the Chief Counsel, Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Suite 72023, Washington, DC 20230. Please indicate “Comments on EDA Notice” and “Implementation of Revolving Loan Fund Risk Analysis System” on the envelope.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mitchell Harrison, Program Analyst, Performance and National Programs Division, Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Mail Stop 71030, Washington, DC 20230 or via email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Overview

    Investments to capitalize or recapitalize RLFs are governed by, inter alia, the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965, as amended (PWEDA) (42 U.S.C. 3121 et seq.), the regulations outlined at 13 CFR part 307, subpart B, and the EDA RLF Standard Terms and Conditions attached to RLF grant awards. The purpose of RLF grants is to provide regions with a flexible and continuing source of capital, to be used with other economic development tools, for creating and retaining jobs and inducing private investment that will contribute to long-term economic stability and growth. RLF grants are awarded to States, regional development organizations, local governments, Indian tribes, and non-profit organizations.

    Currently, EDA applies a limited compliance-based approach to determine whether RLF Recipients adhere to regulatory requirements and fulfill the terms of RLF awards. RLF Recipients found to be non-compliant are subject to possible corrective action plans (CAPs), sequestration, and termination.

    As part of its most recent amendment to the regulations implementing PWEDA, which are effectuated through a Final Rule published contemporaneously with this notice,1 EDA revised its RLF regulations to reflect best practices within the financial community and to strengthen EDA's efforts to evaluate, monitor, and improve RLF performance by moving to a risk-based approach to assess individual RLFs. This new approach, known as the Risk Analysis System, is modeled on the Uniform Financial Institutions Rating System, commonly known as the Capital, Assets, Management, Earnings, Liquidity, and Sensitivity (CAMELS) rating system, which has been used since 1979 by a number of Federal agencies to assess financial institutions on a uniform basis and to identify those in need of additional oversight. The CAMELS system produces a composite rating by examining six components: Capital adequacy, asset quality, management capability, earnings, liquidity, and sensitivity to market risk. The Risk Analysis System uses a set of metrics that generally examine these same components. However, because of the unique goal of the RLF Program as a driver of critical economic development, particularly within distressed communities, EDA has developed a modified approach. In addition to assessing RLF Recipients based on metrics for capital adequacy, asset quality, management capability, earnings, and liquidity, EDA will consider metrics examining strategic results, rather than sensitivity to market risk.

    1 The Department notes that the President's Fiscal Year 2018 Budget calls for the elimination of EDA. The Department considers the Final Rule amending the PWEDA implementing regulations to be important because the Department would need to continue to administer and monitor RLF grants in perpetuity under current statutory authorities. The regulatory changes in the Final Rule will enable the Department to more efficiently manage the residual RLF portfolio going forward.

    EDA's newly revised regulations include key changes to support this shift to the Risk Analysis System and to ease the transition for RLF Recipients. These changes include the following:

    • Replacing the formerly employed Capital Utilization Standard with the new Allowable Cash Percentage (ACP). In the current version of the RLF regulation at 13 CFR 307.16(c), the Capital Utilization Standard was applicable during the revolving phase of an RLF and required RLF Recipients to “provide that at all times at least 75 percent of the RLF Capital is loaned or committed. . . .” The new ACP standard is defined as “the average percentage of the RLF Capital Base maintained as RLF Cash Available for Lending by RLF Recipients in each EDA regional office's portfolio of RLF Grants over the previous year.” This will be defined annually by each EDA regional office for that region's RLF grants based on the previous year's average percentage of RLF Cash Available for Lending (i.e., funds not currently deployed or committed for new loans) held by the region's portfolio of RLFs. The adoption of the ACP also removes the requirement for automatic sequestration. Under EDA's previous sequestration policy, EDA could require sequestration if an RLF Recipient failed to satisfy the Capital Utilization Standard for two consecutive Reporting Periods, and EDA generally required sequestration after four consecutive Reporting Periods. Instead, under the revised regulations, if an RLF's Cash Available for Lending as a percentage of the RLF Capital Base reaches 50%, and persists for two years, the RLF may be subject to a disallowance of the excess cash.

    • Changing the Reporting Period to align with each RLF Recipient's fiscal year end in order to ensure consistency between RLF financial reports (Form ED-209) submitted to EDA and RLF Recipient annual audit reports. Additionally, EDA revised the regulations to state that the reporting frequency for an RLF Recipient will be determined by EDA. This enables EDA to base reporting frequency on the risk assessment of the RLF Recipient. Those RLF Recipients with a high rating through the Risk Analysis System will be placed on an annual reporting cycle, while RLF Recipients receiving lower ratings will be required to maintain semi-annual reporting.

    • Adopting a more tailored approach to remedying non-compliance. The Risk Analysis System will enable EDA to provide targeted assistance to RLF Recipients with identified weaknesses. By reviewing the Recipient's score under the Risk Analysis System, EDA will be able to select from a list of options for intervening with the Recipient to achieve compliance, rather than applying the previous one-size-fits-all approach through sequestration or termination.

    II. How EDA's Risk Analysis System Works

    The Risk Analysis System rates each RLF according to the performance metrics of the modified CAMELS approach using the data reported by the RLF Recipient through the standard RLF financial report (Form ED-209), audits, and other submissions. Specifically, it uses fifteen defined measures to evaluate a Recipient's administration of each RLF's capital, assets, management, earnings, liquidity, and strategic results. This approach provides EDA with an internal tool for assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each RLF and for identifying RLFs that require additional monitoring, technical assistance, or other corrective action. It also provides RLF Recipients with a set of portfolio management and operational standards to evaluate their RLFs and improve performance. EDA believes this new Risk Analysis System will provide greater flexibility by assessing each RLF's strengths and weaknesses under their own specific and unique circumstances, and that information will be used by EDA to prioritize and focus EDA resources to those RLFs with substantial challenges.

    The Risk Analysis System rating will be conducted by EDA annually at the RLF Recipient's fiscal year end and will be based on audits, RLF financial reports (Form ED-209, or a successor electronic system), and other submissions. EDA is revising Form ED-209 to streamline reporting by seeking only information essential to oversight and to make the report more effective by better integrating the Form with other information required from RLF Recipients. This revision of the ED-209 is occurring at the same time that EDA is soliciting public comment on the Risk Analysis System performance measures through this notice, and EDA will publish a notice seeking comments on the revised Form.

    Because the Risk Analysis System relies heavily on audit results, all RLF Recipients will be required to submit independent audits. A single audit conducted according to 2 CFR part 200, subpart F, the “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards,” and the compliance supplement thereto, will satisfy this requirement. Those Recipients that are not required to arrange for a single audit because they expend less than $750,000 in Federal awards annually will be required to submit to EDA an independent audit of the RLF grant in the first year of the Risk Analysis System and as directed by EDA thereafter. RLF Income may be used to pay for such an independent audit of the RLF grant. If an RLF Recipient has insufficient RLF Income to pay for such an audit, the Recipient should seek EDA approval to use RLF Capital Base funds to cover audit costs.

    III. Scoring the Metrics

    The Risk Analysis System adapts the CAMELS performance metrics to assess RLFs through fifteen performance measures explained in the table below. Each of the measures will be scored on a numerical scale ranging from 3 to 1, where a “3” indicates exceeding the measure, a “2” indicates an acceptable effort, and a “1” indicates a below par performance for the indicated measure. The aggregate score will determine the RLF's risk rating as “A”, “B”, or “C”, with each of the fifteen individual measures weighted equally. EDA will establish criteria for rating RLFs as “A”, “B”, or “C” using data from the first set of reports and audits submitted after implementation of the Risk Analysis System. EDA aims to establish fixed rating criteria such that RLFs are rated against established criteria rather than in relation to the performance of other RLFs; however, EDA may change the rating criteria from time to time.

    1. Capital: The RLF Capital Base is expected to be maintained, if not increased, over time in order to sustain lending activity and to carry out the purposes of the RLF Program, to create and/or retain jobs, and stimulate private investment in regions of economic distress. In addition, sufficient capital is necessary to protect the RLF from potential loan losses. The “capital base index” measure is determined by dividing the current RLF Capital Base by the original RLF Capital Base at the time that the RLF was established.

    2. Assets: An RLF Recipient must adhere to prudent lending standards to safeguard the quality of the loan portfolio. There are four measures within this metric: (1) The “default rate” measure assesses weakness in loan payments or loan servicing processes. It is measured as the RLF Principal Outstanding for Loans in Default as a percentage of the RLF Principal Outstanding for Active Loans. EDA considers a high default rate as 20% or greater. (2) EDA will also measure “default rate over time” by looking at how long a high default rate has persisted to identify possible weaknesses in underwriting, enforcement of loan terms, and/or working with borrowers to modify loan payment schedules with the goal of achieving full repayment. (3) The “loan write-off ratio” measures the number of written off loans compared to the number of inactive loans (the number of inactive loans is equal to the number of total outstanding loans minus the number of active loans). It will be used to identify weaknesses in loan underwriting and loan management. (4) “Dollars written off” will identify the financial impact of loan losses by comparing the amount of loan losses to the amount of principal repaid.

    3. Management: In order to increase the likelihood of a successful RLF, the RLF Recipient should have experience managing lending programs to be able to satisfy program, audit, RLF Plan, and reporting requirements. There are five measures to assess the Management metric: (1) The “financial control” measure is scored based on audit results and audit findings. RLF Recipients subject to the single audit requirement pursuant to 2 CFR part 200, subpart F, must demonstrate through an independent annual audit that financial controls are in place to operate the organization and the RLF according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, account for RLF assets, secure the use of funds, and value the RLF correctly in the audit's Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Awards. As discussed in Section II, “How EDA's Risk Analysis System Works,” RLF Recipients not subject to the single audit requirement must submit to EDA an independent audit of the RLF grant in the first year of the Risk Analysis System and as directed by EDA thereafter. (2) “Tenure” assesses the RLF Recipient's collective experience with the EDA RLF Program. Managing an RLF requires specialized knowledge and experience. The roles critical for a successful lending program include: Executive Director, Lending Director, Finance Director, and Reporting Official. Vacancies or inexperience in any of these positions can lead to program neglect, weak loan generation, accounting problems, and late reporting. (3) The measure, “RLF Plan,” assesses whether the RLF Recipient is operating the RLF pursuant to a current, EDA-approved RLF Plan. (4) The “financial report” measure assesses the timeliness and accuracy of RLF reporting through the standard RLF Financial Report, Form ED-209. (5) “Timely reporting” assesses the RLF Recipient's timeliness in submitting audits and filings, plus any additional required reporting, such as that provided pursuant to a CAP or Federal Financial Reports (Form SF-425) for RLFs in the Disbursement Phase. Similarly, when an RLF is required to prepare and implement a CAP, the timeliness to resolve the issue(s) meriting corrective action will be assessed in this measure.

    4. Earnings: An RLF Recipient is expected to manage costs and generate net income in order to maintain, if not increase, the RLF Capital Base. The “net RLF income” measure determines how well a Recipient is managing costs and generating net income by dividing the portion of RLF Income used for administrative expenses over the life of the RLF by total RLF Income, to determine the cumulative percentage of RLF Income used for administrative expenses.

    5. Liquidity: RLF Recipients are expected to maintain a robust lending pipeline and cash available for lending within a range of the ACP. The ACP is a new feature of the RLF Program established by the newly revised regulations, and replaces the fixed capital utilization standard that ranged from 75% to 85%, according to the size of the RLF Capital Base. The ACP is a floating rate, determined annually for each EDA region. It is the region's average RLF Cash Available for Lending as a percentage of the Capital Base calculated from the previous year's reports for each EDA regional office portfolio. It specifies that RLF Cash Available for Lending excludes loans that have been committed or approved but have not yet been funded. Two measures are used to determine liquidity in an effort to identify weaknesses in loan generation: (1) “Cash percentage” assesses the Recipient's RLF Cash Available for Lending as a percentage of its RLF Capital Base compared to the ACP for the Recipient's region; and (2) “cash percentage over time,” which assesses the length of time during which the Recipient's cash percentage exceeded the Region's ACP. For example, where the applicable ACP is 30%, RLFs that report an RLF Cash Available for Lending from 27% to 33% of its RLF Capital Base are scored as a 2 for the Cash Percentage measure. An RLF with the same ACP that holds 22% is scored as a 3, while an RLF with 40% is scored as a 1 for this measure.

    6. Strategic Results: RLFs must engage in lending designed to fulfill the goals of the RLF Program. The Strategic Results component assesses whether RLFs are meeting those goals by determining the economic impact the RLF is having in its region. It does this by looking at two measures: (1) “cost per job” and (2) “leverage ratio”. “Cost per job” compares the RLF total portfolio performance to the target identified in its RLF Plan. It is based on the amount of dollars loaned divided by the total number of jobs created and saved. The “leverage ratio” compares the amount of leveraged capital across the entire RLF portfolio to the cumulative amount of RLF dollars loaned. EDA regulations require a minimum leverage ratio of two dollars of additional investment for every one dollar of RLF funds loaned. EDA regulations define leverage requirements, including investment by the borrower and other public loan programs.

    The following chart demonstrates the range of scores available for each metric.

    Performance Metrics & Measures Score These metrics are calculated using information from the revised RLF Financial Report, Form ED-209. Where applicable, the measure's formula is presented using references to lines in the revised ED-209. Note that EDA will publish a notice seeking comments on the revised Form 3 2 1. Performance Metric: Capital The RLF Capital Base is expected to increase over time in order to sustain lending activity and to carry out the purpose of the RLF Program. In addition, sufficient capital is necessary to protect the RLF from potential loan losses. Measure: Capital Base Index Determined by: RLF Capital Base divided by the original RLF Capital Base at the time the RLF was established. ED-209: II.C.6 ÷ II.A.3 Greater than 1.5 From 1.0 to 1.5 Less than 1.0. Performance Metric: Assets An RLF Recipient must adhere to prudent lending standards to safeguard the quality of the loan portfolio. Measure: Default Rate Determined by: RLF Principal Outstanding for Loans in Default divided by RLF Principal Outstanding for Total Active Loans. ED-209: III.A.3, In Default RLF Principal Outstanding ÷ III.A.4, Active RLF Principal Outstanding Less than 10% From 10% to 20% Greater than 20%. Measure: Default Rate over Time Determined by: Number of consecutive months where default rate is over 20% Less than 12 months From 12 to 24 months More than 24 months. Measure: Loan Write-Off Ratio Determined by: The ratio of the number of loans written-off to the number of “inactive loans” (calculated as number of total loans minus number of active loans). ED-209: III.A.5, Number ÷ (III.A.7, Number—III.A..4, Number) Less than 1 out of every 6 From 1 out of every 6 to 1 out of every 4 Greater than 1 out of every 4. Measure: Dollars Written-Off Determined by: Loan Losses divided by the difference between Total RLF Dollars Loaned and Total RLF Principal Outstanding. ED-209: III.A.5, Loan Losses ÷ (III.A.7, RLF $ Loaned—III.A.7, RLF Principal Outstanding) Less than 10% From 10% to 20% Greater than 20%. Performance Metric: Management It is critical to the success of the RLF that Management is experienced with the EDA RLF Program, their RLF Plan, and reporting requirements. Critical positions include: Executive Director, Lending Director, Finance Director, and Reporting Official. Vacancies in any of these positions can lead to program neglect and result in late reporting, weak loan generation, and accounting errors. Measure: Financial Control Determined by: Number and magnitude of audit findings No findings Minor findings Material findings pertaining to Organization, Questioned Costs, Solvency, Interrelated party transactions. Measure: Tenure Determined by: Shortest tenure of Executive Director, Lending Director, Finance Director, and Reporting Official Greater than 3 years From 2 to 3 years Vacancy or less than 2 years. Measure: RLF Plan Determined by: Updated RLF Plan where EDA has not granted a time extension RLF Plan up to date, updates submitted at least every 5 years Updated RLF Plan received more than 5 years since its last update but within 6 years RLF Plan expired and not updated within the last 6 years. Measure: Financial Reporting Determined by: Date RLF Financial Report, ED-209 submitted to EDA On time with no corrections needed Up to 60 days late and/or returned to RLF Recipient for minor corrections More than 60 days late; or sent back for major revision. Measure: Timely and Complete Reporting Determined by: Date audit and/or additional reports (such as SF-425 or Corrective Action Plan) submitted to EDA On time Up to 30 days late Over 30 days late or no receipt. Performance Metric: Earnings An RLF Recipient is expected to manage costs and generate income in order to increase the RLF's Capital Base. Measure: Net RLF Income Determined by: Portion of RLF Income Used for Administrative Expenses divided by Total RLF Income. ED-209: II.B.7 ÷ II.B.6 Less than 50% From 50% to 100% More than 100%. Performance Metric: Liquidity RLF Recipients are expected to keep a robust lending pipeline and maintain cash within a range of the Region's average cash as a percentage of the Capital Base. Measure: Cash Percentage Determined by: RLF Cash Available for Lending divided by RLF Capital Base. ED-209: II.D.4 ÷ II.C.6 Less than 90% of the ACP From 90% to 110% of the ACP More than 110% of the ACP. Measure: Cash Percentage over Time Determined by: Length of time where the Cash Percentage exceeds the Region's ACP Less than 12 months From 12 to 24 months More than 24 months. Performance Metric: Strategic Results The purpose of the RLF Program is to provide regions with a flexible and continuing source of capital for creating and retaining jobs and inducing private investment that will contribute to long-term economic stability and growth. Measure: Cost per Job Determined by: RLF Dollars Loaned divided by Total Jobs compared to RLF Plan Target. ED-209: III.A.7, RLF $ Loaned ÷ IV.E.5, Total Loans as compared to IV.E.6, RLF Plan Target Less than 90% of RLF Plan target 90% to 110% of RLF Plan target Greater than 110% of RLF Plan target. Measure: Leverage Ratio Determined by: Total Dollars Leveraged divided by RLF Dollars Loaned. ED-209: IV.E.1, Total Loans ÷ III.A.7, RLF $ Loaned Meets or exceeds required leverage of 2:1 N/A Less than 2:1. IV. Ratings and Remedies for Noncompliance

    Following receipt of an RLF Recipient's fiscal-year end RLF financial report, the EDA RLF Administrator will notify the RLF Recipient of the performance rating, i.e., Risk Analysis rating level (A, B, or C) for each RLF. The assigned level will be based upon the data and information provided in the most recent RLF financial report, the Recipient's overall numeric score on the Risk Analysis System, and a determination by the Regional RLF Administrator in consultation with the Grants Officer. Risk Levels A, B, and C are defined below:

    1. Level A: RLF Recipients in Level A are managing their RLF award soundly and are almost always in compliance with EDA policies and regulations. These RLF Recipients exhibit the strongest performance and management practices. Any issues that arise are addressed in a timely manner. The RLF Administrator may determine that a Level A Recipient requires less frequent monitoring. These Recipients may be allowed to administer their RLF portfolios and resolve issues without significant EDA involvement. Level A Recipients will report to EDA on an annual basis within 90 calendar days following the end of their fiscal year.

    2. Level B: RLF Recipients in Level B are fundamentally sound, but some deficiencies are present and will take time to resolve. Recipients are generally in compliance with EDA regulations and policies. While these RLF Recipients exhibit generally satisfactory results, the RLF Administrator will provide additional oversight and attention to assist the RLF Recipient with improving its performance. Level B Recipients will report to EDA on a semi-annual basis within 30 calendar days following the end of their fiscal year and again within 30 calendar days of the end of the second quarter of their fiscal year.

    3. Level C: RLF Recipients in Level C exhibit performance deficiencies requiring additional oversight and intervention by the RLF Administrator. In general, multiple measures on the Risk Analysis System measures are scored as a “1”. Recipients may exhibit material noncompliance with EDA policies and regulations, which may result in the RLF Administrator having to propose formal enforcement actions, including suspension, corrective actions, termination, or transfer of the RLF Award. Level C Recipients will report to EDA on a semi-annual basis within 30 calendar days following the end of their fiscal year and again 6 months later.

    For each RLF rated at Level C, the RLF Recipient will be required to produce a CAP to address the areas of weakness, which will include, at a minimum, an annual corrective action update report to EDA. The RLF Recipient will have 60 days, running from the day that the RLF Recipient receives notification from EDA of its risk-analysis score, to propose its CAP. The RLF Recipient will have a specified timeframe to implement the CAP, not to exceed three years, which will run from the day that the RLF Recipient receives notification from EDA that EDA concurs with the RLF Recipient's proposed CAP. (Note: The exception to the three-year limit is for an RLF Recipient that has proposed to rebuild its capital base, in which case they may have up to five years to reach the target.) The CAP must include measurable targets and dates by which improvement will be achieved. The RLF Recipient's CAP must be approved in writing by the EDA RLF Administrator, who will monitor the RLF Recipient for incremental progress made.

    If any Recipient is unable or unwilling to develop and submit a CAP or an annual update report, the RLF Administrator will inform the non-compliant Recipient that EDA may seek to terminate or transfer the RLF award. In addition, if a CAP for a Level C Recipient does not yield the intended results, the RLF Administrator may propose termination or transfer of the RLF award in consultation with the Grants Officer.

    V. Public Input and Future Changes to the Risk Analysis System

    EDA has created this transparent and flexible approach to better evaluate and monitor the performance of RLFs. In an effort to ensure that the Risk Analysis System is as effective as possible, EDA seeks feedback from the public on the Risk Analysis System as described in this notice, on the initial measures used to implement the System, and how those measures are assessed by EDA. EDA encourages RLF Recipients and all interested members of the public to send EDA questions, suggestions, and comments on the Risk Analysis System and the measures through any of the methods discussed in the ADDRESSES section of this notice. In order to further facilitate public comment, EDA will hold a public webinar to present and explain the Risk Analysis System and the proposed measures, as well as to answer questions. EDA will post webinar details on the RLF page of the EDA Web site at www.eda.gov/rlf. EDA will thoroughly consider all public input prior to finalizing the measures and will post the final guidance on the EDA Web site.

    Authority:

    The Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965, as amended (PWEDA) (42 U.S.C. 3121 et seq.).

    Dated: November 15, 2017. Dennis Alvord, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs, performing the non-exclusive duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25276 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-WH-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Telecommunications and Information Administration First Responder Network Authority; First Responder Network Authority Combined Committee and Board Meeting AGENCY:

    First Responder Network Authority (“FirstNet”), U.S. Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of open public meetings.

    SUMMARY:

    The Board of the First Responder Network Authority (“FirstNet Board”) will convene a meeting of the FirstNet Board and the Committees of the Board of the First Responder Network Authority “Board Committees” that will be open to the public via teleconference and WebEx on December 7, 2017.

    DATES:

    A combined meeting of the Board Committees and the FirstNet Board will be held on December 7, 2017, between 9:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., Eastern Standard Time (EST). The meeting of the FirstNet Board and the Governance and Personnel, Technology, Consultation and Outreach, and Finance Committees will be open to the public via teleconference and WebEx only from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. EST.

    ADDRESSES:

    The combined meeting of the FirstNet Board and Board Committees will be conducted via teleconference and WebEx only. Members of the public may listen to the meeting by dialing toll free 1-888-566-5786 and using passcode 5957846. To view the slide presentation, the public may visit the URL: https://www.mymeetings.com/nc/join/ and enter Conference Number PWXW5929049 and audience passcode 5957846. Alternatively, members of the public may view the slide presentation by directly visiting the URL: https://www.mymeetings.com/nc/join.php?i=PWXW5929049&p=5957846&t=c.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Karen Miller-Kuwana, Board Secretary, FirstNet, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, M/S 243, Reston, VA 20192; telephone: (571) 665-6177; email: [email protected] Please direct media inquiries to Ryan Oremland at (571) 665-6186.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This notice informs the public that the FirstNet Board and Board Committees will convene a combined meeting open to the public via teleconference and WebEx only on December 7, 2017.

    Background: The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (47 U.S.C. 1401 et seq.)) (“the Act”) established FirstNet as an independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration that is headed by a Board. The Act directs FirstNet to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of a nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network. The FirstNet Board is responsible for making strategic decisions regarding FirstNet's operations. The FirstNet Board held its first public meeting on September 25, 2012.

    Matters To Be Considered: FirstNet will post a detailed agenda for the combined meeting of the Board Committees and FirstNet Board meeting on its Web site, http://www.firstnet.gov, prior to the meetings. The agenda topics are subject to change. Please note that the subjects that will be discussed by the Board Committees and the FirstNet Board may involve commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential or other legal matters affecting FirstNet. As such, the Board Committee Chairs and Board Chair may call for a vote to close the meetings only for the time necessary to preserve the confidentiality of such information, pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 1424(e)(2).

    Times and Dates of Meeting: A combined meeting of the FirstNet Board and Board Committees will be held on December 7, 2017, between 9:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., Eastern Standard Time (EST). The meeting of the FirstNet Board and Board Committees will be open to the public via teleconference and WebEx from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. EST. The times listed above are subject to change. Please refer to FirstNet's Web site at www.firstnet.gov for the most up-to-date information.

    Place: The combined meeting of the FirstNet Board and Board Committees will be conducted via teleconference and WebEx.

    Other Information: The combined meeting of the Board Committees is open to the public via teleconference and WebEx only. On the date and time of the meeting, members of the public may listen to the meeting by dialing toll free 1-888-566-5786 and using passcode 5957846. To view the slide presentation, the public may visit the URL: https://www.mymeetings.com/nc/join/ and enter Conference Number PWXW5929049 and audience passcode 5957846. Alternatively, members of the public may view the slide presentation by directly visiting the URL: https://www.mymeetings.com/nc/join.php?i=PWXW5929049&p=5957846&t=c.

    If you experience technical difficulty, please contact the Conferencing Center customer service at 1-866-900-1011. Public access will be limited to listen-only. Due to the limited number of ports, attendance via teleconference will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

    The FirstNet Board and Combined Committee Meeting is accessible to people with disabilities. Individuals requiring accommodations are asked to notify Ms. Miller-Kuwana by telephone (571) 665-6177 or email at [email protected] at least five (5) business days before the applicable meeting.

    Records: FirstNet maintains records of all FirstNet Board proceedings. Minutes of the FirstNet Board Meeting and the Board Committee Meetings will be available at www.firstnet.gov.

    Dated: November 27, 2017. Karen Miller-Kuwana, Board Secretary, First Responder Network Authority.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25868 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-TL-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-583-837] Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, Sheet, and Strip (PET Film) From Taiwan: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2015-2016 AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    On August 3, 2017, the Department of Commerce (the Department) published the preliminary results of the administrative review of the antidumping duty (AD) order on polyethylene terephthalate film, sheet, and strip (PET Film) from Taiwan. The period of review (POR) is July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016. We received no comments or requests for a hearing. Therefore, we have made no changes for the final results and continue to find that sales of subject merchandise by Nan Ya Plastics Corporation (Nan Ya) were made at less than normal value during the POR.

    DATES:

    Applicable December 1, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jacqueline Arrowsmith, AD/CVD Operations, Office VII, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-5255.

    Background

    On August 3, 2017, the Department published the preliminary results for this administrative review.1 We invited interested parties to comment on the Preliminary Results. We received no comments or requests for a hearing from any party. The Department conducted this administrative review in accordance with section 751(a)(1)(B) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act).

    1See Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, Sheet, and Strip from Taiwan: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Partial Rescission of Antidumping Duty Administrative Reviews; 2015-2016, 82 FR 36122 (August 3, 2017) (Preliminary Results).

    Scope of the Order

    The products covered by the antidumping duty order are all gauges of raw, pretreated, or primed PET film, whether extruded or coextruded. Excluded are metalized films and other finished films that have had at least one of their surfaces modified by the application of a performance-enhancing resinous or inorganic layer of more than 0.00001 inches thick. Imports of polyethylene terephthalate film, sheet, and strip are currently classifiable in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) under item number 3920.62.00.90. HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes. The written description of the scope of the antidumping duty order is dispositive.

    Final Results of Review

    As noted above, the Department received no comments concerning the Preliminary Results. As there are no changes from, or comments upon, the Preliminary Results, the Department finds that there is no reason to modify its analysis and calculations. Thus, we continue to find that sales of subject merchandise by Nan Ya were made at less than normal value during the POR. Accordingly, no decision memorandum accompanies this Federal Register notice. For further details of the issues addressed in this proceeding, see the Preliminary Results and the accompanying Preliminary Decision Memorandum.2 The final weighted-average dumping margin for the period July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016, for Nan Ya is as follows:

    2See Preliminary Results, and accompanying Preliminary Issues and Decision Memorandum.

    Producer/exporter Weighted-
  • average
  • margin
  • (percent)
  • Nan Ya Plastics Corporation 1.34
    Assessment Rates

    The Department will determine, and CBP shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries in this review, in accordance with section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1). The Department intends to issue assessment instructions directly to CBP 15 days after publication of these final results of review. For Nan Ya, we will base the assessment rate for the corresponding entries on the margin listed above.

    For entries of subject merchandise produced by Nan Ya for which it did not know its merchandise was destined for the United States, we will instruct CBP to liquidate unreviewed entries at the all-others rate established in the less-than fair-value (LTFV) investigation, 2.40 percent,3 if there is no rate for the intermediate company(ies) involved in the transaction.4

    3See Notice of Amended Final Antidumping Duty Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Antidumping Duty Order: Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, Sheet, and Strip (PET Film) from Taiwan, 67 FR 44174, 44175 (July 1, 2002) (PET Film from Taiwan Amended Final Determination), unchanged in Notice of Amended Final Antidumping Duty Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Antidumping Duty Order: Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, Sheet, and Strip (PET Film) from Taiwan, 67 FR 46566 (July 15, 2002) (Correction Notice).

    4See Antidumping Proceedings: Calculation of the Weighted-Average Dumping Margin and Assessment Proceedings; Final Modification, 77 FR 8101, 8102 (February 14, 2012) (Final Modification).

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The following cash deposit requirements will be effective upon publication of the final results of this administrative review for all shipments of the subject merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date, as provided for by section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act: (1) The cash deposit rate for Nan Ya will be 1.34%, the rate established in the final results of this review; (2) for previously reviewed or investigated companies not covered in this review, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the company-specific rate published for the most recent period; (3) if the exporter is not a firm covered in this or any previous review or in the original less-than-fair-value (LTFV) investigation but the manufacturer is, the cash-deposit rate will be the rate established for the most recent period for the manufacturer of the merchandise; and (4) if neither the exporter nor the manufacturer is a firm covered in this or any previous review or the investigation, the cash-deposit rate will continue to be the all-others rate of 2.40 percent, which is the all-others rate established by the Department in the LTFV investigation.5 These cash deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    5See PET Film from Taiwan Amended Final Determination, 67 FR at 44174 (July 1, 2002) unchanged in Correction Notice, 67 FR at 46566 (July 15, 2002).

    Reimbursement of Duties

    This notice also 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 could result in the Secretary's presumption that reimbursement of antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of double antidumping duties.

    Administrative Protective Order

    This notice also serves as a reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (APO) of their responsibility concerning the return or destruction of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3), which continues to govern business proprietary information in this segment of the proceeding. Timely written notification of the return/destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and terms of an APO is a violation, which is subject to sanction.

    We are issuing and publishing this notice in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.213(h).

    Dated: November 27, 2017. Carole Showers, Executive Director, Office of Policy performing the duties of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25905 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-836] Glycine From the People's Republic of China: Rescission of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2016-2017 AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (the Department) is rescinding the administrative review of the antidumping duty order on glycine from the People's Republic of China (PRC) for the period March 1, 2016, through February 28, 2017, based on the timely withdrawal of the request for review.

    DATES:

    Effective December 1, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Edythe Artman or Brian Davis, AD/CVD Operations, Office VI, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-3931 or (202) 482-7924, respectively.

    Background

    On March 6, 2017, the Department published in the Federal Register a notice of opportunity to request an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on glycine from the PRC for the period March 1, 2016, through February 28, 2017.1 On March 31, 2017, the Department received a timely request, in accordance with section 751(a) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), to conduct an administrative review of this antidumping duty order, with respect to three companies, from GEO Specialty Chemicals, Inc. (GEO), a domestic producer of glycine. Based on this request and in accordance with section 751(a) of the Act, the Department published a notice of initiation of the review in the Federal Register on May 9, 2017.2 On July 28, 2017, GEO filed a timely withdrawal of its request for a review for each of the three companies.3

    1See Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Order, Finding, or Suspended Investigation; Opportunity to Request Administrative Review, 82 FR 12551 (March 6, 2017).

    2See Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews, 82 FR 21513 (May 9, 2017).

    3See Withdrawal of Request for Administrative Review, dated July 28, 2017.

    Rescission of Review

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1), the Secretary will rescind an administrative review, in whole or in part, if a party who requested the review withdraws the request within 90 days of the date of publication of notice of initiation of the requested review. As noted above, GEO withdrew its request for review by the 90-day deadline. Accordingly, we are rescinding the administrative review of the antidumping duty order on glycine from the PRC covering the period March 1, 2016, through February 28, 2017.

    Assessment

    The Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to assess antidumping duties on all appropriate entries. Antidumping duties shall be assessed at rates 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 15 days after publication of this notice in the Federal Register.

    Notification to Importers

    This notice serves as a reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f)(2) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of antidumping duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during this review period. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the Department's presumption that reimbursement of antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of 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 return or destruction of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305. Timely written notification of the return/destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and terms of an APO is a violation which is subject to sanction.

    This notice is issued and published in accordance with section 751 of the Act and 19 CFR 351.213(d)(4).

    Dated: November 27, 2017. James Maeder, Senior Director performing the duties of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25912 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-520-803] Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, Sheet, and Strip From the United Arab Emirates: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Preliminary Determination of No Shipments; 2015-2016 AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (the Department) is conducting an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on polyethylene terephthalate film, sheet, and strip (PET Film) from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The period of review (POR) is November 1, 2015, through October 31, 2016. The review covers two producer/exporters of the subject merchandise, JBF RAK LLC (JBF) and UFlex Limited (UFlex). The Department preliminarily determines that sales of subject merchandise have been made below normal value by JBF. In addition, the Department preliminarily finds that UFlex had no shipments during the POR. Interested parties are invited to comment on these preliminary results.

    DATES:

    Applicable December 1, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Andrew Huston, AD/CVD Operations, Office VII, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-4261.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Scope of the Order

    The merchandise subject to the order is polyethylene terephthalate film. The product is currently classified under the following Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) subheading: 3920.62.00.90. Although the HTSUS number is provided for convenience and for customs purposes, the written product description, available in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum, remains dispositive.1

    1See Memorandum, “Decision Memorandum for the Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review: Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, Sheet, and Strip from the United Arab Emirates and Preliminary Determination of No Shipments” (Preliminary Decision Memorandum), dated concurrently with this notice.

    Methodology

    The Department is conducting this review in accordance with section 751(a) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act). Export price and constructed export price are calculated in accordance with section 772 of the Act. Normal value is calculated in accordance with section 773 of the Act.

    For a full description of the methodology underlying our conclusions, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum, which is hereby adopted by this notice.2 A list of topics included in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum is included as an Appendix to this notice. The Preliminary Decision Memorandum is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov and in the Central Records Unit in room B8024 of the main Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly on the Internet at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/. The signed Preliminary Decision Memorandum and electronic versions of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    2Id.

    Preliminary Determination of No Shipments

    On February 1, 2017, UFlex reported that it made no shipments of subject merchandise to the United States during the POR.3 To confirm UFlex's no shipment claim, the Department issued a no-shipment inquiry to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requesting that it review UFlex's no shipment claim.4 CBP did not report that it had any information to contradict UFlex's claim of no shipments during the POR.

    3See letter from FLEX Middle East FZE and UFlex, “Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, Sheet, and Strip from the United Arab Emirates: Notice of No Sales,” dated February 1, 2017.

    4See No shipment inquiry for polyethylene terephthalate film, sheet, and strip from the United Arab Emirates produced and/or reported by UFlex Limited (A-520-803), message number 7053303 (February 22, 2017).

    Given that UFlex certified that it made no shipments of subject merchandise to the United States during the POR and there is no information calling its claim into question, we preliminarily determine that UFlex made no shipments during the POR. Consistent with the Department's practice, we will not rescind the review with respect to UFlex but, rather, will complete the review and issue instructions to CBP based on the final results.5

    5See, e.g., Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp from Thailand; Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, Partial Rescission of Review, Preliminary Determination of No Shipments; 2012-2013, 79 FR 15951, 15952 (March 24, 2014), unchanged in Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp from Thailand: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, Final Determination of No Shipments, and Partial Rescission of Review; 2012-2013, 79 FR 51306, 51306-51307 (August 28, 2014).

    Preliminary Results of Review

    As a result of our review, we preliminarily determine the following weighted-average dumping margin for the period November 1, 2015, through October 31, 2016:

    Manufacturer/Exporter Weighted-
  • average
  • margin
  • (percent)
  • JBF RAK LLC 19.01
    Disclosure and Public Comment

    The Department intends to disclose the calculations used in our analysis to parties in this review within five days of the date of publication of this notice in accordance with 19 CFR 351.224(b). Interested parties are invited to comment on the preliminary results of this review. Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.309(c)(1)(ii), interested parties may submit case briefs not later than 30 days after the date of publication of this notice. Rebuttal briefs, limited to issues raised in the case briefs, may not be filed later than five days after the time limit for filing case briefs.6 Parties who submit case briefs or rebuttal briefs in this review are requested to submit with each brief: (1) A statement of the issue, (2) a brief summary of the argument, and (3) a table of authorities.7 Executive summaries should be limited to five pages total, including footnotes.8

    6See 19 CFR 351.309(d)(1).

    7See 19 CFR 351.309(c)(2), (d)(2).

    8Id.

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.310(c), any interested party may request a hearing within 30 days of the publication of this notice in the Federal Register. If a hearing is requested, the Department will notify interested parties of the hearing schedule. Interested parties who wish to request a hearing, or to participate if one is requested, must submit a written request to the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, filed electronically via ACCESS within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice. Requests should contain: (1) The party's name, address, and telephone number; (2) the number of participants; and (3) a list of the issues to be discussed. Issues raised in the hearing will be limited to those raised in the respective case briefs.

    We intend to issue the final results of this administrative review, including the results of our analysis of issues raised by the parties in the written comments, within 120 days of publication of these preliminary results in the Federal Register, unless otherwise extended.9

    9See section 751(a)(3)(A) of the Act.

    Assessment Rates

    Upon issuing the final results of the review, the Department shall determine, and CBP shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries. The Department intends to issue assessment instructions to CBP 15 days after the date of publication of the final results of review.

    For any individually examined respondents whose weighted-average dumping margin is above de minimis, we will calculate importer-specific ad valorem duty assessment rates based on the ratio of the total amount of dumping calculated for the importer's examined sales to the total entered value of those same sales in accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1).10 We will instruct CBP to assess antidumping duties on all appropriate entries covered by this review when the importer-specific assessment rate calculated in the final results of this review is above de minimis. Where either the respondent's weighted-average dumping margin is zero or de minimis, or an importer-specific assessment rate is zero or de minimis, we will instruct CBP to liquidate the appropriate entries without regard to antidumping duties.

    10 In these preliminary results, the Department applied the assessment rate calculation methodology adopted in Antidumping Proceedings: Calculation of the Weighted-Average Dumping Margin and Assessment Rate in Certain Antidumping Proceedings: Final Modification, 77 FR 8101 (February 14, 2012).

    The final results of this review shall be the basis for the assessment of antidumping duties on entries of merchandise covered by the final results of this review and for future deposits of estimated duties, where applicable.

    In accordance with the Department's “automatic assessment” practice, for entries of subject merchandise during the POR produced by JBF for which it did not know that its merchandise was destined for the United States, we will instruct CBP to liquidate unreviewed entries at the all-others rate if there is no rate for the intermediate company(ies) involved in the transaction.11 In addition, if the Department determines that UFlex had no shipments of subject merchandise, any suspended entries that entered under UFlex's case number will be liquidated at the all-others rate if there is no rate for the intermediate companies involved in the transaction.12

    11See Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings: Assessment of Antidumping Duties, 68 FR 23954 (May 6, 2003).

    12Id.

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The following deposit requirements will be effective for all shipments of PET Film from the UAE entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the date of publication of the final results of this administrative review, as provided for by section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act: (1) The cash deposit rate for the companies under review will be the rate established in the final results of this review (except, if the rate is zero or de minimis, no cash deposit will be required); (2) for previously reviewed or investigated companies not listed above, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the company-specific rate published for the most recent period; (3) if the exporter is not a firm covered in this review, a prior review, or the less-than-fair-value investigation, but the manufacturer is, the cash deposit rate will be the rate established for the most recent period for the manufacturer of the merchandise; and (4) the cash deposit rate for all other manufacturers or exporters will continue to be 4.05 percent, the all-others rate established in the investigation.13 These cash deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    13See Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, Sheet, and Strip from Brazil, the People's Republic of China and the United Arab Emirates: Antidumping Duty Orders and Amended Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value for the United Arab Emirates, 73 FR 66595, 66597 (November 10, 2008).

    Notification to Importers

    This notice also serves as a preliminary reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of antidumping duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during this review period. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the Department's presumption that reimbursement of antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of double antidumping duties.

    These preliminary results of administrative review are issued and published in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act.

    Dated: November 27, 2017. Carole Showers, Executive Director, Office of Policy, performing the duties of the Deputy Assistant Secretary, for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix—List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum 1. Summary 2. Background 3. Scope of the Order 4. Date of Sale 5. Discussion of Methodology 6. Product Comparisons 7. Export Price/Constructed Export Price 8. Normal Value 9. Currency Conversions 10. Conclusion
    [FR Doc. 2017-25904 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-920] Lightweight Thermal Paper From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2015-2016 AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (Department) is conducting an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on lightweight thermal paper (LWTP) from the People's Republic of China (PRC). The period of review (POR) is November 1, 2015, through October 31, 2016. The review covers three exporters of subject merchandise: Shenzhen Formers Printing Co., Ltd. (Formers), Sailing International Limited (Sailing), and Suzhou Xiandai Paper Production Co (Xiandai). The Department preliminarily finds that Formers, Sailing, and Xiandai have not demonstrated eligibility for a separate rate in this segment of the proceeding, and therefore, for the preliminary results, we are treating Formers, Sailing, and Xiandai as part of the PRC-wide entity. Interested parties are invited to comment on these preliminary results.

    DATES:

    Applicable December 1, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Alex Rosen, AD/CVD Operations, Office III, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-7814.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    On January 13, 2017, the Department initiated the eighth administrative review of the antidumping duty order on LWTP from the PRC on three exporters: Formers, Sailing, and Xiandai.1 In the Initiation Notice, the Department stated that all firms identified in the notice that wished to qualify for separate rate status in the administrative review must complete either a separate rate application or certification, due to the Department no later than 30 calendar days after the publication of the notice, i.e., February 13, 2017.2 None of the respondents—Formers, Sailing, and Xiandai—timely submitted either a complete separate rate application or separate rate certification or a statement of “no shipments” during the POR. Nevertheless, per our practice, on March 16, 2017, the Department uploaded and released onto the administrative record of this proceeding an antidumping questionnaire to each exporter, Formers, Sailing, and Xiandai. However, due to an inadvertent oversight, the Department did not issue a physical copy of the questionnaire to any respondent, as is the Department's practice when foreign firms are not represented by counsel in the United States or representatives thereof have not otherwise contacted the Department, and thus, the Department was unable to confirm whether parties received the questionnaire. Therefore, on July 28, 2017, the Department reissued the antidumping questionnaire to Formers, Sailing and Xiandai, served physical copies of the questionnaires on all the respondents in accordance with its standard practice, and extended the due date of the questionnaire response.3 On September 7, 2017, the Department requested a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data file of entries of subject merchandise associated with Sailing, Formers or Xiandai during the POR. On September 11, 2017, the Department received a response to its request indicating there were no suspended AD/CVD entries associated with Sailing, Formers or Xiandai during the POR.4 For a complete description of the events that followed the initiation of this administrative review, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.5

    1See Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews, 82 FR 4294 (January 13, 2017) (Initiation Notice).

    2Id. at 4295.

    3See Memorandum, “Due Date to Respond to the Department's Initial Questionnaire,” dated July 28, 2017.

    4See Memorandum, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection Import Data,” dated September 11, 2017.

    5See Memorandum, “Decision Memorandum for Preliminary Results of the 2015-2016 Antidumping Duty Administrative Review: Lightweight Thermal Paper from the People's Republic of China” (Preliminary Decision Memorandum), dated concurrently with and hereby adopted by this notice.

    Scope of the Order

    The merchandise covered by this order includes certain lightweight thermal paper, which is thermal paper with a basis weight of 70 grams per square meter (g/m2) (with a tolerance of ± 4.0 g/m2) or less; irrespective of dimensions; 6 with or without a base coat 7 on one or both sides; with thermal active coating(s) 8 on one or both sides that is a mixture of the dye and the developer that react and form an image when heat is applied; with or without a top coat; 9 and without an adhesive backing. Certain lightweight thermal paper is typically (but not exclusively) used in point-of-sale applications such as ATM receipts, credit card receipts, gas pump receipts, and retail store receipts. The merchandise subject to this order may be classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) under subheadings 3703.10.60, 4811.59.20, 4811.90.8040, 4811.90.9090, 4820.10.20, 4823.40.00, 4811.90.8030, 4811.90.8050, 4811.90.9030, and 4811.90.9050.10 11 Although HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope of this order is dispositive.

    6 LWTP is typically produced in jumbo rolls that are slit to the specifications of the converting equipment and then converted into finished slit rolls. Both jumbo and converted rolls (as well as LWTP in any other form, presentation, or dimension) are covered by the scope of these orders.

    7 A base coat, when applied, is typically made of clay and/or latex and like materials and is intended to cover the rough surface of the paper substrate and to provide insulating value.

    8 A thermal active coating is typically made of sensitizer, dye, and co-reactant.

    9 A top coat, when applied, is typically made of polyvinyl acetone, polyvinyl alcohol, and/or like materials and is intended to provide environmental protection, an improved surface for press printing, and/or wear protection for the thermal print head.

    10 HTSUS subheading 4811.90.8000 was a classification used for LWTP until January 1, 2007. Effective that date, subheading 4811.90.8000 was replaced with 4811.90.8020 (for gift wrap, a non-subject product) and 4811.90.8040 (for “other” including LWTP). HTSUS subheading 4811.90.9000 was a classification for LWTP until July 1, 2005. Effective that date, subheading 4811.90.9000 was replaced with 4811.90.9010 (for tissue paper, a non-subject product) and 4811.90.9090 (for “other,” including LWTP).

    11 As of January 1, 2009, the International Trade Commission deleted HTSUS subheadings 4811.90.8040 and 4811.90.9090 and added HTSUS subheadings 4811.90.8030, 4811.90.8050, 4811.90.9030, and 4811.90.9050 to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (2009). See Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (2009), available at www.usitc.gov. These HTSUS subheadings were added to the scope of the order in LWTP's LTFV investigation.

    Methodology

    The Department is conducting this review in accordance with section 751(a)(1)(B) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), and 19 CFR 351.213. For a full description of the methodology underlying our conclusions, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum. A list of topics included in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum is included in the Appendix to this notice. The Preliminary Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov, and ACCESS is available to all parties in the Central Records Unit, room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly on the internet at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/. The signed Preliminary Decision Memorandum and the electronic versions of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    Separate Rates and Preliminary Results of Review

    Because Sailing and Xiandai did not respond to the Department's antidumping duty questionnaire, the Department preliminarily determines that Sailing and Xiandai did not establish their eligibility for separate rate status.

    In its submissions to the Department, Formers submitted information indicating that it made sales to U.S. customers during the POR which includes subject merchandise, but Formers did not provide evidence of a suspended entry of subject merchandise into the United States during the POR. Further, our inquiry of the CBP data reported no suspended AD/CVD entries of subject merchandise associated with Formers during the POR. Accordingly, Formers did not establish its eligibility for separate rate status.

    Therefore, the Department preliminarily determines that these three companies are part of the PRC-wide entity. Because no party requested a review of the PRC-wide entity, the entity is not under review, and the PRC-wide entity's rate of 115.29 percent from the investigation is not subject to change.12 For additional information regarding this determination, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    12See Antidumping Duty Orders: Lightweight Thermal Paper from Germany and the People's Republic of China, 73 FR 70959, 70960 (November 24, 2008).

    Public Comment and Opportunity To Request a Hearing

    Interested parties may submit case briefs within 30 days after the date of publication of these preliminary results of review in the Federal Register.13 Rebuttals to case briefs must be limited to issues raised in the case briefs and must be filed within five days following the time limit for filing case briefs.14 Parties who submit arguments are requested to submit with the argument (a) a statement of the issue, (b) a brief summary of the argument, and (c) a table of authorities.15 Parties submitting briefs should do so pursuant to the Department's electronic filing system, ACCESS.16

    13See 19 CFR 351.309(c)(1)(ii).

    14See 19 CFR 351.309(d)(1)-(2).

    15See 19 CFR 351.309(c)(2), (d)(2).

    16See 19 CFR 351.303 (for general filing requirements).

    Any interested party may request a hearing within 30 days of publication of this notice.17 Hearing requests should contain the following information: (1)The party's name, address, and telephone number; (2) the number of participants; and (3) a list of the issues to be discussed. Oral presentations will be limited to issues raised in the briefs. If a request for a hearing is made, parties will be notified of the time and date for the hearing to be held at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230.18

    17See 19 CFR 351.310(c).

    18See 19 CFR 351.310(d).

    The Department intends to issue the final results of this administrative review, which will include the results of our analysis of all issues raised in the case briefs, within 120 days of publication of these preliminary results in the Federal Register, pursuant to section 751(a)(3)(A) of the Act.

    Assessment Rates

    Upon issuance of the final results, the Department will determine, and CBP shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries covered by this review. Because all three respondents are found to be ineligible for a separate rate, the Department will instruct CBP to liquidate all appropriate entries at 115.29 percent, i.e., the rate for the PRC-wide entity. The Department intends to issue assessment instructions to CBP 15 days after the publication date of the final results of this review.

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The following cash deposit requirements will be effective upon publication of the final results of this administrative review for all shipments of the subject merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date, as provided for by section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act: (1) For previously investigated or reviewed PRC and non-PRC exporters who are not under review in this segment of the proceeding but who have a separate rate from the completed segment for the most recent period, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the exporter-specific rate published for that most recent period; (2) for all PRC exporters of subject merchandise that have not been found to be entitled to a separate rate, the cash deposit rate will be rate for the PRC-wide entity, 115.29 percent; and (3) for all non-PRC exporters of subject merchandise which have not received their own separate rate, the cash deposit rate will be the rate applicable to the PRC exporter that supplied that non-PRC exporter. These deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    Notification to Importers

    This notice also serves as a preliminary reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f)(2) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement off antidumping duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during this period. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the Secretary's presumption that reimbursement of antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of double antidumping duties.

    Notification to Interested Parties

    This administrative review and notice are in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.213.

    Dated: November 27, 2017. Carole Showers, Executive Director, Office of Policy, performing the duties of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix—List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum I. Summary II. Background III. Scope of the Order IV. Discussion of the Methodology V. Recommendation
    [FR Doc. 2017-25903 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XF776 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Gull and Climate Research in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; proposed incidental harassment authorization; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS has received a request from the National Park Service (NPS) for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to glaucous-winged gull and climate monitoring research activities in Glacier Bay National Park (GLBA NP), Alaska. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to incidentally take marine mammals during the specified activities. NMFS will consider public comments prior to making any final decision on the issuance of the requested MMPA authorizations and agency responses will be summarized in the final notice of our decision.

    DATES:

    Comments and information must be received no later than January 2, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments should be addressed to Jolie Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. Physical comments should be sent to 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 and electronic comments should be sent to [email protected]

    Instructions: NMFS is not responsible for comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. Comments received electronically, including all attachments, must not exceed a 25-megabyte file size. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel or Adobe PDF file formats only. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted online at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/research.htm without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jonathan Molineaux, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401. Electronic copies of the application and supporting documents, as well as a list of the references cited in this document, may be obtained online at: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/research.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 (as delegated to NMFS) 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 or 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

    To comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and NOAA Administrative Order (NAO) 216-6A, NMFS must review our proposed action (i.e., the issuance of an incidental harassment authorization) with respect to potential impacts on the human environment.

    This action is consistent with categories of activities identified in CE B4 of the Companion Manual for NOAA Administrative Order 216-6A, which do not individually or cumulatively have the potential for significant impacts on the quality of the human environment and for which we have not identified any extraordinary circumstances that would preclude this categorical exclusion. Accordingly, NMFS has preliminarily determined that the issuance of the proposed IHA qualifies to be categorically excluded from further NEPA review. We will review all comments submitted in response to this notice prior to concluding our NEPA process or making a final decision on the IHA request.

    Summary of Request

    On August 31 2017, NMFS received a request from the NPS for an IHA to take marine mammals incidental to glaucous-winged gull and climate monitoring research activities in GLBA NP, Alaska. The application was considered adequate and complete on February 10 2017. NPS's request is for take of harbor seals by Level B harassment. Neither NPS nor NMFS expect mortality to result from the proposed research and, therefore, an IHA is appropriate.

    NMFS previously issued four IHAs to the NPS for similar work (82 FR 24681, May 20 2017; 81 FR 34994, June 1 2016; 80 FR 28229, March 24 2015; 79 FR 56065, September 18 2014). NPS complied with all the requirements (e.g., mitigation, monitoring, and reporting) within those IHAs and information regarding their monitoring results may be found in the Estimated Take section.

    Description of Proposed Activity Overview

    NPS is proposing to conduct two research projects within GLBA NP, southeast Alaska: (1) Glaucous-winged gull monitoring and (2) the installation and maintenance of a weather station operation for long-term climate monitoring. NPS would conduct ground and vessel surveys at four study sites within GLBA NP for gull monitoring: Boulder Island, Lone Island, Geikie Rock, and Flapjack Island. These sites will be accessed up to five times per year. In addition, NPS is requesting permission to access Lone Island an additional four times per year for weather station installation, maintenance, and operation bringing the total number of site visits to Lone Island to nine. This includes adding one additional trip for any emergency repairs that may be needed. Researchers accessing the islands for gull monitoring and weather station operation may occasionally cause behavioral disturbance (or Level B harassment) of harbor seals. NPS expects that the disturbance to harbor seals from both projects will be minimal and will be limited to Level B harassment.

    The purpose for the above-mentioned research activities are as follows. The gull monitoring studies are mandated by a Record of Decision of a Legislative Environmental Impact Statement (LEIS) (NPS 2010) which states that NPS must initiate a monitoring program for glaucous-winged gulls (Larus glaucescens) to inform future native egg harvest by the Hoonah Tlingit in Glacier Bay, Alaska. Installation of a new weather station on Lone Island is being planned as one of several installations intended to fill coverage gaps among existing weather stations in GLBA NP (NPS 2015a). These new stations will be operated as the foundation of a new long-term climate-monitoring program for GLBA NP.

    Dates and Duration

    The IHA would be valid from March 1 2018 to February 28 2019. Ground and vessel surveys for nesting gulls will be conducted from May 1 through September 30, 2018 on bird nesting islands in GLBA NP (see Figure 1 of application) and other suspected gull colonies. There will be 1-3 ground visits and 1-2 vessel surveys at each site for a maximum of five visits per site. Duration of surveys will be 30 minutes to two hours each.

    Installation and maintenance of the Lone Island weather station will begin March 1 2018. Maintenance and emergency repair-related site visits to this location will occur between March 2018 to April 2018, and October 2018 to February 2019 to avoid the gull-nesting period. Unscheduled maintenance that is needed outside of the regularly scheduled October 1 through April 30 time period will require Superintendent authorization to ensure protection of park resources and values. Initial station installation and possible unanticipated station failures requiring emergency repair will require up to eight hours. Two planned maintenance visits will require approximately two hours per visit.

    Specific Geographic Region

    The proposed study sites would occur in the vicinity of the following locations: Boulder, Lone, and Flapjack Islands, and Geikie Rock in GLBA NP, Alaska (see Figure 1 of application). Each of these study sites are located on the eastern side of the park situated near Geikie Inlet and all provide harbor seal habitat throughout the year, however the highest presence of seals occurs during the breeding and molting season (May to October) (Lewis et al., 2017). On Boulder and Flapjack islands, the proposed gull monitoring study sites are located on the north side whereas harbor seal haul-outs are positioned on the south (Lewis et al., 2017). Also, on Lone Island, harbor seals are sited near tidal rocks off the northeast tip of island (ADEC, 2014), whereas on Geikie Rock they are known to be found throughout the entire site due to its small size (Lewis 2017). NPS will also conduct studies at South Marble Island and Tlingit Point Islet; however, there are no reported harbor seal haul-out sites at those locations.

    Detailed Description of Specific Activity Glaucous-Winged Gull Monitoring

    Glaucous-winged gulls are common inshore residents along the northwestern coast of North America (Hayward and Verbeek, 2008). These gulls nest colonially in small and large aggregations, often on islands. Glaucous-winged gulls are abundant in Southeast AK throughout the year and nest colonially on islands in Glacier Bay from mid-May to August (Patten, 1974). Traditionally the Hoonah Tlingit, whose ancestral homeland encompasses GLBA NP, harvested gull eggs annually during the spring and early summer months (Hunn, 2002). This historic egg harvest in Glacier Bay was an important activity both for cultural and nutritional purposes. Legislation is currently underway (Hoonah Tlingit Traditional Gull Egg Use Act: S. 156 and H. R. 3110) to allow native subsistence harvest of glaucous-winged gulls at up to 15 locations in GLBA NP. A LEIS for gull egg harvest was developed and finalized in 2010 (NPS 2010). The LEIS Record of Decision mandates that the NPS develop a monitoring program to inform a yearly traditional harvest plan and ensure that harvest activities do not impact park purposes and values (NPS 2010). Annual monitoring requirements outlined in the LEIS include: Identify the onset of gull nesting, conduct mid-season adult counts, count number of eggs in nests during harvest, conduct complete nest surveys just before hatch on harvested islands, and document other bird and marine mammal species (pinnipeds present onshore) that may be impacted by harvest activities. Harvest sites will be selected based on several characteristics including size of colony; population parameters including productivity, population status, recent harvest, age of colony; and minimizing disturbance to other species present.

    Gull monitoring will be conducted using a combination of ground and vessel surveys by landing at specific access points on the islands. NPS proposes to conduct: (1) Ground-based surveys at a maximum frequency of three visits per site; and (2) vessel-based surveys at a maximum frequency of two visits per site from the period of May 1 through September 30, 2018.

    Ground-Based Surveys for Gull Monitoring: These surveys involve two trained observers conducting complete nest counts of the gull colonies. The survey will encompass all portions of the gull colony accessible to humans and thus represent a census of the harvestable nests. GPS locations of nests and associated vegetation along with the number of live and predated eggs will be collected during at least one visit to obtain precise nest locations to characterize nesting habitat. On subsequent surveys, nest counts will be tallied on paper so observers can move through the colony more quickly and minimize disturbance. Ground surveys will be discontinued after the first hatched chick is detected to minimize disturbance and mortalities. During ground surveys, observers will also record other bird and marine mammal species in proximity to colonies.

    The observers would access each island using a kayak, a 32.8 to 39.4-foot (ft) (10 to 12 meter (m)) motorboat, or a 12 ft (4 m) inflatable rowing dinghy. The landing craft's transit speed would not exceed 4 knots (kn) (4.6 miles per hour (mph)). Ground surveys generally last 30 minutes (min) to two hours (hrs) each depending on the size of the island and the number of nesting gulls. During ground surveys, Level B take of harbor seals can occur from either acoustic disturbance from motorboat sounds or visual disturbance from the presence of observers. Past monitoring reports from 2015-2016 show that most takes (flushes or movements greater than one meter) from ground surveys occurred as vessels approached a study site to perform a survey. Takes usually occurred while the vessel was 50-100 meters from the island (NPS 2015b; NPS 2016).

    Vessel-Based Surveys for Gull Monitoring: Surveys will be conducted from the deck of a motorized vessel (10 to 12 meters) and will be used to count the number of adult and fledgling gulls that are visible from the water (Zador, 2001; Arimitsu et al., 2007). Vessel surveys provide more reliable estimate of the numbers of gulls in the colony than ground surveys because NPS can count nesting birds in areas that are inaccessible by foot and because the birds do not flush from the researchers presence. GLBA NP would conduct these surveys by circling the islands at approximately 100 m from shore while counting the number of adult and chick gulls as well as other bird and mammal species present. Surveys can be from 30 min to two hrs in duration. During vessel surveys, Level B take of harbor seals can occur from either acoustic disturbance from motorboat sounds or visual disturbance from the presence of observers. Past monitoring reports from 2015-2016 show that most takes (flushes or movements greater than one meter) from vessel surveys occurred as the vessel was 100 m from the island (NPS 2015b; NPS 2016).

    Weather and Climate Monitoring

    Weather and climate were chosen as priorities for long-term monitoring of the Glacier Bay ecosystem during development of the Southeast Alaska Network Vital Signs Monitoring Plan (Moynahan et al., 2008). An inventory of existing weather stations revealed the need for additional station installations to represent the park's geographic (i.e., east-west and north-south) and elevation-related climate gradients (Davey et al., 2007). A system of eight new stations were ultimately identified to meet this goal, including the Lone Island station, which is proposed to be authorized for installation and maintenance here. Installation and maintenance procedures are described further in a 2015 Environmental Assessment and associated Finding of No Significant Impact (NPS 2015a). During climate monitoring activities, Level B take of harbor seals can occur from either acoustic disturbance from motorboat sounds or visual disturbance from the presence of observers

    Lone Island will be accessed by a 10-20 meter motor vessel to install and maintain the weather station. Materials will be carried by hand to the installation location. The exact location of the weather station on Lone Island has not been determined yet. However, the climate monitoring crew will work with NPS bird and pinniped biologists to place the weather station in an area that will not impact nesting seabirds and harbor seals. Also, it is possible that the weather station can be accessed in a fashion that will not disturb hauled out harbor seals, but NPS is requesting authorization to ensure its ability to install and perform yearly maintenance of the weather station.

    Station configuration is typical of Remote Automated Weather Stations (RAWS) operated by land management agencies for weather and climate monitoring, fire weather observation, and other uses. A number of design elements will be modified as mitigation to reduce station visibility along a popular cruise ship route. An 8-ft monopole and associated guy lines will be installed onto which instrumentation and an environmental enclosure will be secured. A fuel cell and sealed 12V battery housed in a watertight enclosure will provide power to the station. Standard meteorological sensors for measuring precipitation, wind, temperature, solar radiation, and snow depth will be used. Data will be housed in internal memory and communicated via satellite telemetry to the Wildland Fire Management Institute where it is relayed to a variety of repositories such as the Western Regional Climate Center in near real-time.

    Proposed mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures are described in detail later in this document (please see “Proposed Mitigation” and “Proposed Monitoring and Reporting”).

    Description of Marine Mammals in the Area of Specified Activities

    Sections 3 and 4 of the application summarize available information regarding status and trends, distribution and habitat preferences, and behavior and life history, of the potentially affected species. Additional information regarding population trends and threats may be found in NMFS's Stock Assessment Reports (SAR; www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/sars/) and more general information about these species (e.g., physical and behavioral descriptions) may be found on NMFS's Web site (www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals/).

    Table 1 lists all species with expected potential for occurrence within the survey areas and summarizes information related to the population or stock, including regulatory status under the MMPA and Endangered Species Act (ESA) and potential biological removal (PBR), where known. For taxonomy, we follow the 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 (as described in NMFS's SARs). While no mortality is anticipated or authorized here, PBR and annual serious injury and mortality from anthropogenic sources are included here as gross indicators of the status of the species and other threats.

    Marine mammal abundance estimates presented in this document represent the total number of individuals that make up a given stock or the total number estimated within a particular study or survey area. NMFS's stock abundance estimates for most species represent the total estimate of individuals within the geographic area, if known, that comprises that stock. For some species, this geographic area may extend beyond U.S. waters. All managed stocks in this region are assessed in NMFS's U.S. Alaska SARs (Muto et al., 2017). All values presented in Table 1 are the most recent available at the time of publication and are available in the 2016 SARs (Muto et al., 2017).

    Table 1—Marine Mammals That Could Occur in the Project Area Common name Scientific name Stock ESA/MMPA
  • status;
  • strategic
  • (Y/N) 1
  • Stock abundance
  • (CV, Nmin, most recent
  • abundance survey) 2
  • PBR Annual
  • M/SI 3
  • Order Carnivora—Superfamily Pinnipedia Family Otariidae (eared seals and sea lions) Steller's sea lion Eumetopias jubatus Eastern U.S -/-; N 41,638 (n/a, 41,638, 2015) 306 236 Western U.S E/D; Y 50,983 2,498 108 Family Phocidae (earless seals) Harbor seal Phoca vitulina richardii Glacier Bay/Icy Strait -/-; N 7,210 (n.a.; 5,647; 2011) 169 104 1 Endangered Species Act (ESA) status: Endangered (E), Threatened (T)/MMPA status: Depleted (D). A dash (-) indicates that the species is not listed under the ESA or designated as depleted under the MMPA. Under the MMPA, a strategic stock is one for which the level of direct human-caused mortality exceeds PBR or which is determined to be declining and likely to be listed under the ESA within the foreseeable future. Any species or stock listed under the ESA is automatically designated under the MMPA as depleted and as a strategic stock. 2 NMFS marine mammal stock assessment reports online at: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/sars/. CV is coefficient of variation; Nmin is the minimum estimate of stock abundance. In some cases, CV is not applicable [explain if this is the case] 3 These values, found in NMFS's SARs, represent annual levels of human-caused mortality plus serious injury from all sources combined (e.g., commercial fisheries, ship strike). Annual M/SI often cannot be determined precisely and is in some cases presented as a minimum value or range. A CV associated with estimated mortality due to commercial fisheries is presented in some cases. NOTEItalicized species are not expected to be taken or proposed for authorization.

    All marine mammal species that could potentially occur in the proposed survey areas are included in Table 1. However, the temporal and/or spatial occurrence of Steller's sea lion is such that take is not expected to occur and researchers would not approach Steller sea lions; therefore, they are not discussed further beyond the explanation provided here.

    A total of five Steller sea lions have been observed during the 2015, 2016, and 2017 GLBA NP gull survey seasons (climate monitoring did not take place during these years) (NPS 2015b; NPS 2016; NPS 2017). However, all Steller sea lions that were spotted were observed outside the study area. Although Steller sea lions may be present in the action area, NPS has proposed to stay at least 100 m away from all Steller sea lions (see Proposed Mitigation). Also, due to their tolerance to vessels and lack of response to humans from a distance, Level B harassment of Steller sea lions at a distance of 100 meters is not likely to occur. Therefore, Steller sea lions are not discussed further in this proposed authorization other than with respect to mitigation.

    In addition, sea otters may be found in GLBA NP. However, sea otters are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and are not considered further in this document.

    Harbor Seals

    Harbor seals are the most abundant marine mammal species found within the action area and are present year-round. Harbor seals range from Baja California north along the west coasts of Washington, Oregon, California, British Columbia, and Southeast Alaska; west through the Gulf of Alaska, Prince William Sound, and the Aleutian Islands; and north in the Bering Sea to Cape Newenham and the Pribilof Islands. The current statewide abundance estimate for Alaskan harbor seals is 205,090 (Muto et al., 2017), based on aerial survey data collected during 1998-2011. In 2010, harbor seals in Alaska were partitioned into 12 separate stocks based largely on genetic structure (Allen and Angliss, 2010). Harbor seals have declined dramatically in some parts of their range over the past few decades, while in other parts their numbers have increased or remained stable over similar time periods.

    Harbor seals haul out on rocks, reefs, beaches, and drifting glacial ice (Allen and Angliss, 2014). They are non-migratory; their local movements are associated with tides, weather, season, food availability, and reproduction, as well as sex and age class (Allen and Angliss, 2014; Boveng et al., 2012; Lowry et al., 2001; Swain et al., 1996). Pupping in Alaska generally takes place in May and June; while molting generally occurs from June to October.

    Harbor seals of Glacier Bay range from Cape Fairweather southeast to Column Point, extending inland to Glacier Bay, Icy Strait, and from Hanus Reef south to Tenakee Inlet (Muto et al., 2017). The Glacier Bay/Icy Strait stock showed a negative population trend from 1992 to 2008 in June and August for glacial (−7.7 percent/year; −8.2 percent/year) and terrestrial sites (−12.4 percent/year, August only) (Womble et al., 2010 as cited in Muto et al., 2017). Trend estimates by Mathews and Pendleton (2006) were similarly negative for both glacial and terrestrial sites. Prior to 1993, seal counts were up to 1,347 in the East Arm of Glacier Bay; 2008 counts were fewer than 200 (Streveler, 1979; Molnia, 2007 as cited in Muto et al., 2017). These observed declines in harbor seals resulted in new research efforts which were initiated in 2004 and were aimed at trying to further understand the biology and ecology of seals and possible factors that may have contributed to the declines (e.g., Herreman et al. 2009, Blundell et al. 2011, Hueffer et al. 2012, Womble and Gende 2013a, Womble et al. 2014) with an emphasis on possible factors that may have contributed to the declines. The recent studies suggest that (1) harbor seals in Glacier Bay are not significantly stressed due to nutritional constraints (Blundell et al., 2011), (2) the clinical health and disease status of seals within Glacier Bay is not different than seals from other stable or increasing populations (Hueffer et al. 2012), and (3) disturbance by vessels does not appear to be a primary factor driving the decline (Young 2009).

    Long-term monitoring of harbor seals on glacial ice has occurred in Glacier Bay since the 1970s (Mathews and Pendleton, 2006) and has shown this area to support one of the largest breeding aggregations in Alaska (Steveler, 1979; Calambokidis et al., 1987 as cited in Muto et al., 2015). After a large scale retreat of the Muir Glacier (more than 7 km), in the East Arm of Glacier Bay, between 1973 and 1986 and the subsequent grounding and cessation of calving in 1993, floating glacial ice was greatly reduced as a haul-out substrate for harbor seals and ultimately resulted in the abandonment of upper Muir Inlet by harbor seals (Calambokidis et al., 1987; Hall et al., 1995; Mathews, 1995 as cited in Muto et al., 2017). The most recent long-term trend estimate for harbor seals at terrestrial sites in Glacier Bay for the 22-year period from 1992-2013 is −6.91 percent/year (SE = 0.40, 95% CI = −7.69, −6.13) (Womble et al. 2015). This trend is less negative than previous estimates stated in the paragraph above. In addition, from 2004-2013, there was a 10-year trend estimate of 9.64 percent/year (SE = 1.66, 95% CI = 6.40, 12.89) (Womble et al., 2015). Similarly, estimates of number of seals at terrestrial and ice sites combined further indicate that the decline has lessened and seal numbers may even be increasing since 2004 (Table 3: Womble et al., 2015).

    Results from satellite telemetry studies suggest that harbor seals traveled extensively beyond the boundaries of Glacier Bay during the post-breeding season (September-April); however, harbor seals demonstrated a high degree of inter-annual site fidelity (93 percent) to Glacier Bay the following breeding season (Womble and Gende 2013b). Glacier Bay is also home to the only enforceable regulations in United States waters aimed at protecting harbor seals from vessel and human-related disturbance (Jansen et al., 2010). Spatial and temporal regulations for vessels transiting in and near harbor seal breeding areas, and operating regulations once in those areas, are all aimed at reducing impacts of human visitation.

    Harbor seals from the Glacier Bay/Icy Strait stock can be found hauled out at four of the gull monitoring study sites (Table 2). Seal counts from gull monitoring surveys likely represent a minimum estimate due to difficulty observing marine mammals from a vessel. Counts from gull monitoring surveys are conducted during high tide so fewer seals may be present.

    Table 2—Number of Observed Harbor Seals and Level B Takes for the Species Under IHAs at Gull Study Sites From 2015-2017 in GLBA NP Site name Latitude
  • (dd)
  • Longitude
  • (dd)
  • 2015
  • observed/taken
  • 2016
  • observed/taken
  • 2017
  • observed/taken
  • Boulder 58.55535 −136.01814 13/11 21/0 4/0 Flapjack 58.58698 −135.98251 0/0 101/41 0/0 Geikie 58.69402 −136.31291 45/14 37/0 33/33 Lone 58.72102 −136.29470 98/32 58/39 49/0 Total 156/57 217/80 86/33

    As alluded to, there can be greater numbers of seals on the survey islands than what is detected by the NPS during the gull surveys. Aerial survey maximum counts show that harbor seals sometimes haul out in large numbers at all four locations (see Table 2 of the application). However, harbor seals hauled-out at Flapjack Island are generally on the southern end whereas the gull colony is on the northern end. Similarly, harbor seals on Boulder Island tend to haul out on the southern end while the gull colony is located and can be accessed on the northern end without disturbance. Aerial survey counts for harbor seals are conducted during low tide while ground and vessel surveys are conducted during high tide, which along with greater visibility during aerial surveys, may also contribute to why there are greater numbers of seals observed during the aerial surveys because there is more land available to use as a haul-out during low tide.

    Potential Effects of Specified Activities on Marine Mammals and Their Habitat

    This section includes a summary and discussion of the ways that components of the specified activity may impact marine mammals and their habitat. The “Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment” section later in this document includes a quantitative analysis of the number of individuals that are expected to be taken by this activity. The “Negligible Impact Analysis and Determination” section considers the content of this section, the “Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment” section, and the “Proposed Mitigation” section, to draw conclusions regarding the likely impacts of these activities on the reproductive success or survivorship of individuals and how those impacts on individuals are likely to impact marine mammal species or stocks.

    As previously stated, acoustic and visual stimuli generated by motorboat operations and the presence of researchers have the potential to cause Level B harassment of harbor seals hauled out on Boulder, Lone, and Flapjack Islands, and Geikie Rock within GLBA NP. The following discussion provides further detail on the potential visual and acoustic disturbances harbor seals may encounter during the NPS' gull and climate monitoring activities.

    Human and Vessel Disturbance

    Harbor seals may potentially experience behavioral disruption rising to the level of harassment from monitoring and research activities, which may include brief periods of airborne noise from research vessels and visual disturbance due to the presence and activity of the researchers both on vessels and on land during ground surveys. Disturbed seals are likely to experience any or all of these stimuli, and take may occur due to any in both isolation or combined with one another. Due to the likely constant combination of visual and acoustic stimuli resulting from the presence of vessels and researchers, we do not consider impacts from acoustic and visual stimuli separately.

    Disturbances resulting from human activity can impact short- and long-term pinniped haul-out behavior (Renouf et al., 1981; Schneider and Payne, 1983; Terhune and Almon, 1983; Allen et al., 1984; Stewart, 1984; Suryan and Harvey, 1999; and Kucey and Trites, 2006). Disturbance include a variety of effects, including subtle to conspicuous changes in behavior, movement, and displacement. Reactions to sound, if any, depend on the species, state of maturity, experience, current activity, reproductive state, time of day, and many other factors (Richardson et al., 1995; Wartzok et al., 2004; Southall et al., 2007; Weilgart, 2007). These behavioral reactions from marine mammals are often shown as: Changing durations of surfacing and dives, or moving direction and/or speed; reduced/increased vocal activities; changing/cessation of certain behavioral activities (such as socializing or feeding); visible startle response or aggressive behavior; avoidance of areas; and/or flight responses (e.g., pinnipeds flushing into the water from haul-outs or rookeries). If a marine mammal does react briefly to human presence by changing its behavior or moving a small distance, the impacts of the change are unlikely to be significant to the individual, let alone the stock or population. However, if visual stimuli from human presence displaces marine mammals from an important feeding or breeding area for a prolonged period, impacts on individuals and populations could be significant (e.g., Lusseau and Bejder, 2007; Weilgart, 2007).

    Visual stimuli resulting from the presence of researchers have the potential to result in take of harbor seals on the research islands where seals haul out. As noted, harbor seals can exhibit a behavioral response (e.g., including alert behavior, movement, vocalizing, or flushing) to visual stimuli). NMFS does not consider the lesser reactions (e.g., alert behavior such as raising a head) to constitute harassment. Table 3 displays NMFS' three-point scale that categorizes pinniped disturbance reactions by severity. Observed behavior falling within categories two and three would be considered behavioral harassment.

    Upon the occurrence of low-severity disturbance (i.e., the approach of a vessel or person as opposed to an explosion or sonic boom), pinnipeds typically exhibit a continuum of responses, beginning with alert movements (e.g., raising the head), which may then escalate to movement away from the stimulus and possible flushing into the water. Flushed pinnipeds typically re-occupy the same haul-out within minutes to hours of a stimulus (Allen et al., 1984 (Johnson and Acevedo-Gutierrez, 2007). As a result, a minimal amount of animals may be taken more than once during the proposed survey activities so the number of takes likely represents exposures. However, since the highest number of annual visits to three gull study sites will be five and one survey site will be nine, it is expected that individual harbor seals at Boulder Island, Flapjack Island, and Geike Rock will be disturbed no more than five times per year and on Lone Island, no more than nine times per year.

    Table 3—Seal Response to Disturbance Level Type of response Definition 1 Alert Seal head orientation or brief movement in response to disturbance, which may include turning head towards the disturbance, craning head and neck while holding the body rigid in a u-shaped position, changing from a lying to a sitting position, or brief movement of less than twice the animal's body length. Alerts would be recorded, but not counted as a `take'. 2 Movement Movements in response to the source of disturbance, ranging from short withdrawals at least twice the animal's body length to longer retreats over the beach, or if already moving a change of direction of greater than 90 degrees. These movements would be recorded and counted as a `take'. 3 Flush All retreats (flushes) to the water. Flushing into the water would be recorded and counted as a `take'.

    Numerous studies have shown that human activity can flush pinnipeds off haul-out sites and beaches (Kenyon, 1972; Allen et al., 1984; Calambokidis et al., 1991; Suryan and Harvey, 1999; and Mortenson et al., 2000). In 1997, Henry and Hammil (2001) conducted a study to measure the impacts of small boats (i.e., kayaks, canoes, motorboats and sailboats) on harbor seal haul-out behavior in Métis Bay, Quebec, Canada. During that study, the authors noted that the most frequent disturbances (n=73) were caused by lower speed, lingering kayaks and canoes (33.3 percent) as opposed to motorboats (27.8 percent) conducting high speed passes. The seals flight reactions could be linked to a surprise factor by kayaks-canoes, which approach slowly, quietly and low on water making them look like predators. However, the authors note that once the animals were disturbed, there did not appear to be any significant lingering effect on the recovery of numbers to their pre-disturbance levels. In conclusion, the study showed that boat traffic at current levels has only a temporary effect on the haul-out behavior of harbor seals in the Métis Bay area.

    In 2004, Johnson and Acevedo-Gutierrez (2007) evaluated the efficacy of buffer zones for watercraft around harbor seal haul-out sites on Yellow Island, Washington state. The authors estimated the minimum distance between the vessels and the haul-out sites; categorized the vessel types; and evaluated seal responses to the disturbances. During the course of the seven-weekend study, the authors recorded 14 human-related disturbances, which were associated with stopped powerboats and kayaks. During these events, hauled out seals became noticeably active and moved into the water. The flushing occurred when stopped kayaks and powerboats were at distances as far as 453 and 1,217 ft (138 and 371 m) respectively. The authors note that the seals were unaffected by passing powerboats, even those approaching as close as 128 ft (39 m), possibly indicating that the animals had become tolerant of the brief presence of the vessels and ignored them. The authors reported that on average, the seals quickly recovered from the disturbances and returned to the haul-out site in less than or equal to 60 minutes. Seal numbers did not return to pre-disturbance levels within 180 minutes of the disturbance less than one quarter of the time observed. The study concluded that the return of seal numbers to pre-disturbance levels and the relatively regular seasonal cycle in abundance throughout the area counter the idea that disturbances from powerboats may result in site abandonment (Johnson and Acevedo-Gutierrez, 2007). Specific reactions from past NPS gull monitoring surveys are detailed in this proposed IHA's Estimated Take Section.

    Vessel Strike

    The probability of vessel and marine mammal interactions (i.e., motorboat strike) occurring during the proposed research activities is unlikely due to the motorboat's slow operational speed, which is typically 2 to 3 knots (2.3 to 3.4 mph) and the researchers continually scanning the water for marine mammals presence during transit to the islands. Thus, NMFS does not anticipate that strikes or collisions would result from the movement of the motorboat.

    Harbor Seal Pupping

    During the harbor seal breeding (May-June) and molting (August) periods, ~66 percent of seals in Glacier Bay inhabit the primary glacial ice site and ~22 percent of seals are found in and adjacent to a group of islands in the southeast portion of Glacier Bay. At the proposed study sites in 2016, only one pup was observed and in 2017 and 2015, no pups were observed during project activities. Pups have been observed during NPS aerial surveys during the pupping seasons (conducted during low tide), but in few numbers (see Table 4). NMFS does not anticipate that the proposed activities would result in separation of mothers and pups as pups are rarely seen at the study sites.

    Table 4—Average and Maximum Counts of Hauled Out Harbor Seal Pups at Glaucous-Winged Gull Study Sites During Harbor Seal Monitoring Aerial Surveys From 2007-2016 [Womble unpublished data] Site Average of
  • pup count
  • StdDev of
  • pup count
  • Max of
  • pup count
  • Boulder Island 0.8 1.3 5 Flapjack Island 14.9 11.5 43 Geikie Rock 0.1 0.4 2 Lone Island 0.8 0.9 4 Grand Total 4.74 9 43
    Summary

    Based on studies described here and previous monitoring reports from GLBA NP (Discussed further in this proposed IHA's Estimated Take Section), we anticipate that any pinnipeds found in the vicinity of the proposed project could have short-term behavioral reactions (i.e., may result in marine mammals avoiding certain areas) due to noise and visual disturbance generated by: (1) Motorboat approaches and departures and (2) human presence during gull and climate research activities. We would expect the pinnipeds to return to a haul-out site within minutes to hours of the stimulus based on previous research (Allen et al., 1984). Pinnipeds may be temporarily displaced from their haul-out sites, but we do not expect that the pinnipeds would permanently abandon a haul-out site during the conduct of the proposed research as activities are short in duration (30 min to up to two hours), and previous surveys have demonstrated that seals have returned to their haul-out sites and have not permanently abandoned the sites.

    NMFS does not anticipate that the proposed activities would result in the injury, serious injury, or mortality of pinnipeds. NMFS does not anticipate that vessel strikes would result from the movement of the motorboat. The proposed activities will not result in any permanent impact on habitats used by marine mammals, including prey species and foraging habitat. The potential effects to marine mammals described in this section of the document do not take into consideration the proposed monitoring and mitigation measures described later in this document (see the “Proposed Mitigation” and “Proposed Monitoring and Reporting” sections).

    Marine Mammal Habitat

    NMFS does not anticipate that the proposed operations would result in any temporary or permanent effects on the habitats used by the marine mammals in the proposed area, including the food sources they use (i.e., fish and invertebrates). The main impact associated with the proposed activity will be temporarily elevated noise levels from motorboats and human disturbance on marine mammals potentially leading to temporary displacement of a site, previously discussed in this notice. NPS' EIS for gull monitoring surveys in GLBA concluded that the activities do not result in the loss or modification to marine mammal habitat (NPS 2010). Additionally, any minor habitat alterations stemming from the installation and maintenance of NPS' climate tower will be located in an area that will not impact marine mammals. As a result, NMFS does not anticipate that the proposed activity would have any habitat-related effects that could cause significant or long-term consequences for individual marine mammals or their populations. This includes no effects on marine mammal habitat or long- and short-term physical impacts to pinniped habitat in Glacier Bay, AK. In all, the proposed activities will not result in any permanent impact on habitats used by marine mammals, including prey species and foraging habitat.

    Estimated Take

    This section provides an estimate of the number of incidental takes proposed for authorization through this IHA, which will inform both NMFS' consideration of whether the number of takes is “small” and the negligible impact determination.

    Harassment is the only type of take expected to result from these activities. Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, section 3(18) of 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 or 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).

    Authorized takes would be by Level B harassment only, in the form of disruption of behavioral patterns for individual marine mammals resulting from exposure to motorboats and the presence of NPS personnel. Based on the nature of the activity, Level A harassment is neither anticipated nor proposed to be authorized. As described previously, no mortality is anticipated or proposed to be authorized for this activity. Below we describe how the take is estimated.

    Harbor seals may be disturbed when vessels approach or researchers go ashore for the purpose of monitoring gull colonies and for the installation and maintenance of the Lone Island weather tower. Nevertheless, harbor seals tend to haul out in small numbers at study sites. Using monitoring report data from 2015 to 2017 (see raw data from Tables 1 of the 2017, 2016 and 2015 Monitoring Reports), the average number of harbor seals per survey visit was calculated to estimate the approximate number of seals observers would find on any given survey day. As a result, the following averages were determined for each island: Boulder Island—average 3.45 seals, Flapjack Island—average 10.10 seals, Geikie Rock—average 9.58 seals, and Lone Island average of 18.63 seals (See Table 5). Estimated take for gull and climate monitoring was calculated by multiplying the average number of seals observed during past gull monitoring surveys (2015-2017) by the number of total site visits. This includes five visits to Boulder Island, Flapjack Island, and Geike Rock and nine visits to Lone Island (to include four site visits for climate monitoring activities). Therefore, the total incidents of harassment equals 283 (See Table 5).

    During climate monitoring, which is expected to take place between March 2018 to April 2018, and October 2018 to Febuary 2019, seal numbers are expected to dramatically decline within the action area. Although harbor seal survey data within GLBA NP is lacking during the months of October through February, results from satellite telemetry studies suggest that harbor seals travel extensively beyond the boundaries of GLBA NP during the post-breeding season (September-April) (Womble and Gende, 2013b). Therefore, using observation data from past gull monitoring activities (that occurred from May to September) is applicable when estimating take for climate monitoring activities, as it will provide the most conservative estimates.

    1 See Table 3 for NMFS' three-point scale that categorizes pinniped disturbance reactions by severity. NMFS only considers responses falling into Levels 2 and 3 as harassment (Level B Take) under the MMPA.

    Table 5—Proposed Level B Takes by Harassment During NPS Gull and Climate Monitoring Surveys Site proposed for survey Average number of seals observed per visit * Number of proposed site visits Proposed Level B take 1 Percentage of population Boulder Island 3.45 seals 5 17.27 0.24 Flapjack Island 10.10 seals 5 50.50 0.70 Geikie Rock 9.58 seals 5 47.92 0.66 Lone Island 18.63 seals ** 9 167.73 2.33 Total 283 3.93 * Data from 2015-2017 NPS gull surveys (NPS 2015b; NPS 2016; NPS 2017). ** Number includes four additional days for climate monitoring activities. Proposed Mitigation

    In order to issue an IHA 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 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 (latter 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 consider 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, as well as subsistence uses. This considers the nature of the potential adverse impact being mitigated (likelihood, scope, range). It further considers the likelihood that the measure will be effective if implemented (probability of accomplishing the mitigating result if implemented as planned) the likelihood of effective implementation (probability implemented as planned) and;

    (2) the practicability of the measures for applicant implementation, which may consider such things as cost and impact on operations.

    Mitigation for Marine Mammals and Their Habitat

    NPS has based the mitigation measures which they propose to implement during the proposed research, on the following: (1) Protocols used during previous gull research activities as required by our previous authorizations for these activities; and (2) recommended best practices in Womble et al. (2013a); Richardson et al. (1995); and Weir and Dolman (2007).

    To reduce the potential for disturbance from acoustic and visual stimuli associated with gull and climate monitoring activities within GBLA NP, park personnel have proposed to implement the following mitigation measures for marine mammals:

    Pre-Survey Monitoring

    Prior to deciding to land onshore to conduct gull and climate monitoring, the researchers would use high-powered image stabilizing binoculars from the watercraft to document the number, species, and location of hauled-out marine mammals at each island. The vessels would maintain a distance of 328 to 1,640 ft (100 to 500 m) from the shoreline to allow the researchers to conduct pre-survey monitoring. If offshore predators, harbor seal pups of less than one week of age, or Steller sea lions are observed, researchers will follow the protocols for site avoidance discussed below. If neither of these instances occur, researchers will then perform a controlled landing on the survey site.

    Site Avoidance

    If a harbor seal pup less than one week old or a harbor seal predator (i.e. killer whale) is observed near or within the action area, researchers will not go ashore to conduct the gull or climate monitoring activities. Also, if Steller sea lions are observed within or near the study site, researchers will maintain a distance of at least 100 m from the animals at all times.

    Controlled Landings

    The researchers would determine whether to approach the island based on type of animals present. Researchers would approach the island by motorboat at a speed of approximately 2 to 3 kn (2.3 to 3.4 mph). This would provide enough time for any marine mammals present to slowly enter the water without panic (flushing). The researchers would also select a pathway of approach farthest from the hauled-out harbor seals to minimize disturbance.

    Minimize Predator Interactions

    If the researchers visually observe marine predators (i.e., killer whales) present in the vicinity of hauled-out marine mammals, the researchers would not approach the study site.

    Disturbance Reduction Protocols

    While onshore at study sites, the researchers would remain vigilant for hauled-out marine mammals. If marine mammals are present, the researchers would move slowly and use quiet voices to minimize disturbance to the animals present.

    Mitigation Conclusions

    Based on our evaluation of the applicant's proposed measures, as well as other measures considered by NMFS, NMFS has preliminarily determined that the proposed mitigation measures provide the means of effecting the least practicable impact on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, areas of similar significance, and on the availability of such species or stock for subsistence uses.

    Proposed 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 authorizations 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 both to compliance as well as ensuring that the most value is obtained from the required monitoring.

    Monitoring and reporting requirements prescribed by NMFS should contribute to improved 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, abundance, 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 mammals; 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

    • Mitigation and monitoring effectiveness.

    NPS proposes to conduct marine mammal monitoring during the present project, in order to implement the mitigation measures that require real-time monitoring and to gain a better understanding of marine mammals and their impacts to the project's activities. The researchers will monitor the area for pinnipeds during all research activities. Monitoring activities will consist of conducting and recording observations of pinnipeds within the vicinity of the proposed research areas. The monitoring notes would provide dates, location, species, the researcher's activity, behavioral state, numbers of animals that were alert or moved greater than one meter, and numbers of pinnipeds that flushed into the water.

    The method for recording disturbances follows those in Mortenson (1996). NPS would record disturbances on a three-point scale that represents an increasing seal response to the disturbance (Table 3). NPS will record the time, source, and duration of the disturbance, as well as an estimated distance between the source and haul-out.

    Previous Monitoring Results

    NPS has complied with the monitoring requirements under the previous authorizations. NMFS posted the 2017 report on our Web site at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/research.htm and the results from the previous NPS monitoring reports support our findings that the proposed mitigation measures required under the 2014-2017 Authorizations provide the means of effecting the least practicable impact on the species or stock. During the last 3 years of this activity, approximately a third of all observed harbor seals have flushed in response to these activities (37 percent in 2015, 37 percent in 2016, and 38 percent in 2017). The following narratives provide a detailed account of each of the past 3 years of monitoring (Summarized in Table 6):

    In 2017, of the 86 harbor seals that were observed: 33 flushed in to the water, 0 became alert but did not move >1 m, and 0 moved >1 m but did not flush into the water. In all, no harbor seal pups were observed. On two occasions, harbor seals were flushed into the water when islands were accessed for gull surveys. In these instances, the vessel approached the island at a very slow speed and most of the harbor seals flushed into the water at approximately 150-185 m. On two events, harbor seals were observed hauled out on Boulder Island and not disturbed due to their distance from the survey area. In addition, during two pre-monitoring surveys conducted for Lone Island, harbor seals were observed hauled out and the survey was not conducted to prevent disturbance of harbor seals.

    In 2016, of the 216 harbor seals that were observed: 77 flushed in to the water; 3 became alert but did not move >1 m, and 17 moved >1 m but did not flush into the water. On five occasions, harbor seals were flushed into the water when islands were accessed for gull surveys. In these instances, the vessel approached the island at a very slow speed and most of the harbor seals flushed into the water at approximately 50-100 m. In four instances, fewer than 25 harbor seals were present, but in one instance, 41 harbor seals were observed flushing into the water when NPS first saw them as they rounded a point of land in kayaks accessing Flapjack Island. In five instances, harbor seals were observed hauled out and not disturbed due to their distance from the survey areas.

    In 2015, of the 156 harbor seals that were observed: 57 flushed in to the water; 25 became alert but did not move >1 m, and zero moved >1 m but did not flush into the water. No pups were observed. On 2 occasions, harbor seals were observed at the study sites in numbers <25 and the islands were accessed for gull surveys. In these instances, the vessel approached the island at very slow speed and most of the harbor seals flushed into water at approximately 200 m (Geikie 8/5/15) and 280 m (Lone, 8/5/15). In one instance (Lone, 6/11/15), NPS counted 20 harbor seals hauled out during our initial vessel-based monitoring, but once on the island, NPS observed 33 hauled out seals. When NPS realized the number of seals present, they ceased the survey and left the area, flushing 13 seals into the water.

    Table 6—Summary Table of 2015-2017 Monitoring Reports for NPS Gull Studies Monitoring year Number
  • of adults
  • observed
  • Number
  • of pups
  • observed
  • Flushed into
  • water
  • Moved >1 m
  • but did not
  • flush
  • Alert but did
  • not move
  • >1 m
  • 2017 86 0 33 0 0 2016 216 1 77 3 17 2015 156 0 57 0 25
    Coordination

    NPS can add to the knowledge of pinnipeds in the proposed action area by noting observations of: (1) Unusual behaviors, numbers, or distributions of pinnipeds, such that any potential follow-up research can be conducted by the appropriate personnel; (2) tag-bearing carcasses of pinnipeds, allowing transmittal of the information to appropriate agencies and personnel; and (3) rare or unusual species of marine mammals for agency follow-up. NPS actively monitors harbor seals at breeding and molting haul-out locations to assess trends over time (e.g., Mathews & Pendleton, 2006; Womble et al. 2010, Womble and Gende, 2013b). This monitoring program involves collaborations with biologists from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. NPS will continue these collaborations and encourage continued or renewed monitoring of marine mammal species. NPS will coordinate with state and Federal marine mammal biologists to determine what additional data or observations may be useful for monitoring marine mammals and haul-outs in GLBA NP. Additionally, NPS would report vessel-based counts of marine mammals, branded, or injured animals, and all observed disturbances to the appropriate state and Federal agencies.

    Reporting

    NPS will submit a draft monitoring report to NMFS no later than 90 days after the expiration of the Incidental Harassment Authorization or sixty days prior to the issuance of any subsequent IHA for this project, whichever comes first. The report will include a summary of the information gathered pursuant to the monitoring requirements set forth in the Authorization. NPS will submit a final report to NMFS within 30 days after receiving comments on the draft report. If NPS receives no comments from NMFS on the report, NMFS will consider the draft report to be the final report.

    The report will describe the operations conducted and sightings of marine mammals near the proposed project. The report will provide full documentation of methods, results, and interpretation pertaining to all monitoring. The report will provide:

    1. A summary and table of the dates, times, and weather during all research activities;

    2. Species, number, location, and behavior of any marine mammals observed throughout all monitoring activities;

    3. An estimate of the number (by species) of marine mammals exposed to acoustic or visual stimuli associated with the research activities; and

    4. A description of the implementation and effectiveness of the monitoring and mitigation measures of the Authorization and full documentation of methods, results, and interpretation pertaining to all monitoring.

    In the unanticipated event that the specified activity clearly causes the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by the authorization, such as an injury (Level A harassment), serious injury, or mortality (e.g., vessel-strike, stampede, etc.), NPS shall immediately cease the specified activities and immediately report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS and the Alaska Regional Stranding Coordinator. The report must include the following information:

    • Time, date, and location (latitude/longitude) of the incident;

    • Description and location of the incident (including tide level if applicable);

    • Environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction, Beaufort sea state, cloud cover, and visibility);

    • Description of all marine mammal observations in the 24 hours preceding the incident;

    • Species identification or description of the animal(s) involved;

    • Fate of the animal(s); and

    • Photographs or video footage of the animal(s) (if equipment is available).

    NPS shall not resume its activities until NMFS is able to review the circumstances of the prohibited take. NMFS will work with NPS to determine what is necessary to minimize the likelihood of further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. NPS may not resume their activities until notified by us via letter, email, or telephone.

    In the event that NPS discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead researcher determines that the cause of the injury or death is unknown and the death is relatively recent (i.e., in less than a moderate state of decomposition as we describe in the next paragraph), NPS will immediately report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS and the Alaska Regional Stranding Coordinator. The report must include the same information identified in the paragraph above this section. Activities may continue while we review the circumstances of the incident. We will work with NPS to determine whether modifications in the activities are appropriate.

    In the event that NPS discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead visual observer determines that the injury or death is not associated with or related to the authorized activities (e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced decomposition, or scavenger damage), NPS will report the incident to the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS and the Alaska Regional Stranding Coordinator within 24 hours of the discovery. NPS researchers will provide photographs or video footage (if available) or other documentation of the stranded animal sighting to us. NPS can continue their research activities.

    Negligible Impact Analysis and Determination

    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 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 harassment, NMFS considers other factors, such as the likely nature of any responses (e.g., intensity, duration), the context of any responses (e.g., critical reproductive time or location, migration), 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's 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).

    Due to the project's minimal levels of visual and acoustic disturbance, NMFS does not expect NPS's specified activities to cause long-term behavioral disturbance, abandonment of the haul-out area, injury, serious injury, or mortality. Additional factors for our Negligible Impact Determination are listed below:

    • The takes from Level B harassment would be due to potential behavioral disturbance. The effects of the research activities would be limited to short-term startle responses and localized behavioral changes due to the short and sporadic duration of the research activities;

    • The proposed activities would not take place in areas of significance for marine mammal feeding, resting, breeding, or pupping and would not adversely impact marine mammal habitat;

    • The proposed activities will affect a small portion of harbor seal habitat within GLBA NP for only a short amount of time. This, combined with a large availability of alternate areas for pinnipeds to haul out enables the seals to effectively avoid disturbances from research operations;

    • Anecdotal observations and results from previous monitoring reports show that the pinnipeds returned to the various sites and did not permanently abandon haul-out sites after NPS conducted their research activities; and

    • Harbor seals may flush in the water despite researchers best efforts to keep calm and quiet around seals; however, injury or mortality has never been documented nor is anticipated from flushing events. Researchers would approach study sites slowly to provide enough time for any marine mammals present to slowly enter the water without panic.

    As stated, NMFS does not anticipate any injuries, serious injuries, or mortalities to result from NPS's proposed activities and we do not propose to authorize injury, serious injury, or mortality. Harbor seals may exhibit behavioral modifications, including temporarily vacating the area during the proposed gull and climate research activities to avoid human disturbance. Further, these proposed activities would not take place in areas of significance for marine mammal feeding, resting, breeding, or pupping and would not adversely impact marine mammal habitat. Due to the nature, degree, and context of the behavioral harassment anticipated, we do not expect the activities to impact annual rates of recruitment or survival.

    NMFS does not expect pinnipeds to permanently abandon any area surveyed by researchers, as is evidenced by continued presence of pinnipeds at the sites during annual gull monitoring. In summary, NMFS anticipates that impacts to hauled-out harbor seals during NPS' research activities would be behavioral harassment of limited duration (i.e., up to two hours per visit) and limited intensity (i.e., temporary flushing at most).

    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 proposed monitoring and mitigation measures, NMFS preliminarily finds that the total marine mammal take from the proposed activity will have a negligible impact on all affected marine mammal species or stocks.

    Small Numbers

    As noted above, only small numbers of incidental take may be authorized under Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA for specified activities other than military readiness activities. The MMPA does not define small numbers and so, in practice, where estimated numbers are available, NMFS compares the number of individuals taken to the most appropriate estimation of abundance of the relevant species or stock in our determination of whether an authorization is limited to small numbers of marine mammals. Additionally, other qualitative factors may be considered in the analysis, such as the temporal or spatial scale of the activities.

    As mentioned previously, NMFS estimates that NPS' activities could potentially affect, by Level B harassment only, one species of marine mammal under our jurisdiction. For harbor seals, this estimate is small (3.93 percent, see Table 4) relative of the Glacier Bay/Icy Strait stock of harbor seals (7,210 seals, see Table 1). In addition to this, there is a high probability that repetitive takes of the same animal may occur which reduces the percentage of population even further.

    Based on the analysis contained herein of the proposed activity (including the proposed mitigation and monitoring measures) and the anticipated take of marine mammals, NMFS preliminarily finds that small numbers of marine mammals will be taken relative to the population size of the affected species or stocks.

    Unmitigable Adverse Impact Analysis and Determination

    There are no relevant subsistence uses of the affected marine mammal stocks or species implicated by this action. NPS prohibits subsistence harvest of harbor seals within the GLBA NP (Catton, 1995). Therefore, NMFS has preliminarily 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 (ESA)

    Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires that each Federal agency insure that any action it authorizes, funds, or carries out is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat. To ensure ESA compliance for the issuance of IHAs, NMFS consults internally, in this case with Alaska Region Protected Resources Division Office, whenever we propose to authorize take for endangered or threatened species.

    No incidental take of ESA-listed species is proposed for authorization or expected to result from this activity. Therefore, NMFS has determined that formal consultation under section 7 of the ESA is not required for this action.

    Proposed Authorization

    As a result of these preliminary determinations, NMFS proposes to issue an IHA to the National Park Service for conducting gull and climate monitoring activities at GLBA NP from March 1 2018 to February 29 2019, provided the previously mentioned mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements are incorporated. This section contains a draft of the IHA itself. The wording contained in this section is proposed for inclusion in the IHA (if issued).

    1. This Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) is valid for a period of one year from March 1 2018 to February 28 2019.

    2. This Authorization is valid only for research activities that occur at the following locations: Boulder, Flapjack, and Lone Islands, and Geikie Rock in GLBA NP, Alaska.

    3. General Conditions

    (a) A copy of this IHA must be in the possession of NPS, its designees, and field crew personnel (including research collaborators) operating under the authority of this IHA at all times.

    (b) The species authorized for taking are Alaskan harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardii).

    (c) The taking, by Level B harassment only, is limited to 283 harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardii).

    (d) The taking by injury (Level A harassment), serious injury, or death of any of the species listed in condition 3(b) of the Authorization or any taking of any other species of marine mammal is prohibited and may result in the modification, suspension, or revocation of this IHA.

    (e) The NPS may conduct a maximum of five days of gull monitoring for each survey location listed in this IHA. In addition, the NPS may conduct a maximum of four days of activities related to climate monitoring on Lone Island.

    4. Mitigation Measures

    The holder of this Authorization is required to implement the following mitigation measures:

    (a) Conduct pre-survey monitoring before deciding to access a study site;

    (b) Prior to deciding to land onshore of Boulder, Lone, or Flapjack Islands or Geikie Rock, the Holder of this Authorization shall use high-powered image stabilizing binoculars before approaching at distances of greater than 500 m (1,640 ft) to determine and document the number, species, and location of hauled-out marine mammals;

    (c) During pre-survey monitoring vessels shall maintain a distance of 328 to 1,640 ft (100 to 500 m) from the shoreline;

    (d) If the Holder of the Authorization determines that a harbor seal pup less than one week of age is present within or near a study site or a path to a study site, the Holder shall not access the island and nor conduct the study at that time. In addition, if during the activity, a pup less than one week of age is observed, all research activities shall conclude for the day;

    (e) Maintain a distance of at least 100 m from any Steller sea lion;

    (f) The NPS shall perform controlled and slow ingress to islands where harbor seals are present;

    (g) NPS shall select a pathway of approach farthest from the hauled-out harbor seals to minimize disturbance;

    (h) The NPS shall monitor for offshore predators at the study sites and shall avoid research activities when killer whales (Orcinus orca) or other predators are present; and

    (i) The NPS shall maintain a quiet working atmosphere, avoid loud noises, and shall use hushed voices in the presence of hauled-out pinnipeds.

    5. Monitoring

    The holder of this Authorization is required to conduct marine mammal monitoring during gull and climate monitoring activities. Monitoring and reporting shall be conducted in accordance with the following: NPS and/or its designees shall record the following:

    (a) Species counts (with numbers of adults/juveniles); and Numbers of disturbances, by species and age, according to a three-point scale of intensity (Table 7) including:

    Table 7—Seal Response to Disturbance Level Type of response Definition Alert Seal head orientation or brief movement in response to disturbance, which may include turning head towards the disturbance, craning head and neck while holding the body rigid in a u-shaped position, changing from a lying to a sitting position, or brief movement of less than twice the animal's body length. Alerts shall be recorded, but not counted as a `take'. Movement Movements in response to the source of disturbance, ranging from short withdrawals at least twice the animal's body length to longer retreats over the beach, or if already moving a change of direction of greater than 90 degrees. Flush All retreats (flushes) to the water.

    (b) Information on the weather, including the tidal state and horizontal visibility;

    (c) The observer shall note the presence of any offshore predators (date, time, number, and species); and

    (d) The observer shall note observations (1) unusual behaviors, numbers, or distributions of pinnipeds, such that any potential follow-up research can be conducted by the appropriate personnel, (2) marked or tag-bearing pinnipeds or carcasses, allowing transmittal of the information to appropriate agencies, and (3) any rare or unusual species of marine mammal for agency follow-up. The observer shall report that information to NMFS' Alaska Fisheries Science Center at (206) 526-4045 and/or the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Marine Mammal Program at [email protected] (harbor seals) [email protected] (Steller sea lions), or [email protected] (Whales).

    6. Reporting

    The holder of this Authorization is required to:

    (a) Submit a draft report on all monitoring conducted under the IHA within ninety calendar days of the completion of marine mammal monitoring or sixty days prior to the issuance of any subsequent IHA for this project, whichever comes first. A final report shall be prepared and submitted within thirty days following resolution of comments on the draft report from NMFS. This report must contain the informational elements described in Monitoring Section of this IHA;

    (b) Reporting injured or dead marine mammals;

    (i) In the unanticipated event that the specified activity clearly causes the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by this IHA, such as an injury (Level A harassment), serious injury, or mortality, NPS shall immediately cease the specified activities and report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources (301-427-8440), NMFS, and the Alaska Regional Stranding Coordinator (877-925-7773), NMFS. The report must include the following information:

    1. Time and date of the incident;

    2. Description of the incident;

    3. Environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction, Beaufort sea state, cloud cover, and visibility);

    4. Description of all marine mammal observations and active sound source use in the 24 hours preceding the incident;

    5. Species identification or description of the animal(s) involved;

    6. Fate of the animal(s); and

    7. Photographs or video footage of the animal(s).

    Activities shall not resume until NMFS is able to review the circumstances of the prohibited take. NMFS will work with NPS to determine what measures are necessary to minimize the likelihood of further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. NPS may not resume their activities until notified by NMFS;

    (ii) In the event that NPS discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead observer determines that the cause of the injury or death is unknown and the death is relatively recent (e.g., in less than a moderate state of decomposition), NPS shall immediately report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the Alaska Stranding Coordinator, NMFS.

    The report must include the same information identified in 6(b)(i) of this IHA. Activities may continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident. NMFS will work with NPS to determine whether additional mitigation measures or modifications to the activities are appropriate; and

    (iii) In the event that NPS discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead observer determines that the injury or death is not associated with or related to the activities authorized in the IHA (e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced decomposition, or scavenger damage), NPS shall report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the Alaska Stranding Coordinator, NMFS, within 24 hours of the discovery. NPS shall provide photographs or video footage or other documentation of the stranded animal sighting to NMFS.

    7. This Authorization may be modified, suspended or withdrawn if the holder fails to abide by the conditions prescribed herein, or if NMFS determines the authorized taking is having more than a negligible impact on the species or stock of affected marine mammals.

    Request for Public Comments

    We request comment on our analyses, the draft authorization, and any other aspect of this Notice of Proposed IHA for the proposed action. Please include with your comments any supporting data or literature citations to help inform our final decision on the request for MMPA authorization.

    Dated: November 28, 2017. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25910 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XF766 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Advisory Panel for Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review Workshops AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; nominations for shark stock assessment Advisory Panel.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS solicits nominations for the “SEDAR Pool,” also known as the Advisory Panel for Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR) Workshops. The SEDAR Pool is comprised of a group of individuals who may be selected to consider data and advise NMFS regarding the scientific information, including but not limited to data and models, used in stock assessments for oceanic sharks in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea. Nominations are being sought for a 5-year appointment (2018-2023). Individuals with definable interests in the recreational and commercial fishing and related industries, environmental community, academia, and non-governmental organizations will be considered for membership on the SEDAR Pool.

    DATES:

    Nominations must be received on or before January 2, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit nominations and request the SEDAR Pool Statement of Organization, Practices, and Procedures by any of the following methods:

    Email: [email protected]

    Mail: Karyl Brewster-Geisz, Highly Migratory Species Management Division, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Include on the envelope the following identifier: “SEDAR Pool Nomination.”

    Fax: 301-713-1917.

    Additional information on SEDAR and the SEDAR guidelines can be found at http://www.sefsc.noaa.gov/sedar/. The terms of reference for the SEDAR Pool, along with a list of current members, can be found at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/SEDAR/SEDAR.htm.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Delisse Ortiz, (240-681-9037) or Karyl Brewster-Geisz, (301) 425-8503.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    Section 302(g)(2) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., states that each Council shall establish such advisory panels as are necessary or appropriate to assist it in carrying out its functions under the Act. For the purposes of this section, NMFS applies the above Council provision to Atlantic highly migratory species management (see Section 304(g)(1) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which provides that the Secretary will prepare fishery management plans for HMS and consult with Advisory Panels under section 302(g) for such FMPs). As such, NMFS has established the SEDAR Pool under this section. The SEDAR Pool currently consists of 26 individuals, each of whom may be selected to review data and advise NMFS regarding the scientific information, including but not limited to data and models, used in stock assessments for oceanic sharks in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea. While the SEDAR Pool was created specifically for Atlantic oceanic sharks, it may be expanded to include other HMS, as needed.

    The primary purpose of the individuals in the SEDAR Pool is to review, at SEDAR workshops, the scientific information (including but not limited to data and models) used in stock assessments that are used to advise NMFS, as a delegate to the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), about the conservation and management of Atlantic HMS, specifically but not limited to, Atlantic sharks. Individuals in the SEDAR Pool, if selected, may participate in the various data, assessment, and review workshops during the SEDAR process of any HMS stock assessment. In order to ensure that the peer review is unbiased, individuals who participated in a data and/or assessment workshop for a particular stock assessment will not be allowed to serve as reviewers for the same stock assessment. However, these individuals may be asked to attend the review workshop to answer specific questions from the reviewers concerning the data and/or assessment workshops. Members of the SEDAR Pool may serve as members of other Advisory Panels concurrent with, or following, their service on the SEDAR Pool.

    Procedures and Guidelines A. Participants

    The SEDAR Pool is comprised of individuals representing the commercial and recreational fishing communities for Atlantic sharks, the environmental community active in the conservation and management of Atlantic sharks, and the academic community that have relevant expertise either with sharks and/or stock assessment methodologies for marine fish species. Also, individuals who may not necessarily work directly with sharks, but who are involved in fisheries with similar life history, biology and fishery issues may be part of the SEDAR Pool. Members of the SEDAR Pool must have demonstrated experience in the fisheries, related industries, research, teaching, writing, conservation, or management of marine organisms. The distribution of representation among the interested parties is not defined or limited.

    Additional members of the SEDAR Pool may also include representatives from each of the five Atlantic Regional Fishery Management Councils, each of the 18 Atlantic states, both the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and each of the interstate commissions: The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission.

    If NMFS requires additional members to ensure a diverse pool of individuals for data or assessment workshops, NMFS may request individuals to become members of the SEDAR Pool outside of the annual nomination period.

    SEDAR Pool members serve at the discretion of the Secretary. Not all members will attend each SEDAR workshop. Rather, NMFS will invite certain members to participate at specific stock assessment workshops dependent on their ability to participate, discuss, and recommend scientific decisions regarding the species being assessed.

    NMFS is not obligated to fulfill any requests (e.g., requests for an assessment of a certain species) that may be made by the SEDAR Pool or its individual members. Members of the SEDAR Pool who are invited to attend stock assessment workshops will not be compensated for their services but may be reimbursed for their travel-related expenses to attend such workshops.

    B. Nomination Procedures for Appointments to the SEDAR Pool

    Member tenure will be for 5 years. Nominations are sought for terms beginning early in 2018 and expiring in 2023. Nomination packages should include:

    1. The name, address, phone number, and email of the applicant or nominee;

    2. A description of the applicant's or nominee's interest in Atlantic shark stock assessments or the Atlantic shark fishery;

    3. A statement of the applicant's or nominee's background and/or qualifications; and

    4. A written commitment that the applicant or nominee shall participate actively and in good faith in the tasks of the SEDAR Pool, as requested.

    C. Meeting Schedule

    Individual members of the SEDAR Pool meet to participate in stock assessments at the discretion of the Office of Sustainable Fisheries, NMFS. Stock assessment timing, frequency, and relevant species will vary depending on the needs determined by NMFS and SEDAR staff. In 2018, NMFS intends to update the Gulf of Mexico blacktip shark stock assessment. In 2019, NMFS intends to conduct a benchmark assessment for Atlantic blacktip sharks. During an assessment year, meetings and meeting logistics will be determined according to the SEDAR Guidelines. All meetings are open for observation by the public.

    Dated: November 27, 2017. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25872 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    COMMITTEE FOR PURCHASE FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE BLIND OR SEVERELY DISABLED Procurement List; Additions and Deletions AGENCY:

    Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled.

    ACTION:

    Additions to and deletions from the Procurement List.

    SUMMARY:

    This action adds products and services to the Procurement List that will be provided by nonprofit agency employing persons who are blind or have other severe disabilities, and deletes products from the Procurement List previously furnished by such agencies.

    DATES:

    Date added to the Procurement List: December 31, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled, 1401 S. Clark Street, Suite 715, Arlington, Virginia 22202-4149.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Amy B. Jensen, telephone: (703) 603-7740, fax: (703) 603-0655, or email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Additions

    On 7/1/2016 (81 FR, No. 127), 10/20/2017 (82 FR, No. 202), and 10/27/2017 (82 FR, No. 207), the Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled published notices of proposed addition to the Procurement List.

    After consideration of the material presented to it concerning capability of qualified nonprofit agency to provide the products and services and impact of the additions on the current or most recent contractors, the Committee has determined that the products and services listed below are suitable for procurement by the Federal Government under 41 U.S.C. 8501-8506 and 41 CFR 51-2.4.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    I certify that the following action will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. The major factors considered for this certification were:

    1. The action will not result in any additional reporting, recordkeeping or other compliance requirements for small entities other than the small organization that will provide the products and services to the Government.

    2. The action will result in authorizing small entities to provide the products and services to the Government.

    3. There are no known regulatory alternatives which would accomplish the objectives of the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act (41 U.S.C. 8501-8506) in connection with the products and services proposed for addition to the Procurement List.

    End of Certification

    Accordingly, the following products and services are added to the Procurement List:

    Products NSN—Product Name: 2540-00-678-3469—Chock, Wheel-Track, Wood, 9.5″ x 8″ Mandatory Source of Supply: NewView Oklahoma, Inc., Oklahoma City, OK Mandatory for: 100% of the requirement of the Department of Defense Contracting Activity: Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime NSNs—Product Names: 5180-00-NIB-0002—Evidence Kit, Individual Point of Capture 5180-00-NIB-0003—Evidence Kit, Leader Point of Capture 5180-00-NIB-0004—Evidence Kit, Team Evidence Collection 5180-00-NIB-0005—Evidence Kit, Platoon Evidence Collection Mandatory Source of Supply: Industries for the Blind, Inc., West Allis, WI Mandatory for: 100% of the requirement of the U.S. Army Contracting Activity: DEPT OF THE ARMY, W4GG HQ US ARMY TACOM Services Service Type: Janitorial Service Mandatory for: Federal Aviation Administration, Albany System Service Center, Albany ATCT & Base Building, 2415 Tower Lane, Albany, GA Mandatory Source of Supply: Power Works Industries, Inc., Columbus, GA Contracting Activity: FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION Service Type: Custodial Service Mandatory for: U.S. Army Reserve, Melvin Y Mora USARC, Bldgs. 30, 40, 41 & 44, 191 Soldiers Drive, St. Charles, MO Mandatory Source of Supply: MGI Services Corporation, St. Louis, MO Contracting Activity: DEPT OF THE ARMY, W6QM MICC FT MCCOY (RC) Deletions

    On 10/10/2017 (82 FR, No. 194), the Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled published notices of proposed deletions from the Procurement List. After consideration of the relevant matter presented, the Committee has determined that the products and services listed below are no longer suitable for procurement by the Federal Government under 41 U.S.C. 8501-8506 and 41 CFR 51-2.4.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    I certify that the following action will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. The major factors considered for this certification were:

    1. The action will not result in additional reporting, recordkeeping or other compliance requirements for small entities.

    2. The action may result in authorizing small entities to furnish the products to the Government.

    3. There are no known regulatory alternatives which would accomplish the objectives of the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act (41 U.S.C. 8501-8506) in connection with the products and services deleted from the Procurement List.

    End of Certification

    Accordingly, the following products are deleted from the Procurement List:

    Products NSNs—Product Names: 6532-00-159-4881—Smock, Mans Dental Operating 6532-00-926-9964—Smock, Mans Dental Operating 6532-00-926-9975—Smock, Mans Dental Operating 6532-00-926-9976—Smock, Mans Dental Operating Mandatory Source of Supply: Human Technologies Corporation, Utica, NY Contracting Activity: Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support NSNs—Product Names: 5510-00-NSH-0044—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0045—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0046—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0047—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0048—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0049—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0050—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0051—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0052—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0053—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0054—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0055—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0056—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0057—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0058—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0059—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0060—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0061—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0062—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0063—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0064—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0065—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0066—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0067—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0068—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0069—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0070—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0071—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0072—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0073—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0074—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0075—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0076—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0077—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0078—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0079—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0080—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0081—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0082—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0083—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0084—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0085—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0086—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0087—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0088—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0089—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0090—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0091—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0092—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0093—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0094—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0095—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0096—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0097—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0101—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0102—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0103—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0104—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0105—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood 5510-00-NSH-0106—Stakes/Lath, Survey, Wood Mandatory Source of Supply: Siskiyou Opportunity Center, Inc., Mt. Shasta, CA Contracting Activity: FOREST SERVICE, KLAMATH NATIONAL FOREST NSN—Product Name: 8470-00-NSH-0030—Improved Oxygen Harness Mandatory Source of Supply: Employment Source, Inc., Fayetteville, NC Contracting Activity: Army Contracting Command—Aberdeen Proving Ground, Natick Contracting Division. Patricia Briscoe, Deputy Director, Business Operations, (Pricing and Information Management).
    [FR Doc. 2017-25854 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6353-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary Uniform Formulary Beneficiary Advisory Panel; Notice of Federal Advisory Committee Meeting AGENCY:

    Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs), Department of Defense.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Federal Advisory Committee meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Defense is publishing this notice to announce a Federal Advisory Committee meeting of the Uniform Formulary Beneficiary Advisory Panel (hereafter referred to as the Panel).

    DATES:

    Open to the public on Thursday, January 4, 2018, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    Naval Heritage Center Theater, 701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20004.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Captain Edward C. Norton, United States Navy, Designated Federal Official, Uniform Formulary Beneficiary Advisory Panel, 7700 Arlington Boulevard, Suite 5101, Falls Church, VA 22042-5101. Email Address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This meeting is being held under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 (5 U.S.C., Appendix, as amended), the Government in the Sunshine Act of 1976 (5 U.S.C. 552b, as amended), and 41 CFR 102-3.140 and 102-3.150.

    Purpose of Meeting: The Panel will review and comment on recommendations made to the Director of the Defense Health Agency, by the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, regarding the Uniform Formulary.

    Meeting Agenda:

    1. Sign-In 2. Welcome and Opening Remarks 3. Scheduled Therapeutic Class Reviews (Comments will follow each agenda item) a. Weight Loss Agents b. Oncological Agents: Multiple Myeloma c. Prenatal Vitamins 4. Newly Approved Drugs Review 5. Pertinent Utilization Management Issues 6. Panel Discussions and Vote

    Meeting Accessibility: Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552b, as amended, and 41 CFR 102-3.140 through 102-3.165, and the availability of space, this meeting is open to the public. Seating is limited and will be provided only to the first 220 people signing-in. All persons must sign-in legibly.

    Written Statements: Pursuant to 41 CFR 102-3.140, the public or interested organizations may submit written statements to the membership of the Panel about its mission and/or the agenda to be addressed in this public meeting. Written statements should be submitted to the Panel's Designated Federal Officer (DFO). The DFO's contact information can be obtained in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

    Written comments or statements must be received by the committee DFO at least five (5) business days prior to the meeting so that they may be made available to the Panel for its consideration prior to the meeting. The DFO will review all submitted written statements and provide copies to all the committee members.

    Dated: November 28, 2017. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25899 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary Notice of a Pilot Program on Medication Therapy Management Under the TRICARE Program AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary, Department of Defense.

    ACTION:

    Notice of a Pilot Program.

    SUMMARY:

    Per Section 726 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, the Department of Defense (DoD) is implementing a 2-year Pilot Program, “Pilot Program on Medication Therapy Management Under TRICARE Program”. The Pilot Program will provide Medication Therapy Management (MTM) services to promote adherence and improve medication-related health outcomes for TRICARE beneficiaries (Beneficiaries) with more than one chronic medical condition and taking more than one medication. The Pilot Program will be conducted in three types of pharmacy settings. The intent of this Pilot Program is to evaluate the feasibility and desirability of including MTM as part of the TRICARE Program.

    DATES:

    The demonstration began on October 1, 2016, and will continue for no less than two years.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. David W. Bobb, Defense Health Agency, J-3 Pharmacy Operations Division, telephone 703-681-2890.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    A. Background

    Medicare Part D plans already provide MTM/clinical pharmacy services to Medicare beneficiaries at high risk of medication-related problems. The design of the DoD Pilot Program will consider best commercial practices in providing MTM services.

    The value of including clinical pharmacists on the PCMH care team is well documented in the literature as delivering improved outcomes, better medication adherence, and supports the tenets of healthcare reform including enhanced access, improved quality, reduced cost, and enhanced patient safety.

    Clinical pharmacists play a critical role in the success of care provided through the PCMH model. Utilizing clinical pharmacists has clearly shown the relationship between pharmacist involvement and positive patient outcomes especially in the optimization of medication therapy, medication adherence, and the reduction in polypharmacy users.

    B. Description of the Pilot Program

    Services will be offered by pharmacists at three different location types: (1) MTFs with a pharmacist embedded supporting a PCMH, (2) MTF pharmacies for beneficiaries who receive primary care services from providers outside an MTF but bring their prescriptions to the MTF pharmacy, and (3) pharmacies other than an MTF. MTM involves a pharmacist in the review of prescription history where the pharmacist works with the patient and their primary care provider to develop action plans for any medication-related problems. The overall goal of MTM is to open a dialogue with beneficiaries and include them in medication-related decision-making to optimize drug therapy, reduce medication-related problems, improve adherence to therapy, and improve health outcomes. As stated in Section 726, NDAA FY15, the 2-year pilot program's target population will be beneficiaries who have more than one chronic medical condition and are taking more than one medication.

    This pilot program will focus specifically on beneficiaries diagnosed with at least three chronic medical conditions and taking multiple medications. The following chronic medical conditions will be considered for this pilot: Alzheimer's disease, Chronic Heart Failure, Diabetes, Dyslipidemia, End-Stage Renal Disease, Hypertension, Respiratory Disease (Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease [COPD]), Rheumatoid Arthritis, Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Depression, and Polypharmacy. This is consistent with the intent of Section 726, NDAA FY 2015 of more than one chronic medical condition and taking more than one medication. Each site within the three location types will target an enrollment of 400 beneficiaries over at least 12 months, but not to exceed 24 months, providing up to 6 hours of contact per beneficiary per year.

    Selection for Location Type 1 will be from the existing PCMH empaneled population. MTM services will be provided by a pharmacist embedded in the PCMH. The following facilities will be included in the pilot program for Location Type 1: Fort Campbell, Naval Station Mayport, and Hill Air Force Base.

    Location Type 2 will include beneficiaries who use MTF pharmacies but receive medical care from providers in the purchased care sector. Beneficiaries will be notified of their eligibility to participate in the Pilot Program, and may choose to accept or decline participation. Beneficiaries participating in the Pilot Program at this location type generally do not receive primary care services from health care providers at MTFs. The following facilities will be included in the pilot program for Location Type 2: Fort Campbell, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, and Patrick Air Force Base.

    Location Type 3 will provide MTM services for beneficiaries receiving medical and pharmaceutical care outside of an MTF. Beneficiaries will be notified of their eligibility to participate in the Pilot Program, and may choose to accept or decline participation. The following areas will be included in the pilot program for Location Type 3: Denver, Colorado, Orlando, Florida, and Houston, Texas.

    MTM services will be provided by a pharmacist to beneficiaries empaneled in the pilot program. Appointments will be conducted face to face, over the telephone, and/or by video conferencing. MTM services will include a Comprehensive Medication Review (CMR) consisting of an assessment of the beneficiary's medication regimen, a comprehensive record of medications, a collaborative care agreement between the beneficiary and the pharmacist, communication with the beneficiary's healthcare providers, and documentation with follow up. CMR is conducted at the initial visit and annually thereafter. Interim Targeted Medication Reviews are offered quarterly to monitor unresolved issues requiring attention and to determine if new drug therapy problems have arisen. The pharmacist, in consultation with the beneficiary, reviews pertinent medical and prescription history and develops action plans to address medication-related problems.

    C. Evaluation

    The effect of MTM services on beneficiary use and outcomes of prescription medications and the cost of health care will be evaluated using established DoD metrics of Per Member Per Month (PMPM) and Pharmacy PMPM. Additional measures may include a review of changes in utilization of the emergency department, hospitalization rates and readmission rates. Beneficiary use and outcomes of prescription medications will assess medication adherence and disease related outcomes measures, when available.

    A report to Congress is required not later than 30 months after the start of the Pilot.

    Dated: November 27, 2017. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25823 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Notice Inviting Statements of Interest From Nonprofit Organizations Interested in Partnering To Expand the #GoOpen Network AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary, Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department through the Office of the Secretary's Office of Educational Technology (OET) created the #GoOpen Network in October of 2015, to support the use of openly licensed educational resources, by establishing a network of mentoring relationships with experienced districts and States providing support to those districts that were new to the use of open resources. To support this work, OET is seeking to select and partner with a nonprofit organization or a consortium of nonprofit organizations to further expand and enhance the network. Thus, this notice outlines the criteria to be used for selecting partner organizations; invites statements of interest from nonprofit organizations interested in partnering to build on and expand the #GoOpen network; and announces the date by which organizations must submit these statements of interest in order to be considered for selection.

    A call for statements of interest was first published in the blog post #GoOpen: More than a Hashtag on May 10, 2017. We are publishing a new request for statements of interest through this Federal Register notice in order to more widely publicize the call and reach a broader group of interested stakeholder organizations. Respondents to the previous call through the blog are encouraged to reapply by submitting a statement of interest in accordance with this notice; prior statements will not be considered.

    DATES:

    Deadline for transmittal of statements of interest: January 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your statement of interest electronically to [email protected] with the subject line “#GoOpen Statement of Interest.”

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sara Trettin, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 11152, Washington, DC 20202-7240. Telephone: (202) 453-6604 or by email: [email protected]

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department of Education's #GoOpen movement supports States and districts choosing to transition to the use of openly licensed educational resources by establishing a network of mentoring relationships between experienced districts and States and those new to the use of open educational resources.1 #GoOpen States and districts are sharing new approaches to professional learning for teachers, developing systems for tagging and curating resources that offer students and teachers options for personalizing learning, and building robust technology infrastructure to support curating, creating, adapting and sharing openly licensed educational resources. To date, #GoOpen has a network of 20 States and 114 districts committed to documenting and sharing their implementation strategies and partnering with committed nonprofit organizations, policymakers, foundations, and private-sector companies. The #GoOpen movement and the growing network of States, districts, and educators has not only provided a space for robust discussions about the merits of openly licensed educational resources but also supported broader dialogue and dissemination of information on the policies and practices that impact teaching, learning, and collaboration.

    1 Openly licensed educational resources, or open educational resources, are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under a license that permits their use, modification, and sharing with others.

    OET is interested in working with one or more nonprofit organizations or a consortium of nonprofit organizations to build on and expand the #GoOpen network. In addition to connecting additional States and districts to #GoOpen, the partnership will (1) engage education leaders across a network of States and districts to form regional communities of practice; (2) facilitate the sharing of openly licensed educational resources including those that are accessible (e.g., text to speech, captioning and highlighting features, embedded videos, font and size choices) and the dissemination of promising practices in teaching and learning; and (3) integrate evidence of the efficacy of openly licensed resources into the broader education policy dialogue.

    Criteria for Partner Organization(s): The organization(s) best suited to helping the Department build on and expand the #GoOpen network must be an existing nonprofit organization(s):

    (a) With experience assisting educators, such as teachers, district leaders, superintendents, and other educational resource and technology staff, in selecting and implementing a variety of digital and non-digital learning strategies. The organization(s) must have specific expertise in providing assistance to stakeholders with respect to sharing, using, and collaborating on the use of open educational resources using a variety of digital learning platforms. In addition, the organization(s) must have a positive record of leading or coordinating discussions on a range of education policy issues, especially related to the promise and perils of digital learning and increasing educational opportunity for an increasingly diverse student population, including children with disabilities who can use or require technology accommodations;

    (b) That commits to collaborate with OET in providing leadership in the development of regional communities of practice and building networks of impact comprising a strong and diverse consortium of committed partner organizations. The organization(s) must coordinate with OET to (1) design the structure of the expanded #GoOpen network; (2) in collaboration with OET, design, develop, and lead outreach activities geared toward developing a coalition of local leaders and regional communities of practice; (3) create experiences (e.g. in-person and virtual professional learning opportunities, etc.) that encourage States, districts, and educators to build on initial commitments; (4) capture and share promising practices; (5) integrate evidence of the efficacy of openly licensed resources into the broader education policy dialogue; and (6) advance the education policy dialogue (e.g. through articles, presentations, etc.) on the use of technology to transform learning; and

    (c) With the resources necessary to support its own activities during this partnership. OET will not provide funding for organization(s) in this partnership.2

    2 Note that this is not a notice inviting applications for any grant program.

    Submission Requirements: Interested organizations must submit a statement of interest that describes:

    (a) The organization's experience assisting educators in selecting and implementing digital and non-digital learning strategies;

    (b) The organization's expertise in providing assistance to stakeholders with respect to sharing, using, and collaborating on the use of open educational resources using a variety of digital learning platforms;

    (c) The organization's record of leading or coordinating discussion on a range of education policy issues;

    (d) The organization's commitment to collaborate with OET in providing leadership in the development of regional communities of practice and building networks of impact comprising a strong and diverse consortium of committed partner organizations;

    (e) A possible design for the structure of the expanded #GoOpen network;

    (f) The organization's role and approach to scaling the #GoOpen movement through regional communities of practice;

    (g) The organization's approach to creating experiences that encourage States, districts, and educators to build on initial commitments and capturing and sharing promising practices;

    (h) The organization's strategy to integrate evidence of the efficacy of openly licensed resources into the broader education policy dialogue and advance the education policy dialogue on the use of technology to transform learning;

    (i) How the organization will support its own activities during this partnership;

    (j) Any other information relevant to the organization's experience in education or technology policy; and how it might carry out the activities to partner with the Department and otherwise help to implement the #GoOpen network, and

    (k) Contact information (name of the organization, address, contact person's name, email address etc.).

    Each statement of interest will be evaluated by taking into account the submission requirements listed above.

    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: November 28, 2017. Joe Conaty, Office of the Secretary, Acting Director for the Office of Educational Technology.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25913 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No. ED-2017-ICCD-0146] Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Survey of Postgraduate Outcomes for the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship Program (Tracking Survey) AGENCY:

    Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE), Department of Education (ED).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, ED is proposing a reinstatement of a previously approved information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before January 30, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    To access and review all the documents related to the information collection listed in this notice, please use http://www.regulations.gov by searching the Docket ID number ED-2017-ICCD-0146. Comments submitted in response to this notice should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov by selecting the Docket ID number or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. Please note that comments submitted by fax or email and those submitted after the comment period will not be accepted. Written requests for information or comments submitted by postal mail or delivery should be addressed to the Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., LBJ, Room 216-34, Washington, DC 20202-4537.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Sara Starke, 202-453-7681.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department of Education (ED), in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps the Department assess the impact of its information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand the Department's information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. ED is soliciting comments on the proposed information collection request (ICR) that is described below. The Department of Education is especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the Department; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Department minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology. Please note that written comments received in response to this notice will be considered public records.

    Title of Collection: Survey of Postgraduate Outcomes for the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship Program (Tracking Survey).

    OMB Control Number: 1840-0829.

    Type of Review: A reinstatement of a previously approved information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: Individuals or Households.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 2,400.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 600.

    Abstract: This survey is used by the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) grantee institutions and fellows to comply with 20 U.S.C. 1121(d). Fellows complete the survey online, and the Department accesses and reports on the collected data regarding fellows' postgraduate employment. The survey is required by statute.

    Dated: November 28, 2017. Kate Mullan, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25918 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No. ED-2017-ICCD-0147] Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Survey of Postgraduate Outcomes for the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) Program (Tracking Survey) AGENCY:

    Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE), Department of Education (ED).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, ED is proposing a new information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before January 30, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    To access and review all the documents related to the information collection listed in this notice, please use http://www.regulations.gov by searching the Docket ID number ED-2017-ICCD-0147. Comments submitted in response to this notice should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov by selecting the Docket ID number or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. Please note that comments submitted by fax or email and those submitted after the comment period will not be accepted. Written requests for information or comments submitted by postal mail or delivery should be addressed to the Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., LBJ, Room 216-34, Washington, DC 20202-4537.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Sara Starke, 202-453-7681.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department of Education (ED), in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps the Department assess the impact of its information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand the Department's information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. ED is soliciting comments on the proposed information collection request (ICR) that is described below. The Department of Education is especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the Department; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Department minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology. Please note that written comments received in response to this notice will be considered public records.

    Title of Collection: Survey of Postgraduate Outcomes for the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) Program (Tracking Survey).

    OMB Control Number: 1840-NEW.

    Type of Review: A new information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: Individuals or Households.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 90.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 23.

    Abstract: This survey will be used by the Postgraduate Outcomes for the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) grantee institutions and fellows to provide information used by the Department in responding to DDRA GPRA performance and efficiency measures. Fellows will complete the survey online, and the Department will access and report on the collected data regarding fellows' postgraduate employment. The survey is necessary in order to respond to GPRA.

    Dated: November 28, 2017. Kate Mullan, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25919 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [ER-FRL-9036-4] Environmental Impact Statements; Notice of Availability

    Responsible Agency: Office of Federal Activities, General Information (202) 564-7146 or http://www2.epa.gov/ nepa/.

    Weekly receipt of Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) Filed 11/20/2017 Through 11/24/2017 Pursuant to 40 CFR 1506.9. Notice

    Section 309(a) of the Clean Air Act requires that EPA make public its comments on EISs issued by other Federal agencies. EPA's comment letters on EISs are available at: https://cdxnodengn.epa.gov/cdx-nepa-public/action/eis/search.

    EIS No. 20170234, Final, USMC, DC, Multiple Projects in Support of Marine Barracks Washington, DC, Review Period Ends: 01/02/2018, Contact: Ms. Julie Darsie (202) 685-1754. EIS No. 20170235, Final Supplement, FTA, CA, Westside Purple Line Extension Section 4(f) Evaluation, Review Period Ends: 01/02/2018, Contact: Mary Nguyen 2132023960. Dated: November 28, 2017. Kelly Knight, Director, NEPA Compliance Division, Office of Federal Activities.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25907 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [FRL-9971-29-OW] Information Session; Implementation of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014; Correction AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice; correction.

    SUMMARY:

    EPA issued a notice in the Federal Register of November 14, 2017, concerning an information session planned on January 17, 2018 in Washington, DC from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. This document is being issued to correct an error of the time zone. The purpose the session is to provide prospective borrowers with a better understanding of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program requirements and application process.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For further information about this notice, including registration information, contact Karen Fligger, EPA Headquarters, Office of Water, Office of Wastewater Management at tel.: 202-564-2992; or email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: What does this correction do?

    In the Federal Register of November 14, 2017 (82 FR 52722) (FRL-9970-62-OW), FR Doc. 2017-24639, on page 52722, in the third column, under the heading DATES, the time zone is corrected to read: ET.

    Authority:

    Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, 33 U.S.C. 3901 et seq.

    Dated: November 16, 2017. Andrew D. Sawyers, Director, Office of Wastewater Management.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25935 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION Notice to All Interested Parties of Intent To Terminate the Receivership of 10189, Rainier Pacific Bank, Tacoma, Washington

    Notice is hereby given that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC or Receiver) as Receiver for Rainier Pacific Bank, Tacoma, Washington, intends to terminate its receivership for said institution. The FDIC was appointed Receiver of Rainier Pacific Bank on February 26, 2010. 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: November 27, 2017. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25873 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6714-01-P
    FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding Companies

    The companies listed in this notice have applied to the Board for approval, pursuant to the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (12 U.S.C. 1841 et seq.) (BHC Act), Regulation Y (12 CFR 225), and all other applicable statutes and regulations to become a bank holding company and/or to acquire the assets or the ownership of, control of, or the power to vote shares of a bank or bank holding company and all of the banks and nonbanking companies owned by the bank holding company, including the companies listed below.

    The applications listed below, as well as other related filings required by the Board, are available for immediate inspection at the Federal Reserve Bank indicated. The applications will also be available for inspection at the offices of the Board of Governors. Interested persons may express their views in writing on the standards enumerated in the BHC Act (12 U.S.C. 1842(c)). If the proposal also involves the acquisition of a nonbanking company, the review also includes whether the acquisition of the nonbanking company complies with the standards in section 4 of the BHC Act (12 U.S.C. 1843). Unless otherwise noted, nonbanking activities will be conducted throughout the United States.

    Unless otherwise noted, comments regarding each of these applications must be received at the Reserve Bank indicated or the offices of the Board of Governors not later than December 29, 2017.

    A. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (David L. Hubbard, Senior Manager) P.O. Box 442, St. Louis, Missouri 63166-2034. Comments can also be sent electronically to [email protected]:

    1. McGehee Bank Employee Stock Ownership Plan, McGehee, Arkansas; to acquire additional voting shares for a total of 35 percent, of Southeast Financial Bankstock Corp., and thereby indirectly acquire shares of McGehee Bank, both of McGehee, Arkansas.

    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, November 28, 2017. Ann E. Misback, Secretary of the Board.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25908 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6210-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [Docket Number CDC-2017-0114, NIOSH-305] Draft—National Occupational Research Agenda for Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities AGENCY:

    National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

    ACTION:

    Request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announces the availability of a draft NORA Agenda entitled National Occupational Research Agenda for Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities for public comment. To view the notice and related materials, visit https://www.regulations.gov and enter CDC-2017-0114 in the search field and click “Search.”

    Table of Contents Dates Addresses For Further Information Contact Supplementary Information Background
    DATES:

    Electronic or written comments must be received by January 30, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by CDC-2017-0114 and docket number NIOSH-305, by any of the following methods:

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

    Mail: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH Docket Office, 1090 Tusculum Avenue, MS C-34, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226-1998.

    Instructions: All submissions received in response to this notice must include the agency name and docket number [CDC-2017-0114; NIOSH-305]. All relevant comments received will be posted without change to https://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to https://www.regulations.gov. All information received in response to this notice will also be available for public examination and copying at the NIOSH Docket Office, 1150 Tusculum Avenue, Room 155, Cincinnati, OH 45226-1998.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Emily Novicki ([email protected]), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mailstop E-20, 1600 Clifton Road NE., Atlanta, GA 30329, phone (404) 498-2581 (not a toll free number).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) is a partnership program created to stimulate innovative research and improved workplace practices. The national agenda is developed and implemented through the NORA sector and cross-sector councils. Each council develops and maintains an agenda for its sector or cross-sector.

    Background: The National Occupational Research Agenda for Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities (TWU) is intended to identify the research, information, and actions most urgently needed to prevent occupational illnesses and injuries in the TWU sector. The National Occupational Research Agenda for TWU provides a vehicle for stakeholders to describe the most relevant issues, gaps, and safety and health needs for the sector. Each NORA research agenda is meant to guide or promote high priority research efforts on a national level, conducted by various entities, including: Government, higher education, and the private sector.

    The first National Occupational Research Agenda for TWU was published in 2009 for the second decade of NORA (2006-2016). This draft is an updated agenda for the third decade of NORA (2016-2026). The revised agenda was developed considering new information about injuries and illnesses, the state of the science, and the probability that new information and approaches will make a difference. As the steward of the NORA process, NIOSH invites comments on the draft National Occupational Research Agenda for TWU. Comments expressing support or with specific recommendations to improve the Agenda are requested. A copy of the draft Agenda is available at https://www.regulations.gov (see Docket Number CDC-2017-0114).

    John Howard, Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25876 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163-19-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2017-P-4027] Determination That METICORTEN (Prednisone) Tablets, 1 Milligram and 5 Milligrams, Were Not Withdrawn From Sale for Reasons of Safety or Effectiveness AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) has determined that METICORTEN (prednisone) tablets, 1 milligram (mg) and 5 mg, were not withdrawn from sale for reasons of safety or effectiveness. This determination means that FDA will not begin procedures to withdraw approval of abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs) that refer to this drug product, and it will allow FDA to continue to approve ANDAs that refer to the product as long as they meet relevant legal and regulatory requirements.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Meadow Platt, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 51, Rm. 6228, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 301-796-1830, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In 1984, Congress enacted the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984 (Pub. L. 98-417) (the 1984 amendments), which authorized the approval of duplicate versions of drug products under an ANDA procedure. ANDA applicants must, with certain exceptions, show that the drug for which they are seeking approval contains the same active ingredient in the same strength and dosage form as the “listed drug,” which is a version of the drug that was previously approved. ANDA applicants do not have to repeat the extensive clinical testing otherwise necessary to gain approval of a new drug application (NDA).

    The 1984 amendments include what is now section 505(j)(7) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 355(j)(7)), which requires FDA to publish a list of all approved drugs. FDA publishes this list as part of the “Approved Drug Products With Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations,” which is known generally as the “Orange Book.” Under FDA regulations, drugs are removed from the list if the Agency withdraws or suspends approval of the drug's NDA or ANDA for reasons of safety or effectiveness or if FDA determines that the listed drug was withdrawn from sale for reasons of safety or effectiveness (21 CFR 314.162).

    A person may petition the Agency to determine, or the Agency may determine on its own initiative, whether a listed drug was withdrawn from sale for reasons of safety or effectiveness. This determination may be made at any time after the drug has been withdrawn from sale, but must be made prior to approving an ANDA that refers to the listed drug (§ 314.161 (21 CFR 314.161)). FDA may not approve an ANDA that does not refer to a listed drug.

    METICORTEN (prednisone) tablets, 1 mg and 5 mg, are the subject of NDA 09-766, held by Schering Corporation (Schering), and initially approved on February 21, 1955. METICORTEN is indicated for the following:

    1. Allergic states: Control of severe or incapacitating allergic conditions intractable to adequate trials of conventional treatment in asthma, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, drug hypersensitivity reactions, perennial or seasonal allergic rhinitis, serum sickness;

    2. Dermatologic diseases: Bullous dermatitis herpetiformis, exfoliative erythroderma, mycosis fungoides, pemphigus, severe erythema multiforme (Stevens-Johnson syndrome);

    3. Endocrine disorders: Primary or secondary adrenocortical insufficiency (hydrocortisone or cortisone is the drug of choice; synthetic analogs may be used in conjunction with mineralocorticoids where applicable; in infancy, mineralocorticoid supplementation is of particular importance), congenital adrenal hyperplasia, hypercalcemia associated with cancer, nonsuppurative thyroiditis;

    4. Gastrointestinal diseases: To tide the patient over a critical period of the disease in regional enteritis and ulcerative colitis;

    5. Hematologic disorders: Acquired (autoimmune) hemolytic anemia, Diamond-Blackfan anemia, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura in adults, pure red cell aplasia, selected cases of secondary thrombocytopenia;

    6. Miscellaneous: Trichinosis with neurologic or myocardial involvement, tuberculous meningitis with subarachnoid block or impending block when used with appropriate antituberculous chemotherapy;

    7. Neoplastic diseases: For the palliative management of leukemias and lymphomas;

    8. Nervous system: Acute exacerbations of multiple sclerosis; cerebral edema associated with primary or metastatic brain tumor, craniotomy, or head injury;

    9. Ophthalmic diseases: Sympathetic ophthalmia, temporal arteritis, uveitis and ocular inflammatory conditions unresponsive to topical corticosteroids;

    10. Renal diseases: To induce diuresis or remission of proteinuria in idiopathic nephrotic syndrome or that due to lupus erythematosus;

    11. Respiratory diseases: Berylliosis, fulminating or disseminated pulmonary tuberculosis when used concurrently with appropriate antituberculous chemotherapy, idiopathic eosinophilic pneumonias, symptomatic sarcoidosis; and

    12. Rheumatic disorders: As adjunctive therapy for short-term administration (to tide the patient over an acute episode or exacerbation) in acute gouty arthritis; acute rheumatic carditis; ankylosing spondylitis; psoriatic arthritis; rheumatoid arthritis, including juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (selected cases may require low-dose maintenance therapy). For the treatment of dermatomyositis, polymyositis, and systemic lupus erythematosus.

    In a letter dated November 1, 2001, Schering requested withdrawal of NDA 09-766 for METICORTEN (prednisone). In the Federal Register of October 10, 2002 (67 FR 63107), FDA announced that it was withdrawing approval of NDA 09-766, effective November 12, 2002.

    Strides Pharma, Inc., submitted a citizen petition dated July 1, 2017 (Docket No. FDA-2017-P-4027), under 21 CFR 10.30, requesting that the Agency determine whether METICORTEN (prednisone) tablets, 1 mg and 5 mg, were withdrawn from sale for reasons of safety or effectiveness.

    After considering the citizen petition and reviewing Agency records and based on the information we have at this time, FDA has determined under § 314.161 that METICORTEN (prednisone) tablets, 1 mg and 5 mg, were not withdrawn for reasons of safety or effectiveness. The petitioner has identified no data or other information suggesting that these products were withdrawn for reasons of safety or effectiveness. We have carefully reviewed our files for records concerning the withdrawal of METICORTEN (prednisone) tablets, 1 mg and 5 mg, from sale. We have also independently evaluated relevant literature and data for possible postmarketing adverse events. We have reviewed the available evidence and determined that this drug product was not withdrawn from sale for reasons of safety or effectiveness.

    Accordingly, the Agency will continue to list METICORTEN (prednisone) tablets, 1 mg and 5 mg, in the “Discontinued Drug Product List” section of the Orange Book. The “Discontinued Drug Product List” delineates, among other items, drug products that have been discontinued from marketing for reasons other than safety or effectiveness. FDA will not begin procedures to withdraw approval of approved ANDAs that refer to this drug product. Additional ANDAs for this drug product may also be approved by the Agency as long as they meet all other legal and regulatory requirements for the approval of ANDAs. If FDA determines that labeling for this drug product should be revised to meet current standards, the Agency will advise ANDA applicants to submit such labeling.

    Dated: November 27, 2017. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25900 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2017-N-6293] Antimicrobial Drugs Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting; Establishment of a Public Docket; Request for Comments AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice; establishment of a public docket; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) announces a forthcoming public advisory committee meeting of the Antimicrobial Drugs Advisory Committee. The general function of the committee is to provide advice and recommendations to the Agency on FDA's regulatory issues. The meeting will be open to the public. FDA is establishing a docket for public comment on this document.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on January 11, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    College Park Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, Chesapeake Ballroom, 3501 University Blvd. East, Hyattsville, MD 20783. The conference center's telephone number is 301-985-7300. Answers to commonly asked questions about FDA Advisory Committee meetings may be accessed at: https://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/AboutAdvisoryCommittees/ucm408555.htm.

    FDA is establishing a docket for public comment on this meeting. The docket number is FDA-2017-N-6293. The docket will close on January 10, 2018. Submit either electronic or written comments on this public meeting by January 10, 2018. Please note that late, untimely filed comments will not be considered. Electronic comments must be submitted on or before January 10, 2018. The https://www.regulations.gov electronic filing system will accept comments until midnight Eastern Time at the end of January 10, 2018. 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.

    Comments received on or before December 27, 2017, will be provided to the committee. Comments received after that date will be taken into consideration by the Agency.

    You may submit comments as follows:

    Electronic Submissions

    Submit electronic comments in the following way:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: 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-6293 for “Antimicrobial Drugs Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting; Establishment of a Public Docket; Request for Comments.” 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 the 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:

    Lauren D. Tesh, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 31, Rm. 2417, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 301-796-9001, Fax: 301-847-8533, email: [email protected], or FDA Advisory Committee Information Line, 1-800-741-8138 (301-443-0572 in the Washington, DC area). A notice in the Federal Register about last minute modifications that impact a previously announced advisory committee meeting cannot always be published quickly enough to provide timely notice. Therefore, you should always check the Agency's Web site at https://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/default.htm and scroll down to the appropriate advisory committee meeting link, or call the advisory committee information line to learn about possible modifications before coming to the meeting.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Agenda: The committee will discuss new drug application (NDA) 210693, ciprofloxacin dispersion for inhalation, sponsored by Aradigm Corp., for the proposed indication of treatment of non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis patients with chronic lung infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

    FDA intends to make background material available to the public no later than 2 business days before the meeting. If FDA is unable to post the background material on its Web site prior to the meeting, the background material will be made publicly available at the location of the advisory committee meeting, and the background material will be posted on FDA's Web site after the meeting. Background material is available at https://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/Calendar/default.htm. Scroll down to the appropriate advisory committee meeting link.

    Procedure: Interested persons may present data, information, or views, orally or in writing, on issues pending before the committee. All electronic and written submissions submitted to the Docket (see ADDRESSES) on or before December 27, 2017, will be provided to the committee. Oral presentations from the public will be scheduled between approximately 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Those individuals interested in making formal oral presentations should notify the contact person and submit a brief statement of the general nature of the evidence or arguments they wish to present, the names and addresses of proposed participants, and an indication of the approximate time requested to make their presentation on or before December 18, 2017. Time allotted for each presentation may be limited. If the number of registrants requesting to speak is greater than can be reasonably accommodated during the scheduled open public hearing session, FDA may conduct a lottery to determine the speakers for the scheduled open public hearing session. The contact person will notify interested persons regarding their request to speak by December 19, 2017.

    Persons attending FDAs advisory committee meetings are advised that the Agency is not responsible for providing access to electrical outlets.

    FDA welcomes the attendance of the public at its advisory committee meetings and will make every effort to accommodate persons with disabilities. If you require special accommodations due to a disability, please contact Lauren D. Tesh at least 7 days in advance of the meeting.

    FDA is committed to the orderly conduct of its advisory committee meetings. Please visit our Web site at https://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/AboutAdvisoryCommittees/ucm111462.htm for procedures on public conduct during advisory committee meetings.

    Notice of this meeting is given under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. app. 2).

    Dated: November 24, 2017. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25911 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2017-N-6591] Barr Laboratories, Inc. et al.; Withdrawal of Approval of 68 Abbreviated New Drug Applications AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) is withdrawing approval of 68 abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs) from multiple applicants. The holders of the applications notified the Agency in writing that the drug products were no longer marketed and requested that the approval of the applications be withdrawn.

    DATES:

    Approval is withdrawn as of January 2, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Trang Tran, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 75, Rm. 1671, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 240-402-7945.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The holders of the applications listed in table 1 in this document have informed FDA that these drug products are no longer marketed and have requested that FDA withdraw approval of the applications under the process in § 314.150(c) (21 CFR 314.150(c)). The applicants have also, by their requests, waived their opportunity for a hearing. Withdrawal of approval of an application or abbreviated application under § 314.150(c) is without prejudice to refiling.

    Table 1 Application No. Drug Applicant ANDA 040135 Estropipate Tablets USP, 0.75 milligrams (mg), 1.5 mg, and 3 mg Barr Laboratories, Inc., Subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., 425 Privet Rd., Horsham, PA 19044. ANDA 040755 Carisoprodol Tablets USP, 350 mg Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd., c/o Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc., 270 Prospect Plains Rd., Cranbury, NJ 08512. ANDA 062588 Gentamicin Sulfate in 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, Equivalent to (EQ) 1.2 mg base/milliliter (mL), EQ 1.4 mg base/mL, EQ 1.6 mg base/mL, EQ 1.8 mg base/mL, EQ 2 mg base/mL, EQ 60 mg base/100 mL, EQ 70 mg base/100 mL, EQ 80 mg base/100 mL, EQ 90 mg base/100 mL, and EQ 100 mg base/100 mL Hospira, Inc., a Pfizer Company, 275 North Field Dr., Bldg. H1, Lake Forest, IL 60045. ANDA 062591 Kefurox (cefuroxime) for Injection USP, EQ 750 mg base/vial, EQ 1.5 grams (g) base/vial, and EQ 7.5 g base/vial ACS Dobfar S.p.A., c/o Interchem Corp., 120 Route 17 North, Paramus, NJ 07652. ANDA 062756 Primaxin IV (imipenem and cilastatin) for Injection USP, 250 mg/vial; EQ 250 mg base/vial and 500 mg/vial; EQ 500 mg base/vial Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., Subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., 1 Merck Dr., P.O. Box 100, Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889. ANDA 063207 Cefazolin for Injection USP, EQ 1 g base/vial Facta Farmaceutici S.p.A., c/o Interchem Corp., 120 Route 17 North, Suite 115, Paramus, NJ 07652. ANDA 063209 Cefazolin for Injection USP, EQ 10 g base/vial and EQ 20 g base/vial (Pharmacy Bulk Package) Do. ANDA 063214 Cefazolin for Injection USP, EQ 500 mg base/vial Do. ANDA 063263 Amikacin Sulfate Injection USP, EQ 50 mg base/mL Hospira, Inc. ANDA 065268 Ceftriaxone for Injection USP, EQ 1 g base/vial and EQ 2 g base/vial Facta Farmaceutici S.p.A. ANDA 065269 Ceftriaxone for Injection USP, EQ 10 g base/vial (Pharmacy Bulk Package) Do. ANDA 065348 Cefotaxime for Injection USP, EQ 10 g base/vial (Pharmacy Bulk Package) Cephazone Pharma, LLC, 250 E. Bonita Ave., Pomona, CA 91767. ANDA 065464 Cefoxitin for Injection USP, EQ 10 g base/vial (Pharmacy Bulk Package) ACS Dobfar S.p.A. ANDA 065467 Cefoxitin for Injection USP, EQ 1 g base/vial and EQ 2 g base/vial Do. ANDA 070048 Cotrim D.S. (sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim) Tablets USP, 800 mg/160 mg Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., 425 Privet Rd., Horsham, PA 19044. ANDA 070195 Valproic Acid Capsules USP, 250 mg Catalent Pharma Solutions, LLC, 2725 Scherer Dr. North, St. Petersburg, FL 33716. ANDA 070513 Tolazamide Tablets USP, 100 mg Watson Laboratories, Inc., Subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., 425 Privet Rd., Horsham, PA 19044. ANDA 070514 Tolazamide Tablets USP, 250 mg Do. ANDA 071358 Tolazamide Tablets USP, 250 mg Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc., 270 Prospect Plains Rd., Cranbury, NJ 08512. ANDA 071359 Tolazamide Tablets USP, 500 mg Do. ANDA 071667 Ibuprofen Tablets USP, 600 mg Pliva, Inc., Subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., 425 Privet Rd., Horsham, PA 19044. ANDA 071668 Ibuprofen Tablets USP, 800 mg Do. ANDA 071735 Ibuprofen Tablets USP, 200 mg Contract Pharmacal Corp., c/o SciRegs International Inc., 6333 Summercrest Dr., Columbia, MD 21045. ANDA 071773 Ibuprofen Tablets USP, 200 mg Pliva, Inc., Subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. ANDA 073254 Loperamide Hydrochloride (HCl) Tablets USP, 2 mg Contract Pharmacal Corp. ANDA 074075 Clemastine Fumarate Syrup, EQ 0.5 mg base/5 mL Actavis Mid Atlantic, LLC, Subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., 425 Privet Rd., Horsham, PA 19044. ANDA 074536 Haloperidol Oral Solution USP, EQ 1 mg base/mL Do. ANDA 074782 Ibuprofen Capsules, 200 mg Contract Pharmacal Corp. ANDA 074789 Naproxen Sodium Tablets USP, EQ 200 mg base Do. ANDA 074931 Ibuprofen Tablets USP, 200 mg Do. ANDA 074961 Cimetidine Tablets USP, 200 mg Do. ANDA 074963 Cimetidine Tablets USP, 200 mg Do. ANDA 075094 Ranitidine Tablets USP, EQ 75 mg base Do. ANDA 075588 Ibuprofen and Pseudoephedrine HCl Tablets USP, 200 mg/30 mg Do. ANDA 077058 Pantoprazole Sodium Delayed-Release Tablets USP, EQ 20 mg base and EQ 40 mg base Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd. ANDA 077172 Ondansetron Injection USP, EQ 2 mg base/mL Do. ANDA 077329 Octreotide Acetate Injection, EQ 0.05 mg base/mL, EQ 0.1 mg base/mL, and EQ 0.5 mg base/mL Do. ANDA 077330 Octreotide Acetate Injection, EQ 0.2 mg base/mL Do. ANDA 077331 Octreotide Acetate Injection, EQ 1 mg base/mL Do. ANDA 078108 Sertraline HCl Tablets, EQ 25 mg base, EQ 50 mg base, and EQ 100 mg base Do. ANDA 078478 Torsemide Tablets, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, and 100 mg Do. ANDA 083000 Folic Acid Tablets, 1 mg Ivax Pharmaceutical USA, Inc., Subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., 425 Privet Rd., Horsham, PA 19044. ANDA 085549 Reserpine, Hydralazine HCl, and Hydrochlorothiazide Tablets, 0.1 mg/25 mg/15 mg Watson Laboratories, Inc., Subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. ANDA 086109 Tolbutamide Tablets USP, 500 mg Do. ANDA 086577 Trimethobenzamide HCl Injection, 100 mg/mL Do. ANDA 087191 Triamcinolone Acetonide Lotion USP, 0.025% Alpharma U.S. Pharms, Subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., 425 Privet Rd., Horsham, PA 19044. ANDA 087398 Spironolactone and Hydrochlorothiazide Tablets USP, 25 mg/25 mg Watson Laboratories, Inc., Subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. ANDA 088229 Thioridazine HCl Oral Solution USP, 100 mg/mL Actavis Mid Atlantic, LLC, Subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. ANDA 088563 Thioridazine HCl Tablets USP, 50 mg Watson Laboratories, Inc., Subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. ANDA 088567 Thioridazine HCl Tablets USP, 25 mg Do. ANDA 088733 Meclizine HCl Tablets, 25 mg (Chewable) Pliva, Inc., Subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. ANDA 088869 Thioridazine HCl Tablets USP, 150 mg Watson Laboratories, Inc., Subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. ANDA 090800 Quinapril Tablets USP, EQ 5 mg base, EQ 10 mg base, EQ 20 mg base, and EQ 40 mg base Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd. ANDA 091177 Anastrozole Tablets, 1 mg Do. ANDA 091466 Letrozole Tablets USP, 2.5 mg Do. ANDA 200486 Norethindrone and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets USP, 0.5 mg/0.035 mg, 0.75 mg/0.035 mg, and 1 mg/0.035 mg Mylan Laboratories, Ltd., c/o Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 781 Chestnut Ridge Rd., P.O. Box 4310, Morgantown, WV 26504. ANDA 200488 Norethindrone and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets USP, 0.5 mg/0.035 mg Do. ANDA 200489 Norethindrone and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets USP, 1 mg/0.035 mg Do. ANDA 201250 Vancomycin HCl for Injection USP, EQ 5 g base/vial and EQ 10 g base/vial (Pharmacy Bulk Package) Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. ANDA 201251 Vancomycin HCl for Injection USP, EQ 500 mg base/vial and EQ 1 g base/vial Do. ANDA 201828 Norgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets USP, 0.3 mg/0.03 mg Mylan Laboratories, Ltd. ANDA 202203 Topotecan HCl for Injection, EQ 4 mg base/vial Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd. ANDA 202746 Zoledronic Acid Injection, EQ 4 mg base/5 mL Sun Pharma Global FZE, c/o Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc., 2 Independence Way, Princeton, NJ 08540. ANDA 202875 Norgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets USP, 0.5 mg/0.05 mg Mylan Laboratories, Ltd. ANDA 203476 Zolmitriptan Tablets, 2.5 mg and 5 mg Sun Pharma Global FZE. ANDA 203685 Irbesartan Tablets USP, 75 mg, 150 mg, and 300 mg Ajanta Pharma Ltd., c/o Ajanta Pharma USA, Inc., One Grande Commons, 440 US Highway 22 East, Suite 150, Bridgewater, NJ 08807. ANDA 203838 Hydrocodone Bitartrate, Chlorpheniramine Maleate, and Pseudoephedrine HCl Oral Solution, 5 mg/4 mg/60 mg per 5 mL Tris Pharma, Inc., 2033 Route 130, Monmouth Junction, NJ 08852. ANDA 203839 Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Pseudoephedrine HCl Oral Solution, 5 mg/60 mg per 5 mL Do.

    Therefore, approval of the applications listed in table 1 of this document, and all amendments and supplements thereto, is hereby withdrawn as of January 2, 2018. Introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of products without approved new drug applications violates section 301(a) and (d) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 331(a) and (d)). Drug products that are listed in table 1 that are in inventory on the date that this notice becomes effective (see the DATES section) may continue to be dispensed until the inventories have been depleted or the drug products have reached their expiration dates or otherwise become violative, whichever occurs first.

    Dated: November 27, 2017. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy..
    [FR Doc. 2017-25920 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics: Teleconference

    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 Meeting.

    Dates and Times:

    Tuesday, January 9, 2018: 9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. ET Wednesday, January 10, 2018: 8:45 a.m.-3:00 p.m. ET

    Place: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Avenue SW., Rm. 705A, Washington, DC 20201.

    Status: Open.

    Purpose: At the January 9-10, 2018 full meeting, the Committee will hear presentations, hold discussions on several health data policy topics and begin work on activities outlined in the NCVHS 2018 workplan. An environmental scan report will be reviewed and discussed by the full Committee as part of the Health Information Privacy and Security Beyond HIPAA project. This effort includes 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. The Population Health Subcommittee will focus on Next Generation Vital Statistics in follow up to the hearing held September 11-12, 2017 and subsequent analyses conducted following the hearing. The purpose of the hearing was to assess the current state of the national vital statistics system (NVSS) to address concerns regarding sustainability and viability of the system infrastructure. Also addressed was 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. The Committee will discuss concerns regarding decreased access to county and community-level data and potential plans to conduct work to address the issue. The Committee will also discuss the Predictability Roadmap as part of the Standards Subcommittee's project to identify 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); health terminology & vocabulary development, maintenance, and dissemination processes; and mapping out activities and timelines for the Committee's 2018 work.

    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: November 27, 2017. Laina Bush, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25895 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4151-05-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Nominations to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Department of Health and Human Services.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) is seeking nominations of qualified individuals to be considered for appointment as members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). The PACHA is a federal advisory committee within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Management support for the activities of this Council is the responsibility of the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy in the OASH. The qualified individuals will be nominated to the Secretary of Health and Human Services for consideration for appointment as members of the PACHA. Members of the Council, including the Chair, are appointed by the Secretary. Members are invited to serve on the Council for up to four-year terms. The Council was established to provide advice, information, and recommendations to the Secretary regarding programs and policies intended to promote effective prevention and care of HIV infection and AIDS. The functions of the Council are solely advisory in nature.

    DATES:

    All nominations must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. (ET) on January 2, 2018 to the address listed below.

    ADDRESSES:

    All nominations should be mailed or delivered to Ms. B. Kaye Hayes, Executive Director, PACHA, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, 330 C Street SW., Room L100B, Washington, DC 20024.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Caroline Talev, Public Health Analyst, Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, 330 C Street SW., Room L106B, Washington, DC 20024; (202) 795-7622 or [email protected] More detailed information about PACHA can be obtained by accessing the Council's page on the HIV.gov site at https://www.hiv.gov/federal-response/pacha/about-pacha.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    PACHA was established by Executive Order 12963, dated June 14, 1995, as amended by Executive Order 13009, dated June 14, 1996, and is currently operating under the authority given in Executive Order 13811, dated September 29, 2017. The Council was established to provide advice, information, and recommendations to the Secretary regarding programs and policies intended to promote effective prevention and care of HIV infection and AIDS. The functions of the Council are solely advisory in nature.

    The Council consists of not more than 25 members. Council members are selected from prominent community leaders with particular expertise in, or knowledge of, matters concerning HIV and AIDS, public health, global health, philanthropy, marketing or business, as well as other national leaders held in high esteem from other sectors of society. Council members are appointed by the Secretary or designee, in consultation with the White House. Pursuant to advance written agreement, Council members shall receive no stipend for the advisory service they render as members of PACHA. However, as authorized by law and in accordance with federal travel regulations, PACHA members may receive per diem and reimbursement for travel expenses incurred in relation to performing duties for the Council.

    This announcement is to solicit nominations of qualified candidates to fill vacancies on the PACHA.

    Nominations: In accordance with the PACHA charter, persons nominated for appointment as members of the PACHA should be among prominent community leaders and authorities with particular expertise in, of knowledge of, matters concerning HIV and AIDS, public health, global health, philanthropy, marketing or business, as well as other national leaders held in high esteem from other sectors of society. The following information should be included in the package of material submitted for each individual being nominated for consideration of appointment:

    • Name, return address, and daytime telephone number and affiliation(s) of the individual being nominated, the basis for the individual's nomination, and a statement bearing an original signature of the nominated individual that, if appointed, he or she is willing to serve as a member of the Council;

    • Name, return address, and daytime telephone number at which the nominator may be contacted. Nominations from organizations must identify a principal contact person; and

    • A copy of a current resume or curriculum vitae for the nominated individual.

    Individuals can nominate themselves for consideration of appointment to the Council. All nominations must include the required information. Incomplete nominations will not be processed for consideration. The letter from the nominator and certification of the nominated individual must bear original signatures; reproduced copies of these signatures are not acceptable.

    The Department is legally required to ensure that the membership of HHS federal advisory committees is fairly balanced in terms of points of view represented and the functions to be performed by the advisory committee. For the PACHA, it is important that the perspectives of people living with HIV, those from groups that are disproportionately affected by HIV infection and AIDS, health care providers, and organizations providing prevention, care and treatment services to these populations be included. Every effort is made to ensure that the views of women, all ethnic and racial groups, and people with disabilities are represented on HHS federal advisory committees and, therefore, the Department encourages nominations of qualified candidates from these groups. The Department also encourages geographic diversity in the composition of the Council. Appointment to the Council shall be made without discrimination on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and cultural, religious, or socioeconomic status. The Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch are applicable to individuals who are appointed as members of the Council.

    Dated: November 22, 2017. B. Kaye Hayes, Executive Director, Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25915 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4150-43-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard [Docket No. USCG-2017-1032] Cooperative Research and Development Agreement: Cellular Phone Geolocation Development AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of intent; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard announces its intent to enter into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with TriaSys Technologies Corp, to investigate the potential operational use of cellular phone direction finding technology. The intent to enter in a potential CRADA with TriaSys Corp is based on market research and visits to vendors with advertised expertise in this unique application of technology in the maritime environment for Search and Rescue. While the Coast Guard is currently considering partnering with TriaSys Technologies Corp, the agency is soliciting public comment on the possible nature of and participation of other parties in the proposed CRADA. In addition, the Coast Guard also invites other potential non-Federal participants to propose similar CRADAs.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted to the online docket via http://www.regulations.gov on or before January 2, 2018.

    Synopses of proposals regarding future CRADAs must reach the Coast Guard (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) on or before January 2, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments online at http://www.regulations.gov in accordance with Web site instructions.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this notice or wish to submit proposals for future CRADAs, contact Donald Decker, Project Official, C4ISR Branch, U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center, 1 Chelsea Street, New London, CT 06320, telephone 860-271-2701, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We request public comments on this notice. Although we do not plan to respond to comments in the Federal Register, we will respond directly to commenters and may modify our proposal in light of comments.

    Comments should be marked with docket number USCG-2017-1032 and should provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. You should provide personal contact information so that we can contact you if we have questions regarding your comments; but please note that all comments will be posted to the online docket without change and that any personal information you include can be searchable online (see the Federal Register Privacy Act notice regarding our public dockets, 73 FR 3316, Jan. 17, 2008). We also accept anonymous comments.

    We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the Coast Guard (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Documents mentioned in this notice and all public comments, are in our online docket at http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that Web site's instructions. Additionally, if you go to the online docket and sign up for email alerts, you will be notified when comments are posted or a final rule is published.

    Do not submit detailed proposals for future CRADAs to the Docket Management Facility. Instead, submit them directly to the Coast Guard (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

    Discussion

    CRADAs are authorized under 15 U.S.C. 3710(a).1 A CRADA promotes the transfer of technology to the private sector for commercial use, as well as specified research or development efforts that are consistent with the mission of the Federal parties to the CRADA. The Federal party or parties agree with one or more non-Federal parties to share research resources, but the Federal party does not contribute funding.

    1 The statute confers this authority on the head of each Federal agency. The Secretary of DHS's authority is delegated to the Coast Guard and other DHS organizational elements by DHS Delegation No. 0160.1, para. II.B.34.

    CRADAs are not procurement contracts. Care is taken to ensure that CRADAs are not used to circumvent the contracting process. CRADAs have a specific purpose and should not be confused with procurement contracts, grants, and other type of agreements.

    Under the proposed CRADA, the R&D Center will collaborate with one non-Federal participant. Together, the R&D Center and the non-Federal participant will collect information/data for performance, reliability, maintenance requirements, human systems integration and other data on cellular direction finding technologies. After an initial installation and familiarization period, the Coast Guard plans to evaluate a designated platform outfitted with the communications technology for a period of one week.

    We anticipate the Coast Guard's contributions under the proposed CRADA will include the following:

    (1) Develop the Demonstration Pilot Assessment Plan to meet the objectives of the CRADA with a diverse set of real-life mission scenarios.

    (2) Provide the pilot demonstration support in and around Charleston, SC.

    (3) Coordinate Pilot demonstration from onboard a USCG cutter.

    (4) Collaborate with non-Federal partners to prepare demonstration documentation including equipment assessments, final report(s), and briefings.

    We anticipate that the non-Federal participant's contributions under the proposed CRADA will include the following:

    (1) Assist the R&D Center in the development and drafting of all CRADA documents, including the pilot demonstration assessment plan, equipment assessments, final report(s), and briefings.

    (2) Provide and maintain the direction finding equipment to ensure the system is usable.

    (3) Secure, with R&D Center assistance, Special Temporary Authority (STA) to employ the equipment within the desired frequency bands.

    (4) Provide technical support, training and maintenance throughout the period of performance to ensure maximum availability and utility of the networks.

    The Coast Guard reserves the right to select for CRADA participants all, some, or no proposals submitted for this CRADA. The Coast Guard will provide no funding for reimbursement of proposal development costs. Proposals and any other material submitted in response to this notice will not be returned. Proposals submitted are expected to be unclassified and have no more than five single-sided pages (excluding cover page, DD 1494, JF-12, etc.).

    The Coast Guard will select proposals at its sole discretion on the basis of:

    (1) How well they communicate an understanding of, and ability to meet, the proposed CRADA's goal; and

    (2) How well they address the following criteria:

    (a) Technical capability to support the non-Federal party contributions described; and

    (b) Resources available for supporting the non-Federal party contributions described.

    Currently, the Coast Guard is considering TriaSys Technologies Corp for participation in this CRADA. This consideration is based on the fact that TriaSys Systems has demonstrated its technical ability as the developer, manufacturer, and integrator of cellular direction finding equipment. However, we do not wish to exclude other viable participants from this or future similar CRADAs.

    The USCG's intent to enter in a potential CRADA with TriaSys Corp is based on market research and visits to vendors with advertised expertise in this unique application of technology in the maritime environment for Search and Rescue. The research includes employment of their antennas, equipment and graphical user interface (GUI) to establish direction and geo-location of cellular phones in an open-ocean environment. Specifically, the equipment will provide both a Line of Bearing (LOB) and a Global Positioning System (GPS) location to a cellular phone in a search and rescue scenario. The equipment will be setup in locations with use in the open ocean environment. A Pilot Demonstration schedule has been proposed in which TriaSys Systems will provide their equipment. The Coast Guard Research and Development Center (R&D Center) will prepare a Pilot Demonstration Assessment Plan and TriaSys Systems will operate the equipment for exploratory development over a one week period to collect information on suitability, reliability, maintenance requirements, and ease of use.

    This is a technology assessment effort. The goal for the Coast Guard of this CRADA is to better understand the advantages, disadvantages, required technology enhancements, performance, costs, and other issues associated with cellular direction finding technologies. Special consideration will be given to small business firms/consortia, and preference will be given to business units located in the U.S. This document is issued under the authority of 5 U.S.C. 552(a).

    Dated: November 14, 2017. Bert N. Macesker, Executive Director, Acting Commanding Officer, U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25926 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection Accreditation of Intertek USA, Inc. (Baytown, TX), as a Commercial Laboratory AGENCY:

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security.

    ACTION:

    Notice of accreditation of Intertek USA, Inc. (Baytown, TX), as a commercial laboratory.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given, pursuant to CBP regulations, that Intertek USA, Inc. (Baytown, TX), has been accredited to test petroleum and certain petroleum products for customs purposes for the next three years as of August 30, 2016.

    DATES:

    Intertek USA, Inc. (Baytown, TX) was approved, as a commercial laboratory as of August 30, 2016. The next triennial inspection date will be scheduled for August 2019.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Justin Shey, Laboratories and Scientific Services Directorate, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite 1500N, Washington, DC 20229, tel. 202-344-1060.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is hereby given pursuant to 19 CFR 151.12, that Intertek USA, Inc., 8500 West Bay Road MS #20A, Baytown, TX 77523 has been accredited to test petroleum and certain petroleum products for customs purposes, in accordance with the provisions of 19 CFR 151.12. Intertek USA, Inc., is accredited for the following laboratory analysis procedures and methods for petroleum and certain petroleum products set forth by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Laboratory Methods (CBPL) and American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM):

    CBPL No. ASTM Title 27-48 D 4052 Standard Test Method for Density and Relative Density of Liquids by Digital Density Meter.

    Anyone wishing to employ this entity to conduct laboratory analyses should request and receive written assurances from the entity that it is accredited by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to conduct the specific test requested. Alternatively, inquiries regarding the specific test this entity is accredited to perform may be directed to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection by calling (202) 344-1060. The inquiry may also be sent to [email protected] Please reference the Web site listed below for a complete listing of CBP approved gaugers and accredited laboratories. http://www.cbp.gov/about/labs-scientific/commercial-gaugers-and-laboratories.

    Dated: November 21, 2017. Ira S. Reese, Executive Director, Laboratories and Scientific Services Directorate.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25869 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-14-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection Approval of Inspectorate America Corporation (Baton Rouge, LA), as a Commercial Gauger AGENCY:

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security.

    ACTION:

    Notice of approval of Inspectorate America Corporation (Baton Rouge, LA), as a commercial gauger.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given, pursuant to CBP regulations, that Inspectorate America Corporation (Baton Rouge, LA), has been approved to gauge petroleum and certain petroleum products for customs purposes for the next three years as of May 24, 2017.

    DATES:

    Inspectorate America Corporation (Baton Rouge, LA) was approved as a commercial gauger as of May 24, 2017. The next triennial inspection date will be scheduled for May 2020.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Justin Shey, Laboratories and Scientific Services Directorate, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite 1500N, Washington, DC 20229, tel. 202-344-1060.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is hereby given pursuant to 19 CFR 151.13, that Inspectorate America Corporation, 11346 Pennywood Ave., Baton Rouge, LA 70809 has been approved to gauge petroleum and certain petroleum products for customs purposes, in accordance with the provisions of 19 CFR 151.13. Inspectorate America Corporation is approved for the following gauging procedures for petroleum and certain petroleum products from the American Petroleum Institute (API):

    API
  • chapters
  • Title
    3 Tank Gauging. 5 Metering. 7 Temperature Determination. 8 Sampling. 12 Calculations. 14 Natural Gas Fluids Measurement. 17 Maritime Measurement.

    Anyone wishing to employ this entity to conduct laboratory analyses and gauger services should request and receive written assurances from the entity that it is accredited or approved by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to conduct the specific test or gauger service requested. Alternatively, inquiries regarding the specific test or gauger service this entity is accredited or approved to perform may be directed to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection by calling (202) 344-1060. The inquiry may also be sent to [email protected] Please reference the Web site listed below for a complete listing of CBP approved gaugers and accredited laboratories. http://www.cbp.gov/about/labs-scientific/commercial-gaugers-and-laboratories.

    Dated: November 21, 2017. Ira S. Reese, Executive Director, Laboratories and Scientific Services Directorate.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25870 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-14-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection Accreditation and Approval of Intertek USA, Inc. (Harvey, LA), as a Commercial Gauger and Laboratory AGENCY:

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security.

    ACTION:

    Notice of accreditation and approval of Intertek USA, Inc. (Harvey, LA), as a commercial gauger and laboratory.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given, pursuant to CBP regulations, that Intertek USA, Inc. (Harvey, LA), has been approved to gauge petroleum and certain petroleum products and accredited to test petroleum and certain petroleum products for customs purposes for the next three years as of June 14, 2017.

    DATES:

    Intertek USA, Inc. (Harvey, LA) was accredited and approved, as a commercial gauger and laboratory as of June 14, 2017. The next triennial inspection date will be scheduled for June 2020.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Justin Shey, Laboratories and Scientific Services Directorate, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite 1500N, Washington, DC 20229, tel. 202-344-1060.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is hereby given pursuant to 19 CFR 151.12 and 19 CFR 151.13, that Intertek USA, Inc., 2604 Moss Lane, Harvey, LA 70058 has been approved to gauge petroleum and certain petroleum products and accredited to test petroleum and certain petroleum products for customs purposes, in accordance with the provisions of 19 CFR 151.12 and 19 CFR 151.13. Intertek USA, Inc., is approved for the following gauging procedures for petroleum and certain petroleum products from the American Petroleum Institute (API):

    API
  • chapters
  • Title
    3 Tank Gauging. 7 Temperature Determination. 8 Sampling. 11 Physical Properties Data. 12 Calculations. 17 Marine Measurement.

    Intertek USA, Inc., is accredited for the following laboratory analysis procedures and methods for petroleum and certain petroleum products set forth by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Laboratory Methods (CBPL) and American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM):

    CBPL No. ASTM Title 27-01 D287 Standard Test Method for API Gravity of Crude Petroleum and Petroleum Products (Hydrometer Method). 27-02 D1298 Standard Test Method for Density, Relative Density (Specific Gravity), or API Gravity of Crude Petroleum and Liquid Petroleum Products by Hydrometer Method. 27-04 D95 Standard Test Method for Water in Petroleum Products and Bituminous Materials by Distillation. 27-06 D473 Standard Test Method for Sediment in Crude Oils and Fuel Oils by the Extraction Method. 27-13 D4294 Standard Test Method for Sulfur in Petroleum and Petroleum Products by Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry. 27-48 D4052 Standard Test Method for Density and Relative Density of Liquids by Digital Density Meter.

    Anyone wishing to employ this entity to conduct laboratory analyses and gauger services should request and receive written assurances from the entity that it is accredited or approved by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to conduct the specific test or gauger service requested. Alternatively, inquiries regarding the specific test or gauger service this entity is accredited or approved to perform may be directed to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection by calling (202) 344-1060. The inquiry may also be sent to [email protected] Please reference the Web site listed below for a complete listing of CBP approved gaugers and accredited laboratories. http://www.cbp.gov/about/labs-scientific/commercial-gaugers-and-laboratories.

    Dated: November 21, 2017. Ira S. Reese, Executive Director, Laboratories and Scientific Services Directorate.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25871 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-14-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Docket ID: FEMA-2017-0036; OMB No. 1660-0068] Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Federal Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Declaration Form AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public to take this opportunity to comment on a revision of a currently approved information collection. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice seeks comments concerning a list of hotels, motels, and similar places of public accommodations meeting minimum fire-safety requirements. The information collected is voluntary; if approved for listing, the lodging establishment may be used by Federal employees on government related travel and for Federal agency conferences. As the list is open to use by the public, non-government travelers may use the list to identify lodging meeting minimum life-safety criteria from fire.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before January 30, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    To avoid duplicate submissions to the docket, please use only one of the following means to submit comments:

    (1) Online. Submit comments at www.regulations.gov under Docket ID FEMA-2017-0036. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    (2) Mail. Submit written comments to Docket Manager, Office of Chief Counsel, DHS/FEMA, 500 C Street SW., 8NE, Washington, DC 20472-3100.

    All submissions received must include the agency name and Docket ID. Regardless of the method used for submitting comments or material, all submissions will be posted, without change, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov, and will include any personal information you provide. Therefore, submitting this information makes it public. You may wish to read the Privacy Act notice that is available via the link in the footer of www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Teressa Kaas, Fire Program Specialist, FEMA/U.S. Fire Administration, 301-447-1263 for additional information. You may contact the Records Management Division for copies of the proposed collection of information at email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Public Law 101-391 requires FEMA to establish and maintain a list of hotels, motels, and similar places of public accommodation meeting minimum requirements for protection of life from fire; the list is known as the National Master List (NML). This law resulted from a series of deadly fires in hotels and motels, occurring in the late 70's and 80's, with high loss of life. The legislative intent of this public law is to provide all travelers the assurance of fire-safety in accommodations identified on the National Master List. Public Law 101-391 further stipulates that Federal employees on official travel stay in properties approved by the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) and listed on the current NML. For statutory reference see Title 15 U.S.C. 2224-26.

    Collection of Information

    Title: Federal Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Declaration Form.

    Type of Information Collection: Revision of a currently approved information collection.

    OMB Number: 1660-0068.

    FEMA Form: FEMA Form 516-0-1, Federal Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Declaration Form.

    Abstract: FEMA Form 516-0-1 collects basic information on life-safety systems related directly to fire-safety in hotels, motels, and similar places of accommodations applying for inclusion on the National Master List in compliance with the Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-391). Information is published in the National Master List and is publicly available.

    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit; State, Local or Tribal Government.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 1,330.

    Estimated Number of Responses: 1,897.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 523 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Cost: $22,116.82.

    Estimated Respondents' Operation and Maintenance Costs: $0.

    Estimated Respondents' Capital and Start-Up Costs: $0.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to the Federal Government: $67,971.47.

    Comments

    Comments may be submitted as indicated in the ADDRESSES caption above. Comments are solicited to (a) evaluate whether the proposed data collection is necessary for the proper performance of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) 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; (c) enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

    Dated: November 27, 2017. Tammi Hines, Acting Records Management Program Chief, Mission Support, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25934 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-4512-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Docket ID: FEMA-2017-0035 ] Notice of Utilization of Streamlined Procedures for Environmental Assessments Associated With Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency; Department of Homeland Security.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    As a result of recent unprecedented hurricanes, disasters have been declared for areas affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate. Due to the catastrophic damages caused by these hurricanes, FEMA must have a more efficient and streamlined procedure for achieving compliance under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) during multiple, simultaneous, recovery missions for the provision of disaster assistance under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, including Individual Assistance, Public Assistance, and Hazard Mitigation Assistance. After assessing the scale of current recovery operations, and identifying the critical need for timely rebuilding of the affected communities, FEMA, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, determined that exigent circumstances exist. As a result of these exigent circumstances, FEMA may utilize the streamlined procedures outlined in this notice for those activities that require an Environmental Assessment.

    ADDRESSES:

    For access to the docket to read background documents, go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov and search for the docket ID. Documents may also be inspected at FEMA, Office of Chief Counsel, Room 8NE, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Katherine Zeringue, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    As a result of unprecedented damages from 2017 Hurricane Season, federal disasters were declared for multiple areas affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate. Due to the catastrophic damages caused by these hurricanes, it is critical that FEMA create a more efficient and streamlined procedure for NEPA compliance for multiple, simultaneous, recovery missions and the provision of disaster assistance under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 4121 et seq., including Individual Assistance, Public Assistance, and Hazard Mitigation Assistance. After assessing the scale of the recovery operations, and the need for the timely rebuilding of all of the affected communities, FEMA, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), determined that exigent circumstances exist. As a result of these exigent circumstances, FEMA may utilize streamlined procedures for those activities that require an Environmental Assessment (EA) under NEPA. The streamlined NEPA procedures may include any or all of the following:

    (1) The public involvement process for EAs associated with Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate may be condensed to more efficiently complete NEPA review [DHS Instruction Manual 023-01-001-01, Rev 1 Section V.C (7)]. Public review and comment periods may vary depending upon the urgency of the action. FEMA may provide for a 3-day comment period for the following actions:

    • Group Housing Sites

    • Interim and/or temporary facilities for:

    ○ Hospitals and health care facilities;

    ○ schools and day care centers;

    ○ utilities and wastewater treatment plants;

    ○ police and fire stations;

    ○ government and court facilities;

    ○ detention centers and jailhouses; and

    ○ transportation facilities.

    FEMA may provide for a 14-day comment period for all other actions associated with Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate. Public comments to the EAs can be submitted via phone or email. Specific contact information will be provided in each individual EA.

    (2) FEMA may favor electronic media rather than other forms of media for notifications to the public because traditional media may no longer be available to affected communities, take longer to prepare, or add additional cost. Electronic notifications may reach a broader audience, since affected communities may be displaced or away from their traditional access points for local information (such as the U.S. Postal Service or local libraries that may be affected by the disaster). FEMA will continue use of the Unified Federal Review for notification to Other Federal Agencies that may have an interest in a relevant project.

    (3) Unless other action alternatives are readily available, FEMA may focus EA level analysis and documentation on the “No Action” and “Proposed Action” alternatives (40 CFR 1508.9, Sec. 102; 42 U.S.C. 4332). FEMA's action is often to approve or deny requests for federal disaster assistance, from affected communities. This means that FEMA's “Proposal” or proposed action occurs when FEMA is considering a grant application or application for assistance.

    (4) FEMA may discuss resource areas in detail only if it determines that there is a potential impact to the resources, rather than following the procedure outlined in FEMA Instruction 108-1 Section 3.4(C)(4) that requires FEMA to address in detail the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Executive Order 11988, Executive Order 11990, and Executive Order 12898 in its EAs regardless of the potential for impact to these resources. These streamlined procedures will supersede the requirement in FEMA's Instruction and allow FEMA to identify, and eliminate from detailed study, the issues that are not significant (40 CFR 1501.7).

    The above changes, along with other internal efficiencies that FEMA may employ to comply with NEPA, such as document templates and analysis and reference tools, will allow FEMA to balance concise environmental reviews with open communication and the opportunity for meaningful public input in the decision making process. It also allows the public the opportunity to participate in FEMA's NEPA process and receive timely assistance and grants. FEMA acknowledges that the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season is still underway, and it may be necessary to re-issue this notification in the future.

    The changes FEMA may employ for the recovery efforts for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate do not affect the requirements of any other environmental or historic preservation laws, regulations, or executive orders. This notice addresses FEMA's requirements under DHS Instruction Manual 023-01-001-01 Rev 1 Sections V. C (7) and VII M (1-3) and provides the public with sufficient notice of FEMA's intent to expedite federal assistance by reducing typical, but not required, public input timeframes. The Streamlined Procedures for Environmental Assessments under NEPA is available for reviewing at www.regulations.gov under FEMA-2017-0035. FEMA and DHS will post this notice and will provide any updates to the public on its Web sites at: https://www.fema.gov/fema-national-environmental-policy-act-streamlined-procedures and https://www.dhs.gov/national-environmental-policy-act.

    Authority: The authority for the streamlined procedures for Environmental Assessments under the NEPA is derived from DHS Instruction Manual 023-01-001-01 Rev 1 Section V. C (7).

    Dated: November 22, 2017. Brock Long, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25933 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-46-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY [Docket No. DHS-2017-0059] Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan Template and Progress Report AGENCY:

    National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

    ACTION:

    60-Day notice and request for comments; revised collection, 1670-0017.

    SUMMARY:

    The DHS NPPD Office of Cybersecurity and Communications (CS&C) will submit the following Information Collection Request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Comments are encouraged and will be accepted until January 30, 2018. This process is conducted in accordance with 5 CFR part 1320.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number DHS-2017-0059, by one of the following methods:

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

    Email: [email protected] Please include docket number DHS-2017-0059 in the subject line of the message.

    Mail: Written comments and questions about this Information Collection Request should be forwarded to DHS/NPPD/CS&C/OEC, ATTN: 1670-0017, 245 Murray Lane SW., Arlington, VA 20598-0640.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the words “Department of Homeland Security” and docket number DHS-2017-0059. Comments received will be posted without alteration at http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice may be made available to the public through relevant Web sites. For this reason, please do not include in your comments information of a confidential nature, such as sensitive personal information or proprietary information. If you send an email comment, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. Please note that responses to this public comment request containing any routine notice about the confidentiality of the communication will be treated as public comments that may be made available to the public notwithstanding the inclusion of the routine notice.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Richard Tenney at 703-705-6281 or at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The DHS NPPD CS&C Office of Emergency Communications (OEC), formed under Title XVIII of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, 6 U.S.C. 571 et seq., is required, pursuant to 6 U.S.C. 572, to develop the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP), which includes identification of goals, timeframes, and appropriate measures to achieve interoperable communications capabilities. The Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan (SCIP) Template and Annual SCIP Snapshot Report are designed to meet and support these statutory requirements.

    OEC will use the information from the SCIP Template and Annual SCIP Snapshot to track the progress States are making in implementing milestones and demonstrating goals of the NECP, as required through the Homeland Security Act of 2002, 6 U.S.C. 572. The SCIP Template and Annual SCIP Snapshot will provide OEC with broader capability data across the lanes of the Interoperability Continuum, which are key indicators of consistent success in response-level communications.

    In addition, the SCIP Template and the SCIP Snapshot will assist States in their strategic planning for interoperable and emergency communications while demonstrating each State's achievements and challenges in accomplishing optimal interoperability for emergency responders. Moreover, certain government grants may require States to update their SCIP Templates and SCIP Snapshot to include broadband efforts in order to receive funding for interoperable and emergency communications.

    Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (SWICs) will be responsible for collecting this information from their respective stakeholders and governance bodies, and will complete and submit the SCIP Snapshots directly to OEC through unclassified electronic submission.

    The SCIP Template and Annual SCIP Snapshot may be submitted through unclassified electronic submission to OEC by each State's SWIC in addition to being able to submit their respective SCIP Template and Annual SCIP Snapshot via email to [email protected]

    OEC streamlined its annual SCIP reporting process to obtain standard data to understand progress and challenges in emergency communications planning. OEC replaced the lengthier Annual Progress Report with the SCIP Snapshot as a reporting mechanism for States and territories for submitting SCIP progress, achievements and challenges. The data collected is based on calendar year reporting. The SCIP Snapshot also includes sections for States and territories to report on the status of governance structures, progress towards SCIP goals and initiatives, and overall successes and challenges in advancing interoperable emergency communications.

    This is a revised information collection. OMB is particularly interested in comments which:

    1. 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;

    2. 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;

    3. Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    4. Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses.

    Title: Agency Information Collection Activities: Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan (SCIP) Template and Progress Report.

    OMB Number: 1670-0017.

    Frequency: Annually.

    Affected Public: Private and Public Sector.

    Number of Respondents: 56.

    Estimated Time per Respondent: 6 hours.

    Total Burden Hours: 336 hours.

    David Epperson, Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25846 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-9P-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services [OMB Control Number 1615-0078] Agency Information Collection Activities; Revision of a Currently Approved Collection: Application To File Declaration of Intention AGENCY:

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security.

    ACTION:

    30-day notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be submitting the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The purpose of this notice is to allow an additional 30 days for public comments.

    DATES:

    The purpose of this notice is to allow an additional 30 days for public comments. Comments are encouraged and will be accepted until January 2, 2018. This process is conducted in accordance with 5 CFR 1320.10.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments and/or suggestions regarding the item(s) contained in this notice, especially regarding the estimated public burden and associated response time, must be directed to the OMB USCIS Desk Officer via email at [email protected] All submissions received must include the agency name and the OMB Control Number 1615-0078 in the subject line.

    You may wish to consider limiting the amount of personal information that you provide in any voluntary submission you make. For additional information please read the Privacy Act notice that is available via the link in the footer of http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    USCIS, Office of Policy and Strategy, Regulatory Coordination Division, Samantha Deshommes, Chief, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20529-2140, Telephone number (202) 272-8377 (This is not a toll-free number; comments are not accepted via telephone message.). Please note contact information provided here is solely for questions regarding this notice. It is not for individual case status inquiries. Applicants seeking information about the status of their individual cases can check Case Status Online, available at the USCIS Web site at http://www.uscis.gov, or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at (800) 375-5283; TTY (800) 767-1833.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments

    The information collection notice was previously published in the Federal Register on September 15, 2017, at 82 FR 43395, allowing for a 60-day public comment period. USCIS did not receive any comments in connection with the 60-day notice.

    You may access the information collection instrument with instructions, or additional information by visiting the Federal eRulemaking Portal site at: http://www.regulations.gov and enter USCIS-2008-0007 in the search box. Written comments and suggestions from the public and affected agencies should address one or more of the following four points:

    (1) 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;

    (2) 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;

    (3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    (4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, 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.

    Overview of This Information Collection

    (1) Type of Information Collection Request: Revision of a Currently Approved Collection.

    (2) Title of the Form/Collection: Application to File Declaration of Intention.

    (3) Agency form number, if any, and the applicable component of the DHS sponsoring the collection: N-300; USCIS.

    (4) Affected public who will be asked or required to respond, as well as a brief abstract: Primary: Individuals or households. The Form N-300 is used by lawful permanent residents to file a Declaration of Intention to become a United States citizen (“Declaration of Intention”). Although the Declaration of Intention is not required for naturalization, some lawful permanent residents find it necessary to file Form N-300 to fulfill requirements of states that mandate specific documentation from resident aliens seeking to work in certain occupations or professions, or to obtain various licenses. The Form N-300 facilitates this process.

    (5) An estimate of the total number of respondents and the amount of time estimated for an average respondent to respond: The estimated total number of respondents for the information collection N-300 is 18 and the estimated hour burden per response is .75 hours.

    (6) An estimate of the total public burden (in hours) associated with the collection: The total estimated annual hour burden associated with this collection is 13.5 hours.

    (7) An estimate of the total public burden (in cost) associated with the collection: The estimated total annual cost burden associated with this collection of information is $508.50.

    Dated: November 24, 2017. Samantha Deshommes, Chief, Regulatory Coordination Division, Office of Policy and Strategy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25890 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-97-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services [OMB Control Number 1615-0131] Agency Information Collection Activities; Revision of a Currently Approved Collection: USCIS Electronic Payment Processing AGENCY:

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security.

    ACTION:

    30-Day notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be submitting the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The purpose of this notice is to allow an additional 30 days for public comments.

    DATES:

    The purpose of this notice is to allow an additional 30 days for public comments. Comments are encouraged and will be accepted until January 2, 2018. This process is conducted in accordance with 5 CFR 1320.10.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments and/or suggestions regarding the item(s) contained in this notice, especially regarding the estimated public burden and associated response time, must be directed to the OMB USCIS Desk Officer via email at [email protected] All submissions received must include the agency name and the OMB Control Number 1615-0131 in the subject line.

    You may wish to consider limiting the amount of personal information that you provide in any voluntary submission you make. For additional information please read the Privacy Act notice that is available via the link in the footer of http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    USCIS, Office of Policy and Strategy, Regulatory Coordination Division, Samantha Deshommes, Chief, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20529-2140, Telephone number (202) 272-8377 (This is not a toll-free number; comments are not accepted via telephone message.). Please note contact information provided here is solely for questions regarding this notice. It is not for individual case status inquiries. Applicants seeking information about the status of their individual cases can check Case Status Online, available at the USCIS Web site at http://www.uscis.gov, or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at (800) 375-5283; TTY (800) 767-1833.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments

    The information collection notice was previously published in the Federal Register on September 14, 2017 at 82 FR 43248, allowing for a 60-day public comment period. USCIS did not receive any comment in connection with the 60-day notice.

    You may access the information collection instrument with instructions, or additional information by visiting the Federal eRulemaking Portal site at: http://www.regulations.gov and enter USCIS-2014-0005 in the search box. Written comments and suggestions from the public and affected agencies should address one or more of the following four points:

    (1) 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;

    (2) 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;

    (3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    (4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, 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.

    Overview of This Information Collection

    (1) Type of Information Collection Request: Revision of a Currently Approved Collection.

    (2) Title of the Form/Collection: USCIS Electronic Payment Processing.

    (3) Agency form number, if any, and the applicable component of the DHS sponsoring the collection: Form G-1450; USCIS.

    (4) Affected public who will be asked or required to respond, as well as a brief abstract: Primary: Individuals or households. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (INA), as amended, provides for the collection of fees at a level that will ensure recovery of the full costs of providing adjudication and naturalization services, including services provided without charge to asylum applicants and certain other immigrant applicants (see INA section 286(m), 8 U.S.C. 1356(m)) and USCIS will accept certain fee payments electronically.

    (5) An estimate of the total number of respondents and the amount of time estimated for an average respondent to respond: The estimated total number of respondents for the information collection is 3,288,753 and the estimated hour burden per response is .12 hours.

    (6) An estimate of the total public burden (in hours) associated with the collection: The total estimated annual hour burden associated with this collection is 394,652 hours.

    (7) An estimate of the total public burden (in cost) associated with the collection: There is no cost associated with this collection of information. Any cost burden associated with this collection of information is captured as a part of the form which requires a payment to be processed.

    Dated: November 24, 2017. Samantha Deshommes, Chief, Regulatory Coordination Division, Office of Policy and Strategy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25887 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-97-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS-R1-ES-2017-N123; FXES11140100000-178-FF01E00000] Notice of Availability of a Draft Habitat Conservation Plan and Draft Environmental Assessment for the Lalamilo Wind Farm Repowering Project, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application from the Lalamilo Wind Company, LLC (applicant), for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). The applicant is requesting an ITP to authorize take of the endangered Hawaiian hoary bat and the endangered Hawaiian petrel. If issued, the ITP would authorize incidental take of these two species that may occur as a result of the operation of the Lalamilo Wind Farm Repowering Project (project). The ITP application includes a draft habitat conservation plan (HCP) describing the actions and the measures the applicant will implement to avoid, minimize, mitigate, and monitor incidental take of the two species. The Service also announces the availability of a draft environmental assessment (EA) that has been prepared in response to the ITP application in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We are making the ITP application, including the draft HCP and the draft EA, available for public review and comment.

    DATES:

    To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by January 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    To request further information or submit written comments, please use one of the following methods, and note that your information request or comments are in reference to the Lalamilo Wind Farm HCP, draft EA, and the proposed issuance of the ITP:

    Internet: Documents may be viewed on the internet at http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/.

    Email: [email protected] Include “Draft Lalamilo HCP and EA” in the subject line of the message.

    U.S. Mail: Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3-122, Honolulu, HI 96850.

    Fax: 808-792-9581, Attn: Field Supervisor. Include “Draft Lalamilo HCP and EA” in the subject line of the message.

    In-Person Drop-off, Viewing, or Pickup: Comments and materials received will be available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office (address above). Written comments can be dropped off during regular business hours on or before the closing date of the public comment period (see DATES).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michelle Bogardus (Maui Nui and Hawaii Geographic Team Manager), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by mail at the address in ADDRESSES; by telephone at 808-792-9400; or by email at lalamilohcp_[email protected] If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf, please call the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Service has received an ITP application from the Lalamilo Wind Company, LLC in accordance with the requirements of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The applicant is requesting an ITP to authorize take of the endangered Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus) and the endangered Hawaiian Petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis). Collectively, these two species are hereafter referred to as the covered species. If issued, the ITP would authorize incidental take of the covered species that may occur as a result of the operation of the project. The ITP application includes a draft HCP describing the actions and the measures the applicant will implement to avoid, minimize, mitigate, and monitor incidental take of the covered species. The Service also announces the availability of a draft EA that has been prepared in response to the ITP application in accordance with requirements of NEPA. We are making the ITP application, including the draft HCP and the draft EA, available for public review and comment.

    Background

    Section 9 of the ESA prohibits the take of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened under section 4 of the ESA. Under the ESA, the term “take” means to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct (16 U.S.C. 1532(19)). The term “harm,” as defined in our regulations, includes 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, under specified circumstances, the Service may issue permits that authorize take of federally listed species, provided the take is incidental to, but not the purpose of, an otherwise lawful activity. Regulations governing permits 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 incidental take permits 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 prepare a conservation plan that, to the maximum extent practicable, identifies the steps the applicant will take to minimize and mitigate the impact of such taking;

    (3) The applicant will 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 the Service may require as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the plan.

    Proposed Action

    The applicant proposes to operate the project to provide electricity to eight existing water wells in the Lalamilo-Parker well system, which is located near the town of Kamuela, South Kohala District, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii. The Lalamilo Wind Farm was originally constructed in the mid-1980s with 120 wind turbines, with an installed generating capacity of 2.7 megawatts (MW). It was decommissioned in 2010 in anticipation of repowering the site. In 2013, the County of Hawaii Department of Water Supply (DWS) awarded the applicant a contract to design, build, and operate the wind farm and associated facilities for the project. Construction was completed in 2016, and the applicant is currently curtailing the wind turbine generators so that only two turbines are operational at a time. The wind farm is located on approximately 126 acres of State-owned land leased by the DWS from the State of Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) in South Kohala. The project area is zoned “agriculture” and is surrounded on all sides by agricultural pastoral lands principally used for cattle (Bos taurus) grazing. The topography of the project area consists of a relatively flat plateau falling off to the west and north. Elevations range from 1,401 feet to 1,145 feet above mean sea level, with an average slope of 5 percent. Several small, dry gulches occur around the west and north portions of the project site.

    The project consists of five Vestas 660-kilowatt V47 wind turbines with a combined generating capacity of up to approximately 3.3 MW and an updated monitoring and control system to optimize the operations of the water well pumping system. Power is provided to Parker Wells 1 through 4 and Lalamilo Wells A through D. The maximum blade tip height of the five turbines is 198.5 feet above ground level. Associated infrastructure includes a 197-foot-tall meteorological guyed tower, two 88-foot-tall free-standing lattice radio towers, 1.3 miles of roads to access the turbines, an electrical collection system, an operations and maintenance building, a new 1.3-mile-long, 13-kilovolt overhead electrical transmission line adjacent to the existing road, and updated switchgear and electrical interconnection equipment.

    The project is located on the island of Hawaii, where Hawaiian hoary bats are known to collide with wind turbine structures at the existing Pakini Nui 21-MW wind energy facility. The Hawaiian petrel and the Hawaiian hoary bat are also known to collide with wind turbine structures at the existing 30-MW Kaheawa Wind Power, the 21-MW Kaheawa Wind Power II, and the 21-MW Auwahi wind energy facilities on Maui. Acoustic monitoring indicates that the Hawaii hoary bat flies in the area occupied by the project's wind turbines. Hawaiian petrels may transgress over the project and may be affected by the applicant's activities associated with operation and maintenance of the project.

    The applicant has developed a draft HCP that addresses the incidental take of the two covered species that may occur as a result of the operation of the project over a period of 20 years. The draft HCP includes proposed measures the applicant will implement to avoid, minimize, mitigate, and monitor incidental take of the covered species. It is expected that only up to three of the five turbines will be in operation at any one time. All turbines blades will be curtailed (not rotating or rotating extremely slowly) from sunset to dusk, until wind speeds of 5.5 meters per second (m/s) are sustained for 10 minutes, at which time the blades would be pitched into the wind and begin rotating to generate power when needed for the water pumps. The applicant has also applied for a State of Hawaii incidental take license under Hawaii State law.

    To offset anticipated take impacts, the applicant is proposing mitigation measures on the island of Hawaii that include: (1) A combination of native forest restoration and management in the Kahuku section of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to increase and improve Hawaiian hoary bat habitat; (2) acoustic surveys to document the occupancy of the Hawaiian hoary bat; and (3) funding of fence maintenance and predator control to protect the Hawaiian petrel in a vulnerable area of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The HCP incorporates adaptive management provisions to allow for modifications to the mitigation and monitoring measures as knowledge is gained during implementation of the HCP.

    The Service proposes to approve the HCP and to issue an ITP with a term of 20 years to the applicant for incidental take of the covered species caused by activities associated with the operation of the project, if permit issuance criteria are met.

    National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    The development of the draft HCP and the proposed issuance of an ITP under this plan is a Federal action that triggers the need for compliance with NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). We have prepared a draft EA to analyze the environmental impacts of four alternatives related to the issuance of the ITP and implementation of the conservation program under the proposed HCP. The four alternatives include a no-action alternative, the proposed action, a no curtailment alternative, and an increased cut-in speed alternative.

    Under the no-action alternative, the Service would not authorize incidental take of the covered species. All facility turbines would be non-operational from sunset to sunrise—i.e., completely curtailed at night. This alternative would result in complete loss of renewable electricity production from approximately one hour before dusk to one hour after dawn. This alternative would reduce the risk of take of the two covered species. Incidental take of the covered species could occur during daytime operations, though the risk is negligible. Under this alternative the applicant would not have the regulatory assurance to avoid a potential violation of the ESA.

    The proposed action alternative is operation of the project, implementation of the HCP, and issuance of the ITP, as proposed. Under this alternative, all facility turbines would be non-operational (curtailed) from sunset to sunrise until winds of 5.5 m/s were sustained for 10 minutes, at which time the turbine blades would be pitched into the wind and begin rotating to generate power. It is expected that no more than three turbines would be operating simultaneously. The applicant would provide compensatory mitigation to offset the impacts of the taking on the covered species.

    Under the no curtailment alternative, the applicant would not implement curtailment from sunset to sunrise. This alternative would produce the most renewable energy. This alternative would result in an increase in the time during which the turbine blades would be rotational, particularly at lower wind speeds, and would present a greater risk of collision-related mortality to the covered species. The applicant would provide compensatory mitigation to offset the higher take of the covered species.

    Under the increased cut-in speed alternative, all facility turbines would be non-operational from sunset to sunrise until winds of 6.5 m/s were sustained for 10 minutes, at which time the turbine blades would be pitched into the wind and begin rotating to generate power. This alternative would produce less renewable energy than the proposed alternative. There is no certainty that incidental take of covered species would be reduced with the higher cut-in speed. The applicant would provide compensatory mitigation to offset the impacts of the taking on the covered species.

    Public Comments

    You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. We specifically request information, views, and opinions from the public on our proposed Federal action, including identification of any other aspects of the human environment not already identified in the draft EA pursuant to NEPA regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 40 CFR 1506.6. Further, we specifically solicit information regarding the adequacy of the HCP for the project pursuant to the requirements for ITPs at 50 CFR parts 13 and 17.

    Public Availability of Comments

    All comments and materials we receive become part of the public record associated with this action. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personally identifiable information in your comments, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personally identifiable information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personally identifiable information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their entirety. Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we use in preparing the EA, will be available for public inspection by appointment, during normal business hours, at our Pacific Islands Field Office (see ADDRESSES).

    Next Steps

    We will evaluate the ITP application, associated documents, and public comments in reaching a final decision on whether the application meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The HCP and EA may change in response to public comments. After completion of the EA, we will determine whether the proposed action warrants a finding of no significant impact or whether an environmental impact statement should be prepared. We will also evaluate whether the proposed ITP action would comply with the requirements of section 7 of the ESA by conducting a formal consultation on the proposed ITP action. We will use the results of this consultation, in combination with the above findings, in our final analysis to determine whether or not to issue an ITP. If the requirements are met, we will issue the ITP to the applicant. We will not make our final decision until after the end of the 45-day public comment period, and we will fully consider all comments and information we receive during the public comment period.

    Authority

    We provide this notice in accordance with the requirements of section 10(c) of the ESA and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32) and NEPA and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: September 14, 2017. Theresa E. Rabot, Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Portland, Oregon.
    [FR Doc. 2017-25875 Filed 11-30-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS-R8-ES-2017-N107; FXES11140800000-178-FF08ECAR00] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Incidental Take Permit Application; Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan for the Coastal California Gnatcatcher and Associated Documents; Brea, California AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice