Federal Register Vol. 82, No.232,

Federal Register Volume 82, Issue 232 (December 5, 2017)

Page Range57331-57536
FR Document

82_FR_232
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
82 FR 57535 - World AIDS Day, 2017PDF
82 FR 57533 - National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, 2017PDF
82 FR 57433 - Sunshine Act MeetingsPDF
82 FR 57392 - Implementation of Statutory Amendments Requiring the Modification of the Definition of Hard Cider; Delayed Compliance Date for the Hard Cider Tax Class Labeling Statement Requirement; Reopening of Comment PeriodPDF
82 FR 57351 - Implementation of Statutory Amendments Requiring the Modification of the Definition of Hard Cider; Delayed Compliance Date of the Hard Cider Tax Class Labeling Statement RequirementPDF
82 FR 57346 - Emergency Import Restrictions Imposed on Archaeological and Ethnological Materials From LibyaPDF
82 FR 57468 - Sunshine Act Meeting NoticePDF
82 FR 57468 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
82 FR 57509 - Sunshine Act MeetingsPDF
82 FR 57491 - New Postal ProductsPDF
82 FR 57419 - Requirements of the Vessel Monitoring System Type-ApprovalPDF
82 FR 57462 - Technical Considerations for Additive Manufactured Medical Devices; Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff; AvailabilityPDF
82 FR 57460 - Food and Drug Administration Categorization of Investigational Device Exemption Devices To Assist the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services With Coverage Decisions; Guidance for Sponsors, Clinical Investigators, Industry, Institutional Review Boards, and Food and Drug Administration Staff; AvailabilityPDF
82 FR 57331 - Inflation Catch-Up Adjustment of Civil Monetary Penalty AmountsPDF
82 FR 57464 - National Institute on Aging; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
82 FR 57463 - Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
82 FR 57465 - Incidental Take Permit Applications Received To Participate in the American Burying-Beetle Amended Oil and Gas Industry Conservation Plan in OklahomaPDF
82 FR 57431 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Disaster Response Cooperative AgreementsPDF
82 FR 57443 - Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Continuous Release Reporting Requirements; Reporting Air Releases of Hazardous Substances From Animal Wastes at Farms Under CERCLA Section 103PDF
82 FR 57418 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; West Virginia; Removal of Source-Specific Requirements for Permanently Shutdown FacilitiesPDF
82 FR 57415 - Air Plan Approval; Massachusetts; Logan Airport Parking FreezePDF
82 FR 57432 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
82 FR 57526 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request for Regulation ProjectPDF
82 FR 57528 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Regulation ProjectPDF
82 FR 57529 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 720XPDF
82 FR 57382 - Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder Fishery; Commercial Quota Harvested for the State of New JerseyPDF
82 FR 57527 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 8302PDF
82 FR 57522 - Request for Comments on the Renewal of a Previously Approved Information Collection: Application for Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws for Small Passenger VesselsPDF
82 FR 57522 - Request for Comments on the Renewal of a Previously Approved Information Collection: Title XI Obligation GuaranteesPDF
82 FR 57521 - Request for Comments on the Renewal of a Previously Approved Information Collection: Request for Waiver of Service Obligation, Request for Deferment of Services Obligation, Application for ReviewPDF
82 FR 57523 - Request for Comments on the Renewal of a Previously Approved Information Collection: Procedures for Determining Vessel Services Categories for Purposes of the Cargo Preference ActPDF
82 FR 57465 - Change in Regional Partners for Upper Copper River Region for the Alaska Migratory Bird Co-Management CouncilPDF
82 FR 57467 - National Register of Historic Places; Notification of Pending Nominations and Related ActionsPDF
82 FR 57520 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment RequestPDF
82 FR 57427 - Approval of Expansion of Subzone 214A; Consolidated Diesel Company, Enfield, North CarolinaPDF
82 FR 57428 - Certain Pasta From Italy: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2015-2016PDF
82 FR 57427 - High Pressure Steel Cylinders From the People's Republic of China: Continuation of Antidumping Duty and Countervailing Duty OrdersPDF
82 FR 57444 - Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications CommissionPDF
82 FR 57446 - Information Collection Being Submitted for Review and Approval to the Office of Management and BudgetPDF
82 FR 57449 - Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission Under Delegated AuthorityPDF
82 FR 57446 - Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission Under Delegated AuthorityPDF
82 FR 57444 - Federal Advisory Committee Act; Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability CouncilPDF
82 FR 57448 - Information Collection Being Submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Emergency Review and ApprovalPDF
82 FR 57451 - Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications CommissionPDF
82 FR 57450 - Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission Under Delegated AuthorityPDF
82 FR 57426 - Texas A&M AgriLife Research; Availability of Petition for Determination of Nonregulated Status of Cotton Genetically Engineered for Ultra-Low Gossypol Levels in the CottonseedPDF
82 FR 57424 - Availability of an Environmental Assessment for Release of Aceria drabaePDF
82 FR 57370 - Expediting Rate CasesPDF
82 FR 57425 - Notice of Request for Revision to and Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Importation of Baby Squash and Baby Courgettes From ZambiaPDF
82 FR 57453 - Statement of Organization, Functions, and Delegations of AuthorityPDF
82 FR 57455 - Statement of Organization, Functions, and Delegations of AuthorityPDF
82 FR 57454 - Statement of Organization, Functions, and Delegations of AuthorityPDF
82 FR 57457 - Statement of Organization, Functions, and Delegations of AuthorityPDF
82 FR 57413 - Safety Zone; Oregon Inlet, Dare County, NCPDF
82 FR 57464 - Accreditation and Approval of AmSpec LLC (Destrehan, LA) as a Commercial Gauger and LaboratoryPDF
82 FR 57356 - International Mailing Services: Mailing Services Product and Price ChangesPDF
82 FR 57354 - Safety Zone; Mamala Bay, Oahu, HIPDF
82 FR 57430 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Notice of Intent To Extend Collection 3038-0066: Financial Resource Requirements for Derivatives Clearing OrganizationsPDF
82 FR 57436 - National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Planned FM100 Modernization Project and Request for Comments on Environmental IssuesPDF
82 FR 57440 - Venture Global Calcasieu Pass, LLC; TransCameron Pipeline, LLC; Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review of the Calcasieu Pass ProjectPDF
82 FR 57440 - Grand River Dam Authority; Notice of Public Information SessionPDF
82 FR 57438 - WBI Energy Transmission, Inc.; Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review of the Billy Creek Storage Field Abandonment ProjectPDF
82 FR 57441 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
82 FR 57466 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Did You Feel It? Earthquake QuestionnairePDF
82 FR 57427 - Notice of Public Meeting of the Connecticut Advisory CommitteePDF
82 FR 57434 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
82 FR 57435 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
82 FR 57433 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; College Affordability and Transparency Explanation Form (CATEF) 2018-2020PDF
82 FR 57497 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Designation of a Longer Period for Commission Action on a Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 2, To List and Trade Shares of the JPMorgan Long/Short ETF Under NYSE Arca Rule 8.600-EPDF
82 FR 57494 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Adopt a Shell Structure for the Nasdaq RulebookPDF
82 FR 57492 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq BX, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Adopt a Shell Structure for the BX RulebookPDF
82 FR 57505 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq ISE, LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Adopt a Shell Structure for the ISE RulebookPDF
82 FR 57495 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq MRX, LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Adopt a Shell Structure for the MRX RulebookPDF
82 FR 57516 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq GEMX, LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Adopt a Shell Structure for the GEMX RulebookPDF
82 FR 57518 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend Section (a)(i)(D) of Rule 1012, Series of Options Open for TradingPDF
82 FR 57508 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Adopt a Shell Structure for the Phlx RulebookPDF
82 FR 57501 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Cboe Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Amendment No. 1 and Order Instituting Proceedings To Determine Whether To Approve or Disapprove a Proposed Rule Change, as Amended, To Amend Interpretation and Policy .07 of Exchange Rule 4.11, Position Limits, To Increase the Position Limits for Options on Certain Exchange Traded ProductsPDF
82 FR 57510 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change To List and Trade the Shares of the Brandes Value NextShares FundPDF
82 FR 57497 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Order Approving a Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 2, To List and Trade Shares of the Hartford Municipal Opportunities ETF Under NYSE Arca Rule 8.600-EPDF
82 FR 57492 - Product Change-Priority Mail and First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
82 FR 57492 - Product Change-Priority Mail Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
82 FR 57524 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request for the IRS Taxpayer Burden SurveysPDF
82 FR 57458 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Public Comments Request; New Data Collection; National Center on Law and Elder Rights (NCLER)PDF
82 FR 57523 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request for Regulation ProjectPDF
82 FR 57506 - American Century ETF Trust and American Century Investment Management, Inc.PDF
82 FR 57487 - Submission for Review: Request to Disability Annuitant for Information on Physical Condition and Employment, RI 30-1PDF
82 FR 57487 - Submission for Review: Representative Payee Application, RI 20-7 and Information Necessary for a Competency Determination, RI 30-3PDF
82 FR 57423 - Notice of Request for a Revision to and Extension of an Information Collection; Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Feedback on Agency Service DeliveryPDF
82 FR 57488 - Submission for Review: Initial Certification of Full-Time School Attendance, RI 25-41PDF
82 FR 57489 - Privacy Act of 1974; System of RecordsPDF
82 FR 57484 - Privacy Act of 1974; System of RecordsPDF
82 FR 57336 - Procedures Further Implementing the Annual Limitation on Suspension of Deportation and Cancellation of RemovalPDF
82 FR 57439 - Records Governing Off-the-Record Communications; Public NoticePDF
82 FR 57442 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
82 FR 57441 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
82 FR 57438 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
82 FR 57520 - Forms Submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for Extension of ClearancePDF
82 FR 57433 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; OSERS Peer Review Data FormPDF
82 FR 57353 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Rigolets Pass, Slidell, LAPDF
82 FR 57362 - Approval of Air Quality Implementation Plans; New York; Cross-State Air Pollution Rule; NOXPDF
82 FR 57362 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; West Virginia; 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards; Withdrawal of Direct Final RulePDF
82 FR 57343 - Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company AirplanesPDF
82 FR 57390 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH HelicoptersPDF
82 FR 57340 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus AirplanesPDF
82 FR 57469 - Biweekly Notice; Applications and Amendments to Facility Operating Licenses and Combined Licenses Involving No Significant Hazards ConsiderationsPDF
82 FR 57367 - 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin; Exemption From the Requirement of a TolerancePDF
82 FR 57395 - Tip Regulations Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)PDF
82 FR 57478 - Applications and Amendments to Facility Operating Licenses and Combined Licenses Involving Proposed No Significant Hazards Considerations and Containing Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information and Order Imposing Procedures for Access to Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards InformationPDF
82 FR 57383 - Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company AirplanesPDF

Issue

82 232 Tuesday, December 5, 2017 Contents Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

RULES Inflation Catch-Up Adjustment of Civil Monetary Penalty Amounts, 57331-57336 2017-26194 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Feedback on Agency Service Delivery, 57423-57424 2017-26109
Alcohol Tobacco Tax Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau RULES Statutory Amendments Requiring the Modification of the Definition of Hard Cider; Delayed Compliance Date of the Hard Cider Tax Class Labeling Statement Requirement, 57351-57353 2017-26281 PROPOSED RULES Statutory Amendments Requiring the Modification of the Definition of Hard Cider; Delayed Compliance Date of the Hard Cider Tax Class Labeling Statement Requirement; Reopening of Comment Period, 57392-57395 2017-26283 Animal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Importation of Baby Squash and Baby Courgettes from Zambia, 57425 2017-26152 Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Release of Aceria drabae for Biological Control of Hoary Cress, 57424-57425 2017-26154 Petitions for Determinations of Nonregulated Status: Texas A and M AgriLife Research Cotton Genetically Engineered for Ultra-low Gossypol Levels in Cottonseed, 57426-57427 2017-26155 Centers Disease Centers for Disease Control and Prevention NOTICES Statement of Organization, Functions, and Delegations of Authority, 57453-57458 2017-26150 2017-26151 2017-26148 2017-26149 Civil Rights Civil Rights Commission NOTICES Meetings: Connecticut Advisory Committee, 57427 2017-26134 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Drawbridge Operations: Rigolets Pass, Slidell, LA, 57353-57354 2017-26094 Safety Zones: Mamala Bay, Oahu, HI, 57354-57356 2017-26142 PROPOSED RULES Safety Zones: Oregon Inlet, Dare County, NC, 57413-57415 2017-26147 Commerce Commerce Department See

Foreign-Trade Zones Board

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Commodity Futures Commodity Futures Trading Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Financial Resource Requirements for Derivatives Clearing Organizations, 57430-57431 2017-26141 Community Living Administration Community Living Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: National Center on Law and Elder Rights, 57458-57460 2017-26116 Corporation Corporation for National and Community Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Disaster Response Cooperative Agreements, 57431-57432 2017-26186 Defense Acquisition Defense Acquisition Regulations System NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 57432-57433 2017-26180 2017-26181 Defense Department Defense Department See

Defense Acquisition Regulations System

Defense Nuclear Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 57433 2017-26284 Education Department Education Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: College Affordability and Transparency Explanation Form, 57433-57434 2017-26131 OSERS Peer Review Data Form, 57433 2017-26095 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: New York; Cross-State Air Pollution Rule; NOX Annual and SO2 Group 1 Trading Programs, 57362-57367 2017-26079 West Virginia; 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards; Withdrawal of Direct Final Rule, 57362 2017-26077 Tolerance Exemptions: 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin, 57367-57370 2017-25842 PROPOSED RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Massachusetts; Logan Airport Parking Freeze, 57415-57418 2017-26182 West Virginia; Removal of Source-Specific Requirements for Permanently Shutdown Facilities, 57418-57419 2017-26183 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Continuous Release Reporting Requirements; Reporting Air Releases of Hazardous Substances from Animal Wastes at Farms under CERCLA Section 103, 57443-57444 2017-26185 Executive Office Executive Office for Immigration Review RULES Annual Limitation on Suspension of Deportation and Cancellation of Removal, 57336-57340 2017-26104 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: Airbus Airplanes, 57340-57343 2017-26037 The Boeing Company Airplanes, 57343-57346 2017-26040 PROPOSED RULES Airworthiness Directives: Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH Helicopters, 57390-57392 2017-26039 The Boeing Company Airplanes, 57383-57389 2017-24811 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 57444-57452 2017-26156 2017-26157 2017-26158 2017-26160 2017-26161 2017-26162 2017-26163 Meetings: Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council, 57444 2017-26159 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Combined Filings, 57434-57436, 57438, 57441-57443 2017-26097 2017-26098 2017-26099 2017-26100 2017-26132 2017-26133 2017-26136 Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: National Fuel Gas Supply Corp.; FM100 Modernization Project, 57436-57438 2017-26140 Environmental Reviews: Venture Global Calcasieu Pass, LLC; TransCameron Pipeline, LLC; Calcasieu Pass Project, 57440-57441 2017-26139 WBI Energy Transmission, Inc.; Billy Creek Storage Field Abandonment Project, 57438-57439 2017-26137 Meetings: Grand River Dam Authority; Public Information Session, 57440 2017-26138 Records Governing Off-the-Record Communications, 57439-57440 2017-26101 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service NOTICES Change in Regional Partners for Upper Copper River Region for the Alaska Migratory Bird Co-Management Council, 57465 2017-26169 Permit Applications: American Burying-Beetle Amended Oil and Gas Industry Conservation Plan in Oklahoma, 57465-57466 2017-26187 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration NOTICES Guidance: Categorization of Investigational Device Exemption Devices to Assist the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services with Coverage Decisions, 57460-57462 2017-26195 Technical Considerations for Additive Manufactured Medical Devices, 57462-57463 2017-26196 Foreign Claims Foreign Claims Settlement Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 57468 2017-26259 Foreign Trade Foreign-Trade Zones Board NOTICES Subzone Expansions; Approvals: Consolidated Diesel Co.; Subzone 214A; Enfield, NC, 57427 2017-26166 Geological Geological Survey NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Did You Feel It? Earthquake Questionnaire, 57466-57467 2017-26135 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

See

Community Living Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Geological Survey

See

National Park Service

Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 57523-57529 2017-26115 2017-26117 2017-26174 2017-26175 2017-26177 2017-26178 2017-26179 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Certain Pasta from Italy, 57428-57430 2017-26165 High Pressure Steel Cylinders from the People's Republic of China, 57427-57428 2017-26164 Justice Department Justice Department See

Executive Office for Immigration Review

See

Foreign Claims Settlement Commission

Labor Department Labor Department See

Wage and Hour Division

Maritime Maritime Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Application for Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws for Small Passenger Vessels, 57522-57523 2017-26173 Procedures for Determining Vessel Services Categories for Purposes of the Cargo Preference Act, 57523 2017-26170 Request for Waiver of Service Obligation, Request for Deferment of Services Obligation, Application for Review, 57521 2017-26171 Title XI Obligation Guarantees, 57522 2017-26172 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Meetings: Center for Scientific Review, 57463-57464 2017-26189 National Institute on Aging, 57464 2017-26190 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Fisheries of the Northeastern United States: Summer Flounder Fishery; Commercial Quota Harvested for the State of New Jersey, 57382 2017-26176 PROPOSED RULES Requirements of the Vessel Monitoring System Type-Approval, 57419-57422 2017-26197 National Park National Park Service NOTICES National Register of Historic Places: Pending Nominations and Related Actions, 57467-57468 2017-26168 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Facility Operating and Combined Licenses: Applications and Amendments Involving No Significant Hazards Considerations; Biweekly Notice, 57469-57478 2017-25901 Applications and Amendments Involving Proposed No Significant Hazards Considerations, etc., 57478-57484 2017-25390 Meetings; Sunshine Act, 57468 2017-26270 Personnel Personnel Management Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Initial Certification of Full-Time School Attendance, 57488 2017-26108 Representative Payee Application and Information Necessary for a Competency Determination, 57487 2017-26110 Request to Disability Annuitant for Information on Physical Condition and Employment, 57487-57488 2017-26111 Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 57484-57487, 57489-57491 2017-26105 2017-26107 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 57491-57492 2017-26198 Postal Service Postal Service RULES International Mailing Services: Mailing Services Product and Price Changes, 57356-57362 2017-26143 NOTICES Product Changes: Priority Mail and First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service Agreement, 57492 2017-26119 Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 57492 2017-26118 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Applications: American Century ETF Trust and American Century Investment Management, Inc., 57506-57508 2017-26114 Meetings; Sunshine Act, 57509-57510 2017-26219 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: Cboe Exchange, Inc., 57501-57505 2017-26122 Nasdaq BX, Inc., 57492-57494 2017-26128 Nasdaq GEMX, LLC, 57516-57518 2017-26125 Nasdaq ISE, LLC, 57505-57506 2017-26127 Nasdaq MRX, LLC, 57495-57497 2017-26126 Nasdaq PHLX, LLC, 57508-57509, 57518-57520 2017-26124 2017-26123 NYSE Arca, Inc., 57497-57501 2017-26120 2017-26130 The Nasdaq Stock Market, LLC, 57494-57495, 57510-57516 2017-26121 2017-26129 Selective Selective Service System NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 57520 2017-26096 Social Social Security Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 57520-57521 2017-26167 Surface Transportation Surface Transportation Board RULES Expediting Rate Cases, 57370-57382 2017-26153 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Maritime Administration

Treasury Treasury Department See

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

See

Internal Revenue Service

RULES Emergency Import Restrictions Imposed on Archaeological and Ethnological Materials from Libya, 57346-57351 2017-26278
Customs U.S. Customs and Border Protection RULES Emergency Import Restrictions Imposed on Archaeological and Ethnological Materials from Libya, 57346-57351 2017-26278 NOTICES Commercial Gaugers and Laboratories; Accreditations and Approvals: AmSpec LLC, 57464-57465 2017-26144 Wage Wage and Hour Division PROPOSED RULES Tip Regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 57395-57413 2017-25802 Reader Aids

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

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82 232 Tuesday, December 5, 2017 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Office of the Secretary 7 CFR Part 3 RIN 0510-AA04 Inflation Catch-Up Adjustment of Civil Monetary Penalty Amounts AGENCY:

Office of the Secretary, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This final rule amends USDA's civil monetary penalty regulations by making inflation adjustments as mandated by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. USDA also removes one obsolete civil monetary penalty (CMP) regulation previously authorized under a statute that is no longer current law.

DATES:

Effective December 5, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Heather Self, Esq., OGC, USDA, Room 3311-S, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-1400, (202) 720-5840.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

On November 2, 2015, the President signed into law the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (the 2015 Act), which further amended the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (the Inflation Adjustment Act), to improve the effectiveness of CMPs and to maintain their deterrent effect. The 2015 Act requires agencies to:

(1) Adjust the level of CMPs with an initial “catch-up” adjustment through a final rulemaking (FR); and

(2) Make subsequent annual adjustments for inflation.

Previously, the Inflation Adjustment Act required agencies to adjust CMP levels every 4 years based on the percentage by which the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the month of June of the prior calendar year exceeded the CPI for the month of June of the calendar year during which the last adjustment was made. The Inflation Adjustment Act also capped the increase for each adjustment at 10 percent and rounded the adjustment based on the size of the penalty (for example, multiple of $10 in the case of penalties less than or equal to $100). The rounding process meant that penalties would often not be increased at all if the inflation factor was not large enough. Furthermore, the cap on increases of 10 percent in tandem with the rounding meant that the formula over time caused penalties to lose value relative to total inflation. The 2015 Act updates these requirements by prescribing that agencies make annual adjustments for inflation based on the CPI for the month of October and round to the nearest dollar after an initial adjustment.

In order to eliminate the inconsistent changes caused by the prior method, the 2015 Act resets the inflation adjustment by excluding prior inflationary adjustments under the Inflation Adjustment Act, which contributed to a decline in the real value of penalty levels. To do this, the 2015 Act provides that the initial adjustment will be the percentage by which the CPI for the month of October 2015 exceeds that of the month of October of the calendar year during which the amount of the CMP was originally established or otherwise adjusted under a provision of law other than the Inflation Adjustment Act. While the 2015 Act does not provide a cap on adjustments going forward, the initial adjustment under the 2015 Act does limit large CMP increases by providing that no initial adjustments may exceed 150 percent of the amount of the CMP as of the date the 2015 Act was enacted, November 2, 2015. Lastly, the 2015 Act requires that agencies publish a final rule with the initial adjustment by July 1, 2016, and have the adjustments take effect no later than August 1, 2016. The initial adjustment under the 2015 Act also provides that, following public comment, the head of an agency may reduce the required increase if the agency head determines that the increase will have a negative economic impact or the social costs of the increase outweigh the benefits and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget concurs.

II. CMPs Affected by This Final Rule

Several USDA agencies administer laws that provide for the imposition of CMPs being adjusted by this final rule. Those agencies are:

(1) Agricultural Marketing Service;

(2) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service;

(3) Food and Nutrition Service;

(4) Food Safety and Inspection Service;

(5) Forest Service;

(6) Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration;

(7) Federal Crop Insurance Corporation;

(8) Rural Housing Service,

(9) Farm Service Agency,

(10) Commodity Credit Corporation, and

(11) Office of the Secretary.

The CMPs in this final rule are listed according to the applicable administering agency.

III. Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking

In developing this final rule, we are waiving the usual notice of proposed rulemaking and public comment procedures contained in 5 U.S.C. 553. We have determined that, under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B), good cause exists for dispensing with the notice of proposed rulemaking and public comment procedures for this rule. Specifically the rulemaking comports with and is consistent with the statutory authority required by Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, as amended, with no issue of policy discretion. Accordingly, we have determined that opportunity for prior comment is unnecessary and contrary to the public interest, and we are issuing this revised regulation as a final rule that will apply to all future cases.

IV. Procedural Requirements Executive Order 12866

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has reviewed this regulatory action in accordance with the provisions of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, and has determined that it does not meet the criteria for significant regulatory action. Additionally, because this 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).

As indicated above, the provisions of this final rulemaking contain inflation adjustments in compliance with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. The great majority of individuals, organizations, and entities affected participating in the programs affected by this regulation do not engage in prohibited activities and practices that would result in civil monetary penalties being incurred. Accordingly, we believe that any aggregate economic impact of this revised regulation will be minimal, affecting only the limited number of program participants that may engage in prohibited behavior in violation of the statutes.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act relating to an initial and final regulatory flexibility analysis (5 U.S.C. 603, 604) are not applicable to this final rule because USDA was not required to publish notice of proposed rulemaking under 5 U.S.C. 553 or any other law. Accordingly, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This final rule imposes no new reporting or recordkeeping requirements necessitating clearance by OMB.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 3

Administrative practice and procedure, Debt management, Penalties.

For the reasons set forth in the preamble, USDA amends 7 CFR part 3 as follows:

PART 3—DEBT MANAGEMENT Subpart I—Adjusted Civil Monetary Penalties 1. The authority citation for subpart I continues to read as follows: Authority:

28 U.S.C. 2461 note.

2. Revise § 3.91(a)(1), (2) and (b) to read as follows:
§ 3.91 Adjusted civil monetary penalties.

(a) * * *

(1) Adjustments. The Secretary will adjust the civil monetary penalties, listed in paragraph (b) of this section, to take account of inflation as mandated by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, as amended.

(2) Timing. Any increase in the dollar amount of a civil monetary penalty listed in paragraph (b) of this section applies only to violations occurring after December 5, 2017.

(b) Penalties.(1) Agricultural Marketing Service—(i) Civil penalty for improper recordkeeping, codified at 7 U.S.C. 136i-1(d), has: A maximum of $905 in the case of the first offense, and a minimum of $1,759 in the case of subsequent offenses, except that the penalty will be less than $1,759 if the Secretary determines that the person made a good faith effort to comply.

(ii) Civil penalty for a violation of the unfair conduct rule under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, in lieu of license revocation or suspension, codified at 7 U.S.C. 499b(5), has a maximum of $4,928.

(iii) Civil penalty for violation of the licensing requirements under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 499c(a), has a maximum of $1,573 for each such offense and not more than $393 for each day it continues, or a maximum of $393 for each offense if the Secretary determines the violation was not willful.

(iv) Civil penalty in lieu of license suspension under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 499h(e), has a maximum penalty of $3,145 for each violative transaction or each day the violation continues.

(v) Civil penalty for a violation of the Export Apple Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 586, has a minimum of $144 and a maximum of $14,372.

(vi) Civil penalty for a violation of the Export Grape and Plum Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 596, has a minimum of $275 and a maximum of $27,500.

(vii) Civil penalty for a violation of an order issued by the Secretary under the Agricultural Adjustment Act, reenacted with amendments by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, codified at 7 U.S.C. 608c(14)(B), has a maximum of $2,750. Each day the violation continues is a separate violation.

(viii) Civil penalty for failure to file certain reports under the Agricultural Adjustment Act, reenacted by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, codified at 7 U.S.C. 610(c), has a maximum of $275.

(ix) Civil penalty for a violation of a seed program under the Federal Seed Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 1596(b), has a minimum of $94 and a maximum of $1,875.

(x) Civil penalty for failure to collect any assessment or fee for a violation of the Cotton Research and Promotion Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 2112(b), has a maximum of $2,750.

(xi) Civil penalty for failure to pay, collect, or remit any assessment or fee for a violation of a program under the Potato Research and Promotion Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 2621(b)(1), has a minimum of $1,232 and a maximum of $12,319.

(xii) Civil penalty for failure to obey a cease and desist order under the Potato Research and Promotion Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 2621(b)(3), has a maximum of $1,232. Each day the violation continues is a separate violation.

(xiii) Civil penalty for failure to pay, collect, or remit any assessment or fee or for a violation of a program under the Egg Research and Consumer Information Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 2714(b)(1), has a minimum of $1,425 and a maximum of $14,023.

(xiv) Civil penalty for failure to obey a cease and desist order under the Egg Research and Consumer Information Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 2714(b)(3), has a maximum of $1,425. Each day the violation continues is a separate violation.

(xv) Civil penalty for failure to remit any assessment or fee or for a violation of a program under the Beef Research and Information Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 2908(a)(2), has a maximum of $11,119.

(xvi) Civil penalty for failure to remit any assessment or for a violation of a program regarding wheat and wheat foods research, codified at 7 U.S.C. 3410(b), has a maximum of $2,750.

(xvii) Civil penalty for failure to pay, collect, or remit any assessment or fee or for a violation of a program under the Floral Research and Consumer Information Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 4314(b)(1), has a minimum of $1,294 and a maximum of $12,941.

(xviii) Civil penalty for failure to obey a cease and desist order under the Floral Research and Consumer Information Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 4314(b)(3), has a maximum of $1,294. Each day the violation continues is a separate violation.

(xix) Civil penalty for violation of an order under the Dairy Promotion Program, codified at 7 U.S.C. 4510(b), has a maximum of $2,393.

(xx) Civil penalty for pay, collect, or remit any assessment or fee or for a violation of the Honey Research, Promotion, and Consumer Information Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 4610(b)(1), has a minimum of $737 and a maximum of $7,370.

(xxi) Civil penalty for failure to obey a cease and desist order under the Honey Research, Promotion, and Consumer Information Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 4610(b)(3), has a maximum of $737. Each day the violation continues is a separate violation.

(xxii) Civil penalty for a violation of a program under the Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1985, codified at 7 U.S.C. 4815(b)(1)(A)(i), has a maximum of $2,224.

(xxiii) Civil penalty for failure to obey a cease and desist order under the Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1985, codified at 7 U.S.C. 4815(b)(3)(A), has a maximum of $1,112. Each day the violation continues is a separate violation.

(xxiv) Civil penalty for failure to pay, collect, or remit any assessment or fee or for a violation of a program under the Watermelon Research and Promotion Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 4910(b)(1), has a minimum of $1,112 and a maximum of $11,119.

(xxv) Civil penalty for failure to obey a cease and desist order under the Watermelon Research and Promotion Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 4910(b)(3), has a maximum of $1,112. Each day the violation continues is a separate violation.

(xxvi) Civil penalty for failure to pay, collect, or remit any assessment or fee or for a violation of a program under the Pecan Promotion and Research Act of 1990, codified at 7 U.S.C. 6009(c)(1), has a minimum of $1,811 and a maximum of $18,107.

(xxvii) Civil penalty for failure to obey a cease and desist order under the Pecan Promotion and Research Act of 1990, codified at 7 U.S.C. 6009(e), has a maximum of $1,811.

(xxviii) Civil penalty for failure to pay, collect, or remit any assessment or fee or for a violation of a program under the Mushroom Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1990, codified at 7 U.S.C. 6107(c)(1), has a minimum of $880 and a maximum of $8,797.

(xxix) Civil penalty for failure to obey a cease and desist order under the Mushroom Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1990, codified at 7 U.S.C. 6107(e), has a maximum of $880. Each day the violation continues is a separate violation.

(xxx) Civil penalty for failure to pay, collect, or remit any assessment or fee or for a violation of the Lime Research, Promotion, and Consumer Information Act of 1990, codified at 7 U.S.C. 6207(c)(1), has a minimum of $880 and a maximum of $8,797.

(xxxi) Civil penalty for failure to obey a cease and desist order under the Lime Research, Promotion, and Consumer Information Act of 1990, codified at 7 U.S.C. 6207(e), has a maximum of $880. Each day the violation continues is a separate violation.

(xxxii) Civil penalty for failure to pay, collect, or remit any assessment or fee or for a violation of a program under the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act, codified a 7 U.S.C. 6307(c)(1)(A), has a maximum of $1,811.

(xxxiii) Civil penalty for failure to obey a cease and desist order under the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 6307(e), has a maximum of $9,054. Each day the violation continues is a separate violation.

(xxxiv) Civil penalty for failure to pay, collect, or remit any assessment or fee or for a violation of a program under the Fluid Milk Promotion Act of 1990, codified at 7 U.S.C. 6411(c)(1)(A), has a minimum of $880 and a maximum of $8,797, or in the case of a violation that is willful, codified at 7 U.S.C. 6411(c)(1)(B), has a minimum of $17,593 and a maximum of $175,931.

(xxxv) Civil penalty for failure to obey a cease and desist order under the Fluid Milk Promotion Act of 1990, codified at 7 U.S.C. 6411(e), has a maximum of $9,054. Each day the violation continues is a separate violation.

(xxxvi) Civil penalty for knowingly labeling or selling a product as organic except in accordance with the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, codified at 7 U.S.C. 6519(c), has a maximum of $17,593.

(xxxvii) Civil penalty for failure to pay, collect, or remit any assessment or fee or for a violation of a program under the Fresh Cut Flowers and Fresh Cut Greens Promotion and Information Act of 1993, codified at 7 U.S.C. 6808(c)(1)(A)(i), has a minimum of $830 and a maximum of $8,295.

(xxxviii) Civil penalty for failure to obey a cease and desist order under the Fresh Cut Flowers and Fresh Cut Greens Promotion and Information Act of 1993, codified at 7 U.S.C. 6808(e)(1), has a maximum of $8,295. Each day the violation continues is a separate violation.

(xxxix) Civil penalty for a violation of a program under the Sheep Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1994, codified at 7 U.S.C. 7107(c)(1)(A), has a maximum of $1,617.

(xl) Civil penalty for failure to obey a cease and desist order under the Sheep Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1994, codified at 7 U.S.C. 7107(e), has a maximum of $808. Each day the violation continues is a separate violation.

(xli) Civil penalty for a violation of an order or regulation issued under the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996, codified at 7 U.S.C. 7419(c)(1), has a minimum of $1,527 and a maximum of $15,270 for each violation.

(xlii) Civil penalty for failure to obey a cease and desist order under the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996, codified at 7 U.S.C. 7419(e), has a minimum of $1,527 and a maximum of $15,270. Each day the violation continues is a separate violation.

(xliii) Civil penalty for a violation of an order or regulation issued under the Canola and Rapeseed Research, Promotion, and Consumer Information Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 7448(c)(1)(A)(i), has a maximum of $1,527 for each violation.

(xliv) Civil penalty for failure to obey a cease and desist order under the Canola and Rapeseed Research, Promotion, and Consumer Information Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 7448(e), has a maximum of $7,635. Each day the violation continues is a separate violation.

(xlv) Civil penalty for violation of an order or regulation issued under the National Kiwifruit Research, Promotion, and Consumer Information Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 7468(c)(1), has a minimum of $764 and a maximum of $7,635 for each violation.

(xlvi) Civil penalty for failure to obey a cease and desist order under the National Kiwifruit Research, Promotion, and Consumer Information Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 7468(e), has a maximum of $764. Each day the violation continues is a separate violation.

(xlvii) Civil penalty for a violation of an order or regulation under the Popcorn Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 7487(a), has a maximum of $1,527 for each violation.

(xlviii) Civil penalty for certain violations under the Egg Products Inspection Act, codified at 21 U.S.C. 1041(c)(1)(A), has a maximum of $8,797 for each violation.

(xlix) Civil penalty for violation of an order or regulation issued under the Hass Avocado Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 2000, codified at 7 U.S.C. 7807(c)(1)(A)(i), has a minimum of $1,389 and a maximum of $13,893 for each violation.

(l) Civil penalty for failure to obey a cease and desist order under the Hass Avocado Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 2000, codified at 7 U.S.C. 7807(e)(1), has a maximum of $13,893 for each offense. Each day the violation continues is a separate violation.

(li) Civil penalty for violation of certain provisions of the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act of 1999, codified a 7 U.S.C. 1636b(a)(1), has a maximum of $14,372 for each violation.

(lii) Civil penalty for failure to obey a cease and desist order under the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act of 1999, codified a 7 U.S.C. 1636b(g)(3), has a maximum of $14,372 for each violation. Each day the violation continues is a separate violation.

(liii) Civil penalty for failure to obey an order of the Secretary issued pursuant to the Dairy Product Mandatory Reporting program, codified at 7 U.S.C. 1637b(c)(4)(D)(iii), has a maximum of $13,893 for each offense.

(liv) Civil penalty for a willful violation of the Country of Origin Labeling program by a retailer or person engaged in the business of supplying a covered commodity to a retailer, codified at 7 U.S.C. 1638b(b)(2), has a maximum of $1,116 for each violation.

(lv) Civil penalty for violations of the Dairy Research Program, codified at 7 U.S.C. 4535 & 4510(b), has a maximum of $2,393 for each violation.

(2) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service—(i) Civil penalty for a violation of the imported seed provisions of the Federal Seed Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 1596(b), has a minimum of $94 and a maximum of $1,875.

(ii) Civil penalty for a violation of the Animal Welfare Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 2149(b), has a maximum of $11,162, and knowing failure to obey a cease and desist order has a civil penalty of $1,674.

(iii) Civil penalty for any person that causes harm to, or interferes with, an animal used for the purposes of official inspection by the Department, codified at 7 U.S.C. 2279e(a), has a maximum of $13,893.

(iv) Civil penalty for a violation of the Swine Health Protection Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 3805(a), has a maximum of $27,500.

(v) Civil penalty for any person that violates the Plant Protection Act (PPA), or that forges, counterfeits, or, without authority from the Secretary, uses, alters, defaces, or destroys any certificate, permit, or other document provided for in the PPA, codified a 7 U.S.C. 7734(b)(1), has a maximum of the greater of: $69,463 in the case of any individual (except that the civil penalty may not exceed $1,389 in the case of an initial violation of the PPA by an individual moving regulated articles not for monetary gain), $347,313 in the case of any other person for each violation, $558,078 for all violations adjudicated in a single proceeding if the violations do not include a willful violation, and $1,116,156 for all violations adjudicated in a single proceeding if the violations include a willful violation; or twice the gross gain or gross loss for any violation, forgery, counterfeiting, unauthorized us, defacing, or destruction of a certificate, permit, or other document provided for in the PPA that results in the person deriving pecuniary gain or causing pecuniary loss to another.

(vi) Civil penalty for any person (except as provided in 7 U.S.C. 8309(d)) that violates the Animal Health Protection Act (AHPA), or that forges, counterfeits, or, without authority from the Secretary, uses, alters, defaces, or destroys any certificate, permit, or other document provided under the AHPA, codified at 7 U.S.C. 8313(b)(1), has a maximum of the greater of: $66,666 in the case of any individual, except that the civil penalty may not exceed $1,333 in the case of an initial violation of the AHPA by an individual moving regulated articles not for monetary gain, $333,328 in the case of any other person for each violation, $558,078 for all violations adjudicated in a single proceeding if the violations do not include a willful violation, and $1,116,156 for all violations adjudicated in a single proceeding if the violations include a willful violation; or twice the gross gain or gross loss for any violation, forgery, counterfeiting, unauthorized use, defacing, or destruction of a certificate, permit, or other document provided under the AHPA that results in the person's deriving pecuniary gain or causing pecuniary loss to another person.

(vii) Civil penalty for any person that violates certain regulations under the Agricultural Bioterrorism Protection Act of 2002 regarding transfers of listed agents and toxins or possession and use of listed agents and toxins, codified at 7 U.S.C. 8401(i)(1), has a maximum of $333,328 in the case of an individual and $666,656 in the case of any other person.

(viii) Civil penalty for violation of the Horse Protection Act, codified at 15 U.S.C. 1825(b)(1), has a maximum of $5,500.

(ix) Civil penalty for failure to obey Horse Protection Act disqualification, codified at 15 U.S.C. 1825(c), has a maximum of $10,750.

(x) Civil penalty for knowingly violating, or, if in the business as an importer or exporter, violating, with respect to terrestrial plants, any provision of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, any permit or certificate issued thereunder, or any regulation issued pursuant to section 9(a)(1)(A) through (F), (a)(2)(A) through (D), (c), (d) (other than regulations relating to record keeping or filing reports), (f), or (g) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1538(a)(1)(A) through (F), (a)(2)(A) through (D), (c), (d), (f), and (g)), as set forth at 16 U.S.C. 1540(a), has a maximum of $50,277.

(xi) Civil penalty for knowingly violating, or, if in the business as an importer or exporter, violating, with respect to terrestrial plants, any other regulation under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as set forth at 16 U.S.C. 1540(a), has a maximum of $24,133.

(xii) Civil penalty for violation, with respect to terrestrial plants, of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, or any regulation, permit, or certificate issued thereunder, as set forth at 16 U.S.C. 1540(a), has a maximum of $1,801.

(xiii) Civil penalty for knowingly and willfully violating 49 U.S.C. 80502 with respect to the transportation of animals by any rail carrier, express carrier, or common carrier (except by air or water), a receiver, trustee, or lessee of one of those carriers, or an owner or master of a vessel, codified at 49 U.S.C. 80502(d), has a minimum of $162 and a maximum of $808.

(xiv) Civil penalty for a violation of the Commercial Transportation of Equine for Slaughter Act, 7 U.S.C. 1901 note, and its implementing regulations in 9 CFR part 88, as set forth in 9 CFR 88.6, has a maximum of $5000. Each horse transported in violation of Part 88 is a separate violation.

(3) Food and Nutrition Service—(i) Civil penalty for violating a provision of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (Act), or a regulation under the Act, by a retail food store or wholesale food concern, codified at 7 U.S.C. 2021(a) and (c), has a maximum of $111,616 for each violation.

(ii) Civil penalty for trafficking in food coupons, codified at 7 U.S.C. 2021(b)(3)(B), has a maximum of $39,574 for each violation, except that the maximum penalty for violations occurring during a single investigation is $71,262.

(iii) Civil penalty for the sale of firearms, ammunitions, explosives, or controlled substances for coupons, codified at 7 U.S.C. 2021(b)(3)(C), has a maximum of $40,221 for each violation, except that the maximum penalty for violations occurring during a single investigation is $72,428.

(iv) Civil penalty for any entity that submits a bid to supply infant formula to carry out the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children and discloses the amount of the bid, rebate, or discount practices in advance of the bid opening or for any entity that makes a statement prior to the opening of bids for the purpose of influencing a bid, codified at 42 U.S.C. 1786(h)(8)(H)(i), has a maximum of $170,472,030.

(v) Civil penalty for a vendor convicted of trafficking in food instruments, codified at 42 U.S.C. 1786(o)(1)(A) and 42 U.S.C. 1786(o)(4)(B), has a maximum of $14,740 for each violation, except that the maximum penalty for violations occurring during a single investigation is $58,958.

(vi) Civil penalty for a vendor convicted of selling firearms, ammunition, explosive, or controlled substances in exchange for food instruments, codified at 42 U.S.C. 1786(o)(1)(B) and 42 U.S.C. 1786(o)(4)(B), has a maximum of $14,740 for each violation, except that the maximum penalty for violations occurring during a single investigation is $58,958.

(4) Food Safety and Inspection Service—(i) Civil penalty for certain violations under the Egg Products Inspection Act, codified at 21 U.S.C. 1041(c)(1)(A), has a maximum of $8,797 for each violation.

(ii) [Reserved]

(5) Forest Service—(i) Civil penalty for willful disregard of the prohibition against the export of unprocessed timber originating from Federal lands, codified at 16 U.S.C. 620d(c)(1)(A), has a maximum of $905,353 per violation or three times the gross value of the unprocessed timber, whichever is greater.

(ii) Civil penalty for a violation in disregard of the Forest Resources Conservation and Shortage Relief Act or the regulations that implement such Act regardless of whether such violation caused the export of unprocessed timber originating from Federal lands, codified at 16 U.S.C. 620d(c)(2)(A)(i), has a maximum of $135,803 per violation.

(iii) Civil penalty for a person that should have known that an action was a violation of the Forest Resources Conservation and Shortage Relief Act or the regulations that implement such Act regardless of whether such violation caused the export of unprocessed timber originating from Federal lands, codified at 16 U.S.C. 620d(c)(2)(A)(ii), has a maximum of $90,535 per violation.

(iv) Civil penalty for a willful violation of the Forest Resources Conservation and Shortage Relief Act or the regulations that implement such Act regardless of whether such violation caused the export of unprocessed timber originating from Federal lands, codified at 16 U.S.C. 620d(c)(2)(A)(iii), has a maximum of $905,353.

(v) Civil penalty for a violation involving protections of caves, codified at 16 U.S. C. 4307(a)(2), has a maximum of $19,787.

(6) Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration—(i) Civil penalty for a packer or swine contractor violation, codified at 7 U.S.C. 193(b), has a maximum of $27,500.

(ii) Civil penalty for a livestock market agency or dealer failure to register, codified at 7 U.S.C. 203, has a maximum of $1,875 and not more than $94 for each day the violation continues.

(iii) Civil penalty for operating without filing, or in violation of, a stockyard rate schedule, or of a regulation or order of the Secretary made thereunder, codified at 7 U.S.C. 207(g), has a maximum of $1,875 and not more than $94 for each day the violation continues.

(iv) Civil penalty for a stockyard owner, livestock market agency, and dealer violation, codified at 7 U.S.C. 213(b), has a maximum of $27,500.

(v) Civil penalty for a stockyard owner, livestock market agency, and dealer compliance order, codified at 7 U.S.C. 215(a), has a maximum of $1,875.

(vi) Civil penalty for live poultry dealer violations, codified at 7 U.S.C. 228b-2(b), has a maximum of $80,000.

(vii) Civil penalty for a violation, codified at 7 U.S.C. 86(c), has a maximum of $268,750.

(7) Federal Crop Insurance Corporation—(i) Civil penalty for any person who willfully and intentionally provides any false or inaccurate information to the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation or to an approved insurance provider with respect to any insurance plan or policy that is offered under the authority of the Federal Crop Insurance Act, or who fails to comply with a requirement of the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, codified at 7 U.S.C. 1515(h)(3)(A), has a maximum of the greater of: The amount of the pecuniary gain obtained as a result of the false or inaccurate information or the noncompliance; or $11,744.

(ii) [Reserved]

(8) Rural Housing Service—(i) Civil penalty for a violation of section 536 of Title V of the Housing Act of 1949, codified at 42 U.S.C. 1490p(e)(2), has a maximum of $192,459 in the case of an individual, and a maximum of $1,924,589 in the case of an applicant other than an individual.

(ii) Civil penalty for equity skimming under section 543(a) of the Housing Act of 1949, codified at 42 U.S.C. 1490s(a)(2), has a maximum of $34,731.

(iii) Civil penalty under section 543b of the Housing Act of 1949 for a violation of regulations or agreements made in accordance with Title V of the Housing Act of 1949, by submitting false information, submitting false certifications, failing to timely submit information, failing to maintain real property in good repair and condition, failing to provide acceptable management for a project, or failing to comply with applicable civil rights statutes and regulations, codified at 42 U.S.C. 1490s(b)(3)(A), has a maximum of the greater of: Twice the damages the Department, guaranteed lender, or project that is secured for a loan under Title V, suffered or would have suffered as a result of the violation; or $69,463 per violation.

(9) Farm Service Agency—(i) Civil penalty for failure to comply with certain provisions of the U.S. Warehouse Act, codified at 7 U.S.C. 254, has a maximum of $34,731 per violation if an agricultural product is not involved in the violation.

(ii) [Reserved]

(10) Commodity Credit Corporation—(i) Civil penalty for willful failure or refusal to furnish information, or willful furnishing of false information under of section 156 of the Federal Agricultural Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, codified at 7 U.S.C. 7272(g)(5), has a maximum of $15,270 for each violation.

(ii) Civil penalty for willful failure or refusal to furnish information or willful furnishing of false data by a processor, refiner, or importer of sugar, syrup and molasses under section 156 of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, codified at 7 U.S.C. 7272(g)(5), has a maximum of $15,270 for each violation.

(iii) Civil penalty for filing a false acreage report that exceeds tolerance under section 156 of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, codified at 7 U.S.C. 7272(g)(5), has a maximum of $15,270 for each violation.

(iv) Civil penalty for knowingly violating any regulation of the Secretary of the Commodity Credit Corporation pertaining to flexible marketing allotments for sugar under section 359h(b) of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, codified at 7 U.S.C. 1359hh(b), has a maximum of $11,162 for each violation.

(v) Civil penalty for knowing violation of regulations promulgated by the Secretary pertaining to cotton insect eradication under section 104(d) of the Agricultural Act of 1949, codified at 7 U.S.C. 1444a(d), has a maximum of $13,750 for each offense.

(11) Office of the Secretary—(i) Civil penalty for making, presenting, submitting or causing to be made, presented or submitted, a false, fictitious, or fraudulent claim as defined under the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act of 1986, codified at 31 U.S.C. 3802(a)(1), has a maximum of $10,958.

(ii) Civil penalty for making, presenting, submitting or causing to be made, presented or submitted, a false, fictitious, or fraudulent written statement as defined under the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act of 1986, codified at 31 U.S.C. 3802(a)(2), has a maximum of $10,958.

Dated: November 28, 2017. Stephen L. Censky, Deputy Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2017-26194 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-90-P
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Executive Office for Immigration Review 8 CFR Part 1240 [EOIR Docket No. 180; AG Order No. 4034-2017] RIN 1125-AA25 Procedures Further Implementing the Annual Limitation on Suspension of Deportation and Cancellation of Removal AGENCY:

Executive Office for Immigration Review, Department of Justice.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Department of Justice is amending the Executive Office for Immigration Review (“EOIR”) regulations governing the annual limitation on cancellation of removal and suspension of deportation decisions. The amendment eliminates certain procedures created in 1998 that were used to convert 8,000 conditional grants of suspension of deportation and cancellation of removal to outright grants before the end of fiscal year 1998. In addition, it authorizes immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals (“Board”) to issue final decisions denying applications, without restriction, regardless of whether the annual limitation has been reached.

DATES:

This rule is effective January 4, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jean King, General Counsel, Executive Office for Immigration Review, 5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 2600, Falls Church, VA 22041, telephone (703) 305-0470 (not a toll-free call).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Public Participation

On November 30, 2016, the Department published in the Federal Register a rule proposing to amend EOIR's regulations relating to the annual limitation on cancellation of removal and suspension of deportation. 81 FR 86291 (Nov. 30, 2016). The comment period ended on January 30, 2017. The Department received four comments. For the reasons set forth below, the proposed rule is adopted without change.

II. Background and Summary

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (“IIRIRA”), Public Law 104-208, Div. C, 110 Stat. 3009-546, added section 240A(e) to the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA” or the “Act”), Public Law 82-414, 66 Stat. 163 (1952) (codified as amended in scattered sections of 8, 18, and 22 U.S.C.), by establishing an annual limitation on the number of aliens who may be granted suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal followed by adjustment of status. The annual limitation is as follows:

[T]he Attorney General may not cancel the removal and adjust the status under this section, nor suspend the deportation and adjust the status under section 244(a) (as in effect before the enactment of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996), of a total of more than 4,000 aliens in any fiscal year.

INA sec. 240A(e)(1) (8 U.S.C. 1229b(e)(1)).

On October 3, 1997, the Department issued an interim rule, which authorized immigration judges and the Board to grant applications for suspension of deportation and cancellation of removal only on a “conditional basis.” 62 FR 51760, 51762 (Oct. 3, 1997). This interim rule was a temporary measure to give the Department time to decide how best to implement the annual statutory limitation. Pursuant to the rule, the Chief Immigration Judge instructed immigration judges to convert previously reserved grants of suspension and cancellation to conditional grants.

On November 19, 1997, Congress enacted the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (“NACARA”), Public Law 105-100, title II, 111 Stat. 2160, 2193-2201, which amended section 240A(e) of the Act. NACARA reaffirmed the annual limitation of 4,000 grants but exempted from the limitation certain nationals of Guatemala, El Salvador, and the former Soviet bloc countries. See NACARA sec. 204, 111 Stat. at 2200-01. NACARA provided for an additional 4,000 suspension/cancellation grants to increase the annual limitation to a total of 8,000 for fiscal year 1998 only. Id.

On September 30, 1998, the Department issued the current interim rule, which eliminated the “conditional grant” process established in the October 1997 interim rule and provided new procedures for immigration judges and the Board to follow with respect to implementing the numerical limitation on suspension and cancellation of removal imposed by IIRIRA and NACARA, 63 FR 52134 (Sept. 30, 1998) (codified at 8 CFR 1240.21 (as in effect prior to publication of this rule)).

First, the interim rule created a process to address a discrete issue that required resolution before the end of fiscal year 1998: The interaction between the October 1997 interim rule authorizing immigration judges and the Board to grant applications for suspension and cancellation on a “conditional basis,” see 62 FR 51760, 51762 (Oct. 3, 1997), and the enactment of NACARA in November 1997, which added 4,000 grants to the statutory annual limitation, creating a total of 8,000 available grants for fiscal year 1998, see NACARA sec. 202, 111 Stat. at 2193-96. These procedures were set forth in 8 CFR 1240.21(b) (as in effect prior to publication of this rule). See 63 FR at 52138-39.

Second, the interim rule created a new procedure for processing applications for suspension and cancellation in order to avoid exceeding the annual limitation. See 63 FR at 52139-40 (codified at 8 CFR 1240.21(c) (as in effect prior to publication of this rule)). The rule eliminated the conditional grant process. Id. at 52138 (codified at 8 CFR 1240.21(a)(2)). Instead, under the interim rule, immigration judges and the Board issued grants of suspension or cancellation in chronological order until grants were no longer available in a fiscal year. The interim rule provided that when grants were no longer available in a fiscal year, “further decisions to grant or deny such relief shall be reserved” until grants become available in a future fiscal year. Id. at 52140 (codified at 8 CFR 1240.21(c)(1) (as in effect prior to publication of this rule)). With respect to denials, the interim rule stated that immigration judges and the Board “may deny without reserving decision or may pretermit those suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal applications in which the applicant has failed to establish statutory eligibility for relief.” Id. However, the interim rule prohibited immigration judges and the Board from basing such denials “on an unfavorable exercise of discretion, a finding of no good moral character on a ground not specifically noted in section 101(f) of the [INA], a failure to establish exceptional or extremely unusual hardship to a qualifying relative in cancellation cases, or a failure to establish extreme hardship to the applicant and/or qualifying relative in suspension cases.” Id.

For the reasons discussed in the preamble to the proposed rule “Procedures Further Implementing the Annual Limitation on Suspension of Deportation and Cancellation of Removal,” see 81 FR 86291 (Nov. 30, 2016), on November 30, 2016, the Department proposed to amend the 1998 interim rule codified at 8 CFR 1240.21 (as in effect prior to publication of this rule). The comment period ended on January 30, 2017. The Department received four comments. For the reasons discussed below, the Department will adopt the proposed amendments to 8 CFR 1240.21 as final without change.

The final rule makes three amendments to the current interim regulation. First, the final rule eliminates the text of 8 CFR 1240.21(b) (as in effect prior to publication of this rule), which, as discussed above, established a procedure to convert 8,000 conditional grants of suspension of deportation and cancellation of removal to outright grants before the end of fiscal year 1998 and to convert some conditional grants to grants of adjustment of status under NACARA. The need for such procedures ceased to exist after fiscal year 1998. Second, the final rule amends the interim rule to allow immigration judges and the Board to issue final decisions denying cancellation and suspension applications, without restriction, regardless of whether the annual limitation has been reached. Under the final rule, after the annual limitation has been reached, only grants would be required to be reserved. The final rule will apply prospectively and will have no effect on decisions that were reserved prior to the final rule's effective date. Lastly, the final rule makes a technical amendment to 8 CFR 1240.21(c).

III. Comments and Responses

As noted above, the Department received four comments in response to the proposed rule. One comment was from the American Immigration Lawyers Association; one was from an attorney with a private law firm, and two were from individual commenters. The comments are addressed by topic because some commenters raised multiple subjects and some comments overlapped.

None of the commenters expressed concern with the final rule's elimination of certain procedures created in 1998 to convert 8,000 conditional grants of suspension and cancellation to outright grants before the end of fiscal year 1998. Additionally, none of the commenters expressed concern with the final rule's technical amendment to 8 CFR 1240.21(c).

Rather, the commenters focused on the rule's provision authorizing immigration judges and the Board to issue final decisions denying cancellation and suspension applications, without restriction, regardless of whether the annual limitation has been reached. There is nothing in the statutory language suggesting that decisions denying eligibility need to be delayed; the statutory provision only calls for delaying decisions to grant such relief when necessary because the statutory cap has been reached in a particular year. As explained in the preamble to the proposed rule, the purpose of this amendment is to: “decrease the high volume of reserved decisions that result when the annual limitation is reached early in the fiscal year; reduce the associated delays caused by postponing the resolution of pending cases before EOIR; and provide an applicant with knowledge of a decision in the applicant's case on or around the date of the hearing held on the applicant's suspension or cancellation application.” 81 FR 86291.

Comment: One commenter expressed concern that the rule will unfairly disadvantage applicants because it “freezes the record in place for purposes of a decision denying cancellation or suspension but leaves it open for a potentially positive reserved decision.” For example, the commenter hypothesized that under the interim rule an immigration judge is required to reserve decision on a cancellation application, which might otherwise be denied for failure of the applicant to meet the statutory requirement that the applicant must demonstrate that the applicant's removal would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to a qualifying relative. The commenter states that if the immigration judge had reserved the decision and the applicant's qualifying relative develops serious health-problems while the reserved denial is still pending, the applicant could present this new information and potentially obtain cancellation of removal. On the other hand, under the final rule, an immigration judge would be required to reserve a decision on an application which would otherwise be granted (but for the annual statutory limitation) if the applicant demonstrated that the applicant's removal would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to a qualifying relative such as the applicant's United States citizen child who is in poor health. If the applicant's qualifying child dies or “ages-out” and no longer qualifies as a “qualifying relative” while the decision is reserved, the applicant may lose eligibility for cancellation of removal. In light of these concerns, the commenter urges EOIR to keep the interim rule in place.

Response: The Department declines to change the final rule in light of this comment. As an initial matter, the Department notes that the final rule is consistent with section 240A(e)(1) of the INA, which limits the number of aliens who may be granted suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal to 4,000 aliens in any fiscal year. The Department has determined that the statute does not prohibit the issuance of denials of suspension or cancellation applications once the annual limitation has been reached, but it does require immigration judges and the Board to reserve applications that are to be granted until numbers become available in a subsequent fiscal year.

Moreover, the possibility that an applicant's qualifying relative may “age-out” or die while a decision is reserved exists under the current interim regulations. This final regulation therefore does not create a greater likelihood that an applicant may lose eligibility due to a qualifying relative “aging out” or dying while a decision is reserved.

The Department also notes that an applicant may file a motion to reopen if the applicant's qualifying relative experiences a change in circumstances that may qualify the applicant to receive cancellation of removal after the applicant's application was denied. The same commenter suggests that an applicant may be unable to file a motion to reopen if the applicant has been removed from the United States. EOIR notes, however, that most federal courts of appeal have held that the physical removal of an alien from the United States before a timely motion to reopen is filed does not preclude the alien from pursuing a motion to reopen, notwithstanding the current regulatory departure bar set forth at 8 CFR 1003.2(d) and 1003.23(b)(1).1

1See e.g. Jian Le Lin v. U.S. Atty. Gen., 681 F.3d 1236, 1240 (11th Cir. 2012) (stating that “Congress intended to ensure aliens the right to file one motion to reopen regardless of their geographical location”); Contreras-Bocanegra v. Holder, 678 F.3d 811, 818 (10th Cir. 2012) (en banc) (same); Prestol Espinal v. Att'y Gen., 653 F.3d 213, 218 (3d Cir. 2011) (same); Reyes-Torres v. Holder, 645 F.3d 1073, 1077 (9th Cir. 2011) (stating that “the physical removal of a petitioner by the United States does not preclude the petitioner from pursuing a motion to reopen” (quotation marks omitted)); Luna v. Holder, 637 F.3d 85, 102 (2d Cir. 2011) (stating that “the BIA must exercise its full jurisdiction to adjudicate a statutory [i.e. timely and not number barred] motion to reopen by an alien who is removed or otherwise departs the United States before or after filing the motion”); William v. Gonzales, 499 F.3d 329, 332 (4th Cir. 2007) (stating that section 240(c)(7)(A) of the Act “unambiguously provides an alien with the right to file one motion to reopen, regardless of whether he is within or without the country”).

Comment: One commenter stated that “[i]f EOIR decides to implement the proposed rule for applications that were previously reserved, [it should] notify the [applicant] and counsel of any intent to deny the case” so that the applicant and counsel can supplement the record with additional evidence prior to the issuance of a decision.

Response: As noted above, the final rule will apply prospectively beginning thirty days after the rule's publication and will have no effect on decisions that were reserved prior to the final rule's effective date. See Bowen v. Georgetown Univ. Hosp., 488 U.S. 204, 208 (1988) (“[A]dministrative rules will not be construed to have retroactive effect unless their language requires this result.”).

Comment: One commenter expressed concern that the final rule will create an incentive for immigration judges and the Board to deny otherwise meritorious cancellation and suspension applications because it will ease EOIR's docket pressures and alleviate the backlog of reserved cases.

Response: The Department does not agree with the commenter's speculation that the rule will create an incentive for immigration judges and the Board to deny otherwise meritorious claims. Immigration judges and Board members are required to exercise their “independent judgment and discretion” in deciding all cases that come before them and adjudicate cases based on the law and facts presented. See 8 CFR 1003.10(b), 1003.1(d)(1)(ii). There is a presumption of regularity that attaches to the actions of government agencies, see United States Postal Serv. v. Gregory, 534 U.S. 1, 10 (2001), and the Supreme Court has long held that adjudicators such as immigration judges are “assumed to be [individuals] of conscience and intellectual discipline, capable of judging a particular controversy fairly on the basis of its own circumstances.” Withrow v. Larkin, 421 U.S. 35, 55 (1975) (internal quotation mark omitted).

Additionally, as explained in the preamble to the proposed rule, immigration judges and the Board will still be required under this final rule to provide a legal and factual analysis for all decision denying cancellation and suspension applications. See 8 CFR 1003.37, 1003.1(d)(1). If an applicant believes an immigration judge's decision was erroneous and not based on the appropriate applicable law and the facts of the case, the applicant may appeal the immigration judge's decision to the Board, 8 CFR 1003.38, and after exhausting administrative remedies, an applicant may be able to file a petition for review in the appropriate circuit court of appeals. See INA sec. 242 et seq. (8 U.S.C. 1252 et seq.).

Comment: One commenter suggested that, instead of adopting as final the provisions of the proposed rule, EOIR should adopt a rule allowing immigration judges and the Board to “provisionally approve or provisionally deny” cancellation or suspension applications once the annual numerical limitation has been reached.

Response: The Department has previously determined that the statutory language and history of the cancellation cap provision does not support a permanent regime based on conditional grants. As discussed more fully in the preamble to the proposed rule, on September 30, 1996, Congress enacted IIRIRA, which included a statutory cap on the number of applications for suspension of deportation and cancellation of removal that the Attorney General could grant each fiscal year. On October 3, 1997, the Department adopted a conditional grant process as a temporary measure that gave the Department time to consider how best to implement the statutory cap. 62 FR 51760. After considering the issue, the Department determined that the statute does not support a conditional grant system that carries over from year to year (such as the one established in the 1997 interim regulation) because the statutory cap language in section 240A(e) of the INA has been interpreted to mean that those eligible applicants must be granted relief of suspension or cancellation during the fiscal year in which they are given a grant under the cap. 63 FR at 52135-36. Therefore, the Department eliminated the conditional grant process with its publication of the current interim rule. Id. (codified at 8 CFR 1240.21(c) (as in effect prior to publication of this rule)). The Department continues to believe that the statute does not support returning to a “conditional grant” or “provisional grant” system. Accordingly, the Department will not change the rule to adopt the commenter's suggestion.

IV. Regulatory Requirements A. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Department has reviewed this regulation in accordance with the RFA (5 U.S.C. 605(b)) and the Attorney General certifies that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The rule will not regulate “small entities,” as that term is defined in 5 U.S.C. 601(6).

B. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

This rule will not result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year, and it will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.

C. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

This rule is not a major rule as defined by section 251 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), 5 U.S.C. 804(2). This rule will not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of United States-based companies to compete with foreign-based companies in domestic and export markets.

D. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 (Regulatory Planning and Review), and 13771 (Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs)

The Department has determined that this rule is not a “significant regulatory action” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review and, therefore, it has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

Moreover, this rule eliminates existing costs associated with the prior interim rule for purposes of Executive Order 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs. Specifically, EOIR estimates that this rule will reduce the administrative burden and scheduling complications, as well as related costs, associated with cancellation of removal cases subject to the annual limitation.2 See EOIR, OPPM 12-01 (outlining current procedures immigration judges and court staff must follow to reserve denials).

2 To estimate the above cost savings, EOIR used available data from the Case Access System for EOIR, granular time records from EOIR's Office of Chief Immigration Judge, and Office of Administration cost modules. The analysis was limited to non-detained non-legal permanent resident cancellation of removal applications adjudicated by immigration courts from Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 through FY 2017 (August 2017).

First, in cases involving denials, immigration judges will no longer be required to render oral decisions via an audiocassette and ship the audio tape to EOIR headquarters for a transcription but instead can issue an oral or written decision immediately. EOIR estimates that this could save the agency $607,000 annually. Second, in cases involving denials, the new regulation will alleviate the need for the immigration court to both store case files and communicate with parties about the status of cases while reserved, which could save the government $18,000 annually. Third, in cases involving denials, there will no longer be a need to refresh background checks, see 8 CFR 1003.47, that expire while a case sits in reserve and which are required to be current before an immigration judge issues a decision. EOIR estimates this could save the government $152,000 annually. Finally, once numbers become available each fiscal year, many immigration judges dispose of their cases by calling the parties back into court for a hearing to confirm completion of required background checks and to render an oral decision. Additionally, in some cases, new information may arise, which may require additional hearing time. In cases involving denials, an immigration judge may issue a decision immediately, which circumvents the need to reschedule or rehear these cases. EOIR estimates that this may save the government approximately $748,000 annually. Accordingly, EOIR estimates this rule will eliminate existing costs associated with the current interim regulation in the amount of $1.5 million annually.

This rule has been drafted in accordance with the principles of Executive Order 12866, section 1(b), and Executive Order 13563. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including consideration of potential economic, environmental, public health, and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. It calls on each agency to periodically review its existing regulations and determine whether any should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed to make the agency's regulatory program more effective or less burdensome in achieving its regulatory objectives.

The Department is issuing this final rule consistent with these Executive Orders. This rule would allow the adjudication of suspension of deportation and cancellation of removal cases, without unnecessary delays, in appropriate cases where the immigration judge or the Board determines that the application for such relief should be denied. The Department expects this rule would reduce the number of reserved suspension of deportation and cancellation of removal cases once the annual limitation has been reached. Further, this rule will have a positive economic impact on Department functions because it will significantly reduce the administrative work and scheduling complications associated with suspension of deportation and cancellation of removal cases subject to the annual limitation. While this rule would remove the current restrictions on issuing denials, immigration judges and the Board will still be required to provide a legal analysis for all decisions denying a suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal application. Accordingly, the Department does not foresee any burdens to the public as a result of this rule. To the contrary, it will benefit the public by saving administrative costs and allowing earlier resolution of cases.

E. Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

This rule will not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with section 6 of Executive Order 13132, the Department has determined that this rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement.

F. Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

This rule meets the applicable standards set forth in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988.

G. Paperwork Reduction Act

The provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13, 44 U.S.C. chapter 35, and its implementing regulations, 5 CFR part 1320, do not apply to this rule because there are no new or revised recordkeeping or reporting requirements.

List of Subjects in 8 CFR Part 1240

Administrative practice and procedure, Aliens, Immigration, Legal services, Organization and functions (Government agencies).

Accordingly, for the reasons stated in the preamble, the Department of Justice amends 8 CFR part 1240 as follows:

PART 1240—PROCEEDINGS TO DETERMINE REMOVABILITY OF ALIENS IN THE UNITED STATES 1. The authority citation for part 1240 continues to read as follows: Authority:

8 U.S.C. 1103, 1158, 1182, 1182, 1186a, 1186b, 1225, 1226, 1228, 1229a, 1229b, 1229c, 1252 note, 1361, 1362; secs. 202 and 203, Pub. L. 105-100 (111 Stat. 2160, 2193); sec. 902, Pub. L. 105-277 (112 Stat. 2681).

2. Amend § 1240.21 by removing and reserving paragraph (b) and revising paragraphs (c) introductory text and (c)(1) to read as follows:
§ 1240.21 Suspension of deportation and adjustment of status under section 244(a) of the Act (as in effect before April 1, 1997) and cancellation of removal and adjustment of status under section 240A(b) of the Act for certain nonpermanent residents.

(c) Grants of suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal in fiscal years subsequent to fiscal year 1998. On and after October 1, 1998, the Immigration Court and the Board may grant applications for suspension of deportation and adjustment of status under section 244(a) of the Act (as in effect prior to April 1, 1997) or cancellation of removal and adjustment of status under section 240A(b) of the Act that meet the statutory requirements for such relief and warrant a favorable exercise of discretion until the annual numerical limitation has been reached in that fiscal year. The awarding of such relief shall be determined according to the date the order granting such relief becomes final as defined in §§ 1003.1(d)(7) and 1003.39 of this chapter.

(1) Applicability of the annual limitation. When grants are no longer available in a fiscal year, further decisions to grant such relief must be reserved until such time as a grant becomes available under the annual limitation in a subsequent fiscal year.

Dated: November 21, 2017. Jefferson B. Sessions III, Attorney General.
[FR Doc. 2017-26104 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-30-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2017-0709; Product Identifier 2016-NM-200-AD; Amendment 39-19115; AD 2017-25-01] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Airbus Model A318 series airplanes; Model A319 series airplanes; and Model A320-211, -212, -214, -216, -231, -232, and -233 airplanes. This AD was prompted by a report indicating that the lower rib foot angle of the center wing box did not match with the bottom skin panel inner surface. This AD requires repetitive inspections for cracking of the external bottom skin in certain areas on the left and right wings, and corrective actions if necessary. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

This AD is effective January 9, 2018.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of January 9, 2018.

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-2017-0709.

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-2017-0709; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (telephone 800-647-5527) is Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to certain Airbus Model A318 and A319 series airplanes; and Model A320-211, -212, -214, -216, -231, -232, and -233 airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on July 25, 2017 (82 FR 34453) (“the NPRM”). The NPRM was prompted by a report indicating that the lower rib foot angle of the center wing box did not match with the bottom skin panel inner surface. The NPRM proposed to require repetitive inspections for cracking of the external bottom skin in certain areas on the left and right wings, and corrective actions if necessary, and provided an optional terminating modification for the repetitive inspections. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cracking of the external bottom skin in the area of the rib 2 attachment of the wings, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the wings.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD 2016-0222, dated November 7, 2016 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for certain Airbus Model A318 and A319 series airplanes; and Model A320-211, -212, -214, -216, -231, -232, and -233 airplanes. The MCAI states:

During installation in production of new wing box ribs on post-mod 39729 aeroplanes, it was discovered that the centre wing lower rib foot angle was not matching with the bottom skin panel inner surface.

This condition, if not detected and corrected, could induce fatigue cracking of the skin panel at the rib foot attachment, with possible detrimental effect on wing structural integrity.

This condition was initially addressed by Airbus on the production line through adaptation mod 152155, then through mod 152200. For affected aeroplanes in service, Airbus issued Service Bulletin (SB) A320-57-1205, providing instructions for repetitive detailed inspections (DET) or special detailed inspections (SDI), and SB A320-57-1207, providing modification instructions.

For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD requires repetitive inspections (DET or SDI) of the wing bottom skin lower surface for crack detection and, depending on findings, the accomplishment of applicable corrective action(s). This [EASA] AD also includes reference to an optional modification (Airbus SB A320-57-1207), providing terminating action for the repetitive inspections required by this [EASA] AD.

The corrective action for cracking is to repair using a method approved by the Manager, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA; EASA; or Airbus's EASA Design Organization Approval. 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-2017-0709.

Comments

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

Request To Include Technical Adaptations

Delta Airlines asked for another “Contacting the Manufacturer” subparagraph acknowledging Technical Adaptations from Airbus to be added under paragraph (j) of the proposed AD, “Other FAA AD Provisions.” Delta observed that the FAA provision for contacting the manufacturer in paragraph (j) of the proposed AD would provide allowances for corrective actions without alternative methods of compliance (AMOCs). Delta noted that operators often receive Technical Adaptations that include an EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA) authorized signature for typographical, omitted instruction, and technical errors, and that they should be included in the proposed AD.

We disagree with the commenter. The “Contacting the Manufacturer” paragraph in ADs only addresses the requirement to contact the manufacturer for corrective actions for the identified unsafe condition and does not cover deviations from other AD requirements. This paragraph states, in part, that for any requirement in an AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer, the actions must be accomplished using a method approved by the FAA; or the EASA; or Airbus's EASA DOA. We do not agree to extend this allowance to other AD requirements. All deviations from the service information sections that are marked “RC” (Required for Compliance) require AMOC approval unless otherwise stated in the AD. We have not changed this AD in this regard.

Conclusion

We reviewed the relevant data, considered the comment 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 A320-57-1205, dated May 26, 2016. This service information describes procedures for inspecting the external bottom skin for cracking in the area of the rib 2 attachment between stringer 8 and stringer 11 on both wings, and repairing any cracks.

Airbus has also issued Service Bulletin A320-57-1207, including Appendix 01 and Appendix 02, dated May 26, 2016. This service information describes procedures for inspecting the lower rib feet (rib 2) and the bottom skin upper surface on both wings for cracking, modifying the wings by installing shims between the lower rib foot (rib 2) and the bottom skin upper surface, and repairing any cracks.

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 10 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 5 work-hours × $85 per hour = $425 per inspection cycle $0 $425 per inspection cycle $4,250 per inspection cycle.
    Estimated Costs for Optional Actions Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Modification 32 work-hours × $85 per hour = $2,720 $5,750 $8,470

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

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

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    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 adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2017-25-01 Airbus: Amendment 39-19115; Docket No. FAA-2017-0709; Product Identifier 2016-NM-200-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective January 9, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to the Airbus airplanes identified in paragraphs (c)(1), (c)(2), and (c)(3) of this AD, certificated in any category, all manufacturer serial numbers on which Airbus Modification 39729 was embodied in production, except those airplanes on which Airbus Modification 152155 or Modification 152200 was embodied in production.

    (1) Airbus Model A318-111, -112, -121, and -122 airplanes.

    (2) Airbus Model A319-111, -112, -113, -114, -115, -131, -132, and -133 airplanes.

    (3) Airbus Model A320-211, -212, -214, -216, -231, -232, and -233 airplanes.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 57, Wings.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by a report indicating that the lower rib foot angle of the center wing box did not match with the bottom skin panel inner surface. Misalignment of the lower rib foot angle of the center wing box with the bottom skin panel inner surface could induce fatigue cracking of the skin panel at the rib foot attachment. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cracking of the external bottom skin in the area of the rib 2 attachment of the wings, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the wings.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Repetitive Inspections

    Before exceeding the applicable compliance time specified in table 1 to paragraph (g) of this AD, or within 3 months after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later: Do a detailed inspection or a special detailed inspection for cracking of the external bottom skin in the area of the rib 2 attachment between stringer 8 and stringer 11 of the left and right wings, and do all applicable corrective actions, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-57-1205, dated May 26, 2016. Do all applicable corrective actions before further flight. Repeat the inspection thereafter at the applicable intervals, based on the method used for the most recent inspection, as specified in table 2 to paragraph (g) of this AD.

    Table 1 to Paragraph (g) of This AD—Initial Inspection Times Airplane model and configuration Compliance time—whichever occurs first
  • since first flight of the airplane
  • Model A318 series airplanes; Model A319 series airplanes; and Model A320-211, -212, -214, -216, -231, -232, and -233 airplanes; pre-Airbus Modification 155374; not used as VIP or Elite Before the accumulation of 14,500 total flight cycles or 29,000 total flight hours. Model A318 series airplanes; Model A319 series airplanes; and Model A320-211, -212, -214, -216, -231, -232, and -233 airplanes; post-Airbus Modification 155374; not used as VIP or Elite Before the accumulation of 13,600 total flight cycles or 27,300 total flight hours. Model A319 series airplanes; post-Airbus Modifications 28162, 28238, and 28342; used as VIP or CJ Before the accumulation of 7,400 total flight cycles or 32,000 total flight hours. Model A318 series airplanes; post-Airbus Modification 39195; used as VIP or Elite Before the accumulation of 14,500 total flight cycles or 43,500 total flight hours.
    Table 2 to Paragraph (g) of This AD—Repetitive Inspection Intervals Airplane model and configuration Detailed inspection—
  • whichever occurs first
  • Special detailed inspection—
  • whichever occurs first
  • Model A318 series airplanes; Model A319 series airplanes; and Model A320-211, -212, -214, -216, -231, -232, and -233 airplanes; not used as VIP or Elite 4,000 flight cycles or 8,000 flight hours 5,000 flight cycles or 10,000 flight hours. Model A319 series airplanes; post-Airbus Modifications 28162, 28238 and 28342; used as VIP or CJ 2,000 flight cycles or 8,600 flight hours 2,500 flight cycles or 11,000 flight hours. Model A318 series airplanes; post-Airbus Modification 39195; used as VIP or Elite 4,000 flight cycles or 12,000 flight hours 5,000 flight cycles or 15,000 flight hours.

    Note 1 to paragraph (g) of this AD: Airbus Modification 155374 defines the minimum airplane configuration for operation on Commonwealth of Independent States runway profiles.

    (h) Terminating Action Limitation

    Repair of an airplane, as required by paragraph (g) of this AD, does not constitute terminating action for the repetitive inspections required by paragraph (g) of this AD unless otherwise specified in the instructions obtained using the procedures specified in paragraph (j)(2) of this AD.

    (i) Optional Terminating Action

    Modification of the wings including a detailed inspection of the lower rib feet (rib 2) and bottom skin upper surface of the wings for cracking and all applicable corrective actions, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-57-1207, including Appendix 01 and Appendix 02, dated May 26, 2016, constitutes terminating action for the repetitive inspections required by paragraph (g) of this AD for that airplane. If, during modification of an airplane as specified in this paragraph, accomplishment of any modification instruction is not possible due to configuration difficulties, accomplish the modification using the procedures specified in paragraph (j)(1) of this AD.

    (j) 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 manager of the International Branch, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (k)(2) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: [email protected] Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office.

    (2) Contacting the Manufacturer: For any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer, the action must be accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, International 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.

    (k) Related Information

    (1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA AD 2016-0222, dated November 7, 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-2017-0709.

    (2) For more information about this AD, contact Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 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 (l)(3) and (l)(4) of this AD.

    (l) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (i) Airbus Service Bulletin A320-57-1205, dated May 26, 2016.

    (ii) Airbus Service Bulletin A320-57-1207, including Appendix 01 and Appendix 02, dated May 26, 2016.

    (3) 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.

    (4) 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.

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

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on November 22, 2017. Jeffrey E. Duven, Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26037 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2017-0340; Product Identifier 2017-NM-002-AD; Amendment 39-19114; AD 2017-24-10] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain The Boeing Company Model 757-200, -200PF, and -300 series airplanes. This AD was prompted by reports of cracking found at a certain fuselage frame inner chord. This AD requires repetitive inspections for any cracking of a certain fuselage frame inner chord; identification of the material of a certain fuselage frame inner chord for certain airplanes; and applicable corrective actions. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    This AD is effective January 9, 2018.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of January 9, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    For service information identified in this final rule, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Contractual & Data Services (C&DS), 2600 Westminster Blvd., MC 110-SK57, Seal Beach, CA 90740-5600; telephone 562-797-1717; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com. 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. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-0340.

    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-2017-0340; 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 final rule, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Muoi Vuong, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Section, FAA, Los Angeles ACO Branch, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5205; fax: 562-627-5210; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

    We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to certain The Boeing Company Model 757-200, -200PF, and -300 series airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on May 19, 2017 (82 FR 22915). The NPRM was prompted by reports of cracking found at a certain fuselage frame inner chord. The NPRM proposed to require repetitive inspections for any cracking of a certain fuselage frame inner chord, identification of the material of a certain fuselage frame inner chord for certain airplanes, and applicable corrective actions. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct such cracks, which could result in the cargo door opening during flight, and result in rapid decompression of the airplane and the inability to sustain loads required for continued safe flight and landing.

    Comments

    We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this final rule. The following presents the comments received on the NPRM and the FAA's response to each comment. FedEx and United Airlines supported the NPRM.

    Effect of Winglets on Accomplishment of the Proposed Actions

    Aviation Partners Boeing stated that accomplishing the supplemental type certificate (STC) ST01518SE does not affect the actions specified in the NPRM.

    We concur with the commenter. We have redesignated paragraph (c) of the proposed AD (82 FR 22915, May 19, 2017) as paragraph (c)(1) of this AD and added paragraph (c)(2) to this AD to state that installation of STC ST01518SE does not affect the ability to accomplish the actions required by this AD. Therefore, for airplanes on which STC ST01518SE is installed, a “change in product” alternative method of compliance (AMOC) approval request is not necessary to comply with the requirements of 14 CFR 39.17.

    Request for Credit for Previous Actions Accomplished

    Boeing requested credit for previous accomplishment of the inspections in the NPRM. Boeing stated that Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-53A0101, dated November 8, 2016 (referenced in the NPRM as the appropriate source of service information), was published on November 8, 2016. Boeing commented that the effective date of the AD could be more than 7 months later than publication date of the service information. Boeing stated that it is likely that some Model 757 operators have already accomplished the inspections in accordance with the service information by the time the AD takes effect; therefore, the AD should provide credit for those inspections.

    We acknowledge the commenter's request and agree to clarify. Paragraph (f) of this AD states to accomplish the actions within the compliance times specified, unless those actions are already done. Therefore, if operators have accomplished the inspections in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-53A0101, dated November 8, 2016, before the effective date of this AD, no further action is necessary. We have not revised this AD in this regard.

    Request To Include Repair Information and Inspection Instructions

    Delta Airlines (DAL) stated that it has concerns that the Accomplishment Instructions provided in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-53A0101, dated November 8, 2016, do not include the corrective action. DAL commented that it will likely accomplish the inspections during 10-day maintenance visit checks, which would not be sufficient time for repair development if a crack is found. DAL also commented that operators would benefit from having corrective actions provided in the service information.

    DAL stated that Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-53A0101, dated November 8, 2016, requires operators to repetitively inspect the inner chord, and the service information does not provide an option for an inspection should there be a previously installed FAA-approved repair. DAL commented that a previous repair of the frame has the potential to inhibit the ability to accomplish the inspection. DAL also commented that this leaves operators unable to accomplish the inspection as specified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-53A0101, dated November 8, 2016, and will require additional instruction as an AMOC.

    We infer that DAL is requesting to delay issuance of the final rule until a revision of the service information includes repair data and alternative inspection instructions for previously accomplished repairs.

    We disagree with the commenter's request. Including the repair data would delay issuance of this AD. Unique repair configurations may be necessary depending on the cracking that is detected. It is not possible to address each individual repair configuration in one AD. The various repair configurations and locations are unknown and therefore cannot be addressed at this time. Therefore, if cracking is found, it must be repaired before further flight using the corrective actions specified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-53A0101, dated November 8, 2016, or in accordance with paragraph (i)(2) of this AD. For previously approved repairs that prevent accomplishment of the inspections required by this AD, operators may request approval of an AMOC using the procedures in paragraph (j) of this AD. We have not revised this AD in this regard.

    Conclusion

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

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

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

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

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    We reviewed Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-53A0101, dated November 8, 2016. The service information describes procedures for repetitive surface high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspections for any cracking of the fuselage station (STA) 1380 frame inner chord; an identification of the material (an inspection or measurement) of the fuselage STA 1380 frame inner chord; and applicable corrective actions. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects 588 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
  • Surface HFEC inspection 5 work-hours × $85 per hour = $425 per inspection cycle $0 $425 per inspection cycle $249,900 per inspection cycle. Identify the material Up to 2 work-hours × $85 per hour = $170 0 Up to $170 Up to $99,960.

    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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2017-24-10 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-19114; Docket No. FAA-2017-0340; Product Identifier 2017-NM-002-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective January 9, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    (1) This AD applies to The Boeing Company Model 757-200, -200PF, and -300 series airplanes, certificated in any category, as identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-53A0101, dated November 8, 2016.

    (2) Installation of Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) ST01518SE does not affect the ability to accomplish the actions required by this AD. Therefore, for airplanes on which STC ST01518SE is installed, a “change in product” alternative method of compliance (AMOC) approval request is not necessary to comply with the requirements of 14 CFR 39.17.

    (d) Subject

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

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by reports of cracking found at the fuselage station (STA) 1380 frame inner chord. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct such cracks, which could result in the cargo door opening during flight, and result in rapid decompression of the airplane and the inability to sustain loads required for continued safe flight and landing.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Inspection for Group 1 Airplanes

    For Group 1 airplanes as identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-53A0101, dated November 8, 2016: At the applicable time specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-53A0101, dated November 8, 2016; except as specified in paragraph (i)(1) of this AD, do a surface high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspection for any cracking of the fuselage STA 1380 frame inner chord, and do all applicable corrective actions, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-53A0101, dated November 8, 2016; except as specified in paragraph (i)(2) of this AD. Do all applicable corrective actions before further flight. Repeat the surface HFEC inspection, thereafter, at the times specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-53A0101, dated November 8, 2016.

    (h) Inspection for Group 2 Airplanes

    For Group 2 airplanes as identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-53A0101, dated November 8, 2016: At the applicable time specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-53A0101, dated November 8, 2016, except as specified in paragraph (i)(1) of this AD, identify the material of the fuselage STA 1380 frame inner chord, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-53A0101, dated November 8, 2016.

    (1) If the fuselage STA 1380 frame inner chord material 2024-T42 aluminum alloy is found during any identification required by paragraph (h) of this AD: No further action is required by this AD for that airplane.

    (2) If the fuselage STA 1380 frame inner chord material 7075-T73 aluminum alloy is found during any identification required by the introductory text of paragraph (h) of this AD: Before further flight, do a surface HFEC inspection for any cracking of the fuselage STA 1380 frame inner chord, and do all applicable corrective actions, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-53A0101, dated November 8, 2016; except as specified in paragraph (i)(2) of this AD. Do all applicable corrective actions before further flight. Repeat the surface HFEC inspection thereafter at the times specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-53A0101, dated November 8, 2016.

    (i) Exceptions to the Service Information

    (1) Where Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-53A0101, dated November 8, 2016, specifies a compliance time “after the original issue date of this service bulletin,” this AD requires compliance within the specified compliance time after the effective date of this AD.

    (2) Where Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-53A0101, dated November 8, 2016, specifies to contact Boeing for appropriate action and identifies that action as “RC” (Required for Compliance): Before further flight, repair the crack using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (j) of this AD.

    (j) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Los Angeles ACO 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 manager of the ACO, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (k) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: [email protected]

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

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

    (4) Except as required by paragraph (i)(2) of this AD: For service information that contains steps that are labeled as RC, the provisions of paragraphs (j)(4)(i) and (j)(4)(ii) of this AD apply.

    (i) The steps labeled as RC, including substeps under an RC step and any figures identified in an RC step, must be done to comply with the AD. If a step or substep is labeled “RC Exempt,” then the RC requirement is removed from that step or substep. An AMOC is required for any deviations to RC steps, including substeps and identified figures.

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

    (k) Related Information

    For more information about this AD, contact Muoi Vuong, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Section, FAA, Los Angeles ACO, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5205; fax: 562-627-5210; email: [email protected]

    (l) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (i) Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-53A0101, dated November 8, 2016.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (3) For Boeing service information identified in this AD, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Contractual & Data Services (C&DS), 2600 Westminster Blvd., MC 110-SK57, Seal Beach, CA 90740-5600; telephone 562-797-1717; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com.

    (4) 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.

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

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on November 22, 2017. Jeffrey E. Duven, Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26040 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY 19 CFR Part 12 [CBP Dec. 17-19] RIN 1515-AE34 Emergency Import Restrictions Imposed on Archaeological and Ethnological Materials From Libya AGENCY:

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security; Department of the Treasury.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This document amends the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations to reflect the imposition of emergency import restrictions on certain archaeological and ethnological materials from Libya. The Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, United States Department of State, has determined that conditions warrant the imposition of emergency import restrictions on categories of archaeological and ethnological materials from Libya, which represent the cultural heritage of Libya. This document contains the Designated List of Archaeological and Ethnological Material of Libya that describes the types of objects or categories of archaeological or ethnological material to which the import restrictions apply. The emergency import restrictions imposed on certain archaeological and ethnological materials from Libya will be in effect for a five-year period. These restrictions are being imposed pursuant to determinations of the United States Department of State made under the terms of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act, which implements the 1970 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

    DATES:

    Effective on December 5, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For regulatory aspects, Lisa L. Burley, Chief, Cargo Security, Carriers and Restricted Merchandise Branch, Regulations and Rulings, Office of Trade, (202) 325-0030, [email protected] For operational aspects, William R. Scopa, Branch Chief, Partner Government Agencies Branch, Trade Policy and Programs, Office of Trade, (202) 863-6554, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    The value of cultural property, whether archaeological or ethnological in nature, is immeasurable. Such items often constitute the very essence of a society and convey important information concerning a people's origin, history, and traditional setting. The importance and popularity of such items regrettably makes them targets of theft, encourages clandestine looting of archaeological sites, and results in their illegal export and import.

    The United States shares in the international concern for the need to protect endangered cultural property. The appearance in the United States of stolen or illegally exported artifacts from other countries where there has been pillage has, on occasion, strained our foreign and cultural relations. This situation, combined with the concerns of museum, archaeological, and scholarly communities, was recognized by the President and Congress. It became apparent that it was in the national interest for the United States to join with other countries to control illegal trafficking of such articles in international commerce.

    The United States joined international efforts and actively participated in deliberations resulting in the 1970 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (hereinafter, “1970 UNESCO Convention” or “the Convention” (823 U.N.T.S. 231 (1972))). The United States implemented the Convention in U.S. law through the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (hereafter, “the Cultural Property Implementation Act” or “the Act” (Pub. L. 97-446, 19 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.)). This was done to promote U.S. leadership in achieving greater international cooperation towards preserving cultural treasures that are of importance to the nations from which they originate and contribute to greater international understanding of our common heritage.

    Pursuant to the provisions of the Act, the United States may enter into international agreements with another State Party to the Convention to impose import restrictions on eligible archaeological and ethnological materials under procedures and requirements prescribed by the Act.

    In certain limited circumstances, the Cultural Property Implementation Act authorizes the imposition of restrictions on an emergency basis (19 U.S.C. 2603). The emergency restrictions are effective for no more than five years from the date of the State Party's request and may be extended for three years where it is determined that the emergency condition continues to apply with respect to the covered materials (19 U.S.C. 2603(c)(3)). These restrictions may also be continued pursuant to an agreement concluded within the meaning of the Act (19 U.S.C. 2603(c)(4)).

    Under Article 9 of the 1970 UNESCO Convention, as contemplated at 19 U.S.C. 2602(a), the Government of Libya, a State Party to the 1970 UNESCO Convention, requested that import restrictions be imposed on certain archaeological and ethnological material, the pillage of which jeopardizes the cultural heritage of Libya. The Act authorizes the President (or designee) to apply import restrictions on an emergency basis if the President determines that an emergency condition applies with respect to any archaeological or ethnological material of any requesting state (19 U.S.C. 2603).

    On September 22, 2017, the Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, acting pursuant to delegated authority, made the determinations necessary under the Act for the emergency implementation of import restrictions on categories of archaeological and ethnological material from Libya. The Designated List below sets forth the categories of material that the import restrictions apply to. Thus, CBP is amending 19 CFR 12.104g(b) accordingly.

    Importation of covered materials from Libya will be restricted for a five-year period until May 30, 2022. Importation of such materials from Libya continues to be restricted through that date unless the conditions set forth in 19 U.S.C. 2606 and 19 CFR 12.104c are met.

    Designated List of Archaeological and Ethnological Material of Libya

    The Designated List covers archaeological material of Libya and Ottoman ethnological material of Libya (as defined in section 302 of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (19 U.S.C. 2601)), including, but not limited to, the following types of material. The archaeological materials represent the following periods and cultures: Paleolithic, Neolithic, Punic, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Islamic and Ottoman dating approximately 12,000 B.C. to 1750 A.D. The ethnological materials represent categories of Ottoman objects derived from sites of religious and cultural importance made from 1551 A.D. through 1911 A.D.

    The Designated List set forth below is representative only. Any dimensions are approximate.

    I. Archaeological Material A. Stone

    1. Sculpture

    a. Architectural Elements—In marble, limestone, sandstone, and gypsum, in addition to porphyry and granite. From temples, forts, palaces, mosques, synagogues, churches, shrines, tombs, monuments, public buildings, and domestic dwellings, including doors, door frames, window fittings, columns, capitals, bases, lintels, jambs, friezes, pilasters, engaged columns, altars, mihrabs (prayer niches), screens, fountains, mosaics, inlays, and blocks from walls, floors, and ceilings. May be plain, molded, or carved. Often decorated with motifs and inscriptions. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 1750 A.D.

    b. Architectural and Non-Architectural Relief Sculpture—In marble, limestone, sandstone, and other stone. Types include carved slabs with figural, vegetative, floral, geometric, or other decorative motifs, carved relief vases, stelae, and plaques, sometimes inscribed in Greek, Punic, Latin, or Arabic. Used for architectural decoration, funerary, votive, or commemorative monuments. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 1750 A.D.

    c. Monuments—In marble, limestone, and other kinds of stone. Types include votive statues, funerary and votive stelae, and bases and base revetments. These may be painted, carved with relief sculpture, decorated with moldings, and/or carry dedicatory or funerary inscriptions in Greek, Punic, Latin, or Arabic. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 1750 A.D.

    d. Statuary—Primarily in marble, but also in limestone and sandstone. Large- and small-scale, including deities, human, animal, and hybrid figures, as well as groups of figures in the round. Common types are large-scale and free-standing statuary from approximately 3 to 8 ft. in height, life-sized portrait or funerary busts (head and shoulders of an individual), waist-length female busts that are either faceless (aniconic) and/or veiled (head or face), and statuettes typically 1 to 3 ft. in height. Includes fragments of statues. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 1750 A.D.

    e. Sepulchers—In marble, limestone, and other kinds of stone. Types of burial containers include sarcophagi, caskets, and chest urns. May be plain or have figural, geometric, or floral motifs painted on them, be carved in relief, and/or have decorative moldings. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 1750 A.D.

    2. Vessels and Containers—In marble and other stone. Vessels may belong to conventional shapes such as bowls, cups, jars, jugs, lamps, and flasks, and also include smaller funerary urns. Funerary urns can be egg-shaped vases with button-topped covers and may have sculpted portraits, painted geometric motifs, inscriptions, scroll-like handles and/or be ribbed.

    3. Furniture—In marble and other stone. Types include thrones, tables, and beds. May be funerary, but do not have to be. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 15th century A.D.

    4. Inscriptions—Primarily in marble and limestone. Inscribed stone materials date from the late 7th century B.C. to 5th century A.D. May include funerary stelae, votive plaques, tombstones, mosaic floors, and building plaques in Greek, Punic, Latin, or Arabic. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 1750 A.D.

    5. Tools and Weapons—In flint, chert, obsidian, and other hard stones. Prehistoric and Protohistoric microliths (small stone tools). Chipped stone types include blades, borers, scrapers, sickles, cores, and arrow heads. Ground stone types include grinders (e.g., mortars, pestles, millstones, whetstones), choppers, axes, hammers, and mace heads. Approximate date: 12,000 B.C. to 1,400 B.C.

    6. Jewelry, Seals, and Beads—In marble, limestone, and various semi-precious stones, including rock crystal, amethyst, jasper, agate, steatite, and carnelian. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 12th century A.D.

    B. Metal

    1. Sculpture

    a. Statuary—Primarily in bronze, iron, silver, or gold, including fragments of statues. Large- and small-scale, including deities, human, and animal figures, as well as groups of figures in the round. Common types are large-scale, free-standing statuary from approximately 3 to 8 ft. in height and life-size busts (head and shoulders of an individual) and statuettes typically 1 to 3 ft. in height. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 324 A.D.

    b. Reliefs—Relief sculpture, including plaques, appliques, stelae, and masks. Often in bronze. May include Greek, Punic, Latin, and Arabic inscriptions. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 324 A.D.

    c. Inscribed or Decorated Sheet—In bronze or lead. Engraved inscriptions, “curse tablets,” and thin metal sheets with engraved or impressed designs often used as attachments to furniture. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 15th century A.D.

    2. Vessels and Containers—In bronze, silver, and gold. These may belong to conventional shapes such as bowls, cups, jars, jugs, strainers, cauldrons, and oil lamps, or may occur in the shape of an animal or part of an animal. Also include scroll and manuscript containers for Islamic, Jewish, or Christian manuscripts. All can portray deities, humans or animals, as well as floral motifs in relief. Islamic Period objects may be inscribed in Arabic. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 15th century A.D.

    3. Jewelry and Other Items for Personal Adornment—In iron, bronze, silver, and gold. Metal can be inlaid (with items such as red coral, colored stones, and glass). Types include necklaces, chokers, pectorals, rings, beads, pendants, belts, belt buckles, earrings, diadems, straight pins and fibulae, bracelets, anklets, girdles, belts, mirrors, wreaths and crowns, make-up accessories and tools, metal strigils (scrapers), crosses, and lamp-holders. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 15th century A.D.

    4. Seals—In lead, tin, copper, bronze, silver, and gold. Types include rings, amulets, and seals with shank. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 15th century A.D.

    5. Tools—In copper, bronze and iron. Types include hooks, weights, axes, scrapers, trowels, keys and the tools of crafts persons such as carpenters, masons and metal smiths. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 15th century A.D.

    6. Weapons and Armor—Body armor, including helmets, cuirasses, shin guards, and shields, and horse armor often decorated with elaborate engraved, embossed, or perforated designs. Both launching weapons (spears and javelins) and weapons for hand to hand combat (swords, daggers, etc.). Approximate date: 8th century B.C. to 4th century A.D.

    7. Coins

    a. General—Examples of many of the coins found in ancient Libya may be found in: A. Burnett and others, Roman Provincial Coinage, multiple volumes (British Museum Press and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 1992-), R.S. Poole and others, Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, volumes 1-29 (British Museum Trustees 1873-1927) and H. Mattingly and others, Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, volumes 1-6 (British Museum Trustees 1923-62). For Byzantine coins, see Grierson, Philip, Byzantine Coins, London, 1982. For publication of examples of coins circulating in archaeological sites, see La moneta di Cirene e della Cirenaica nel Mediterraneo. Problemi e Prospettive, Atti del V Congresso Internazionale di Numismatica e di Storia Monetaria, Padova, 17-19 marzo 2016, Padova 2016 (Numismatica Patavina, 13).

    b. Greek Bronze Coins—Struck by city-states of the Pentapolis, Carthage and the Ptolemaic kingdom that operated in territory of the Cyrenaica in eastern Libya. Approximate date: 4th century B.C. to late 1st century B.C.

    c. Greek Silver and Gold Coins—This category includes coins of the city-states of the Pentapolis in the Cyrenaica and the Ptolemaic Kingdom. Coins from the city-state of Cyrene often bear an image of the silphium plant. Such coins date from the late 6th century B.C. to late 1st century B.C.

    d. Roman Coins—In silver and bronze, struck at Roman and Roman provincial mints including Apollonia, Barca, Balagrae, Berenice, Cyrene, Ptolemais, Leptis Magna, Oea, and Sabratha. Approximate date: late 3rd century B.C. to 1st century A.D.

    e. Byzantine Coins—In bronze, silver, and gold by Byzantine emperors. Struck in Constantinople and other mints. From 4th century A.D. through 1396 A.D.

    f. Islamic Coins—In bronze, silver, and gold. Dinars with Arabic inscriptions inside a circle or square, may be surrounded with symbols. Struck at mints in Libya (Barqa) and adjacent regions. From 642 A.D. to 15th century A.D.

    g. Ottoman—Struck at mints in Istanbul and Libya's neighboring regions. Approximate date: 1551 A.D. through 1750 A.D.

    C. Ceramic and Clay

    1. Sculpture

    a. Architectural Elements—Baked clay (terracotta) elements used to decorate buildings. Elements include acroteria, antefixes, painted and relief plaques, revetments. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 30 B.C.

    b. Architectural Decorations—Including carved and molded brick, and tile wall ornaments and panels.

    c. Statuary—Large- and small-scale. Subject matter is varied and includes deities, human and animal figures, human body parts, and groups of figures in the round. May be brightly colored. These range from approximately 4 to 40 in. in height. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 3rd century A.D.

    d. Terracotta Figurines—Terracotta statues and statuettes, including deities, human, and animal figures, as well as groups of figures in the round. Late 7th century B.C. to 3rd century A.D.

    2. Vessels

    a. Neolithic Pottery—Handmade, often decorated with a lustrous burnish, decorated with applique´ and/or incision, sometimes with added paint. These come in a variety of shapes from simple bowls and vases to large storage jars. Approximate date: 10th millennium B.C. to 3rd millennium B.C.

    b. Greek Pottery—Includes both local and imported fine and coarse wares and amphorae. Also imported Attic Black Figure, Red Figure and White Ground Pottery—these are made in a specific set of shapes (e.g., amphorae, kraters, hydriae, oinochoi, kylikes) decorated with black painted figures on a clear clay ground (Black Figure), decorative elements in reserve with background fired black (Red Figure), and multi-colored figures painted on a white ground (White Ground). Corinthian Pottery—Imported painted pottery made in Corinth in a specific range of shapes for perfume and unguents and for drinking or pouring liquids. The very characteristic painted and incised designs depict human and animal figural scenes, rows of animals, and floral decoration. Approximate date: 8th century B.C. to 6th century B.C.

    c. Punic and Roman Pottery—Includes fine and coarse wares, including terra sigillata and other red gloss wares, and cooking wares and mortaria, storage and shipping amphorae.

    d. Byzantine Pottery—Includes undecorated plain wares, lamps, utilitarian, tableware, serving and storage jars, amphorae, special shapes such as pilgrim flasks. Can be matte painted or glazed, including incised “sgraffitto” and stamped with elaborate polychrome decorations using floral, geometric, human, and animal motifs. Approximate date: 324 A.D. to 15th century A.D.

    e. Islamic and Ottoman Pottery—Includes plain or utilitarian wares as well as painted wares.

    f. Oil Lamps and Molds—Rounded bodies with a hole on the top and in the nozzle, handles or lugs and figural motifs (beading, rosette, silphium). Include glazed ceramic mosque lamps, which may have a straight or round bulbous body with flared top, and several branches. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 15th century A.D.

    3. Objects of Daily Use—Including game pieces, loom weights, toys, and lamps.

    D. Glass, Faience, and Semi-Precious Stone

    1. Architectural Elements—Mosaics and glass windows.

    2. Vessels—Shapes include small jars, bowls, animal shaped, goblet, spherical, candle holders, perfume jars (unguentaria), and mosque lamps. Those from prehistory and ancient history may be engraved and/or colorless or blue, green or orange, while those from the Islamic Period may include animal, floral, and/or geometric motifs. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 15th century A.D.

    3. Beads—Shapes include small jars, bowls, animal shaped, goblet, spherical, candle holders, perfume jars (unguentaria). Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 15th century A.D.

    4. Mosque Lamps—May have a straight or round bulbous body with flared top, and several branches. Approximate date: 642 A.D. to 1750 A.D.

    E. Mosaic

    1. Floor Mosaics—Including landscapes, scenes of deities, humans, or animals, and activities such as hunting and fishing. There may also be vegetative, floral, or geometric motifs and imitations of stone. Often have religious imagery. They are made from stone cut into small bits (tesserae) and laid into a plaster matrix. Approximate date: 5th century B.C. to 4th century A.D.

    2. Wall and Ceiling Mosaics—Generally portray similar motifs as seen in floor mosaics. Similar technique to floor mosaics, but may include tesserae of both stone and glass. Approximate date: 5th century B.C. to 4th century A.D.

    F. Painting

    1. Rock Art—Painted and incised drawings on natural rock surfaces. There may be human, animals, geometric and/or floral motifs. Include fragments. Approximate date: 12,000 B.C. to 100 A.D.

    2. Wall Painting—With figurative (deities, humans, animals), floral, and/or geometric motifs, as well as funerary scenes. These are painted on stone, mud plaster, lime plaster (wet—buon fresco—and dry—secco fresco), sometimes to imitate marble. May be on domestic or public walls as well as in tombs. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 1551 A.D.

    G. Plaster

    Stucco reliefs, plaques, stelae, and inlays or other architectural decoration in stucco.

    H. Textiles, Basketry, and Rope

    1. Textiles—Linen cloth was used in Greco-Roman times for mummy wrapping, shrouds, garments, and sails. Islamic textiles in linen and wool, including garments and hangings.

    2. Basketry—Plant fibers were used to make baskets and containers in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as sandals and mats.

    3. Rope—Rope and string were used for a great variety of purposes, including binding lifting water for irrigation, fishing nets, measuring, and stringing beads for jewelry and garments.

    I. Bone, Ivory, Shell, and Other Organics

    1. Small Statuary and Figurines—Subject matter includes human, animal, and hybrid figures, and parts thereof as well as groups of figures in the round. These range from approximately 4 to 40 in. in height. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 15th century A.D.

    2. Reliefs, Plaques, Stelae, and Inlays—Carved and sculpted. May have figurative, floral and/or geometric motifs.

    3. Personal Ornaments and Objects of Daily Use—In bone, ivory, and spondylus shell. Types include amulets, combs, pins, spoons, small containers, bracelets, buckles, and beads. Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 15th century A.D.

    4. Seals and Stamps—Small devices with at least one side engraved with a design for stamping or sealing; they can be discoid, cuboid, conoid, or in the shape and animals or fantastic creatures (e.g., a scarab). Approximate date: 1st millennium B.C. to 2nd millennium B.C.

    5. Luxury Objects—Ivory, bone, and shell were used either alone or as inlays in luxury objects including furniture, chests and boxes, writing and painting equipment, musical instruments, games, cosmetic containers, combs, jewelry, amulets, seals, and vessels made of ostrich egg shell.

    J. Wood

    Items such as tablets (tabulae), sometimes pierced with holes on the borders and with text written in ink on one or both faces, typically small in size (4 to 12 in. in length), recording sales of property (such as slaves, animals, grain) and other legal documents such as testaments. Approximate date: late 2nd to 4th centuries A.D.

    II. Ottoman Ethnological Material A. Stone

    1. Architectural Elements—The most common stones are marble, limestone, and sandstone. From sites such as forts, palaces, mosques, shrines, tombs, and monuments, including doors, door frames, window fittings, columns, capitals, bases, lintels, jambs, friezes, pilasters, engaged columns, altars, mihrabs (prayer niches), screens, fountains, mosaics, inlays, and blocks from walls, floors, and ceilings. Often decorated in relief with religious motifs.

    2. Architectural and Non-Architectural Relief Sculpture—In marble, limestone, and sandstone. Types include carved slabs with religious, figural, floral, or geometric motifs, as well as plaques and stelae, sometimes inscribed.

    3. Statuary—Primarily in marble, but also in limestone and sandstone. Large- and small-scale, such as human (including historical portraits or busts) and animal figures.

    4. Sepulchers—In marble, limestone, and other kinds of stone. Types of burial containers include sarcophagi, caskets, coffins, and chest urns. May be plain or have figural, geometric, or floral motifs painted on them, be carved in relief, and/or have decorative moldings.

    5. Inscriptions, Memorial Stones, and Tombstones—Primarily in marble, most frequently engraved with Arabic script.

    6. Vessels and Containers—Include stone lamps and containers such as those used in religious services, as well as smaller funerary urns.

    B. Metal

    1. Architectural Elements—Primarily copper, brass, lead, and alloys. From sites such as forts, palaces, mosques, shrines, tombs, and monuments, including doors, door fixtures, other lathes, chandeliers, screens, and sheets to protect domes.

    2. Architectural and Non-Architectural Relief SculpturePrimarily bronze and brass. Includes appliques, plaques, and stelae. Often with religious, figural, floral, or geometric motifs. May have inscriptions in Arabic.

    3. Vessels and Containers—In brass, copper, silver, or gold, plain, engraved, or hammered. Types include jugs, pitchers, plates, cups, lamps, and containers used for religious services (like Koran boxes). Often engraved or otherwise decorated.

    4. Jewelry and Personal Adornments—In a wide variety of metals such as iron, brass, copper, silver, and gold. Includes rings and ring seals, head ornaments, earrings, pendants, amulets, bracelets, talismans, and belt buckles. May be adorned with inlaid beads, gemstones, and leather.

    5. Weapons and Armor—Often in iron or steel. Includes daggers, swords, saifs, scimitars, other blades, with or without sheaths, as well as spears, firearms, and cannons. Ottoman types may be inlaid with gemstones, embellished with silver or gold, or engraved with floral or geometric motifs and inscriptions. Grips or hilts may be made of metal, wood, or even semi-precious stones such as agate, and bound with leather. Armor consisting of small metal scales, originally sewn to a backing of cloth or leather, and augmented by helmets, body armor, shields, and horse armor.

    6. Ceremonial Paraphernalia—Including boxes (such as Koran boxes), plaques, pendants, candelabra, stamp and seal rings.

    7. Musical Instruments—In a wide variety of metals. Includes cymbals and trumpets.

    C. Ceramic and Clay

    1. Architectural Decorations—Including carved and molded brick, and engraved and/or painted tile wall ornaments and panels, sometimes with Arabic script. May be from forts, palaces, mosques, shrines, tombs, or monuments.

    2. Vessels and Containers—Includes glazed, molded, and painted ceramics. Types include boxes, plates, lamps, jars, and flasks. May be plain or decorated with floral or geometric patterns, or Arabic script, primarily using blue, green, brown, black, or yellow colors.

    D. Wood

    1. Architectural Elements—From sites such as forts, palaces, mosques, shrines, tombs, monuments, and madrassas, including doors, door fixtures, panels, beams, balconies, stages, screens, ceilings, and tent posts. Types include doors, door frames, windows, window frames, walls, panels, beams, ceilings, and balconies. May be decorated with religious, geometric or floral motifs or Arabic script.

    2. Architectural and Non-Architectural Relief Sculpture—Carved and inlaid wood panels, rooms, beams, balconies, stages, panels, ceilings, and doors, frequently decorated with religious, floral, or geometric motifs. May have script in Arabic or other languages.

    3. Koran Boxes—May be carved and inlaid, with decorations in religious, floral, or geometric motifs, or Arabic script.

    4. Study Tablets—Arabic inscribed training boards for teaching the Quran.

    E. Bone and Ivory

    1. Ceremonial Paraphernalia—Types include boxes, reliquaries (and their contents), plaques, pendants, candelabra, stamp and seal rings.

    2. Inlays—For religious decorative and architectural elements.

    F. Glass

    Vessels and containers in glass from mosques, shrines, tombs, and monuments, including glass and enamel mosque lamps and ritual vessels.

    G. Textiles

    In linen, silk, and wool. Religious textiles and fragments from mosques, shrines, tombs, and monuments, including garments, hangings, prayer rugs, and shrine covers.

    H. Leather and Parchment

    1. Books and Manuscripts—Either as sheets or bound volumes. Text is often written on vellum or other parchment (cattle, sheep, goat, or camel) and then gathered in leather bindings. Paper may also be used. Types include the Koran and other Islamic books and manuscripts, often written in brown ink, and then further embellished with colorful floral or geometric motifs.

    2. Musical Instruments—Leather drums of various sizes (e.g., bendir drums used in Sufi rituals, wedding processions and Mal'uf performances).

    I. Painting and Drawing

    Ottoman Period paintings may depict courtly themes (e.g., rulers, musicians, riders on horses) and city views, among other topics.

    Inapplicability of Notice and Delayed Effective Date

    This amendment involves a foreign affairs function of the United States and is, therefore, being made without notice or public procedure under section 553(a)(1) of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) (5 U.S.C. 553(a)(1)). In addition, CBP has determined that such notice or public procedure would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest because the action being taken is essential to implement emergency import restrictions (5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B)). For the same reason, a delayed effective date is not required under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3).

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Because no notice of proposed rulemaking is required, the provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) do not apply.

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13771

    CBP has determined that this document is not a regulation or rule subject to the provisions of Executive Order 12866 or Executive Order 13771 because it pertains to a foreign affairs function of the United States, as described above, and therefore is specifically exempted by section 3(d)(2) of Executive Order 12866 and section 4(a) of Executive Order 13771.

    Signing Authority

    This regulation is being issued in accordance with 19 CFR 0.1(a)(1), pertaining to the Secretary of the Treasury's authority (or that of his/her delegate) to approve regulations related to customs revenue functions.

    List of Subjects in 19 CFR Part 12

    Cultural property, Customs duties and inspection, Imports, Prohibited merchandise.

    Amendment to CBP Regulations

    For the reasons set forth above, part 12 of Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations (19 CFR part 12) is amended as set forth below.

    PART 12—SPECIAL CLASSES OF MERCHANDISE 1. The general authority citation for part 12 and the specific authority citation for § 12.104g continue to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 301; 19 U.S.C. 66, 1202 (General Note 3(i), Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS)), 1624;

    Sections 12.104 through 12.104i also issued under 19 U.S.C. 2612;
    § 12.104g [Amended]
    2. In § 12.104g, paragraph (b), the table is amended by: a. Adding “Libya” in the column headed “State party”, b. Adding the words “Archaeological material and ethnological material from Libya” in the column headed “Cultural property”, and c. Adding “CBP Dec. 17-19 ” in the column headed “Decision No.”. Dated: December 1, 2017. Kevin K. McAleenan, Acting Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

    Approved:

    Timothy E. Skud, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26278 Filed 12-1-17; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 9111-14-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau 27 CFR Parts 24 and 27 [Docket No. TTB-2016-0016; T.D. TTB-147A; Re: T.D. TTB-145, T.D. TTB-146, T.D. TTB-147, Notice No. 168, and Notice No. 168A] RIN 1513-AC31 Implementation of Statutory Amendments Requiring the Modification of the Definition of Hard Cider; Delayed Compliance Date of the Hard Cider Tax Class Labeling Statement Requirement AGENCY:

    Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Treasury.

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; delay of compliance date.

    SUMMARY:

    This temporary rule delays the compliance date of a wine labeling requirement that was established by T.D. TTB-147, a temporary rule published on January 23, 2017. In that rule, TTB required the statement “Tax class 5041(b)(6)” to appear on the container of any wine for which the hard cider tax rate is claimed if it is removed from wine premises or customs custody on or after January 1, 2018. This temporary rule delays the compliance date for that requirement by one year. Specifically, the tax class statement “Tax Class 5041(b)(6)” will not be required to appear on containers of wine that are taxed at the hard cider tax rate until January 1, 2019. Through a notice of proposed rulemaking published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register, TTB is soliciting comments from all interested parties on this delay of the compliance date for the wine labeling requirement, and, also in that document, TTB is reopening for 60 days the comment period for Notice No 168, the notice of proposed rulemaking that published concurrently with T.D. TTB-147 on January 23, 2017.

    DATES:

    This temporary rule is effective December 5, 2017 through January 23, 2020.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kara Fontaine, Regulations and Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street NW., Box 12, Washington, DC 20005; telephone (202) 453-1039 ext. 103.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background TTB Authority

    The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) of the Department of the Treasury administers chapter 51 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), which sets forth the Federal excise taxes on wine and related provisions, including provisions addressing the production and marking of wine (see 26 U.S.C. chapter 51). Section 5041 of the IRC (26 U.S.C. 5041) imposes six excise tax rates, including the hard cider tax rate, on wines. These tax rates are associated with six tax classes that correspond to section 5041(b), subparagraphs (1) through (6). The tax on wine is determined at the time of removal (generally, removal from a bonded wine premises or release from customs custody) for consumption or sale (26 U.S.C. 5041(a)). Wine so removed must be in containers bearing marks and labels evidencing compliance with the IRC as the Secretary of the Treasury may by regulations prescribe (26 U.S.C. 5368(b)).

    TTB administers chapter 51 of the IRC and its implementing regulations pursuant to section 1111(d) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, codified at 6 U.S.C. 531(d). In addition, the Secretary has delegated various authorities through Treasury Department Order 120-01, dated December 10, 2013 (superseding Treasury Order 120-01, dated January 24, 2003), to the TTB Administrator to perform the functions and duties in the administration and enforcement of these laws. The TTB regulations that implement the provisions of the IRC, as they relate to wine, include regulations in 27 CFR part 24 for domestic wine and 27 CFR part 27 for imported wine.

    PATH Act's Modification of the IRC Definition of Hard Cider

    On December 18, 2015, the President signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (Pub. L. 114-113). Division Q of this Act is titled the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act). Section 335(a) of the PATH Act amended the IRC at 26 U.S.C. 5041 by modifying the definition of “hard cider” for excise tax classification purposes. Pursuant to section 335(b) of the PATH Act, the amended definition applies to hard cider removed on or after January 1, 2017. This allowed a broader range of products to be eligible for the hard cider tax rate. Effective January 1, 2017, a wine removed from wine premises or customs custody is eligible for the hard cider tax rate of 22.6 cents per gallon if it:

    • Contains no more than 0.64 gram of carbon dioxide per 100 milliliters of wine;

    • Is derived primarily from apples or pears, or from apple juice concentrate or pear juice concentrate and water;

    • Contains no fruit product or fruit flavoring other than apple or pear; and

    • Contains at least one-half of 1 percent and less than 8.5 percent alcohol by volume.

    Publication of Temporary Rule and Notice for Comment

    In response to the PATH Act, TTB published in the Federal Register on January 23, 2017, a temporary rule, T.D. TTB-147 (82 FR 7653), to amend its regulations in 27 CFR parts 24 and 27 pertaining to the modified definition of “hard cider” for tax purposes. In addition, TTB solicited comments from the public on the temporary regulations implementing the PATH Act through a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), Notice No. 168 (82 FR 7753), published in the Federal Register concurrently with the temporary rule. The temporary rule, the notice of proposed rulemaking, and the comments regarding the temporary regulations received in response to the NPRM may be viewed in their entirety within Docket No. TTB-2016-0014 at the Regulations .gov Web site at https://www.regulations.gov/.

    Current Requirement for Tax Class Statement To Appear on Containers of Wine Taxed at the Hard Cider Tax Rate

    In T.D. TTB-147, TTB amended its regulations in parts 24 and 27 to require the statement “Tax class 5041(b)(6)” to appear on the container of any wine for which the hard cider tax rate is claimed; see §§ 24.257(a)(4) and 27.59(b). In issuing the temporary rule, TTB recognized that industry members who produce and import hard cider would need time to comply with this requirement. Therefore, in § 24.257(a)(4), TTB provided a one-year grace period before the tax class labeling requirement would go into effect, and, as set forth in T.D. TTB-147, this grace period applies to products removed prior to January 1, 2018. As such, T.D. TTB-147 requires that for wine removed on or after January 1, 2018, the tax class statement “Tax Class 5041(b)(6)” must appear on the container of any wine for which the hard cider tax rate is claimed.

    Requests for Delay of the Tax Class Statement Compliance Date

    In response to the request for comments on T.D. TTB-147, TTB received a comment, posted on February 15, 2017, from Ian Flom of Mercier Orchards, indicating that the timeframe to implement the new “Tax Class 5041(b)(6)” labeling statement requirement is insufficient because he buys labels in bulk and has a supply of labels that do not bear the tax class statement that he will not be able to use up before January 1, 2018. Mr. Flom also submitted other comments for TTB consideration.

    TTB also was copied on a letter addressed to Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, dated August 1, 2017, from the United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM), which represents approximately one-half of the cider makers in the United States. In its letter, USACM requested a one year delay of the requirement to place the hard cider tax class labeling statement on products claiming the hard cider tax rate removed from wine premises or customs custody after January 1, 2018.

    In light of this comment and request, TTB is delaying the compliance date for the labeling statement requirement.

    Requests for Extension of and Reopening of the Comment Period

    In a February 23, 2017 comment in response to Notice No. 168, USACM formally requested a 60-day extension of the public comment period in order to give its members more time to properly address any of their concerns with the regulatory changes. USACM referred to the outstanding extension request in their August 1, 2017 letter.

    Through a notice of proposed rulemaking published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register, TTB is reopening for 60 days the comment period for Notice No 168. TTB will consider any new comments submitted in response to the reopening of the comment period on T.D. TTB-147 along with any comments received on this Temporary Rule, T.D. TTB-147A, and the suggestions that have already been received from Mr. Flom.

    Delayed Compliance Date of the Tax Class Labeling Statement Requirement for Hard Cider

    Through publication of this new temporary rule, TTB is amending 27 CFR 24.257(a)(4) to delay until January 1, 2019, the requirement that the tax class statement “Tax class 5041(b)(6)” appear on any container of wine removed from wine premises or customs custody for which the hard cider tax rate is claimed. Because the tax class labeling requirement for imported wine claiming the hard cider tax rate contained in 27 CFR 27.59(b) is a cross-reference to § 24.257(a)(4), no change to the regulatory text in § 27.59(b) is required.

    Updating OMB Control Numbers

    In addition, TTB notes that, under the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved the hard cider tax class labeling statement information collection requirement under OMB control number 1513-0138. Therefore, TTB is amending §§ 24.257 and 27.59 in this temporary rule to reflect that control number. TTB also is correcting the OMB control number statement in § 24.257 to reflect that the IRC-based wine labeling requirements are covered under OMB control number 1513-0092, Marks on Wine Containers, and not the labeling-related recordkeeping requirements covered under 1513-0115, Usual and Customary Business Records Relating to Wine.

    Correction to Authority Citation for 27 CFR Part 27

    TTB notes that several rule documents published in late 2016 and early 2017 affected 27 CFR part 27, including the authority citation list set out at the beginning of that part. Specifically, T.D. TTB-145, Amendments To Streamline Importation of Distilled Spirits, Wine, Beer, Malt Beverages, Tobacco Products, Processed Tobacco, and Cigarette Papers and Tubes and Facilitate Use of the International Trade Data System, published on December 22, 2016, at 81 FR 94186, revised the part 27 authority citation list to add 26 U.S.C. 5382 (Cellar Treatment of Natural Wine) and 26 U.S.C. 6109 (Identifying Numbers). However, T.D. TTB-146, Changes to Certain Alcohol-Related Regulations Governing Bond Requirements and Tax Return Filing Periods, published on January 4, 2017, at 82 FR 1108, also revised the part 27 authority citation list to add 26 U.S.C. 6109 but not 26 U.S.C. 5382, resulting in the inadvertent removal of 26 U.S.C. 5382 from the list, and this error was not corrected in T.D. TTB-147. Therefore, in this temporary rule, TTB is correcting the authority citation for 27 CFR part 27 to return 26 U.S.C. 5382 to that part's list of authorities.

    Regulatory Analysis and Notices Public Participation

    To submit comments on the delayed compliance date for the hard cider tax class labeling statement described in this temporary rule, or to submit new comments on any of the hard cider regulations contained in T.D. TTB-147, published in the Federal Register on January 23, 2017, at 82 FR 7653, please refer to Notice No. 168A, published in the “Proposed Rules” section of this issue of the Federal Register.

    Executive Order 12866

    Certain TTB regulations issued under the IRC, including this one, are exempt from the requirements of Executive Order 12866, as supplemented and reaffirmed by Executive Order 13563. Therefore, a regulatory impact assessment is not required.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), TTB certifies that this temporary rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The temporary rule will not impose, or otherwise cause, a significant increase in reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance burdens on a substantial number of small entities. Rather, this temporary rule decreases burden on impacted entities by delaying the compliance date for a TTB labeling requirement that implements certain changes to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 made by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (see Pub. L. 114-113, Division Q, section 335).

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    The regulatory sections addressed in this temporary rule (27 CFR 24.257 and 27.59) contain collections of information that have been previously reviewed and approved by OMB in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507) and assigned control numbers 1513-0092 and 1513-0138. No changes are being made to the existing approved information collections.

    Inapplicability of Prior Notice and Public Comment and Delayed Effective Date Procedures

    TTB is issuing this temporary rule without prior notice and comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act, as amended (APA; 5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.”

    In this temporary rule, TTB is delaying the compliance date for the requirement that the tax class statement “Tax class 5041(b)(6)” appear on containers of wine for which the hard cider tax class is claimed, from January 1, 2018, to January 1, 2019. TTB finds that prior notice and comment is unnecessary because a delayed compliance date will provide additional time to industry members to comply with that labeling requirement.

    TTB is issuing this temporary rule without a delayed effective date pursuant to authority under section 4(c) of the APA (5 U.S.C. 553(d)). TTB finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(1) to dispense with the effective date limitation in 5 U.S.C. 553(d). This temporary rule grants a one-year exemption by delaying the compliance date for a labeling statement requirement that would otherwise become effective on January 1, 2018. Accordingly, the effective date of this temporary rule is December 5, 2017.

    Drafting Information

    Kara Fontaine of the Regulations and Rulings Division drafted this document with the assistance of other Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau personnel.

    List of Subjects 27 CFR Part 24

    Administrative practice and procedure, Cider, Claims, Electronic funds transfers, Excise taxes, Exports, Food additives, Fruit juices, Hard Cider, Labeling, Liquors, Packaging and containers, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Research, Scientific equipment, Spices and flavorings, Surety bonds, Vinegar, Warehouses, Wine.

    27 CFR Part 27

    Alcohol and alcoholic beverages, Beer, Cosmetics, Customs duties and inspections, Electronic funds transfers, Excise taxes, Imports, Labeling, Liquors, Packaging and containers, Reporting and Recordkeeping requirements, Wine.

    Amendments to the Regulations

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, TTB is amending 27 CFR chapter I, parts 24 and 27 as follows:

    PART 24—WINE 1. The authority citation for part 24 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 552(a); 26 U.S.C. 5001, 5008, 5041, 5042, 5044, 5061, 5062, 5121, 5122-5124, 5173, 5206, 5214, 5215, 5351, 5353, 5354, 5356, 5357, 5361, 5362, 5364-5373, 5381-5388, 5391, 5392, 5511, 5551, 5552, 5661, 5662, 5684, 6065, 6091, 6109, 6301, 6302, 6311, 6651, 6676, 7302, 7342, 7502, 7503, 7606, 7805, 7851; 31 U.S.C. 9301, 9303, 9304, 9306.

    § 24.257 [Amended]
    2. In § 24.257: a. Paragraph (a)(4) is amended by removing the date “January 1, 2018” each place it appears and adding in its place the date “January 1, 2019”; and b. The Office of Management and Budget control number reference at the end of the section is amended by removing the phrase “1513-0115 and 1513-XXXX” and adding in its place the phrase “1513-0092 and 1513-0138”. PART 27—IMPORTATION OF DISTILLED SPIRITS, WINES, AND BEER 3. The authority citation for part 27 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 552(a), 19 U.S.C. 81c, 1202; 26 U.S.C. 5001, 5007, 5008, 5010, 5041, 5051, 5054, 5061, 5121, 5122-5124, 5201, 5205, 5207, 5232, 5273, 5301, 5313, 5382, 5555, 6109, 6302, 7805.

    § 27.59 [Amended]
    4. In § 27.59, the Office of Management and Budget control number reference at the end of the section is amended by removing the phrase “number 1513-XXXX” and adding in its place the phrase “numbers 1513-0092 and 1513-0138”. Signed: October 30, 2017. John J. Manfreda, Administrator. Approved: November 30, 2017. Timothy E. Skud, Deputy Assistant Secretary (Tax, Trade and Tariff Policy).
    [FR Doc. 2017-26281 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810-31-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2017-1038] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Rigolets Pass, Slidell, LA 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 CSX Railroad Bridge across the Rigolets Pass, mile 0.0, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. This deviation is necessary to perform maintenance for the continued safe operation of the bridge. This deviation allows for the bridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position on December 12, 2017, through December 15, 2017. It further requires a one-hour advance notice for openings to facilitate passage of vessel traffic from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on certain dates from December 18, 2017 through January 12, 2018.

    DATES:

    This deviation is effective from 4 a.m. on December 12, 2017, through 5 p.m. on January 12, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2017-1038] 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 Giselle T. MacDonald, Bridge Administration Branch, Coast Guard, telephone (504) 671-2128, email [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The CSX Transportation requested a temporary deviation from the operating schedule of the CSX Railroad Swing Bridge across Rigolets Pass, mile 0.0, near Slidell, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. This deviation is necessary to replace the center pivot bearing and the wedge machinery on the south center and southwest end of the swing span.

    For the purposes of this deviation, the bridge will be allowed to remain in the closed-to-navigation position from 4 a.m. on Tuesday, December 12, 2017, through 4 a.m. on Friday, December 15, 2017, and a one-hour advance notice for openings to facilitate passage of vessel traffic from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., each day, on December 18, 2017, through December 22, 2017, and from January 2, 2018 through January 12, 2018. At all other times the bridge will operate in accordance with 33 CFR 117.5.

    The vertical clearance of the bridge is 14.5 feet above mean low water (MLW), elevation 11.9 feet above mean high water (MHW) in the closed-to-navigation position. Navigation on the waterway consists of tugs with tows, commercial fishing vessels and some recreational crafts.

    For the duration of the repair work, vessels will not be allowed to pass through the bridge in the closed-to-navigation position and will not be able to open for emergencies. The alternate route for vessels to pass is the Pearl River. The Coast Guard will also inform the users of the waterways through our Local and Broadcast Notices to Mariners of the change in operating schedule for the bridge so that vessel operators can arrange their transits to minimize any impact caused by the temporary deviation.

    In accordance with 33 CFR 117.35, 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 29, 2017. Douglas A. Blakemore, Bridge Administrator, Eighth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26094 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2017-0982] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Mamala Bay, Oahu, HI AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Temporary final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    On October 10, 2017, the commercial fishing vessel PACIFIC PARADISE ran aground approximately 400 yards southwest of Kaimana Beach, in the navigable waters of Mamala Bay, Oahu, Hawaii. The Coast Guard established a temporary safety zone extending 500 yards in all directions around the grounded vessel to facilitate vessel salvage operations. To date, the vessel remains aground. Accordingly, effective December 1, 2017, the Coast Guard hereby extends the temporary safety zone for an additional thirty days to facilitate ongoing salvage and subsequent removal operations. The extension of this temporary safety zone is necessary to protect personnel, vessels and the marine environmental from potential hazards associated with ongoing operations to salvage and remove a grounded vessel in this area. Entry of vessels or persons into this zone is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port (COTP) Honolulu.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective without actual notice from December 5, 2017 until 8:00 a.m. on December 31, 2017. For the purposes of enforcement, actual notice will be used from 8:00 a.m. on December 1, 2017 until December 5, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2017-0982 in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rule.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this rule, call or email Lieutenant Commander John Bannon, Waterways Management Division, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu at (808) 541-4359 or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Table of Abbreviations CFR Code of Federal Regulations COTP Captain of the Port DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking § Section TFR Temporary final rule U.S.C. United States Code II. Background Information and Regulatory History

    On October 10, 2017, the commercial fishing vessel PACIFIC PARADISE ran aground approximately 400 yards southwest of Kaimana Beach, in the navigable waters of Mamala Bay, Oahu, Hawaii at position 21°15.69′ N.; 157°49.49′ W. On October 11, 2017, the Coast Guard established a seven-day temporary safety zone encompassing all waters extending 500 yards in all directions around the grounded vessel to facilitate vessel salvage operations and protect personnel, vessels and the marine environment from the hazards associated with them. Due to the emergent nature of the grounding and subsequent removal operations, the temporary final rule (TFR) was not initially published in the Federal Register. On October 18, 2017, the temporary safety zone was extended for two additional weeks to account for delays in salvage operations due to ocean and weather conditions. The extension of the temporary safety zone was published in the Federal Register (82 FR 49111) on October 24, 2017. On November 1, 2017, the safety zone was extended for one additional month to account for delays in salvage operations due to ocean and weather conditions. The safety zone extension was published in the Federal Register (82 FR 51767) on November 8, 2017. Ongoing challenges with the salvage efforts and weather necessitate a third extension of the temporary safety zone for an additional thirty days.

    The temporary safety zone continues to encompass all waters extending 500 yards in all directions around the grounded fishing vessel located approximately 400 yards southwest of Kaimana Beach at position 21°15.69′ N.; 157°49.49′ W. When the vessel is off the reef, the stationary safety zone will shift to a moving safety zone extending 500 yards in all directions around the vessel and continue until December 31, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. or until the removal operation is complete, whichever is earlier.

    The Coast Guard is extending the existing temporary safety zone without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because the initial estimate to salvage the vessel from the grounding was estimated at one week or less. Immediate action remains needed to respond to the safety hazards associated with this fishing vessel salvage effort for an estimated additional thirty days. Therefore, publishing an NPRM is impracticable and contrary to public interest.

    We are issuing this rule, and under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making it effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. For the same reasons stated in the preceding paragraph, delaying the effective period of this temporary safety zone would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest.

    III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

    The Coast Guard is issuing this rule pursuant to 33 U.S.C. 1231. On October 10, 2017, the Coast Guard was informed the commercial fishing vessel PACIFIC PARADISE ran aground in Mamala Bay, Oahu, Hawaii, near Waikiki's Kaimana Beach. The COTP Honolulu determined that potential hazards associated with the salvage and removal operations, including high winds and seas, constituted a safety concern. Accordingly, the COTP Honolulu established a temporary safety zone extending 500 yards in all directions around the grounded vessel to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment during ongoing salvage and removal operations.

    IV. Discussion of the Rule

    This rule extends an existing temporary safety zone. This rule is effective from 8:00 a.m. on December 1, 2017 through 8:00 a.m. on December 31, 2017, or until salvage operations are complete, whichever is earlier. If the temporary safety zone is terminated prior to 8:00 a.m. on December 1, 2017, the Coast Guard will provide notice via a broadcast notice to mariners.

    The temporary safety zone encompasses all waters from the surface of the water to the ocean floor extending 500 yards in all directions around the commercial fishing vessel 400 yards southwest of Kaimana Beach near position 21°15.69′ N.; 157°49.49′ W. The temporary safety zone is currently stationary around the grounded vessel. When the vessel is removed from the reef, it will be towed to a disposal site, at which time the stationary safety zone will shift to a moving safety zone. The zone shall continue to encompass 500 yards in all directions around the commercial fishing vessel PACIFIC PARADISE and remain in effect until December 31, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. or until the disposal operation is complete, whichever is earlier. When the vessel is off the reef and removal operations commence, the Coast Guard will provide notice of the moving safety zone via a broadcast notice to mariners. No vessel or person will be permitted to enter the safety zone absent the express authorization of the COTP Honolulu or his designated representative.

    V. Regulatory Analyses

    We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and Executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on a number of these statutes and Executive orders, and we discuss First Amendment rights of protestors.

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits. Executive Order 13771 directs agencies to control regulatory costs through a budgeting process. This rule has not been designated a “significant regulatory action,” under Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, this rule has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and pursuant to OMB guidance it is exempt from the requirements of Executive Order 13771.

    This regulatory action determination is based on the size, location and duration of the temporary safety zone. Vessel traffic will be able to safely transit around this temporary safety zone away from the reef or during the salvage tow, which would impact only a small designated area of the waters off Kaimana Beach and Waikiki where vessel traffic is normally low. Closer to shore, the waterway is used primarily for beach recreation activities. Offshore of the beach, waterway traffic is primarily tourism related operations which will not be affected by the tow due to the open space in the area. Moreover, vessels wishing to enter the zone may seek permission as set forth below.

    B. Impact on Small Entities

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, 5 U.S.C. 601-612, as amended, requires Federal agencies to consider the potential impact of regulations on small entities during rulemaking. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000. The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    While some owners or operators of vessels intending to transit the temporary safety zone may be small entities, for the reasons stated in section V.A above, this rule will not have a significant economic impact on any vessel owner or operator. The temporary safety zone is limited in size and duration, and the grounded vessel is not in an actively used navigable waterway. When the vessel is removed from the reef, it will be towed to a disposal site. The tow evolution will not have a significant impact on existing waterway users. Mariners may request to enter the zone by contacting the COTP, as described below.

    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this rule. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

    Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247). The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

    C. Collection of Information

    This rule will not call for a new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

    D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Governments

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and have determined that it is consistent with the fundamental federalism principles and preemption requirements described in Executive Order 13132.

    This rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. If you believe this rule has implications for federalism or Indian tribes, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section above.

    E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) or more in any one year. Though this rule will not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

    F. Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have determined this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule involves the extension of a temporary safety zone extension for thirty days, or until the salvage and removal operations are suspended. It is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of the Commandant Instruction. A Record of Environmental Consideration supporting this determination is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES.

    G. Protest Activities

    The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment rights of protesters. Protesters are asked to contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to coordinate protest activities so that your message can be received without jeopardizing the safety or security of people, places or vessels.

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

    Harbors, Marine safety, Navigation (water), Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Security measures, Waterways.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 33 CFR part 165 as follows:

    PART 165—REGULATED NAVIGATION AREAS AND LIMITED ACCESS AREAS 1. The authority citation for part 165 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    33 U.S.C. 1231; 50 U.S.C. 191; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

    2. Add § 165.T14-0982 to read as follows:
    § 165.T14-0982 Safety Zone; Mamala Bay, Oahu, HI.

    (a) Location. The temporary safety zone is located within the COTP Honolulu Zone (See 33 CFR 3.70-10) and will encompass all navigable waters extending 500 yards in all directions from the commercial fishing vessel PACIFIC PARADISE, which is currently aground on a reef approximately 400 yards southwest of Kaimana Beach near position 21°15.69′ N.; 157°49.49′ W. When the commercial fishing vessel PACIFIC PARADISE is removed from the reef, the temporary safety zone will become a moving safety zone extending 500 yards in all directions from the PACIFIC PARADISE to facilitate the towing and subsequent disposal of the vessel. The temporary safety zone will be enforced throughout the salvage, transit and removal operations within and offshore of Mamala Bay. This zone extends from the surface of the water to the ocean floor.

    (b) Enforcement period. This rule is effective from 8:00 a.m. on December 1, 2017 through 8:00 a.m. on December 31, 2017, or until salvage recovery operations are complete, whichever is earlier. If the temporary safety zone is terminated prior to 8:00 a.m. on December 31, 2017, the Coast Guard will provide notice via a broadcast notice to mariners.

    (c) Regulations. The general regulations governing safety zones contained in § 165.23 apply to the safety zone created by this temporary final rule.

    (1) All persons are required to comply with the general regulations governing safety zones found in this part.

    (2) Entry into, or remaining in, this zone is prohibited unless expressly authorized by the COTP Honolulu or his designated representative.

    (3) Persons desiring to transit the temporary stationary or moving safety zone identified in paragraph (a) of this section may contact the COTP at the Command Center telephone number (808) 842-2600 and (808) 842-2601, fax (808) 842-2642 or on VHF channel 16 (156.8 Mhz) to seek permission to transit the zone. If permission is granted, all persons and vessels must comply with the instructions of the COTP Honolulu or his designated representative and proceed at the minimum speed necessary to maintain a safe course while in the zone.

    (4) The U.S. Coast Guard may be assisted in the patrol and enforcement of the temporary safety zone by Federal, State, and local agencies.

    (d) Notice of enforcement. The COTP will provide notice of enforcement of the temporary safety zone described in this section via verbal broadcasts and written notice to mariners and the general public.

    (e) Definitions. As used in this section, “designated representative” means any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant, or petty officer who has been authorized by the COTP to assist in enforcing the temporary safety zone described in paragraph (a) of this section.

    Dated: November 29, 2017. M.C. Long, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Honolulu.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26142 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    POSTAL SERVICE 39 CFR Part 20 International Mailing Services: Mailing Services Product and Price Changes AGENCY:

    Postal ServiceTM.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    On October 24, 2017, the Postal Service published proposed product and price changes to reflect a notice of price adjustments filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). The PRC has found that price adjustments and product changes contained in the Postal Service's notice may go into effect on January 21, 2018. The Postal Service will revise Notice 123, Price List to reflect the new prices and Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM®) to reflect the product changes.

    DATES:

    Effective: January 21, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Paula Rabkin at 202-268-2537.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Proposed Rule and Response

    In October 2017, the Postal Service filed a notice of mailing services price adjustments with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) for products and services covered by Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM®), to be effective on January 21, 2018. On October 24, 2017, the USPSTM published a notice of proposed product and price changes in the Federal Register entitled “International Mailing Services: Proposed Product and Price Changes—CPI” (82 FR 49160). The document included price changes that the Postal Service would adopt for products and services covered by Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM®) and publish in Notice 123, Price List, on Postal Explorer® at pe.usps.com. The Postal Service received no comments.

    II. Decision of the Postal Regulatory Commission

    As stated in the PRC's Order No. 4215, issued on November 9, 2017, the PRC found that the prices in the Postal Service's Notice may go into effect on January 21, 2018. The new prices will accordingly be posted in Notice 123, on Postal Explorer at pe.usps.com.

    The following product changes to the IMM, conforming to the requirements of the Universal Postal Convention limiting the contents of First-Class Mail International postcard, letter, and large envelope (flat) mail to personal correspondence and non-dutiable documents, were also accepted without comment and will accordingly be posted in the January 21, 2018, revision of the IMM on Postal Explorer at pe.usps.com.

    The Postal Service hereby adopts the following changes to Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM), which is incorporated by reference in the Code of Federal Regulations. See 39 CFR 20.1.

    List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 20

    Foreign relations, International postal services.

    Accordingly, 39 CFR part 20 is amended as follows:

    PART 20—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for 39 CFR part 20 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 552(a); 13 U.S.C. 301-307; 18 U.S.C. 1692-1737; 39 U.S.C. 101, 401, 403, 404, 407, 414, 416, 3001-3011, 3201-3219, 3403-3406, 3621, 3622, 3626, 3632, 3633, and 5001.

    2. Revise the following sections of Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM), as follows: Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM) 1 International Mail Services 120 Preparation for Mailing 123 Customs Forms and Online Shipping Labels 123.6 Required Usage 123.61 Conditions Exhibit 123.61 Customs Declaration Form Usage by Mail Category [Revise the heading and text for the First-Class Mail International section to read as follows:] Type of item Declared value, weight, or
  • physical
  • characteristic
  • Required PS form Comment (if applicable)
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * First-Class Mail International Letters and Large Envelopes (Flats), as well as International Priority Airmail (IPA) Letters and Large Envelopes (Flats) and International Surface Air Lift (ISAL) Envelopes (Flats) All letter-size and flat-size items, as defined in 241.2, containing only nondutiable documents Under 16 ounces
  • 16 ounces or more
  • None
  • 2976.
  • See 123.63 for additional information concerning “documents.” Items containing merchandise must be mailed using Global Express Guaranteed service, Priority Mail Express International service, Priority Mail International service, or First-Class Package International Service; commercial mailers may also use IPA packages (small packets) and ISAL packages (small packets) to mail merchandise. Certain documents controlled by export regulatory agencies may also require customs documentation. See 510-590 and Publication 699 for additional information.
    All items containing any goods, regardless of weight Prohibited Prohibited See 123.63 for additional information concerning “documents” and merchandise. Items containing merchandise must be mailed using Global Express Guaranteed service, Priority Mail Express International service, Priority Mail International service, or First-Class Package International Service; commercial mailers may also use IPA packages (small packets) and ISAL packages (small packets) to mail merchandise. *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    [Delete the footnote] *  *  *  *  *   [Revise the heading of 123.63 to read as follows (indicating a separation of documents and merchandise):] 123.63 Separation of Documents and Merchandise [Revise the text to read as follows (dividing the section into subsections, with 123.631 containing new text that explains the separation between documents and merchandise, 123.632 based on the first part of the previous 123.63, and 123.633 based on the second part of the previous 123.63):] 123.631 Explanation of Separation

    Letter-post mail (First-Class Mail International, IPA and ISAL items, and First-Class Package International Service) must be separated based on contents into Documents and Merchandise categories. Merchandise consists of items other than documents that are considered potentially dutiable, as well as documents that may be subject to customs duties. Mailers must declare a value and place a customs form on each merchandise item. If any item (merchandise or document) weighs more than 16 ounces, a mailer must place a customs form on it, regardless of the content.

    123.632 Documents

    In Exhibit 123.61, the “Type of Item” column has several references to “documents.” For this purpose, “documents” refers only to any piece of written, drawn, or printed information, excluding objects of merchandise. Documents do not include digital and electronic storage media or devices such as CDs, DVDs, or flash drives. Examples of documents include the following:

    a. Audit and business records.

    b. Personal correspondence.

    c. Circulars.

    d. Pamphlets.

    e. Advertisements.

    f. Written instruments not intended to be resold.

    g. Money orders, checks, and similar items that cannot be negotiated or converted into cash without forgery.

    123.633 Customs Forms Required

    The following are examples of items that are required to bear a customs declaration form and to declare a value:

    a. CDs, DVDs, flash drives, video and cassette tapes, and other digital and electronic storage media—regardless of whether they are blank or contain electronic documents or other prerecorded media.

    b. Artwork.

    c. Collector or antique document items.

    d. Books.

    e. Periodicals.

    f. Printed music.

    g. Printed educational or test material.

    h. Player piano rolls.

    i. Commercial engineering drawings.

    j. Commercial blueprints.

    k. Film.

    l. Negatives.

    m. X-rays.

    n. Separation negatives.

    o. Commercial photographs.

    141.5 First-Class Mail International

    [Revise the first two sentences to read as follows:]

    First-Class Mail International is a generic term for mailpieces that are postcard size, letter-size or flat-size and weigh 4 pounds or less. First-Class Mail International items may contain any letter-size or flat-size mailable correspondence or nondutiable documents that are not prohibited by the destination country. * * *

    141.6 First-Class Package International Service

    [Revise the second sentence to replace “registry” with “Registered Mail,” to read as follows:]

    At the sender's option, extra services, such as Registered Mail and return receipt, may be added on a country-specific basis.

    240 First-Class Mail International 242 Eligibility 242.1 Content Eligibility

    [Revise text to read as follows (indicating that only correspondence and nondutiable documents may be sent by FCMI)]:

    Subject to applicable weight and size limits, only correspondence and nondutiable documents that are otherwise acceptable and not prohibited by the Postal Service or the country of destination may be mailed at the First-Class Mail International price.

    [Revise the heading of 242.2 to read as follows:]

    242.2 Merchandise

    [Replace subsections 242.21 and 242.22 with text to read as follows (because no merchandise, neither dutiable as in the previous 242.21 nor nondutiable as in the previous 242.22, may be mailed with First-Class Mail International service):]

    No merchandise, whether dutiable or nondutiable, may be mailed using First-Class Mail International Service. Items containing merchandise may be sent by Global Express Guaranteed service, Priority Mail Express International service, Priority Mail International service, or First-Class Package International Service; commercial mailers may also use IPA packages (small packets) and ISAL packages (small packets).

    243 Prices and Postage Payment Methods 243.3 Permit Imprint—General [Revise the fourth sentence to read as follows (specifying that the only First-Class Mail International items that require customs forms are letters and flats that weigh more than 16 ounces):]

    Mailers may use a permit imprint for mailing identical- or nonidentical-weight First-Class Mail International items. Any of the First-Class Mail International permit imprint formats shown in Exhibit 152.64 is acceptable. Permit imprints must not denote “bulk mail,” “nonprofit,” or other domestic or special mail markings. For items requiring a customs form (First-Class Mail International letter-size and flat-size mailpieces weighing more than 16 ounces), mailers must also meet the following requirements: * * *

    Individual Country Listings [For every country that accepts Free Matter for the Blind service, revise the first paragraph of the “Free Matter for the Blind” text to read as follows (noting that First-Class Mail International service is limited to documents only):] Free Matter for the Blind (270)

    Free when sent as First-Class Mail International (documents only), First-Class Package International Service, Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes, or Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes. Weight limit: 4 pounds.

    [For the following countries, revise the applicable text as noted:] Afghanistan Restrictions [Revise the entry to read as follows:]

    Traveler's checks, precious stones, jewelry, and other valuable articles are admitted only in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments.

    Aruba Prohibitions (130) [Revise the first entry to read as follows:]

    Coins; banknotes; currency; securities of any kind payable to bearer; traveler's checks; platinum, gold, and silver (manufactured or not); precious stones; jewelry; and other valuable articles, unless they are sent by First-Class Package International Service with Registered Mail Service.

    Benin Observations [Revise the first entry to read as follows:]

    1. First-Class Package International Service items containing dutiable articles must be registered.

    Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba Prohibitions (130) [Revise the first entry to read as follows:]

    Coins; banknotes; currency; securities of any kind payable to bearer; traveler's checks; platinum, gold, and silver (manufactured or not); precious stones; jewelry; and other valuable articles, unless they are sent in First-Class Package International Service with Registered Mail service.

    Brazil Restrictions [Revise the second entry to read as follows:]

    Postage stamps are admitted only in First-Class Package International Service with Registered Mail service shipments.

    Burkina Faso Observations [Revise the entry to read as follows:]

    1. First-Class Package International Service items containing dutiable articles must be registered.

    Burma (Myanmar) Observations [Revise the first entry to read as follows;]

    1. The following may not be sent as merchandise with First-Class Package International Service if they are liable to customs duty: Works of art (including photographs), printed forms, account books, manuscript books, labels, advertising matter (except trade catalogs and circulars), picture books, almanacs, maps, old paper, and old newspapers serving as packing paper.

    Cameroon Restrictions [Revise the entry to read as follows:]

    Banknotes; currency notes; and securities payable to bearer may be sent only as First-Class Package International Service with Registered Mail service.

    Canada Restrictions [Revise the first entry to read as follows:]

    Coins; banknotes; currency notes; securities payable to bearer; traveler's checks; gold, silver, platinum, manufactured or not; jewelry; and other valuable articles may be sent only by First-Class Package International Service with Registered Mail service.

    Exceptions

    Coins sent to or from collectors or dealers may be mailed in ordinary (uninsured) parcels.

    Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Observations [Revise the first entry to read as follows:]

    1. First-Class Package International Service items containing dutiable articles must be registered.

    Curacao Prohibitions (130) [Revise the first entry to read as follows:]

    Coins; banknotes; currency; securities of any kind payable to bearer; traveler's checks; platinum, gold, and silver (manufactured or not); precious stones; jewelry; and other valuable articles, unless they are sent in registered First-Class Package International Service.

    Faroe Islands Restrictions [Revise the first entry to read as follows:]

    Coins; banknotes; currency notes (paper money); securities payable to bearer; traveler's checks; manufactured and unmanufactured platinum, gold, silver; precious stones; jewelry; and other valuable articles, may only be sent in registered First-Class Package International Service or insured parcels.

    French Guiana Restrictions [Revise the first entry to read as follows:]

    Coins; banknotes; currency notes (paper money); securities payable to bearer; traveler's checks; manufactured and unmanufactured platinum, gold, silver; precious stones; jewelry; and other valuable articles, may only be sent in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments.

    French Polynesia (Includes Tahiti) Restrictions [Revise the entry to read as follows:]

    Banknotes admitted only in registered First-Class Package International Service.

    Gambia Restrictions [Revise the entry to read as follows:]

    Banknotes; currency notes; securities payable to bearer; traveler's checks; manufactured and unmanufactured platinum, gold, silver; precious stones; jewelry; and other valuable articles may be sent only in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments.

    Ghana Restrictions [Revise the entry to read as follows:]

    Banknotes, treasury notes, currency notes, and coins may only be sent in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments from one bank to another.

    Greece Prohibitions [Revise the third entry to read as follows:]

    Coins; traveler's checks; platinum, gold or silver, manufactured or not; precious stones; jewelry; and other valuable articles, except banknotes, currency notes (paper money), and securities payable to bearer may be sent in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments.

    Restrictions [Revise the first entry to read as follows:]

    Banknotes, currency notes; and securities payable to bearer may only be sent in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments.

    Guadeloupe (Includes Saint Bartholomew and Saint Martin) Restrictions [Revise the first entry to read as follows:]

    Coins; banknotes; currency notes; securities payable to bearer; traveler's checks; manufactured and unmanufactured platinum, gold, and silver; precious stones; jewels; expensive jewelry; and other valuable articles may only be sent in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments.

    Israel Restrictions [Revise the first entry to read as follows:]

    Coins; banknotes; currency notes (paper money); securities payable to bearer; traveler's checks; platinum, gold or silver, manufactured or not; precious stones; jewelry; and other valuable articles may only be sent in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments.

    [Revise the fifth entry to read as follows:]

    Records, films, recording wire, computer cards, QSL cards, and magnetic film are admitted only if sent in First-Class Package International Service shipments.

    Italy Restrictions [Revise the second entry to read as follows:]

    Postage stamps for philatelic purposes are admitted in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments on condition that the package bears a completed PS Form 2976 and the addressee complies with the Italian financial regulations.

    Japan Restrictions [Revise the second entry to read as follows:]

    Coins; banknotes; currency notes (paper money); securities payable to bearer; traveler's checks; platinum, gold or silver, manufactured or not; precious stones; jewelry; and other valuable articles may only be sent in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments or insured Priority Mail International parcels.

    Korea, Republic of (South Korea) Restrictions [Revise the first entry to read as follows:]

    Coins; paper currency; banknotes; currency notes; securities payable to bearer; jewelry; manufactured and unmanufactured platinum, gold, and silver; precious stones; and other valuable articles are admitted only if sent in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments.

    Libya Observations [Revise the third entry to read as follows:]

    3. In accordance with Executive Order 12543 of January 7, 1986, merchandise is limited to donations of articles of food, clothing, medicines, and medical supplies that are intended strictly for medical purposes. First-Class Package International Service items and International Priority Airmail (IPA) items are subject to the content restriction. ISAL service is suspended because transportation is not available.

    Macao Restrictions [Revise the entry to read as follows:]

    Coins; banknotes; currency notes; traveler's checks; securities payable to bearer; platinum, gold or silver, manufactured or not; precious stones; jewelry; and other valuable articles may only be sent in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments.

    Mali Observations [Revise the first entry to read as follows:]

    1. First-Class Package International Service items and Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes containing dutiable articles must be registered.

    Namibia Prohibitions [Revise the fourth entry to read as follows:]

    Diamonds or precious stones except in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments.

    Niger Observations [Revise the entry to read as follows:]

    First-Class Package International Service items containing dutiable articles must be registered.

    Oman Observations [Revise the entry to read as follows:]

    First-Class Package International Service items containing dutiable articles must be registered.

    Reunion Restrictions [Revise the first entry to read as follows:]

    Banknotes; currency notes; and securities payable to bearer may only be sent in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments.

    Rwanda Prohibitions (130) [Revise the first entry to read as follows:]

    Coins, banknotes, currency notes (paper money), traveler's checks, and securities payable to bearer except in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments.

    San Marino Restrictions [Revise the entry to read as follows:]

    Postage stamps for philatelic purposes are admitted in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments on condition that the package bears a completed PS Form 2976 and the addressee complies with the Italian financial regulations.

    Senegal Observations [Revise the entry to read as follows:]

    First-Class Package International Service items containing dutiable articles must be registered.

    Sierra Leone Prohibitions (130) [Revise the first entry to read as follows:]

    Postage stamps, whether used or not, except in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments.

    Restrictions [Revise the second entry to read as follows:]

    Coins or precious metal sent in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments may not exceed L5 in value.

    Singapore Prohibitions (130) [Revise the fifth entry to read as follows:]

    Coins except coins for purposes of ornament; banknotes; currency notes; traveler's checks; securities payable to bearer; precious stones; jewelry; and other valuable articles. However, unmounted precious stones may be sent in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments if authorization is obtained from the Postmaster General of Singapore.

    Sint Maarten Prohibitions (130) [Revise the first entry to read as follows:]

    Coins; banknotes; currency; securities of any kind payable to bearer; traveler's checks; platinum, gold, and silver (manufactured or not); precious stones; jewelry; and other valuable articles, unless they are sent in registered First-Class Package International Service.

    Somalia Prohibitions (130) [Revise the second entry to read as follows:]

    Coins; banknotes; currency; securities of any kind payable to bearer; traveler's checks; platinum, gold, and silver (manufactured or not); precious stones; jewelry; and other valuable articles.

    South Africa Prohibitions (130) [Revise the fourth entry to read as follows:]

    Diamonds or precious stones except in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments.

    Observations [Revise the third entry to read as follows (specifying that only FCPIS with Registered Mail service may be used):]

    3. Coins; banknotes; currency notes (paper money); traveler's checks; platinum, gold, and silver (manufactured or not); precious stones; jewelry; and other valuable articles are admitted only in First-Class Package International Service with Registered Mail service shipments.

    Sudan Restrictions [Revise the entry to read as follows:]

    Banknotes greater than 2 Sudanese pounds in value are admitted ONLY in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments.

    Taiwan Observations [Revise the first entry to read as follows:]

    1. First-Class Package International Service items containing dutiable articles must be registered.

    Tanzania Restrictions [Revise the entry to read as follows:]

    Coins must not exceed 100 shillings in value and must be sent in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments.

    Togo Prohibitions (130) [Revise the third entry to read as follows:]

    Banknotes, currency notes, securities payable to bearer, traveler's checks, may only be sent in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments.

    Uganda Restrictions [Revise the first entry to read as follows:]

    Coins; banknotes; currency notes (paper money); securities payable to bearer; traveler checks; platinum, gold or silver, manufactured or not; precious stones, jewelry; and other valuable articles, may only be sent in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments.

    Ukraine Restrictions [In the first entry, revise item e to read as follows:]

    1. In order to be admissible, the food items listed below must * * * (e) be shipped in quantities not to exceed 2 kilograms (4 pounds) when enclosed in a First-Class Package International Service shipment * * *.

    Yemen Restrictions [Revise the second entry to read as follows:]

    Coins, banknotes, currency notes, securities payable to bearer, and traveler's checks may only be sent in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments.

    Zambia Restrictions [Revise the first entry to read as follows:]

    Coins; paper currency; banknotes; currency notes; securities payable to bearer; jewelry; manufactured and unmanufactured platinum, gold, and silver; precious stones; and other valuable articles are admitted only if sent in registered First-Class Package International Service shipments.

    Stanley F. Mires, Attorney, Federal Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26143 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-12-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R03-OAR-2017-0413; FRL-9971-40-Region 3] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; West Virginia; 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards; Withdrawal of Direct Final Rule AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Withdrawal of direct final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    Due to receipt of adverse comment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is withdrawing the direct final rule published on Monday, October 16, 2017, to approve revisions to the West Virginia state implementation plan (SIP). The revisions updated the effective date by which the West Virginia regulations incorporate by reference the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), additional monitoring methods, and additional equivalent monitoring methods.

    DATES:

    The direct final rule published at 82 FR 47981, on October 16, 2017, is withdrawn as of December 5, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Joseph Schulingkamp, (215) 814-2021, or by email at [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On June 13, 2017, West Virginia submitted a SIP revision to update the State's incorporation by reference of federal standards, ambient air monitoring reference methods, and equivalent monitoring reference methods. The SIP revisions updated the effective date by which the West Virginia regulations incorporate by reference the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), additional monitoring methods, and additional equivalent monitoring methods. This update was intended to add effectively the following to the West Virginia SIP: The 2015 ozone NAAQS; monitoring reference and equivalent methods pertaining to fine particulate matter (PM2.5), carbon monoxide (CO), and coarse particulate matter (PM10); a revised ozone monitoring season; the Federal Reference Method (FRM); the Federal Equivalent Method (FEM); and the Photochemical Assessment Monitoring Stations (PAMS) network. The effective date of the incorporation by reference changed from June 1, 2013 to June 1, 2017. The SIP revision also sought to change a reference from the “West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection,” to the “Division of Air Quality.”

    In the direct final rule published on Monday, October 16, 2017 (82 FR 47981), EPA stated that if we received adverse comment by November 15, 2017, the rule would be withdrawn and not take effect. EPA subsequently received adverse comment. EPA will address the comments received in a subsequent final rulemaking action based upon the proposed action, also published on Monday, October 16, 2017 (82 FR 48033). EPA will not institute a second comment period on this action.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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

    Dated: November 17, 2017. Cosmo Servidio, Regional Administrator, Region III. Accordingly, the amendments to 40 CFR 52.2520(c) published on October 16, 2017 (82 FR 47981) are withdrawn as of December 5, 2017.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26077 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R02-OAR-2017-0425, FRL-9971-25-Region 2] Approval of Air Quality Implementation Plans; New York; Cross-State Air Pollution Rule; NOX Annual and SO2 Group 1 Trading Programs AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is conditionally approving a revision to the New York State Implementation Plan (SIP) addressing requirements of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). Under the CSAPR, large electricity generating units in New York are subject to Federal Implementation Plans (FIPs) requiring the units to participate in CSAPR federal trading programs for annual emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX), ozone season emissions of NOX, and annual emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2). This action conditionally approves into New York's SIP the State's regulations that replace the default allowance allocation provisions of the CSAPR federal trading programs for annual NOX and SO2 emissions. EPA is conditionally approving New York's regulations for annual NOX and SO2 emissions because, while the submitted rules do not fully conform to CSAPR, New York is in the process of making further revisions to its rules and has provided a commitment to finalize and submit them by December 29, 2017. Upon timely meeting of this commitment, EPA will propose to convert the conditional approval of the SIP revision to a full approval.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective December 5, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID number EPA-R02-OAR-2017-0425. All documents in the docket are listed on the www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information may not be publicly available, i.e., Confidential Business Information or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available through www.regulations.gov, or please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section for additional availability information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kenneth Fradkin, Air Programs Branch, Environmental Protection Agency, 290 Broadway, 25th Floor, New York, New York 10007-1866, (212) 637-3702, or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents I. What action is EPA taking? II. Background on CSAPR and CSAPR-Related SIP Revisions III. What comments were received in response to EPA's proposed action? IV. What is EPA's conclusion? V. Incorporation by Reference VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. What action is EPA taking?

    EPA is conditionally approving portions of New York's December 1, 2015 SIP submittal concerning CSAPR 1 trading programs for annual emissions of NOX and SO2.

    1 Federal Implementation Plans; Interstate Transport of Fine Particulate Matter and Ozone and Correction of SIP Approvals, 76 FR 48208 (August 8, 2011) (codified as amended at 40 CFR 52.38 and 52.39 and 40 CFR part 97).

    Large Electric Generating Units (EGUs) in New York are subject to CSAPR FIPs that require the units to participate in the federal CSAPR NOX Annual Trading Program and the federal CSAPR SO2 Group 1 Trading Program. CSAPR provides a process for the submission and approval of SIP revisions to replace certain provisions of the CSAPR FIPs while the remaining FIP provisions continue to apply. This type of CSAPR SIP is termed an abbreviated SIP. EPA proposed to conditionally approve New York's submittal on August 29, 2017 (82 FR 40963).

    The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) amended portions of Title 6 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (6 NYCRR) in order to incorporate CSAPR requirements into the State's rules and allow the DEC to allocate CSAPR allowances to regulated entities in New York. 6 NYCRR Part 244, “CAIR NOX Annual Trading Program,” has been repealed and replaced in its entirety with a new rule, 6 NYCRR Part 244, “Transport Rule NOX Annual Trading Program.” 6 NYCRR Part 245, “CAIR SO2 Trading Program,” has also been repealed and replaced in its entirety with a new rule, 6 NYCRR Part 245, “Transport Rule SO2 Group 1 Trading Program.” Attendant revisions were made to 6 NYCRR Part 200, “General Provisions,” to update the list of referenced materials that are cited in the amended New York regulations. EPA is conditionally approving into the SIP the revised versions of 6 NYCRR Parts 200, 244 and 245.

    EPA is conditionally approving this SIP revision, as opposed to fully approving it, because of several deficiencies that New York must address. The conditional approval of portions of New York's SIP submittal is conditioned on New York meeting the commitment, articulated in its letters to EPA dated July 14, 2016, March 4, 2017, and July 6, 2017, to make the necessary changes to 6 NYCRR Parts 200, 244, and 245 to meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and EPA's regulations for approval of an abbreviated SIP revision to replace EPA's default allocations of CSAPR emission allowances with state-determined allocations. In a July 6, 2017 letter to EPA, the DEC committed to submitting a SIP revision that addresses EPA identified deficiencies by December 29, 2017.2 Once EPA determines that the DEC has satisfied these conditions and EPA approves the revisions (after EPA notice and comment), EPA shall remove the conditional approval and this SIP revision will at that time receive full approval status. The conditionally approved SIP submission will remain part of the SIP until EPA takes further action. If New York fails to meet its commitment to submit a revised SIP by December 29, 2017 [i.e., the date of commitment from the state's July 6, 2017 letter], the conditional approval will revert to a disapproval.

    2 The date supersedes the dates identified in the July 14, 2016, and March 24, 2017 letters.

    This action conditionally approves into New York's SIP state-determined allowance allocation procedures for annual NOX and SO2 allowances that would replace EPA's default allocation procedures for the control periods in 2017 and beyond. The conditional approval of this SIP revision does not alter any provision of either the CSAPR NOX Annual Trading Program or the CSAPR SO2 Group 1 Trading Program as applied to New York units other than the allowance allocation provisions, and the FIP provisions requiring those units to participate in the programs (as modified by this SIP revision) remain in place.

    New York also repealed 6 NYCRR Part 243, “CAIR NOX Ozone Season Trading Program,” and replaced it in its entirety with a new rule, 6 NYCRR Part 243, “Transport Rule NOX Ozone Season Trading Program,” which was included in New York's December 1, 2015 SIP submittal. EPA is not acting at this time on the portion of New York's SIP submittal addressing 6 NYCRR Part 243. Since New York's December 1, 2015 submission, EPA has finalized the CSAPR Update rule 3 to address Eastern states' interstate air pollution mitigation obligations with regard to the 2008 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). Among other things, starting in 2017 the CSAPR Update requires New York EGUs to participate in the new CSAPR NOX Ozone Season Group 2 Trading Program instead of the earlier CSAPR NOX Ozone Season Trading Program (now renamed the “Group 1” program) and replaces the ozone season budget for New York with a lower budget developed to address the revised and more stringent 2008 Ozone NAAQS. In DEC's July 14, 2016 commitment letter to EPA, New York indicated that the State would revise 6 NYCRR Part 243 to conform with the final CSAPR Update. For this reason, EPA is acting at this time only on 6 NYCRR Parts 200, 244 and 245.

    3 81 FR 74504 (October 26, 2016).

    This conditional final rule is effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register. Section 553(d) of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553(d)), which generally provides that final rules may not take effect earlier than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register but allows exceptions where an agency finds good cause and publishes its finding with the rule, applies to this action. Ordinarily, a 30-day transition period before a new rule takes effect would give affected parties an opportunity to adjust their behavior and prepare for compliance. However, in this instance no transition period is necessary because this rule does not impose new requirements. Under CSAPR's existing requirements, on March 1 of each year affected sources must hold quantities of emissions allowances not less than their emissions during the prior year's control period. The CSAPR regulations provide for default allocations to affected sources of allowances eligible for use in meeting this requirement. In this rule, in accordance with options CSAPR makes available to States, EPA is conditionally approving into New York's SIP the State's allocation rules to replace the default federally-established allocations. The sooner this rule is effective, the sooner allowances eligible for use for the 2017 control period can be issued to affected sources in New York in the amounts determined under New York's rules, which will assist the sources in planning to meet their March 1, 2018, compliance requirement. EPA therefore finds good cause to make this conditional final rule effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register.

    II. Background on CSAPR and CSAPR-Related SIP Revisions

    EPA issued CSAPR in July 2011 to address the requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) concerning interstate transport of air pollution. As amended (including the 2016 CSAPR Update), CSAPR requires 27 Eastern states to limit their statewide emissions of SO2 and/or NOX in order to mitigate transported air pollution unlawfully impacting other states' ability to attain or maintain four NAAQS: the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS, the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, the 1997 Ozone NAAQS, and the 2008 Ozone NAAQS. The CSAPR emissions limitations are defined in terms of maximum statewide “budgets” for emissions of annual SO2, annual NOX, and/or ozone-season NOX by each covered state's large EGUs. The CSAPR state budgets are implemented in two phases of generally increasing stringency, with the Phase 1 budgets applying to emissions in 2015 and 2016 and the Phase 2 (and CSAPR Update) budgets applying to emissions in 2017 and later years. As a mechanism for achieving compliance with the emissions limitations, CSAPR establishes five federal emissions trading programs: A program for annual NOX emissions, two geographically separate programs for annual SO2 emissions, and two geographically separate programs for ozone-season NOX emissions. CSAPR also establishes FIP requirements applicable to the large EGUs in each covered state. The CSAPR FIP provisions require each state's EGUs to participate in up to three of the five CSAPR trading programs.

    CSAPR includes provisions under which states may submit and EPA will approve SIP revisions to modify or replace the CSAPR FIP requirements while allowing states to continue to meet their transport-related obligations using either CSAPR's federal emissions trading programs or state emissions trading programs integrated with the federal programs.4 Through such a SIP revision, a state may replace EPA's default provisions for allocating emission allowances among the state's units, employing any state-selected methodology to allocate or auction the allowances, subject to timing criteria and limits on overall allowance quantities. In the case of CSAPR's federal trading programs for ozone-season NOX emissions (or integrated state trading programs), a state may also expand trading program applicability to include certain smaller EGUs.5 If a state wants to replace CSAPR FIP requirements with SIP requirements under which the state's units participate in a state trading program that is integrated with and identical to the federal trading program even as to the allocation and applicability provisions, the state may submit a SIP revision for that purpose as well. However, no emissions budget increases or other substantive changes to the trading program provisions are allowed. A state whose units are subject to multiple CSAPR FIPs and federal trading programs may submit SIP revisions to modify or replace either some or all of those FIP requirements.

    4See 40 CFR 52.38, 52.39. States also retain the ability to submit SIP revisions to meet their transport-related obligations using mechanisms other than the CSAPR federal trading programs or integrated state trading programs.

    5 States covered by both the CSAPR Update and the NOX SIP Call have the additional option to expand applicability under the CSAPR NOX Ozone Season Group 2 Trading Program to include non-EGUs that would have participated in the former NOX Budget Trading Program.

    States can submit two basic forms of CSAPR-related SIP revisions effective for emissions control periods in 2017 or later years.6 Specific criteria for approval of each form of SIP revision are set forth in the CSAPR regulations. Under the first alternative—an “abbreviated” SIP revision—a state may submit a SIP revision that upon approval replaces the default allowance allocation and/or applicability provisions of a CSAPR federal trading program for the state.7 Approval of an abbreviated SIP revision leaves the corresponding CSAPR FIP and all other provisions of the relevant federal trading program in place for the state's units.

    6 CSAPR also provides for a third, more streamlined form of SIP revision that is effective only for control periods in 2016 and is not relevant here. See § 52.38(a)(3), (b)(3), (b)(7); § 52.39(d), (g).

    7 § 52.38(a)(4), (b)(4), (b)(8); § 52.39(e), (h).

    Under the second alternative—a “full” SIP revision—a state may submit a SIP revision that upon approval replaces a CSAPR federal trading program for the state with a state trading program integrated with the federal trading program, so long as the state trading program is substantively identical to the federal trading program or does not substantively differ from the federal trading program except as discussed above with regard to the allowance allocation and/or applicability provisions.8 For purposes of a full SIP revision, a state may either adopt state rules with complete trading program language, incorporate the federal trading program language into its state rules by reference (with appropriate conforming changes), or employ a combination of these approaches.

    8 § 52.38(a)(5), (b)(5), (b)(9); § 52.39(f), (i).

    The CSAPR regulations identify several important consequences and limitations associated with approval of a full SIP revision. First, upon EPA's approval of a full SIP revision as correcting the deficiency in the state's SIP that was the basis for a particular set of CSAPR FIP requirements, the obligation to participate in the corresponding CSAPR federal trading program is automatically eliminated for units subject to the state's jurisdiction without the need for a separate EPA withdrawal action, so long as EPA's approval of the SIP is full and unconditional.9 Second, approval of a full SIP revision does not terminate the obligation to participate in the corresponding CSAPR federal trading program for any units located in any Indian country within the borders of the state, and if and when a unit is located in Indian country within a state's borders, EPA may modify the SIP approval to exclude from the SIP, and include in the surviving CSAPR FIP instead, certain trading program provisions that apply jointly to units in the state and to units in Indian country within the state's borders.10 Finally, if at the time a full SIP revision is approved EPA has already started recording allocations of allowances for a given control period to a state's units, the federal trading program provisions authorizing EPA to complete the process of allocating and recording allowances for that control period to those units will continue to apply, unless EPA's approval of the SIP revision provides otherwise.11

    9 § 52.38(a)(6), (b)(10(i); § 52.39(j).

    10 § 52.38(a)(5)(iv)-(v), (a)(6), (b)(5)(v)-(vi), (b)(9)(vi)-(vii), (b)(10)(i); § 52.39(f)(4)-(5), (i)(4)-(5), (j).

    11 § 52.38(a)(7), (b)(11)(i); § 52.39(k).

    On December 1, 2015, New York submitted to EPA an abbreviated SIP revision that, if approved, would replace the default allowance allocation provisions of the CSAPR SO2 Group 1, CSAPR NOX Annual, and CSAPR NOX Ozone Season Trading Programs for the state's EGUs for the control periods in 2017 and beyond with provisions establishing state-determined allocations for those control periods but would leave the corresponding CSAPR FIPs and all other provisions of the trading programs in place.

    The SIP submittal includes the following adopted state rules: 6 NYCRR Part 243, “Transport Rule NOX Ozone Season Trading Program,” 6 NYCRR Part 244, “Transport Rule NOX Annual Trading Program,” and 6 NYCRR Part 245, “Transport Rule SO2 Trading Program.” Previous versions of the rules developed for state participation in the Clean Air Interstate Rule 12 (CAIR), i.e., 6 NYCRR Part 243, “CAIR NOX Ozone Season Trading Program,” 6 NYCRR Part 244, “CAIR NOX Annual Trading Program,” and 6 NYCRR Part 245, “CAIR SO2 Trading Program,” have been repealed and replaced in their entirety with the new rules. Attendant revisions were made to 6 NYCRR Part 200, “General Provisions,” to update the list of referenced material that are cited in the amended New York regulations. The regulations were adopted on November 10, 2015, and effective on December 12, 2015.

    12 70 FR 25162 (May 12, 2005).

    As discussed in section I, EPA is not acting at this time on the portion of New York's SIP submittal addressing 6 NYCRR Part 243, which will be addressed in another rulemaking at a later date. In this rulemaking, EPA is addressing NYCRR Parts 244, 245, and 200.

    In a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published on August 29, 2017 (82 FR 40963), EPA proposed to conditionally approve the portion of New York's submittal designed to replace the federal CSAPR SO2 Group 1, and CSAPR NOX Annual Trading Programs. The NPRM provides additional detail regarding the background and rationale for EPA's conditional approval.

    III. What comments were received in response to EPA's proposed action?

    Comments on the NPRM were due on September 28, 2017. EPA received no comments on the proposed action.

    IV. What is EPA's conclusion?

    The EPA is conditionally approving the New York SIP revision submitted on December 1, 2015 concerning allocations to New York units of CSAPR NOX Annual allowances and CSAPR SO2 Group 1 allowances for the control periods in 2017 and 2018, and future control periods beyond 2018. This rule conditionally approves into the New York SIP amendments to 6 NYCRR Parts 244 and 245 that incorporate CSAPR requirements into the State rules, and allows the DEC to allocate CSAPR allowances to regulated entities in New York. EPA is also conditionally approving the attendant revisions to 6 NYCRR Part 200 to update the list of referenced materials cited in the amended New York regulations.

    The conditional approval of Parts 200, 244, and 245 is based upon DEC's commitment to make the necessary changes, identified in the July 14, 2016, March 4, 2017, and July 6, 2017 commitment letters, to New York's 6 NYCRR Part 244, “Transport Rule NOX Annual Trading Program,” Part 245, “Transport Rule SO2 Group 1 Trading Program,” and Part 200, “General Provisions.” See section IV B. of the NPRM published on August 29, 2017 (82 FR 40967) concerning EPA's analysis of New York's budget, allowance allocation methodology, timing of submission of allocations, replaceable provisions of a CSAPR federal trading program under an abbreviated SIP, applicability determinations, and other substantive changes to the CSAPR federal trading program regulations.

    Following the conditional approval of Part 200, Part 244, and Part 245, allocations of CSAPR NOX Annual allowances and CSAPR SO2 Group 1 allowances will be made according to the provisions of New York's SIP (as modified by the DEC's July 14, 2016, March 24, 2017, and July 6, 2017 commitment letters to EPA) instead of 40 CFR 97.411(a), 97.411(b)(1), 97.412(a), 97.611(a), 97.611(b)(1), and 97.612(a). EPA's action on this SIP revision does not alter any provisions of the federal CSAPR NOX Annual Trading Program and the federal CSAPR SO2 Group 1 Trading Program as applied to New York units other than the allowance allocation provisions, and the FIPs requiring the units to participate in the programs (as modified by this SIP revision) remain in place. EPA is finalizing the conditional approval of Part 200, Part 244 and Part 245 because New York's rules (when modified by the DEC as indicated in its July 14, 2016, March 24, 2017, and July 6, 2017 commitment letters to EPA) will meet the requirements of the CAA and EPA's regulations for an abbreviated SIP revision and will replace EPA's default allocations of CSAPR emission allowances with state-determined allocations, as discussed in section IV.B of the NPRM.

    Under CAA section 110(k)(4), the EPA may approve a SIP revision based on a commitment by a state to adopt specific enforceable measures by a date certain, but not later than one year after the date of final conditional approval. If the state fails to meet its commitment to submit a revised SIP by December 29, 2017 [i.e., the date of commitment from the state's July 6, 2017 letter], or if the EPA finds the state's revisions to be incomplete, or the EPA disapproves the state's revisions, the conditional approval will, by operation of law, become a disapproval. EPA would notify the state by letter that such action has occurred. At that time, the SIP revisions in question would not be part of the approved SIP. If that were to occur, EPA would subsequently publish a document in the Federal Register notifying the public that the conditional approval automatically converts to a disapproval.13 If, however, the state meets its commitment within the applicable timeframe, EPA would subsequently publish in the Federal Register a document notifying the public that EPA intends to convert the conditional approval to a full approval.

    13 In the event the conditional approval automatically reverts to a disapproval, the validity of allocations made pursuant to the SIP revision before the date of such reversion would not be affected.

    Because a FIP already in place satisfies New York's obligations to mitigate interstate transport air pollution, should a disapproval become finalized as noted above, the EPA will not be required to take further action. Additionally, since the SIP submission is not required in response to a SIP call under CAA section 110(k)(5), mandatory sanctions under CAA section 179 would not apply because the deficiencies are not with respect to a submission that is required under CAA title I part D.

    V. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rule, with our conditional approval, EPA is finalizing regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, EPA is finalizing, with our conditional approval, the incorporation by reference revisions to 6 NYCRR Parts 200, entitled “General Provisions”, adopted November 10, 2015, 6 NYCRR Part 244, entitled “Transport Rule NOX Annual Trading Program”, adopted November 10, 2015, and NYCRR Part 245, entitled “Transport Rule SO2 Group 1 Trading Program, adopted November 10, 2015. EPA has made, and will continue to make, these materials generally available through www.regulations.gov, and/or at the EPA Region 2 Office (please contact the person identified in the For Further Information Contact section of this preamble for more information). Therefore, these materials have been conditionally approved by EPA for inclusion in the SIP, have been incorporated by EPA into that plan, are fully federally enforceable under sections 110 and 113 of the CAA as of the effective date of the final rulemaking of EPA's approval, and will be incorporated by reference by the Director of the Federal Register in the next update of the SIP compilation.14

    14 62 FR 27968 (May 22, 1997)

    VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

    • Is not an Executive Order 13771 (82 FR 9339, February 2, 2017) regulatory action because SIP approvals are exempted under Executive Order 12866.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Under section 307(b)(1) of the Clean Air Act, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by February 5, 2018. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this action for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. This action may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. (See section 307(b)(2).)

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Nitrogen Dioxide, Ozone, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: November 20, 2017. Peter D. Lopez, Regional Administrator, Region 2.

    Part 52 chapter I, title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

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

    42.U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart A—General Provisions
    § 52.38 [Amended]
    2. In § 52.38, paragraph (a)(8)(ii) is amended by removing “Kansas and Missouri” and adding in its place “Kansas, Missouri, and New York”.
    § 52.39 [Amended]
    3. In § 52.39, paragraph (l)(2) is amended by adding “and New York” after “Missouri”. Subpart HH—New York 4. In § 52.1670, paragraph (c) is amended by revising the table entries “Title 6, Part 200, Subpart 200.9”, “Title 6, Part 244”, and “Title 6, Part 245” to read as follows:
    § 52.1670 Identification of plan.

    (c) * * *

    EPA-Approved New York State Regulations and Laws State citation Title/subject State
  • effective
  • date
  • EPA approval
  • date
  • Comments
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * Title 6, Part 200, Subpart 200.9 General Provisions, Referenced Material 12/17/15 12/5/17 • EPA is approving reference documents that are not Federally enforceable.
  • • EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation].
  • • Conditional Approval.
  • *         *         *         *         *         *         * Title 6, Part 244 Transport Rule NOX Annual Trading Program 12/17/15 12/5/17 • EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation].
  • • Conditional Approval.
  • Title 6, Part 245 Transport Rule SO2 Group 1 Trading Program 12/17/15 12/5/17 • EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation].
  • • Conditional Approval.
  • *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    [FR Doc. 2017-26079 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 180 [EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-1033; FRL-9968-30] 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin; Exemption From the Requirement of a Tolerance AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This regulation establishes an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin in or on food when used in antimicrobial pesticide formulations applied to food contact surfaces in public eating places, dairy processing equipment, and/or food processing equipment and utensils. In addition, this regulation establishes an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin when used as an antimicrobial pesticide treatment solution. Albemarle Corporation submitted a petition to EPA under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), requesting exemptions from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin in end-use products applied to food contact surfaces and used for washing raw agricultural commodities. This regulation eliminates the need to establish a maximum permissible level of residues of 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin resulting from uses consistent with the terms of these exemptions.

    DATES:

    This regulation is effective December 5, 2017. Objections and requests for hearings must be received on or before February 5, 2018, and must be filed in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178 (see also Unit I.C. of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION).

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this action, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-1033, is available at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Office of Pesticide Programs Regulatory Public Docket (OPP Docket) in the Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), West William Jefferson Clinton Bldg., Rm. 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the OPP Docket is (703) 305-5805. Please review the visitor instructions and additional information about the docket available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Steven H. Weiss, Antimicrobials Division (7510P), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; main telephone number: (703) 308-6411; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. General Information A. Does this action apply to me?

    You may be potentially affected by this action if you are an agricultural producer, food manufacturer, or pesticide manufacturer. The following list of North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides a guide to help readers determine whether this document applies to them. Potentially affected entities may include:

    • Crop production (NAICS code 111), e.g., agricultural workers; greenhouse, nursery, and floriculture workers; farmers.

    • Animal production (NAICS code 112), e.g., cattle ranchers and farmers, dairy cattle farmers, livestock farmers.

    • Food manufacturing (NAICS code 311), e.g., agricultural workers; farmers; greenhouse, nursery, and floriculture workers; ranchers; pesticide applicators.

    • Pesticide manufacturing (NAICS code 32532), e.g., agricultural workers; commercial applicators; farmers; greenhouse, nursery, and floriculture workers; residential users.

    B. How can I get electronic access to other related information?

    You may access a frequently updated electronic version of 40 CFR part 180 through the Government Printing Office's e-CFR site at http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?&c=ecfr&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title40/40tab_02.tpl. To access the OSCPP test guidelines referenced in this document electronically, please go to http://www.epa.gov/ocspp and select “Test Methods and Guidelines.”

    C. How can I file an objection or hearing request?

    Under FFDCA section 408(g), 21 U.S.C. 346a, any person may file an objection to any aspect of this regulation and may also request a hearing on those objections. You must file your objection or request a hearing on this regulation in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, you must identify docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-1033 in the subject line on the first page of your submission. All objections and requests for a hearing must be in writing, and must be received by the Hearing Clerk on or before February 5, 2018. Addresses for mail and hand delivery of objections and hearing requests are provided in 40 CFR 178.25(b).

    In addition to filing an objection or hearing request with the Hearing Clerk as described in 40 CFR part 178, please submit a copy of the filing (excluding any Confidential Business Information (CBI)) for inclusion in the public docket. Information not marked confidential pursuant to 40 CFR part 2 may be disclosed publicly by EPA without prior notice. Submit the non-CBI copy of your objection or hearing request, identified by docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-1033, by one of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.

    Mail: OPP Docket, Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), (28221T), 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001.

    Hand Delivery: To make special arrangements for hand delivery or delivery of boxed information, please follow the instructions at http://www.epa.gov/dockets/contacts.html.

    Additional instructions on commenting or visiting the docket, along with more information about dockets generally, is available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets. II. Summary of Petitioned-For Exemption

    In the Federal Register of March 14, 2012 (77 FR 15012) (FRL-9335-9), EPA issued a document pursuant to FFDCA section 408(d)(3), 21 U.S.C. 346a(d)(3), announcing the filing of a pesticide tolerance petition (PP 1F7914) by Albemarle Corporation, 451 Florida Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70801. The petition requested that 40 CFR 180.940(a) be amended by establishing an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of the antimicrobial 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin resulting from the use of this antimicrobial in food contact surface sanitizing solutions applied to food contact surfaces in public eating places, dairy processing equipment, and food-processing equipment and utensils at concentrations not to exceed 500 parts per million (ppm) of total bromine. The petition also requested establishment of an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of the antimicrobial 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin in or on all raw agricultural commodities resulting from the use of 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin as an antimicrobial treatment in solutions containing a diluted end-use concentration of all bromide-producing chemicals in the solution not to exceed 900 ppm of total bromine. That document referenced a summary of the petition prepared by Albemarle Corporation, the petitioner, which is available in the docket, http://www.regulations.gov. There were no comments received in response to the notice of filing.

    III. Aggregate Risk Assessment and Determination of Safety

    Section 408(c)(2)(A)(i) of FFDCA allows EPA to establish an exemption from the requirement for a tolerance (the legal limit for a pesticide chemical residue in or on a food) only if EPA determines that the exemption is “safe.” Section 408(c)(2)(A)(ii) of FFDCA defines “safe” to mean that “there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to the pesticide chemical residue, including all anticipated dietary exposures and all other exposures for which there is reliable information.” This includes exposure through drinking water and in residential settings, but does not include occupational exposure. Pursuant to FFDCA section 408(c)(2)(B), in establishing or maintaining in effect an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance, EPA must take into account the factors set forth in FFDCA section 408(b)(2)(C), which requires EPA to give special consideration to exposure of infants and children to the pesticide chemical residue in establishing a tolerance and to “ensure that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to infants and children from aggregate exposure to the pesticide chemical residue . . . .”

    Consistent with FFDCA section 408(c)(2)(A), and the factors specified in FFDCA section 408(c)(2)(B), EPA has reviewed the available scientific data and other relevant information in support of this action. EPA has sufficient data to assess the hazards of and to make a determination on aggregate exposure for 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin including exposure resulting from the exemption established by this action. EPA's assessment of exposures and risks associated with 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin follows.

    A. Toxicological Profile

    EPA has evaluated the available toxicity data and considered its validity, completeness, and reliability as well as the relationship of the results of the studies to human risk. EPA has also considered available information concerning the variability of the sensitivities of major identifiable subgroups of consumers, including infants and children.

    Exposures to 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin (DBDMH) only occur during the mixing of the treatment solution. These exposures would only be associated with the occupational handling/applying when pouring and mixing with water. When mixed with water, DBDMH rapidly hydrolyzes to 5,5-dimethylhydantion (DMH). DMH is stable in water and is the residue available for dietary exposure.

    Most of the toxicology studies submitted to the Agency in support of registration of DBDMH were conducted on DMH (including subchronic oral toxicity in the rat and dog; subchronic dermal toxicity in the rat; chronic toxicity in the dog; combined chronic/oncogenicity in the rat and mouse; oncogenicity in the mouse; developmental toxicity in the rat and rabbit; 2-generation reproductive toxicity in the rat; genotoxicity battery; and general metabolism in the rat). These studies generally show lack of systemic toxicity up to the limit dose. No specific target organs were identified in adult animals tested. No developmental or maternal toxicity was observed. There was no evidence of carcinogenicity. There is also no indication of neurotoxicity or immunotoxicity in the database.

    The formation of the bromide ion is also present during the degradation of DBDMH. Based on available data, the Agency has previously determined that bromine does not present adverse systemic effects and therefore no endpoints were identified. See Bromine Final Registration Review Decision, Case 4015, which is document number 10 in docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0167, in www.regulations.gov. Based on its previous assessment, which remains valid, the Agency has determined that there are no risks of concern from exposures to bromine.

    Specific information on the studies received from the toxicity studies can be found at http://www.regulations.gov in document 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin (DBDMH), Human health and ecological risk assessment for the new use as a Fruit and Vegetable Wash and Food Contact Surface Sanitizer in docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-1033.

    B. Toxicological Points of Departure/Levels of Concern

    Once a pesticide's toxicological profile is determined, EPA identifies toxicological points of departure (POD) and levels of concern to use in evaluating the risk posed by human exposure to the pesticide. For hazards that have a threshold below which there is no appreciable risk, the toxicological POD is used as the basis for derivation of reference values for risk assessment. PODs are developed based on a careful analysis of the doses in each toxicological study to determine the dose at which no adverse effects are observed (the NOAEL) and the lowest dose at which adverse effects of concern are identified (the LOAEL). Uncertainty/safety factors are used in conjunction with the POD to calculate a safe exposure level—generally referred to as a population-adjusted dose (PAD) or a reference dose (RfD)—and a safe margin of exposure (MOE). For non-threshold risks, the Agency assumes that any amount of exposure will lead to some degree of risk. Thus, the Agency estimates risk in terms of the probability of an occurrence of the adverse effect in a lifetime. For more information on the general principles EPA uses in risk characterization and a complete description of the risk assessment process, see http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/riskassess.htm.

    The Agency did not identify any toxicological points of departure because the available data indicate a lack of toxicity for DBDMH and its degradates (DMH and the bromide ion).

    C. Exposure Assessment

    1. Dietary exposure from food uses and drinking water. Based on the use patterns for DBDMH, residues of the degradate DMH may be present in or on food as a result of exposure to the substance in treatment solutions or on treated food contact surfaces. DMH residues are unlikely to be in drinking water because the product is intended to be used in treatment solutions in RAC treatment facilities and on food contact surfaces in public eating places or processing. Nevertheless, because of the lack of toxicological endpoints, quantitative dietary food and drinking water exposure and risk assessments were not conducted.

    2. From non-dietary exposure. The term “residential exposure” is used in this document to refer to non-occupational, non-dietary exposure (e.g., textiles (clothing and diapers), carpets, swimming pools, and hard surface disinfection on walls, floors, tables). 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin is not registered for use on any sites that would result in residential exposure. Further information regarding EPA standard assumptions and generic inputs for residential exposures may be found at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/trac/science/trac6a05.pdf.

    3. Cumulative effects from substances with a common mechanism of toxicity. Section 408(b)(2)(D)(v) of FFDCA requires that, when considering whether to establish, modify, or revoke a tolerance, the Agency consider “available information” concerning the cumulative effects of a particular pesticide's residues and “other substances that have a common mechanism of toxicity.”

    EPA has not found 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin to share a common mechanism of toxicity with any other substances, and 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin does not appear to produce a toxic metabolite produced by other substances. Based on the lack of toxicity for DBDMH and its metabolites and degradates, therefore, EPA concludes that 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin does not have a common mechanism of toxicity with other substances. For information regarding EPA's efforts to determine which chemicals have a common mechanism of toxicity and to evaluate the cumulative effects of such chemical, see EPA's Web site at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/cumulative.

    D. Safety Factor for Infants and Children

    Section 408(b)(2)(C) of FFDCA provides that EPA shall apply an additional tenfold (10X) margin of safety for infants and children in the case of threshold effects to account for prenatal and postnatal toxicity and the completeness of the database on toxicity and exposure unless EPA determines based on reliable data that a different margin of safety will be safe for infants and children. This additional margin of safety is commonly referred to as the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) Safety Factor (SF). In applying this provision, EPA either retains the default value of 10X, or uses a different additional safety factor when reliable data available to EPA support the choice of a different factor.

    There are adequate pre- and/or post-natal toxicity studies for DMH that show no qualitative or quantitative susceptibility from exposure to DMH. As a result, the Agency has conducted a qualitative assessment in which safety factors were not relevant. Moreover, because of the lack of any threshold effects, the requirement to retain an additional 10X safety factor does not apply.

    E. Aggregate Risks and Determination of Safety

    Based on the toxicological profile of DBDMH, EPA concludes that exposures to the antimicrobial 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin will not pose a risk under reasonably foreseeable circumstances. In order to use this substance as antimicrobial treatment in process water and as a food contact surface sanitizer, the substance must be mixed with water, necessarily resulting in the conversion of DMDBH into DMH and bromine, for which the Agency has not identified any toxicological endpoints of concern. Therefore, the Agency concludes that reasonably foreseeable uses of this substance are safe. Accordingly, EPA finds that there is a reasonable certainty of no harm will result to the general population, or to infants and children from aggregate exposure to 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin residues.

    IV. Other Considerations A. Analytical Enforcement Methodology

    An analytical method is not required for enforcement purposes since the Agency is establishing an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance without any numerical limitation.

    B. Revisions to Petitioned-For Exemption

    Although the petitioner requested exemptions for residues of 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin with limitations on the amount of DBDMH in sanitizing and antimicrobial treatment solutions, EPA is establishing exemptions, without the requested limitations, for residues of 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin, because of the lack of toxicity of DMDBH and its metabolites and degradates.

    V. Conclusion

    Therefore, exemptions from the requirement of a tolerance are established for residues of 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin as follows: When used in food contact surface sanitizing solutions applied to food contact surfaces in public eating places, dairy-processing equipment, and food-processing equipment and utensils and when used as an antimicrobial treatment in solutions applied to raw agricultural commodities in treatment facilities.

    VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    This action establishes exemptions from tolerance under FFDCA section 408(d) in response to a petition submitted to the Agency. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has exempted these types of actions from review under Executive Order 12866, entitled “Regulatory Planning and Review” (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993). Because this action has been exempted from review under Executive Order 12866, this action is not subject to Executive Order 13211, entitled “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use” (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001) or Executive Order 13045, entitled “Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks” (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997). This action does not contain any information collections subject to OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), nor does it require any special considerations under Executive Order 12898, entitled “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations” (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994).

    Since tolerances and exemptions that are established on the basis of a petition under FFDCA section 408(d), such as the tolerance in this final rule, do not require the issuance of a proposed rule, the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), do not apply.

    This action directly regulates growers, food processors, food handlers, and food retailers, not States or tribes, nor does this action alter the relationships or distribution of power and responsibilities established by Congress in the preemption provisions of FFDCA section 408(n)(4). As such, the Agency has determined that this action will not have a substantial direct effect on States or tribal governments, on the relationship between the national government and the States or tribal governments, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government or between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. Thus, the Agency has determined that Executive Order 13132, entitled “Federalism” (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999) and Executive Order 13175, entitled “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments” (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000) do not apply to this action. In addition, this action does not impose any enforceable duty or contain any unfunded mandate as described under Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.).

    This action does not involve any technical standards that would require Agency consideration of voluntary consensus standards pursuant to section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 U.S.C. 272 note).

    VII. Congressional Review Act

    Pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), EPA will submit a report containing this rule and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 180

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Agricultural commodities, Pesticides and pests, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: November 15, 2017. Steven Weiss, Acting Director, Antimicrobials Division, Office of Pesticide Programs.

    Therefore, 40 CFR chapter I is amended as follows:

    PART 180—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for part 180 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    21 U.S.C. 321(q), 346a and 371.

    2. In § 180.940, add alphabetically the pesticide chemical “1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin” to the table in paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 180.940 Tolerance exemptions for active and inert ingredients for use in antimicrobial formulations (Food-contact surface sanitizing solutions).

    (a) * * *

    Pesticide chemical CAS Reg. No. Limits *    *    *    *    * 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin 77-48-5 None. *    *    *    *    *
    3. Add § 180.1346 to subpart D to read as follows:
    § 180.1346 1,3-Dibromo-5,5-Dimethylhydantoin; exemption from the requirement of a tolerance.

    Residues of 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin, including its metabolites and degradates, resulting from the use of 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin in antimicrobial treatment solutions of raw agricultural commodities in treatment facilities are exempt from the requirement of a tolerance.

    [FR Doc. 2017-25842 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD 49 Parts 1104, 1109, 1111, 1114, and 1130 [Docket No. EP 733] Expediting Rate Cases AGENCY:

    Surface Transportation Board.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    Pursuant to section 11 of the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015 (STB Reauthorization Act), the Surface Transportation Board (Board) is modifying rules pertaining to its rate case procedures.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective on December 30, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Requests for information or questions regarding this final rule should reference Docket No. EP 733 and be in writing addressed to: Chief, Section of Administration, Office of Proceedings, Surface Transportation Board, 395 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20423-0001.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Valerie Quinn, (202) 245-0283. Assistance for the hearing impaired is available through the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at (800) 877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Section 11 of the STB Reauthorization Act, Public Law 114-110, 129 Stat. 2228 (2015), directs the Board to “initiate a proceeding to assess procedures that are available to parties in litigation before courts to expedite such litigation and the potential application of any such procedures to rate cases.” In addition, section 11 requires the Board to comply with a new timeline in Stand-Alone Cost (SAC) cases.

    In advance of initiating this proceeding, Board staff held informal meetings with stakeholders 1 to explore and discuss: (1) How procedures to expedite court litigation could be applied to rate cases and (2) additional ways to move SAC cases forward more expeditiously. The Board issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on June 15, 2016, seeking formal comment on specific ideas raised in the informal meetings as well as comments on any other relevant matters. Expediting Rate Cases (ANPRM), EP 733 (STB served June 15, 2016). See 81 FR 40250 (June 21, 2016). The Board received eight opening comments and six reply comments on the ANPRM.

    1 Board staff met with individuals either associated with and/or speaking on behalf of the following organizations: American Chemistry Council; Archer Daniels Midland Company; CSX Transportation, Inc.; Economists Incorporated; Dr. Gerald Faulhaber; FTI Consulting, Inc.; GKG Law, P.C.; Growth Energy; Highroad Consulting; L.E. Peabody; LaRoe, Winn, Moerman & Donovan; consultant Michael A. Nelson; Norfolk Southern Railway Company (NSR); Olin Corporation; POET Ethanol Products; Sidley Austin LLP; Slover & Loftus LLP; Steptoe & Johnson LLP; The Chlorine Institute; The Fertilizer Institute; The National Industrial Transportation League; and Thompson Hine LLP. The Board notes that some participants expressed individual views, not on behalf of the organization(s) with which they are associated.

    On March 31, 2017, the Board issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, addressing the comments on the ANPRM and proposing specific amendments to its regulations. Expediting Rate Cases (NPRM), EP 733 (STB served Mar. 31, 2017). See 82 FR 16550 (April 5, 2017). The Board received four opening comments and six reply comments on the NPRM. 2

    2 Comments were received from the following organizations: The American Chemistry Council, the Fertilizer Institute, and the National Industrial Transportation League (ACC, TFI, and NITL); the Association of American Railroads (AAR); the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA); Samuel J. Nasca on behalf of SMART/Transportation Division, New York State Legislative Board; Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP); and the Western Coal Traffic League, American Public Power Association, Edison Electric Institute, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and Freight Rail Customer Alliance (collectively, Coal Shippers/NARUC).

    Below, the Board addresses the comments and suggestions submitted by parties in response to the NPRM and discusses clarifications and modifications being adopted in the final rule to help improve the rate review process.3 The text of the final rule is below.

    3 The final rule adopted in this rulemaking pertains mostly to SAC cases—the Board's methodology for large rate cases. However, some aspects of the final rule would also benefit cases filed under the Board's other methodologies, Simplified-SAC and Three-Benchmark (collectively, simplified standards). See Simplified Standards for Rail Rate Cases, EP 646 (Sub-No. 1) (STB served Sept. 5, 2007). In those instances, the rule will specify to which types of cases it applies.

    Pre-Complaint Period. In the NPRM, the Board proposed to create a pre-complaint period, which would begin when a SAC complainant files a pre-filing notice with the Board. Under the proposed rule, a complainant would file the pre-filing notice at least 70 days prior to filing its complaint. The proposed pre-filing notice would contain the rate and origin/destination pair(s) to be challenged, the commodities at issue, and a motion for protective order pursuant to the proposed, new 49 CFR 1104.14(c).4 The Board also proposed to revise its regulations to move mandatory mediation in SAC cases to the pre-complaint period.

    4 In the NPRM, the Board proposed standard identifying markers for the submission of confidential, highly confidential, and sensitive security information in rate cases at § 1104.14(c). This proposal is discussed in more detail, below.

    Several stakeholders generally support the Board's proposed pre-complaint period, although some suggested modification to the proposed rule. ACC, TFI, and NITL state that the pre-filing notice would allow parties to begin many functions that would typically occur after a complaint is filed and note that engaging in mediation before the filing of a complaint could potentially avoid the filing of a complaint at all. (ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Comments 3.) They also suggest that the Board allow for skipping or shortening the pre-complaint period when the statute of limitations would otherwise bar any portion of a complaint that is filed after the notice period expires. (Id. at 4.) AAR also supports conducting mediation during the pre-complaint period, noting that a pre-filing notice would potentially foster private-sector resolution of the dispute by allowing Board-administered mediation to begin earlier. (AAR NPRM Comments 5-6.) AAR, however, urges the Board to clarify that protective orders filed with the pre-filing notice may continue to include provisions recognizing a party's right to review its own confidential or highly confidential material referenced in the other party's filings. (AAR NPRM Comments 7; see also Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Reply 4 (noting that they do not object to this request).) NGFA does not oppose the Board's proposal to provide for a pre-complaint period and pre-filing notice so parties can engage in mediation before filing a SAC complaint but recommends that the mediation period span no more than 45 days, subject to extensions by agreement of the parties. (NGFA NPRM Comments 4.)

    Coal Shippers/NARUC urge the Board not to adopt the proposed pre-complaint period rules. (Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Comments 14.) According to Coal Shippers/NARUC, the pre-filing notice requirement would lengthen the rate case schedule. (Id. at 16.) They also argue that the pre-filing notice would not expedite discovery. (Id. at 23 (citing NSR ANPRM Comments 35 (“The railroad can only begin to gather the necessary documents and data once a shipper has . . . served its discovery requests, informing the railroad of the time frame for discovery materials and segments of the railroad for which discovery is sought”); AAR ANPRM Comments 6 (pre-filing notice “would not actually expedite the rate case itself once it is filed”)); see also ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Reply 5.) According to Coal Shippers/NARUC, railroads would continue to “withhold” production of the most important information unless the Board establishes expedited post-complaint deadlines for discovery production. (Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Comments 24 (citing NSR ANPRM Comments 6).)

    Coal Shippers/NARUC urge that, if the Board establishes a pre-filing notice requirement, it should also require railroads to provide common carrier rates and service terms to shippers upon request no later than 90 days prior to the anticipated start of the common carrier service. (Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Comments 29; see also ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Reply 5-6; NGFA NPRM Reply 3.) Coal Shippers/NARUC further argue that the pre-filing notice should be optional, (Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Reply 11), and should be filed at least 40 days prior to the proposed filing date of a complaint, (Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Comments 30; Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Reply 12; see also ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Reply 6; NGFA NPRM Reply 3).

    Coal Shippers/NARUC also do not support moving mandatory mediation to the pre-complaint period. According to Coal Shippers/NARUC, by the time a case reaches the Board, it is unlikely that a mediated resolution can be obtained. (Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Comments 20.) Coal Shippers/NARUC further argue that mediation is more beneficial following a complaint because the complaint provides valuable information to both the defendant carrier and mediator. (Id. at 21.) Coal Shippers/NARUC argue that the Board could best deal with the burdens imposed by the Board's current mandatory mediation rules by changing those rules to make mediation voluntary, not mandatory, in SAC cases. (Id. at 22.) Coal Shippers/NARUC argue that, if the Board proceeds with the proposed pre-complaint period, the mediation period should be 40 days (beginning when the pre-filing notice is submitted), subject to extensions if requested by all parties. (Id. at 32-33; Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Reply 12; see also ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Reply 6; NGFA NPRM Reply 3.) Coal Shippers/NARUC also argue that the Board should reduce the time allotted (i) to assign mediators after the pre-filing notice is submitted from within 10 business days to within three business days, and (ii) for mediators to contact the parties from within five business days of assignment to within three business days. (Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Comments 32.)

    NGFA suggests the Board shorten the mediation period, specifically to no more than 45 days, subject to extension by mutual agreement of the parties. (NGFA NPRM Comments 4; NGFA NPRM Reply 3; see also ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Reply 4.) According to NGFA, by the time any non-agricultural shipper files a SAC complaint, it already would have engaged in thorough discussions with the defendant railroad and formal action likely would be required to resolve their differences. (NGFA NPRM Comments 4; see also ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Reply 4.)

    UP opposes Coal Shippers/NARUC's suggestion that the Board require a carrier to provide common carrier rates and service terms 90 days prior to the anticipated start of that service, arguing such a requirement would constitute a modification to the Board's rules governing the establishment of common carrier rates, which are neither the subject of this proceeding nor a logical outgrowth of the proposed rule. (UP NPRM Reply 6.) UP further argues that, even if such a rule were permissible, a carrier would retain its statutory right to increase the rate with 20-days' notice or reduce the rate with no notice. (Id. at 7 (citing 49 U.S.C. 11101(c) & Burlington N. R.R. v. STB, 75 F.3d 685, 694 (D.C. Cir. 1996)).)

    The Board continues to believe that establishing a pre-complaint period, during which parties would engage in mediation, would help rate cases proceed more efficiently. The pre-filing notice would put parties on notice as to what they likely will need to produce in discovery and enable parties to begin many activities that typically would occur only after a complaint is filed. In this respect, the pre-complaint period could shorten the rate case schedule by lessening the need for parties to request extensions of time once discovery begins. Establishing a pre-complaint period will also allow parties to engage in mediation before a complaint is filed, enabling parties to focus on mediation without the distractions of fully active litigation.5 In addition, the Board continues to believe that the early submission of a motion for protective order will expedite discovery production and disclosures by allowing a protective order to be in place at the outset of a case.

    5 The Board intends for mediation to conclude before the filing of a complaint; however, consistent with current procedures, the rules would allow for an extension of time via Board order.

    Additionally, completing Board-sponsored mediation during the pre-complaint period could potentially prevent the filing of a complaint altogether. The Board prefers the resolution of disputes through mediation in lieu of formal Board proceedings whenever possible. See 49 CFR 1109.1. AAR noted, and the Board agrees, that pre-complaint mediation could foster such resolutions before a formal complaint is filed. Mediation is widely used by courts as a measure for expediting proceedings.6 The Board disagrees with NGFA and Coal Shippers/NARUC that, by the time a complaint is filed, formal action would be required to resolve the parties' differences. In fact, parties in several rate cases have successfully mediated resolutions to rate disputes, even following the filing of a formal complaint. See NRG Power Marketing LLC v. CSX Transp., Inc., NOR 42122, slip op. at 1 (STB served July 8, 2010); Williams Olefins, L.L.C. v. Grand Trunk Corp., NOR 42098 (STB served Feb. 15, 2007). See also E.I. Du Pont De Nemours & Co. v. CSX Transp., Inc., NOR 42112 (STB served May 11, 2009) (complaint challenging the reasonableness of rates dismissed following voluntary settlement). Resolving disputes in mediation would save parties considerable time and expense, and could better preserve their ongoing commercial relationship.

    6 Under the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 1998 Section 3, 28 U.S.C. 651(b), “[e]ach United States district court shall authorize, by local rule . . ., the use of alternative dispute resolution processes in all civil actions.”

    The Board also continues to believe that 70 days is the most appropriate length for the pre-complaint period because it would allow sufficient time for mediation to be completed before the filing of a formal complaint, thus freeing parties to focus on mediating a resolution before litigation begins. The Board is not persuaded by the arguments set forth by Coal Shippers/NARUC and NGFA in support of shorter pre-complaint and mediation periods. Coal Shippers/NARUC provide no support for their claim that 40 days is “more than enough time” for parties to reach a mediated solution.

    For these reasons, the Board will adopt the proposal in the NPRM with two modifications. First, the Board will modify the rule proposed in the NPRM to adopt Coal Shippers/NARUC's suggestion that the assignment of the mediator(s) should occur in fewer than 10 business days after the shipper submits its pre-filing notice. The Board finds that five business days would be a reasonable amount of time for the Board to assign the mediator(s).7 The Board will also modify the introductory text of the proposed new section to clarify that the pre-filing notice is required only in SAC cases.

    7 The Board, however, will maintain the current five business day deadline for mediator(s) to contact the parties to discuss ground rules and the time and location of any meeting. The Board believes that fewer than five days would not provide sufficient time for the mediator to establish ground rules for the mediation and contact the parties.

    Second, in response to AAR's concern regarding a party's ability to view its own confidential information when such information is referenced in another party's filing, the Board clarifies that the rules adopted here would not affect the parties' ability to negotiate protective orders addressing that situation, as is routinely done now.

    The Board declines to adopt Coal Shippers/NARUC's suggestion that the Board require railroads to provide common carrier rates to shippers upon request no later than 90 days prior to the start of that service. The Board agrees with UP that the dates associated with the establishment of common carrier rates are beyond the scope of this proceeding.

    The Board also declines to adopt ACC, TFI, and NITL's suggestions that the Board allow the pre-complaint period to be skipped or shortened when the statute of limitations would otherwise bar any portion of a complaint. Adopting such an approach would effectively permit parties to ignore the pre-complaint period established in this final rule. Parties should take the applicable statute of limitations into account when preparing to file a rate case.

    Discovery. The Board also sought comment on several ways the Board could change its discovery procedures to help improve the processing of rate cases.

    a. Service of initial discovery requests and deadlines for production. In the NPRM, the Board proposed requiring parties in SAC proceedings to certify that they have served their initial discovery requests simultaneously with their complaint and answer. Several stakeholders generally support the Board's proposal. (See ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Comments 4; Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Comments 33-34; UP NPRM Reply 2.) Both Coal Shippers/NARUC and ACC, TFI, and NITL argue that the proposal would ensure discovery begins promptly. (See ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Comments 4; Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Comments 34.) However, ACC, TFI, and NITL suggest that the Board limit subsequent discovery requests because a party could “game[]” this requirement by submitting a skeletal initial discovery request with the intention of serving principal discovery requests at a later date. (ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Comment 4.) Coal Shippers/NARUC also argue that shippers should be permitted to include in their pre-filing notices discovery requests for “Core SAC Data,” which Coal Shippers/NARUC describe as key categories of information shippers need to present a SAC case. (Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Comments 30 & Attachment 1.) According to Coal Shippers/NARUC, this requirement would allow carriers to begin collecting requested documents, expedite discovery, and eliminate the delay caused by “carrier foot-dragging.” (Id. at 30-32; Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Reply 13-14.)

    Additionally, both Coal Shippers/NARUC and ACC, TFI, and NITL suggest that the Board establish firm deadlines for defendant carriers to produce certain data. (ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Comments 4; Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Reply 15.) ACC, TFI, and NITL argue that defendant carriers should be required to produce traffic data within 90 days of the initial discovery request. (ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Comments 4-5.) Coal Shippers/NARUC argue that the defendant carrier(s) should be required to produce “Core SAC Data” no later than 70 days after receipt of the shipper's initial discovery requests.8 (Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Comments 32.) NGFA supports Coal Shippers/NARUC's proposal, arguing that establishing a date for production of such data after the commencement of a formal complaint proceeding seems logical and efficient. (NGFA NPRM Reply 3.)

    8 Under Coal Shippers/NARUC's proposal, the initial discovery requests would be filed (with the pre-filing notice) 40 days before the filing of the complaint, meaning the 70-day production deadline would fall 30 days after the filing of the formal complaint.

    Both AAR and UP dispute the claims that railroads delay discovery. (AAR NPRM Reply 5-6; UP NPRM Reply 2.) They also both claim that production of discovery material in SAC cases, especially production of traffic data, is a resource- and time-intensive task, requiring the development of information not maintained in the ordinary course of business. (AAR NPRM Reply 7-8; UP NPRM Reply 2-3, V.S. Sanford 1 & 3.) According to UP, carriers should not be expected to begin compiling discovery material during the mediation period for several reasons. First, according to UP, doing so would effectively transform the pre-filing notice into a complaint by immediately triggering discovery, yet ignoring the burdens involved in addressing disputes over the scope of discovery. Second, the proposal would cause a waste of resources if mediation succeeds. Third, parties may be able to resolve part of their dispute in mediation and narrow the scope of discovery. (UP NPRM Reply 5-6.)

    Additionally, UP argues that the Board need not establish a firm discovery deadline because one already exists. (UP NPRM Reply 3 (“The rules establish a 150-day discovery period, followed by a 60-day period for preparing evidence.”).) According to UP, if the Board were to subdivide and micromanage the discovery period, the Board would generate more litigation by creating new types of disputes for the Board to resolve, imposing additional costs and delay. (Id.) UP also argues that shippers' timelines are unrealistic and assume that a railroad should produce traffic data without questioning the scope of a shipper's discovery requests. (UP NPRM Reply 3-4.) Additionally, UP notes that a defendant cannot begin producing traffic data until the geographical and temporal limits of a case are settled. (UP NPRM Reply 2, V.S. Sanford 1 & 3.) AAR likewise argues that an “arbitrary” deadline for the production of “Core SAC Data” is unwarranted and impracticable given shipper groups' failure to provide any evidence in support of their “foot-dragging” claims and given the significant effort required of carriers to produce certain categories of “Core SAC Data.” (AAR NPRM Reply 5-8.)

    The final rule will adopt the proposal as set forth in the NPRM. The Board continues to believe that beginning discovery earlier in the rate review process (i.e., serving discovery requests with the complaint and answer) will help expedite discovery. These changes will eliminate the current potential gap between the filing of a complaint and the beginning of discovery, thus expediting both discovery and the rate case in general.

    The Board declines to adopt Coal Shippers/NARUC's recommendation that complainants be permitted to include discovery requests for “Core SAC Data” with their pre-filing notices. Because the scope of discovery could potentially evolve as parties proceed through mediation, the Board believes the appropriate time for parties to submit discovery requests is with the respective filings of the complaint and answer. Parties may resolve certain aspects of the dispute, such as the geographical and temporal limits for the case, and those agreements could significantly affect what data a party is required to produce and could render prior efforts to gather data superfluous.

    Additionally, because the Board's rules already provide a default procedural schedule for SAC cases that includes a 150-day deadline for the completion of discovery, the Board need not establish other interim discovery deadlines in this rulemaking. See 49 CFR 1111.8(a). The parties are free to—within the context of the Board's default procedural schedule or an agreed-upon procedural schedule—negotiate interim discovery deadlines on a case-by-case basis.

    Lastly, the Board declines to adopt the suggestion made by ACC, TFI, and NITL that the Board include a limit on subsequent discovery requests in the revised regulations. In accordance with 49 CFR 1103.27, the Board expects practitioners to exercise candor and fairness in dealing with other litigants. Attempts to “game” discovery requirements would contravene the canons of ethics governing practitioners before the Board. If a party believes subsequent discovery is overly broad or unduly burdensome, it may move to quash those requests. Additionally, the Board can, on its own initiative or at the request of a party, convene a staff conference to aid in resolving a discovery dispute.

    b. Meet-and-confer requirement. The Board also proposed in the NPRM to amend its regulations to require a party filing a motion to compel in a SAC or simplified standards case to certify that it has in good faith conferred or attempted to confer with the party serving discovery to settle the dispute without Board intervention. This requirement is similar to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37.

    Railroad and shipper interests generally support the Board's proposed meet-and-confer requirement. (AAR NPRM Comments 6-7; ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Comments 5; Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Comments 35; NGFA NPRM Comments 5; UP NPRM Reply 2.) Coal Shippers/NARUC ask the Board to clarify whether the proposed meet-and-confer obligation applies to requests for document production.9 (Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Comments 36; Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Reply 16; see also NGFA NPRM Reply 4.)

    9 Parties also raised the following arguments pertaining to regulations that apply to other Board proceedings besides rate cases.

    • Coal Shippers/NARUC ask the Board to clarify whether the requirement in § 1114.31(a) that motions to compel be filed with the Board within 10 days after the failure to obtain a responsive answer applies to requests for document production. (Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Comments 36-37; Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Reply 3-4, 16; see also NGFA NPRM Reply 4.)

    • AAR suggests the proposed meet-and-confer requirement should apply in all Board proceedings, not just rate cases. (AAR NPRM Comments 7 n.24; see also Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Reply 4, 17.)

    • ACC, TFI, and NITL ask the Board to clarify whether parties may continue to mutually agree to toll the 10-day period for filing motions to compel while they engage in negotiations and suggest that 30 days is a more realistic time line for filing motions to compel in SAC cases. (ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Comments 5; see also Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Reply 17.)

    In general, as noted in the ANPRM, the Board does not believe it is appropriate to make changes to regulations that would impact other proceedings in this rulemaking proceeding, which is specifically limited to procedures in rate cases.

    With respect to the concern from ACC, TFI, and NITL regarding agreements tolling the 10-day period, the Board believes that 10 days is generally sufficient time to confer or attempt to confer with a party before filing a motion to compel under § 1114.31(a), and extending that period any further would unnecessarily delay discovery. If parties have conferred and are unable to reach a negotiated solution within 10 days, they may file a request for extension of time with the Board. Given the recent changes to the statutory deadlines for deciding rate cases, the Board finds it more appropriate to consider such requests in the context of the individual case than to incorporate a longer meet-and-confer deadline into the Board's regulations.

    The Board agrees with the majority of commenters that adding a meet-and-confer requirement modeled on Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37 would encourage parties to resolve disputes without involving the Board, thus reducing the number of disputes that reach the Board, requiring fewer Board decisions, and avoiding potential delays in processing rate cases. As requested by Coal Shippers/NARUC, the Board will clarify in the final rule adopted here that the requirement that a party filing a motion to compel in a SAC or simplified standards case certify that it has in good faith conferred or attempted to confer with the party serving discovery to settle the dispute without Board intervention will apply to all motions to compel.

    Evidentiary Submissions. The Board proposed several changes to its regulations governing the submission of evidence that were intended to improve and expedite the presentation of evidence in rate cases.

    a. Staggered filings and confidential designations. In the NPRM, the Board proposed changing its regulations to stagger the submission of confidential and public filings. Under the proposed rule, parties would submit highly confidential versions of the filings according to the procedural schedule, followed by public versions of those filings within three business days after the filing of the highly confidential versions. Additionally, the Board proposed standard identifying markers for the submission of confidential, highly confidential, and sensitive security information in both SAC and simplified standards rate cases.10 Specifically, the Board proposed that all confidential information be contained in single braces, i.e., {X}, all highly confidential information be contained in double braces, i.e., {{Y}}, and all sensitive security information be contained in triple braces, i.e., {{{Z}}}.

    10 Protective orders in SAC cases generally distinguish between “confidential,” “highly confidential,” and “sensitive security information.”

    AAR and NGFA support the proposal to establish a standard convention for identifying confidential, highly confidential, and sensitive security information. (See AAR NPRM Comments 7; NGFA NPRM Comments 5.) AAR, Coal Shippers/NARUC, and NGFA also support the Board's proposal to stagger the submission of public and highly confidential versions of filings.11 (See AAR NPRM Comments 7; Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Comments 38; NGFA NPRM Comments 5.)

    11 Coal Shippers/NARUC qualify their support, noting that they do not object to the Board's proposal, provided that the Board limits the universe of “confidential information” so that it does not include highly confidential information that is reclassified as confidential to permit a party to see its own highly confidential information (e.g., where a shipper files a pleading with the Board that contains information that the railroad has designated as highly confidential, and the shipper's counsel agrees to reclassify the information as confidential vis-à-vis the railroad so that the railroad's counsel can disclose the information (which came from the railroad in the first instance) to the railroad's in-house personnel). (Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Comments 25-26, 38; Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Reply 4, 18.) As the Board noted in the section related to the pre-complaint period, discussed above, the rules adopted here would not affect parties' ability to negotiate protective orders covering such circumstances, as is currently done.

    ACC, TFI, and NITL do not object to this proposal but question whether it is feasible in practice. (ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Comments 6.) Specifically, ACC, TFI, and NITL state that, if confidentiality designations are not made until after the highly confidential version has been filed, confidential versions would no longer identify confidential text; as such, parties will have to cross-reference the confidential versions with the redacted public versions to identify confidential text, a process they claim is cumbersome and creates risk of inadvertent disclosures of confidential information. (ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Comments 6; ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Reply 8.) Coal Shippers/NARUC, however, believe the Board's proposal would be feasible in practice and note that ACC, TFI, and NITL's feasibility concern appears to be premised on a scenario where the Board's proposal is interpreted as not requiring parties to make all bracket designations (i.e., highly confidential, confidential, and sensitive security information) when they make their initial filings with the Board containing this information. Coal Shippers/NARUC ask the Board to clarify its intent given ACC, TFI, and NITL's concern. (Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Reply 19-20.)

    The Board finds that the standard designations for confidential information will help eliminate any confusion caused by parties using different methods of identification and, accordingly, this proposal will be adopted in the final rules. The Board also continues to believe that the proposal to stagger the filing of confidential and public filings will be beneficial and, therefore, will adopt this proposal as well. However, the Board will provide clarification in response to ACC, TFI, and NITL's concern regarding the feasibility of staggering the filings. Under the NPRM, a party would submit, by the deadline set forth in the procedural schedule, the non-public (e.g., confidential, highly confidential) version(s) of its filing with the appropriate confidentiality designations around any confidential, highly confidential, and sensitive security information.12 In this fashion, a party's non-public version(s) will clearly designate what information is confidential, highly confidential, and sensitive security information. The non-public version(s) would not be posted to the Board's Web site. The party would then have an additional three days to redact the confidential, highly confidential, and sensitive security information from the document(s) it filed with the Board and submit a public version of the filing to the Board. Thus, all confidentiality designations would be included in the initial version(s) of the filing submitted to the Board by the procedural deadline, indicating which information is non-public and the degree of confidentiality assigned. Accordingly, parties would not need to cross-reference the non-public version(s) with the redacted public version(s) to identify confidential text, as ACC, TFI, and NITL suggest. Rather, the purpose of this requirement is to provide parties a reasonable amount of time to ensure confidentiality redactions are properly made after submitting the non-public version(s) of each filing without delaying the case. To codify this clarification in the final rule, the Board will replace the phrase “highly confidential versions of filings” with “non-public (e.g., confidential, highly confidential) versions of filings.”

    12 In the Board's experience, parties to rate cases typically do not submit confidential versions of their filings in addition to the highly confidential and public versions. To the extent that only highly confidential and public versions are filed, parties should continue to identify all confidential, highly confidential, and sensitive security information in the “highly confidential” filing, properly identifying each type of information according to the convention described in this final rule.

    b. Limits on final briefs. In the NPRM, the Board proposed limiting the length of final briefs in SAC and Simplified-SAC cases to 30 pages, inclusive of exhibits.13 Coal Shippers/NARUC and NGFA generally support limits on the length of final briefs. (See ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Comments 7; Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Comments 38; NGFA NPRM Comments 5; Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Reply 21.) AAR also supports limiting final briefs but suggests that the Board set a limit of 30 pages or 13,000 words, consistent with the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, to avoid gamesmanship regarding type fonts and margins. (AAR NPRM Comments 8.) Neither ACC, TFI, and NITL nor Coal Shippers/NARUC object to such a word limit, although Coal Shippers/NARUC note that the Board's rules already contain standards governing document formatting and font sizes. (ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Reply 8; Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Reply 4-5, 21-22.)

    13 Final briefs are not permitted under the procedural schedule in Three-Benchmark cases. See 49 CFR 1111.9(a)(2).

    ACC, TFI, and NITL also suggest that the Board stagger the submission of final briefs so a complainant would file its final brief two weeks after the defendant files its final brief. (ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Comments 7.) According to ACC, TFI, and NITL, staggering briefs would ensure that complainants, who have the burden of proof, can respond to the defendant's final brief rather than simply reiterate their rebuttal. (Id.; see also Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Reply 4-5, 21; NGFA NPRM Reply 4.) UP urges the Board to reject ACC, TFI, and NITL's proposal because final briefs are not evidence. (UP NPRM Reply 8 (citing NPRM, EP 733, slip op. at 9).) Similarly, AAR argues that a complainant that has not included improper new arguments or new evidence in its rebuttal evidence should have little need to “react” to a defendant's brief. (AAR NPRM Reply 8-10.) AAR also argues that staggering final briefs would make it harder for the Board to process cases expeditiously since the Board's deadline for deciding a case now runs from the filing of rebuttal evidence—not the filing of final briefs. (AAR NPRM Reply 8-10.)

    AAR also asks the Board to reiterate its commitment to policing improper rebuttal evidence, strictly enforcing those rules, and either relieving defendants from the brief limit when responding to improper rebuttal evidence or giving defendants an opportunity to file a separate document (not subject to the brief length limit) that responds to improper rebuttal evidence. (AAR NPRM Comments 8.) ACC, TFI, and NITL object to AAR's proposal, arguing that it would give railroads the right to decide unilaterally when there has been an improper rebuttal and relieve themselves of brief limits. ACC, TFI, and NITL further state that the Board already has procedures for dealing with improper rebuttal evidence through motions to strike. (ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Reply 8.) Coal Shippers/NARUC also object to AAR's proposal, arguing that it would create a loophole that would defeat the purpose of the proposed rule and deprive shippers of procedural due process because shippers would not have an opportunity to respond to the carrier's claims of improper rebuttal. (Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Reply 5, 22.)

    Lastly, NGFA recommends that the Board tailor final briefs to “specific issues of concern to the Board” by determining whether final briefs are needed on a case-by-case basis and imposing even shorter page limits where the issues do not justify 30 pages. (NGFA NPRM Comments 5-6.) Both Coal Shippers/NARUC and ACC, TFI, and NITL state that they do not object to the Board determining on a case-by-case bases the need for, and length of, final briefs. (ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Reply 9; Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Reply 4-5, 21.)

    The Board will adopt the proposed 30-page limit, inclusive of exhibits, on the length of final briefs in SAC and Simplified-SAC cases. The Board believes the page limit will encourage parties to focus their briefs on the most important issues. As the Board noted in the NPRM, it has on occasion, in individual cases, imposed page limits on final briefs. See, e.g., Consumers Energy Co. v. CSX Transp., Inc., NOR 42142, slip op. at 1 (STB served June 3, 2016); Total Petrochems. & Ref. USA, Inc. v. CSX Transp., Inc., NOR 42121, slip op. at 4 (STB served Sept. 26, 2013). Based on the Board's prior experience in those cases, it believes 30 pages provides space sufficient for the parties to articulate their final concerns, but limited enough to prevent improper surrebuttal. The Board is not persuaded that a 13,000-word limit on final briefs, as proposed by AAR, is necessary to prevent gamesmanship regarding type fonts and margins. The Board's regulations already provide guidelines concerning document formatting and font sizes. See 49 CFR 1104.2 (“white paper not larger than 81/2 by 11 inches,” “double-spaced (except for footnotes and long quotations which may be single-spaced),” “using type not smaller than 12 point”).

    The Board also declines to adopt ACC, TFI, and NITL's suggestion that the Board stagger the submission of final briefs. First, staggering final briefs would shorten the time between when final briefs are filed and when the Board must render a decision. Second, because parties are not permitted to raise new evidence or arguments in final briefs, a complainant need not respond to a defendant's final brief. Rather, final briefs are intended as a concise summary of the parties' positions to help focus the Board's analysis of the evidence and arguments and facilitate a more efficient resolution of outstanding issues. Nor will the Board adopt AAR's proposal to relieve defendants from the page limit to respond to improper rebuttal evidence or give defendants an opportunity to file a separate document when responding to improper rebuttal evidence. The Board agrees with ACC, TFI, and NITL that the Board's existing procedures for dealing with improper rebuttal evidence are sufficient.14

    14 In the event of improper rebuttal evidence, a party may file a motion to strike or a request to file supplemental information to respond to the improper rebuttal evidence.

    As the Board noted in the NPRM, while the Board believes designating topics for final briefs could be beneficial, doing so would require an additional Board decision following the close of evidence. The Board remains concerned that this additional step would curtail the already shortened period available to the Board for issuing a decision on the merits in SAC cases. The case-by-case approach regarding the necessity of and length for briefs proposed by NGFA would similarly require an additional decision by the Board. As is already the case, if, following receipt of final briefs, the Board believes it requires additional information to reach its decision, the Board may request supplemental information from the parties.

    Interaction with Board Staff. In the NPRM, the Board proposed increasing staff involvement at all stages of a rate case, both through technical conferences/written questions and a Board-appointed liaison to the parties. This change was intended to reduce the number of disputes between the parties that can delay the resolution of cases. The Board proposed appointing a liaison to the parties within 10 business days of the submission of the pre-filing notice in SAC cases, and within 10 business days of the filing of the complaint in Simplified-SAC and Three-Benchmark cases. The liaison would not be recused from handling substantive elements of the case. In addition, the Board proposed greater use of written questions from staff and technical conferences with the parties at every stage of the case. When a technical conference is requested by a party or parties or convened by the Board, the Board would provide advance notice of the topics to be discussed to promote an efficient and productive conference.

    ACC, TFI, and NITL support the Board's proposal, stating that a liaison will improve communications between the parties and with the Board, potentially resolve disagreements, provide guidance on process, and keep the case moving forward through status conferences. (ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Comments 3-4.) NGFA also supports this proposal, noting that the proposed staff involvement contemplated by the NPRM, including the establishment of ground rules, issue-specific Board expectations, and a point of contact for questions about the process, could prove to be extremely useful to grain and other agricultural shippers in the event such a case is filed. (NGFA NPRM Comments 6.)

    Coal Shippers/NARUC also generally support the Board's proposal for increased staff involvement in rate cases, but suggest two modifications. (See Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Comments 39.) First, Coal Shippers/NARUC argue that the Board should appoint the liaison after the shipper files its complaint. (Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Reply 23.) According to Coal Shippers/NARUC, there is no need for the Board to appoint a staff liaison during the mediation period, and the appointment itself could cause confusion because the Board's rules call for the mediator to supervise the parties' mediation, not the liaison. (Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Comments 26.) NGFA, however, disagrees, arguing that appointment of a liaison should be made during the pre-filing phase to assist those parties that may be new to or unfamiliar with the rate-complaint process. (NGFA NPRM Reply 4-5.)

    Second, Coal Shippers/NARUC request the Board clarify that the parties and the liaison must abide by the Board's rules governing ex parte communications. (Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Comments 27.) Specifically, Coal Shippers/NARUC argue: (1) The liaison should be free to engage in joint communications with counsel for the parties as is done in technical conferences; (2) while it may not be necessary for the liaison to convene joint meetings at all times, all communications between the liaison and any of the parties to a case (e.g., letters, emails, and phone discussions) should be joint ones (e.g., conference calls where both parties participate, written communications copied to all parties, etc.); and (3) unless the parties otherwise agree, the parties should not be permitted to address the merits of the case (or case evidence) with the liaison and the liaison should not be permitted to address the merits of the case (or case evidence) with the parties. (Id. at 27-28; Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Reply 23.)

    UP argues that the ex parte restrictions proposed by Coal Shippers/NARUC are vague, would have a chilling effect on communications, and would undermine the usefulness of the staff liaison. (UP NPRM Reply 7.) Moreover, UP argues, the Board's ex parte regulations should address any concern shippers have. (Id.) Likewise, AAR argues that the Board's ex parte regulations do not require that “all communications” be joint ones because the ex parte regulations bar only communications “concerning the merits of the proceeding.” (AAR NPRM Reply 4.) AAR states that to effectively and efficiently manage rate cases, the staff liaison occasionally may need to communicate separately with parties on procedural issues, and such communications violate neither the ex parte rules nor the rules' purpose of safeguarding due process. (Id.)

    AAR supports increased use of written questions and technical conferences and the appointment a staff liaison to a rate case; however, AAR asks the Board to clarify that the staff liaison and the appointed mediator would be two separate individuals. (AAR NPRM Comments 6; AAR NPRM Reply 3-4.) AAR further suggests the Board modify its regulations to delegate to the liaison the authority to convene a technical conference and to rule on issues raised in such conferences. (AAR NPRM Comments 6.) According to AAR, this modification would enable the liaison to facilitate negotiation among the parties while still providing a clear path for Board oversight, as the liaison's rulings would be subject to the appellate standards for interlocutory appeals under 49 CFR 1115.9(b). (Id.) ACC, TFI, and NITL do not endorse AAR's suggestion, arguing that if the Board were to adopt such a change, it should provide details in a subsequent rulemaking for public comment and any such proposal should address the division of responsibility between the liaison and administrative law judges. (ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Reply 4.) Coal Shippers/NARUC likewise object to AAR's proposal, arguing that it would delay Board consideration of rate cases and turn informal technical conferences into formal adversarial proceedings. (Coal Shippers/NARUC NPRM Reply 5, 25.) Coal Shippers/NARUC also note that AAR's proposal is at odds with the role the Board envisioned the liaison would perform. (Id. at 25 (citing NRPM, EP 733, slip op. at 9 (the function of the liaison is “to answer questions about the process and to intervene informally (e.g., hold status conferences) if it would help discovery or other matters move more smoothly”).))

    The Board will adopt the proposal in the NPRM. The Board continues to believe that increased communication between the parties and the Board will increase the efficiency of processing rate cases. The Board also believes that the appropriate time to appoint the liaison is following the submission of the shipper's pre-filing notice. As the Board noted in the NPRM, the goal of the liaison is to increase staff involvement at all stages of a rate cases, which would begin with the newly created pre-complaint period. The Board does not agree with Coal Shippers/NARUC that the appointment of a liaison would cause confusion with the mediator. The liaison and mediator will be clearly identified and distinct individuals, and the liaison will not participate in the mediation.15

    15 Because the liaison would not participate in the mediation, the liaison would not be recused from handling substantive elements of the case.

    However, the Board will clarify that the liaison would be required to comply with the Board's ex parte regulations. See 49 CFR 1102.2; see also Ex Parte Commc'ns in Informal Rulemaking Proceedings, EP 739 (STB served Sept. 28, 2017) (proposing modifications to the Board's ex parte regulations in informal rulemaking proceedings). See 82 FR 45771 (Oct. 2, 2017). The Board is committed to ensuring that rate case proceedings, including the new liaison role, are conducted in a transparent and fair manner. Coal Shippers/NARUC have not provided any reason to believe that the Board's regulations would be ineffective; therefore, the Board finds no reason to expand its ex parte restrictions in rate case proceedings as suggested by Coal Shippers/NARUC.

    Additionally, AAR's suggestion that the Board delegate to the liaison the authority to rule on issues exceeds the intended scope of the liaison's role. As noted in the NPRM, the liaison is intended to “answer questions about the process and to intervene informally (e.g., hold status conferences) if it would help discovery or other matters move more smoothly.” NPRM, EP 733, slip op. at 9. The liaison's role would be to work with parties to help primarily with procedural issues that arise through the processing of a rate case.16

    16 The Board also notes that its regulations already include mechanisms to expedite resolution of some issues. See, e.g., 49 CFR 1011.6(c)(3) (delegating to the Director of the Board's Office of Proceedings, among other things, the authority to dispose of routine procedural matters in proceedings assigned for handling under modified procedure).

    Additional Comments. In addition to commenting on these specific proposals, some parties have also raised more general comments on how the Board could expedite rate cases. AAR notes certain internal reforms that could aid the Board in expediting rate case litigation without the need for changes to the Board's rules. (AAR NPRM Comments 10.) Specifically, AAR cites to five recommendations of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver: (1) Setting firm dates early in the pretrial process for the close of discovery, the filing of dispositive motions, and trial, and maintaining those dates except in rare and truly unusual circumstances; (2) ruling expeditiously on motions, even when the motions are denied; (3) limiting the number of extensions sought by the parties during any phase of the case; (4) working to foster a local legal culture that accepts efficient case processing as the norm, and enforcing that culture through active judicial case management; and (5) tracking the status of cases and motions through internal statistical reporting, and disseminating the results internally and externally as appropriate. (AAR NPRM Comments 8, 8 n.28. (citing Civil Case Processing in the Federal District Courts, Inst. for the Advancement of the Am. Legal Sys. 9-10 (2009), http://www.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/iaals_civil_case_processing_in_the_federal_district_courts_0.pdf).) ACC, TFI, and NITL similarly argue that the Board should enforce deadlines for completing discovery and grant extensions of time only in extraordinary circumstances and for the shortest possible time. (ACC, TFI, & NITL NPRM Reply 9.) The Board appreciates that the parties offered these additional recommendations. The Board is committed to processing rate cases as expeditiously as possible, and agrees that it is important to timely rule on motions and grant extensions of time judiciously.

    The Final Rule

    The final rule adopted by the Board here contains changes to the Board's regulations at 49 CFR parts 1104, 1109, 1111, 1114, and 1130, which are set out below. The final rule would amend the existing procedures for filing and litigating a rate case, as directed by section 11 of the STB Reauthorization Act. While the rules adopted here are largely in response to section 11 of the STB Reauthorization Act, the Board intends to continue to review its rate regulations so that it may propose additional improvements to its rate review process in a subsequent rulemaking proceeding.

    Pre-Complaint Period. The final rule includes changes creating and detailing a pre-complaint period in SAC cases, which is intended to provide parties an opportunity to mediate the dispute free from the distraction of litigation and take steps in preparation for litigation before the filing of the complaint.

    1. Pre-filing Notice. The Board creates a pre-complaint period in a new 49 CFR 1111.1 by requiring a SAC complainant to submit a pre-filing notice at least 70 days prior to filing its complaint.17 The pre-filing notice shall contain the rate and origin/destination pair(s) to be challenged, the commodities at issue, and a motion for protective order pursuant to newly created 49 CFR 1104.14(c).

    17 To accommodate the new § 1111.1, the existing §§ 1111.1-1111.10 will be redesignated as §§ 1111.2-1111.11.

    2. Mandatory Mediation. The Board revises 49 CFR 1109.4 to move mandatory mediation in SAC cases to the pre-complaint period. This change to the regulations would not impose new requirements but would require mediation to take place earlier to allow parties to focus on the mediation process without the distractions of fully active litigation. The Board intends for mediation to be complete prior to the filing of the complaint; however, consistent with current procedures, the rules will allow for an extension of time via Board order. Additionally, the Board revises its regulations to provide that it will assign one or more mediators to a case within 5 business days after the shipper submits its pre-filing notice (rather than the 10-business day period currently in place).

    3. Appointment of a Board Liaison to the Parties. The Board will require the appointment of a liaison to the parties within 10 business days of the complainant's submission of the pre-filing notice in SAC cases pursuant to new 49 CFR 1111.1(b) and in cases using simplified standards pursuant to newly redesignated 49 CFR 1111.10(a).

    Discovery. The final rule also includes changes to the Board's discovery regulations intended to streamline discovery in rate cases.

    1. Initial Discovery Requests. The Board will add 49 CFR 1111.2(f) and amend 49 CFR 1114.21(d) & (f) to require a complainant in a SAC proceeding to certify that it has served its initial discovery requests simultaneously with its complaint. The Board also will add 49 CFR 1111.5(f) and amend 49 CFR 1114.21(d) & (f) to require a defendant in a SAC proceeding to certify that it has served its initial discovery requests simultaneously with its answer. To address the filing of an amended or supplemental complaint, the Board will amend the newly redesignated 49 CFR 1111.3(b) to require the complainant to certify that it has served on the defendant any new or modified discovery requests affected by the amended or supplemental complaint, if any. The Board will adopt a corresponding requirement at 49 CFR 1111.5(f), in which a defendant responding to an amended or supplemental complaint must certify that it has served on the complainant any new or modified discovery requests affected by the amended or supplemental complaint, if any.

    2. Meet-and-Confer Requirement. The Board will amend 49 CFR 1114.31(a)(2) to require that all motions to compel in SAC cases and cases filed under simplified standards include a certification that the party filing the motion has in good faith conferred or attempted to confer with the party failing to answer discovery to settle the dispute over those terms without Board intervention.

    Evidentiary Submissions. The final rule includes changes to the Board's regulations governing the submission of evidence intended to improve and expedite the presentation of evidence in rate cases.

    1. Stagger the Submission of Public and Highly Confidential Versions of Filings. In both SAC and simplified standards cases, the Board will allow parties to submit non-public (e.g., confidential, highly confidential) versions of the filings according to the procedural schedule in a particular case, and submit public versions of those filings within three business days after the filing of the non-public versions.

    2. Standard Convention for Identifying Confidential, Highly Confidential, and Sensitive Security Information. The Board will revise 49 CFR 1104.14 to create standard identifying markers set forth in protective orders for the submission of confidential, highly confidential, and sensitive security information in rate cases. The standard identifying markers are as follows: All confidential information will be contained in single braces, i.e., {X}, all highly confidential information will be contained in double braces, i.e., {{Y}}, and all sensitive security information will be contained in triple braces, i.e., {{{Z}}}.

    3. Limits on Final Briefs. The Board will limit the length of final briefs to 30 pages, inclusive of exhibits, in SAC and Simplified-SAC cases.

    Technical Modifications. The Board adopts two technical modifications to the existing regulations. Specifically, the Board will amend the newly redesignated 49 CFR 1111.11(b) (requiring parties to meet at the beginning of the case to discuss procedural matters) to clarify that its requirements also apply to SAC cases. The Board also will amend 49 CFR 1130.1 to include the correct reference to the newly redesignated 49 CFR 1111.2(a).

    Regulatory Flexibility Act. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 601-612, generally requires a description and analysis of new rules that would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. In drafting a rule, an agency is required to: (1) Assess the effect that its regulation will have on small entities; (2) analyze effective alternatives that may minimize a regulation's impact; and (3) make the analysis available for public comment. Sections 601-604. In its final rule, the agency must either include an initial regulatory flexibility analysis, section 603(a), or certify that the proposed rule would not have a “significant impact on a substantial number of small entities,” section 605(b). The impact must be a direct impact on small entities “whose conduct is circumscribed or mandated” by the proposed rule. White Eagle Coop. v. Conner, 553 F.3d 467, 480 (7th Cir. 2009).

    In the NPRM, the Board certified under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that the proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the RFA.18 The Board explained that the proposed changes to its regulations would not mandate or circumscribe the conduct of small entities. Rather, the changes proposed would be largely procedural or would codify existing practice, and would not have a significant economic impact on small entities. Additionally, the Board noted that, since the inception of the Board in 1996, only three of the 51 filed cases challenging the reasonableness of freight rail rates involved a Class III rail carrier as a defendant. Those three cases involved a total of 13 Class III rail carriers. The Board estimated that there are approximately 656 Class III rail carriers. Therefore, the Board certified under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that these proposed rules, if promulgated, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the RFA.

    18 Effective June 30, 2016, for the purpose of RFA analysis for rail carriers subject to Board jurisdiction, the Board defines a “small business” as only those rail carriers classified as Class III rail carriers under 49 CFR 1201.1-1. See Small Entity Size Standards Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, EP 719 (STB served June 30, 2016) (with Board Member Begeman dissenting). See 81 FR 42566 (June 30, 2016). Class III carriers have annual operating revenues of $20 million or less in 1991 dollars, or $35,809,698 or less when adjusted for inflation using 2016 data. Class II rail carriers have annual operating revenues of less than $250 million in 1991 dollars or less than $447,621,226 when adjusted for inflation using 2016 data. The Board calculates the revenue deflator factor annually and publishes the railroad revenue thresholds on its Web site. 49 CFR 1201.1-1.

    The final rule adopted here revises the rules proposed in the NPRM; however, the same basis for the Board's certification of the proposed rule applies to the final rule. The final rule will not create a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities, as the regulations do not mandate or circumscribe the conduct of small entities. Thus, the Board again certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that the final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the RFA. A copy of this decision will be served upon the Chief Counsel for Advocacy, Office of Advocacy, U.S. Small Business Administration, Washington, DC 20416.

    Paperwork Reduction Act. In this proceeding, the Board is modifying an existing collection of information that is currently approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) through May 31, 2020, under OMB Control No. 2140-0029. In the NPRM, the Board sought comments pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), 44 U.S.C. 3501-3549, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations at 5 CFR 1320.8(d)(3) regarding: (1) Whether the collection of information, as modified in the proposed rule and further described below, is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Board, including whether the collection has practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the Board's burden estimates; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology, when appropriate. No comments were received pertaining to the collection of this information under the PRA.

    This modification to an existing collection will be submitted to OMB for review as required under the PRA, 44 U.S.C. 3507(d), and 5 CFR 1320.11.

    It is ordered:

    1. The Board adopts the final rule as set forth in this decision. Notice of the adopted rule will be published in the Federal Register.

    2. This decision is effective December 30, 2017.

    3. A copy of this decision will be served upon the Chief Counsel for Advocacy, Office of Advocacy, U.S. Small Business Administration.

    List of Subjects 49 CFR Part 1104

    Administrative practice and procedure.

    49 CFR Part 1109

    Administrative practice and procedure, Maritime carriers, Motor carriers, Railroads.

    49 CFR Part 1111

    Administrative practice and procedure, Investigations.

    49 CFR Part 1114

    Administrative practice and procedure.

    49 CFR Part 1130

    Administrative practice and procedure.

    Decided: November 29, 2017.

    By the Board, Board Members Begeman and Miller.

    Jeffrey Herzig, Clearance Clerk.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Surface Transportation Board amends title 49, chapter X, parts 1104, 1109, 1111, 1114, and 1130 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

    PART 1104—FILING WITH THE BOARD-COPIES-VERIFICATION-SERVICE-PLEADINGS, GENERALLY 1. The authority citation for part 1104 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

    5.U.S.C. 553 and 559; 18 U.S.C. 1621; and 49 U.S.C. 1321.

    2. In § 1104.14, add paragraph (c) to read as follows:
    § 1104.14 Protective orders to maintain confidentiality.

    (c) Requests for protective orders in stand-alone cost and simplified standards cases. A motion for protective order in stand-alone cost and simplified standards cases shall specify that evidentiary submissions will designate confidential material within single braces (i.e., {X}), highly confidential material within double braces (i.e., {{Y}}), and sensitive security information within triple braces (i.e., {{{Z}}}). In stand-alone cost cases, the motion for protective order shall be filed together with the notice pursuant to 49 CFR 1111.1.

    PART 1109—USE OF MEDIATION IN BOARD PROCEEDINGS 3. The authority citation for part 1109 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 1321(a) and 5 U.S.C. 571 et seq.

    4. In § 1109.4, revise paragraphs (a), (b), and (g) to read as follows:
    § 1109.4 Mandatory mediation in rate cases to be considered under the stand-alone cost methodology.

    (a) Mandatory use of mediation. A shipper seeking rate relief from a railroad or railroads in a case involving the stand-alone cost methodology must engage in non-binding mediation of its dispute with the railroad upon submitting a pre-filing notice under 49 CFR part 1111.

    (b) Assignment of mediators. Within 5 business days after the shipper submits its pre-filing notice, the Board will assign one or more mediators to the case. Within 5 business days of the assignment to mediate, the mediator(s) shall contact the parties to discuss ground rules and the time and location of any meeting.

    (g) Procedural schedule. Absent a specific order from the Board granting an extension, the mediation will not affect the procedural schedule in stand-alone cost rate cases set forth at 49 CFR 1111.9(a).

    5. Part 1111 is revised to read as follows: PART 1111—COMPLAINT AND INVESTIGATION PROCEDURES Sec. 1111.1 Pre-filing procedures in stand-alone cost cases. 1111.2 Content of formal complaints; joinder. 1111.3 Amended and supplemental complaints. 1111.4 Service. 1111.5 Answers and cross complaints. 1111.6 Motions to dismiss or to make more definite. 1111.7 Satisfaction of complaint. 1111.8 Investigations on the Board's own motion. 1111.9 Procedural schedule in stand-alone cost cases. 1111.10 Procedural schedule in cases using simplified standards. 1111.11 Meeting to discuss procedural matters. Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 10704, 11701, and 1321.

    § 1111.1 Pre-filing procedures in stand-alone cost cases.

    (a) General. At least 70 days prior to the proposed filing of a complaint challenging the reasonableness of a rail rate based on stand-alone cost, complainant shall file a notice with the Board. The notice shall:

    (1) Identify the rate to be challenged;

    (2) Identify the origin/destination pair(s) to be challenged;

    (3) Identify the affected commodities; and

    (4) Include a motion for protective order as set forth at 49 CFR 1104.14(c).

    (b) Liaison. Within 10 days of the filing of the pre-filing notice, the Board shall appoint a liaison to the parties.

    § 1111.2 Content of formal complaints; joinder.

    (a) General. A formal complaint must contain the correct, unabbreviated names and addresses of each complainant and defendant. It should set forth briefly and in plain language the facts upon which it is based. It should include specific reference to pertinent statutory provisions and Board regulations, and should advise the Board and the defendant fully in what respects these provisions or regulations have been violated. The complaint should contain a detailed statement of the relief requested. Relief in the alternative or of several different types may be demanded, but the issues raised in the formal complaint should not be broader than those to which complainant's evidence is to be directed. In a complaint challenging the reasonableness of a rail rate, the complainant should indicate whether, in its view, the reasonableness of the rate should be examined using constrained market pricing or using the simplified standards adopted pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 10701(d)(3). If the complainant seeks to use the simplified standards, it should support this request by submitting, at a minimum, the following information:

    (1) The carrier or region identifier.

    (2) The type of shipment (local, received-terminated, etc.).

    (3) The one-way distance of the shipment.

    (4) The type of car (by URCS code).

    (5) The number of cars.

    (6) The car ownership (private or railroad).

    (7) The commodity type (STCC code).

    (8) The weight of the shipment (in tons per car).

    (9) The type of movement (individual, multi-car, or unit train).

    (10) A narrative addressing whether there is any feasible transportation alternative for the challenged movements.

    (11) For matters for which voluntary, binding arbitration is available pursuant to 49 CFR part 1108, the complaint shall state that arbitration was considered, but rejected, as a means of resolving the dispute.

    (b) Disclosure with simplified standards complaint. The complainant must provide to the defendant all documents relied upon in formulating its assessment of a feasible transportation alternative and all documents relied upon to determine the inputs to the URCS Phase III program.

    (c) Multiple causes of action. Two or more grounds of complaint concerning the same principle, subject, or statement of facts may be included in one complaint, but should be stated and numbered separately.

    (d) Joinder. Two or more complainants may join in one complaint against one or more defendants if their respective causes of action concern substantially the same alleged violations and like facts.

    (e) Request for access to waybill data. Parties needing access to the Waybill Sample to prepare their case should follow the procedures set forth at 49 CFR 1244.9.

    (f) Discovery in stand-alone cost cases. Upon filing its complaint, the complainant shall certify that it has served its initial discovery requests on the defendant.

    § 1111.3 Amended and supplemental complaints.

    (a) Generally. An amended or supplemental complaint may be tendered for filing by a complainant against a defendant or defendants named in the original complaint, stating a cause of action alleged to have accrued within the statutory period immediately preceding the date of such tender, in favor of complainant and against the defendant or defendants. The time limits for responding to an amended or supplemental complaint are computed pursuant to §§ 1111.5 and 1111.6, as if the amended or supplemental complaint was an original complaint.

    (b) Stand-alone cost. If a complainant tenders an amended or supplemental complaint in a stand-alone cost case, the complainant shall certify that it has served on the defendant those initial discovery requests affected by the amended or supplemental complaint, if any.

    (c) Simplified standards. A complaint filed under the simplified standards may be amended once before the filing of opening evidence to opt for a different rate reasonableness methodology, among Three-Benchmark, Simplified-SAC, or Full-SAC. If so amended, the procedural schedule begins again under the new methodology as set forth at §§ 1111.9 and 1111.10. However, only one mediation period per complaint shall be required.

    § 1111.4 Service.

    A complainant is responsible for serving formal complaints, amended or supplemental complaints, and cross complaints on the defendant(s). Service shall be made by sending a copy of such complaint to the chief legal officer of each defendant by either confirmed facsimile and first-class mail or express overnight courier. The cover page of each such facsimile and the front of each such first-class mail or overnight express courier envelope shall include the following legend: “Service of STB Complaint”. Service of the complaint shall be deemed completed on the date on which the complaint is served by confirmed facsimile or, if service is made by express overnight courier, on the date such complaint is actually received by the defendant. When the complaint involves more than one defendant, service of the complaint shall be deemed completed on the date on which all defendants have been served. An original and ten copies of the complaint should be filed with the Board together with an acknowledgment of service by the persons served or proof of service in the form of a statement of the date and manner of service, of the names of the persons served, and of the addresses to which the papers were mailed or at which they were delivered, certified by the person who made service. If complainant cannot serve the complaint, an original of each complaint accompanied by a sufficient number of copies to enable the Board to serve one upon each defendant and to retain 10 copies in addition to the original should be filed with the Board.

    § 1111.5 Answers and cross complaints.

    (a) Generally. An answer shall be filed within the time provided in paragraph (c) of this section. An answer should be responsive to the complaint and should fully advise the Board and the parties of the nature of the defense. In answering a complaint challenging the reasonableness of a rail rate, the defendant should indicate whether it will contend that the Board is deprived of jurisdiction to hear the complaint because the revenue-variable cost percentage generated by the traffic is less than 180 percent, or the traffic is subject to effective product or geographic competition. In response to a complaint filed under the simplified standards, the answer must include the defendant's preliminary estimate of the variable cost of each challenged movement calculated using the unadjusted figures produced by the URCS Phase III program.

    (b) Disclosure with simplified standards answer. The defendant must provide to the complainant all documents that it relied upon to determine the inputs used in the URCS Phase III program.

    (c) Time for filing; copies; service. An answer must be filed within 20 days after the service of the complaint or within such additional time as the Board may provide. The original and 10 copies of an answer must be filed with the Board. The defendant must serve copies of the answer upon the complainant and any other defendants.

    (d) Cross complaints. A cross complaint alleging violations by other parties to the proceeding or seeking relief against them may be filed with the answer. An answer to a cross complaint shall be filed within 20 days after the service date of the cross complaint. The party shall serve copies of an answer to a cross complaint upon the other parties.

    (e) Failure to answer complaint. Averments in a complaint are admitted when not denied in an answer to the complaint.

    (f) Discovery in stand-alone cost cases. Upon filing its answer, the defendant shall certify that it has served its initial discovery requests on the complainant. If the complainant tenders an amended or supplemental complaint to which the defendant must reply, upon filing the answer to the amended or supplemental complaint, the defendant shall certify that it has served on the complainant those initial discovery requests affected by the amended or supplemental complaint, if any.

    § 1111.6 Motions to dismiss or to make more definite.

    An answer to a complaint or cross complaint may be accompanied by a motion to dismiss the complaint or cross complaint or a motion to make the complaint or cross complaint more definite. A motion to dismiss can be filed at anytime during a proceeding. A complainant or cross complainant may, within 10 days after an answer is filed, file a motion to make the answer more definite. Any motion to make more definite must specify the defects in the particular pleading and must describe fully the additional information or details thought to be necessary.

    § 1111.7 Satisfaction of complaint.

    If a defendant satisfies a formal complaint, either before or after answering, a statement to that effect signed by the complainant must be filed (original only need be filed), setting forth when and how the complaint has been satisfied. This action should be taken as expeditiously as possible.

    § 1111.8 Investigations on the Board's own motion.

    (a) Service of decision. A decision instituting an investigation on the Board's own motion will be served by the Board upon respondents.

    (b) Default. If within the time period stated in the decision instituting an investigation, a respondent fails to comply with any requirement specified in the decision, the respondent will be deemed in default and to have waived any further proceedings, and the investigation may be decided forthwith.

    § 1111.9 Procedural schedule in stand-alone cost cases.

    (a) Procedural schedule. Absent a specific order by the Board, the following general procedural schedule will apply in stand-alone cost cases after the pre-complaint period initiated by the pre-filing notice:

    (1) Day 0—Complaint filed, discovery period begins.

    (2) Day 7 or before—Conference of the parties convened pursuant to § 1111.11(b).

    (3) Day 20—Defendant's answer to complaint due.

    (4) Day 150—Discovery completed.

    (5) Day 210—Complainant files opening evidence on absence of intermodal and intramodal competition, variable cost, and stand-alone cost issues.

    (6) Day 270—Defendant files reply evidence to complainant's opening evidence.

    (7) Day 305—Complainant files rebuttal evidence to defendant's reply evidence.

    (8) Day 335—Complainant and defendant file final briefs.

    (9) Day 485 or before—The Board issues its decision.

    (b) Staggered filings; final briefs. (1) The parties may submit non-public (e.g., confidential, highly confidential) versions of filings on the dates identified in the procedural schedule, and submit public versions of those filings within three business days thereafter.

    (2) Final briefs are limited to 30 pages, inclusive of exhibits.

    (c) Conferences with parties. (1) The Board will convene a technical conference of the parties with Board staff prior to the filing of any evidence in a stand-alone cost rate case, for the purpose of reaching agreement on the operating characteristics that are used in the variable cost calculations for the movements at issue. The parties should jointly propose a schedule for this technical conference.

    (2) In addition, the Board may convene a conference of the parties with Board staff, after discovery requests are served but before any motions to compel may be filed, to discuss discovery matters in stand-alone cost rate cases. The parties should jointly propose a schedule for this discovery conference.

    § 1111.10 Procedural schedule in cases using simplified standards.

    (a) Procedural schedule. Absent a specific order by the Board, the following general procedural schedules will apply in cases using the simplified standards:

    (1)(i) In cases relying upon the Simplified-SAC methodology:

    (A) Day 0—Complaint filed (including complainant's disclosure).

    (B) Day 10—Mediation begins.

    (C) Day 20—Defendant's answer to complaint (including defendant's initial disclosure).

    (D) Day 30—Mediation ends; discovery begins.

    (E) Day 140—Defendant's second disclosure.

    (F) Day 150—Discovery closes.

    (G) Day 220—Opening evidence.

    (H) Day 280—Reply evidence.

    (I) Day 310—Rebuttal evidence.

    (J) Day 320—Technical conference (market dominance and merits).

    (K) Day 330—Final briefs.

    (ii) In addition, the Board will appoint a liaison within 10 business days of the filing of the complaint.

    (2)(i) In cases relying upon the Three-Benchmark methodology:

    (A) Day 0—Complaint filed (including complainant's disclosure).

    (B) Day 10—Mediation begins. (STB production of unmasked Waybill Sample.)

    (C) Day 20—Defendant's answer to complaint (including defendant's initial disclosure).

    (D) Day 30—Mediation ends; discovery begins.

    (E) Day 60—Discovery closes.

    (F) Day 90—Complainant's opening (initial tender of comparison group and opening evidence on market dominance). Defendant's opening (initial tender of comparison group).

    (G) Day 95—Technical conference on comparison group.

    (H) Day 120—Parties' final tenders on comparison group. Defendant's reply on market dominance.

    (I) Day 150—Parties' replies to final tenders. Complainant's rebuttal on market dominance.

    (ii) In addition, the Board will appoint a liaison within 10 business days of the filing of the complaint.

    (b) Staggered filings; final briefs. (1) The parties may submit non-public (e.g., confidential, highly confidential) versions of filings on the dates identified in the procedural schedule, and submit public versions of those filings within three business days thereafter.

    (2) In cases relying upon the Simplified-SAC methodology, final briefs are limited to 30 pages, inclusive of exhibits.

    (c) Defendant's second disclosure. In cases using the Simplified-SAC methodology, the defendant must make the following disclosures to the complainant by Day 170 of the procedural schedule.

    (1) Identification of all traffic that moved over the routes replicated by the SARR in the Test Year.

    (2) Information about those movements, in electronic format, aggregated by origin-destination pair and shipper, showing the origin, destination, volume, and total revenues from each movement.

    (3) Total operating and equipment cost calculations for each of those movements, provided in electronic format.

    (4) Revenue allocation for the on-SARR portion of each cross-over movement in the traffic group provided in electronic format.

    (5) Total trackage rights payments paid or received during the Test Year associated with the route replicated by the SARR.

    (6) All workpapers and documentation necessary to support the calculations.

    (d) Conferences with parties. The Board may convene a conference of the parties with Board staff to facilitate voluntary resolution of discovery disputes and to address technical issues that may arise.

    (e) Complaint filed with a petition to revoke a class exemption. If a complaint is filed simultaneously with a petition to revoke a class exemption, the Board will take no action on the complaint and the procedural schedule will be held in abeyance automatically until the petition to revoke is adjudicated.

    § 1111.11 Meeting to discuss procedural matters.

    (a) Generally. In all complaint proceedings, other than those challenging the reasonableness of a rail rate based on stand-alone cost or the simplified standards, the parties shall meet, or discuss by telephone, discovery and procedural matters within 12 days after an answer to a complaint is filed. Within 19 days after an answer to a complaint is filed, the parties, either jointly or separately, shall file a report with the Board setting forth a proposed procedural schedule to govern future activities and deadlines in the case.

    (b) Stand-alone cost or simplified standards complaints. In complaints challenging the reasonableness of a rail rate based on stand-alone cost or the simplified standards, the parties shall meet, or discuss by telephone or through email, discovery and procedural matters within 7 days after the complaint is filed in stand-alone cost cases, and 7 days after the mediation period ends in simplified standards cases. The parties should inform the Board as soon as possible thereafter whether there are unresolved disputes that require Board intervention and, if so, the nature of such disputes.

    PART 1114—EVIDENCE; DISCOVERY 6. The authority citation for part 1114 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 559; 49 U.S.C. 1321.

    7. In § 1114.21, revise paragraph (d) and the first sentence of paragraph (f) to read as follows:
    § 1114.21 Applicability; general provisions.

    (d) Sequence and timing of discovery. Unless the Board upon motion, and subject to the requirements at 49 CFR 1111.2(f) and 1111.5(f) in stand-alone cost cases, for the convenience of parties and witnesses and in the interest of justice, orders otherwise, methods of discovery may be used in any sequence and the fact that a party is conducting discovery, whether by deposition or otherwise, should not operate to delay any party's discovery.

    (f) Service of discovery materials. Unless otherwise ordered by the Board, and subject to the requirements at 49 CFR 1111.2(f) and 1111.5(f) in stand-alone cost cases, depositions, interrogatories, requests for documents, requests for admissions, and answers and responses thereto, shall be served on other counsel and parties, but shall not be filed with the Board. * * *

    8. In § 1114.31, revise paragraph (a)(2) to read as follows:
    § 1114.31 Failure to respond to discovery.

    (a) * * *

    (2) Motions to compel in stand-alone cost and simplified standards rate cases. (i) Motions to compel in stand-alone cost and simplified standards rate cases must include a certification that the movant has in good faith conferred or attempted to confer with the person or party failing to answer discovery to obtain it without Board intervention.

    (ii) In a rate case to be considered under the stand-alone cost or simplified standards methodologies, a reply to a motion to compel must be filed with the Board within 10 days of when the motion to compel is filed.

    PART 1130—INFORMAL COMPLAINTS 9. The authority citation for part 1130 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 1321, 13301(f), 14709.

    10. In § 1130.1, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 1130.1 When no damages sought.

    (a) Form and content; copies. Informal complaint may be by letter or other writing and will be serially numbered and filed. The complaint must contain the essential elements of a formal complaint as specified at 49 CFR 1111.2 and may embrace supporting papers. The original and one copy must be filed with the Board.

    [FR Doc. 2017-26153 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4915-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 161017970-6999-02] RIN 0648-XF856 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder Fishery; Commercial Quota Harvested for the State of New Jersey AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; closure.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS announces that the 2017 summer flounder commercial quota allocated to the State of New Jersey has been harvested. Vessels issued a Federal commercial summer flounder permit may not land summer flounder in New Jersey for the remainder of calendar year 2017, unless additional quota becomes available through a transfer from another state. Regulations governing the summer flounder fishery require publication of this notice to advise vessel and dealer permit holders that Federal commercial quota is no longer available to land summer flounder in New Jersey.

    DATES:

    Effective November 30, 2017 through December 31, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Cynthia Hanson, (978) 281-9180, or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Regulations governing the summer flounder fishery are found at 50 CFR part 648. The regulations require annual specification of a commercial quota that is apportioned on a percentage basis among the coastal states from Maine through North Carolina. The process to set the annual commercial quota and the percent allocated to each state is described in § 648.102.

    The coastwide commercial quota for summer flounder for the 2017 calendar year is 5,658,260 lb (2,566,544 kg) (81 FR 93842, December 22, 2016). The percent allocated to vessels landing summer flounder in New Jersey is 16.72499 percent, resulting in an initial commercial quota of 946,512 lb (429,331 kg). New Jersey conducted one quota transfer of 380 lb (172 kg) to Rhode Island on October 4, 2017 (82 FR 46936), reducing its commercial quota to 946,132 lb (429,158 kg).

    The NMFS Administrator for the Greater Atlantic Region (Regional Administrator) monitors the state commercial landings and determines when a state's commercial quota has been harvested. NMFS is required to publish a notice in the Federal Register advising and notifying commercial vessels and dealer permit holders that, effective upon a specific date, the state's commercial quota has been harvested and no commercial summer flounder quota is available to land in that state. The Regional Administrator has determined, based on dealer reports and other available information, that the 2017 New Jersey commercial summer flounder quota will be harvested by December 11, 2017.

    Section 648.4(b) provides that Federal permit holders agree, as a condition of the permit, not to land summer flounder in any state that the Regional Administrator has determined no longer has commercial quota available. Therefore, effective November 30, 2017, landing of summer flounder in New Jersey by vessels holding summer flounder commercial Federal fisheries permits is prohibited for the remainder of the 2017 calendar year, unless additional quota becomes available through a transfer and is announced in the Federal Register. Effective November 30, 2017, federally permitted dealers are also notified that they may not purchase summer flounder from vessels that land in New Jersey for the remainder of the calendar year, or until additional quota becomes available through a transfer from another state.

    Classification

    This action is required by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, finds good cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment because it would be contrary to the public interest. This action closes the commercial summer flounder fishery for New Jersey through December 31, 2017, under current regulations. The regulations at § 648.103(b) require such action to ensure that summer flounder vessels do not exceed quotas allocated to the states. If implementation of this closure was delayed to solicit prior public comment, the quota for this fishing year will be exceeded, thereby undermining the conservation objectives of the Summer Flounder Fishery Management Plan. The Assistant Administrator further finds, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), good cause to waive the 30-day delayed effectiveness period for the reason stated above.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: November 30, 2017. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26176 Filed 11-30-17; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    82 232 Tuesday, December 5, 2017 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2017-1024; Product Identifier 2017-NM-065-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all The Boeing Company Model 737-300, -400, -500, -600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes; Model 757 airplanes; Model 767 airplanes; Model 777 airplanes; and Model 787-8 and 787-9 airplanes. This proposed AD was prompted by reports of fuel crossfeed valves failing to open when activated during flight. This proposed AD would require, for certain airplanes, revising the airplane flight manual (AFM); and for certain other airplanes, revising the minimum equipment list (MEL) to do an operational check of the fuel crossfeed valve prior to each extended range operations (ETOPS) flight if one fuel crossfeed valve (or the fuel balancing system on Model 787 airplanes) is inoperative. We are proposing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by January 19, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

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

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

    Fax: 202-493-2251.

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

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

    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-2017-1024; 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 NPRM, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jon Regimbal, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Section, FAA, Seattle ACO Branch, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6506; fax: 425-917-6590; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited

    We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposal. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2017-1024; Product Identifier 2017-NM-065-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this NPRM. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this NPRM because of those comments.

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

    Discussion

    We have received reports of fuel crossfeed valves failing to open when activated during flight. The fuel crossfeed valve can fail closed due to electrical or mechanical faults. Such a failure would remain undiscovered until an attempt is made to open the fuel crossfeed valve. Depending on the operational use of the airplane, such a failure could remain latent for multiple flights. Some of the affected airplanes have only one fuel crossfeed valve. Other affected airplanes have two redundant fuel crossfeed valves, but are allowed to be dispatched under their MEL with one of the two fuel crossfeed valves inoperative and locked closed. Model 787 airplanes have a single crossfeed valve and a separate fuel balancing system, either of which allows use of all of the main tank fuel by either engine. The Model 787 MEL allows airplanes to be dispatched with the fuel balancing system inoperative.

    If an engine failure occurs during certain portions of the cruise phase of an ETOPS flight and the fuel crossfeed valve cannot be opened, the fuel in the main tank associated with the failed engine cannot be used by the remaining operative engine, potentially resulting in a forced off-airport landing due to exhaustion of the remaining usable fuel and consequent loss of all engine thrust.

    FAA's Determination

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

    Proposed AD Requirements

    For airplanes equipped with a single fuel crossfeed valve, this proposed AD would require revising the limitation and normal procedures sections of the AFM by adding an operational check of the fuel crossfeed valve immediately prior to each ETOPS flight. For airplanes equipped with dual fuel crossfeed valves, this proposed AD would require revising the MEL by adding a requirement to do an operational check of the fuel crossfeed valve prior to each ETOPS flight if one fuel crossfeed valve (or the fuel balancing system on Model 787 airplanes) is inoperative.

    This proposed AD would allow removal of the AFM limitation required by AD 88-21-03 R1, Amendment 39-6077 (53 FR 46605, November 18, 1988) (“88-21-03 R1”), after the applicable AFM limitations in this proposed AD are incorporated in the AFM.

    Related AD

    AD 88-21-03 R1 applies to, among other airplanes, certain Model 737-200, 737-300, 757-200, 767-200, and 767-300 series airplanes. AD 88-21-03 R1 requires revising the AFM to include an operational check of the fuel crossfeed valve during the last hour of cruise flight during each ETOPS flight and log book entry of any fuel crossfeed valve failure conditions, and repair if necessary.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD affects 3,252 airplanes of U.S. registry. We estimate the following costs to comply with this proposed AD:

    Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Cost on U.S. operators
    AFM Revision (2,127 airplanes) 1 work-hour × $85 per hour = $85 $0 $85 $180,795 MEL Revision (1,125 airplanes) 1 work-hour × $85 per hour = $85 0 85 95,625
    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 proposed AD would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD would not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

    For the reasons discussed above, I certify this proposed regulation:

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): The Boeing Company: Docket No. FAA-2017-1024; Product Identifier 2017-NM-065-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by January 19, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD affects AD 88-21-03 R1, Amendment 39-6077 (53 FR 46605, November 18, 1988).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to all The Boeing Company airplanes, certificated in any category, identified in paragraphs (c)(1) through (c)(5) of this AD.

    (1) Model 737-300, -400, -500, -600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes.

    (2) Model 757-200, -200PF, -200CB, and -300 series airplanes.

    (3) Model 767-200, -300, -300F, and -400ER series airplanes.

    (4) Model 777-200, -200LR, -300, -300ER, and -777F series airplanes.

    (5) Model 787-8 and 787-9 airplanes.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 28; Fuel.

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by reports of fuel crossfeed valves failing to open when activated during flight. We are issuing this AD to prevent an airplane from being dispatched on an extended range operations (ETOPS) flight with a single fuel crossfeed valve that cannot be opened. This condition could cause the fuel in the main tank associated with a failed engine to be unavailable to the remaining operative engine, potentially resulting in a forced offairport landing due to exhaustion of the remaining usable fuel and consequent loss of all engine thrust.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) AFM Revisions for Model 737 Airplanes Equipped With a Single Fuel Crossfeed Valve

    For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(1) of this AD: Within 120 days after the effective date of this AD, do the actions in specified in paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(2) of this AD.

    (1) Revise “Extended Range Operations” subsection of the “Fuel System Limitations” section of the Section 1 Certificate Limitations of the airplane flight manual (AFM) by incorporating the information specified in figure 1 to paragraph (g)(1) of this AD. This may be done by inserting a copy of this AD into the AFM. When a statement identical to that in figure 1 to paragraph (g)(1) of this AD has been included in the “Extended Range Operations” subsection of the “Fuel System Limitations” section of the Section 1 Certificate Limitations of the general revisions of the AFM, the general revisions may be inserted into the AFM, and the copy of this AD may be removed from the AFM.

    EP05DE17.000

    (2) Revise the “Extended Range Operations” section of the Section 3 Normal Procedures of the AFM by incorporating the information specified in figure 2 to paragraph (g)(2) of this AD. This may be done by inserting a copy of this AD into the AFM. When a statement identical to that in figure 2 to paragraph (g)(2) of this AD has been included in the “Extended Range Operations” section of Section 3 Normal Procedures of the AFM, the general revisions may be inserted into the AFM, and the copy of this AD may be removed from the AFM.

    EP05DE17.001 (h) AFM Revisions for Model 757 Airplanes Equipped With a Single Fuel Crossfeed Valve

    For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(2) of this AD having line numbers 1 through 616 inclusive and 618 on which the actions specified in Boeing Service Bulletin 757-28-0029 (second fuel crossfeed valve installation) have not been done: Within 120 days after the effective date of this AD, do the actions specified in paragraphs (h)(1) and (h)(2) of this AD. For Model 757 airplanes identified in this paragraph, if the actions specified in Boeing Service Bulletin 757-28-0029 are done after the effective date of this AD, then the actions specified in this paragraph are no longer required for that airplane and the actions specified in paragraph (j) of this AD must be done before further flight after performing the actions specified in Boeing Service Bulletin 757-28-0029.

    (1) Revise the “Extended Range Operations” section of the Section 1 Certificate Limitations of the AFM by incorporating the information specified in figure 3 to paragraph (h)(1). This may be done by inserting a copy of this AD into the AFM. When a statement identical to that in figure 3 to paragraph (h)(1) of this AD has been included in the “Extended Range Operations” section of the Section 1 Certificate Limitations of the general revisions of the AFM, the general revisions may be inserted into the AFM, and the copy of this AD may be removed from the AFM.

    EP05DE17.002

    (2) Revise the “Extended Range Operations” section of Section 3 Normal Procedures of the AFM by incorporating the information specified in figure 4 to paragraph (h)(2) of this AD. This may be done by inserting a copy of this AD into the AFM. When a statement identical to that in figure 4 to paragraph (h)(2) of this AD has been included in the Extended Range Operations section of Section 3 Normal Procedures of the AFM, the general revisions may be inserted into the AFM, and the copy of this AD may be removed from the AFM.

    EP05DE17.003 (i) AFM Revisions for Model 767 Airplanes Equipped With a Single Fuel Crossfeed Valve

    For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(3) of this AD having line numbers 1 through 430 inclusive on which the actions specified in Boeing Service Bulletin 767-28-0034 (second fuel crossfeed valve installation) have not been done as of the effective date of this AD: Within 120 days after the effective date of this AD, do the actions specified in paragraphs (i)(1) and (i)(2) of this AD. If the actions specified in Boeing Service Bulletin 767-28-0034 are done after the effective date of this AD, the actions specified in this paragraph are no longer required for that airplane and the actions specified in paragraph (k) of this AD must be done before further flight.

    (1) Revise the “Extended Range Operations” section of the Section 1 Certificate Limitations of the AFM by incorporating the information specified in figure 5 to paragraph (i)(1) of this AD. This may be done by inserting a copy of this AD into the AFM. When a statement identical to that in figure 5 to paragraph (i)(1) of this AD has been included in the “Extended Range Operations” section of the Section 1 Certificate Limitations of the general revisions of the AFM, the general revisions may be inserted into the AFM, and the copy of this AD may be removed from the AFM.

    EP05DE17.004

    (2) Revise the Section 3.1 Normal Procedures of the AFM by incorporating the information specified in figure 6 to paragraph (i)(2) of this AD. This may be done by inserting a copy of this AD into the AFM. When a statement identical to that in figure 6 to paragraph (i)(2) of this AD has been included in the Extended Range Operations section of Section 3.1 Normal Procedures of the AFM, the general revisions may be inserted into the AFM, and the copy of this AD may be removed from the AFM.

    EP05DE17.005 (j) Minimum Equipment List (MEL) Revisions for Model 757 Equipped With Dual Fuel Crossfeed Valves

    For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(2) of this AD having line numbers 617, 619, and subsequent; and for airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(2) of this AD having line numbers 1 through 616 inclusive and 618, on which a second fuel crossfeed valve has been installed before the effective date of this AD, as specified in Boeing Service Bulletin 757-28-0029: Within 120 days after the effective date of this AD, revise the operator's FAA-approved MEL by incorporating the information specified in figure 7 to paragraph (j) of this AD as a required operations procedure when dispatching for ETOPS operation with an inoperative fuel crossfeed valve. Specific alternative MEL wording to accomplish the actions specified in figure 7 to paragraph (j) of this AD can be approved by the operator's principal operations inspector (POI).

    EP05DE17.006 (k) MEL Revisions for Model 767 Equipped With Dual Fuel Crossfeed Valves

    For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(3) of this AD having line numbers 431 and subsequent; and for airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(3) of this AD having line numbers 1 through 430 inclusive on which a second fuel crossfeed valve has been installed before the effective date of this AD, as specified in Boeing Service Bulletin 767-28-0034: Within 120 days after the effective date of this AD, revise the operator's FAA-approved MEL by incorporating the information specified in figure 8 to paragraph (k) of this AD as a required operations procedure when dispatching for ETOPS operation with an inoperative fuel crossfeed valve. Specific alternative MEL wording to accomplish the actions specified in figure 8 to paragraph (k) of this AD can be approved by the operator's POI.

    EP05DE17.007 (l) MEL Revisions for Model 777 Airplanes

    For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(4) of this AD: Within 120 days after the effective date of this AD, revise the operator's FAA-approved MEL by incorporating the information specified in figure 9 to paragraph (l) of this AD as a required operations procedure when dispatching for ETOPS operation with an inoperative fuel crossfeed valve. Specific alternative MEL wording to accomplish the actions specified in figure 9 to paragraph (l) of this AD can be approved by the operator's POI.

    EP05DE17.008 (m) MEL Revisions for Model 787 Airplanes

    For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(5) of this AD: Within 120 days after the effective date of this AD, revise the operator's FAA-approved MEL by incorporating the information specified in figure 10 to paragraph (m) of this AD into the MEL requirements for each of the inoperative items specified in paragraphs (m)(1) through (m)(4) of this AD. Specific alternative MEL wording to accomplish the actions specified in figure 10 to paragraph (m) of this AD can be approved by the operator's POI.

    (1) 28-21-01-01 Pressure Refueling System, Main Tank Inboard Refuel Valve.

    (2) 28-22-06 Fuel Balance Switch.

    (3) 28-26-01 Defuel/Isolation Valves.

    (4) 28-41-01-01 Main Tank Fuel Quantity Indication Systems.

    EP05DE17.009 (n) AD 88-21-03 R1, Amendment 39-6077 (53 FR 46605-01, November 18, 1988), AFM Limitation Removal

    After the applicable AFM limitations specified in paragraphs (g)(1), (h)(1), and (i)(1) of this AD are incorporated into an airplane's AFM, operators may remove the AFM limitation required by AD 88-21-03 R1, Amendment 39-6077 (53 FR 46605-01, November 18, 1988), for that airplane.

    (o) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Seattle ACO 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 manager of the certification office, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (p) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: [email protected]

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

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

    (p) Related Information

    For more information about this AD, contact Jon Regimbal, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Section, FAA, Seattle ACO Branch, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6506; fax: 425-917-6590; email: [email protected]

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on November 6, 2017. Dionne Palermo, Acting Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-24811 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2017-1123; Product Identifier 2017-SW-013-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH Helicopters AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2017-02-07 for Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH (Airbus Helicopters) Model MBB-BK 117 C-2 and Model MBB-BK 117 D-2 helicopters. AD 2017-02-07 currently requires a repetitive inspection and a one-time torque of each hydraulic module plate assembly attachment point (attachment point). Since we issued AD 2017-02-07, a terminating action has been developed to address the unsafe condition. This proposed AD would retain the initial inspection and torque requirements of AD 2017-02-07 and require replacing the attachment point hardware. The actions of this proposed AD are intended to prevent an unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by February 5, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments by any of the following methods:

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

    Fax: 202-493-2251.

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

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

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-1123; or in person at the Docket Operations Office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, the economic evaluation, any comments received and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations Office (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

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

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Matt Fuller, Senior Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Comments Invited

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

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

    Discussion

    We issued AD 2017-02-07, Amendment 39-18786 (82 FR 10267, February 10, 2017) (2017-02-07) for Airbus Helicopters Model MBB-BK 117 C-2 helicopters, serial numbers up to and including 9750, and Model MBB-BK 117 D-2 helicopters, serial numbers up to and including 20110, with a hydraulic module plate assembly part number B291M0003103 with a single locking attachment point installed. AD 2017-02-07 requires a repetitive inspection and a one-time torque of the attachment points. The actions in AD 2017-02-07 are intended to prevent failure of an attachment point, loss of the hydraulic module plate, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

    EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, issued EASA AD No. 2015-0210R1, Revision 1, dated October 28, 2015 (2015-0210R1), to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus Helicopters Model MBB-BK117 C-2, MBB-BK117 C-2e, MBB-BK117 D-2, and MBB-BK117 D-2m helicopters. EASA advised that the hydraulic plate assembly on certain MBB-BK117 models has four attachment points on the fuselage secured by a single locking mechanism. According to EASA, a design reassessment revealed stiffness of the hydraulic plate may be insufficient to withstand the in-service loads in the event one of the four single locking attachment points fails. EASA stated that if this condition is not detected and corrected, it may lead to loss of the hydraulic module plate and possible loss of control of the helicopter. Therefore, the EASA AD required a repetitive inspection and one-time torque tightening of the attachment points in accordance with Airbus Helicopters' service information.

    EASA considered its AD an interim action and stated further AD action may follow. EASA subsequently revised AD 2015-0210R1 and issued AD No. 2015-0210R2, dated December 2, 2016 (2015-0210R2), to exclude from the applicability helicopters with an improved double locking attachment mechanism that is not subject to the unsafe condition.

    Actions Since AD 2017-02-07 Was Issued

    Since we issued AD 2017-02-07, Airbus Helicopters revised its service information to add procedures to modify single locking attachment mechanisms to double locking attachment mechanisms. EASA subsequently superseded AD 2015-0210R2 with AD No. 2017-0047, dated March 13, 2017, to require installation of double locking attachments.

    FAA's Determination

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

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    We reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. ASB MBB-BK117 C-2-29A-003 for Model MBB-BK 117 C-2 helicopters and ASB No. ASB MBB-BK117 D-2-29A-001 for Model MBB-BK 117 D-2 helicopters, both Revision 2 and both dated February 1, 2017. Until the attachment points are modified with double locking attachment mechanisms, this service information specifies a repetitive visual inspection for condition and correct installation of the attachment points and replacing the affected parts if there is a crack. This service information also specifies a tightening torque check after the initial inspection and replacing the affected parts if torque cannot be applied. This revision of the service information also specifies procedures to replace the single locking attachment hardware with double locking attachment hardware.

    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.

    Other Related Service Information

    We also reviewed Airbus Helicopters ASB No. ASB MBB-BK117 C-2-29A-003 for Model MBB-BK 117 C-2 helicopters and ASB No. ASB MBB-BK117 D-2-29A-001 for Model MBB-BK 117 D-2 helicopters, both Revision 1 and both dated October 14, 2016. Revision 1 of this service information contains the same visual inspection and torque tightening check procedures as Revision 2. However, Revision 2 of this service information adds the procedures to replace the single locking attachment hardware with double locking attachment hardware.

    Proposed AD Requirements

    This proposed AD would require, within 100 hours time-in-service (TIS), unless already done within the last 100 hours TIS, performing a visual inspection of each attachment point of the hydraulic module plate assembly for a crack and proper installation, and applying torque to the nuts of each attachment point. This proposed AD would also require, within 300 hours TIS, replacing each single locking attachment point mechanism with a double locking attachment point mechanism.

    Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD

    The EASA AD specifies performing the visual inspection of each attachment point at intervals not exceeding 400 flight hours. This proposed AD would not require a repetitive inspection. This proposed AD would require the replacement of each single locking attachment point mechanism with a double locking attachment point mechanism within 300 hours TIS instead, which would make subsequent inspections unnecessary.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 134 helicopters of U.S. Registry. We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in order to comply with this AD. We estimate the cost of labor at $85 per work-hour. Visually inspecting the four attachment points would take about 0.75 work-hour for an estimated cost of $64 per helicopter and $8,576 for the U.S. fleet. Inspecting the torque of the four attachment points would take about 0.25 work-hour for an estimated cost of $21 per helicopter and $2,814 for the U.S. fleet. Replacing any of the attachment point parts would take a minimal amount of time and parts would cost about $48 per attachment point. Installing four double locking attachment point mechanisms would take a minimal amount of time and parts would cost about $400 per helicopter and $53,600 for the U.S. fleet.

    According to Airbus Helicopters service information, some of the costs of this proposed AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost impact on affected individuals. We do not control warranty coverage by Airbus Helicopters. Accordingly, we have included all costs in our cost estimate.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

    For the reasons discussed, I certify this proposed regulation:

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

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

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska to the extent that it justifies making a regulatory distinction; and

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2017-02-07, Amendment 39-18786 (82 FR 10267, February 10, 2017), and adding the following new AD: Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH: Docket No. FAA-2017-1123; Product Identifier 2017-SW-013-AD. (a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Model MBB-BK 117 C-2 helicopters, serial numbers up to and including 9750, and Model MBB-BK 117 D-2 helicopters, serial numbers up to and including 20110, with a hydraulic module plate assembly part number B291M0003103 with a single locking attachment point installed, certificated in any category.

    (b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as failure of a hydraulic module plate assembly attachment point (attachment point). This condition could result in loss of the hydraulic module plate and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

    (c) Affected ADs

    This AD supersedes 2017-02-07, Amendment 39-18786 (82 FR 10267, February 10, 2017).

    (d) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by February 5, 2018.

    (e) Compliance

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

    (f) Required Actions

    (1) Within 100 hours time-in-service (TIS):

    (i) Visually inspect the split pins, castellated nuts, plugs, nuts, and hexagon bolts of each attachment point for a crack and for proper installation by following the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraphs 3.B.1.3.a. through 3.B.1.3.d., of Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. ASB MBB-BK117 C-2-29A-003 (ASB MBB-BK117 C-2-29A-003) or Airbus Helicopters ASB No. ASB MBB-BK117 D-2-29A-001 (ASB MBB-BK117 D-2-29A-001), both Revision 2 and both dated February 1, 2017, as applicable to your model helicopter. Replace any part that has a crack before further flight. If the split pins, castellated nuts, or hexagon bolts are not as depicted in Figure 2 of ASB MBB-BK117 C-2-29A-003 or ASB MBB-BK117 D-2-29A-001, before further flight, properly install them.

    (ii) Apply a torque of 9 to 10 Nm to the left-hand and right-hand nuts of each attachment point. If a torque of 9 to 10 Nm cannot be applied, replace the affected nut before further flight.

    (2) Within 300 hours TIS:

    (i) Replace each forward single locking attachment hardware with double locking attachment hardware by following the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraphs 3.B.3.3. through 3.B.3.6. on page 11 of ASB MBB-BK117 C-2-29A-003 or ASB MBB-BK117 D-2-29A-001, as applicable to your model helicopter, except you are not required to discard old parts.

    (ii) Replace each aft single locking attachment hardware with double locking attachment hardware by following the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraphs 3.B.3.1. through 3.B.3.3. on page 13 of ASB MBB-BK117 C-2-29A-003 or ASB MBB-BK117 D-2-29A-001, as applicable to your model helicopter, except you are not required to discard old parts.

    (g) Credit for Previous Actions

    Actions accomplished before the effective date of this AD in accordance with the procedures specified in AD 2017-02-07, Amendment 39-18786 (82 FR 10267, February 10, 2017) or Airbus Helicopters ASB No. ASB MBB-BK117 C-2-29A-003 or ASB No. ASB MBB-BK117 D-2-29A-001, both Revision 1 and both dated October 14, 2016, are considered acceptable for compliance with the corresponding actions specified in paragraph (f)(1) of this AD.

    (h) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

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

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

    (i) Additional Information

    (1) Airbus Helicopters ASB No. ASB MBB-BK117 C-2-29A-003 and ASB No. ASB MBB-BK117 D-2-29A-001, both Revision 1 and both dated October 14, 2016, which are not incorporated by reference, contain additional information about the subject of this AD. For service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus Helicopters, 2701 N. Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 75052; telephone (972) 641-0000 or (800) 232-0323; fax (972) 641-3775; or at http://www.airbushelicopters.com/techpub. You may review a copy of the service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177.

    (2) The subject of this AD is addressed in European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD No. 2017-0047, dated March 13, 2017. You may view the EASA AD on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov in the AD Docket.

    (j) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 2900, Hydraulic Power System.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on November 17, 2017. Lance T. Gant, Director, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26039 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau 27 CFR Parts 24 and 27 [Docket No. TTB-2016-0014; Notice No. 168A; Re: Notice No. 168, T.D. TTB-147, and T.D. TTB 147A] RIN 1513-AC31 Implementation of Statutory Amendments Requiring the Modification of the Definition of Hard Cider; Delayed Compliance Date for the Hard Cider Tax Class Labeling Statement Requirement; Reopening of Comment Period AGENCY:

    Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Treasury.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking and reopening of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    On January 23, 2017, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) published a temporary rule, T.D. TTB-147, Implementation of Statutory Amendments Requiring the Modification of the Definition of Hard Cider, that amended its regulations to implement changes made to the definition of “hard cider” in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act (PATH Act) of 2015. The amended regulations included a requirement that the statement “Tax class 5041(b)(6)” appear on the container of any wine for which the hard cider tax rate is claimed if the wine is removed from wine premises or customs custody on or after January 1, 2018. Concurrent with the temporary rule, TTB published Notice of Proposed Rulemaking No. 168 requesting comments on the regulatory amendments made by T.D. TTB-147. In response to a comment received from a cider industry trade association, TTB, in a temporary rule published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register, is now delaying the compliance date for the hard cider tax class labeling requirement by one year, until January 1, 2019. In this document, TTB is requesting comments on that delayed compliance date, and we are also re-opening the comment period for Notice No. 168 for an additional 60 days to request comments on the regulatory amendments described in T.D. TTB-147.

    DATES:

    Comments on the delayed compliance date referenced in this document (Notice No. 168A) are due on or before February 5, 2018. The comment period for the proposed rule, Notice No. 168, published on January 23, 2017, at 82 FR 7753 is reopened for 60 days, and, therefore, comments on Notice No. 168 also are now due on or before February 5, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Please send your comments on Notice No. 168 or Notice No. 168A to one of the following addresses:

    Internet: https://www.regulations.gov (via the online comment forms for Notice No. 168 or Notice No. 168A, as appropriate, which are posted within Docket No. TTB-2016-0014 at Regulations.gov, the Federal e-rulemaking portal);

    U.S. Mail: Director, Regulations and Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street NW., Box 12, Washington, DC 20005; or

    Hand delivery/courier in lieu of mail: Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street NW., Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005.

    See the Public Participation sections of Notice No. 168 and this document (Notice No. 168A) for specific instructions and requirements for submitting comments, and for information on how to request a public hearing.

    You may view copies of this document, Notice No. 168, and any comments made to TTB about the described proposals at https://www.regulations.gov within Docket No. TTB-2016-0014. A link to that docket is posted on the TTB Web site at https://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine-rulemaking.shtml under Notice No. 168 or Notice No. 168A. You also may view copies of this document, Notice No. 168, and any comments made to TTB about the described proposals by appointment at the TTB Information Resource Center, 1310 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20005. Please call (202) 453-2270 to make an appointment.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kara Fontaine, Regulations and Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street NW., Box 12, Washington, DC 20005; phone (202) 453-1039, ext. 103.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In T.D. TTB-147, a temporary rule published in the Federal Register on January 23, 2017, at 82 FR 7653, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) implemented changes made to the definition of “hard cider” in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (Pub. L. 114-113), Division Q). The modified definition broadened the range of wines eligible for the hard cider tax rate. In T.D. TTB-147, TTB amended its regulations to reflect the modified definition of hard cider effective for products removed from wine premises or customs custody on or after January 1, 2017, and set forth new labeling requirements to identify products to which the hard cider tax rate applies. The new labeling requirements include both a one-year transitional rule and a new labeling requirement that takes effect for products removed on or after January 1, 2018.

    TTB solicited public comments on the temporary regulations via Notice No. 168, a notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Federal Register on January 23, 2017, at 82 FR 7753. The temporary regulations contained in T.D. TTB-147 served as the text of the proposed regulations. The original 60-day comment period for Notice No. 168 closed on March 24, 2017.

    In response to this comment request, TTB received a comment, posted on February 15, 2017, from Ian Flom of Mercier Orchards, indicating that the timeframe to implement the new “Tax Class 5041(b)(6)” labeling statement requirement is insufficient because he buys labels in bulk and has a supply of labels that do not bear the tax class statement that he will not be able to use up before January 1, 2018. In addition, TTB received a letter, dated February 23, 2017, from the United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM), a cider industry trade association based in Portland, Oregon, requesting a 60-day extension of the comment period for Notice No. 168. In its letter, the USACM noted that “there was much discussion about these proposed changes” at its annual membership conference and that a number of its members planned to submit comments to TTB. The letter also noted, however, that “orchardists are currently facing time-management challenges due to pruning season,” and that the requested extension “would allow our members time to properly address any of their concerns with the proposed changes to the hard cider definition and related regulatory changes.” The USACM comment period extension request letter is posted as Comment 2 to Notice No. 168 within Docket No. TTB-2016-0014 on the Regulations.gov Web site at https://www.regulations.gov.

    In addition to USACM's request to TTB to extend the comment period, USACM wrote a letter, on which TTB was copied, to Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, dated August 1, 2017, requesting both a reopening of the comment period of T.D. TTB-147 and a one year delay of the January 1, 2018, hard cider tax class labeling statement requirement. A copy of this USACM letter is posted as Comment 3 to Notice No. 168 within Docket No. TTB-2016-0014 on the Regulations.gov Web site.

    In light of these requests, TTB is delaying the hard cider tax class labeling statement compliance date. Such a delay will provide industry members additional time to come into compliance with the labeling requirement. Through the publication of a temporary rule elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register, TTB is amending 27 CFR 24.257(a)(4) to delay until January 1, 2019, the compliance date for the requirement that the tax class statement “Tax class 5041(b)(6)” appear on any container of wine removed from wine premises or customs custody for which the hard cider tax rate is claimed. Because the tax class labeling requirement contained in 27 CFR 27.59(b) is a cross-reference to § 24.257(a)(4), no change to the regulatory text in § 27.59(b) is required.

    Further, in response to the USACM request to reopen the comment period for all the regulatory amendments contained in T.D. TTB-147, TTB is reopening the comment period for the related notice of proposed rulemaking, Notice No. 168, for an additional 60 days. TTB believes that this additional 60-day comment period will allow all interested parties to fully consider and comment on the regulatory amendments contained in the hard cider temporary rule.

    Therefore, new comments on Notice No. 168 and comments on this document (Notice No. 168A) delaying the compliance date of the hard cider tax class labeling requirement are due to TTB on or before February 5, 2018.

    Public Participation Comments Sought

    TTB requests comments from interested members of the public on the one-year delay, from January 1, 2018, to January 1, 2019, of the hard cider tax-class labeling statement requirement contained in 27 CFR 24.257, as described in the temporary rule, T.D. TTB-147A, published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register. TTB also requests new comments on the regulatory amendments to 27 CFR parts 24 and 27 set forth in the temporary rule, T.D. TTB-147, published in the Federal Register on January 23, 2017 at 82 FR 7653.

    Submitting Comments

    You may submit comments by using one of the following three methods:

    Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: You may send comments via the online comment form for this proposed rule (Notice No. 168A) or for Notice No. 168, as appropriate, posted within Docket No. TTB-2016-0014 on “Regulations.gov,” the Federal e-rulemaking portal, at https://www.regulations.gov. A direct link to that docket is available under Notice No. 168 and Notice No. 168A on the TTB Web site at https://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine-rulemaking.shtml. Supplemental files may be attached to comments submitted via Regulations.gov. For complete instructions on how to use Regulations.gov, click on the site's “Help” tab.

    U.S. Mail: You may send comments via postal mail to the Director, Regulations and Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street NW., Box 12, Washington, DC 20005.

    Hand Delivery/Courier: You may hand-carry your comments or have them hand-carried to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street NW., Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005.

    Please submit your comments by the closing date shown above in this proposed rule. Your comments must reference Notice No. 168A or Notice No. 168, as appropriate, and include your name and mailing address. Your comments also must be made in English, be legible, and be written in language acceptable for public disclosure. TTB does not acknowledge receipt of comments and considers all comments as originals.

    In your comment, please clearly state if you are commenting for yourself or on behalf of an association, business, or other entity. If you are commenting on behalf of an entity, your comment must include the entity's name as well as your name and position title. In your comment via Regulations.gov, please enter the entity's name in the “Organization” blank of the online comment form. If you comment via postal mail or hand delivery/courier, please submit your entity's comment on letterhead.

    You may also write to the Administrator before the comment closing date to ask for a public hearing. The Administrator reserves the right to determine whether to hold a public hearing.

    Confidentiality

    All submitted comments and attachments are part of the public record and subject to disclosure. Do not enclose any material in your comments that you consider to be confidential or inappropriate for public disclosure.

    Public Disclosure

    TTB will post, and you may view, copies of the proposed rules, the related temporary rules, and any online or mailed comments received about them, within Docket No. TTB-2016-0014 on Regulations.gov, the Federal e-rulemaking portal. A direct link to that docket is available on the TTB Web site at https://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine-rulemaking.shtml under Notice No. 168 or Notice No. 168A. You may also reach the relevant docket through the Regulations.gov search page at https://www.regulations.gov. For information on how to use Regulations.gov, click on the site's “Help” tab.

    All posted comments will display the commenter's name, organization (if any), city, and State, and, in the case of mailed comments, all address information, including email addresses. TTB may omit voluminous attachments or material that it considers unsuitable for posting.

    You may view copies of the proposed rules, the related temporary rules, and any electronic or mailed comments TTB receives about them by appointment at the TTB Information Resource Center, 1310 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20005. You may also obtain copies for 20 cents per 8.5- × 11-inch page. Contact TTB's information specialist at the above address or by telephone at (202) 453-2270 to schedule an appointment or to request copies of comments or other materials.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act, Paperwork Reduction Act, and Executive Order 12866

    Since the regulatory text proposed in this notice of proposed rulemaking is identical to that contained in the companion temporary rule published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register, the analyses contained in the preamble of the temporary rule concerning the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the Paperwork Reduction Act, and Executive Order 12866 also apply to this proposed rule.

    Drafting Information

    Kara Fontaine and Michael Hoover of the Regulations and Rulings Division drafted this document with the assistance of other Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau personnel.

    List of Subjects 27 CFR Part 24

    Administrative practice and procedure, Cider, Claims, Electronic funds transfers, Excise taxes, Exports, Food additives, Fruit juices, Hard Cider, Labeling, Liquors, Packaging and containers, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Research, Scientific equipment, Spices and flavorings, Surety bonds, Vinegar, Warehouses, Wine.

    27 CFR Part 27

    Alcohol and alcoholic beverages, Beer, Cosmetics, Customs duties and inspections, Electronic funds transfers, Excise taxes, Imports, Labeling, Liquors, Packaging and containers, Reporting and Recordkeeping requirements, Wine.

    Proposed Amendments to the Regulations

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, TTB proposes to amend 27 CFR chapter I, parts 24 and 27, as follows:

    PART 24—WINE 1. The authority citation for part 24 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 552(a); 26 U.S.C. 5001, 5008, 5041, 5042, 5044, 5061, 5062, 5121, 5122-5124, 5173, 5206, 5214, 5215, 5351, 5353, 5354, 5356, 5357, 5361, 5362, 5364-5373, 5381-5388, 5391, 5392, 5511, 5551, 5552, 5661, 5662, 5684, 6065, 6091, 6109, 6301, 6302, 6311, 6651, 6676, 7302, 7342, 7502, 7503, 7606, 7805, 7851; 31 U.S.C. 9301, 9303, 9304, 9306.

    § 24.257 [Amended]
    2. In § 24.257: a. Paragraph (a)(4) is amended by removing the date “January 1, 2018” each place it appears and adding in its place the date “January 1, 2019”; and b. The Office of Management and Budget control number reference at the end of the section is amended by removing the phrase “1513-0115 and 1513-XXXX” and adding in its place the phrase “1513-0092 and 1513-0138”. PART 27—IMPORTATION OF DISTILLED SPIRITS, WINES, AND BEER 3. The authority citation for part 27 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 552(a), 19 U.S.C. 81c, 1202; 26 U.S.C. 5001, 5007, 5008, 5010, 5041, 5051, 5054, 5061, 5121, 5122-5124, 5201, 5205, 5207, 5232, 5273, 5301, 5313, 5382, 5555, 6109, 6302, 7805.

    § 27.59 [Amended]
    4. In § 27.59, the Office of Management and Budget control number reference at the end of the section is amended by removing the phrase “number 1513-XXXX” and adding in its place the phrase “numbers 1513-0092 and 1513-0138”. Signed: October 30, 2017. John J. Manfreda, Administrator. Approved: November 30, 2017. Timothy E. Skud, Deputy Assistant Secretary (Tax, Trade and Tariff Policy).
    [FR Doc. 2017-26283 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810-31-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Wage and Hour Division 29 CFR Part 531 RIN 1235-AA21 Tip Regulations Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) AGENCY:

    Wage and Hour Division, Department of Labor.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Labor (Department) is proposing to rescind portions of its tip regulations issued pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act that impose restrictions on employers that pay a direct cash wage of at least the full federal minimum wage and do not seek to use a portion of tips as a credit toward their minimum wage obligations. This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeks the views of the public on the Department's proposed rescission of those portions of the regulations.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before January 4, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    To facilitate the receipt and processing of written comments on this NPRM, the Department encourages interested persons to submit their comments electronically. You may submit comments, identified by Regulatory Information Number (RIN) 1235-AA21, by either of the following methods:

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

    Mail: Address written submissions to Melissa Smith, Director of the Division of Regulations, Legislation, and Interpretation, Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-3502, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210.

    Instructions: This NPRM is available through the Federal Register and the http://www.regulations.gov Web site. You may also access this document via the Wage and Hour Division's (WHD) Web site at http://www.dol.gov/whd/. All comment submissions must include the agency name and Regulatory Information Number (RIN 1235-AA21) for this NPRM. Response to this NPRM is voluntary. The Department requests that no business proprietary information, copyrighted information, or personally identifiable information be submitted in response to this NPRM. Submit only one copy of your comment by only one method (e.g., persons submitting comments electronically are encouraged not to submit paper copies). Please be advised that comments received will become a matter of public record and will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. All comments must be received by 11:59 p.m. on the date indicated for consideration in this NPRM; comments received after the comment period closes will not be considered. Commenters should transmit comments early to ensure timely receipt prior to the close of the comment period. Electronic submission via http://www.regulations.gov enables prompt receipt of comments submitted as DOL continues to experience delays in the receipt of mail in our area. For access to the docket to read background documents or comments, go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Melissa Smith, Director of the Division of Regulations, Legislation, and Interpretation, Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-3502, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210, telephone: (202) 693-0406 (this is not a toll-free number). Copies of this NPRM may be obtained in alternative formats (Large Print, Braille, Audio Tape or Disc), upon request, by calling (202) 693-0675 (this is not a toll-free number). TTY/TDD callers may dial toll-free 1 (877) 889-5627 to obtain information or request materials in alternative formats.

    Questions of interpretation and/or enforcement of the agency's regulations may be directed to the nearest WHD district office. Locate the nearest office by calling the WHD's toll-free help line at (866) 4US-WAGE ((866) 487-9243) between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. in your local time zone, or log onto WHD's Web site at http://www.dol.gov/whd/america2.htm for a nationwide listing of WHD district and area offices.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Executive Summary

    The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) generally requires covered employers to pay employees at least a Federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour. See 29 U.S.C. 206(a)(1). Under section 3(m) of the FLSA, which defines the term “wage,” an employer of tipped employees can satisfy its obligation to pay those employees the Federal minimum wage by paying a lower direct cash wage and counting a limited amount of the tips received by its employees as a partial credit to satisfy the difference between the direct cash wage paid and the Federal minimum wage (known as a “tip credit”), if it follows certain statutory requirements. See 29 U.S.C. 203(m).

    In 1966, Congress created a tip credit provision within the definition of a “wage” in section 3(m) of the statute that permitted an employer to utilize tips received by its employees to subsidize up to 50 percent of its minimum wage obligations. See Public Law 89-601, 101(a), 80 Stat. 830 (1966); 76 FR 18,832, 18,838.1 In 1974, Congress again amended section 3(m) by providing that an employer could not utilize tips received by its employees toward its Federal minimum wage obligation unless, among other things:

    1 As discussed further below, Congress changed the amount of tips received by employees that an employer can credit against its minimum wage obligation in subsequent amendments to the FLSA. See, infra, Sec. III.

    (1) [its] employee has been informed by the employer of the provisions of this subsection and (2) all tips received by such employee have been retained by the employee, except that this subsection shall not be construed to prohibit the pooling of tips among employees who customarily and regularly receive tips.

    Public Law 93-259, 13(e), 88 Stat. 55 (1974). Thus, section 3(m) permits an employer to take a partial credit against its minimum wage obligations on account of tips received by its employees but only if, among other things, its tipped employees retain all of their tips. Section 3(m), however, does not preclude an employer that takes a tip credit from implementing a tip pool in which tips are shared only among those employees who “customarily and regularly receive tips.” Id.

    The Department first promulgated regulations implementing the section 3(m) tip credit in 1967. See 32 FR 13,575 (Sept. 28, 1967). In 2011, the Department updated those regulations to reflect its then-existing view that the statutory conditions in section 3(m) of the FLSA require that tipped employees retain all of their tips, except for those tips distributed through a tip pool limited to customarily and regularly tipped employees, regardless whether such employees work for an employer that takes a tip credit. See, e.g., § 531.52.

    As discussed below, since 2011 there has been a significant amount of private litigation involving the tip pooling and tip retention practices of employers that pay a direct cash wage of at least the Federal minimum wage and do not take a tip credit. There has also been litigation directly challenging the Department's authority to promulgate the 2011 Final Rule as it applies to employers that pay a direct cash wage of at least the Federal minimum wage. At the same time, there have been changes in state laws that require employers to pay their tipped employees a direct cash wage of at least the Federal minimum wage, which have resulted in more employers being unable to claim a tip credit.

    In part because of these developments, the Department is concerned about the scope of its current tip regulations as applied to employers that pay the full Federal minimum wage to their tipped employees. The Department is also seriously concerned that it incorrectly construed the statute in promulgating the tip credit regulations that apply to such employers. Additionally, the Department seeks to consider whether it is unnecessary to prohibit the sharing of tips with employees who do not customarily receive tips, including restaurant cooks, dishwashers, and other traditionally lower-wage job classifications, when their employer does not take a tip credit under FLSA section 3(m) and its employees are paid at least the full Federal minimum wage.

    The Department is therefore proposing to rescind the parts of its tip regulations that bar tip-sharing arrangements in establishments where the employers pay full Federal minimum wage and do not take a tip credit against their minimum wage obligations. This proposed rule applies only to employers that pay direct cash wages of at least the Federal minimum wage and do not take a tip credit. It does not apply to employers who pay less than the Federal minimum wage and take a tip credit.

    The proposed removal of the regulatory limitation on an employer's ability to utilize tips if it pays a direct wage of at least the full FLSA minimum wage will allow for employers to provide in their agreements 2 with employees for tip sharing among a larger tip pool of employees. This change could result, for example, in tips being shared with employees who are not customarily and regularly tipped, such as back-of-the-house employees in restaurants. This type of tip sharing was at issue in Cumbie v. Woody Woo, Inc., 596 F.3d 577 (9th Cir. 2010) (employer paid its tipped employees a direct wage payment that exceeded the Federal minimum wage and instituted a tip pool that included back-of-the-house employees who did not customarily and regularly receive tips, such as dishwashers and cooks). If the Department's rule were adopted as proposed herein, it would expressly allow such tip sharing. Employers in other industries could also adopt similarly varied tip pooling arrangements among tipped and non-tipped employees. E.g., Cesarz v. Wynn Las Vegas, 2014 WL 117579 (D. Nev. 2014), rev'd and remanded by Oregon Rest. & Lodging Ass'n v. Perez, 816 F.3d 1080 (9th Cir. 2016), reh'g and reh'g en banc denied, 843 F.3d 355 (9th Cir. 2016), pet. for cert. filed (Aug. 1 2016) (employer instituted a tip pool through which dealers' tips were shared with other casino employees in jobs that have not traditionally been customarily and regularly tipped). Promulgation of the regulation would also make clear that where an employer does not claim the tip credit under section 3(m) and pays a direct wage that satisfies the FLSA's minimum wage requirements, the treatment and disposition of tips is a matter of agreement between the employer and employees or of state law.

    2 Similar references to agreements in this notice refer to agreements, whether written or otherwise, between an employer and its employees regarding the treatment and disposition of tips received by such employees. Cf. Williams v. Jacksonville Terminal Co., 315 U.S. 386, 397 (1942) (determining that, “[i]n businesses where tipping is customary, the tips, in the absence of an explicit contrary understanding, belong to the recipient,” but that “an arrangement [may be] made by which the employee agrees” to a different disposition of such tips).

    To estimate the impact of the proposed rule, the Department looked at two occupations that constitute a large percentage of tipped workers (waiters, waitresses, and bartenders) and focused on two industries (drinking places and full-service restaurants). Based on the data used in the regulatory impact analysis below, the Department estimated that there are up to 1,298,231 tipped workers in the selected occupations, and 206,770 full-service restaurants, and 40,095 drinking places.

    There are labor market forces that will affect decisions concerning employer use or reallocation of tips. For example, there are certain market factors that may discourage any changes in tip-sharing practices, such as employee resistance and heightened turnover among the customarily tipped employees. The Department is unable to quantify how customers will respond to proposed regulatory changes, which in turn would affect total tipped income and employer behavior. The Department currently lacks data to quantify possible reallocations of tips through newly expanded tip pools to employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips. The Department presents a primarily qualitative approach to assessing the benefits and transfers of the new rule.

    The Department estimated the regulatory familiarization costs associated with this proposed rule on an establishment basis and calculated the first year cost to be $3.431 million. The Department discussed other impacts and benefits of the proposed rule qualitatively. For the purposes of E.O. 13771, it is expected that this proposed rule would, if finalized as proposed, qualify as an “E.O. 13771 deregulatory action.”

    II. Recent Developments in Tip Pooling Regulations and Litigation; Proposed Changes to Regulations; and Nonenforcement Policy

    As noted above, the FLSA's tip credit provision was enacted in 1966. WHD promulgated regulations implementing the FLSA's tip credit provision in 1967. See 29 U.S.C. 203(m), Public Law 89-601, 101(a), 80 Stat. 830 (1966); 32 FR 13,575 (Sept. 28, 1967). Among other things, the 1967 regulations acknowledged that employers and employees could agree that tips received would belong to the employer, which might then use the tips to satisfy the entirety of its minimum wage obligations, thus exceeding the then-50 percent limitation on an employer's crediting of tips received by its employees against its minimum wage obligations. See, e.g., § 531.55(b) (1967) (“[I]f pursuant to an employment agreement the tips received by an employee must be credited or turned over to the employer, such sums may, after receipt by the employer, be used by the employer to satisfy the monetary requirements of the Act. In such instances there is no applicability of the 50-percent limitation on tip credits provided by section 3(m).”).

    The 1967 regulations were consistent with Williams v. Jacksonville Terminal Co., 315 U.S. 386 (1942), and the legislative history of the 1966 amendments. In Jacksonville Terminal, the Supreme Court held that an employer had complied with the FLSA's minimum-wage requirements by paying its employees only those tips that the employees received from customers and, if tips received by any employee did not satisfy the minimum wage, by paying the difference to that employee. Id. at 388-389, 397-398, 403-408. The Court reasoned that such tips “belong to the recipient” employee “in the absence of an explicit contrary understanding,” but that an employer and its employees could agree that the employer would “take the compensation paid by [customers] for the service [provided by the employees], whether paid as a fixed charge or as a tip.” Id. at 397-398. The Court ultimately concluded that the parties in the case had entered, and the FLSA did not prohibit, such an agreement to “transfer the tips [collected by the employees] . . . to the credit of the [employer].” Id. at 403; see id. at 403-408. The 1966 legislative history similarly reflected that the new statutory “tip provisions [we]re sufficiently flexible to permit the continuance of existing practices with respect to tips,” including practices under which “an employer and his tipped employees . . . agree that all tips are to be turned over or accounted for to the employer to be treated by him as part of his gross receipts.” S. Rep. 1487, 89th Cong., 2d Sess. 12 (1966). In that circumstance, however, “the employer must pay the employee the full minimum hourly wage, since for all practical purposes the employee is not receiving tip income.” Id.

    When it amended section 3(m) in 1974, Congress added the requirement that an employer taking a tip credit must permit its tipped employees to retain all of their tips, except for those tips distributed through a mandatory tip pool that includes only employees who customarily and regularly receive tips. See Public Law 93-259, 13(e). Immediately after the 1974 amendments, WHD stated that its existing regulations were superseded by the amendments to the extent that they were in conflict with those amendments, in particular, those provisions that permitted an employer to use tips received by its employees toward its minimum wage obligations to a greater extent than permitted by section 3(m). See Wage and Hour Opinion Letter FLSA-626, 1974 WL 422051 (June 21, 1974), at *2; Wage and Hour Opinion Letter WH-310, 1975 WL 40934, at *1 (Feb. 18, 1975); Wage and Hour Opinion Letter WH-321, 1975 WL 40945, at *1-2 (Apr. 30, 1975). However, although the statutory tip credit provision was significantly amended in 1974 and thereafter, WHD did not revise its 1967 tip credit regulations until 2011. See 76 FR 18,832, 18,854-56 (Apr. 5, 2011).

    In 2008, the Department published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposed, among other things, to amend WHD's tip credit regulations to reflect the 1974 amendments to the FLSA. See 73 FR 43,654, 43,659 (July 28, 2008). Before it had finalized that rulemaking, the Department participated as amicus curiae in support of a tipped employee challenging her employer's tip pooling arrangement in Cumbie v. Woody Woo, a case before the Ninth Circuit. 596 F.3d 577. Woody Woo involved an employer that paid its tipped employees a direct wage payment that exceeded the Federal minimum wage and instituted a mandatory tip pool that included back-of-the-house employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips, such as dishwashers and cooks. Id. at 578-79. The district court in Woody Woo had concluded that section 3(m)'s restrictions on tip pooling apply only when an employer takes a tip credit against its minimum wage obligations. See Cumbie v. Woody Woo, Inc., 2008 WL 2884484, at *3 (D. Or. July 25, 2008). The Department argued before the Ninth Circuit that the district court's interpretation would permit an employer to use tips received by its employees to a greater extent than that permitted in section 3(m), since it would permit an employer to use tips to meet its entire minimum wage obligation or to subsidize the wages of non-tipped employees. See Br. of the Sec'y of Labor as Amicus Curiae, Apr. 29, 2009, at 8, 2009 WL 2609879, Cumbie v. Woody Woo, Inc., 596 F.3d 577 (9th Cir. 2010). On February 23, 2010, the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion in Cumbie v. Woody Woo, which held in the context of an employer that did not use tips to pay its employees the minimum wage, that section 3(m)'s tip retention requirements apply only to employers that avail themselves of the tip credit provision. 596 F.3d 577, 581 (9th Cir. 2010).

    The Department finalized its revisions to the tip regulations in 2011. See 76 FR 18,832, 18,854-56 (revising, among other provisions, §§ 531.52, 531.54, and 531.59). Those regulations, among other things, bar all employers from sharing tips with employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips—regardless whether the employers take a tip credit. See, e.g., § 531.52. The Department's regulations thus provide that an employer is prohibited from using tips received by employees, whether or not it has taken a tip credit, except as a credit against its minimum wage obligations to the employee to the extent permitted by that section, or in furtherance of a tip pool that is permissible under that section. Id.

    On July 12, 2012, the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association (ORLA), along with the National Restaurant Association, Washington Restaurant Association, Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant & Retailers Association, and others (the ORLA Plaintiffs), challenged the Department's authority to promulgate the 2011 Final Rule as it applies to employers that do not take a tip credit and that pay a direct cash wage of at least the Federal minimum wage. See Compl., July 12, 2012, Oregon Rest. & Lodging Ass'n v. Solis, 948 F.Supp.2d 1217 (D. Or. 2013). The ORLA Plaintiffs sought to have those parts of the Department's 2011 tip regulations that apply to employers that do not take a tip credit against their minimum wage obligations declared invalid and vacated. See id. at 33-34 (identifying §§ 531.52, 531.54, and 531.59).

    The plaintiffs alleged, inter alia, that such tip regulations are contrary to the FLSA's clear statutory language in section 3(m), which places restrictions on an employer's use of tips only when the employer takes a tip credit. See id. at 18-21. The Department responded by arguing that the FLSA does not address an employer's use of tips when the employer does not take a tip credit, and that the Department appropriately used its rulemaking authority to address that statutory gap through the 2011 tip regulations. See Reply Br. of the Sec'y of Labor, Dec. 7, 2012, at 5-8, Oregon Rest. & Lodging Ass'n v. Solis, 948 F.Supp.2d 1217 (D. Or. 2013). On June 7, 2013, the district court granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, ruling that the 2011 tip regulations were invalid. Oregon Rest. & Lodging Ass'n v. Solis, 948 F.Supp.2d 1217, 1227 (D. Or. 2013). The court concluded that the regulations were contrary to the clear intent of Congress to limit the use or pooling of tips only to employers that elect to take a tip credit. See id. at 1226.

    On August 21, 2013, the Department appealed the district court's decision to the Ninth Circuit. See Br. of the Sec'y of Labor, Dec. 27, 2013, at 8, Oregon Rest. & Lodging Ass'n v. Perez, 816 F.3d 1080 (9th Cir. 2016) (ORLA). In its brief, the Department argued that the 1974 amendments to the FLSA expressly delegated broad authority to the Department to implement the terms of the amendments and that the Department properly used this authority to promulgate the 2011 tip regulations, which address a gap in the statutory scheme: Whether an employer that does not take a tip credit is subject to section 3(m)'s restrictions. See id. at 24-28. The Department further argued that the regulations were necessary to prevent a circumvention of section 3(m)'s limitations on an employer's ability to use or require the pooling of tips. See id. at 32-33. The Ninth Circuit consolidated the case with Cesarz v. Wynn Las Vegas—a private FLSA action in which the plaintiffs-employees, relying on the Department's 2011 regulations, alleged that the employer violated the FLSA when it required its tipped employees to share their tips with non-tipped employees, see 2014 WL 117579, at *1 (D. Nev. 2014)— for purposes of oral argument and disposition. See 816 F.3d 1080 n.* (9th Cir. 2016).3

    3 While ORLA was pending before the Ninth Circuit, the Fourth Circuit heard Trejo v. Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., an appeal from a district court's dismissal of a private FLSA action in which plaintiffs—whose employer did not claim the tip credit—sought to recoup tips that their employer required them to pay into an allegedly invalid tip pool. 795 F.3d 442 (4th Cir. 2015). The Department submitted a brief as amicus curiae arguing that the 2011 tip-pooling regulation was valid and entitled to deference, but also pointing out that the FLSA provides a cause of action only to recover unpaid minimum wages or overtime compensation under sections 6 and 7 of the FLSA, rather than to recover tips in and of themselves under section 3(m), and that plaintiffs had expressly disclaimed any minimum wage violation. See Br. of the United States as Amicus Curiae, Jan. 2015, at *12, *13, 2015 WL 191535, Trejo, 795 F.3d 442 (4th Cir. 2015). In other words, and as explained further in footnote 10, infra, Plaintiffs did not argue that the effect of the invalid tip pool was to reduce their wages below the minimum wage, which would present a valid cause of action under the FLSA. See id. at *12 (citing 29 U.S.C. 216(b) (private right of action limited to enforcing the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime compensation provisions); see also 29 U.S.C. 216(c) (imposing similar limitations on the Secretary's ability to enforce the FLSA)). The Fourth Circuit concluded that section 3(m) “simply does not contemplate a claim for wages other than minimum wage or overtime wages.” Trejo, 795 F.3d at 448 (internal quotation marks omitted). See also Malivuk v. Ameripark, 2016 WL 3999878, aff'd on other grounds,—F. App'x —, 2007 WL 2491498, (11th Cir. June 9, 2017).

    On February 23, 2016, the Ninth Circuit, reversing the district court, upheld the validity of the 2011 tip regulations in ORLA v. Perez, 816 F.3d 1080, 1090 (9th Cir. 2016). In deciding ORLA, the Ninth Circuit concluded that Woody Woo held only that section 3(m) does not prohibit employers that do not take a tip credit from instituting an invalid tip pool. See id. at 1088. Having found that the FLSA is silent with respect to employers that do not take a tip credit, the Ninth Circuit concluded that the 2011 tip regulations were a reasonable application of the agency's authority to fill gaps left by the text of the FLSA, because the “purpose of the Act does not support the view that Congress intended permanently to allow employers that do not take a tip credit to do whatever they wish with their employees' tips.” See id. at 1089-1090. On April 6, 2016, the ORLA Plaintiffs filed a petition for panel rehearing and rehearing en banc. See Pet. for Panel Reh'g and Reh'g En Banc, Apr. 6, 2016, ORLA v. Perez, 816 F.3d 1080 (9th Cir. 2016). The ORLA Plaintiffs argued that the Ninth Circuit's decision in ORLA cannot be reconciled with Woody Woo and reiterated their contention that the 2011 tip pooling regulation is an impermissible interpretation of the FLSA. See id. at 11, 13.

    On September 6, 2016, the ORLA panel denied the plaintiffs' request for panel rehearing, and a majority of the non-recused active judges voted to decline en banc review. See ORLA v. Perez, 816 F.3d 1080, reh'g and reh'g en banc denied, 843 F.3d 355, 356 (9th Cir. 2016).

    Judge O'Scannlain, joined by nine other judges, dissented. See id. (O'Scannlain, J., dissenting). Judge O'Scannlain concluded that the Department's tip pooling regulation is precluded because the Ninth Circuit previously held in Woody Woo that the FLSA “clearly and unambiguously permits employers who forgo a tip credit to arrange their tip-pooling affairs however they see fit.” See id. at 358 (citing Cumbie v. Woody Woo, 596 F.3d at 579 n.6, 581, 581 n.11, 582, 583; Nat'l Cable & Telecomms. Ass'n v. Brand X Internet Servs., 545 U.S. 967, 984 (2005)). Based on this statutory construction, Judge O'Scannlain wrote, “[T]he Department has not been delegated authority to ban tip pooling by employers who forgo the tip credit, and [as such] the Department's assertion of regulatory jurisdiction is manifestly contrary to the statute and exceeds [its] statutory authority.” Id. at 363-64 (internal quotation marks omitted).

    The National Restaurant Association (and other plaintiffs in the OLRA litigation) filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court, asking for review of the Ninth Circuit's decision in ORLA, and that petition is pending. See Sup. Ct. No. 16-920 (certiorari petition filed Jan. 19, 2017). The Wynn Defendants filed their own petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court on August 1, 2016, which is also still pending. Sup. Ct. No. 16-163 (certiorari petition filed (Aug. 1 2016)).

    As explained further in Part IV, below, more employers are unable to claim a tip credit in 2017 than when the Department's regulations were promulgated in 2011 due to the increased number of states that require employers to pay their tipped employees a direct cash wage of at least the Federal minimum wage. Perhaps because of these changes to state law, there has been a significant amount of private litigation in recent years involving the tip pooling and tip retention practices of employers that pay a direct cash wage of at least the Federal minimum wage. Much of that litigation involves the application of the Department's 2011 tip credit regulations that bar employers from retaining and from sharing tips with employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips, even when the employers have not taken a tip credit. For example, in Trejo v. Ryman Hospitality Properties, the employees alleged that their employer, which had paid its tipped employees a direct cash wage of at least the Federal minimum wage, improperly required its tipped employees to contribute to a tip pool including employees who were not customarily and regularly tipped. Sazzad v. Ryman Hosp. Properties, No. 8:13-cv-02911 (D. Md., April 21, 2014), aff'd sub nom, Trejo, 795 F.3d 442 (4th Cir. 2015); see also Malivuk, 2016 WL 3999878, aff'd on other grounds,—F. App'x —, 2017 WL 2491498 (11th Cir. June 9, 2017); see also Brueningsen v. Resort Express Inc., 2015 WL 339671 (D. Utah Jan. 26, 2015), recons. denied, 2016 WL 1181683 (D. Utah Mar. 25, 2016), appeal filed (10th Cir., Nov. 16, 2016). Wynn, 2014 WL 117579 (D. Nev. 2014) (employees alleged that the employer improperly required them to contribute to a tip pool that included their supervisors), rev'd and remanded by ORLA, 816 F.3d 1080 (9th Cir. 2016), reh'g and reh'g en banc denied, 843 F.3d 355 (9th Cir. 2016), pet. for cert. filed (Aug. 1 2016). Therefore, the application of the Department's regulations to employers who do not take a tip credit has gained increasing importance in recent years.

    Additionally, the Tenth Circuit recently ruled in Marlow v. The New Food Guy, a private FLSA case in which the United States participated as amicus curiae, that the Department's 2011 tip regulations are invalid to the extent that they bar an employer from using or sharing tips with employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips when the employer pays a direct cash wage of at least the Federal minimum wage and does not claim a section 3(m) tip credit. See Marlow v. New Food Guy, Inc., 861 F.3d 1157 (10th Cir. 2017). In Marlow, the plaintiff alleged that the employer, which paid the plaintiff a direct wage of at least the Federal minimum wage and did not claim a section 3(m) tip credit, violated section 3(m) and the Department's 2011 regulations by retaining the tips employees received from customers. Id. at 1158-59. The district court dismissed the plaintiff's claim, concluding that the employer satisfied its obligations under the FLSA and that section 3(m) does not provide a cause of action for lost tips. Marlow v. New Food Guy, Inc., No. 15-CV-01327, 2016 WL 4920980, at *1 (D. Colo. Feb. 17, 2016).4 On appeal, the United States, while also defending the validity of the Department of Labor's 2011 tip regulations, argued as a threshold matter that the plaintiff failed to plead a claim under the FLSA because she did not allege that her employer's retention of her tips resulted in a minimum wage or overtime violation. See Br. of the United States as Amicus Curiae, Oct. 2016, 2016 WL 6566326, at *10. The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the plaintiff's claim, holding that the text of the FLSA limits an employer's use of tips only when the employer takes a tip credit, “leaving [the Department] without authority to regulate to the contrary.” See Marlow, 861 F.3d at 1163-64.5

    4 Following the Ninth Circuit's decision in ORLA, the plaintiff moved for reconsideration of the district court's decision. See Marlow, 861 F.3d at 1159. The district court denied the plaintiff's motion, expressing its agreement with the ORLA dissent. See id.; Order on Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration, Marlow, No. 15-CV-01327 (D. Co. Apr. 4, 2016).

    5 The plaintiff in Marlow petitioned for panel rehearing of the Tenth Circuit's decision, which the Court denied on July 20, 2017. See Order on Appellant's Petition for Panel Rehearing, Marlow, No. 16-1134 (10th Cir. July 20, 2017).

    The Department has taken into account the changed landscape and extensive litigation since promulgating its 2011 Final Rule. In that regard, the dissent to the denial of the petition for rehearing en banc in ORLA is notable, not only because of the force of that opinion but also because it drew the support of nine other judges in the Ninth Circuit. After considering the ORLA rehearing dissent and the Tenth Circuit's decision in Marlow, both of which state that the Department's 2011 Final Rule exceeded the agency's authority under section 3(m), the Department is reconsidering its regulations to the extent that they apply to employers that pay a direct wage of at least the Federal minimum wage and do not claim a credit based on tips to satisfy their minimum wage obligation. The Department has serious concerns that it incorrectly construed the statute in promulgating its current regulations, the scope of which extends to employers that have paid the full Federal minimum wage to their tipped employees, particularly insofar as those employers, rather than taking the tips for their own purposes, provide for such tips to be shared with other employees through a tip pool. The Department also has independent and serious concerns about those regulations as a policy matter. In particular, the Department seeks to remove prohibitions on sharing tips with employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips—including restaurant cooks, dishwashers, and other traditionally lower-wage job classifications—when their employer does not take a tip credit under FLSA section 3(m) and all employees are paid at least the full Federal minimum wage. In light of all of these factors, the Department is proposing to rescind the parts of its tip regulations that apply to employers that pay a direct cash wage of at least the full Federal minimum wage and do not take a tip credit against their minimum wage obligations. The Department also issued a nonenforcement policy on July 20, 2017, whereby WHD will not enforce the Department's regulations on the retention of tips received by employees with respect to any employee who is paid a cash wage of not less than the full FLSA minimum wage ($7.25) and for whom their employer does not take an FLSA section 3(m) tip credit either for 18 months or until the completion of this rulemaking, whichever comes first.6 This nonenforcement policy provides nationwide consistency while the Department moves forward with rulemaking.

    6 This nonenforcement policy extends the agency's partial nonenforcement policy already in effect. In Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Ass'n v. Solis, 948 F. Supp. 2d 1217 (D. Or. 2013), the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon declared the Department's 2011 regulations that limit an employer's use of tips received by its employees when the employer has not taken a tip credit against its minimum wage obligations to be invalid, and imposed injunctive relief, as described below. Notwithstanding the Ninth Circuit's decision in ORLA reversing that decision, the Department continues to be constrained by the injunctive relief entered by the district court until the Ninth Circuit issues its mandate, which formally notifies the district court of the court of appeals' decision; issuance of that mandate has been stayed “until final disposition [of this litigation] by the Supreme Court.” ORLA v. Perez, No. 13-35765 (9th Cir. Sept. 13, 2016). For these reasons, the Department is currently prohibited from enforcing its tip retention requirements against the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association plaintiffs (which include several associations, one restaurant, and one individual) and members of the plaintiff associations that can demonstrate that they were a member on June 24, 2013. The plaintiff associations in the Oregon litigation were the National Restaurant Association, Washington Restaurant Association, Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association, and Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant, and Retailer Association. As a matter of enforcement policy, the Department decided that while the injunction is in place it will not enforce its tip retention requirements against any employer that has not taken a tip credit in jurisdictions within the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit has appellate jurisdiction over the states of California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, and Arizona; Guam; and the Northern Mariana Islands. See WHD, Fact Sheet #15: Tipped Employees Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs15.pdf (last accessed June 12, 2017).

    III. Legislative and Regulatory History of the Section 3(m) Tip Credit

    As discussed above, Congress amended the FLSA's tip credit provision in 1974 to require an employer that elects to take a tip credit against its minimum wage obligations to permit its tipped employees to retain all tips they receive, except for those distributed through a tip pool limited to customarily and regularly tipped employees. See Public Law 93-259, § 13(e). The legislative history emphasizes that the employee-tip-retention requirement was not “intended to discourage the practice of pooling, splitting, or sharing tips with employees who customarily and regularly receive tips—e.g., waiters, bellhops, waitresses, countermen, busboys, [and] service bartenders, etc.” S. Rep. No. 93-690, at 43 (1974). “On the other hand,” the Report explains, “the employer will lose the benefit” of the tip credit if tipped employees are required to share their tips with employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips—e.g., janitors, dishwashers, chefs, laundry room attendants, etc.” Id.7

    7 The Department has concluded that employer-mandated tip pools described in section 3(m) may also include employees in occupations with duties analogous to those of the Senate's list of “employees who customarily and regularly receive tips” (“waiters, bellhops, waitresses, countermen, busboys, service bartenders”), such as barbacks. See Field Operations Handbook 30d04(b). Likewise, the Department has concluded that employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips, and therefore may not be included in an employer-mandated tip pool described in § 3(m), include employees in occupations with duties analogous to the Senate's list of non-customarily tipped occupations (“janitors, chefs or cooks, dishwashers, laundry room attendants”), such as salad preparers and prep cooks. See Field Operations Handbook 30d04(f).

    The language from the 1974 amendments to section 3(m) is essentially the same as the current version of the law. See 29 U.S.C. 203(m). Although section 3(m)'s tip credit provision has been amended three times since 1974—in 1977, 1989, and 1996—these amendments changed only the applicable amount of tips received by employees that could be used as a credit against an employer's minimum wage obligations. See Public Law 95-151, § 3(b), 91 Stat. 1245 (1977); Public Law 101-157, § 5, 103 Stat. 938 (1989); and Public Law 104-188, § 2105(b), 110 Stat. 1755 (1996).8 In amendments to the FLSA in 2007, Congress increased the minimum wage in three steps to $7.25 per hour beginning July 2009, but did not change the definition of “wage” in section 3(m) for purposes of applying the tip credit formula. Public Law 110-28, § 8102(a), 121 Stat. 112 (2007). Thus, the maximum tip credit that an employer is permitted to claim under section 3(m) today is $5.12 per hour—the current Federal minimum wage, $7.25 per hour, 29 U.S.C. 206(a)(1), minus $2.13—or 71 percent of the current Federal minimum wage. See 76 FR 18,832, 18,839.

    8 The 1977 amendments to the FLSA decreased the section 3(m) tip credit to a maximum of 40 percent of the Federal minimum wage, while the 1989 amendments returned it to a maximum of 50 percent of the Federal minimum wage. See Public Law 95-151, §§ 2(a), 3(b), 91 Stat. 1245 (1977); Public Law 101-157, §§ 2, 5, 103 Stat. 938 (1989). The 1996 amendments “froze” the direct cash wage that an employer must pay its tipped employees under section 3(m) at a minimum of 50 percent of the minimum wage in effect on the date of their enactment, or $2.13 per hour. See Public Law 104-188, §§ 2104(b), § 2105(b), 110 Stat. 1755 (1996). This change shifted the amount of the maximum tip credit from a fixed percentage of the current Federal minimum wage to the difference between the current Federal minimum wage and the frozen minimum direct cash payment, thus allowing the percentage of the Federal minimum wage covered by the tip credit to increase as the minimum wage rose.

    As explained above, the Department promulgated its initial tip regulations in 1967, one year after Congress created the tip credit in section 3(m), and several years before the 1974 amendments to section 3(m)'s tip provisions. 32 FR 13,575 (Sept. 28, 1967). Consistent with the Department's understanding of the 1966 amendments, the 1967 tip regulations permitted agreements under which tips received by employees would be turned over to the employer, which could then use the tips to pay the Federal minimum wage. Cf. S. Rep. 1487, 89th Cong., 2d Sess. 12 (1966) (explaining that such practices could continue under the 1966 amendments).

    Shortly after the 1974 statutory amendments, however, the Department addressed the impact of the amendments on its tip regulations and stated that its then-existing regulations were superseded by the amendments to the extent tha they were in conflict. Specifically, when asked about the legality of an agreement under which “the employer would retain all monies generated by tips” and directly pay its employees at the minimum wage rate, the Department stated that “[t]he amendments to section 3(m) of the Act,” which specified that an employer's wage credit for tips (up to 50% of the minimum wage) could not exceed the amount of tips actually received by the employee, “would have no meaning or effect unless they prohibit agreements under which tips are credited or turned over to the employer for use by the employer in satisfying the monetary requirements of the Act.” See Wage and Hour Opinion Letter FLSA-626, 1974 WL 422051, at *2 (June 21, 1974).

    The Department opined shortly after the 1974 amendments that “an employer may not take advantage of Section 3(m) by using any part of his employee's tips as a credit to meet his monetary obligation unless the employee is permitted to keep all tips” and, if an employer takes tips received by an employee, “then, in order to come into compliance, such employer must return the tips and pay the full statutory minimum wage.” Wage and Hour Opinion Letter WH-310, 1975 WL 40934, at *1 (Feb. 18, 1975); see Wage and Hour Opinion Letter WH-386, 1976 WL 41739, at *3 (July 12, 1976) (“[E]mployers must pay tipped employees at least half of the applicable minimum wage (from their own pockets) for each hour worked, and may take a tip credit of no more than 50 percent of the required minimum wage.”). To conclude otherwise, the Department reasoned, would enable an employer to circumvent section 3(m)'s restriction that employers use no more than a limited portion of tips received by employees to satisfy their Federal minimum wage obligations. Cf. Woody Woo, 596 F.3d at 579 n.7.

    The opinion letters issued shortly after the 1974 amendments were primarily focused on whether it would constitute an impermissible circumvention of section 3(m) of the Act for an employer to utilize tips received by its employees to satisfy its minimum wage obligations to a greater extent than Congress expressly permitted in the Act's tip credit provision. In a 1989 opinion letter, however, the Department opined that merely requiring tipped employees to participate in a tip pool that is not limited to employees in customarily and regularly tipped occupations—i.e., a tip pool in a form not expressly authorized by section 3(m)—may also violate the FLSA, even when an employer has paid all of the tipped and non-tipped employees in the pool a direct cash wage equal to or greater than the Federal minimum wage. See Wage and Hour Opinion Letter WH-536, 1989 WL 610348, at *3 (Oct. 26, 1989). In that letter, the Department stated that tips are an employee's property even when an employer pays a direct cash wage of at least the full Federal minimum wage and does not claim a tip credit against its minimum wage obligations based on erroneous reasoning 9 and, on that premise, concluded that a tipped employee who is required to participate in a tip pool that does not satisfy the criteria in section 3(m) is effectively required to “contribute part of his or her property to the employer or to other persons for the benefit of the employer.” Id. at *2. Thus, under the erroneous reasoning reflected in that letter, even when an employer does not claim a tip credit to reduce the direct cash wage it pays and does not use tips to fulfill any part of its minimum wage obligation to its tipped employees, mandating that a tipped employee contribute to a pool that includes employees in occupations that do not customarily and regularly receive tips “would become an issue under the minimum wage provisions of the Act,” if the “employer does not pay a sufficiently high cash wage to reimburse such employee for such loss, plus at least the minimum wage.” Id. 10

    9 The opinion letter, in the context of an employer that did not take a 3(m) tip credit, stated that “[t]he courts have made clear that tips are the property of the employee to whom they are given.” 1989 WL 610348, at *2 (citing Barcellona v. Tiffany English Pub, Inc., 597 F.2d 464, 466-467 (5th Cir. 1979)). The Department acknowledges that that statement is incorrect. Barcellona concluded that “[i]f there was no agreement as to ownership, then the tips were the property of the recipient,” and that the trial evidence in that particular case supported the factual finding that no such agreement existed. 597 F.2d at 467 (emphasis added) (citing Williams v. Jacksonville Terminal Co., 315 U.S. 386, 397 (1940)); cf. Richard v. Marriott Corp., 549 F.2d 303, 304-305 (4th Cir. 1977) (concluding that “tips belong to the employee to whom they are left” in circumstances in which no contrary agreement existed and the employer simply undertook to pay “the difference between the tips and the [minimum] hourly wage”).

    10 The Department similarly stated in the preamble to the 2011 Final Rule that, if, by requiring tipped employees to participate in a tip pool that does not satisfy the standards in section 3(m) or by claiming and using the tips itself, such an employer deducts sufficient tips to “reduce the employer's direct wage payment to an amount below the minimum wage,” the employer would violate section 6 of the FLSA and be subject to suit under section 16 or 17. 76 FR 18,832, 18,842; see also Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 73 FR 43,654, 43,659 (July 28, 2008) (explaining that if an “employer paid the employee a direct wage in excess of the minimum wage” it “would be able to make deductions [from the employee's tips] so long as they did not reduce the direct wage payment below the minimum wage”); Br. of the United States as Amicus Curiae, Jan. 2015, at 2, 2015 WL 191535, Trejo v. Ryman Hospitality Indus., 795 F.3d 442 (4th Cir. Jan. 2015) (pointing out that private plaintiffs who did not allege that the effect of their employers' tip pool was to reduce their wages below the minimum wage in violation of section 6 failed to plead a cause of action under the FLSA because section 3(m) of the Act does not provide a freestanding right to recover tips).

    In 2011, the Department issued a Final Rule addressing tip pooling and other uses of tips. See 76 FR 18,832, 18,842. Revised § 531.52 provides in relevant part that:

    Tips are the property of the employee whether or not the employer has taken a tip credit under section 3(m) of the FLSA. The employer is prohibited from using an employee's tips, whether or not it has taken a tip credit, for any reason other than that which is statutorily permitted in section 3(m): As a credit against its minimum wage obligations to the employee, or in furtherance of a valid tip pool.

    Id. at 18,855 (emphasis added). Under the current regulations an employer that pays a direct cash wage equal to or greater than the Federal minimum wage—just like an employer that claims a tip credit to reduce the direct cash wage it pays—may require tipped employees to participate in a tip pool that is limited to employees in customarily and regularly tipped occupations, but it may not require tipped employees to participate in a tip pool that includes employees who are not in customarily and regularly tipped occupations. Nor may an employer that pays a direct cash wage equal to or greater than the Federal minimum wage use its tips received by its employees for any other purpose.

    IV. Recent Changes in State Tip Pooling Laws

    As a result of market forces and changes in state wage laws, the number of employers paying tipped employees a direct cash wage that is equal to or greater than the Federal minimum wage (and thus not claiming a section 3(m) tip credit) has increased since the Department promulgated the 2011 Final Rule. The Department believes that these changes also merit reconsideration of the tip pooling restrictions imposed on employers that do not claim a tip credit under section 3(m).

    Historically, six western states (Alaska, California, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) have prohibited employers from using tips received by employees as a credit against their state minimum wages—all of which today equal or exceed the Federal minimum wage—thereby preventing employers in these states from claiming a section 3(m) tip credit to reduce the direct cash wage they pay without incurring liability under state law. See Alaska Stat. § 23.10.065(a); Cal. Lab. Code § 351 (amended 1975); Mont. Code Ann. §§ 39-3-402, 39-2-404 (originally enacted Sec. 2, Ch. 417 (1971)), Mont. Admin. R. 24.16.1508(1); Nev. Rev. Stat. § 608.160(1)(b); Or. Rev. Stat. § 653.035; Rev. Code Wash. 49.46.020, Wash. Admin. Code 296-126-022 (effective 1974); see also Alaska School Bus Safety Act, 1990 Alaska Laws Ch. 12, § 23.10.065 (1990); Henning v. Industrial Welfare Commission, 46 Cal. 3d 1262, 1275-76 (Cal. 1988) (holding that Labor Code section 351, as amended in 1975, “bar[s] the establishment of a minimum wage for tipped employees lower than the generally applicable minimum wage.”); Moen v. Las Vegas Int'l Hotel, Inc., 402 F. Supp. 157, 158 (D. Nev. 1975) (outlining requirements of Nev. Rev. Stat. § 608.160); Wash. Att'y Gen. Op. 1974 No. 18, 1974 WL 168752 (concluding that hotels and restaurants must pay the full Washington minimum wage to their tipped employees, and may not take advantage of the section 3(m) tip credit, since, “as it has long been administratively construed by the department of labor and industries, tips are . . . not included as a part of an employee's wages for the purposes of the Washington law.”); WHD, Minimum Wages for Tipped Employees, January 1, 2003, https://www.dol.gov/whd/state/tipped2003.htm. 11

    11 Additionally, Connecticut has required employers to pay bartenders a direct cash wage of at least the Federal minimum wage since 2001. See Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. 31-58, 31-60; Conn. Pub. Act. No. 00-144 (May 26, 2000). Connecticut currently requires bartenders to be paid a direct cash wage of at least $8.23 per hour. See Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. 31-58, 31-60. It permits employers to pay other tipped employees a minimum direct cash wage of $6.38. See id.

    Since the Department promulgated the 2011 Final Rule, a number of additional states have increased the direct cash wage an employer must pay some or all tipped employees under state law. In August 2014, Minnesota—which prohibits employers from taking a tip credit against the state minimum wage—increased its minimum wage for large employers from $6.15 per hour to $8.00 per hour (it was increased on August 1, 2016 to $9.50 per hour) and increased its minimum wage for small employers from $5.25 per hour to $7.25 per hour beginning in August 2015 (it is currently $7.75 per hour). See Minn. Stat. Ann. § 177.24, subd. 1, 2; 2014 Minn. Sess. Law Serv. Ch. 166. As a result, employers in Minnesota now must pay tipped employees a direct cash wage that is greater than the Federal minimum wage. In January 2015, Hawaii—which permits employers to take a tip credit but requires that the combined cash wage and tips must equal at least $7.00 more than the state minimum wage—increased the direct cash wage employers must pay tipped employees to $7.25 per hour (the current Federal minimum wage). Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 387-2. The minimum direct cash wage an employer must pay a tipped employee in Hawaii is currently $8.50 per hour and is scheduled to increase to $9.35 in January 2018. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 387-2. In December 2015, New York increased the direct cash wage employers that take a tip credit must pay tipped food service employees and other service employees to at least $7.50 per hour. See 12 NY ADC 146-1.3 (Dec. 4, 2015).12 And in November 2016, Arizona and Colorado enacted ballot measures that will increase the direct cash wage employers that take a tip credit must pay tipped employees to at least the current Federal minimum wage by January 2020. See Ariz. Proposition 206, approved Nov. 8, 2016 (amending Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 23-363(C)); 2016 Colo. Legis. Serv. Init. Pet. 101 (amending Colo. Const. art. XVIII, § 15).

    12 Effective December 31, 2016, New York has four schedules of direct cash wages that employers must pay tipped service workers and food service workers based on employer size and geographic location. See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 12, § 146-1.3. Currently, the lowest direct cash wage an employer can pay to a tipped food service worker in any part of the state is $7.50 per hour and the lowest direct cash wage an employer can pay a tipped service employee in any part of the state is $8.10 per hour. See id.

    Due to these changes, the share of servers, bellhops and porters, counter attendants, bartenders, and dining room attendants and bartender helpers 13 with employers that are or will be required under state law to pay a direct cash wage of at least the Federal minimum wage to all or a portion of their tipped employees has almost doubled, from approximately 17 percent in 2011 to approximately 31 percent today. See Table A: WHD Analysis of BLS Data Regarding States that Require Employers to Pay Tipped Employees a Direct Cash Wage At Least Equal to the Federal Minimum Wage.

    13 The BLS occupational categories of “Waiters and Waitresses,” “Baggage Porters and Bellhops,” “Counter Attendants, Cafeteria, Food Concession, and Coffee Shop,” “Bartenders,” and “Dining Room and Cafeteria Attendants and Bartender Helpers” most closely correspond to the illustrative list of “customarily and regularly tipped” occupations in the Senate Report accompanying the 1974 amendments to the FLSA: “waiters, bellhops, waitresses, countermen, busboys, [and] service bartenders.” See S. Rep. No. 93-690, at 43 (1974).

    V. The Department Is Proposing To Rescind Portions of Its Tip Regulations

    The Department seeks public comments, which should include supporting data whenever possible, on the proposed rescission of those portions of its 2011 tip regulations that apply to employers that pay tipped employees a direct cash wage that is equal to or greater than the Federal minimum wage and that do not claim a tip credit. The Department's current regulations require that tipped employees retain all tips they receive regardless whether the employer takes a tip credit under section 3(m). Employers can only require tipped employees to participate in a mandatory tip pool if the tip pool is limited to employees in customarily and regularly tipped occupations, such as servers, bartenders, and bussers. As discussed above, this regulatory restriction limiting tip pools to only customarily and regularly tipped employees applies even when an employer pays a direct cash wage of at least the full Federal minimum wage and does not claim a credit pursuant to section 3(m).

    The purpose of section 3(m)'s tip credit provision is to allow an employer to subsidize a portion of its Federal minimum wage obligation by crediting the tips customers give to employees. If an employer takes a tip credit against its wage obligations, section 3(m) applies, along with its attendant protections that restrict the employer's use of tips received by its employees. Where an employer has paid a direct cash wage of at least the full Federal minimum wage and does not take the employee tips directly, a strong argument exists that the statutory protections of section 3(m) do not apply.14 But if an employer pays the full Federal minimum wage and does not take a tip credit, the proposed rule would allow tip sharing in a manner currently prohibited by regulation, including by sharing tips with employees who are not customarily and regularly tipped (e.g., restaurant cooks and dishwashers) through a tip pool. The proposed rule, therefore, provides such employers and employees greater flexibility in determining the pay policies for tipped and non-tipped workers. It additionally allows them to reduce wage disparities among employees who all contribute to the customers' experience and to incentivize all employees to improve that experience regardless of their position. In sum, due to the Department's serious concerns that it incorrectly construed the statute in promulgating its current tip regulations to cover employers who pay a direct cash wage of at least the full Federal minimum wage, as well as the various other reasons described in this NPRM, the Department is proposing to rescind the portions of the current regulations that apply to employers that pay a direct cash wage of at least the Federal minimum wage and do not claim a tip credit against their minimum wage obligations.

    14 If an employer pays its tipped employees a direct cash wage of at least the full Federal minimum wage but takes its employees' tips to satisfy the entirety of its minimum wage obligation, there is a question as to whether the employer is circumventing the protections of section 3(m) because it is utilizing its employees' tips towards its minimum wage obligations to a greater extent than permitted under the statute for employers that take the tip credit. The Department will consider whether additional guidance on this circumvention issue should be issued in the future.

    This NPRM uses the term “tip pooling” to describe any scenario in which a tip provided by a customer to an employee or group of employees is shared, in whole or in part, with other employees. The Department recognizes that in some workplaces or under State laws, the term “tip pooling” may refer to a narrower set of practices, and that employers and workers may use other terms—for example “tip out,” “tip sharing,” or “tip jar”—to describe certain practices regarding tips. Accordingly, the Department asks commenters to define in their comments any terms they use to describe practices regarding tips. The Department will consider information provided by the public in response to this NPRM in finalizing its proposal to amend 29 CFR part 531, subpart D, as it applies to situations where an employer pays tipped employees a direct cash wage that is at least the Federal minimum wage.

    Table A—WHD Analysis of BLS Data Regarding States That Require Employers To Pay Tipped Employees a Direct Cash Wage at Least Equal to the Federal Minimum Wage State Servers
  • (waiters &
  • waitresses)
  • SOC Code 353031
  • Bartenders
  • SOC Code 353011
  • Counter
  • attendants,
  • cafeteria, food
  • concession, and
  • coffee shop
  • SOC Code 353022
  • Dining room and
  • cafeteria
  • attendants and
  • bartender
  • helpers
  • SOC Code 359011
  • Baggage
  • porters &
  • bellhops
  • SOC Code 396011
  • Servers;
  • bartenders;
  • counter
  • attendants;
  • dining room &
  • cafeteria
  • attendants &
  • bartenders
  • helpers;
  • porters &
  • bellhops
  • Direct cash wage for tipped employees at least equal to the Federal minimum wage, 2011  15 Alaska 3690 1930 1550 1020 190 8380 California 233330 45280 61040 61380 4800 405830 Montana 8780 4550 690 1060 90 15170 Nevada 37380 13420 3960 11050 3080 68890 Oregon 26530 9340 5100 3320 340 44630 Washington 41160 12530 19080 8430 920 82120 Subtotal 350870 86450 91420 86260 9420 624420 Total, U.S. 2289010 512230 441830 391290 44130 3678490 % U.S. total 15.33% 16.88% 20.69% 22.05% 21.35% 16.97% Direct cash wage for tipped employees equal to or scheduled to reach at least Federal minimum wage, present  16 Alaska 4260 1740 2540 920 90 9550 Arizona 53580 11150 8340 9610 740 83420 California 280100 57340 47970 71460 5660 462530 Colorado 52540 12560 4530 7490 640 77760 Connecticut 28430 7740 5480 3430 180 45260 Hawaii 16110 3200 5470 5130 1380 31290 Minnesota 50230 17270 15060 4040 330 86930 Montana 8540 5340 870 1040 70 15860 Nevada 39450 14870 4670 13070 2710 74770 New York 155540 43670 31470 33390 4250 268320 Oregon 33100 9040 9950 4270 270 56630 Washington 48380 13520 13380 8240 520 84040 Subtotal 770260 197440 149730 162090 16840 1296360 Total, U.S. 2564610 603320 499550 423080 44750 4135310 % U.S. total 30.03% 32.73% 29.97% 38.31% 37.63% 31.35%
    VI. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq., and its attendant regulations, 5 CFR part 1320, require the Department to consider the agency's need for its information collections, their practical utility, as well as the impact of paperwork and other information collection burdens imposed on the public, and how to minimize those burdens. The PRA typically requires an agency to provide notice and seek public comments on any proposed collection of information contained in a proposed rule. See 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(B); 5 CFR 1320.8.

    15 These employment figures are from the May 2011 BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey.

    16 These employment figures are from the May 2016 BLS OES Survey.

    This NPRM does not contain a collection of information subject to OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act. The Department welcomes comments on this determination.

    VII. Analysis Conducted in Accordance With Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, Executive Order 13563, Improved Regulation and Regulatory Review, and Executive Order 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs

    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 proposed rule is a “significant regulatory action” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 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.

    Executive Order 13771 (“E.O. 13771”) directs agencies to reduce regulation and control regulatory costs by eliminating at least two existing regulations for each new regulation, and by controlling the cost of planned regulations through the budgeting process. See 82 FR 9339. In relevant part, OMB defines an “E.O. 13771 regulatory action” as “a significant regulatory action as defined in section 3(f) of E.O. 12866 that has been finalized and that imposes total costs greater than zero.” 17 By contrast, an “E.O. 13771 deregulatory action” is defined as “an action that has been finalized and has total costs less than zero.” 18 For the purposes of E.O. 13771, it is expected that this proposed rule would, if finalized as proposed, qualify as an “E.O. 13771 deregulatory action.”

    17 OIRA Memo M-17-21, Guidance Implementing Executive Order 13771 (April 5, 2017).

    18Id.

    A. The Need for Rulemaking

    As explained earlier in Part IV of this notice, more employers are unable to claim a tip credit in 2017 than when the Department's regulations were promulgated in 2011 due to the increased number of states that require employers to pay their tipped employees a direct cash wage of at least the current $7.25 per hour Federal minimum wage. Perhaps because of these changes to state law, there has been a significant amount of private litigation in recent years involving the tip pooling and tip retention practices of employers that pay a direct cash wage of at least the Federal minimum wage. See, e.g., Trejo v. Ryman Hosp. Properties, 795 F.3d 442 (4th Cir. 2015); Aguila v. Corp. Caterers IV, 199 F. Supp. 3d 1358 (S.D. Fla. 2016), aff'd sub nom. 2017 WL 1101081 (11th Cir. Mar. 24, 2017); Marlow v. The New Food Guy, Inc., 861 F.3d 1157 (10th Cir. 2017).

    In part because of these developments, the Department has serious concerns that it incorrectly construed the statute in promulgating its current tip regulations as applied to employers that have paid the full Federal minimum wage to their tipped employees, and serious concerns about the regulations as a policy matter, especially under changed circumstances. Additionally, the Department seeks to remove prohibitions on sharing tips with non-customarily tipped employees—including restaurant cooks, dishwashers, and other traditionally lower-wage job classifications—when their employer does not take a tip credit under FLSA section 3(m) and all employees are paid at least the full Federal minimum wage. The Department is therefore proposing to rescind the portions of its tip regulations at 29 CFR part 531, subpart D that limit employee arrangements to share tips by imposing restrictions on employers that pay a direct cash wage of at least the full Federal minimum wage and do not claim a tip credit against their minimum wage obligation. The Department also issued a nonenforcement policy on July 20, 2017, whereby WHD will not enforce the Department's regulations on the retention of employees' tips with respect to any employee who is paid a cash wage of not less than the full FLSA minimum wage ($7.25) and for whom their employer does not take an FLSA section 3(m) tip credit, either for 18 months or until the completion of this rulemaking, whichever comes first.

    B. Economic Analysis i. Introduction

    This economic analysis provides a quantitative analysis of the rule familiarization costs of the proposed rule, and a qualitative discussion of the benefits and transfers that may result from the proposed rule.19 The potential benefits and transfers have not been quantified in this NPRM.

    19 The Department focused on two industries, which are classified under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) as 722410 (Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages)) and 722511 (Full-service Restaurants, the focus is on tipped employees who are classified under two Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes: SOC 35-3031 (Waiters and Waitresses) and SOC 35-3011 (Bartenders).

    There are labor market forces that will affect employers' decisions on tips that employees receive. For example, there are certain market factors that may cause employers not to change their practices with respect to tips, such as employee resistance and a decline in employee morale, as well as the costs of employee turnover. The Department is unable to quantify how customers will respond to proposed regulatory changes, which in turn would affect total tipped income and employer behavior.

    The Department welcomes comments that provide data or information regarding the potential benefits and transfers of this proposed rule, and has asked some specific questions that may help the Department quantify benefits and transfers in the Final Rule analysis. See Section VII.B.iv.

    ii. Estimated Number of Affected Workers and Firms

    This section explains the methodology used to estimate the number of workers who are defined as a tipped employee, i.e., where a tipped employee means any employee engaged in an occupation in which he or she customarily and regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips. See 29 U.S.C. 203(t). In the absence of data to specifically categorize employees by the definition above, the Department relied on a broader definition as allowed by the available data, where the minimum tip amount received is relaxed (that is, this analysis does not consider the $30-a-month threshold), and where the focus is on tipped employees who are classified under two Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes: SOC 35-3031 (Waiters and Waitresses) and SOC 35-3011 (Bartenders).

    For the present analysis, the Department considered these two occupations as they constitute a large percentage of tipped workers.20 The Department understands that there are other occupations with tipped workers such as SOC 35-9011 (Dining room and Cafeteria Attendants and Bartender Helpers) and SOC 35-9031 (Hosts and Hostesses, Restaurant, Lounge, and Coffee Shop), and others; thus, the Department welcomes comments and suggestions on whether this analysis should extend to additional tipped occupations. The Department focused on employees in those two occupations in the two industries in which they are primarily concentrated. The two industries are classified under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) as 722410 (Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages)) and 722511 (Full-service Restaurants). The Department understands that there are other industries with tipped workers, and welcomes comments and suggestions on whether this analysis should extend to those additional industries, and if so, which industries and why.

    20 Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, Table 11b. Employed Persons by Detailed Occupation and Age, 2016 (https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11b.pdf). The number of bartenders and wait staff were calculated as a percentage of total employment in 11 occupations in which compensation depends heavily on tips. The 11 occupations are based on a 2014 Congressional Budget Office report, “The Effects of a Minimum-Wage Increase on Employment and Family Income” (https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/113th-congress-2013-2014/reports/44995-MinimumWage.pdf).

    The Department used the Current Population Survey (CPS), a large, nationally representative sample of the labor force, for data on the number of workers employed in the two occupations mentioned above, the wages for these workers, and their usual hours worked. The CPS, which is sponsored jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and BLS, is a monthly survey of about 60,000 households. In any given month, one adult household member reports employment and other information for each member of the household.21 Households are surveyed for four months, excluded from the survey for eight months, surveyed for an additional four months, then permanently dropped from the sample. During the last month of each rotation in the sample (month 4 and month 16), employed respondents complete a supplementary questionnaire in addition to the regular survey. These households and questions form the CPS Merged Outgoing Rotation Group (CPS-MORG) and provide more detailed information about those surveyed.

    21See Current Population Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps.html (last visited July 17, 2017); CPS Merged Outgoing Rotation Groups, NBER, http://www.nber.org/data/morg.html (last visited July 17, 2017).

    The CPS asks respondents whether they usually receive overtime pay, tips, and commissions, which allows the Department to estimate the number of bartenders and wait staff in restaurants and drinking places who receive tips. CPS data, however, are not available separately for overtime pay, tips, and commissions, but the Department assumes very few bartenders and wait staff at restaurants and drinking places receive commissions, and the number who receive overtime pay but not tips is also assumed to be minimal. Therefore, where bartenders and wait staff responded affirmatively to this question, the Department assumes that they receive tips.

    All data tables in this analysis include estimates for the year 2016 as the baseline. Table 1 presents the estimates of the share of bartenders and wait staff in restaurants and drinking places who reported that they usually earned overtime pay, tips, or commissions in 2016. Approximately 61 percent of bartenders and 57 percent of wait staff reported usually earning overtime pay, tips, or commissions in 2016.

    Table 1—Share of Bartenders and Waiters/Waitresses in Restaurants and Drinking Places Who Earned Overtime Pay, Tips, or Commissions, 2016 Occupation Number of
  • bartenders and
  • waiters/waitresses
  • in restaurants and
  • drinking places
  • Number who
  • responded Yes
  • to earning
  • overtime pay,
  • tips, or
  • commissions
  • Percent who
  • responded Yes to
  • earning overtime
  • pay, tips, or
  • commissions
  • Total 2,265,705 1,298,231 57 Bartenders 357,727 218,989 61 Waiters and waitresses 1,907,979 1,079,243 57 Source: 2016 Current Population Survey. The Department used DataFerrett to extract basic monthly CPS data. Occupations: Bartenders (Census Code 4040) and Waiters and Waitresses (Census Code 4110). Industries: Restaurants and other food services (Census Code 8680) and Drinking places, alcoholic beverages (Census Code 8690).

    The Department used data from BLS' Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) to estimate the familiarization cost (Section VII.B.iv). The Department believes regulatory familiarization will occur at the specific establishment level rather than the broader firm level.22

    22 An establishment is commonly understood as a single economic unit, such as a farm, a mine, a factory, or a store, that produces goods or services. Establishments are typically at one physical location and engaged in one, or predominantly one, type of economic activity for which a single industrial classification may be applied. An establishment is in contrast to a firm, or a company, which is a business and may consist of one or more establishments, where each establishment may participate in a different predominant economic activity. See Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages: Concepts, https://www.bls.gov/opub/hom/cew/concepts.htm.

    iii. Qualitative Analysis

    Under this NPRM, employers that pay at least the full FLSA minimum wage directly to tipped employees could utilize some or all of the tips received by employees for purposes currently prohibited by the regulations (i.e., for purposes other than a tip pool limited to customarily and regularly tipped employees) or when employers that currently claim the section 3(m) tip credit increase the cash wages of their tipped employees to at least the full FLSA minimum wage and then utilize some or all of the tips received by employees for purposes currently prohibited by the regulations.23

    23 Under the Department's proposed rule, employers that do take a tip credit will still be subject to section 3(m)'s restrictions on the use of employee tips.

    The Department does not attempt to definitively interpret individual state law, and is therefore unable to determine to what extent state law will affect employer behavior in light of the proposed changes. It is assumed, however, that about 30 percent of all waiters and waitresses and bartenders work in states that prohibit employers from obtaining tips received by employees.24 In these states, employers must continue complying with state law, and therefore tipped employees in these states may not be impacted by the changes proposed in this NPRM. The potential transfers of tips would depend on employer behavior, employee behavior, customer behavior, and other factors. The Department seeks public comments, which should include supporting data whenever possible, on “tip pooling” practices in workplaces where an employer pays tipped employees a direct cash wage that is equal to or greater than the Federal minimum wage. The Department uses the term “tip pooling” to describe any scenario in which a tip provided by a customer to an employee or group of employees is redistributed, in whole or in part, with other employees.25 The Department recognizes that in some workplaces or under State laws, the term “tip pooling” may refer to a narrower set of practices, and that employers and workers may use other terms—for example “tip out,” “tip sharing,” or “tip jar”—to describe certain practices regarding tips. Accordingly, the Department asks commenters to define in their comments any terms they use to describe practices regarding tips. Specifically, the Department solicits comments with supporting data to the following issues:

    24See, e.g., Cal. Labor Code § 351 (“Every gratuity is hereby declared to be the sole property of the employee or employees to whom it was paid, given, or left for.”); N.Y. Lab. Law § 196-d (“No employer . . . shall demand or accept, directly or indirectly, any part of the gratuities, received by an employee, or retain any part of a gratuity or of any charge purported to be a gratuity for an employee.”). The Department seeks comments regarding how certain state laws apply to the retention of tips when the employer pays the full minimum wage directly and does not take a tip credit. Such information may assist the Department in providing a more detailed analysis in the final rule.

    25 Under the Department's current regulations, an employer can lawfully mandate that an employee contribute a portion of her tips to a tip pool, but only if the pool is limited to “employees who customarily and regularly receive tips.” Public Law 93-259, 13(e), (i.e., a “valid tip pool”). See § 531.54; Field Operations Handbook 30d04(a).

    1. Among employers that currently pay a direct cash wage of at least the Federal minimum wage and do not take a tip credit, what portion reallocate tips, with other employees? And, among that population of employers, what portion of the total tips do they retain or reallocate?

    2. How prevalent are employer-required, or mandatory, tip pools? What factors determine whether an employer institutes a mandatory tip pool? What portion of the tips received by employees do employers anticipate being contributed to the tip pool? What kinds of factors might influence an employer's decision to exclude some tips from inclusion in a mandatory tip pool?

    3. Do tipped employees receiving money from a mandatory tip pool typically receive a fixed dollar amount, or a fixed percentage of the pool? Is it common for some employees to receive a larger share of the tip pool than others,26 or are tips typically distributed on an even basis among all participants in the tip pool?

    26Woody Woo, 596 F.3d 577, addressed the legality of a tip pool where between 55 to 70 percent of the tip pool went to kitchen staff (e.g., dishwashers and cooks), with the remaining 30 to 45 percent returned to servers in proportion to their hours worked. Id. at 578-79.

    4. If this proposed rule were adopted as proposed, what kinds of employees would employers choose to include in mandatory tip pools?

    5. If this proposed rule were adopted as proposed, would customers' tipping practices change?

    6. If this proposed rule were adopted as proposed, would some employers respond by reallocating tipped income to their non-tipped employees? Would such a response reduce the disparity in take-home earnings between tipped and non-tipped employees in service industry establishments?

    7. If this rule were adopted as proposed, what non-regulatory limitations would employers and employees face when deciding whether and how to design a tip pooling arrangement? Are there any market norms or other behavioral reasons why some types of tip pooling are more prevalent than others? To what extent is the endowment effect (that is, customarily and regularly tipped employees potentially valuing tips more than wages of the same average amount) relevant for explaining potential tip behavior in a relatively less-regulated market?

    iv. Estimated Costs and Cost Savings to Employers

    In this subsection, the Department addresses regulatory familiarization costs and recordkeeping costs and cost savings attributable to the proposed rule. The Department also presents a qualitative discussion of potential benefits and the impacts of the proposed rule on wages and employment, as well as possible changes to customers' tipping behavior resulting from employers reallocating tips to other employees.

    1. Regulatory Familiarization Costs

    Regulatory familiarization costs represent direct costs on businesses associated with reviewing the new regulation. It is not clear whether regulatory familiarization costs are a function of the number of establishments or the number of firms. It can be assumed that the headquarters of a firm will conduct the regulatory review for businesses with multiple restaurants, and may also require chain restaurants to familiarize themselves with the regulation at the establishment level. To be conservative, the Department used the number of establishments in its cost estimate—which is larger than the number of firms—and assumes that regulatory familiarization occurs both the headquarters and at the decentralized (i.e., establishment) level.

    The Department assumes that all establishments will incur some regulatory familiarization costs regardless of whether the employer decides to change its tip practices as a result of the proposed rule. There may be differences in familiarization cost by the size of establishments; however, our analysis does not compute different costs for establishments of different sizes. The estimate of regulatory familiarization cost in the analysis is assumed to be conservative. Further, the change in this regulation is quite straightforward and is unlikely to have a major burden or cost.

    To estimate the total regulatory familiarization costs, the Department used: (1) The number of establishments in the two industries, Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages) and Full-service Restaurants, employing affected workers; (2) the wage rate for the employees reviewing the rule; and (3) the number of hours that it estimates employees will spend reviewing the rule. Table 2 shows the number of establishments in the two industries. To estimate the number of affected establishments, the Department used data from BLS's QCEW.

    Table 2—Number of Establishments With Tipped Workers, 2016 Industry Establishments NAICS 722410 (Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages)) 43,152 NAICS 722511 (Full-service Restaurants) 238,776 Total 281,928 Source: QCEW, 2016.

    For familiarization cost analysis, the Department assumes that a Compensation/benefits specialist (SOC 13-1141) (or a staff member in a similar position) with a median wage of $29.85 per hour in 2016 will review the rule.27 Given the change proposed, the Department assumes that it will take about 15 minutes to review the final rule. Assuming benefits are paid at a rate of 46 percent of the base wage, and overhead costs are 17 percent of the base wage, the reviewer's effective hourly rate is $48.66; thus, the average cost per establishment is $12.17 for 15 minutes of review time. The number of establishments in the selected industries was 281,928 in 2016. Therefore, regulatory familiarization costs in Year 1 are estimated to be $3.431 million ($12.17 × 281,928 establishments), which amounts to a 10-year annualized cost of $390,510 at a discount rate of 3 percent or $456,548 at a discount rate of 7 percent.28 Regulatory familiarization costs in future years are assumed to be de minimis.

    27 Compensation/benefits specialist ensures company compliance with federal and state laws, including reporting requirements; evaluates job positions, determining classification, exempt or non-exempt status, and salary; plans, develops, evaluates, improves, and communicates methods and techniques for selecting, promoting, compensating, evaluating, and training workers. 13-1141 Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists, https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes131141.htm (last visited on July 20, 2017).

    28 This regulatory familiarization cost cannot be subtracted from any current compliance costs because there was no Regulatory Impact Analysis in the 2011 rule. Costs incurred in 2011 are sunk from the perspective of employers in 2017.

    2. Other Potential Costs or Cost Savings

    If employers that are currently taking the section 3(m) tip credit continue to do so, their recordkeeping responsibilities under the FLSA regulation, 29 CFR 516.28, would not change under the proposed rule. However, if employers decide to pay the full FLSA minimum wage in cash and do not take a section 3(m) tip credit, they may have cost savings, because they will no longer need to keep the specific records required under 29 CFR 516.28.

    To the extent that some employers choose to change their practices and pay at least the full FLSA minimum wage in cash and not take a section 3(m) tip credit, they may have to revise their employee handbooks, adjust their payroll systems, and/or advise affected employees. These are generally regarded as adjustment costs that would be imposed by changes in the regulations. The Department recognizes, however, that deciding to pay at least the full FLSA minimum wage in cash and not take a section 3(m) tip credit is a choice some employers may make in responding to the proposed rule, but is not a requirement of the regulation. Due to the many variables and assumptions needed to estimate how employers will respond to the proposed regulatory changes and insufficient information at this time regarding the costs that employers may assume or not incur as a result of the proposed rule, the Department has not quantified a monetary value for any additional costs or cost savings in this NPRM. The Department invites comments regarding any potential costs or cost savings attributable to the proposed rule.

    v. Summary of Familiarization Costs

    Below the Department provides a summary table of the quantified costs for the RIA.

    Table 3—Regulatory Familiarization Costs Disc rate = 3% Disc rate = 7% First Year Costs ($ million) $3.431 $3.431 10-year Annualized Costs ($) 390,510 456,548 C. Discussion of Benefits and Other Potential Impacts of the Proposed Rule i. Benefits

    The purpose of section 3(m)'s tip credit provision is to allow an employer to subsidize a portion of its Federal minimum wage obligation through a credit against the tips given to employees by customers. If an employer takes a tip credit against its wage obligations, section 3(m) applies, along with its attendant provisions that restrict the employer's use of tips received by employees, including the requirement that only tipped employees be included in the tip pool. However, where an employer has paid employees a direct cash wage of at least the full Federal minimum wage, the proposed rule would allow the employer to reallocate tips received by its employees in a manner currently prohibited by regulation, including distributing tips to non-tipped employees (e.g., cooks or dishwashers) through a tip pool. The proposed rule, therefore, provides employers greater flexibility in determining the pay policies for tipped and non-tipped workers. Theoretically, it additionally allows them to reduce wage disparities among employees who all contribute to the customers' experience and incentivize all employees to improve that experience regardless of position.

    It is common in full-service restaurants to have a tip pool. One study suggests that tip pooling contributes to increased service quality, along with enhanced interaction and cooperation between coworkers, especially when team members rely on input or task completion from each other.29 From management's perspective, tip pooling may foster service that is customer-focused and promotes a setting where employees get along well, and may increase productivity.30 These studies suggest that expanding the tip pool to include non-tipped employees may lead to enhanced interaction and cooperation between coworkers, and increased quality of service. On the other hand, a recent meta-analysis indicates that tips may be more a function of server looks and friendliness, the customer's mood, and even the weather than they are of aspects of service quality that depend on cooks, dishwashers, or other back-of-house staff who might newly be included in tip pools as a result of this proposed policy.31 Under the proposed changes, the employer will be able to distribute customer tips to non-tipped employees, possibly resulting in increased earnings for those employees.

    29 Samuel Estreicher and Jonathan Nash, American Law & Economics Association Annual Meetings, The Law and Economics of Tipping: The Laborer's Perspective. (2004) available at http://law.bepress.com/alea/14th/art54.

    30 Ofer H. Azar, The implications of tipping for economics and management, 30 (10) International Journal of Social Economics. 1084-1094 (2003).

    31 Michael Lynn and Michael McCall, Beyond Gratitude and Gratuity: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Predictors of Restaurant Tipping. Cornell University Working Paper (2016), available at http://scholarship.sha.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1021&context=workingpapers.

    Also, research demonstrates a negative correlation between earnings and employee turnover: As earnings increase, employee turnover decreases.32 If earnings increase for previously non-tipped employees who are newly added to a tip pool (or tip pools), then employers may see a decreased turnover rate amongst these employees. Reducing turnover may increase productivity, at least partially, because new employees have less firm-specific capital (i.e., skills and knowledge that have productive value in only one particular company) and thus are less productive and require additional supervision and training. Replacing experienced workers with new workers decreases productivity in the short term; avoiding the need to replace experienced workers may, thus, increase productivity. Reduced turnover should also reduce firms' hiring and training costs, leading to increased profitability. Although there may be increased turnover among tipped employees who would lose a portion of the tips they currently receive, thus leading to effects that are opposite in direction to the previously-discussed impacts, employers are best positioned to consider those issues and determine the optimum distribution of tipped income among their staff for the purpose of reducing employee turnover.

    32 Rodger W. Griffeth, Peter W. Hom, and Stefan Gaertner. A Meta-Analysis of Antecedents and Correlates of Employee Turnover: Update, Moderator Tests, and Research Implications for the Next Millennium. 26 (3) Journal of Management. 463-488 (2000).

    To the extent employers overall decrease use of the tip credit for traditionally tipped employees because of this proposed rule change, that too may provide benefits to traditionally tipped employees. A guaranteed direct cash wage of at least the full federal minimum wage will improve traditionally tipped employees' participation in various aspects of the marketplace that irregular income from changes over time from tip income may impact adversely. As with the previous paragraph, the benefits to one subset of employees (in this case, those who were previously paid a lower direct wage and received tips and now receive an increased direct wage payment from the employer) may be accompanied by harm to another subset (those who newly receive tips while experiencing an offsetting wage reduction).

    To the extent employers may otherwise make an arrangement to allocate any customer tips to make capital improvements to their establishments (e.g., enlarging the dining area to accommodate more customers), lower restaurant menu prices, provide new benefits to workers (e.g., paid time off), increase work hours, or hire additional workers, these are also potential benefits to employees and the economy overall that may result under the proposed rule. The rule's transfer impacts could be approached with a model of minimum wages being made less binding by the proposed policy; as such, employment in the affected industries and occupations would, on net, be expected to increase. While some baseline workers could be harmed, due to lower overall compensation, both employers and workers who would lack jobs in the relevant occupations in the absence of the rule would experience benefits. Analysis of reduced deadweight loss would be a standard method for quantifying the gains to society of increased employment resulting from a policy such as the one proposed in this NPRM.

    Finally, the proposed rule may result in a reduction in litigation. As explained in Part II, above, there has been a significant amount of private litigation in recent years involving the tip pooling and tip retention practices of employers that pay a direct cash wage of at least the Federal minimum wage. Much of that litigation involves the application of the Department's 2011 tip credit regulations providing that an employer's ability to utilize tips received by its employees is restricted even when it has not taken a tip credit. In several cases, employees alleged that their employers, who had paid their tipped employees a direct cash wage of at least the Federal minimum wage, improperly retained some or all of the tips received by employees or mandated that they participate in a tip pool that included non-tipped employees. The proposed rule rescinds those portions of the 2011 regulations that restrict employer use of customer tips when the employer pays at least the full Federal minimum wage and does not claim a section 3(m) tip credit, likely reducing litigation in this area.

    ii. Additional Discussions

    Reallocation of tips may have implications on employment and earnings, as well as some impact on the tipping behavior of customers. Due to data limitations, it is difficult to quantify these impacts. Accordingly, in this section, the Department provides a qualitative discussion of the possible impacts of the proposed rule on employment and earnings and customer tipping behavior.

    1. Possible Employment and Earnings Impacts of the Transfer of Tips

    Research on how changes in the minimum required cash wage for tipped employees affect their earnings and employment is scarce, making the effects of these policies difficult to gauge. There is need for more research as tipped employment has been growing considerably. From 1990 to 2016 private sector employment grew by 31.8 percent, while employment in full service restaurants grew by 75 percent.33

    33See Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics, www.bls.gov/ces. The implicit assumption is that the proportion of tipped workers in these industries remained constant over time, which then implies that there was an increase in tipped employment.

    Intuitively, the effect of this proposed rule will be driven by many economic factors, such as the prevailing wages in the local area, the supply and demand elasticity for labor in the local markets, and the demand elasticity for the restaurant's product. For instance, in a given market, if the equilibrium cash wage for tipped employees is above the minimum required cash wage, an employer has less incentive to change its behavior as a result of the changes proposed in the NPRM. Given that the firm is in a perfectly competitive market, any deviation from the market wage may cause the firm to lose its staff. However, if the conditions in the market are such that the equilibrium cash wage for tipped workers is below the minimum required cash wage, and a worker earns sufficient tips that their cash wage plus the tips that they receive is equal to or greater than the applicable full minimum wage, then their employer may have an incentive to increase the wage to the applicable minimum wage and share the tips that tipped employees receive with, for instance, other lower-wage non-tipped employees. In such a case, an increase in the direct cash wage paid to the tipped workers and the transfer of tips from workers to others can be associated with changes in employment. If the employees' new wage is lower than their prior wage plus tips, and if the tips received by employees are not being redistributed to them, then there may be a decline in the quantity of supplied labor of tipped workers, and therefore in their employment. Alternatively, the employer could effectively redistribute tips to other employees and thus reduce its overall wage bill. If it now requires less direct wages to hire their workers, it may increase the employer's demand for labor.34 35

    34 Daniel Hamermesh. Econometric Studies of Labor Demand and Their Application to Policy Analysis. The Journal of Human Resources, vol. 11, no. 4, 1976, pp. 507-525. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/145429.

    35 Deadweight loss analysis, discussed elsewhere in this regulatory impact analysis, can be used to assess net effects where isolated partial views of the market seem to indicate opposing tendencies.

    However, for reasons such as “sticky wages” 36 in the short run and inflexibility in substituting between labor and capital, the above discussion of the potential effect on employment and wages in this analysis may be only valid in the medium to long run. Further, the overall consequences of this proposed rule on employment and earnings will be driven by the employers' response to this rule; i.e., whether establishments continue taking the tip credit, and what proportion of employers switch from taking the tip credit to not taking the tip credit.

    36 “Sticky wages” refers to the situation in which workers' wages do not adjust quickly to changes in the overall economy.

    2. Possible Change in Customers' Tipping Behavior That Could Result From the Transfer of Tips From Employees to Employers

    In the United States, tipping is a common practice in the eating and drinking places industries. The main reasons that a customer would tip are future service, social norms and fairness, and quality of service.37 The theoretical economic justification for tipping is that it incentivizes and rewards good service.38 From the employer's standpoint, tipping may also be considered an efficient way of monitoring the efforts of service workers, and a screening device for identifying good and motivated workers.39

    37 Ofer H. Azar, The implications of tipping for economics and management, 30 (10) International Journal of Social Economics. 1084-1094 (2003).

    38 Samuel Estreicher and Jonathan R. Nash, The Law and Economics of Tipping: The Laborer's Perspective, American Law & Economics Association Annual Meetings. 54 (2004).

    39 Ofer H. Azar, Optimal monitoring with external incentives: the case of tipping, Southern Economic Journal. 170-181 (2004).

    Although consideration of future service is a commonly-stated reason for tipping, evidence suggests that customers do not necessarily regard future service as the main reason for tipping. Even non-repeat customers tip. This leads to the other main cited reason for tipping: Social norms surrounding tipping. Tipping may be the result of a positive utility from feeling generous. In addition, customers often feel empathy for the workers who serve them, and they want to show their gratitude by leaving a tip. Customers may also tip as they believe that bartenders, waiters, waitresses, and other workers earn too little for their hard work and therefore want to reward them. Moreover, customers often feel obligated to tip because tips are a major source of income for the workers.40 41

    40 William E. Even and David A. Macpherson, The effect of the tipped minimum wage on employees in the US restaurant industry, 80(3) Southern Economic Journal. 633-655 (2014).

    41 PayScale's Restaurant Report: The Agony and Ecstasy of Food Service Workers, http://www.payscale.com/data-packages/restaurant-report/full-data.

    From the employer's standpoint, the theoretical economic justification for tipping is that it incentivizes and rewards good service; In other words, if workers who provide good service earn large tips, they are more likely to retain their jobs, whereas those workers who earn smaller tips are more likely to choose to quit. Tipping can also be a way of monitoring the efforts of service workers. Firms find it difficult and expensive to monitor and control the quality of intangible and highly customized services that are rendered by their employees. Therefore, tipping can allow customers to directly monitor service providers at lower cost than if employers had to directly monitor their employees.42

    42 Ofer H. Azar, Optimal Monitoring with External Incentives: The Case of Tipping, Southern Economic Journal 170-181 (2004).

    The potential impact of the proposed rule on customers' decisions to leave tips for bartenders and servers may depend on how much information the customer has regarding the employer's tip pooling policy. Assuming customers are aware of the employer's policy, changes to tipping behavior, if they occur at all, may differ depending on whether the tips are redistributed into a tip pool that includes a broader group of employees, or otherwise utilized in part (or in full) by the employer. Tipping may also be affected if the change is not welcomed by the staff, leading to poor morale and reduced service quality.

    D. Analysis of Regulatory Alternatives

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives. Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. The Department considered two alternatives as part of determining whether to issue this NPRM: (1) Making no regulatory changes; and (2) Removing the regulatory language that addresses an employers' ability to utilize employee tips even when the employer claims a section 3(m) tip credit. The alternatives are discussed in more detail below.

    i. Alternative 1

    Under the proposed rule, employers would no longer be prohibited from utilizing tips received by employees more broadly so long as they pay at least the full Federal minimum wage in cash and do not claim a section 3(m) tip credit.

    For the first alternative, the Department would make no regulatory changes and leave in place the limited nonenforcement policy it announced in July 2013. In Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association v. Solis, 948 F. Supp. 2d 1217 (D. Or. 2013), the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon declared invalid the Department's 2011 regulations that limit an employer's use of its employees' tips when the employer has not taken a tip credit against its minimum wage obligations, and imposed injunctive relief. As discussed above, on February 23, 2016, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the judgment entered by the district court. See Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Ass'n et al. v. Perez, 816 F.3d 1080 (2016), pet. for reh'g and reh'g en banc denied 843 F.3d 355 (Sept. 6, 2016). Notwithstanding the Ninth Circuit's decision, the Department continues to be constrained by the injunctive relief entered by the district court until the Ninth Circuit issues its mandate, which formally notifies the district court of the court of appeals' decision. On September 13, 2016, the Ninth Circuit issued a Stay of the Mandate “until final disposition [of this litigation] by the Supreme Court.” Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Ass'n et al. v. Perez, No. 13-35765 (9th Cir., Sept. 13, 2016). For these reasons, the Department is currently prohibited from enforcing its tip retention requirements against the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association plaintiffs (which include several associations, one restaurant, and one individual) and members of the plaintiff associations that can demonstrate that they were a member on June 24, 2013. As a matter of enforcement policy, the Department decided at the time the injunction was issued that while the injunction is in place it would not enforce its tip retention requirements against any employer within the Ninth Circuit's jurisdiction that has not taken a tip credit.43 The Ninth Circuit has appellate jurisdiction over the states of California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, and Arizona; Guam; and the Northern Mariana Islands. The injunction itself does not prevent the Department from investigating cases that are outside the scope of that limited injunctive relief. For instance, the Department can lawfully investigate such cases involving employers located outside the Ninth Circuit and that are not members of the plaintiff associations involved in the ORLA litigation. Making the Department's limited nonenforcement policy permanent without issuing the NPRM, however, would result in different requirements for different geographic regions, or different employers depending on their membership in certain associations. Such a situation, for example, could mean an employer that has locations within, and outside of, the Ninth Circuit would have different compliance requirements. Also, the limited nonenforcement policy does not impact employees' right to bring private actions under section 16(b) of the FLSA to enforce the tip retention regulations, exposing employers to an uncertain landscape. See 29 U.S.C. 216(b). Moreover, taking no regulatory action does not address the Department's concerns discussed above. See, supra, Need for Rulemaking.

    43 As noted in section II and footnote 6, the Department expanded the scope of this initial nonenforcement position when it decided to pursue this rulemaking.

    ii. Alternative 2

    For the second alternative, the Department considered removing the regulatory language that reiterates the statutory restrictions in section 3(m) addressing an employer's ability to utilize tips received by employees even when the employer claims a tip credit. The regulations from which the Department considered removing this language include 29 CFR 531.52, 531.54, and 531.59. Under this alternative, for employers that claim a tip credit, the Department would enforce the tip retention requirements of section 3(m) based only on the text of the statute.

    There is a significant risk, however, that this alternative would create confusion as to tipped employees' right to retain tips when their employer claims a tip credit. The removal of the Department's current regulatory guidance could also increase the risk of employer non-compliance with the statute due to the lack of regulatory guidance.

    E. Classification as a Deregulatory Action and Estimated Regulatory Cost Savings

    Under the current regulations, employers are prohibited from reallocating tips or including non-tipped employees in a mandatory tip pool “whether or not the employer has taken a tip credit under section 3(m) of the FLSA.” 29 CFR 531.52. This proposed rule would remove such restrictions on the treatment of tips when an employer does not take a tip credit, and would not introduce any new regulatory requirements in replacement of the requirements proposed for elimination. Therefore, it is expected that this proposed rule would, if finalized as proposed, qualify as a “deregulatory action” for the purposes of E.O. 13771.

    As discussed earlier, the Department estimates that this proposed rule would result in Year 1 regulatory familiarization costs of approximately $3.4 million. See, supra, Section VII.B.v. The Department expects that these relatively modest familiarization costs would be more than offset by greater cost savings for employers attributable to the elimination of existing regulatory requirements, but, due to a lack of adequate information about the costs employers presently bear in complying with the regulations identified for elimination, cost savings have not been quantified in this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Additionally, the Department notes that reduced deadweight loss in the affected labor markets would likely significantly outweigh the $3.4 million in estimated regulatory familiarization costs.

    VIII. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA)

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, Public Law 104-121 (March 29, 1996), requires federal agencies engaged in rulemaking to consider the impact of their proposals on small entities, consider alternatives to minimize that impact, and solicit public comment on their analyses. The RFA requires the assessment of the impact of a regulation on a wide range of small entities, including small businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions.

    Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a proposed or final rule would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 5 U.S.C. 603 and 604. As part of a regulatory proposal, the RFA requires a federal agency to prepare, and make available for public comment, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the impact of the proposed rule on small entities. 5 U.S.C. 603(a).

    The Department has conducted, and is publishing here, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis to help small entities better understand the impacts of the proposed rule. The Department invites comments on the number of small entities affected by the proposed rule's requirements, the compliance cost estimates, and whether alternatives exist that will reduce the burden on small entities.

    A. Why the Department Is Considering Action

    As explained in greater detail earlier in the analysis, the Department has serious concerns that it incorrectly construed the statute in promulgating its current tip regulations to apply to employers that have paid a direct cash wage of at least the full Federal minimum wage to their tipped employees and serious concerns about those regulations as a policy matter. The Department is therefore proposing to rescind those portions of its tip regulations at 29 CFR part 531, subpart D that impose restrictions on employers that pay a direct cash wage of at least the full Federal minimum wage and do not claim a tip credit against their minimum wage obligations.

    B. Statement of Objectives and Legal Basis for the Proposed Rule

    The Department's regulations addressing the treatment of tipped employees under federal law at 29 CFR part 531, subpart D are derived from section 3(m) of the FLSA. See 29 U.S.C. 203(m). As explained earlier, the Department now has serious concerns that it incorrectly construed the statute in promulgating its current tip regulations to apply to employers that do not take a tip credit, i.e., where an employee receives at least the full $7.25 Federal minimum wage directly from the employer, and serious concerns about the regulations as a policy matter, especially in light of changed circumstances.

    The purpose of Section 3(m)'s tip credit provision is to allow an employer to subsidize a portion of its Federal minimum wage obligation through a credit against the tips given to employees by customers. If an employer pays its tipped employees a direct cash wage of at least the full Federal minimum wage (currently $7.25 per hour) but reallocates equal or greater amount of the tips received by its employees, there is a question as to whether the employer is circumventing the protections of Section 3(m) because it is utilizing tips received by its employees towards its minimum wage obligations to a greater extent than permitted under the statute. Where, however, an employer has paid employees a direct cash wage of at least the full Federal minimum wage and does not reallocate the employee tips directly, but requires that employee tips be distributed to non-tipped employees through a tip pool, there is a strong argument that the statutory protections of Section 3(m) are not circumvented.

    C. Description of the Number of Small Entities to Which the Proposed Rule Will Apply

    This section describes the industry or economic sector that will be affected by the proposed rule in total and its small and large entity segments, includes a description of the industry or sector at the time of the proposal, and explains any existing dynamics, such as trends in employment or birth of entities.

    i. Definition of a Small Entity

    A “small entity” is one that is “independently owned and operated and which is not dominant in its field of operation.” 44 The definition of “small business” varies from industry to industry to properly reflect industry size differences. An agency must either use the Small Business Administration (SBA) definition for a small entity or establish an alternative definition for the relevant industries to which a rule applies.

    44 The RFA adopts the definition of “small business concern” used in the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 632(a)(1).

    In our analysis, the Department uses the Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards, which determine when a business qualifies for small business status.45 According to the 2017 standards, Full-service Restaurants (NAICS 722511) and Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages) (NAICS 722410) have a size standard of $7.5 million in annual revenue.46 The Department used this number to estimate the number of small entities in this analysis. Any firms with annual sales revenue less than this amount will be considered a small business entity in this analysis.

    45 U.S. Small Business Administration, Summary of Size Standards by Industry Sector, February 2016. Retrieved June 21, 2017 from https://www.sba.gov/contracting/getting-started-contractor/make-sure-you-meet-sba-size-standards/summary-size-standards-industry-sector. See also full US SBA Size Standard listings at https://www.sba.gov/contracting/getting-started-contractor/make-sure-you-meet-sba-size-standards/table-small-business-size-standards.

    46Id., Subsector 722.

    ii. Data Sources and Methods

    The Department used data from several different sources to estimate the number of small entities to which the rule will apply, i.e., affected firms. The Department used the U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 Economic Census 47 to obtain the number of firms, total number of paid employees, and annual sales/receipts for the two industries in the analysis: Full-service Restaurants (NAICS 722511) and Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages) (NAICS 722410).

    47 U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 Economic Census https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_72SSSZ1&prodType=table.

    From annual receipts/sales, the Department can estimate how many firms fall under the size standard. Table 4 below shows the number of private firms in the two industries by revenue. The number of firms and number of employees are obtained directly from the U.S. Economic Census (2012) data.48

    48 The small business size standard for the two industries is $7.5 million in annual revenue. However, the final size category reported in the table is $5 million-$9 million. This is a data limitation because the 2012 Economic Census reported this category of $5 million-$9 million and not $5 million-$7.5 million. Thus, the total number of firms used in the calculation may be slightly higher.

    To obtain the number of bartenders & waiters/waitresses in the two industries, the Department used the BLS industry-occupation mix (2014).49 Using the staffing mix of industries to estimate bartenders and wait staff allows for use of the very latest industry data, which builds on the highly-regarded QCEW data set. About 42.9 percent of workers in the Full-service Restaurant industry (NAICS 722511) are bartenders or waiters/waitresses (5 percent are bartenders; 37.9 percent are waiters/waitresses). In Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages) (722410), about 63.5 percent are bartenders and waiters/waitresses (46.1 percent are bartenders; 17.4 percent are waiters/waitresses). The Department applied these percentages uniformly to total paid employees in these two industries to obtain the number of bartenders and waiters/waitresses across all firm sizes.

    49 BLS Industry-Occupation Matrix Data, By Industry, https://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_109.htm.

    To determine the number of tipped bartenders & waiters/waitresses, the Department used 57 percent of all bartenders and waiters/waitresses in both industries, based on the share in the CPS data that report usually receiving tips.50

    50 As noted above, see, supra, section VII.B.ii, approximately 57 percent of waiters/waitresses and bartenders in the 2016 CPS-MORG survey responded affirmatively when asked if they usually receive tips or commissions. The Department considers employees who responded affirmatively to this question to be tipped employees.

    The annual cost per firm is calculated based on the regulatory familiarization cost ($3.4 million), which amounts to $12.17 per establishment. The Department applied this cost to all sizes of firms since this will be incurred by each firm regardless of the number of affected workers. Finally, the impact of this provision is calculated as the ratio of annual cost per firm to receipts per firm. As shown, the per-firm cost incurred in the first year ($12.17) is less than one percent of annual receipts per small firm under this proposed rule; thus, it does not have any significant burden on small entities.

    Table 4—Annual Cost to Small Entities Annual revenue/sales/receipts
  • (2012)
  • Number of
  • firms
  • Number
  • of paid
  • employees
  • Average
  • annual sales
  • per firm
  • ($)
  • Number of
  • bartenders
  • and
  • servers a
  • Number of
  • tipped
  • bartenders
  • and servers
  • Annual cost
  • per firm
  • ($) b
  • Annual cost
  • per firm as
  • percent of
  • sales/receipts
  • Firms with revenue less than $100,000 10,071 24,455 $61,885 10,491 5,246 $12.17 Less than 0.1%. Firms with revenue of $100,000 to $249,999 28,344 129,413 175,461 55,518 27,759 12.17 Less than 0.1%. Firms with revenue of $250,000 to $499,999 38,105 324,566 366,027 139,239 69,620 12.17 Less than 0.1%. Firms with revenue of $500,000 to $999,999 40,970 652,792 714,479 280,048 140,024 12.17 Less than 0.1%. Firms with revenue of $1,000,000 to $2,499,999 32,965 1,066,544 1,514,178 457,547 228,774 12.17 Less than 0.1%. Firms with revenue of $2,500,000 to $4,999,999 7,806 499,989 3,330,922 214,495 107,248 12.17 Less than 0.1%. Firms with revenue of $5,000,000 to $9,999,999 2,021 237,316 6,653,982 101,809 50,905 12.17 Less than 0.1%. Firms with revenue less than $100,000 4,584 N/A - - - 12.17 Firms with revenue of $100,000 to $249,999 11,517 44,508 171,075 28,263 14,132 12.17 Less than 0.1%. Firms with revenue of $250,000 to $499,999 8,873 60,159 350,496 38,201 19,101 12.17 Less than 0.1%. Firms with revenue of $500,000 to $999,999 5,029 65,124 689,494 41,354 20,677 12.17 Less than 0.1%. Firms with revenue of $1,000,000 to $2,499,999 3,046 82,871 1,492,272 52,623 26,312 12.17 Less than 0.1%. Firms with revenue of $2,500,000 to $4,999,999 668 36,013 3,370,838 22,868 11,434 12.17 Less than 0.1%. Firms with revenue of $5,000,000 to $9,999,999 156 13,785 6,740,077 8,753 4,377 12.17 Less than 0.1%. a “Servers” stands for waiters & waitresses; `N/A' Not available in Economic census, 2012, withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual companies; data are included in higher level totals; `−' value not calculated as one or more inputs are missing. b The Annual Cost per firm is the regulatory familiarization cost per firm calculated in Section VII.B.iv.i.
    D. Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements of the Proposed Rule

    The FLSA sets minimum wage, overtime pay, and recordkeeping requirements for employment subject to its provisions. The FLSA allows an employer to claim a tip credit, as defined by section 3(m) of the statute, toward meeting its minimum wage obligation for employees who customarily and regularly receive more than $30.00 per month in tips. FLSA section 11(c) requires all covered employers to make, keep, and preserve records of employees and of wages, hours, and other conditions of employment. Employers use the records to document compliance with the FLSA, including showing the tips received is not less than the tip credit claimed. The Department has promulgated regulations at 29 CFR part 516 to establish the basic FLSA recordkeeping requirements; this proposal does not alter these recordkeeping requirements. The recordkeeping regulation at 29 CFR 516.28 applies to tipped employees. Since the employees who may be impacted by the proposed changes to the regulations are those for whom the employer pays a direct cash wage of at least the FLSA minimum wage under section 6(a)(1)(C) with no tip credit taken, such employers would not face additional recordkeeping requirements within the scope of 29 CFR 516.28. Therefore, there are no additional recordkeeping requirements beyond those required by other sections of the FLSA under the proposed rule. Similarly, the proposed rule does not have reporting or other compliance requirements.

    i. Costs to Small Entities

    The direct costs to employers, specifically, regulatory familiarization, are quantified in the Regulatory Impact Analysis. Regulatory familiarization costs are the costs incurred to read and become familiar with the requirements of the rule. Regardless of business size, the Department estimates that each establishment will spend 15 minutes for regulatory familiarization. As a direct result of this proposed rule, the Department expects total direct employer costs (regulatory familiarization) of $2,362,866 will be incurred by all small entities combined in the first year after the promulgation of the proposed rule: $12.17—the cost of 15 minutes of work by a Compensation/benefits specialist (SOC 13-1141), see, supra, VII.B.iv—multiplied by 194,155, the number of small entities (see below). Regulatory familiarization costs are only incurred in the first year. The per-firm costs incurred in the first year ($12.17) are less than one percent of the annual average revenue per firm for the small entities shown in Table 4 in Section VIII.C.ii.

    ii. Number of Small Entities Impacted by the Proposed Rule

    As noted above, the SBA size standard for Full-service Restaurants (722511) and Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages) (722410) is $7.5 million in annual revenue.51 There are 194,155 small entities that fall below this size standard in these two selected industries, which accounts for 78 percent of total number of firms in these industries, employing about 3,237,535 employees. As per the calculation in Section VIII.C, the Department estimates the proposed rule would have no significant negative impact.

    51 Because of the limitations of the size-class data, the analysis looks at firms with annual revenues up to $9,999,999.

    E. Regulatory Alternatives That Minimize the Impact on Small Entities

    Section 603(c) of the RFA requires that each initial regulatory flexibility analysis contain a description of any significant alternatives to the proposal that accomplish the statutory objectives and minimize the significant economic impact of the proposal on small entities. The Department considered the following alternatives:

    i. Differing compliance or reporting requirements that take into account the resources available to small entities. This NPRM makes no changes to existing recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Accordingly, it is not necessary to establish different compliance or reporting requirements for small businesses.

    ii. The clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance and reporting requirements for small entities. The proposed rule imposes no new compliance or reporting requirements. The Department makes available a variety of resources to employers for understanding their obligation and for achieving compliance.

    iii. The use of performance rather than design standards. Under the proposed rule, employers may achieve compliance through a variety of means. Employers may elect to continue (or not) to take a tip credit under section 3(m) of the FLSA. For those employers who take such a tip credit, the statutory restrictions on employer use of customer tips continue to apply. However, for those employers who pay at least the Federal minimum wage and do not take a section 3(m) tip credit, the proposed rule rescinds those regulatory restrictions. The Department makes available a variety of resources to employers for understanding their obligation and for achieving compliance.

    iv. An exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for such small entities. Creating an exemption from coverage of the NPRM for small businesses is not necessary as this proposed rule proposes to rescind employer restrictions on employer use of customer tips when the employer pays at least the Federal minimum wage in cash and does not take a section 3(m) tip credit.

    F. Differing Compliance and Reporting Requirements for Small Entities

    Due to the deregulatory nature of this rulemaking, the Department does not believe that different compliance and reporting requirements for small entities are required.

    G. Identification, to the Extent Practicable, of All Relevant Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the Proposed Rule

    The Department is not aware of any federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this NPRM.

    IX. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act Analysis

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), 2 U.S.C. 1532, requires that agencies prepare a written statement, which includes an assessment of anticipated costs and benefits, before proposing any Federal mandate that may result in excess of $100 million (adjusted annually for inflation) in expenditures in any one year by state, local, and tribal governments in the aggregate, or by the private sector. This rulemaking is not expected to affect state, local, or tribal governments. While this rulemaking would affect employers in the private sector, it is not expected to result in expenditures greater than $100 million in any one year. Please see Section VII.B-C for an assessment of anticipated costs and benefits to the private sector.

    X. Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    The Department has (1) reviewed this proposed rule in accordance with Executive Order 13132 regarding federalism and (2) determined that it does not have federalism implications. The proposed rule would 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.

    XI. Executive Order 13175, Indian Tribal Governments

    This proposed rule would not have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

    XII. Effects on Families

    The undersigned hereby certifies that the proposed rule would not adversely affect the well-being of families, as discussed under section 654 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999.

    XIII. Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children

    This proposed rule would have no environmental health risk or safety risk that may disproportionately affect children.

    XIV. Environmental Impact Assessment

    A review of this proposed 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 et seq.; and the Departmental NEPA procedures, 29 CFR part 11, indicates that the rule would not have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment. There is, thus, no corresponding environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement.

    XV. Executive Order 13211, Energy Supply

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

    XVI. Executive Order 12630, Constitutionally Protected Property Rights

    This proposed rule is not subject to Executive Order 12630 because it does not involve implementation of a policy that has takings implications or that could impose limitations on private property use.

    XVII. Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform Analysis

    This proposed rule was drafted and reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 12988 and will not unduly burden the Federal court system. The proposed rule was: (1) Reviewed to eliminate drafting errors and ambiguities; (2) written to minimize litigation; and (3) written to provide a clear legal standard for affected conduct and to promote burden reduction.

    XVIII. Summary of Proposed Changes

    The Department proposes to remove or amend the portions of §§ 531.52, 531.54, and 531.59 that impose restrictions on employers that pay a direct cash wage of least the Federal minimum wage and do not claim the section 3(m) tip credit. The proposed rule deletes the fourth sentence of section 531.52, which currently states that “[t]ips are the property of the employee whether or not the employer has taken a tip credit under section 3(m) of the FLSA.” The proposed rule also revises the fifth sentence of sections 531.52, the last sentence of section 531.54, and the final sentence of section 531.59(b) to remove language placing restrictions on an employer's use of tips when that employer has not taken a tip credit while retaining language that reflects the statutory restrictions on an employer's use of tips received by its employees when it does take a tip credit.

    List of Subjects in 29 CFR Part 531

    Employment, Labor, Minimum wages, Wages.

    Bryan L. Jarrett, Acting Administrator, Wage and Hour Division.

    For the reasons set forth above, the Department proposes to amend Title 29, part 531 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

    PART 531—WAGE PAYMENTS UNDER THE FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT OF 1938 1. The authority citation for part 531 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Sec. 3(m), 52 Stat. 1060; sec. 2, 75 Stat. 65; sec. 101, 80 Stat. 830; sec. 29(B), 88 Stat. 55, Pub. L. 93-259; Pub. L. 95-151, 29 U.S.C. 203(m) and (t); Pub. L. 104-188, 2105(b); Pub. L. 110-28, 121 Stat. 112.

    2. Revise § 531.52 to read as follows:
    § 531.52 General characteristics of “tips.”

    A tip is a sum presented by a customer as a gift or gratuity in recognition of some service performed for him. It is to be distinguished from payment of a charge, if any, made for the service. Whether a tip is to be given, and its amount, are matters determined solely by the customer, who has the right to determine who shall be the recipient of the gratuity. An employer that takes a tip credit is prohibited from using an employee's tips for any reason other than that which is statutorily permitted in section 3(m): As a credit against its minimum wage obligations to the employee, or in furtherance of a valid tip pool. Only tips actually received by an employee as money belonging to the employee may be counted in determining whether the person is a “tipped employee” within the meaning of the Act and in applying the provisions of section 3(m) which govern wage credits for tips.

    3. Revise the last sentence of § 531.54 to read as follows:
    § 531.54 Tip pooling.

    * * * However, an employer that takes a tip credit must notify its employees of any required tip pool contribution amount, may only take a tip credit for the amount of tips each employee ultimately receives, and may not retain any of the employees' tips for any other purpose.

    4. In § 531.59, revise the last sentence of paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 531.59 The tip wage credit.

    (b) * * * With the exception of tips contributed to a valid tip pool as described in § 531.54, the tip credit provisions of section 3(m) also require employers that take a tip credit to permit employees to retain all tips received by the employee.

    [FR Doc. 2017-25802 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-27-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2017-0964] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Oregon Inlet, Dare County, NC AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard proposes to establish a temporary safety zone on the navigable waters of Oregon Inlet in Dare County, North Carolina in support of construction of the new Herbert C. Bonner Bridge. This temporary safety zone is intended to protect mariners, vessels, and construction crews from the hazards associated with installing the navigation span, and will restrict vessel traffic from the bridge's navigation span as it is under construction by preventing vessel traffic on a portion of Oregon Inlet. Entry of vessels or persons into this safety zone is prohibited. We invite your comments on this proposed rulemaking.

    DATES:

    Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before December 20, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2017-0964 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. See the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on submitting comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions about this proposed rulemaking, contact Petty Officer Matthew Tyson, Waterways Management Division, U.S. Coast Guard Sector North Carolina, Wilmington, NC; telephone: (910) 772-2221, email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Table of Abbreviations CFR Code of Federal Regulations DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking § Section U.S.C. United States Code COTP Captain of the Port II. Background, Purpose, and Legal Basis

    On October 10, 2017, the North Carolina Department of Transportation notified the Coast Guard that they will be installing the navigation span of the new Herbert C. Bonner Bridge on January 8 through March 3, 2018, with alternate dates of March 4 through April 15, 2018. The construction will take place over an estimated 33 days during this period. A safety zone is proposed in Oregon Inlet within an area beginning at approximate position 35°46′23″ N., 75°32′18″ W., thence southeast to 35°46′18″ N., 75°32′12″ W., thence southwest to 35°46′16″ N., 75°32′16″ W., thence northwest to 35°46′20″ N., 75°32′23″ W., thence northeast back to the point of origin (NAD 1983) in Dare County, North Carolina. The construction involves crane barges on both sides of the navigation channel and various construction vessels and equipment. The COTP North Carolina has determined that potential safety hazards associated with the construction would be a concern for anyone transiting the Oregon Inlet navigation channel.

    The purpose of this rule is to protect persons, vessels, and the marine environment on the navigable waters in Oregon Inlet during this construction phase. The Coast Guard proposes this rulemaking under authority in 33 U.S.C. 1231.

    III. Discussion of Proposed Rule

    The COTP proposes to establish a safety zone to be enforced from January 8 through March 3, 2018, with alternate dates of March 4 through April 15, 2018. Construction is expected to take place on 33 separate days during this period. The safety zone will be active for 2 hours each of those days, with the exact times announced via Broadcast Notices to Mariners at least 48 hours prior to enforcement. The safety zone will include all navigable waters of Oregon Inlet from approximate position 35°46′23″ N., 75°32′18″ W., thence southeast to 35°46′18″ N., 75°32′12″ W., thence southwest to 35°46′16″ N., 75°32′16″ W., thence northwest to 35°46′20″ N., 75°32′23″ W., thence northeast back to the point of origin, (NAD 1983). This zone is intended to protect persons, vessels, and the marine environment on the navigable waters in Oregon Inlet during this construction phase. No vessel or person will be permitted to enter the safety zone during the designated times. The regulatory text we are proposing appears at the end of this document.

    IV. Regulatory Analyses

    We developed this proposed rule after considering numerous statutes and Executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on a number of these statutes and Executive orders and we discuss First Amendment rights of protestors.

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits. Executive Order 13771 directs agencies to control regulatory costs through a budgeting process. This NPRM has not been designated a “significant regulatory action,” under Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, the NPRM has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and pursuant to OMB guidance it is exempt from the requirements of Executive Order 13771.

    This regulatory action determination is based on the size, location, and duration of the proposed safety zone. Vessel traffic will not be allowed to enter or transit a portion of Oregon Inlet during specific two hour periods on 33 separate days from January 8 through March 3, 2018, with alternate dates of March 4 through April 15, 2018. The specific 2 hour period for each work day will be broadcast at least 48 hours in advance and vessels will be able to transit Oregon Inlet at all other times. The Coast Guard will issue a Local Notice to Mariners and transmit a Broadcast Notice to Mariners via VHF-FM marine channel 16 regarding the safety zone. This portion of Oregon Inlet has been determined to be a medium to low traffic area at this time of the year. This rule does not allow vessels to request permission to enter the safety zone covering the Oregon Inlet navigation channel during the designated times.

    B. Impact on Small Entities

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, 5 U.S.C. 601-612, as amended, requires Federal agencies to consider the potential impact of regulations on small entities during rulemaking. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000. The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    While some owners or operators of vessels intending to transit the safety zone may be small entities, for the reasons stated in section IV.A above, this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on any vessel owner or operator.

    If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this rule would have a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment (see ADDRESSES) explaining why you think it qualifies and how and to what degree this rule would economically affect it.

    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this proposed rule. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this proposed rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

    C. Collection of Information

    This proposed rule would not call for a new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

    D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Governments

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. We have analyzed this proposed rule under that Order and have determined that it is consistent with the fundamental federalism principles and preemption requirements described in Executive Order 13132.

    Also, this proposed rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it would not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. If you believe this proposed rule has implications for federalism or Indian tribes, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

    E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) or more in any one year. Though this proposed rule would not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

    F. Environment

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have made a preliminary determination that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This proposed rule involves a safety zone lasting for 2 hours on 33 separate days that would prohibit entry into a portion of Oregon Inlet for bridge construction. Normally such actions are categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of Commandant Instruction M16475.lD. A preliminary Record of Environmental Consideration supporting this determination is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this proposed rule.

    G. Protest Activities

    The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment rights of protesters. Protesters are asked to contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to coordinate protest activities so that your message can be received without jeopardizing the safety or security of people, places, or vessels.

    V. Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We view public participation as essential to effective rulemaking, and will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. Your comment can help shape the outcome of this rulemaking. If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking, indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation.

    We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document for alternate instructions.

    We accept anonymous comments. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and the docket, visit http://www.regulations.gov/privacyNotice.

    Documents mentioned in this NPRM as being available in the docket, and all public comments, will be in our online docket at http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that Web site's instructions. Additionally, if you go to the online docket and sign up for email alerts, you will be notified when comments are posted or a final rule is published.

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

    Harbors, Marine safety, Navigation (water), Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Security measures, Waterways.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 165 as follows:

    PART 165—REGULATED NAVIGATION AREAS AND LIMITED ACCESS AREAS 1. The authority citation for part 165 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    33 U.S.C. 1231; 50 U.S.C. 191; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

    2. Add § 165.T05-0964 to read as follows:
    § 165.T05-0964 Safety Zone; Oregon Inlet, Dare County, NC.

    (a) Location. The following area is a safety zone: All navigable waters of Oregon Inlet, from approximate position 35°46′23″ N., 75°32′18″ W., thence southeast to 35°46′18″ N., 75°32′12″ W., thence southwest to 35°46′16″ N., 75°32′16″ W., thence northwest to 35°46′20″ N., 75°32′23″ W., thence northeast back to the point of origin (NAD 1983) in Dare County, NC.

    (b) Definitions. As used in this section—

    Designated representative means a Coast Guard Patrol Commander, including a Coast Guard commissioned, warrant, or petty officer designated by the Captain of the Port North Carolina (COTP) for the enforcement of the safety zone.

    Captain of the Port means the Commander, Sector North Carolina.

    Construction crews means persons and vessels involved in support of construction.

    (c) Regulations. (1) The general regulations governing safety zones in § 165.23 apply to the area described in paragraph (a) of this section.

    (2) With the exception of construction crews, entry into or remaining in this safety zone is prohibited.

    (3) All vessels within this safety zone when this section becomes effective must depart the zone immediately.

    (4) The Captain of the Port, North Carolina can be reached through the Coast Guard Sector North Carolina Command Duty Officer, Wilmington, North Carolina at telephone number 910-343-3882.

    (5) The Coast Guard and designated security vessels enforcing the safety zone can be contacted on VHF-FM marine band radio channel 13 (165.65 MHz) and channel 16 (156.8 MHz).

    (d) Enforcement. The U.S. Coast Guard may be assisted in the patrol and enforcement of the safety zone by Federal, State, and local agencies.

    (e) Enforcement Period. This regulation will be enforced from January 8 through March 3, 2018, with alternate dates of March 4 through April 15, 2018.

    (f) Public Notification. The Coast Guard will notify the public of the specific two hour closures at least 48 hours in advance by transmitting Broadcast Notice to Mariners via VHF-FM marine channel 16.

    Dated: November 27, 2017. Bion B. Stewart, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port North Carolina.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26147 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R01-OAR-2017-0590; FRL-9971-59-Region 1] Air Plan Approval; Massachusetts; Logan Airport Parking Freeze AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision submitted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This SIP revision increases the total number of commercial parking spaces allowed in the Logan Airport Parking Freeze Area by 5,000 parking spaces. The intended effect of this action is to reduce carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions by reducing the increased vehicle miles traveled (VMT) resulting from insufficient available parking. This action is being taken under the Clean Air Act.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before January 4, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R01-OAR-2017-0590 at http://www.regulations.gov, or via email to [email protected] For comments submitted at Regulations.gov, follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. For either manner of submission, 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, please contact the person identified in the “For Further Information Contact” section. For the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Anne McWilliams, Air Quality Planning Unit, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA New England Regional Office, 5 Post Office Square—Suite 100, (Mail code OEP05-2), Boston, MA 02109—3912, telephone number: (617) 918-1697, email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    Table of Contents I. Background II. State Submittal III. EPA's Assessment of the State Submittal IV. Proposed Action V. Incorporation by Reference VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Background

    Since 1975, Boston Logan International Airport (Logan Airport) has been subject to a freeze on the number of commercial parking spaces available for use by Logan Airport travelers and visitors. In the mid-seventies, EPA developed the Logan Parking Freeze as part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce air pollution caused by automobile emissions. The goal was to achieve the ozone and CO National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) established by EPA under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

    The Logan Airport Parking Freeze was reaffirmed and committed to as a Reasonable Available Control Measure (RACM) in the 1979 and 1982 State Implementation Plan revisions required by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977. Through the 1979 and 1982 SIP revisions, the Commonwealth incorporated the Federal Implementation Plan's parking freeze provisions by reference, committing the Commonwealth to implement and enforce the parking freeze as a state regulation, 310 Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR) 7.30 Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport)/Logan Airport Parking Freeze, as well as Federal law.

    In 1989, the Logan Airport Parking Freeze was amended and the East Boston Parking Freeze was adopted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Unlike the 1975 Logan Freeze, which targeted only commercial parking, the 1989 state action limited and regulated the management of all major airport-related parking in the Logan Airport and East Boston Parking Freeze areas. The parking supply at Logan Airport was capped at 19,315 parking spaces. In addition, Logan-related park-and-fly and rental car parking spaces in East Boston were capped at existing levels. On April 26, 1991, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) certified the parking freeze numbers for the East Boston Parking Freeze area at 4,012 rental motor vehicle parking spaces and 2,475 park-and-fly parking spaces. EPA approved the Logan Airport Parking Freeze and East Boston Parking Freeze amendments into the Massachusetts SIP on March 16, 1993. See 58 FR 14153-14157.

    The Logan Airport and East Boston Parking Freezes were designed to meet the following objectives: Mitigating the traffic-related air quality impacts of airport access on both a regional and neighborhood level; reducing the number of vehicle trips (i.e., employee and air traveler drop-off/pick up trips) by providing a mix of on-airport parking and off-airport satellite parking centers outside of the parking freeze area; managing the parking supply for Logan to stabilize overall ground access; and developing a unified access management plan for Logan Airport. One of the goals of the current Logan Airport Parking Freeze and East Boston Parking Freeze is to encourage the relocation of park-and-fly parking spaces from the East Boston neighborhoods to reduce localized traffic and air quality impacts.

    On March 21, 2001, EPA approved revisions to 310 CMR 7.30 Massport/Logan Airport Parking Freeze and 310 CMR 7.31 City of Boston/East Boston Parking Freeze which allow the permanent relocation of certain categories of parking spaces from the East Boston Parking Freeze area inventory to the Logan Airport Parking Freeze area. See 66 FR 14318. One of the goals of the amendments was to encourage the relocation of the park-and-fly spaces from the East Boston neighborhoods, reducing localized traffic and air quality impacts.

    According to the most recent Logan Airport Spaces Inventory, the number of existing Total Parking Freeze Spaces is 21,088. In the Massport Policy Memorandum submitted by MassDEP,1 Massport details how parking is becoming more constrained at Logan Airport. Since 1975, there has been a 220% increase in passengers at Logan, but only an 80% increase in Logan's commercial parking supply.

    1 The Massport Policy Memorandum submitted to MassDEP in a letter dated June 6, 2016 can be found in the docket for this rulemaking.

    II. State Submittal

    On July 13, 2017, MassDEP submitted amendments to 310 CMR 7.30 Massport/Logan Airport Parking Freeze as a formal revision to the Massachusetts State Implementation Plan (SIP). Revised 310 CMR 7.30 increases the total number of commercial spaces in the Logan Parking Freeze area by 5,000 spaces to a total of 26,088. In the event that the remaining 702 park-and-fly spaces in the East Boston Parking Freeze cap were converted to commercial spaces at Logan Airport in the future, the maximum total number of spaces permitted would be 26,790.

    The revision also requires Massport to complete the following studies within 24 months of June 30, 2017: (1) Potential improvements to high occupancy vehicle access to Logan; (2) a cost and pricing assessment for different modes of transportation to and from Logan in order to generate revenue for the promotion of HOV use by airport travelers and visitors; and (3) the feasibility and effectiveness of potential operational measures to reduce non-HOV pick-up/drop-off modes of transportation to Logan Airport.

    Finally, the revision allows Massport to satisfy its annual reporting requirements through its submission of annual Environmental Data Reports or similar airport-wide documents under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA).

    III. EPA's Assessment of the State Submittal

    The Technical Analysis submitted by MassDEP 2 demonstrates the current insufficient parking at Logan Airport. In 2014, Massport diverted or valet-parked passenger vehicles on 103 out of 260 working days.3 On such days, vehicles are diverted to other on-airport facilities or to off-site facilities such as Suffolk Downs, or vehicles are valet-parked, stacked at parking facilities or at other on-airport locations. Such operations are inconvenient to passengers, increases VMT at the airport, and has potential long-term ramifications for future mode choice. Passengers who are unable to park at Logan Airport are more likely to use pick-up/drop-off modes in the future.

    2 “Technical Analysis” prepared by Vanasse Hangen Brustlin (VHB) dated December 11, 2015 listed as Exhibit B is available in the docket for this rulemaking.

    3 It should be noted that Massport continued to be in full compliance with the Logan Airport Parking Freeze throughout 2014.

    The Technical Analysis concludes that building more parking spaces meets the current and future parking demand. Parking on site results in fewer trips than drop-off/pick-up modes per air passenger. The air quality analysis shows that emissions of VOC, NOX, and CO2 are reduced by 20-25 percent if additional on-airport parking is built compared to a no build scenario.4 In addition, MassDEP emphasizes that any new parking garage built as a consequence of the revised regulation would be subject to review under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA), which would require Massport to submit and review an Environmental Notification Report (ENR) and Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Massport would also be required to commit, through the MEPA Section 61 Findings, to additional mitigation measures with respect to the garage's environmental impacts.

    4 See Section VII. Analysis of Vehicle Emissions Resulting from VMT Changes of the “Technical Analysis.”

    Clean Air Act (CAA) section 110(l) provides that EPA shall not approve any implementation plan revision if it would interfere with any applicable requirement concerning attainment and reasonable further progress, or any other applicable requirement of the CAA, i.e. demonstrate anti-backsliding. The Massport/Logan Parking Freeze was originally implemented to reduce mobile source emissions in order to achieve the CO and Ozone NAAQS. Massachusetts is currently meeting both standards.5 However, the current constrained parking encourages more people to choose drop-off/pick-up travel modes, which increases the vehicle miles traveled and air emissions. The submitted amendment will result in reduced vehicle trips and thereby reduce air emissions.

    5 For the most recent air quality design values, see www.epa.gov/air-trends/air-quality-design-values.

    MassDEP has demonstrated that the addition of 5,000 parking spaces to the Logan Airport Freeze area will result in a decrease in VMT which in turn will reduce VOC, NOX and CO air emissions. EPA proposes to find that the revisions to 310 CMR 7.30 meet the requirements of CAA section 110(l). In addition, EPA proposes to approve revised 310 CMR 7.30 into the SIP because it will strengthen the SIP by reducing pollutant emissions. EPA is soliciting public comments on the issues discussed in this notice or on other relevant matters. These comments will be considered before taking final action. Interested parties may participate in the Federal rulemaking procedure by submitting written comments to this proposed rule by following the instructions listed in the ADDRESSES section of this Federal Register.

    IV. Proposed Action

    EPA is proposing to approve and incorporate into the Massachusetts SIP revised 310 CMR 7.30 Massport/Logan Airport Parking Freeze submitted on July 13, 2017. The revision increases the total number of commercial parking spaces allowed in the Logan Airport Parking Freeze Area by 5,000 parking spaces.

    V. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rule, the EPA is proposing to include in a final EPA rule regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, the EPA is proposing to incorporate by reference 310 CMR 7.30 Massport/Logan Airport Parking Freeze. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these documents generally available electronically through http://www.regulations.gov and/or in hard copy at the appropriate EPA office.

    VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Carbon monoxide, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Lead, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides, Volatile organic compounds.

    Dated: November 13, 2017. Deborah A. Szaro, Acting Regional Administrator, EPA New England.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26182 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R03-OAR-2017-0555; FRL-9971-57-Region 3] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; West Virginia; Removal of Source-Specific Requirements for Permanently Shutdown Facilities AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve a state implementation plan (SIP) revision submitted by the State of West Virginia. This revision pertains to the removal of source-specific SIP requirements for the following five facilities in West Virginia that have permanently shutdown: Mountaineer Carbon Company; Standard Lafarge; Follansbee Steel Corporation; International Mill Service, Inc.; and Columbian Chemicals Company. These sources have permanently ceased operation; therefore, SIP requirements for these sources are obsolete and no longer necessary for attaining and maintaining the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). This action is being taken under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before January 4, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R03-OAR-2017-0555 at http://www.regulations.gov, or via email to [email protected] For comments submitted at Regulations.gov, follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. For either manner of submission, 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. 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, please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. For the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    The West Virginia SIP at 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 52, subpart XX, § 52.2520(d) contains source-specific requirements, which were incorporated into the West Virginia SIP over the course of many years to allow the State to demonstrate attainment with various NAAQS. Subsequently, several of these sources have permanently ceased operation rendering source-specific requirements for these facilities obsolete.

    SIP revisions pertaining to the removal of obsolete SIP requirements for sources that have permanently shutdown are considered administrative, non-substantive changes. If a source has permanently shutdown, the emissions are permanently reduced to zero, so removing source-specific SIP requirements for that source will not interfere with attainment and maintenance of any NAAQS, reasonable further progress or any other applicable CAA requirement. See CAA section 110(l).

    II. Summary of SIP Revision and EPA Analysis

    On August 25, 2017, West Virginia submitted a SIP revision requesting that the consent orders for the sources listed in Table 1 be removed from the West Virginia SIP located at 40 CFR part 52, subpart XX, § 52.2520(d).

    Table 1—Source-Specific Requirements Proposed for Removal From the West Virginia SIP Source name Order State effective date EPA Approval date/
  • Federal Register (FR)
  • citation
  • Mountaineer Carbon Company Consent Order 7/2/82 9/1/82,
  • 47 FR 38532
  • Standard Lafarge Consent Order
  • CO-SIP-91-30
  • 11/14/91 7/25/94,
  • 59 FR 37696
  • Follansbee Steel Corporation Consent Order
  • CO-SIP-91-31
  • 11/14/91 7/25/94,
  • 59 FR 37696
  • International Mill Service, Inc Consent Order
  • CO-SIP-91-33
  • 11/14/91 7/25/94,
  • 59 FR 37696
  • Columbian Chemicals Company Consent Order
  • CO-SIP-2000-3
  • 1/31/00 8/2/00,
  • 65 FR 47339
  • According to West Virginia, the five facilities listed in Table 1 have permanently shutdown and ceased operation. West Virginia's August 25, 2017 submittal lists the dates of facility closures and closure inspections, and provides relevant documentation verifying the permanent closure of these sources (see Table 2). EPA has confirmed that all permits, where applicable, have been surrendered and are inactive (see Table 2). Because these five sources have permanently ceased operation and their emissions have been permanently reduced to zero, their source-specific SIP requirements have been rendered obsolete.

    Table 2—Closure Dates and Closure Inspection Dates for Five Permanently Shutdown Facilities Source name Source location Title V facility Permanent closure date Verification of closure
  • inspection
  • conducted by
  • West Virginia
  • Permit surrendered
    Mountaineer Carbon Company Marshall County Yes 10/9/2015 6/2/2017 Yes. Standard Lafarge Hancock County No 7/20/2011 6/2/2017 Yes. Follansbee Steel Corporation Brooke County No 7/12/2012 5/31/2017 Not applicable.1 International Mill Service, Inc Brooke County No 6/27/2000 5/31/2017 Not applicable.2 Columbian Chemicals Company Marshall County Yes 10/9/2015 6/2/2017 Yes. 1 Follansbee Steel Corporation was grandfathered into the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection—Division of Air Quality's (WVDEP—DAQ) permitting program. Therefore, no permits were ever issued for this facility. 2 International Mill Service, Inc. was grandfathered into the WVDEP—DAQ permitting program. Therefore, no permits were ever issued for this facility.
    III. Proposed Action

    EPA has reviewed West Virginia's SIP revision seeking removal of obsolete source-specific SIP requirements from the West Virginia SIP. These five sources have permanently ceased operation, rendering source-specific SIP requirements for these sources obsolete. EPA has confirmed that all permits have been surrendered and are inactive. Therefore, EPA is proposing to approve the West Virginia August 25, 2017 SIP revision, which sought removal of source-specific revisions related to five now closed facilities in accordance with section 110 of the CAA. EPA is soliciting public comments on the issues discussed in this document. These comments will be considered before taking final action.

    IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

    • Is not an Executive Order 13771 (82 FR 9339, February 2, 2017) regulatory action because SIP approvals are exempted under Executive Order 12866;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Carbon monoxide, Incorporation by reference, Lead, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides, Volatile organic compounds.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: November 22, 2017. Cosmo Servidio, Regional Administrator, Region III.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26183 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 600 [Docket No. 160908833-7999-01] RIN 0648-BG34 Requirements of the Vessel Monitoring System Type-Approval AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    All owners of vessels participating in a NOAA Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) program are required to acquire a NMFS-approved Enhanced Mobile Transmitting Unit (EMTU) or Mobile Transmitting Unit (MTU) to comply with the Vessel Monitoring System requirements. This proposed action would amend the existing VMS Type-Approval regulations by removing the requirement for VMS vendors to periodically renew their EMTU/MTU type-approvals. This renewal process has proved to be unnecessary, has cost fishermen and approved VMS vendors additional time and expense, and has imposed unnecessary costs on the government. Removing the type-approval renewal requirement will spare fishermen, VMS vendors and the government the time and expense associated with the renewal process.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received January 4, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this proposed rule identified by “NOAA-HQ-2017-0141” by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-HQ-2017-0141, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Send written comments to Kelly Spalding, 1315 East West Highway, Room 3207, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g. name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kelly Spalding, Vessel Monitoring System Program Manager, Headquarters: 301-427-8269 or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    In December 2014, NMFS published a final rule to codify national VMS type-approval standards for the approval by NMFS of an EMTU/MTU, any associated software, and mobile communications service (MCS; collectively referred to as a VMS) before they are authorized for use in the NMFS VMS program. See 79 FR 77399 (December 24, 2014). Those standards are set out in 50 CFR part 600, subpart Q, Vessel Monitoring System Type-Approval.

    Fishers must comply with applicable Federal fishery VMS regulations, and in doing so, may select from a variety of EMTU/MTU vendors that have been approved by NMFS to participate in the VMS program for specific fisheries. The NOAA Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) maintains the list of type-approved VMS units at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ole/about/our_programs/vessel_monitoring.html. The EMTU/MTU allows OLE to determine the geographic position of the vessel at specified intervals or during specific events, via mobile communications services between NMFS OLE and the vessel using a NMFS-approved MCS provider. These communications are secure and the information is only made available to authorized personnel.

    This proposed action would remove the two sections of 50 CFR part 600, subpart Q, that require VMS type-approval holders (VMS vendors) to periodically renew their type-approvals. Currently, § 600.1512 of the VMS type approval regulations provides that type-approvals are valid for three years from the date on which NMFS publishes a notice in the Federal Register of the approval. Prior to the expiration of the three-year type-approval period, the VMS vendor must apply for a type-approval renewal pursuant to § 600.1513. In the nearly three years since the type-approval regulations were issued, NMFS has found that the renewal process is unnecessary, has cost fishermen and approved VMS vendors additional time and expense, and has imposed unnecessary cost on the government. Removing the type-approval renewal requirement will spare fishermen, VMS vendors and the government the time and expense associated with the renewal process without impairing the effectiveness of the VMS program.

    Section 600.1513 of Subpart Q sets out the type-approval renewal process. A VMS vendor seeking renewal of a VMS type-approval must submit a written renewal request and supporting materials to NOAA OLE at least 30 days, but not more than six months, prior to the end of the three-year type approval period. To do so, the type-approval holder must submit a written request letter containing the following information and documentation.

    The type-approval holder must certify that the features, components, configuration and services of their type-approved EMTU/MTU and/or MCS remain in compliance with the standards set out in 50 CFR 600.1502 through 600.1509 (or for an MTU, requirements applicable when the MTU was originally type-approved) and with applicable VMS regulations and requirements in effect for the region(s) and Federal fisheries for which they are type-approved. The type-approval holder must also certify that, since the holder's type-approval or last renewal (whichever was later), there have been no modifications to or replacements of any functional component or piece of their type-approved configuration. The renewal request letter must also include a table that lists in one column each requirement set out in §§ 600.1502-600.1509. The subsequent columns must show for each requirement:

    (1) Whether the requirement applies to their type-approval;

    (2) Whether the requirement is still being met;

    (3) Whether any modifications or replacements were made to the type-approved configuration or process since type-approval or the last renewal;

    (4) An explanation of any modifications or replacements that were made since type-approval or the last renewal; and

    (5) The date that any modifications or replacements were made.

    If the type-approval renewal is for an MCS or EMTU/MTU and MCS combined, the renewal request letter must also include vessel position report statistics regarding the processing and transmission of position reports from the onboard EMTUs and MTUs to the MCS or MCSP's VMS data processing center. At a minimum, the statistics must include successful position report transmission and delivery rates, the rate of position report latencies, and the minimum/maximum/average lengths of time for those latencies. The showing must be demonstrated in graph form, be divided out by each NMFS region and any relevant international agreement area and relevant high seas area, and cover 6 full and consecutive months of data for all of the type-approval holder's U.S. federal fishery customers.

    Currently, NMFS reviews all documentation, analyses and data, and addresses any omissions, inconsistencies and failures. Within 30 days of receipt of a complete renewal request letter, NMFS notifies the type-approval holder of the approval or partial approval of the renewal request or send a letter to the type-approval holder that explains the reasons for denial or partial denial of the request.

    These type-approval renewal provisions were designed to provide for an in-depth look at the type-approval holder's overall record of compliance with type-approval requirements. However, NMFS' experience with the renewal process has shown that it is cumbersome for both type-approval holders and NMFS OLE. In some cases, type-approval holders have opted to apply for type-approval of newer VMS units rather than seek renewal of their older VMS units. When a type-approval lapses due to non-renewal, fishermen are required to replace their VMS units that are no longer type approved, despite the fact that the unit may still be functional and compliant with all current VMS standards. Doing so imposes unnecessary cost on fishermen who must purchase a new VMS unit and may lead to lost fishing opportunities while the VMS unit is being replaced.

    In addition to being costly and burdensome for type-approval holders, fishermen and NMFS, the renewal process is not necessary because § 600.1514 sets out an EMTU type-approval revocation process. In the event that a type-approved EMTU model fails to meet the VMS EMTU specifications, NMFS can remove it from the VMS program through this revocation process. The revocation process provides OLE with a timely way to remove an underperforming EMTU/MTU, if necessary. The VMS Program works with the fishermen and VMS industry on a daily basis and is continuously monitoring issues, concerns and anomalies that arise with any EMTU's performance. When an EMTU has performance issues, or anomalies that cannot be resolved informally, NMFS can initiate the type-approval revocation process as provided in § 600.1514. The type-approval period and renewal process at § 600.1512 and § 600.1513 are therefore unnecessary in addition to being burdensome and costly. With the proposed removal of the three-year period for type-approval and the renewal requirement, type-approval would remain valid indefinitely unless NMFS initiates the revocation process pursuant to § 600.1514, or the type-approval holder chooses or agrees to forfeit their type-approval.

    Classification

    The NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment.

    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.

    This proposed rule is expected to be an Executive Order 13771 deregulatory action. Details on the estimated cost savings of this proposed rule can be found in the accompanying Regulatory Impact Review available from October 2016.

    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA) that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The basis for that determination was summarized in the letter to SBA as follows:

    The proposed rule would remove the two sections of Subpart Q that require VMS type-approval holders to periodically renew their type-approvals. Section 600.1512 of the VMS type-approval regulations provides that type-approvals are valid for three years, after which time, the VMS vendor must apply for a type-approval renewal pursuant to section 600.1513.

    The objective of the proposed action is to eliminate the unnecessary time and cost to the fishermen, VMS vendors, and the government associated with VMS type-approval renewal process. The type-approval renewal provisions were designed to provide for an in-depth look at the type-approval holder's overall record of compliance with type-approval requirements. However, NMFS' experience with the renewal process has shown that it is cumbersome for both type-approval holders and NMFS OLE. The type-approval holder must certify that the features, components, configuration and services of their type-approved EMTU and/or MCS remain in compliance with the standards set out in 50 CFR 600.1502 through 600.1509 and with applicable VMS regulations and requirements in effect for the region(s) and Federal fisheries for which they are type-approved. The type-approval holder must also certify that, since the holder's type-approval or last renewal (whichever was later), there have been no modifications to or replacements of any functional component or piece of their type-approved configuration. The renewal request letter must also include a table that lists each requirement set out in §§ 600.1502-600.1509 and whether those requirements are still being met. Within 30 days of receipt of a complete renewal request letter, NMFS must review the renewal request and notify the type-approval holder of the approval or partial approval of the renewal request or send a letter to the type-approval holder that explains the reasons for denial or partial denial of the request.

    The process is not only cumbersome, but also unnecessary because NMFS OLE works with fishermen and the VMS industry on a daily basis and is continuously monitoring issues and anomalies that may arise with the performance and reliability of type-approved VMS units. In the event that NMFS cannot correct the issues through informal discussion with the type-approval holder, section 600.1514 of Subpart Q sets out a VMS type-approval revocation process, which NMFS can initiate to remove a VMS unit from the VMS type-approved list.

    The renewal process can also indirectly impose costs on fishers. In some cases, type-approval holders have opted to apply for type-approval of newer VMS units rather than seek renewal of their older VMS units. When a type-approval lapses due to non-renewal, fishermen are required to replace their VMS units that are no longer type approved, despite the fact that the unit may still be functional and compliant with all current VMS standards. Doing so imposes unnecessary cost on fishermen who must purchase a new VMS unit and may lead to lost fishing opportunities while the VMS unit is being replaced.

    The economic effects of this proposed rule would not result in any significant adverse economic impacts on the six existing VMS vendors, and would actually reduce the business costs currently associated with the type-approval renewal process every three years. NMFS estimates that this renewal process involves up to 16 hours of engineering labor and 8 hours of product management labor to compile the compliance report for renewal along with any supporting materials. Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2016 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, the mean hourly wage for engineers is approximately $46 per hour and for general and operations managers it is approximately $59 per hour. Based on those labor rate estimates, NMFS estimates eliminating the renewal process will result in reduced costs of up to $1,208 per type-approval that would have occurred every three years under the current regulations.

    Overall, there would not be a significant economic impact to VMS type-approval holders as a result of this rule. The removal of the type-approval renewal requirement would reduce costs to type-approval holders, fishermen and NMFS associated with the renewal process. The change in the regulations are not expected to place small entities at a significant competitive disadvantage to large entities and removing the type-approval renewal process may in fact help smaller vendors more given their more limited resources for dealing with the administrative and technical costs associated with the current type-approval renewal process.

    Thus, NMFS certifies that this proposed rule to remove the type-approval period and renewal process will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. As a result, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared.

    NMFS requests public comment on this decision, the associated analysis and all other aspects of this proposed rule. Send comments to NMFS Headquarters at the ADDRESSES above.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 600

    Administrative practice and procedure, Fisheries, Fishing, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: November 30, 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 600 is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 600—MAGNUSON-STEVENS ACT PROVISIONS 1. The authority citation for part 600 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 561 and 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    2. In § 600.1510, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 600.1510 Notification of type-approval.

    (a) If a request made pursuant to § 600.1501 (type-approval) is approved or partially approved, NMFS will issue a type approval letter and publish a notice in the Federal Register to indicate the specific EMTU model, MCSP or bundle that is approved for use, the MCS or class of MCSs permitted for use with the type-approved EMTU, and the regions or fisheries in which the EMTU, MCSP, or bundle is approved for use.

    § § 600.1512-600.1518 [Amended]
    3. Remove §§ 600.1512 and 600.1513 and redesignate §§ 600.1514 through 600.1518 as §§ 600.1512 through 600.1516, respectively.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26197 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    82 232 Tuesday, December 5, 2017 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Notice of Request for a Revision to and Extension of an Information Collection; Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Feedback on Agency Service Delivery AGENCY:

    Office of the Chief Information Officer, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Office of the Chief Information Officer, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the public to comment on the “Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Feedback on Agency Service Delivery” for approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act. This collection was developed as part of a Federal Government-wide effort to streamline the process for seeking feedback from the public on service delivery. This notice announces our intent to submit this collection to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval and solicit comments on specific aspects for the proposed information collection.

    DATES:

    Consideration will be given to all comments received by February 5, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments by one of the following methods:

    Web site: www.regulations.gov.

    Email: [email protected] and

    Fax: 202-692-0203.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice may be made available to the public. For this reason, please do not include in your comments information of a confidential nature, such as sensitive personal information (PII) 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:

    Ruth Brown, 202-720-8958.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Feedback on Agency Service Delivery.

    Abstract: The proposed information collection activity provides a means to garner qualitative customer and stakeholder feedback in an efficient, timely manner, in accordance with the Administration's commitment to improve service delivery. By qualitative feedback, we mean information that provides useful insights on perceptions and opinions, but are not statistical surveys that yield quantitative results that can be generalized to the population. This feedback will, (1) provide insights into customer or stakeholder perceptions, experiences and expectations, (2) provide an early warning of issues with service and, (3) focus attention on areas where communication, training or changes in operations might improve delivery of products or services. This collection will allow for ongoing, collaborative and actionable communications between the Agency and its customers and stakeholders. It will also allow feedback to contribute directly to the improvement of program management.

    The solicitation of feedback will target areas such as: Timeliness, appropriateness, accuracy of information, courtesy, efficiency of service delivery, and resolution of issues with service delivery. Responses will be assessed to plan and inform efforts to improve or maintain the quality of service offered to the public. If this information is not collected, vital feedback from customers and stakeholders on the Agency's services will be unavailable.

    The Agency will only submit a collection for approval under this generic clearance if it meets the following conditions:

    • The collections are voluntary;

    • The collections are low-burden for respondents (based on considerations of total burden hours, total number of respondents, or burden-hours per respondent) and are low-cost for both the respondents and the Federal Government;

    • The collections are non-controversial and do not raise issues of concern to other Federal agencies;

    • Any collection is targeted to the solicitation of opinions from respondents who have experience with the program or may have experience with the program in the future;

    • Personally identifiable information (PII) is collected only to the extent necessary and is not retained;

    • Information gathered will be used only internally for general service improvement and program management purposes and is not intended for release outside of the agency;

    • Information gathered will not be used for substantially informing influential policy decisions; and

    • Information gathered will yield qualitative information; the collections will not be designed or expected to yield statistically reliable results or used as though the results are generalizable to the population of study.

    Feedback collected under this generic clearance provides useful information, but it does not yield data that can be generalized to the overall population. This type of generic clearance for qualitative information will not be used for quantitative information collections that are designed to yield reliably actionable results, such as monitoring trends over time or documenting program performance. Such data usage requires more rigorous designs that address the target population to which generalizations will be made, the sampling frame, the sample design (including stratification and clustering), the precision requirements or power calculations that justify the proposed sample size, the expected response rate, methods for assessing potential non-response bias, the protocols for data collection, and any testing procedures that were or will be undertaken prior to fielding the study. Depending on the degree of influence the results are likely to have, such collections may still be eligible for submission for other generic mechanisms that are designed to yield quantitative results.

    As a general matter, information collections will not result in any new system of records containing privacy information and will not ask questions of a sensitive nature, such as sexual behavior and attitudes, religious beliefs, and other matters that are commonly considered private.

    Current Actions: Revision/Extension of approval for a collection of information.

    Type of Review: Revision.

    Affected Public: Individuals and Households, Businesses and Organizations, State, Local or Tribal Government.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 30,000.

    Below we provide projected average estimates for the next 3-years:

    Average Expected Annual Number of Activities: 20.

    Average Number of Respondents per Activity: 1.

    Annual Responses: 30,000.

    Frequency of Response: Once per request.

    Average Minutes per Response: 30.

    Burden Hours: 15,000.

    Request for Comments: Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval. Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and (e) estimates of capital or start-up costs and costs of operation, maintenance, and purchase of services to provide information. Burden means the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, disclose, or provide information to or for a Federal agency. This includes the time needed to review instructions to (1) develop, acquire, install, and utilize technology and systems for the purpose of collecting, validating and verifying information, processing and maintaining information, and disclosing and providing information; (2) train personnel and be able to respond to a collection of information, to search data sources, (3) complete and review the collection of information; and to transmit or otherwise disclose the information.

    All written comments will be available for public inspection at Regulations.gov. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget control number.

    Gary Washington, Acting Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26109 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-KR-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service [Docket No. APHIS-2017-0086] Availability of an Environmental Assessment for Release of Aceria drabae for Biological Control of Hoary Cress AGENCY:

    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability.

    SUMMARY:

    We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has prepared an environmental assessment relative to permitting the release of Aceria drabae for biological control of hoary cress in the continental United States. The environmental assessment considers the effects of, and alternatives to, the field release of a mite, Aceria drabae, into the contiguous United States for use as a biological control agent to reduce the severity of hoary cress infestations. We are making the environmental assessment available to the public for review and comment.

    DATES:

    We will consider all comments that we receive on or before January 4, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2017-0086.

    Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2017-0086, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

    Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2017-0086 or in our reading room, which is located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 799-7039 before coming.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Colin D. Stewart, Assistant Director, Pests, Pathogens, and Biocontrol Permits, Permitting and Compliance Coordination, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 851-2237; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Hoary cress species (Lepidium draba, L. appelianum, and L. chalapense) are herbaceous, perennial plants that grow in a variety of habitat and soil types. The hoary cress complex of invasive weeds is native to the Balkans, the Caspian Sea region of southwestern Asia, and the Middle East, and is found throughout Europe. Hoary cress was introduced into the United States from Europe in the late 19th century either with ship ballast or contaminated alfalfa, grass, or grain. Since then, hoary cress has spread to all regions of the United States except the Southeast.

    Hoary cress is a perennial weed that reproduces from seeds and a spreading root system. The root system consists of vertical and lateral roots from which rosettes and shoots arise. Hoary cress inhibits and diminishes recreational opportunities, directly impedes crop production, minimizes grazing potential of affected rangelands, degrades wildlife habitat and native plant communities, and restricts waterfowl use of wetlands and stream banks. As a result, farmers, ranchers, recreationists, sportsmen, hunters, and the general public are adversely affected by hoary cress.

    Aceria drabae, a mite, was chosen as a potential biological control agent to combat hoary cress due to its very narrow host range and impact on its host, and since the mite is relatively widespread in Europe, it should adapt to varying environmental conditions in North America. The applicant's purpose for releasing A. drabae is to reduce the severity of infestations of invasive hoary cress in the contiguous United States.

    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's (APHIS') review and analysis of the potential environmental impacts associated with the proposed release are documented in detail in an environmental assessment (EA) entitled “Field release of the gall mite, Aceria drabae (Acari: Eriophyidae), for classical biological control of hoary cress (Lepidium draba L., Lepidium chalapense L., and Lepidium appelianum Al-Shehbaz) (Brassicaceae), in the contiguous United States” (September 2017). We are making the EA available to the public for review and comment. We will consider all comments that we receive on or before the date listed under the heading DATES at the beginning of this notice.

    The EA may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site or in our reading room (see ADDRESSES above for a link to Regulations.gov and information on the location and hours of the reading room). You may also request paper copies of the EA by calling or writing to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Please refer to the title of the EA when requesting copies.

    The EA has been prepared in accordance with: (1) The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), (2) regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), (3) USDA regulations implementing NEPA (7 CFR part 1b), and (4) APHIS' NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 372).

    Done in Washington, DC, this 29th day of November 2017. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26154 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service [Docket No. APHIS-2017-0099] Notice of Request for Revision to and Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Importation of Baby Squash and Baby Courgettes From Zambia AGENCY:

    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Revision to and extension of approval of an information collection; comment request.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's intention to request a revision to and extension of approval of an information collection associated with the regulations for the importation of baby squash and baby courgettes from Zambia into the continental United States.

    DATES:

    We will consider all comments that we receive on or before February 5, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2017-0099.

    Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2017-0099, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

    Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2017-0099 or in our reading room, which is located in Room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 799-7039 before coming.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For information on the importation of baby squash and baby courgettes from Zambia, contact Ms. Dorothy Wayson, Senior Regulatory Specialist, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 851-2036. For copies of more detailed information on the information collection, contact Ms. Kimberly Hardy, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2483.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Importation of Baby Squash and Baby Courgettes From Zambia.

    OMB Control Number: 0579-0347.

    Type of Request: Revision to and extension of approval of an information collection.

    Abstract: The Plant Protection Act (PPA, 7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.) authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to restrict the importation, entry, or interstate movement of plants, plant products, and other articles to prevent the introduction of plant pests into the United States or their dissemination within the United States. Regulations authorized by the PPA concerning the importation of fruits and vegetables into the United States from certain parts of the world are contained in “Subpart—Fruits and Vegetables” (7 CFR 319.56-1 through 319.56-81).

    Section 319.56-48 provides for the importation of baby squash and baby courgettes from Zambia into the continental United States under certain conditions. These regulations require the use of certain information collection activities, such as inspection of greenhouses, labeling of cartons, maintaining required trapping records, greenhouse approval, greenhouse pest detection notification, and phytosanitary certificates issued by the national plant protection organization (NPPO) of Zambia with an additional declaration that the baby squash and/or baby courgettes were produced in accordance with the regulations.

    We are asking the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve our use of these information collection activities, as described, for an additional 3 years.

    The purpose of this notice is to solicit comments from the public (as well as affected agencies) concerning our information collection. These comments will help us:

    (1) Evaluate 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) Evaluate the accuracy of our estimate of the burden of the 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, through use, as appropriate, of automated, electronic, mechanical, and other collection technologies; e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

    Estimate of burden: The public burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 1 hour per response.

    Respondents: Growers, packinghouse officials, and the NPPO of Zambia.

    Estimated annual number of respondents: 2.

    Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 5.

    Estimated annual number of responses: 10.

    Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 10 hours. (Due to averaging, the total annual burden hours may not equal the product of the annual number of responses multiplied by the reporting burden per response.)

    All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 29th day of November 2017. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26152 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service [Docket No. APHIS-2017-0097] Texas A&M AgriLife Research; Availability of Petition for Determination of Nonregulated Status of Cotton Genetically Engineered for Ultra-Low Gossypol Levels in the Cottonseed AGENCY:

    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has received a petition from Texas A&M AgriLife Research seeking a determination of nonregulated status of cotton designated as event TAM66274, which has been genetically engineered for ultra-low gossypol levels in the cottonseed. The petition has been submitted in accordance with our regulations concerning the introduction of certain genetically engineered organisms and products. We are making the Texas A&M AgriLife Research petition available for review and comment to help us identify potential environmental and interrelated economic issues and impacts that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service may determine should be considered in our evaluation of the petition.

    DATES:

    We will consider all comments that we receive on or before February 5, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2017-0097.

    Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2017-0097, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

    Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2017-0097 or in our reading room, which is located in Room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 799-7039 before coming.

    The petition is also available on the APHIS Web site at: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/biotechnology/petitions_table_pending.shtml under APHIS petition 17-292-01p.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. John Turner, Director, Environmental Risk Analysis Programs, Biotechnology Regulatory Services, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 147, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236; (301) 851-3954, email: [email protected] To obtain copies of the petition, contact Ms. Cindy Eck at (301) 851-3892, email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the authority of the plant pest provisions of the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.), the regulations in 7 CFR part 340, “Introduction of Organisms and Products Altered or Produced Through Genetic Engineering Which Are Plant Pests or Which There Is Reason to Believe Are Plant Pests,” regulate, among other things, the introduction (importation, interstate movement, or release into the environment) of organisms and products altered or produced through genetic engineering that are plant pests or that there is reason to believe are plant pests. Such genetically engineered (GE) organisms and products are considered “regulated articles.”

    The regulations in § 340.6(a) provide that any person may submit a petition to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) seeking a determination that an article should not be regulated under 7 CFR part 340. Paragraphs (b) and (c) of § 340.6 describe the form that a petition for a determination of nonregulated status must take and the information that must be included in the petition.

    APHIS has received a petition (APHIS Petition Number 17-292-01p) from Texas A&M AgriLife Research of College Station, TX (Texas A&M), seeking a determination of nonregulated status of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) designated as event TAM66274, which has been genetically engineered for ultra-low gossypol levels in the cottonseed. The Texas A&M petition states that information collected during field trials and laboratory analyses indicates that TAM66274 cotton is not likely to be a plant pest and therefore should not be a regulated article under APHIS' regulations in 7 CFR part 340.

    As described in the petition, TAM66274 cotton was developed through agrobacterium-mediated transformation of G. hirsutum cotton tissues from non-transgenic cultivar (cv.) Coker 312 using plasmid pART27-LCT66. TAM66274 cotton is currently regulated under 7 CFR part 340. Interstate movements and field tests of TAM66274 cotton have been conducted under notifications acknowledged by APHIS.

    Field tests conducted under APHIS oversight allowed for evaluation in a natural agricultural setting while imposing measures to minimize the likelihood of persistence in the environment after completion of the tests. Data are gathered on multiple parameters and used by the applicant to evaluate agronomic characteristics and product performance. These and other data are used by APHIS to determine if the new variety poses a plant pest risk.

    Paragraph (d) of § 340.6 provides that APHIS will publish a notice in the Federal Register providing 60 days for public comment for petitions for a determination of nonregulated status. On March 6, 2012, we published in the Federal Register (77 FR 13258-13260, Docket No. APHIS-2011-0129) a notice 1 describing our process for soliciting public comment when considering petitions for determinations of nonregulated status for GE organisms. In that notice we indicated that APHIS would accept written comments regarding a petition once APHIS deemed it complete.

    1 To view the notice, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2011-0129.

    In accordance with § 340.6(d) of the regulations and our process for soliciting public input when considering petitions for determinations of nonregulated status for GE organisms, we are publishing this notice to inform the public that APHIS will accept written comments regarding the petition for a determination of nonregulated status from interested or affected persons for a period of 60 days from the date of this notice. The petition is available for public review and comment, and copies are available as indicated under ADDRESSES and FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT above. We are interested in receiving comments regarding potential environmental and interrelated economic issues and impacts that APHIS may determine should be considered in our evaluation of the petition. We are particularly interested in receiving comments regarding biological, cultural, or ecological issues, and we encourage the submission of scientific data, studies, or research to support your comments.

    After the comment period closes, APHIS will review all written comments received during the comment period and any other relevant information. Any substantive issues identified by APHIS based on our review of the petition and our evaluation and analysis of comments will be considered in the development of our decisionmaking documents. As part of our decisionmaking process regarding a GE organism's regulatory status, APHIS prepares a plant pest risk assessment to assess its plant pest risk and the appropriate environmental documentation—either an environmental assessment (EA) or an environmental impact statement (EIS)—in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), to provide the Agency with a review and analysis of any potential environmental impacts associated with the petition request. For petitions for which APHIS prepares an EA, APHIS will follow our published process for soliciting public comment (see footnote 1) and publish a separate notice in the Federal Register announcing the availability of APHIS' EA and plant pest risk assessment.

    Should APHIS determine that an EIS is necessary, APHIS will complete the NEPA EIS process in accordance with Council on Environmental Quality regulations (40 CFR part 1500-1508) and APHIS' NEPA implementing regulations (7 CFR part 372).

    Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 7701-7772 and 7781-7786; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 29th day of November 2017. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26155 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
    COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Notice of Public Meeting of the Connecticut Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    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 Connecticut Advisory Committee to the Commission will convene by conference call at 12:00 p.m. (EST) on: Wednesday, December 20, 2017. The purpose of the meeting is to review and approve (vote) on the Advisory Memorandum on Solitary Confinement.

    DATES:

    Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. (EST).

    Public call-in information: Conference call-in number: 1-888-438-5448 and conference call 3640132.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Barbara Delaviez, at [email protected] or by phone at 202-376-7533.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Interested members of the public may listen to the discussion by calling the following toll-free conference call-in number: 1-888-438-5448 and conference call 3640132. Please be advised that before placing them into the conference call, the conference call operator will ask callers to provide their names, their organizational affiliations (if any), and email addresses (so that callers may be notified of future meetings). 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 conference call-in number.

    Persons with hearing impairments may also follow the discussion by first calling the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-977-8339 and providing the operator with the toll-free conference call-in number: 1-888-438-5448 and conference call 3640132.

    Members of the public are invited to make statements during the open comment period of the meeting or submit written comments. The comments must be received in the regional office approximately 30 days after each scheduled meeting. Written comments may be mailed to the Eastern Regional Office, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 1150, Washington, DC 20425, faxed to (202) 376-7548, or emailed to Evelyn Bohor at [email protected] Persons who desire additional information may contact the Eastern Regional Office at (202) 376-7533.

    Records and documents discussed during the meeting will be available for public viewing as they become available at https://database.faca.gov/committee/meetings.aspx?cid=239; click the “Meeting Details” and “Documents” links. Records generated from this meeting may also be inspected and reproduced at the Eastern Regional Office, as they become available, both before and after the meetings. Persons interested in the work of this advisory committee are advised to go to the Commission's Web site, www.usccr.gov, or to contact the Eastern Regional Office at the above phone numbers, email or street address.

    Agenda Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at 12 p.m. (EST) • Open—Roll Call • Work on Advisory Memorandum • Vote on Memorandum, if ready • Open Comment • Adjourn Dated: November 30, 2017. David Mussatt, Supervisory Chief, Regional Programs Unit.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26134 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [S-152-2017] Approval of Expansion of Subzone 214A; Consolidated Diesel Company, Enfield, North Carolina

    On September 26, 2017, the Executive Secretary of the Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) Board docketed an application submitted by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, grantee of FTZ 214, requesting the expansion of Subzone 214A subject to the existing activation limit of FTZ 214, on behalf of Consolidated Diesel Company, in Enfield, North Carolina.

    The application was processed in accordance with the FTZ Act and Regulations, including notice in the Federal Register inviting public comment (82 FR 46036, October 3, 2017). The FTZ staff examiner reviewed the application and determined that it meets the criteria for approval. Pursuant to the authority delegated to the FTZ Board Executive Secretary (15 CFR Sec. 400.36(f)), the application to expand Subzone 214A and to remove existing Site 3 was approved on November 28, 2017, subject to the FTZ Act and the Board's regulations, including Section 400.13, and further subject to FTZ 214's 2,000-acre activation limit.

    Dated: November 29, 2017. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26166 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-977, C-570-978] High Pressure Steel Cylinders From the People's Republic of China: Continuation of Antidumping Duty and Countervailing Duty Orders AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    As a result of the determination by the Department of Commerce (the Department) and the International Trade Commission (ITC) that revocation of the antidumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) orders on high pressure steel cylinders (Steel Cylinders) from the People's Republic of China (PRC) would likely lead to a continuation or recurrence of dumping and countervailable subsidies and material injury to an industry in the United States, the Department is publishing a notice of continuation of the AD and CVD orders.

    DATES:

    Applicable December 5, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mark Kennedy, AD/CVD Operations, Office I, or Paul Walker, AD/CVD Operations, Office V, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-7883 and (202) 482-0413, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    On June 21, 2012, the Department published in the Federal Register the AD and CVD orders on Steel Cylinders from the PRC.1 On May 1, 2017, the Department published the notice of initiation of the first sunset reviews of the AD and CVD orders on Steel Cylinders 2 from the PRC pursuant to section 751(c) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act). On May 1, 2017, the ITC instituted its review of the orders.3

    1See High Pressure Steel Cylinders from the People's Republic of China: Antidumping Duty Order, 77 FR 37377 (June 21, 2012) (AD Order); see also High Pressure Steel Cylinders from the People's Republic of China: Countervailing Duty Order, 77 FR 37384 (June 21, 2012) (CVD Order).

    2See Initiation of Five-Year “Sunset” Review, 82 FR 20314 (May 1, 2017).

    3See High Pressure Steel Cylinders from China, 82 FR 20373 (May 1, 2017).

    As a result of these expedited sunset reviews, the Department determined that revocation of the AD order on Steel Cylinders from the PRC would likely lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping, and that revocation of the CVD order on Steel Cylinders from the PRC would likely lead to continuation or recurrence of of countervailable subsidies. The Department, therefore, notified the ITC of the magnitude of the dumping margins and countervailable subsidy rates likely to prevail should the AD and CVD orders be revoked.4

    4See High Pressure Steel Cylinders from the People's Republic of China: Final Results of the Expedited First Sunset Review of the Antidumping Duty Order, 82 FR 41607 (September 1, 2017); see also High Pressure Steel Cylinders from the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Expedited Sunset Review of the Countervailing Duty Order, 82 FR 41936 (September 5, 2017).

    On November 3, 2017, pursuant to sections 751(c) and 752(a) of the Act, the ITC published a notice of its determination that revocation of the AD and CVD orders on Steel Cylinders would likely lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury to an industry in the United States within a reasonably foreseeable time.5

    5See High Pressure Steel Cylinders from China, 82 FR 51290 (November 3, 2017) and ITC Publication titled Steel Cylinders from the PRC: Investigation No. 701-480 (First Review) (October 31, 2017).

    Scope of the Orders

    The merchandise covered by these orders is seamless steel cylinders designed for storage or transport of compressed or liquefied gas (high pressure steel cylinders). High pressure steel cylinders are fabricated of chrome alloy steel including, but not limited to, chromium-molybdenum steel or chromium magnesium steel, and have permanently impressed into the steel, either before or after importation, the symbol of a U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (DOT)-approved high pressure steel cylinder manufacturer, as well as an approved DOT type marking of DOT 3A, 3AX, 3AA, 3AAX, 3B, 3E, 3HT, 3T, or DOT-E (followed by a specific exemption number) in accordance with the requirements of sections 178.36 through 178.68 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, or any subsequent amendments thereof. High pressure steel cylinders covered by these investigations have a water capacity up to 450 liters, and a gas capacity ranging from 8 to 702 cubic feet, regardless of corresponding service pressure levels and regardless of physical dimensions, finish or coatings.

    Excluded from the scope of these orders are high pressure steel cylinders manufactured to UN-ISO-9809-1 and 2 specifications and permanently impressed with ISO or UN symbols. Also excluded from the investigation are acetylene cylinders, with or without internal porous mass, and permanently impressed with 8A or 8AL in accordance with DOT regulations.

    Merchandise covered by these orders is classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) under subheading 7311.00.00.30. Subject merchandise may also enter under HTSUS subheadings 7311.00.00.60 or 7311.00.00.90. Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the merchandise under the investigation is dispositive.

    Continuation of the Orders

    As a result of the determinations by the Department and the ITC that revocation of the AD and CVD orders would likely lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping and countervailable subsidies and material injury to an industry in the United States, pursuant to section 751(d)(2) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.218(a), the Department hereby orders the continuation of the AD and CVD orders on Steel Cylinders from the PRC.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection will continue to collect AD and CVD cash deposits at the rates in effect at the time of entry for all imports of subject merchandise. The effective date of continuation of these orders will be the date of publication in the Federal Register of this notice of continuation. Pursuant to section 751(c)(2) of the Act, the Department intends to initiate the next five-year review of these orders not later than 30 days prior to the fifth anniversary of the effective date of continuation.

    These five-year sunset reviews and this notice are in accordance with section 751(c) of the Act and published pursuant to section 777(i)(1) of the Act, and 19 CFR 351.218(f)(4).

    Dated: November 29, 2017. Gary Taverman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, performing the non-exclusive functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26164 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-475-818] Certain Pasta From Italy: 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 antidumping duty administrative review of certain pasta (pasta) from Italy. The period of review (POR) is July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016. As a result of our analysis of the comments and information received, these final results differ from the Preliminary Results with respect to Ghigi 1870 S.p.A. and Pasta Zara S.p.A. (collectively, Ghigi/Zara).1 For the final weighted-average dumping margins, see the “Final Results of Review” section below.

    1See Memorandum titled “2015-2016 Antidumping Duty Administrative Review of Certain Pasta from Italy: Ghigi and Zara Collapsing Memorandum,” dated July 31, 2017.

    DATES:

    Applicable December 5, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Joy Zhang (Ghigi/Zara) or George McMahon (Indalco), 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) 482-1168 or (202) 482-1167, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    On August 3, 2017, the Department of Commerce (the Department) published the Preliminary Results. 2 In accordance with 19 CFR 351.309(c)(1)(ii), we invited parties to comment on our Preliminary Results. On September 5, 2017, the petitioners and Ghigi/Zara submitted their case briefs. On September 11, 2017, the petitioners and Ghigi/Zara submitted their rebuttal briefs.3 On September 5, 2017 Ghigi/Zara submitted a request for a hearing, which it withdrew on October 20, 2017.4

    2See Certain Pasta from Italy: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2015-2016, 82 FR 36126 (August 3, 2017) (Preliminary Results), and accompanying Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    3See Petitioners' case brief, dated September 5, 2017, Ghigi/Zara's case brief, dated September 5, 2017, Petitioners' rebuttal brief, dated September 11, 2017 and Ghigi/Zara's rebuttal brief, dated September 11, 2017.

    4See letter titled “Certain Pasta from Italy: Request for a Hearing,” dated September 5, 2017; see also letter titled “Certain Pasta from Italy: Withdrawal of Request for Hearing,” dated October 20, 2017.

    Scope of the Order

    Imports covered by the order are shipments of certain non-egg dry pasta. The merchandise subject to review is currently classifiable under items 1901.90.90.95 and 1902.19.20 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the merchandise subject to the order is dispositive.5

    5 For a full description of the scope of the order, see the “Issues and Decision Memorandum for the Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Partial Rescission: Certain Pasta from Italy; 2014-2015”, dated concurrently with this notice (Issues and Decision Memorandum) and incorporated herein by reference.

    Analysis of Comments Received

    All issues raised in the case and rebuttal briefs by parties to this administrative review are addressed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum. A list of the issues that parties raised and to which we responded is attached to this notice as an Appendix. The Issues and 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 https://access.trade.gov and in the Central Records Unit (CRU), Room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Issues and Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly on the Internet at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/index.html. The signed Issues and Decision Memorandum and the electronic versions of the Issues and Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    Changes Since the Preliminary Results

    Based on a review of the record and comments received from interested parties regarding our Preliminary Results, we have recalculated Ghigi/Zara's weighted-average dumping margin.6 As a result of the recalculation of the rate for Ghigi/Zara, the weighted-average dumping margin for the non-selected companies has changed. The weighted-average dumping margin for Indalco remains unchanged from the Preliminary Results.

    6See Issues and Decision Memorandum; see also Memorandum to the File, Through Eric B. Greynolds, Program Manager, Office III, from Joy Zhang, Case Analyst, Office III, titled “Certain Pasta from Italy: Calculation Memorandum—Liguori,” dated concurrently with this notice, and Memorandum to the File, Through Eric B. Greynolds, Program Manager, Office III, from George McMahon, Case Analyst, Office III, titled “Certain Pasta from Italy: Calculation Memorandum—Indalco,” dated concurrently with this notice.

    Final Results of the Review

    As a result of this review, the Department calculated a weighted-average dumping margin that is above de minimis for Ghigi/Zara and a de minimis margin for Indalco for the period July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016. Therefore, in accordance with section 735(c)(5)(A) of the Act, the Department assigned the weighted-average dumping margin calculated for Ghigi/Zara to the four non-selected companies in these final results, as referenced below.

    Producer and/or exporter Weighted-
  • average
  • dumping
  • margin
  • (percent)
  • Ghigi 1870 S.p.A. and Pasta Zara S.p.A. (Zara) (collectively Ghigi/Zara) 7 5.30 Industria Alimentare Colavita S.p.A. (Indalco) 0.00 GR.A.M.M. S.r.l. 5.30 Pastificio Andalini S.p.A. (Andalini) 5.30 Pastificio Zaffiri S.r.l. (Zaffiri) 5.30 Tesa SrL (Tesa) 5.30
    Duty Assessment

    The Department shall determine and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shall assess antidumping duties on all appropriate entries.8 For any individually examined respondent whose weighted-average dumping margin is above de minimis, we calculated 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). Upon issuance of the final results of this administrative review, if any importer-specific assessment rates calculated in the final results are above de minimis (i.e., at or above 0.5 percent), the Department will issue instructions directly to CBP to assess antidumping duties on appropriate entries. 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.

    7See Memorandum titled “2015-2016 Antidumping Duty Administrative Review of Certain Pasta from Italy: Ghigi and Zara Collapsing Memorandum,” dated July 31, 2017.

    8 In these final results, the Department applied the assessment rate calculation method 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).

    In accordance with the Department's “automatic assessment” practice, for entries of subject merchandise during the POR produced by each respondent 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.

    We intend to issue assessment instructions directly to CBP 15 days after publication of the final results of this review.

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The following cash deposit requirements will be effective upon publication of the notice of final results of administrative review for all shipments of subject merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication of the final results of this administrative review, as provided by section 751(a)(2) of the Act: (1) The cash deposit rate for respondents noted above will be the rate established in the final results of this administrative review; (2) for merchandise exported by manufacturers or exporters not covered in this administrative review but covered in a prior segment of the proceeding, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the company specific rate published for the most recently completed segment of this proceeding; (3) if the exporter is not a firm covered in this review, a prior review, or the original investigation, but the manufacturer is, the cash deposit rate will be the rate established for the most recently completed segment of this proceeding for the manufacturer of the subject merchandise; and (4) the cash deposit rate for all other manufacturers or exporters will continue to be 15.45 percent, the all-others rate established in the antidumping investigation as modified by the section 129 determination. These cash deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    Notification to Importers Regarding the Reimbursement of Duties

    This notice also serves as a final reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of antidumping and/or countervailing duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during the POR. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the Department's presumption that reimbursement of antidumping and/or countervailing duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of doubled antidumping duties.

    Administrative Protective Order

    This notice also serves as a reminder to parties subject to administrative protective orders (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 the terms of an APO is a sanctionable violation.

    We are issuing and publishing this notice in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.221(b)(5).

    Dated: November 29, 2017. Gary Taverman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, performing the non-exclusive functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix List of Topics Discussed in the Final Issues and Decision Memorandum I. Summary II. Background III. Scope of the Order IV. List of Comments V. Analysis of Comments Comment 1: Whether to Include Expenses Related to Contract Cancellation Charges in Ghigi's General and Administrative (G&A) Expense Calculation Comment 2: Whether to Adjust Zara's G&A Expense Calculation to Reclassify Certain Expenses Comment 3: Whether to Revise Manufacturer Field Coding Comment 4: Whether to Revise Differential Pricing Methodology VI. Recommendation
    [FR Doc. 2017-26165 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION Agency Information Collection Activities: Notice of Intent To Extend Collection 3038-0066: Financial Resource Requirements for Derivatives Clearing Organizations AGENCY:

    Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is announcing an opportunity for public comment on the proposed extension of a collection of certain information by the agency. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), Federal agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension of an existing collection of information, and to allow 60 days for public comment. This notice solicits comments on certain financial resource reporting requirements applicable to derivatives clearing organizations.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before February 5, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by “OMB Control Number 3038-0066” by any of the following methods:

    • The Agency's Web site, at http://comments.cftc.gov/. Follow the instructions for submitting comments through the Web site.

    Mail: Christopher Kirkpatrick, Secretary of the Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street NW., Washington, DC 20581.

    Hand Delivery/Courier: Same as Mail above.

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

    Please submit your comments using only one method. All comments must be submitted in English or, if not, accompanied by an English translation. Comments will be posted as received to http://www.cftc.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jocelyn Partridge, Special Counsel, Division of Clearing and Risk, (202) 418-5926, email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the PRA, Federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. “Collection of Information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3 and includes agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a valid OMB control number. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A), requires a Federal agency to provide a 60-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension of an existing collection of information, before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, the Commission is publishing notice of the proposed extension of the collection of information listed below.

    Title: Financial Resource Requirements for Derivatives Clearing Organizations (OMB Control No. 3038-0066). This is a request for an extension of a currently approved information collection.

    Abstract: This collection of information involves the financial resource reporting requirements set forth in section 39.11 of the Commission's regulations.

    Section 5b(c)(2) of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA or Act) 1 sets forth certain core principles with which a derivatives clearing organization (DCO) must comply in order to become registered with the Commission and to maintain such registration. One of these core principles, core principle B, sets forth the financial resource requirements applicable to DCOs. Section 5b(c)(2) also requires DCOs to comply with the regulations promulgated by the Commission pursuant to section 8a(5) of the Act.2 Section 39.11 of the Commission's regulations, which implements core principle B, includes the financial resource reporting requirements that are the subject of this information collection. The information collection is necessary for, and would be used by, the Commission to evaluate a DCO's compliance with the financial resource requirements for DCOs prescribed in the Commodity Exchange Act, including core principle B, and the Commission's regulations.

    1 7 U.S.C. 7a-1(c)(2).

    2 Section 8a(5) of the CEA authorizes the Commission to promulgate such rules and regulations as, in the judgment of the Commission, are reasonably necessary to effectuate any of the provisions or to accomplish any of the purposes of the CEA. 7 U.S.C. 12a(5).

    With respect to the collection of information, the CFTC invites comments on:

    • Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information will have a practical use;

    • The accuracy of the Commission's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • Ways to enhance the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Ways to minimize the burden of 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.

    You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. If you wish the Commission to consider information that you believe is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, a petition for confidential treatment of the exempt information may be submitted according to the procedures established in section 145.9 of the Commission's regulations.3 The Commission reserves the right, but shall have no obligation, to review, pre-screen, filter, redact, refuse or remove any or all of your submission from http://www.cftc.gov that it may deem to be inappropriate for publication, such as obscene language. All submissions that have been redacted or removed that contain comments on the merits of the information collection requirement will be retained in the public comment file and will be considered as required under the Administrative Procedure Act and other applicable laws, and may be accessible under the Freedom of Information Act.

    3 17 CFR 145.9.

    Burden Statement: As noted above, this information collection renewal involves the requirement that a DCO that is registered with the Commission report certain information regarding its financial resources, the value thereof, and the basis for these calculations that is necessary for the Commission to assess the DCO's compliance with the financial resource requirements of the CEA and the Commission's regulations. The reporting requirements are contained in section 39.11 of the Commission's regulations. The Commission has revised its estimate of the total annual burden hours for this collection to account for an increase in the number of respondents (from 14 to 17), but has maintained the original burden hour estimate of 10 hours per quarterly report as the reporting requirements have remain unchanged.

    The respondent burden for this collection is estimated to be as follows:

    Estimated Annual Number of Respondents: 17.

    Estimated Annual Number of Reports per Respondent: 4.

    Estimated Total Annual Number of Responses: 68.

    Estimated Average Number of Hours per Response: 10.

    Estimated Average Annual Burden Hours per Respondent: 40.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 680 hours.

    Frequency of collection: Quarterly and on occasion.

    Type of Respondents: Derivatives clearing organizations.

    There are no capital or start-up costs associated with this information collection, nor are there any operating or maintenance costs associated with this information collection.

    (Authority 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) Dated: November 29, 2017. Robert N. Sidman, Deputy Secretary of the Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26141 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6351-01-P
    CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Disaster Response Cooperative Agreements AGENCY:

    Corporation for National and Community Service.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has submitted a public information collection request (ICR) entitled Disaster Response Cooperative Agreements for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Comments may be submitted, identified by the title of the information collection activity, by January 4, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments may be submitted, identified by the title of the information collection activity, to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attn: Ms. Sharon Mar, OMB Desk Officer for the Corporation for National and Community Service, by any of the following two methods within 30 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register:

    (1) By fax to: 202-395-6974, Attention: Ms. Sharon Mar, OMB Desk Officer for the Corporation for National and Community Service; or

    (2) By email to: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Copies of this ICR, with applicable supporting documentation, may be obtained by calling the Corporation for National and Community Service, Chad Stover at 202-606-6925 or email to [email protected] Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TTY-TDD) may call 1-800-833-3722 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The OMB is particularly interested in comments which:

    • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of CNCS, including whether the information will have practical utility;

    • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions;

    • Propose ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Propose ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Comments

    A 60-day notice requesting public comment was published in the Federal Register on July 13, 2017 at Vol. 82 Page 32346. This comment period ended September 11, 2017. No public comments were received from this notice.

    Description: CNCS seeks to renew the current information collection. The information collection will be used in the same manner as the existing application. CNCS also seeks to continue using the current application until the revised application is approved by OMB. The current application is due to expire on December 31, 2017.

    Type of Review: Renewal.

    Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service.

    Title: Disaster Response Cooperative Agreement (DRCA).

    OMB Number: 3045-0133.

    Agency Number: None.

    Affected Public: Current grantees and CNCS-supported programs.

    Total Respondents: 20.

    Frequency: Once a year.

    Average Time per Response: Averages two hours.

    Dated: November 30, 2017. Jennifer Murphy, Lead Disaster Service Specialist, Disaster Services Unit.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26186 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6050-28-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Defense Acquisition Regulations System [Docket Number DARS-2017-0010; OMB Control Number 0704-0341] Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Defense Acquisition Regulations System, Department of Defense (DoD)

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Defense Acquisition Regulations System has submitted to OMB for clearance, the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    DATES:

    Consideration will be given to all comments received by January 4, 2018.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title, Associated Form, and OMB Number: Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) Part 239, Acquisition of Information Technology, and the associated clauses at 252-239-7000 and 252-239-7006; OMB Control Number 0704-0341.

    Affected Public: Businesses or other for-profit and not-for-profit institutions.

    Respondent's Obligation: Required to obtain or retain benefits.

    Frequency: On occasion.

    Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Number of Respondents: 750.

    Responses per Respondent: 14, approximately.

    Annual Responses: 10,500.

    Average Burden per Response: 0.62 hour, approximately.

    Annual Burden Hours: 6,542.

    Needs and Uses: This requirement provides for the collection of information from contractors regarding security of information technology; tariffs pertaining to telecommunications services; and proposals from common carriers to perform special construction under contracts for telecommunications services. Contracting officers and other DoD personnel use the information to ensure that information systems are protected; to participate in the establishment of tariffs for telecommunications services; and to establish reasonable prices for special construction by common carriers.

    OMB Desk Officer: Ms. Jasmeet Seehra.

    Comments and recommendations on the proposed information collection should be sent to Ms. Jasmeet Seehra, DoD Desk Officer, at [email protected] Please identify the proposed information collection by DoD Desk Officer and the Docket ID number and title of the information collection.

    You may also submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by the following method:

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

    DoD Clearance Officer: Mr. Frederick C. Licari.

    Written requests for copies of the information collection proposal should be sent to Mr. Licari at: WHS/ESD Directives Division, 4800 Mark Center Drive, 2nd Floor, East Tower, Suite 03F09, Alexandria, VA 22350-3100.

    Jennifer Hawes, Regulatory Control Officer, Defense Acquisition Regulations System.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26181 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Defense Acquisition Regulations System [Docket DARS-2017-0011; OMB Control Number 0704-0390] Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Defense Acquisition Regulations System, Department of Defense (DoD).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Defense Acquisition Regulations System has submitted to OMB for clearance, the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    DATES:

    Consideration will be given to all comments received by January 4, 2018.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title and OMB Number: Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) Part 229, Taxes, and related clause at 252.229; OMB Control Number 0704-0390.

    Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Affected Public: Businesses or other for-profit and not-for-profit institutions.

    Respondent's Obligation: Required to obtain or retain benefits.

    Reporting Frequency: On occasion.

    Number of Respondents: 11.

    Responses per Respondent: 1.

    Annual Responses: 11.

    Average Hours per Response: 4.

    Annual Burden Hours: 44.

    Needs and Uses: The clause at DFARS 252.229-7010, Relief from Customs Duty on Fuel (United Kingdom), is prescribed at DFARS 229.402-70(j) for use in solicitations issued and contracts awarded in the United Kingdom that require the use of fuels (gasoline or diesel) and lubricants in taxis or vehicles other than passenger vehicles. The clause requires the contractor to provide the contracting officer with evidence that the contractor has initiated an attempt to obtain relief from customs duty on fuels and lubricants, as permitted by an agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom.

    OMB Desk Officer: Ms. Jasmeet Seehra.

    Comments and recommendations on the proposed information collection should be sent to Ms. Jasmeet Seehra, DoD Desk Officer, at [email protected] Please identify the proposed information collection by DoD Desk Officer and the Docket ID number and title of the information collection

    You may also submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by the following method:

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

    DoD Clearance Officer: Mr. Frederick C. Licari.

    Written requests for copies of the information collection proposal should be sent to Mr. Licari at: WHS/ESD Directives Division, 4800 Mark Center Drive, 2nd Floor, East Tower, Suite 03F09, Alexandria, VA 22350-3100.

    Jennifer L. Hawes, Regulatory Control Officer, Defense Acquisition Regulations System.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26180 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEFENSE NUCLEAR FACILITIES SAFETY BOARD Sunshine Act Meetings FEDERAL REGISTER CITATION OF PREVIOUS ANNOUNCEMENT:

    The original notice for this meeting was published at 82 FR 55355 on November 21, 2017.

    PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED TIME AND DATE OF THE MEETING:

    10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., November 27, 2017.

    CHANGES IN THE MEETING:

    This meeting will now occur over the course of two days. The first day is December 6, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The second day is December 18, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

    CONTACT PERSON FOR MORE INFORMATION:

    Glenn Sklar, General Manager, Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, 625 Indiana Avenue NW., Suite 700, Washington, DC 20004-2901, (800) 788-4016. This is a toll-free number.

    Dated: November 30, 2017. Joseph Bruce Hamilton, Vice Chairman.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26284 Filed 12-1-17; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3670-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No.: ED-2017-ICCD-0151] Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; OSERS Peer Review Data Form AGENCY:

    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 February 5, 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-0151. 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 216-44, Washington, DC 20202-4537.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Patricia Wright, 202-245-7620.

    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: OSERS Peer Review Data Form.

    OMB Control Number: 1820-0583.

    Type of Review: A reinstatement of a previously approved information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: Individuals or Households.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 1,500.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 250.

    Abstract: The OSERS Peer Reviewer Data Form (OPRDF) is used by OSERS staff to identify potential reviewers who would be qualified to review specific types of grant applications for funding; to provide background contact information for each potential reviewer; and to provide information on any reasonable accommodations that might be required by the individual. The previous version of the OPRDF, 1820-0583, expired on September 30, 2017. The revised version of the OSERS Peer Data Form included in this information collection request contains additional questions to better match field experts with the review of OSERS funding opportunities. There are also additional questions aimed to better meet the needs of peer reviewers who require reasonable accommodations.

    Dated: November 29, 2017. Tomakie Washington, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26095 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No.: ED-2017-ICCD-0152] Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; College Affordability and Transparency Explanation Form (CATEF) 2018-2020 AGENCY:

    Department of Education (ED), Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, ED is proposing an extension of an existing information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before February 5, 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-0152. 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 Freddie Cross, 202-453-7224.

    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: College Affordability and Transparency Explanation Form (CATEF) 2018-2020.

    OMB Control Number: 1840-0822.

    Type of Review: An extension of an existing information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: State, Local, and Tribal Governments.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 631.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 2,063.

    Abstract: The Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) is seeking a renewed three-year clearance for the College Affordability and Transparency Explanation Form (CATEF) data collection. OPE has collected this information since 2011-12 and the collection of information through CATEF is required by § 132 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended (HEA), 20 U.S.C. 1015a with the goal of increasing the transparency of college tuition prices for consumers. This submission is for the 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20 collection years. CATEF collects follow-up information from institutions that appear on the tuition and fees and/or net price increase College Affordability and Transparency Center (CATC) Lists for being in the five percent of institutions in their institutional sector that have the highest increases, expressed as a percentage change, over the three-year time period for which the most recent data are available. The information collected through CATEF is used to write a summary report for Congress which is also posted on the CATC Web site (accessible through the College Navigator).

    Dated: November 29, 2017. Kate Mullan, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26131 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Docket Numbers: RP18-185-000.

    Applicants: Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC submits tariff filing per 154.204: Negotiated Rates—ConEd to Next Utility—795426 & 795428 to be effective 11/28/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5015.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/11/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-186-000.

    Applicants: Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, Inc.

    Description: Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, Inc. submits tariff filing per 154.203: Annual Cash-Out Activity Report 2017 to be effective.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5032.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/11/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-187-000.

    Applicants: Gas Transmission Northwest LLC.

    Description: Annual Fuel Charge Adjustment of Gas Transmission Northwest LLC under RP18-187.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5045.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/11/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-188-000.

    Applicants: Colorado Interstate Gas Company, L.L.C.

    Description: Colorado Interstate Gas Company, L.L.C. submits tariff filing per 154.403(d)(2): Quarterly LUF True Up Filing to be effective 1/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5068.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/11/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-189-000.

    Applicants: El Paso Natural Gas Company, L.L.C.

    Description: El Paso Natural Gas Company, L.L.C. submits tariff filing per 154.601: Negotiated Rate Agreement Update (SoCal Dec 17) to be effective 12/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5070.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/11/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-190-000.

    Applicants: Sierrita Gas Pipeline LLC.

    Description: Operational Purchases and Sales Report of Sierrita Gas Pipeline LLC under RP18-190.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5088.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/11/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-191-000.

    Applicants: National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation.

    Description: National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation submits tariff filing per 154.203: TSCA—Informational Filing (11/28/17) to be effective.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5090.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/11/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-192-000.

    Applicants: UGI Mt. Bethel Pipeline Company, LLC.

    Description: Operational Purchases and Sales Report of UGI Mt. Bethel Pipeline Company, LLC under RP18-192.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5093.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/11/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-193-000.

    Applicants: UGI Sunbury, LLC.

    Description: Operational Purchases and Sales Report of UGI Sunbury, LLC under RP18-193.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5100.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/11/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-194-000.

    Applicants: Northwest Pipeline LLC.

    Description: Northwest Pipeline LLC submits tariff filing per 154.204: 2017 Miscellaneous Filing to be effective 1/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5134.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/11/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-195-000.

    Applicants: Northwest Pipeline LLC.

    Description: Northwest Pipeline LLC submits tariff filing per 154.204: Interconnect Facilities Credit Provisions Filing to be effective 1/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5140.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/11/17.

    Docket Numbers: CP18-19-000.

    Applicants: Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC.

    Description: Authorization to Abandon Service under CP18-19.

    Filed Date: 11/15/17.

    Accession Number: 20171115-5093.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/6/17.

    Docket Number: PR17-64-001.

    Applicants: Boardwalk Texas Intrastate, LLC.

    Description: Tariff filing per 284.123(b), (e)+(g): Revised Petition for Rate Approval to be effective 10/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/27/17.

    Accession Number: 201711275012.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/18/17.

    284.123(g) Protests Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/18/17.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and § 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: November 29, 2017. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26133 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric corporate filings:

    Docket Numbers: EC18-26-000.

    Applicants: Deseret Generation & Transmission Co-operative, Inc.

    Description: Application for Expedited Approval of Acquisition of Assets Pursuant to Section 203 of the Federal Power Act of Deseret Generation & Transmission Co-operative, Inc.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5165.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/19/17.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER17-2541-001.

    Applicants: Estill Solar I, LLC.

    Description: Notice of Non-Material Change in Status of Estill Solar I, LLC.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5151.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/19/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-15-001.

    Applicants: Westwood Generation, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing: Response to FERC Deficiency Notice to be effective N/A.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5143.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/19/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-158-001.

    Applicants: EnPowered.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: EnPowered USA, Inc. Market Based Rate Tariff to be effective 10/31/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/29/17.

    Accession Number: 20171129-5097.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/20/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-336-000.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 2017-11-28_4th Quarter Tariff Clean-Up Filing to be effective 11/29/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5113.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/19/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-337-000.

    Applicants: PacifiCorp.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: City of Hurricane Requirements Contract to be effective 12/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5114.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/19/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-339-000.

    Applicants: Bishop Hill Interconnection LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing: Bishop Hill Interconnection LLC Certificate of Concurrence to be effective 10/15/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5132.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/19/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-340-000.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 2017-11-29_SA 749 ATC-CWP IA Termination to be effective 11/30/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/29/17.

    Accession Number: 20171129-5027.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/20/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-341-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Notice of Cancellation of WMPA SA No. 4743; Queue No. AC1-046 to be effective 12/18/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/29/17.

    Accession Number: 20171129-5036.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/20/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-342-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Notice of Cancellation of WMPA SA No. 4744; Queue No. AC1-047 to be effective 12/18/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/29/17.

    Accession Number: 20171129-5037.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/20/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-343-000.

    Applicants: Citigroup Energy Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Revised MBR Tariff to be effective 11/30/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/29/17.

    Accession Number: 20171129-5056.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/20/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-344-000.

    Applicants: C.P. Crane LLC.

    Description: Request for Waiver of C.P. Crane LLC.

    Filed Date: 11/29/17.

    Accession Number: 20171129-5057.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/20/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-345-000.

    Applicants: Citigroup Energy Canada ULC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Revised MBR Tariff to be effective 11/30/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/29/17.

    Accession Number: 20171129-5058.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/20/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-346-000.

    Applicants: New England Power Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Related Facilities Agreement with Granite Reliable Power, LLC to be effective 11/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/29/17.

    Accession Number: 20171129-5085.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/20/17.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: November 29, 2017. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26132 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. PF17-10-000] National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Planned FM100 Modernization Project and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues

    The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) that will discuss the environmental impacts of the FM100 Modernization Project involving construction and operation of facilities by National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation (National Fuel) in Cameron, Clearfield, Elk, McKean, and Potter Counties, Pennsylvania. The Commission will use this EA in its decision-making process to determine whether the project is in the public convenience and necessity.

    This notice announces the opening of the scoping process the Commission will use to gather input from the public and interested agencies on the project. You can make a difference by providing us with your specific comments or concerns about the project. Your comments should focus on the potential environmental effects, reasonable alternatives, and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impacts. Your input will help the Commission staff determine what issues they need to evaluate in the EA. To ensure that your comments are timely and properly recorded, please send your comments so that the Commission receives them in Washington, DC on or before December 29, 2017.

    If you sent comments on this project to the Commission before the opening of this docket on September 14, 2017, you will need to file those comments in Docket No. PF17-10-000 to ensure they are considered as part of this proceeding.

    This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental mailing list for this project. State and local government representatives should notify their constituents of this planned project and encourage them to comment on their areas of concern.

    If you are a landowner receiving this notice, a pipeline company representative may contact you about the acquisition of an easement to construct, operate, and maintain the planned facilities. The company would seek to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. However, if the Commission approves the project, that approval conveys with it the right of eminent domain. Therefore, if easement negotiations fail to produce an agreement, the pipeline company could initiate condemnation proceedings where compensation would be determined in accordance with state law.

    A fact sheet prepared by the FERC entitled “An Interstate Natural Gas Facility On My Land? What Do I Need To Know?” is available for viewing on the FERC Web site (www.ferc.gov). This fact sheet addresses a number of typically asked questions, including the use of eminent domain and how to participate in the Commission's proceedings.

    Public Participation

    For your convenience, there are three methods you can use to submit your comments to the Commission. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert staff available to assist you at (202) 502-8258 or [email protected] Please carefully follow these instructions so that your comments are properly recorded.

    (1) You can file your comments electronically using the eComment feature on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. This is an easy method for submitting brief, text-only comments on a project;

    (2) You can file your comments electronically by using the eFiling feature on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. With eFiling, you can provide comments in a variety of formats by attaching them as a file with your submission. New eFiling users must first create an account by clicking on eRegister. If you are filing a comment on a particular project, please select “Comment on a Filing” as the filing type; or

    (3) You can file a paper copy of your comments by mailing them to the following address. Be sure to reference the project docket number (PF17-10-000) with your submission: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.

    Summary of the Planned Project

    National Fuel plans to abandon, construct, and operate certain pipeline and compressor facilities in order to modernize its system to meet existing delivery requirements. The FM100 Modernization Project would consist of the following facilities and actions:

    • Abandonment in place of approximately 12 miles of 12-inch-diameter pipeline (Line FM120) in Cameron and Elk Counties;

    • abandonment in place of approximately 44.9 miles of 12-inch-diameter pipeline (Line FM100) in Clearfield, Cameron, Elk, and Potter Counties;

    • abandonment by removal of the existing Costello Compressor Station in Potter County;

    • installation of 28.9 miles of new 12- or 16-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline in McKean and Potter Counties; 1

    1 National Fuel is currently gauging interest from shippers along this section of new pipeline. If enough interest is received, National Fuel may expand the pipeline diameter from 12 to 16 inches, resulting in an increase in capacity on National Fuel's system, making the project an expansion project.

    • installation of the new Marvindale Compressor Station (up to 2,000 horsepower) in McKean County;

    • installation of 1.2 miles of 24-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline loop 2 in Potter County;

    2 A pipeline loop is a segment of pipe constructed parallel to an existing pipeline to increase capacity.

    • installation of approximately 12.5 miles of 6-inch-diameter FlexSteel© pipeline into National Fuel's existing Line FM120 in Elk and Cameron Counties;

    • installation of approximately 355 feet of 6-inch-diameter pipeline and aboveground piping/valves to replace the existing FM120 pipeline in order to keep an existing producer delivery point tied into the system in Cameron County; and

    • installation of interconnects, valves, metering, and other appurtenant facilities.

    The general location of the project facilities is shown in appendix 1.3

    3 The appendices referenced in this notice will not appear in the Federal Register. Copies of the appendices were sent to all those receiving this notice in the mail and are available at www.ferc.gov using the link called “eLibrary” or from the Commission's Public Reference Room, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, or call (202) 502-8371. For instructions on connecting to eLibrary, refer to the last page of this notice.

    Land Requirements for Construction

    Preliminary calculations are that construction of the planned facilities would disturb about 369 acres of land for the aboveground facilities, insertion, and the construction of the pipelines. Following construction, National Fuel would maintain about 188 acres for permanent operation of the project's facilities; the remaining acreage would be restored and revert to former uses. About 93 percent of the planned pipeline route parallels existing pipeline, utility, or road rights-of-way. National Fuel is still determining the disturbance required for the abandonment of lines FM100 and FM120.

    The EA Process

    The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the Commission to take into account the environmental impacts that could result from an action whenever it considers the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. NEPA also requires us 4 to discover and address concerns the public may have about proposals. This process is referred to as scoping. The main goal of the scoping process is to focus the analysis in the EA on the important environmental issues. By this notice, the Commission requests public comments on the scope of the issues to address in the EA. We will consider all filed comments during the preparation of the EA.

    4 We, us, and our refer to the environmental staff of the Commission's Office of Energy Projects.

    In the EA we will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of the construction and operation of the planned project under these general headings:

    • Geology and soils;

    • land use;

    • water resources, fisheries, and wetlands;

    • cultural resources;

    • vegetation and wildlife;

    • socioeconomics;

    • air quality and noise;

    • endangered and threatened species;

    • public safety; and

    • cumulative impacts.

    We will also evaluate possible alternatives to the planned project or portions of the project, and make recommendations on how to lessen or avoid impacts on the various resource areas.

    Although no formal application has been filed, we have already initiated our NEPA review under the Commission's pre-filing process. The purpose of the pre-filing process is to encourage early involvement of interested stakeholders and to identify and resolve issues before the FERC receives an application. As part of our pre-filing review, we have begun to contact some federal and state agencies to discuss their involvement in the scoping process and the preparation of the EA.

    The EA will present our independent analysis of the issues. The EA will be available in the public record through eLibrary. Depending on the comments received during the scoping process, we may also publish and distribute the EA to the public for an allotted comment period. We will consider all comments on the EA before we make our recommendations to the Commission. To ensure we have the opportunity to consider and address your comments, please carefully follow the instructions in the Public Participation section, beginning on page 2.

    With this notice, we are asking agencies with jurisdiction by law and/or special expertise with respect to the environmental issues related to this project to formally cooperate with us in the preparation of the EA.5 Agencies that would like to request cooperating agency status should follow the instructions for filing comments provided under the Public Participation section of this notice.

    5 The Council on Environmental Quality regulations addressing cooperating agency responsibilities are at Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1501.6.

    Consultations Under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act

    In accordance with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's implementing regulations for Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, we are using this notice to initiate consultation with the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office, and to solicit their views and those of other government agencies, interested Indian tribes, and the public on the project's potential effects on historic properties.6 We will define the project-specific Area of Potential Effects (APE) in consultation with the SHPO as the project develops. On natural gas facility projects, the APE at a minimum encompasses all areas subject to ground disturbance (examples include construction right-of-way, contractor/pipe storage yards, compressor stations, and access roads). Our EA for this project will document our findings on the impacts on historic properties and summarize the status of consultations under Section 106.

    6 The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation regulations are at Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 800. Those regulations define historic properties as any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

    Environmental Mailing List

    The environmental mailing list includes federal, state, and local government representatives and agencies; elected officials; Native American Tribes; other interested parties; and local libraries and newspapers. This list also includes all affected landowners (as defined in the Commission's regulations) who are potential right-of-way grantors, whose property may be used temporarily for project purposes, or who own homes within certain distances of aboveground facilities, and anyone who submits comments on the project. We will update the environmental mailing list as the analysis proceeds to ensure that we send the information related to this environmental review to all individuals, organizations, and government entities interested in and/or potentially affected by the planned project.

    If we publish and distribute the EA, copies will be sent to the environmental mailing list for public review and comment. If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of the document instead of the CD version or would like to remove your name from the mailing list, please return the attached Information Request (appendix 2).

    Becoming an Intervenor

    Once National Fuel files its application with the Commission, you may want to become an “intervenor” which is an official party to the Commission's proceeding. Intervenors play a more formal role in the process and are able to file briefs, appear at hearings, and be heard by the courts if they choose to appeal the Commission's final ruling. An intervenor formally participates in the proceeding by filing a request to intervene. Motions to intervene are more fully described at http://www.ferc.gov/resources/guides/how-to/intervene.asp. Instructions for becoming an intervenor are in the “Document-less Intervention Guide” under the “e-filing” link on the Commission's Web site. Please note that the Commission will not accept requests for intervenor status at this time. You must wait until the Commission receives a formal application for the project.

    Additional Information

    Additional information about the project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs, at (866) 208-FERC, or on the FERC Web site (www.ferc.gov) using the eLibrary link. Click on the eLibrary link, click on General Search and enter the docket number, excluding the last three digits in the Docket Number field (i.e., PF17-10). Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected] or toll free at (866) 208-3676, or for TTY, contact (202) 502-8659. The eLibrary link also provides access to the texts of formal documents issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices, and rulemakings.

    In addition, the Commission offers a free service called eSubscription which allows you to keep track of all formal issuances and submittals in specific dockets. This can reduce the amount of time you spend researching proceedings by automatically providing you with notification of these filings, document summaries, and direct links to the documents. Go to www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp.

    Finally, public sessions or site visits will be posted on the Commission's calendar located at www.ferc.gov/EventCalendar/EventsList.aspx along with other related information.

    Dated: November 29, 2017. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26140 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric corporate filings:

    Docket Numbers: EC17-138-001.

    Applicants: 83WI 8me, LLC.

    Description: Notification of certain non-material changes of 83WI 8me, LLC.

    Filed Date: 11/27/17.

    Accession Number: 20171127-5146.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/18/17.

    Docket Numbers: EC18-25-000.

    Applicants: Imperial Valley Solar 3, LLC.

    Description: Application for Authorization Under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act for the Acquisition of Jurisdictional Facilities and Request for Expedited Consideration of Imperial Valley Solar 3, LLC.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5091.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/19/17.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER17-2318-001.

    Applicants: Cuyama Solar, LLC.

    Description: Notice of Change in Status of Cuyama Solar, LLC.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5098.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/19/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-319-001.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing: Errata to Compliance Filing in ER18-319 to be effective 10/19/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5051.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/19/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-331-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Queue #Z1-069/AB1-160, Second Revised Service Agreement No. 4315 to be effective 10/26/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/27/17.

    Accession Number: 20171127-5108.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/18/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-332-000.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 3378 MKEC & Ninnescah Rural Electric Interconnection Agr to be effective 11/15/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5001.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/19/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-333-000.

    Applicants: Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: E&P Agreement for Proxima Solar, LLC to be effective 11/29/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5067.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/19/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-334-000.

    Applicants: Cuyama Solar, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Revised Market Based Rate Tariff to be effective 1/28/2018.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5087.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/19/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-335-000.

    Applicants: Luning Energy Holdings LLC.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Notice of Cancellation of Market-Based Rate Tariff to be effective 1/28/2018.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5092.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/19/17.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: November 28, 2017. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26097 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP17-469-000] WBI Energy Transmission, Inc.; Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review of the Billy Creek Storage Field Abandonment Project

    On June 30, 2017, WBI Energy Transmission, Inc. (WBI) filed an application in Docket No. CP17-469-000 requesting a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity pursuant to Sections 7(b) and 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act to abandon the Billy Creek Storage Field, and construct certain natural gas facilities to recover the storage field's cushion gas. The proposed project is known as the Billy Creek Storage Field Abandonment Project (Project), and would involve the abandonment of the storage field and related facilities in Johnson County, Wyoming.

    On July 17, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) issued its Notice of Application for the Project. Among other things, that notice alerted agencies issuing federal authorizations of the requirement to complete all necessary reviews and to reach a final decision on a request for a federal authorization within 90 days of the date of issuance of the Commission staff's Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Project. This instant notice identifies the FERC staff's planned schedule for the completion of the EA for the Project.

    Schedule for Environmental Review

    Issuance of EA: February 2, 2018.

    90-day Federal Authorization Decision Deadline: May 3, 2018.

    If a schedule change becomes necessary, additional notice will be provided so that the relevant agencies are kept informed of the Project's progress.

    Project Description

    WBI proposes to abandon the Billy Creek Storage Field and related facilities and recover and sell the estimated 2.3 billion cubic feet of cushion gas prior to abandonment of the field. WBI proposes a combination of any of these three options to recover the remaining cushion gas:

    1. Utilize and/or modify existing storage field facilities (Option 1);

    2. install a temporary 200 horsepower (or less) replacement compressor unit (Option 2); and/or

    3. drill one new natural gas recovery well in one of two locations (Option 3).

    Following cushion gas withdrawal, WBI would abandon pipeline and aboveground facilities in-place and by removal, including the additional compressor unit and/or recovery well listed in Options 2 and 3. WBI states that the storage field is no longer reliable due to water encroachment and that the firm storage deliverability is now provided by another WBI storage field.

    Background

    On August 17, 2017, the Commission issued a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Billy Creek Storage Field Abandonment Project and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues (NOI). The NOI was sent to affected landowners; federal, state, and local government agencies; elected officials; Native American tribes; and local libraries. In response to the NOI, the Commission received comments from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. The primary issues raised by commentors are impacts on water quality and surface waterbodies, restoration and the development of a reclamation plan, invasive species prevention and mitigation, and applicable permits.

    Additional Information

    In order to receive notification of the issuance of the EA and to keep track of all formal issuances and submittals in specific dockets, the Commission offers a free service called eSubscription. This can reduce the amount of time you spend researching proceedings by automatically providing you with notification of these filings, document summaries, and direct links to the documents. Go to www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp.

    Additional information about the Project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs at (866) 208-FERC or on the FERC Web site (www.ferc.gov). Using the eLibrary link, select General Search from the eLibrary menu, enter the selected date range and Docket Number excluding the last three digits (i.e., CP17-469), and follow the instructions. For assistance with access to eLibrary, the helpline can be reached at (866) 208-3676, TTY (202) 502-8659, or at [email protected] The eLibrary link on the FERC Web site also provides access to the texts of formal documents issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices, and rule makings.

    Dated: November 29, 2017. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26137 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. RM98-1-000] Records Governing Off-the-Record Communications; Public Notice

    This constitutes notice, in accordance with 18 CFR 385.2201(b), of the receipt of prohibited and exempt off-the-record communications.

    Order No. 607 (64 FR 51222, September 22, 1999) requires Commission decisional employees, who make or receive a prohibited or exempt off-the-record communication relevant to the merits of a contested proceeding, to deliver to the Secretary of the Commission, a copy of the communication, if written, or a summary of the substance of any oral communication.

    Prohibited communications are included in a public, non-decisional file associated with, but not a part of, the decisional record of the proceeding. Unless the Commission determines that the prohibited communication and any responses thereto should become a part of the decisional record, the prohibited off-the-record communication will not be considered by the Commission in reaching its decision. Parties to a proceeding may seek the opportunity to respond to any facts or contentions made in a prohibited off-the-record communication, and may request that the Commission place the prohibited communication and responses thereto in the decisional record. The Commission will grant such a request only when it determines that fairness so requires. Any person identified below as having made a prohibited off-the-record communication shall serve the document on all parties listed on the official service list for the applicable proceeding in accordance with Rule 2010, 18 CFR 385.2010.

    Exempt off-the-record communications are included in the decisional record of the proceeding, unless the communication was with a cooperating agency as described by 40 CFR 1501.6, made under 18 CFR 385.2201(e)(1)(v).

    The following is a list of off-the-record communications recently received by the Secretary of the Commission. The communications listed are grouped by docket numbers in ascending order. These filings are available for electronic review at the Commission in the Public Reference Room or may be viewed on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov using the eLibrary link. Enter the docket number, excluding the last three digits, in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected] or toll free at (866) 208-3676, or for TTY, contact (202) 502-8659.

    Docket No. File date Presenter or requester Prohibited 1. CP17-101-000 11-14-2017 William Franklin. Exempt 1. CP14-554-000, CP15-16-000, CP15-17-000 11-13-2017 U.S. Senators.1 2. CP15-558-000 11-13-2017 Delaware Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey. 3. P-14604-000 11-14-2017 United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 4. P-2082-062, P-14803-000 11-14-2017 U.S. House Representative Jared Huffman. 1 Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Michael F. Bennet. Dated: November 28, 2017. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26101 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 1494-438] Grand River Dam Authority; Notice of Public Information Session

    On December 13, 2017, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) staff will host a public information session regarding the procedure for relicensing Grand River Dam Authority's (GRDA) Pensacola Hydroelectric Project No. 1494 (Pensacola Project). The project is located on the Grand (Neosho) River in Craig, Delaware, Mayes, and Ottawa Counties, Oklahoma.

    a. Date, Time, and Location of Meeting: Wednesday, December 13, 2017, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Coleman Theatre Ballroom, 103 N. Main St., Miami, OK 74354; (918) 540-2425

    b. FERC Contact: Rachel McNamara, 202-502-8340 or [email protected]

    c. Purpose of Meeting: In January 2018, the Commission will commence relicensing of the project under the Integrated Licensing Process (ILP). To assist local, state, and federal agencies, Indian tribes, and other interested entities and individuals in participating during the relicensing process, Commission staff invite the public to attend information sessions about the ILP and how stakeholders can best participate in the process.

    d. Proposed Agenda: The meeting will include an overview of the ILP and discussion of the specific process plan (schedule) for the Pensacola Project, opportunities for public comment, and how the Commission assesses information needs during the study planning process. There will also be time for stakeholders to ask any additional questions related to the relicensing process.

    Dated: November 29, 2017. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26138 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket Nos. CP15-550-000; CP15-551-001] Venture Global Calcasieu Pass, LLC; TransCameron Pipeline, LLC; Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review of the Calcasieu Pass Project

    On September 4, 2015, Venture Global Calcasieu Pass, LLC filed an application in Docket No. CP15-550-000 requesting authorization under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act to site, construct, and operate new liquefaction facilities. On the same day, TransCameron Pipeline, LLC filed an application in Docket No. CP15-551-000 requesting a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity pursuant to Section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act to construct, operate, and maintain certain natural gas pipeline facilities. The combined proposed projects are known as the Calcasieu Pass Project (Project) and would liquefy and export 10.0 million tonnes per annum of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

    On September 18, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) issued its Notice of Application for the Project. Among other things, that notice alerted other agencies issuing federal authorizations of the requirement to complete all necessary reviews and to reach a final decision on the request for a federal authorization within 90 days of the date of issuance of the Commission staff's final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Project. This instant notice identifies the FERC staff's planned schedule for completion of the final EIS for the Project, which is based on an issuance of the draft EIS in March 2018.

    Schedule for Environmental Review

    Issuance of Notice of Availability of the final EIS: July 3, 2018.

    90-day Federal Authorization Decision Deadline: October 1, 2018.

    If a schedule change becomes necessary for the final EIS, an additional notice will be provided so that the relevant agencies are kept informed of the Project's progress.

    Project Description

    Venture Global Calcasieu Pass, LLC's proposed facilities include nine single mixed refrigerant liquefaction blocks, two LNG storage tanks, a 720 megawatt electric generating plant, a marine terminal consisting of a turning basin and LNG carrier berths, LNG piping, transfer lines, and loading facilities. TransCameron Pipeline, LLC's proposed facilities include approximately 23.4 miles of 42-inch-diameter pipeline, one meter station, three mainline valves, one pig launcher, and one pig receiver. All facilities would be in Cameron Parish, Louisiana.

    Background

    On October 10, 2014, the Commission staff granted Venture Global Calcasieu Pass, LLC's and TransCameron Pipeline, LLC's joint request to use the FERC's Pre-filing environmental review process and assigned the Calcasieu Pass Project Docket No. PF15-2-000. On January 20, 2015, the Commission issued a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Calcasieu Pass Project, Request for Comments on Environmental Issues, and Notice of Public Scoping Meeting (NOI). On August 2, 2016, the Commission issued a Supplemental NOI that discussed TransCameron Pipeline, LLC's June 28, 2016 amendment, which included removal of the West Lateral pipeline as well as minor workspace adjustments along the East Lateral pipeline.

    The original and Supplemental NOIs were sent to federal, state, and local government agencies; elected officials; affected landowners; environmental and public interest groups; Native American tribes and regional organizations; commentors and other interested parties; and local libraries and newspapers. Major issues raised during scoping include project design, alternatives, water resources, wildlife, vegetation, land use, recreation, transportation, traffic, socioeconomics, and cultural resources.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Department of Energy are cooperating agencies in the preparation of the EIS.

    Additional Information

    In order to receive notification of the issuance of the EIS and to keep track of all formal issuances and submittals in specific dockets, the Commission offers a free service called eSubscription. This can reduce the amount of time you spend researching proceedings by automatically providing you with notification of these filings, document summaries, and direct links to the documents. Go to www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp.

    Additional information about the Project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs at (866) 208-FERC or on the FERC Web site (www.ferc.gov). Using the eLibrary link, select General Search from the eLibrary menu, enter the selected date range and Docket Number excluding the last three digits (i.e., CP15-550 or CP15-551), and follow the instructions. For assistance with access to eLibrary, the helpline can be reached at (866) 208-3676, TTY (202) 502-8659, or at [email protected] The eLibrary link on the FERC Web site also provides access to the texts of formal documents issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices, and rule makings.

    Dated: November 29, 2017. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26139 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following exempt wholesale generator filings:

    Docket Numbers: EG18-19-000.

    Applicants: Hamakua Energy, LLC.

    Description: Self-Certification of EWG Status of Hamakua Energy, LLC.

    Filed Date: 11/24/17.

    Accession Number: 20171124-5021.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/15/17.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER18-328-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Original Service Agreement No. 4848, Queue Position No. AB2-166 to be effective 10/26/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/22/17.

    Accession Number: 20171122-5099.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/13/17.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: November 24, 2017. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26136 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Filings Instituting Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP16-856-000.

    Applicants: Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company.

    Description: Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC submits tariff filing per 154.501: Docket No. RP06-569-009 et al. Refund Report to be effective N/A.

    Filed Date: 11/21/17.

    Accession Number: 20171121-5001.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/4/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-179-000.

    Applicants: Young Gas Storage Company, Ltd.

    Description: Young Gas Storage Company, Ltd. submits tariff filing per 154.403(d)(2): Fuel Reimbursement Filing to be effective 1/1/2018 under RP18-179.

    Filed Date: 11/21/17.

    Accession Number: 20171121-5075.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/4/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-180-000.

    Applicants: Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C.

    Description: Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C. submits tariff filing per 154.203: Cashout Report 2016-2017 to be effective N/A.

    Filed Date: 11/21/17.

    Accession Number: 20171121-5128.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/4/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP17-1128-000.

    Applicants: Dominion Energy Transmission, Inc.

    Description: Dominion Energy Transmission, Inc. submits tariff filing per DETI—CP14-497 Facilities In-Service Notification—November 21, 2017 to be effective N/A.

    Filed Date: 11/22/17.

    Accession Number: 20171122-5001.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/4/17.

    Docket Numbers: CP18-19-000.

    Applicants: Dominion Energy Transmission, Inc.

    Description: Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company L.C.C. for Authorization to Abandon service.

    Filed Date: 11/15/17.

    Accession Number: 20171115-5093.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/6/17.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: November 22, 2017. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26099 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Docket Numbers: RP17-724-000.

    Applicants: Venice Gathering System, L.L.C.

    Description: Report Filing: VGS Refund Report—Docket Nos. RP15-1237-000, RP16-975-000 and RP16-975-002 to be effective N/A.

    Filed Date: 11/20/17.

    Accession Number: 20171120-5033.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/4/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-181-000.

    Applicants: Alliance Pipeline L.P.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Capacity Release Revisions—Nov 2017 to be effective 12/22/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/22/17.

    Accession Number: 20171122-5110.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/4/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-182-000.

    Applicants: Northern Natural Gas Company.

    Description: Petition for a Limited Waiver of Northern Natural Gas Company.

    Filed Date: 11/22/17.

    Accession Number: 20171122-5132.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/5/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-183-000.

    Applicants: Enterprise Products Operating LLC, Tenaska Marketing Ventures.

    Description: Joint Petition for Temporary Waiver of Capacity Release Regulations and Related Pipeline Tariff Provisions, et al. of Enterprise Products Operating LLC, et al.

    Filed Date: 11/22/17.

    Accession Number: 20171122-5133.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/5/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-184-000.

    Applicants: Gas Transmission Northwest LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: GTN Hourly Services Filing to be effective 1/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 11/27/17.

    Accession Number: 20171127-5089.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/11/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-185-000.

    Applicants: Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Negotiated Rates—ConEd to Next Utility—795426 & 795428 to be effective 11/28/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5015.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/11/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-186-000.

    Applicants: Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing Annual Cash-Out Activity Report 2017 to be effective N/A.

    Filed Date: 11/28/17.

    Accession Number: 20171128-5032.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/11/17.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: November 28, 2017. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26100 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Filings Instituting Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP18-176-000.

    Applicants: Kern River Gas Transmission Company.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: 2017 Negotiated Mid-November to be effective 11/21/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/20/17.

    Accession Number: 20171120-5037.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/4/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-177-000.

    Applicants: Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Negotiated Rates—Baystate Amended NRA 510066 to be effective 12/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/20/17.

    Accession Number: 20171120-5048.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/4/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-178-000.

    Applicants: Enable Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Negotiated Rate Filing—November 2017 Black Hills 1006439 to be effective 11/20/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/20/17.

    Accession Number: 20171120-5120.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/4/17.

    Docket Number: PR18-10-000.

    Applicants: UGI Penn Natural Gas, Inc.

    Description: Tariff filing per 284.123(b),(e)+(g): Rate Election to be effective 11/17/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/17/17.

    Accession Number: 201711175054.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/8/17.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: November 21, 2017. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26098 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-SFUND-2007-0469; FRL-9971-65-OLEM] Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Continuous Release Reporting Requirements; Reporting Air Releases of Hazardous Substances From Animal Wastes at Farms Under CERCLA Section 103 AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency has submitted an information collection request (ICR), “Continuous Release Reporting Requirements; Reporting Air Releases of Hazardous Substances From Animal Wastes at Farms Under CERCLA Section 103” (EPA ICR No. 1445.13, OMB Control No. 2050-0086) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). This is a request for approval of a collection for a sector (farms) that were not included in the ICR currently approved by OMB (Control No. 2050-0086) (EPA ICR No. 1445.12). A fuller description of the ICR is given below, including its estimated burden and cost to the public. An Agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    DATES:

    Comments may be submitted on or before December 15, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, referencing Docket ID Number EPA-HQ-SFUND-2007-0469, to (1) EPA online using www.regulations.gov (our preferred method), by email to [email protected] or by mail to: EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460, and (2) OMB via email to [email protected] Address comments to OMB Desk Officer for EPA.

    EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes profanity, threats, information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sicy Jacob, Office of Emergency Management, 5104A, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 564-8019; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Supporting documents which explain in detail the information that the EPA will be collecting are available in the public docket for this ICR. The docket can be viewed online at www.regulations.gov or in person at the EPA Docket Center, WJC West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The telephone number for the Docket Center is 202-566-1744. For additional information about EPA's public docket, visit http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    Abstract: This information collection request (ICR) addresses the reporting and recordkeeping activities required for farms to comply with EPA's Continuous Release Reporting Regulation (CRRR; 40 CFR 302.8) implementing Section 103(f)(2) of CERCLA. The CRRR clarifies the types of releases that qualify for reporting under CERCLA Section 103(f)(2) and establishes the reporting requirements applicable to qualifying releases. This ICR estimates the burden and cost impacts on farms reporting air releases of hazardous substances from animal wastes at farms under CERCLA Section 103(f).

    • Statutory Background

    CERCLA Section 103(a) requires persons in charge of a facility or vessel to immediately notify the National Response Center (NRC) of any hazardous substance release that equals or exceeds its reportable quantity (RQ) and is not federally permitted. EPA regulations implementing CERCLA Section 103 is codified in 40 CFR part 302. The information collection for episodic releases (immediate release notification) is covered under OMB Control Number 2050-0046. Section 103(f)(2) of CERCLA provides relief from the per-occurrence notification requirements of Section 103(a) for hazardous substance releases that are “continuous,” and “stable in quantity and rate,” provided that such releases are reported “annually, or at such time as there is any statistically significant increase” in the quantity of the release. Section 103(f)(2) contemplates that, in the case of certain “continuous” and “stable” releases, the notification objectives of CERCLA can be achieved with less frequent reporting.

    • Background for this ICR

    On December 18, 2008, EPA published a final rule, “CERCLA/EPCRA Administrative Reporting Exemption for Air Releases of Hazardous Substances From Animal Waste at Farms,” that exempted farms releasing hazardous substances from animal waste to the air at or above threshold levels from reporting under CERCLA Section 103. The final rule also exempted reporting of such releases under EPCRA section 304 if the farm had fewer animals than a large concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO).

    On April 11, 2017, the D.C. Circuit Court vacated this final rule, thus eliminating the exemptions. Therefore, farms that were previously not subject to reporting requirements for air releases of hazardous substances from animal wastes are now required to report. This means that farms are now subject to CERCLA Section 103 reporting requirements for air releases of hazardous substances from animal waste at the farms. In this ICR, EPA assumes that farms may utilize the streamlined reporting option, Continuous Release Reporting, to report air releases of hazardous substances from animal wastes. This ICR (1445.13) amends the current approved ICR (1445.12, OMB Control No. 2050-0086) to add farms sector and their burden and costs associated with continuous release reporting requirements.

    Form Number: 6200-15.

    Respondents/affected entities: 44,900 farms.

    Respondent's obligation to respond: Mandatory under CERCLA Section 103.

    Estimated number of respondents: 44,900 (total).

    Frequency of response: Farms may utilize the streamlined reporting option, continuous release reporting, of hazardous substances above their reportable quantities from animal wastes rather than providing immediate notification on a per-occurrence basis.

    Total estimated burden: 496,893 hours (per year). Burden is defined at 5 CFR 1320.03(b).

    Total estimated cost: $14,958,973 (per year), includes $455,061 annualized capital or operation & maintenance costs.

    Changes in the Estimates: There is an increase of 496,893 hours per year in the total estimated respondent burden compared with the ICR currently approved by OMB (EPA ICR No. 1445.12). This increase is due to the vacatur of the December 18, 2008 Final Rule which exempted farms from reporting air releases of hazardous substances from animal wastes at farms. All farms are now subject to CERCLA reporting for air releases of hazardous substances from animal wastes that are equal to or greater than their reportable quantities (RQs) within any 24-hour period.

    Dated: November 29, 2017. Reggie Cheatham, Director, Office of Emergency Management.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26185 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION Federal Advisory Committee Act; Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, this notice advises interested persons that the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC or Commission) Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) VI will hold its third meeting.

    DATES:

    December 12, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Federal Communications Commission, Room TW-C305 (Commission Meeting Room), 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jeffery Goldthorp, Designated Federal Officer, (202) 418-1096 (voice) or [email protected] (email); or Suzon Cameron, Deputy Designated Federal Officer, (202) 418-1916 (voice) or [email protected] (email).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The meeting will be held on December 12, 2017, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Commission Meeting Room of the Federal Communications Commission, Room TW-C305, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.

    The CSRIC is a Federal Advisory Committee that will provide recommendations to the FCC to improve the security, reliability, and interoperability of communications systems. On March 19, 2017, the FCC, pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, renewed the charter for the CSRIC for a period of two years through March 18, 2019. The meeting on December 12, 2017, will be the third meeting of the CSRIC under the current charter. The FCC will attempt to accommodate as many attendees as possible; however, admittance will be limited to seating availability. The Commission will provide audio and/or video coverage of the meeting over the Internet from the FCC's Web page at http://www.fcc.gov/live. The public may submit written comments before the meeting to Jeffery Goldthorp, CSRIC Designated Federal Officer, by email to [email protected] or U.S. Postal Service Mail to Jeffery Goldthorp, Associate Bureau Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., Room 7-A325, Washington, DC 20554.

    Open captioning will be provided for this event. Other reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Requests for such accommodations should be submitted via email to [email protected] or by calling the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY). Such requests should include a detailed description of the accommodation needed. In addition, please include a way the FCC can contact you if it needs more information. Please allow at least five days' advance notice; last-minute requests will be accepted, but may be impossible to fill.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26159 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [OMB 3060-1156] Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collections. Comments are requested concerning: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    The FCC may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the PRA that does not display a valid OMB control number.

    DATES:

    Written comments should be submitted on or before February 5, 2018. If you anticipate that you will be submitting comments, but find it difficult to do so within the period of time allowed by this notice, you should advise the contacts below as soon as possible.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all PRA comments to Cathy Williams, FCC, via email: [email protected] and to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For additional information about the information collection, contact Cathy Williams at (202) 418-2918.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the PRA, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520, the FCC invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collections. Comments are requested concerning: whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    OMB Control No.: 3060-1156.

    Title: 47 CFR 43.82, Annual International Circuit Capacity Reports.

    Form No.: N/A.

    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved information collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit.

    Number of Respondents: 65 respondents; 185 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 1-14 hours.

    Frequency of Response: Annual reporting requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The Commission's statutory authority for this information collection under Sections 1, 4(i), 4(j), 11, 201-205, 214, 219-220, 303(r), 309, and 403 of the Communications Act as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i), 154(j), 161, 201-205, 214, 219-220, 303(r), 309, and 403, the Cable Landing License Act of 1921, 47 U.S.C. 34-39, and 3 U.S.C. 301.

    Total Annual Burden: 1,085 hours.

    Annual Cost Burden: $2,400.

    Privacy Act Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: In general, there is no need for confidentiality with this collection of information. The Commission, however, will allow filing entities to seek confidential treatment of their data.

    Needs and Uses: The Federal Communications Commission (Commission) is requesting that the

    Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approve a revision of an existing information collection, titled “47 CFR 43.62, Annual Reporting Requirements for U.S. Providers of International Services and Circuits.” The purpose of the revision is to obtain OMB approval of the annual reporting requirements under the newly adopted 47 CFR 43.82 which will require that entities holding capacity on submarine cables file electronically annual circuit capacity reports, in a format set out in a Filing Manual.

    The Commission is requesting a revision of OMB Control No. 3060-1156 in order to obtain final approval for the requirements in 47 CFR 43.82, the filing manual, and the electronic filing of the data.

    Previously, U.S. providers of international services were required to file annual traffic and revenue reports and circuit capacity reports as required by 47 CFR 43.62. The Commission has adopted rules changes that eliminate the traffic and revenue reports and further streamline the circuit capacity reports. Upon OMB approval of this collection, 47 CFR 43.62 will be eliminated and replaced with 47 CFR 43.82 for the filing of circuit capacity reports.

    The current title of OMB Control No. 3060-1156 is “47 CFR 43.62, Annual Reporting Requirements for U.S. Providers of International Services and Circuits.” The Commission would like to change the title to “47 CFR 43.82, Annual International Circuit Capacity Reports” in order to more accurately describe the information collection requirements under 47 CFR Section 43.82.

    The uses to which the Commission puts the information from the annual circuit capacity report, and the Registration Form are as follows:

    (a) Annual Circuit Capacity Reports [Section 43.82 (a)]

    The circuit capacity reports are comprised of two parts. First, licensees of a submarine cable extending between the United States and a foreign point as of December 31 of the reporting period report the available capacity and planned capacity of the cable—the cable operators report. Second, each cable landing licensee and common carrier that holds capacity on the U.S. end of a submarine cable extending between the United States and a foreign point as of December 31 of the reporting period (“capacity holders”) reports its available capacity on the U.S. end of every submarine cable between the United States and any foreign point on which it holds capacity as of that date—the capacity holders report. A holding of capacity is an interest in the U.S. end of an international submarine cable through cable ownership, an indefeasible right of use (IRU), or an inter-carrier lease (ICL).

    The Commission uses the circuit capacity data for such purposes as analyzing international transport markets in merger reviews. More importantly, these data are essential for our national security and public safety responsibilities in regulating communications, an important linchpin of the Commission's statutory authority. Submarine cables are critical infrastructure and the circuit capacity data are important for the Commission's contributions to the national security and defense of the United States. The Commission uses the data, for example, to have a complete understanding of the ownership and use of submarine cable capacity and to assist in the protection, restoration, and resiliency of the infrastructure during national security or public safety emergencies, such as hurricanes. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) filed comments stating that it also finds this information to be critical to its national and homeland security functions, and states that this information, when combined with other data sources, is used to protect and preserve national security and for its emergency response purposes.

    There are no alternative reliable third party commercial sources for the reported data. Although some sources collect general capacity information from cable owners, neither the FCC nor DHS has found any alternative sources for capacity holder data. Commercial source data may include capacity information, but the data are not verified by company officials and do not include capacity holder data. Although the Commission obtains the ownership and location of individual cables through the licensing process, distribution of a cable's capacity among providers is not required to be reported under our current submarine cable licensing rules and is provided only annually through the Circuit Capacity Reports. Further, the Commission's licensing rules do not require an applicant to include the entities that have acquired capacity on the cable through an IRU or ICL.

    (b) Registration Form [Section 43.82 (b)]

    The Registration Form provides basic information about the filing and about the entity itself—such as address, phone number, email address, and the international Section 214 authorizations and cable landing licenses held by the filer. This information will assist in keeping track of who holds international circuit capacity and how to contact them. The Registration Form also includes a certification by the filing entity to certify the accuracy and completeness of its report. The Registration Form provides the means by which the filing entity may request confidential treatment of the data filed in the report.

    (c) Filing Manual [Section 43.82(c)]

    The Filing Manual sets forth instructions on how to file the reports.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26163 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [OMB 3060-0387] Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission Under Delegated Authority AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or the Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collection. Comments are requested concerning: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees. The FCC may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid control number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the PRA that does not display a valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number.

    DATES:

    Written PRA comments should be submitted on or before February 5, 2018. If you anticipate that you will be submitting comments, but find it difficult to do so within the period of time allowed by this notice, you should advise the contact listed below as soon as possible.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all PRA comments to Nicole Ongele, FCC, via email [email protected] and to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For additional information about the information collection, contact Nicole Ongele at (202) 418-2991.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collections. Comments are requested concerning: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0387.

    Title: Sections 15.201(d), 15.209, 15.211, 15.213 and 15.221(c), On-Site Verification of Field Disturbance Sensors.

    Form No.: N/A.

    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 150 respondents; 150 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 18 hours.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion reporting requirement and recordkeeping requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. Statutory authority for this information collection is contained in 47 U.S.C. Sections 4(i), 301, 302, 303(e), 303(f), 303(r) and 303(s), and 304 and 307 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    Total Annual Burden: 2,700 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: $37,500.

    Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: Applicants may request that information be withheld from public inspection pursuant to 47 CFR 0.457(d) for trade secrets which may be submitted to the Commission as part of the documentation of test results. No other assurances of confidentiality are provided to respondents.

    Needs and Uses: The collection will be submitted as an extension after this 60 day comment period to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in order to obtain the full three year clearance.

    Section 15.201(d) of the Commission rules permit the operation of field disturbance sensors in the low VHF region of the spectrum. In order to monitor non-licensed field disturbance sensors operating in the low VHF television bands, a unique procedure for on-site equipment testing of the systems is required to ensure suitable safeguards for the operation of these devices. Data are retained by the holder of the equipment authorized/issued by the Commission and made available only at the request of the Commission.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26160 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [OMB 3060-0149] Information Collection Being Submitted for Review and Approval to the Office of Management and Budget AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or the Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collection. Comments are requested concerning: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    The Commission may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the PRA that does not display a valid OMB control number.

    DATES:

    Written comments should be submitted on or before January 4, 2018. If you anticipate that you will be submitting comments, but find it difficult to do so within the period of time allowed by this notice, you should advise the contacts listed below as soon as possible.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all PRA comments to Nicholas A. Fraser, OMB, via email [email protected]; and to Nicole Ongele, FCC, via email [email protected] and to [email protected] Include in the comments the OMB control number as shown in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION below.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For additional information or copies of the information collection, contact Nicole Ongele at (202) 418-2991. To view a copy of this information collection request (ICR) submitted to OMB: (1) Go to the Web page http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain, (2) look for the section of the Web page called “Currently Under Review,” (3) click on the downward-pointing arrow in the “Select Agency” box below the “Currently Under Review” heading, (4) select “Federal Communications Commission” from the list of agencies presented in the “Select Agency” box, (5) click the “Submit” button to the right of the “Select Agency” box, (6) when the list of FCC ICRs currently under review appears, look for the OMB control number of this ICR and then click on the ICR Reference Number. A copy of the FCC submission to OMB will be displayed.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or the Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collection. Comments are requested concerning: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0149.

    Title: Part 63, Application and Supplemental Information Requirements; Technology Transitions, GN Docket No. 13-5, et al.

    Form Number(s): N/A.

    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 60 respondents; 60 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 6 hours per response.

    Frequency of Response: One-time reporting requirement and third-party disclosure requirements.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. Statutory authority for this collection of information is contained in 47 U.S.C. 214 and 402 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    Total Annual Burden: 360 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: No Cost.

    Privacy Act Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: Information filed in section 214 applications has generally been non-confidential. Requests from parties seeking confidential treatment are considered by Commission staff pursuant to 47 CFR 0.459 of the Commission's rules.

    Needs and Uses: The Commission is seeking Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval for a revision to a currently approved collection. Section 214 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, requires that a carrier first obtain FCC authorization either to (1) construct, operate, or engage in transmission over a line of communications, or (2) discontinue, reduce or impair service over a line of communications. Part 63 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) implements Section 214. Part 63 also implements provisions of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 pertaining to video which was approved under this OMB Control Number 3060-0149. In 2009, the Commission modified Part 63 to extend to providers of interconnected Voice of Internet Protocol (VoIP) service the discontinuance obligations that apply to domestic non-dominant telecommunications carriers under Section 214 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. In 2014, the Commission adopted improved administrative filing procedures for domestic transfers of control, domestic discontinuances and notices of network changes, and among other adjustments, modified Part 63 to require electronic filing for applications for authorization to discontinue, reduce, or impair service under section 214(a) of the Act. In July 2016, the Commission revised certain section 214(a) discontinuance procedures. To reduce burdens on carriers, the Commission revised its rules to: (1) Allow carriers to provide notice via email or other alternative methods to offer additional options to customers, and (2) provide for streamlined treatment of applications to discontinue services for which the carrier has had no existing customers or reasonable requests for service during the previous 180 days. It also addressed a gap in the Commission's rules by making a competitive LEC's application for discontinuance deemed granted on the effective date of any copper retirement that made the discontinuance unavoidable. The Commission further concluded that applicants must provide notice of discontinuance applications to federally-recognized Tribal Nations. The Commission estimates that there will be only minimal impact on the annual burden hours associated with discontinuance applications as a result of these revisions. Specifically, the Commission estimates that carriers will need no more than one additional hour, per application for purposes of determining which, if any, Tribal Nations are located in the service areas to be affected by the planned discontinuance and providing such notice. The estimated number of respondents, responses, and burden hours associated with this collection differ from those set forth in the 60-day notice published on October 28, 2016 (81 FR 75054), which covered additional section 214(a) discontinuance rules adopted in 2016 that will now be addressed separately. As a result, the burden hours herein are substantially reduced from those contained in the 60-day notice.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26162 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [OMB 3060-XXXX] Information Collection Being Submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Emergency Review and Approval AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collections. Comments are requested concerning: whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    The FCC may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the PRA that does not display a valid OMB control number.

    DATES:

    Written comments should be submitted on or before January 4, 2018. If you anticipate that you will be submitting comments, but find it difficult to do so within the period of time allowed by this notice, you should advise the contacts below as soon as possible.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all PRA comments to Nicholas A. Fraser, OMB, via email: [email protected]; and to Cathy Williams, FCC, via email: [email protected] and to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For additional information about the information collection, contact Cathy Williams at (202) 418-2918. To view a copy of this information collection request (ICR) submitted to OMB: (1) Go to the Web page http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain, (2) look for the section of the Web page called “Currently Under Review,” (3) click on the downward-pointing arrow in the “Select Agency” box below the “Currently Under Review” heading, (4) select “Federal Communications Commission” from the list of agencies presented in the “Select Agency” box, (5) click the “Submit” button to the right of the “Select Agency” box, (6) when the list of FCC ICRs currently under review appears, look for the OMB control number of this ICR and then click on the ICR Reference Number. A copy of the FCC submission to OMB will be displayed.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Commission is requesting emergency OMB processing of the information collection requirements contained in this notice and has requested OMB approval by January 10, 2018.

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the PRA, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520, the FCC invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collections. Comments are requested concerning: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    OMB Control Number: 3060-XXXX.

    Title: Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, CG Docket No. 03-123, Financial Data, Complaints, and Other Compliance Information.

    Form Number: N/A.

    Type of Review: New collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit; Individuals or household.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 72 respondents; 3,614 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 30 minutes (0.5 hours) to 50 hours.

    Frequency of Response: Annually, monthly, on occasion, and one-time reporting requirements; Recordkeeping and Third-Party Disclosure requirements.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefit. The statutory authority for the information collection requirements is found at section 225 of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. 225. The law was enacted on July 26, 1990, as Title IV of the ADA, Public Law 101-336, 104 Stat. 327, 366-69.

    Total Annual Burden: 5,537 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: $9,000.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: Confidentiality is an issue to the extent that individuals and households provide personally identifiable information, which is covered under the FCC's updated system of records notice (SORN), FCC/CGB-1, “Informal Complaints, Inquiries, and Requests for Dispute Assistance.” As required by the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a, the Commission also published a SORN, FCC/CGB-1 “Informal Complaints, Inquiries, and Requests for Dispute Assistance,” in the Federal Register on August 15, 2014 (79 FR 48152) which became effective on September 24, 2014.

    Privacy Impact Assessment: The FCC completed a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) on June 28, 2007. It may be reviewed at http://www.fcc.gov/omd/privacyact/Privacy-Impact-Assessment.html. The Commission is in the process of updating the PIA to incorporate various revisions to it as a result of revisions to the SORN.

    Needs and Uses: On December 21, 2001, the Commission released the 2001 TRS Cost Recovery Order, document FCC 01-371, in which the Commission:

    (a) Directed the Interstate Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Fund (TRS Fund) administrator to continue to use the average cost per minute compensation methodology for the traditional TRS compensation rate;

    (b) required TRS providers to submit certain projected TRS-related cost and demand data to the TRS Fund Administrator to be used to calculate the rate; and

    (c) directed the TRS Fund administrator to expand its form for providers to itemize their actual and projected costs and demand data, to include specific sections to capture speech-to-speech (STS) and video relay service (VRS) costs and minutes of use.

    On November 19, 2007, the Commission released the 2007 Cost Recovery Order, document FCC 07-486, in which the Commission:

    (a) Adopted a new cost recovery methodology for interstate traditional TRS and interstate STS based on the Multi-state Average Rate Structure (MARS) plan, under which interstate TRS compensation rates are determined by weighted average of the states' intrastate compensation rates, and which includes for STS additional compensation approved by the Commission for STS outreach;

    (b) adopted a new cost recovery methodology for interstate captioned telephone service (CTS), as well as Internet Protocol captioned telephone service (IP CTS), based on the MARS plan;

    (c) adopted a cost recovery methodology for Internet Protocol (IP) Relay based on price caps;

    (d) adopted a cost recovery methodology for VRS that adopted tiered rates based on call volume;

    (e) clarified the nature and extent that certain categories of costs are compensable from the Fund; and

    (f) addressed certain issues concerning the management and oversight of the Fund, including prohibiting financial incentives offered to consumers to make relay calls and the role of the Interstate TRS Fund Advisory Council.

    47 CFR 64.604(c)(5)(iii)(D), mandatory minimum standards adopted in the 2007 Cost Recovery Order, requires that TRS providers submit to the TRS Fund administrator information reasonably requested by the administrator, including the following for intrastate traditional TRS, STS, and CTS:

    (a) The per-minute compensation rate(s);

    (b) whether the rate applies to session minutes or conversation minutes;

    (c) the number of intrastate session minutes; and

    (d) the number of intrastate conversation minutes.

    47 CFR 64.604(a)(7) requires that in order for VRS providers to be compensated from the TRS Fund for U.S. residents making VRS calls from international points to the U.S., the providers must pre-register the users before they leave the country for the purpose of making VRS calls from international points for up to a maximum period of 4 weeks.

    47 CFR 64.604(c)(1) requires each state and interstate TRS provider to maintain a log of consumer complaints and annually file a summary of the complaint log with the Commission.

    47 CFR 64.604(c)(2) requires each state and interstate TRS provider to submit contact information to the Commission.

    47 CFR 64.604(c)(5)(iii)(D)(3) requires providers to submit speed of answer data.

    47 CFR 64.604(c)(5)(iii)(G) requires each new TRS provider to submit to the TRS Fund administrator a notification of its intent to participate in the TRS Fund 30 days prior to submitting its first report of TRS interstate minutes of use.

    47 CFR 64.604(c)(6) provides procedures for consumers to file informal complaints alleging violations of the TRS rules, for TRS providers to respond to these complaints, and for the Commission to refer complaints concerning intrastate TRS to the states.

    47 CFR 64.604(c)(7) requires that contracts between state TRS administrators and the TRS vendor provide for the transfer of TRS customer profile data from the outgoing TRS vendor to the incoming TRS vendor.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26158 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [OMB 3060-1133] Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission Under Delegated Authority AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collections. Comments are requested concerning: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    The FCC may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the PRA that does not display a valid OMB control number.

    DATES:

    Written comments should be submitted on or before February 5, 2018. If you anticipate that you will be submitting comments, but find it difficult to do so within the period of time allowed by this notice, you should advise the contacts below as soon as possible.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all PRA comments to Cathy Williams, FCC, via email: [email protected] and to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For additional information about the information collection, contact Cathy Williams at (202) 418-2918.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the PRA, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520, the FCC invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collections. Comments are requested concerning: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    OMB Control Number: 3060-1133.

    Title: Application for Permit to Deliver Programs to Foreign Broadcast Stations (FCC Form 308); 47 CFR Section 73.3545 and 73.3580.

    Form No.: FCC Form 308.

    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved information collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities.

    Number of Respondents/Responses: 26 respondents; 70 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 1-2 hours.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for this collection is contained in Section 325(c) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    Total Annual Burden: 73 hours.

    Annual Cost Burden: $26,451.

    Privacy Act Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: In general, there is no need for confidentiality with this collection of information.

    Needs and Uses: The Federal Communications Commission (“Commission”) is requesting that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approve the establishment of a new information collection titled, “Application for Permit to Deliver Programs to Foreign Broadcast Stations (FCC Form 308).” Applicants use the FCC Form 308 to apply, under Section 325(c) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, for authority to locate, use, or maintain a studio in the United States for the purpose of supplying program material to a foreign radio or TV broadcast station whose signals are consistently received in the United States, or for extension of existing authority.

    Currently, the FCC Form 308 is only available to the public in paper form. The Commission obtained OMB approval of a revised FCC Form 308, in Excel format, that will be made available to the public on the FCC Forms page of the FCC's Web site, www.fcc.gov. The form was revised to make it more user friendly and to include questions to obtain only the legal and technical information that is essential to grant authority to U.S. broadcasters to supply program material to a foreign radio or TV broadcast station whose signals are consistently received in the U.S. or to extend the current authority. After the applicant completes the form, it is mailed to the U.S. Bank along with the application fee. Then, it is forwarded to the International Bureau with the exception of fee exempt applications which are filed directly with the FCC Secretary's Office and then forwarded to the Bureau.

    FCC Form 308 applicants now have the option to file their applicants in the Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) and make their payment of their application filing fees electronically in the FCC Fee Filer System. Please note that this method is optional rather than mandatory. We believe that the availability of this option will substantially decrease or eliminate paper filings of FCC Form 308's with the Commission. This option will save time for the applicant and Commission staff. There are no other changes to the information collection, including burden estimates.

    Without this collection of information, the Commission would not be able to ascertain whether the main studio owner in the U.S. meets various legal requirements or the foreign broadcast facility, which receives and retransmits programming from the main studio in the U.S., meets various technical requirements that prevent harmful interference to other broadcast stations or telecommunications facilities.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26161 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [OMB 3060-0859] Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission Under Delegated Authority AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or the Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collection. Comments are requested concerning: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees. The FCC may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid control number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the PRA that does not display a valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number.

    DATES:

    Written PRA comments should be submitted on or before February 5, 2018. If you anticipate that you will be submitting comments, but find it difficult to do so within the period of time allowed by this notice, you should advise the contact listed below as soon as possible.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all PRA comments to Nicole Ongele, FCC, via email [email protected] and to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For additional information about the information collection, contact Nicole Ongele at (202) 418-2991.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collections. Comments are requested concerning: whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0859.

    Title: Suggested Guidelines for Petitions for Ruling Under Section 253 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    Form Number: Not Applicable.

    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities and State, Local, or Tribal Government.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 24 respondents; 24 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 63-125 hours.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion reporting requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Voluntary. Statutory authority for this information collection is contained in 47 U.S.C. Section 253 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    Total Annual Burden: 1,698 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: No Cost.

    Privacy Act Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: The Commission is not requesting respondents to submit confidential information. Any respondent that submits information to the Commission that they believe is confidential may request confidential treatment of such information under 47 CFR 0.459 of the Commission's rules.

    Needs and Uses: The Commission will submit this expiring information collection to the OMB after this 60 day comment period in order to obtain the full three-year clearance from them. The Commission is requesting an extension (with no change in the reporting requirement). There is no reduction in the estimated number of respondents/responses and the annual burden hours. Although very few petitions for preemption under section 253 have been filed in the past few years, there is reason to believe that the current estimate is more likely to reflect future developments than a reduction in the number of estimated filings.

    The Commission published a Public Notice in November 1998 which established suggested guidelines for the filing of petitions for preemption pursuant to section 253 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, as well as suggested guidelines for the filing of comments opposing such requests for preemption. The Commission will use this information to resolve petitions for preemption of state or local statutes, regulations, or other state or local legal requirements that are alleged to prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting any entity from providing a telecommunications service.

    Section 253 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, which was added by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, requires the Commission, with certain important exceptions, to preempt (to the extent necessary) the enforcement of any state or local statute or regulation, or other state or local legal requirement that prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting any entity from providing any interstate or intrastate telecommunications service. The Commission's consideration of preemption under section 253 typically begins with the filing of a petition by an aggrieved party. The Commission typically places such petitions on public notice and requests comment by interested parties. The Commission's decision is based on the public record, generally composed of the petition and comments. The Commission has considered a number of preemption items since the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and believes it is in the public interest to inform the public of the information necessary for full consideration of the issues likely to be involved in section 253 preemption proceedings. In order to render a timely and informed decision, the Commission expects petitioners and commenters to provide it with relevant information sufficient to describe the legal regime involved in the controversy and to provide the factual information necessary for a decision.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26156 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [OMB 3060-1210] Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or the Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collection. Comments are requested concerning: whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees. The FCC may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid control number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the PRA that does not display a valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number.

    DATES:

    Written PRA comments should be submitted on or before February 5, 2018. If you anticipate that you will be submitting comments, but find it difficult to do so within the period of time allowed by this notice, you should advise the contact listed below as soon as possible.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all PRA comments to Nicole Ongele, FCC, via email [email protected] and to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For additional information about the information collection, contact Nicole Ongele at (202) 418-2991.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collections. Comments are requested concerning: whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    OMB Control Number: 3060-1210.

    Title: Wireless E911 Location Accuracy Requirements.

    Form Number: Not applicable.

    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities; State, local or tribal governments.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 4,394 respondents; 29,028 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 2-10 hours.

    Frequency of Response: Recordkeeping, on occasion; one-time; quarterly and semi-annual reporting requirements, and third-party disclosure requirements.

    Obligation to Respond: Mandatory. Statutory authority for this information collection is contained in 47. U.S.C. Sections 1, 2, 4(i), 7, 10, 201, 214, 222, 251(e), 301, 302, 303, 303(b), 303(r), 307, 307(a), 309, 309(j)(3), 316, 316(a), and 332 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    Total Annual Burden: 143,138 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: No Cost.

    Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: The Commission is requesting that respondents submit confidential information to the Commission in the context of the test bed. Nationwide Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) providers must make data from the test bed available to small and regional CMRS providers so that the smaller providers can deploy technology throughout their networks that is consistent with a deployment that was successfully tested in the test bed. CMRS providers also may request confidential treatment of live 911 call data reports, but the Commission reserves the right to release aggregate or anonymized data on a limited basis to facilitate compliance with its rules.

    Needs and Uses: The Commission has developed a proposed reporting template to assist CMRS providers in submitting aggregate live 911 call data as required under Section 20.18(i)(3)(ii) of the rules and seeks Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval of the proposed template. The Commission also is requesting OMB to extend its approval of these collections for an additional three years. The information collections are described below. The proposed reporting template for live 911 call data is described below in the discussion of Section 20.18(i)(3)(ii). The proposed template will not change the paperwork burden associated with this collection, and there is no change to any other reporting obligation in this collection. The information sought in this collection is necessary and vital to the effective implementation of improved location accuracy, which will enable Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) to dispatch to and first responders to respond to emergencies.

    Section 20.18(i)(2)(ii)(A) requires that, within three years of the effective date of rules, CMRS providers shall deliver to uncompensated barometric pressure data from any device capable of delivering such data to PSAPs. This requirement is necessary to ensure that PSAPs are receiving all location information possible to be used for dispatch. This requirement is also necessary to ensure that CMRS providers implement a vertical location solution in the event that the proposed “dispatchable location” solution does not function as intended by the three-year mark and beyond.

    Section 20.18(i)(2)(ii)(B) requires that the four nationwide providers submit to the Commission for review and approval a reasonable metric for z-axis (vertical) location accuracy no later than 3 years from the effective date of rules. The requirement is critical to ensure that the vertical location framework adopted in the Fourth Report and Order is effectively implemented.

    Section 20.18(i)(2)(iii) requires CMRS providers to certify compliance with the Commission's rules at various benchmarks throughout implementation of improved location accuracy. This requirement is necessary to ensure that CMRS providers remain “on track” to reach the goals that they themselves agreed to.

    Section 20.18(i)(3)(i) requires that within 12 months of the effective date, the four nationwide CMRS providers must establish the test bed described in the Fourth Report and Order, which will validate technologies intended for indoor location. The test bed is necessary for the compliance certification framework adopted in the Fourth Report and Order.

    Section 20.18(i)(3)(ii) requires that beginning 18 months from the effective date of the rules, CMRS providers providing service in any of the six Test Cities identified by ATIS (Atlanta, Denver/Front Range, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Manhattan Borough of New York City) or portions thereof must collect and report aggregate data on the location technologies used for live 911 calls. Nationwide CMRS providers must submit call data on a quarterly basis; non-nationwide CMRS providers need only submit this data every six months. Non-nationwide providers that do not provide service in any of the Test Cities may satisfy this requirement by collecting and reporting data based on the largest county within the carrier's footprint. This reporting requirement is necessary to validate and verify the compliance certifications made by CMRS providers.

    The Commission has developed a proposed reporting template to assist CMRS providers in collecting, formatting, and submitting aggregate live 911 call data in accordance with the requirements in the rules. The proposed template will also assist the Commission in evaluating the progress CMRS providers have made toward meeting the 911 location accuracy benchmarks. The proposed template is an Excel spreadsheet and will be available for downloading on the Commission's Web site. The Commission may also develop an online filing mechanism for these reports in the future.

    Section 20.18(i)(4)(ii) requires that no later than 18 months from the effective date, each CMRS provider shall submit to the Commission a report on its progress toward implementing improved indoor location accuracy. Non-nationwide CMRS providers will have an additional 6 months to submit their progress reports. All CMRS providers shall provide an additional progress report no later than 36 months from the effective date of the adoption of this rule. The 36-month reports shall indicate what progress the provider has made consistent with its implementation plan.

    Section 20.18(i)(4)(iii) requires that prior to activation of the NEAD but no later than 18 months from the effective date of the adoption of this rule, the nationwide CMRS providers shall file with the Commission and request approval for a security and privacy plan for the administration and operation of the NEAD. This requirement is necessary to ensure that the four nationwide CMRS providers are building in privacy and security measures to the NEAD from its inception.

    Section 20.18(i)(4)(iv) requires that before use of the NEAD or any information contained therein, CMRS providers must certify that they will not use the NEAD or associated data for any non-911 purpose, except as otherwise required by law. This requirement is necessary to ensure the privacy and security of any personally identifiable information that may be collected by the NEAD.

    Section 20.18(j) requires CMRS providers to provide standardized confidence and uncertainty (C/U) data for all wireless 911 calls, whether from outdoor or indoor locations, on a per-call basis upon the request of a PSAP. This requirement will serve to make the use of C/U data easier for PSAPs.

    Section 20.18(k) requires that CMRS providers must record information on all live 911 calls, including, but not limited to, the positioning source method used to provide a location fix associated with the call, as well as confidence and uncertainty data. This information must be made available to PSAPs upon request, as a measure to promote transparency and accountability for this set of rules.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26157 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Statement of Organization, Functions, and Delegations of Authority

    Part C (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) of the Statement of Organization, Functions, and Delegations of Authority of the Department of Health and Human Services (45 FR 67772-76, dated October 14, 1980, and corrected at 45 FR 69296, October 20, 1980, as amended most recently at 81 FR 84583-84591, dated November 23, 2016) is amended to reflect the reorganization of the Office of Financial Resources, Office of the Chief Operating Officer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Section C-B, Organization and Functions, is hereby amended as follows:

    Delete in its entirety the title and the mission and function statements for the Office of Grants Services (CAJEY) and insert the following:

    Office of Grants Services (CAJEY). Office of Grants Services (OGS) (1) provides leadership, direction, and guidance for operations and policies in matters relating to CDC/ATSDR cooperative agreements and grants; (2) plans, develops, and implements policies, procedures, and practices to ensure effective customer service, consultation, and oversight in grants processes; (3) engages CDC/ATSDR Centers/Institute/Offices (CIOs), as well as other key stakeholders to align agency-wide grants processes with applicable laws, regulations, and policies, and with CDC/ATSDR public health goals; and (4) provides all support necessary to help ensure that appropriated funds are utilized in compliance with Congressional mandate, for the sole purpose of preventing and controlling diseases domestically and globally.

    Office of the Director (CAJEY1). (1) Provides overall leadership, supervision, and management of the grants staff; (2) ensures policies, processes, and procedures adhere to all rules and regulations and are in alignment with CDC's public health goals; (3) develops and implements organizational strategic planning goals and objectives; (4) provides budgetary, human resource management, and administrative support; (5) leads the development of grants policy agendas with federal agencies and organizations; (6) provides cost advisory support to assistance activities with responsibility for initiating requests for audits and evaluations, and providing recommendations to grants management officer, as required; (7) conducts continuing studies and analysis of grants activities; (8) provides technical and managerial direction for the development, implementation, and maintenance of grants systems; (9) ensures adherence to laws, policies, procedures, regulations, and alignment with CDC's public health goals; (10) provides technical and managerial direction for functions related to objective review and grants close out; (11) serves as a central CDC receipt and referral point for all applications for assistance funds, including interfacing with the automated grants systems and relevant Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) line of business agencies; (12) distributes draft public health program announcements for review; (13) develops formal training in grants management for awardees and CDC staff; and (14) develops and implements organizational and CDC-wide policies and procedures for grants to support CDC's public health science and programs.

    Infectious Disease Services Branch (CAJEYB). Infectious Disease Services Branch supports one or more CIOs. The branch (1) plans, directs, and conducts assistance management activities for CDC through the awards of domestic grants and cooperative agreements (competitive and non-competitive) across public health systems; (2) plans, directs, coordinates, and conducts the grants management functions and processes in support of public health assistance awards; (3) provides leadership and guidance to CDC project officers and public health program officials related to grants activities; (4) maintains a close working relationship with CDC program offices; (5) reviews assistance applications for conformity to laws, regulations, policies, and alignment to CDC's public health goals; (6) issues grants and cooperative agreements; (7) provides continuing surveillance of financial and administrative aspects of assistance-supported activities to ensure compliance with DHHS and CDC policies; (8) ensures that grantee performance is in accordance with assistance requirements; and (9) collects and reports business management and public health programmatic data, analyzes and monitor business management data on grants and cooperative agreements and maintains assistance files.

    Chronic Disease and Birth Defects Services Branch (CAJEYC). Chronic Disease and Birth Defects Services Branch supports one or more CIOs. The branch (1) plans, directs, and conducts assistance management activities for CDC through the awards of domestic grants and cooperative agreements (competitive and non-competitive) across public health systems; (2) plans, directs, coordinates, and conducts the grants management functions and processes in support of public health assistance awards; (3) provides leadership and guidance to CDC project officers and public health program officials related to grants activities; (4) maintains a close working relationship with CDC program offices; (5) reviews assistance applications for conformity to laws, regulations, policies, and alignment to CDC's public health goals; (6) issues grants and cooperative agreements; (7) provides continuing surveillance of financial and administrative aspects of assistance-supported activities to ensure compliance with DHHS and CDC policies; (8) ensures that grantee performance is in accordance with assistance requirements; and (9) collects and reports business management and public health programmatic data, analyzes and monitor business management data on grants and cooperative agreements and maintains assistance files.

    OD, Environmental, Occupational Health and Injury Prevention Services Branch (CAJEYD). OD, Environmental, Occupational Health and Injury Prevention Services Branch supports one or more CIOs. The branch (1) plans, directs, and conducts assistance management activities for CDC through the awards of domestic grants and cooperative agreements (competitive and non-competitive) across public health systems; (2) plans, directs, coordinates, and conducts the grants management functions and processes in support of public health assistance awards; (3) provides leadership and guidance to CDC project officers and public health program officials related to grants activities; (4) maintains a close working relationship with CDC program offices; (5) reviews assistance applications for conformity to laws, regulations, policies, and alignment to CDC's public health goals; (6) issues grants and cooperative agreements; (7) provides continuing surveillance of financial and administrative aspects of assistance-supported activities to ensure compliance with DHHS and CDC policies; (8) ensures that grantee performance is in accordance with assistance requirements; and (9) collects and reports business management and public health programmatic data, analyzes and monitor business management data on grants and cooperative agreements and maintains assistance files.

    Global Health Services Branch (CAJEYE). Global Health Services Branch supports one or more CIOs. The branch (1) plans, directs, and conducts assistance management activities for CDC through the awards of global (international) grants and cooperative agreements (competitive and non-competitive) across public health systems; (2) plans, directs, coordinates, and conducts the grants management functions and processes in support of public health assistance awards; (3) provides leadership and guidance to CDC project officers and public health program officials related to grants activities; (4) maintains a close working relationship with CDC program offices; (5) reviews assistance applications for conformity to laws, regulations, policies, and alignment to CDC's public health goals; (6) issues grants and cooperative agreements; (7) provides continuing surveillance of financial and administrative aspects of assistance-supported activities to ensure compliance with DHHS and CDC policies; (8) ensures that grantee performance is in accordance with assistance requirements; (9) collects and reports business management and public health programmatic data, analyzes and monitor business management data on grants and cooperative agreements and maintains assistance files; and (10) provides innovative problem-solving methods in the coordination of international grants for a wide range of public health partners in virtually all major domestic and international health organizations including resolving issues with the Department of State.

    Global Health Security Branch (CAJEYG). Global Health Security Branch supports one or more CIOs. The branch (1) plans, directs, and conducts assistance management activities for CDC through the awards of global (international) grants and cooperative agreements (competitive and non-competitive) across public health systems; (2) plans, directs, coordinates, and conducts the grants management functions and processes in support of public health assistance awards; (3) provides leadership and guidance to CDC project officers and public health program officials related to grants activities; (4) maintains a close working relationship with CDC program offices; (5) reviews assistance applications for conformity to laws, regulations, policies, and alignment to CDC's public health goals; (6) issues grants and cooperative agreements; (7) provides continuing surveillance of financial and administrative aspects of assistance-supported activities to ensure compliance with DHHS and CDC policies; (8) ensures that grantee performance is in accordance with assistance requirements; (9) collects and reports business management and public health programmatic data, analyzes and monitor business management data on grants and cooperative agreements and maintains assistance files; and (10) provides innovative problem-solving methods in the coordination of international grants for a wide range of public health partners in virtually all major domestic and international health organizations including resolving issues with the Department of State.

    Risk and Performance Management Services Branch (CAJEYH). Risk and Performance Management Services Branch supports all agency grants operations. The branch (1) maintains situational awareness to identify issues/concerns and communicates them to OGS leadership for consideration, strategy development, and issue resolution; (2) conducts grant pre-award activities to identify potential high risk grantees; (3) manages grantee audits and monitors grantee submission of responses to audits and corrective action plans (CAPs); (4) conducts follow-up audits to determine if CAPs effectively resolved deficiencies; (5) provides audit support for matters of interest to the agency to determine suitability for referral to the Office of Inspector General or other investigative agencies; (6) coordinates and manages annual grant forecasting activities; (7) validates, analyzes, and provides data for annual planning meetings, annual reports, data calls, end-of-year coordination, and ad-hoc requests; (8) leads business processes improvement initiatives and the development of strategic plans, performance metrics, dashboards, and OGS strategic direction materials; (9) identifies systemic operational issues and works with OGS leadership to develop strategies to mitigate risk; (10) facilitates problem/issue resolution and continuous improvements based on best practices; and (11) gathers and analyzes workforce challenges, constraints and opportunities for leadership awareness and possible future initiatives.

    Sherri A. Berger, Chief Operating Officer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26151 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4160-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Statement of Organization, Functions, and Delegations of Authority

    Part C (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) of the Statement of Organization, Functions, and Delegations of Authority of the Department of Health and Human Services (45 FR 67772-76, dated October 14, 1980, and corrected at 45 FR 69296, October 20, 1980, as amended most recently at 81 FR 84583-84591 dated November 23, 2016) is amended to reflect the reorganization of the Office of the Chief Operating Officer, Office of the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Section C-B, Organization and Functions, is hereby amended as follows:

    Delete in its entirety the functional statement for the Freedom of Information Act Office (CAJR13), Office of the Chief Information Officer (CAJR), Office of the Chief Operating Officer (CAJ).

    After the functional statement for the Office of the Director (CAJ1), Office of the Chief Operating Officer (CAJ), insert the following:

    Freedom of Information Act Office (CAJ12). (1) Leads and administers the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) program for CDC and ATSDR; (2) reviews, analyzes, redacts as necessary, and releases documents to the public under the provisions of the Act; (3) tracks and monitors FOIA requests and responses to ensure timely and appropriate responses; (4) provides guidance to employees, supervisors, management, the Office of the General Counsel and high-level agency officials on various aspects of the Act; (5) interprets and applies legal and technical precedents, laws and regulations relating to FOIA issues; and (6) provides training to program staff and management concerning FOIA requirements and processing.

    Sherri A. Berger, Chief Operating Officer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26149 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4160-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Statement of Organization, Functions, and Delegations of Authority

    Part C (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) of the Statement of Organization, Functions, and Delegations of Authority of the Department of Health and Human Services (45 FR 67772-76, dated October 14, 1980, and corrected at 45 FR 69296, October 20, 1980, as amended most recently at 81 FR 84583-84591, dated November 23, 2016) is amended to reflect the reorganization of the Division of Viral Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Office of Infectious Disease, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Section C-B, Organization and Functions, is hereby amended as follows:

    Delete and replace the title and the mission and function statements for the Division of Viral Disease (CVGE) and insert the following:

    Division of Viral Disease (CVGE). The Division of Viral Diseases (DVD) prevents disease, disability, and death through immunization and by control of respiratory, enteric, and related viral diseases. In carrying out this mission, the DVD: (1) Conducts surveillance and related activities; supports and provides technical assistance to state and local health departments to conduct surveillance and related activities to monitor the impact of vaccination and other prevention programs; and determine patterns of infection and disease; (2) conducts epidemiologic and laboratory studies to define patterns of, and risk factors for, infection, disease, and disease burden; estimates vaccine effectiveness, determines cost effectiveness of vaccines, and evaluates other aspects of immunization practices; identifies and evaluates non-vaccine prevention strategies; and provides epidemiological and laboratory expertise to other Nation Centers (NCs), collaborators, and partners on vaccine and other prevention strategies; (3) provides consultation on viral vaccine preventable, respiratory, and enteric diseases, and the use of vaccines and other measures to prevent infections; (4) provides consultation and support and/or participates in investigations of national and international outbreaks of viral vaccine preventable and other respiratory and enteric viral diseases, and recommends appropriate control measures; (5) provides scientific leadership and advice, analyzes available data, and develops science-based statements for viral vaccines to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and other groups to support the development and evaluation of immunization practices and policies domestically and internationally; (6) provides laboratory support for surveillance and epidemiologic studies and maintains reference/diagnostic services and expertise; (7) conducts studies of immunology and pathogenesis of disease and the biology, biochemical, genetic and antigenic characteristics of the agents; (8) develops, evaluates, and improves diagnostic methods and reagents, and transfers assays and techniques to other public health laboratories; (9) facilitates and participates in the development and evaluation of antiviral compounds, vaccines, and vaccination programs; (10) provides and supports public health training; (11) responds to and assists internal and external partners on other public health problems of national and international significance, as needed; (12) provides technical support to state immunization programs for all aspects of vaccine-preventable diseases and their vaccines; (13) provides leadership in vaccine science; and (14) supports CDC's Immunization Safety Office in vaccine safety risk assessment and leadership in vaccine safety risk management.

    Office of the Director (CVGE1). (1) Manages, directs, and coordinates the activities of the division; (2) provides leadership and guidance in policy formulation, program planning and development, program management, and operations of the division; (3) identifies needs and resources for ongoing and new initiatives and assigns responsibilities for their development; (4) prepares, reviews, and coordinates informational, scientific, and programmatic documents; (5) oversees the division's activities and expenditures; (6) assures the overall quality of the science conducted by the division; (7) provides overall guidance and direction for the division's surveillance, research, and other scientific and immunization activities; (8) provides overall guidance and direction for division's epidemiologic, laboratory, and outbreak response capacity and activities; (9) oversees and facilitates the division's scientific support to other groups within CDC, the national and international healthcare, and public health communities regarding viral respiratory and enteric diseases and viral immunization programs; (10) guides and facilitates efficient coordination and cooperation for administrative, programmatic, and scientific activities within the division and with other groups inside and outside of CDC; and (11) provides division leadership, expertise, and technical collaboration for the application of statistics, economics, operations research, geography, other quantitative sciences, and data management to prevent disease, disability and death through immunization and control of respiratory, enteric, and related viral diseases.

    Analysis and Data Management Activity (CVGE12). (1) Coordinates quantitative science and data management planning, policy development, and project monitoring and evaluation; (2) designs and develops statistical, economic, cost, resource allocation, geospatial and data management strategies, models, and methodologies in the public health arena; and (3) collaborates with scientists, program experts, and senior public health officials throughout the division to implement these strategies, models, and methodologies in support of respiratory, enteric and related viral diseases surveillance and prevention studies, prevention resource allocation issues, and prevention program activities.

    Respiratory Viruses Branch (CVGEB). (1) Conducts surveillance, laboratory assistance, and related activities, and supports and provides technical assistance to state and local health departments to conduct surveillance and related activities to monitor the impact of prevention programs, and determine patterns of infection and disease; (2) conducts and provides laboratory support and expertise for epidemiologic and laboratory studies to define patterns of and risk factors for infection, disease, and disease burden; (3) provides epidemiology and laboratory consultation and support and/or participates in investigations of national and international outbreaks of viral respiratory diseases, and recommends appropriate control measures; (4) provides scientific, both epidemiologic and laboratory, leadership and advice; (5) analyzes available data, and develops science-based statements for potential respiratory viral vaccines to the ACIP and other groups to support the development and evaluation of immunization practices and policies in the U.S and internationally; (6) provides and supports public health training; (7) responds to and assists internal and external partners on other public health problems of national and international significance, as needed; (8) provides laboratory support for surveillance and epidemiologic studies and maintains reference/diagnostic services and expertise; (9) conducts studies of immunology and pathogenesis of disease and the biology, biochemical, genetic, and antigenic characteristics of the agents; (10) develops, evaluates, and improves diagnostic methods and reagents, and transfers assays and techniques to other public health laboratories and provides and supports laboratory training; (11) facilitates and participates in the development and evaluation of antiviral compounds, vaccines, and vaccination programs; and (12) responds to and assists internal and external partners on other public health problems of national and international significance as needed.

    Polio and Picornavirus Laboratory Branch (CVGEC). (1) Provides laboratory assistance, technical expertise and support for surveillance and related activities to monitor impact of vaccination and other prevention programs, and determine patterns of infection and disease; (2) provides laboratory support and technical expertise for epidemiologic and laboratory studies to define patterns and risk factors for infection, disease, and disease burden; (3) studies vaccine-related issues; (4) identifies and evaluate non-vaccine prevention strategies; (5) provides laboratory consultation and technical expertise regarding use of vaccines and other measures to prevent infections to other NCs, collaborators, and partners; (6) provides laboratory consultation and support and/or participates in investigations of national and international outbreaks of viral vaccine preventable and other respiratory and enteric viral diseases; (7) provides laboratory leadership and technical expertise to develop science-based statements to Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the ACIP, and other groups to support the development and evaluation of immunization practices and policies in the U.S and internationally; (8) provides epidemiology and laboratory consultation and support and/or participates in investigations of national and international outbreaks of viral respiratory diseases, and recommends appropriate control measures; (9) provides scientific, both epidemiologic and laboratory, leadership and advice; (10) provides laboratory support for surveillance and epidemiologic studies and maintains reference/diagnostic services and expertise; (11) conducts studies of immunology and pathogenesis of disease and the biology, biochemical, genetic, and antigenic characteristics of the agents; (12) develops, evaluates, and improves diagnostic methods and reagents, transfers assays and techniques to national and international public health laboratories, and provides and supports training for laboratorians; (13) facilitates and participates in the development and evaluation of antiviral compounds, vaccines, and vaccination programs; (14) responds to and assists internal and external partners on other public health problems of national and international significance as needed; and (15) serves as the National Reference Laboratory (poliovirus and enteroviruses), World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Poliovirus and Enteroviruses Virus Reference and Research, and WHO Global Specialized Polio Reference Laboratory.

    Viral Vaccine Preventable Diseases Branch (CVGED). (1) Conducts surveillance, provides laboratory assistance, technical expertise, and support for surveillance and related activities to monitor the impact of vaccination on the prevention of viral disease and to determine patterns of infection and disease; (2) conducts epidemiologic and laboratory studies to define patterns of and risk factors for infection, disease, and disease burden; (3) estimates vaccine effectiveness, evaluates other aspects of immunization practices; (4) identifies and evaluates non-vaccine prevention strategies; (5) provides epidemiological and laboratory expertise and technical support to other NCs, collaborators, and partners across center working groups on vaccines and other prevention strategies; (6) supports the development of vaccine practices and policies by providing consultation and epidemiologic and laboratory expertise to other federal agencies, state health departments, ministries of health, WHO, PAHO, private industry, academia and other governmental organizations on viral vaccine preventable diseases, and on the use of vaccines and other measures to prevent infections; (7) provides laboratory consultation and support and/or participates in investigations of national and international outbreaks of viral vaccine preventable diseases and recommends appropriate control measures; (8) assists internal and external partners on other public health problems of national and international significance; (9) provides scientific leadership and advice, analyzes available data, and develops science-based statements for viral vaccines to the ACIP and other groups to support the development and evaluation of immunization practices and policies in the U.S and internationally; (10) responsible for human papilloma virus (HPV), measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), domestic polio, zoster, and varicella vaccine policy in the United States by working with ACIP; (11) provides and supports public health training; (12) responds to public inquires and prepares communication materials; (13) works with health economists to determine cost effectiveness of vaccination strategies; (14) provides laboratory support for surveillance and epidemiologic studies and maintains reference and diagnostic services and expertise; (15) assists in investigation of adverse events following vaccination; (16) conducts studies of immunology and pathogenesis of disease and the biological, biochemical, genetic, and antigenic characteristics of viral agents; (17) develops, evaluates, and improves diagnostic methods and reagents; (17) transfers assays and techniques to other public health laboratories; (18) provides and supports laboratory training; (19) serves as the National Reference Laboratory for MMR, and varicella zoster virus and the PAHO Regional and WHO Global Specialized Laboratory for measles and rubella; and (20) works closely with the laboratory that handles HPV to define and conduct epidemiologic investigations.

    Viral Gastroenteritis Branch (CVGEE) (1) Provides epidemiologic and laboratory assistance studies and related activities to better understand the evolution, (molecular) epidemiology and immunity of rotavirus, norovirus and other gastroenteritis viruses; (2) provides consultation on the safety and impact of rotavirus vaccination and other prevention programs (rotavirus, norovirus); (3) provides consultation and technical assistance to state and local health departments to monitor the burden of disease and epidemiology of gastroenteritis virus infections (rotavirus, norovirus); (4) provides consultation and support on the research and development of new rotavirus vaccines and other prevention technologies; (5) provides consultation and support and/or participates in investigations of national and international outbreaks of viral vaccine preventable and other enteric viral diseases, and recommends appropriate control measures; (6) provides scientific leadership and advice, analyzes available data, and develops science-based statements for rotavirus vaccines to the ACIP and other groups to support the development and evaluation of immunization practices and policies in the U.S and internationally; (7) provides and supports public health training; (8) responds to and assists internal and external partners on other public health problems of national and international significance, as needed; (9) serves as the National Reference Laboratory (rotavirus and norovirus) and other agents of viral gastroenteritis; and (10) serves as the WHO Global Reference Center for Rotavirus and other agents of viral gastroenteritis.

    Sherri Berger, Chief Operating Officer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26150 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4160-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Statement of Organization, Functions, and Delegations of Authority

    Part C (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) of the Statement of Organization, Functions, and Delegations of Authority of the Department of Health and Human Services (45 FR 67772-76, dated October 14, 1980, and corrected at 45 FR 69296, October 20, 1980, as amended most recently at 81 FR 84583-84591, dated November 23, 2016) is amended to reflect the reorganization of the Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Services, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Section C-B, Organization and Functions, is hereby amended as follows:

    Delete in its entirety the title for the Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Service (CPN) and insert the following title which includes the Oxford comma: Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Service (CPN).

    Delete in its entirety the title and the mission and function statements for the Division of Laboratory Systems (CPNB) and insert the following:

    Division of Laboratory Systems (CPNB). The mission of the Division of Laboratory Systems (DLS) is to strengthen the nation's clinical and public health laboratory system by continually improving quality and safety, informatics and data science, and workforce competency.

    Office of the Director (CPNB1). (1) Provides leadership and guidance on development of strategic goals, objectives, and milestones to advance the vision and mission of the Division of Laboratory Systems (DLS), the Center for Surveillance Epidemiology and Laboratory Services (CSELS), and CDC; (2) ensures optimal planning and allocation of resources to achieve program objectives, conducts management and operations analyses, and oversees required reporting; (3) provides administrative management support, advice, and guidance to DLS regarding administrative policies, fiscal management, property management, human resources, and travel; (4) leads coordination and stewardship of DLS procurement, grants, cooperative agreements, materials management, interagency agreements, and extramural resources; (5) fosters collaborations and cross-cutting activities with other CDC components and external organizations to support the mission, activities, and operations of DLS; (6) enhances internal and external partnerships and partner/stakeholder communication; (7) provides leadership in evaluating and improving program performance, monitoring progress and accomplishments to ensure that programmatic goals are achieved with measurable impact; (8) manages issues, policy development, and tracks regulatory and legislative activities; (9) manages CDC Specimen Policy Board and the CDC/ATSDR Specimen Packaging, Inventory, and Repository (CASPIR) Advisory Committee; (10) collaborates with leadership of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in advancement of the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) program and oversees CDC responsibilities therein; (11) provides scientific oversight for DLS, performing scientific review and clearance for DLS publications, presentations, and reports; (12) provides DLS communications, Web support, responses to media requests, and communication outreach efforts; and (13) coordinates requests from other CDC programs for international technical assistance among DLS capabilities.

    Training and Workforce Development Branch (CPNBC). (1) Provides leadership and support of laboratory workforce through initiatives that strengthen recruitment, retention, management, and training; (2) supports the development, promotion, adoption, and implementation of competencies relevant to the laboratory workforce; (3) develops frameworks, models, and resources that support competency-based laboratory training, fellowships, and education; (4) engages agency and laboratory community experts to collaboratively assess and develop effective training products to maintain a competent, prepared, and sustainable national and global laboratory workforce; (5) designs and implements training pertaining to clinical and public health laboratory methodology, technology, quality and safety and practice for public health, clinical, CDC, and other federal agency laboratory professionals; and (6) evaluates the efficiency and effectiveness of public health laboratory education and training, including measuring the outcomes of all training to ensure the effective transfer of knowledge and skills to improved laboratory practice.

    Quality and Safety Systems Branch (CPNBD). (1) Develops, promotes, implements, and evaluates intervention strategies to improve quality and safety in clinical and public health laboratory systems; (2) provides scientific and technical support for the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) program to assure the quality, including safety, of clinical and public health laboratory testing nationwide; (3) facilitates and conducts studies to provide scientific evidence and assess the impact of CLIA regulations and voluntary guidelines for laboratory quality and safety; (4) provides expertise and guidance in the development or revision of CLIA technical standards and voluntary guidelines for laboratory quality and safety, especially in light of new and evolving laboratory technology and practices; (5) develops, disseminates, promotes, and evaluates the impact of educational materials to support the understanding of and compliance with CLIA regulations and voluntary quality and safety guidelines; (6) hosts and manages the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Advisory Committee (CLIAC) and its workgroups on behalf of a tri-agency partnership among CDC, CMS, and FDA; (7) provides information to the laboratory medicine and public health communities, as well as policy makers, regarding the interpretation and application of the CLIA technical standards and other issues of laboratory quality and safety; (8) provides technical assistance in the review of laboratory accreditation and state licensure programs, and CLIA-approved proficiency testing programs; (9) facilitates and supports collaborations with federal partners and other stakeholders (including other CDC programs upon request) for the exchange of information about laboratory quality and safety practices, research, standards, and guidelines, and coordinates clinical and public health laboratory improvement efforts among all; (10) provides safety and quality subject matter expertise to the Training and Workforce Development Branch for the development of training courses for internal CDC laboratories and external clinical and public health laboratories; (11) provides advice and oversight of safety and quality measures, controls, practices and documents to ensure compliance of DLS laboratory areas with CDC policies, regulations, and guidelines for laboratory quality and safety (e.g., Roybal campus—Building 18 Training Laboratory and Lawrenceville campus laboratories); (12) provides scientific and technical support and guidance for CDC initiatives, programs, committees, work groups, and task forces involving use, handling, shipping, import/export, transport or storage of biological specimens and their support materials; (13) provides safety and quality-related content expertise for the development of the Laboratory Leadership Service (LLS) Fellows curriculum and serve as course instructors for LLS training classes (and to other laboratory-related workforce efforts as may be requested by other programs); and (14) serves as quality and safety advisors and liaisons to other CDC programs and offices involving clinical laboratory activities upon request.

    Informatics and Data Science Branch (CPNBE). (1) Supports the CDC Specimen Policy Board and OADLSS in the development of CDC specimen management and collection policies, and oversees implementation of those policies at CASPIR in collaboration with the CASPIR Advisory Committee; (2) develops, promotes, implements, and evaluates data science approaches for improved research of large and complex data sets in support of CLIA standards and laboratory practice; (3) maintains and leverages data acquired from national laboratory systems and other large health databases to evaluate laboratory testing events, capabilities, capacity, and public health outcomes; (4) develops solutions to strengthen the management of laboratory test service capability and capacity data, biorepositories, access to materials for standardizing laboratory testing, as well as support laboratory preparedness and workforce development activities; (5) develops and implements solutions, often with external partners and collaborators, to strengthen clinical and public health laboratory information systems, reporting of laboratory results between diagnostic facilities and healthcare providers, electronic reporting of laboratory information to electronic health records, and general preparedness of the laboratory system to respond to public health emergencies; (6) develops and implements computer-based decision support tools and mobile applications that help to inform better laboratory-related decision-making by healthcare providers; and (7) collaborates with other CDC programs to develop and promote informatics solutions for improving laboratory management, practice, and preparedness.

    Sherri A. Berger, Chief Operating Officer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26148 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4160-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Community Living Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Public Comments Request; New Data Collection; National Center on Law and Elder Rights (NCLER) AGENCY:

    Administration for Community Living, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Administration for Community Living (ACL) is announcing an opportunity for the public to comment on ACL's intention to collect information from legal and aging/disability service professionals. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (the PRA), Federal agencies are required to publish a notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of Information and to allow 60 days for public comment in response on the proposed action. This notice solicits comments on proposed information collection requirements relating to ACL funded training, case consultation, and technical assistance for aging/disability networks assisting older adults in social or economic need facing legal issues.

    DATES:

    Submit written or electronic comments on the collection of information by February 5, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit electronic comments on the collection of information to Omar Valverde at [email protected] Submit written comments on the collection of information by mail to Omar Valverde, Administration for Community Living, Washington, DC 20201.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Omar Valverde at [email protected] or (202) 795-7460.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), Federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. “Collection of information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c) and includes agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)) requires Federal agencies to provide a 60-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension or update of an existing collection of information, before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. The proposed collection of information represents new information requested from aging/disability networks to fulfill requirements regarding the provision of services and overall performance of ACL legal assistance programs.

    To comply with the above requirement, ACL is publishing a notice regarding the proposed collection of information set forth in this document. ACL contracts with a national legal assistance resource center, the National Center on Law and Elder Rights, to provide the required services. Through the contract, ACL provides aging, disability, and related legal professionals with training and complex case consultations and support for demonstration projects regarding contractually identified priority legal topics.

    The purpose of the information requested is for ACL to ensure that the resource center creates and prioritizes the training, case consultations and technical assistance resources it was contracted to provide and to ensure that the center targets the contractually designated aging network practitioners about the priority subject matters. This approach enables ACL to make data-informed decisions about the deployment of its resource center assets. These data are necessary for ACL to evaluate contractual compliance with established performance indicators. These metrics include quantifiable increases in uptake by stakeholders of training, case consultation and technical assistance, and measures of satisfaction with and perceived benefit from these services. For example, the metrics measure successful problem resolution as a result of the services provided, quantifiable data on fulfillment of requests for training, technical assistance, and consultation related to the contractually designated legal and systems development topic areas.

    Interested persons are invited to send comments regarding burden estimates or any other aspect of this collection of information, including the following subjects: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of ACL's functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of ACL's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques, when appropriate, and other forms of information technology.

    Proposed Collection of Information

    ACL plans to submit the proposed data collection to the Office of Management and Budget for approval following receipt of any comments received in response to this notice. The information to be requested by ACL from legal and aging/disability professionals fall into the following areas: (1) Requests for training, case consultation, and technical assistance through an online, secure Uniform Resource Support Request Tool; (2) general requests for Legal Training (including the volume of Webinar registrations); Case Consultation and Technical Assistance; and (3) information about satisfaction and use of the services and support received in order to enable ACL to measure performance outcomes.

    (1) Resource Support Requests

    ACL proposes to ask aging/disability service providers and legal service providers who may need various forms of resource support a series of questions regarding appropriate delivery of needed assistance in a targeted and efficient manner. These questions will be presented through a web based Uniform Resource Support Request Tool (URSRT) that will be used for soliciting and accepting requests for Legal Training, Case Consultation, and Technical Assistance (Link to URSRT).

    Estimated Number of Responses

    ACL expects to receive (30) responses to questions presented in the URSRT from Legal Assistance Developers (LADs) (Title VII, Section 731) housed in SUAs and (50) responses from Older Americans Act (OAA) Title III-B legal providers in the first year. In subsequent years, the URSRT will be targeted for use by other groups within aging/disability and elder rights networks and may experience a large increase in responses.

    Total Estimated Burden Hours

    The burden hours are calculated as (1) minute and 54 seconds to complete the URSRT per respondent, with a total of 2.53 hours, annually. Attachment A, which is posted along with the draft forms on the acl.gov Web site, explains the estimated response rate and burden calculations.

    (2) Legal Training, Case Consultation, Technical Assistance Requests

    ACL proposes to ask legal and aging/disability providers who request Legal Training, Case Consultation, or Technical Assistance through the web-based Uniform Resource Support Request Tool (URSRT) for background information and the following substantive data:

    • Type of Organization (Title III-B attorney, Legal Services Corporation attorney, Other Legal Services attorney, Other Elder Law attorney, Other Legal Services professional, Aging and/or Disability Network Professional, Other); and

    • Services requested: (Legal Training, Case Consultation, Technical Assistance on Legal Services Delivery, or General Information).

    Estimated Number of Responses

    Based on the results of prior data collections, ACL expects between 13,000 and 14,000 requests annually through the web-based Uniform Resource Support Request Tool (URSRT). In subsequent years, enhanced public awareness of the availability of Legal Training, Case Consultation, and Technical Assistance within aging/disability/legal networks may increase potential responses to as high as 16,000.

    Total Estimated Burden Hours

    The burden of hours is calculated at (1) minute 42 seconds for each respondent to make a request for Training, Case Consultation, or Technical Assistance. ACL estimates a high end of 14,000 responses with burden hours totaling 396 hours, annually. Attachment A, which is posted along with the draft forms on the acl.gov Web site, explains the estimated response rate and the burden calculation.

    (3) Performance Outcome Measurement

    ACL proposes to ask legal and aging/disability providers, who request Legal Training, Case Consultation or Technical Assistance, the following series of survey questions in order to properly assess audience targeting, participant satisfaction, and outcomes of the training and technical assistance delivered:

    • Type of Organization (Title III-B attorney, Legal Services Corporation attorney, Other Legal Services attorney, Other Elder Law attorney, Other Legal Services professional, Aging and/or Disability Network Professional, and Other Job Title (e.g., Executive Director, Management, Staff Attorney, Counselor);

    • Please rank the quality of assistance provided in this (Legal Training/Case Consultation/Technical Assistance);

    • Did the assistance provided by this (Legal Training/Case Consultation/Technical Assistance) contribute to a successful resolution of a specific client issue?

    • If requesting assistance on legal services delivery, will the assistance provided contribute to the successful completion of legal needs and capacity assessments, legal services delivery plans, legal service delivery standards, or data collection/reporting systems?

    Estimated Number of Responses

    ACL expects between 3,000 and 3,500 responses to follow up surveys presented through the web-based Uniform Resource Support Request Tool (URSRT) gaging participant satisfaction and service impacts derived from Training, Case Consultation, or Technical Assistance. In subsequent years, due to an increase in the volume of resource support provided, survey responses may increase to as high as 4,500 due to ongoing efforts to increase awareness of the availability of resource support through NCLER.

    Total Estimated Burden Hours

    The burden of hours is calculated at (1) minute and 3 seconds for each respondent to complete a survey gaging satisfaction and service impact. ACL estimates a high end of 3,500 responses with a burden of hours totaling 61.25 hours, annually. Attachment A, which is posted along with the draft forms on the acl.gov Web site, explains the estimated response rate and the burden calculation.

    The proposed data collection forms and Attachment A may be found on the ACL Web site for review at: https://www.acl.gov/about-acl/public-input

    Summary of Burden Estimates Respondent/data collection activity Number of
  • respondents
  • Minutes per
  • response
  • Annual burden hours
    Resource Support Requests 80 1 min 54 sec 2.53 hours. Legal Training, Case Consultation, Technical Assistance Requests 14,000 1 min 42 sec 397 hours. Outcome Measurement 3,500 1 min 3 sec 61.25 hours. Total 17,580 4 min 39 sec 460.78 hours.
    Dated: November 24, 2017. Mary Lazare, Principal Deputy Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26116 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4154-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2016-D-1159] Food and Drug Administration Categorization of Investigational Device Exemption Devices To Assist the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services With Coverage Decisions; Guidance for Sponsors, Clinical Investigators, Industry, Institutional Review Boards, and Food and Drug Administration Staff; Availability AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) is announcing the availability of the guidance entitled “FDA Categorization of Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) Devices to Assist the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) with Coverage Decisions; Guidance for Sponsors, Clinical Investigators, Industry, Institutional Review Boards, and Food and Drug Administration Staff.” This guidance modifies the FDA's current policy on categorization of investigational device exemption (IDE) devices, which assists the CMS in determining whether or not an IDE device should be covered (reimbursed) by CMS. On December 2, 2015, FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) and CMS's Coverage and Analysis Group (CAG) executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to streamline and facilitate the efficient categorization of investigational medical devices in order to support CMS's ability to make Medicare coverage (reimbursement) determinations for those devices. This guidance document further explains the framework that FDA intends to follow for such categorization decisions.

    DATES:

    The announcement of the guidance is published in the Federal Register on December 5, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit either electronic or written comments on this guidance at any time 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-2016-D-1159 for “FDA Categorization of Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) Devices to Assist the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) with Coverage Decisions; Guidance for Sponsors, Clinical Investigators, Industry, Institutional Review Boards, and Food and Drug Administration Staff.” Received comments 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 office between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    • Confidential Submissions—To submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made publicly available, submit your comments only as a written/paper submission. You should submit two copies total. One copy will include the information you claim to be confidential with a heading or cover note that states “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.” The Agency will review this copy, including the claimed confidential information, in its consideration of comments. The second copy, which will have the claimed confidential information redacted/blacked out, will be available for public viewing and posted on https://www.regulations.gov. Submit both copies to the Dockets Management Staff. If you do not wish your name and contact information to be made publicly available, you can provide this information on the cover sheet and not in the body of your comments and you must identify this information as “confidential.” Any information marked as “confidential” will not be disclosed except in accordance with 21 CFR 10.20 and other applicable disclosure law. For more information about FDA's posting of comments to public dockets, see 80 FR 56469, September 18, 2015, or access the information at: https://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-09-18/pdf/2015-23389.pdf.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or the electronic and written/paper comments received, go to https://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the “Search” box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Dockets Management Staff, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    An electronic copy of the guidance document is available for download from the internet. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for information on electronic access to the guidance. Submit written requests for a single hard copy of the guidance document entitled “FDA Categorization of Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) Devices to Assist the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) with Coverage Decisions; Guidance for Sponsors, Clinical Investigators, Industry, Institutional Review Boards, and Food and Drug Administration Staff” to the Office of the Center Director, Guidance and Policy Development, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 66, Rm. 5431, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002; or the Office of Communication, Outreach and Development, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 71, Rm. 3128, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002. Send one self-addressed adhesive label to assist that office in processing your request.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Owen Faris, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 66, Rm. 1682, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 301-796-6356, or Stephen Ripley, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 71, Rm. 7301, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 240-402-7911.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    FDA is announcing the availability of a guidance for sponsors, clinical investigators, industry, institutional review boards, and FDA staff entitled, “FDA Categorization of Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) Devices to Assist the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) with Coverage Decisions; Guidance for Sponsors, Clinical Investigators, Industry, Institutional Review Boards, and Food and Drug Administration Staff.” This guidance modifies the FDA's current policy on categorization of IDE devices. In September 1995, FDA entered into an Interagency Agreement (IA) regarding reimbursement categorization of investigational devices with the Health Care Financing Administration (now known as CMS). FDA would assign a device with an approved IDE based on the level of risk the device presented to patients. The categorization would then be used by CMS as part of its determination of whether or not items and services met the requirements for Medicare coverage under section 1862(a)(1)(A) of the Social Security Act. In following with the IA, FDA categorized devices as either Category A (“Experimental”) or Category B (“Nonexperimental/Investigational”). In the more than 20 years since the IA was signed, FDA has received a number of IDEs which do not easily fit into any of the eight sub-categories identified in the IA. There have also been several developments which prompted FDA and CMS to revise their shared understanding regarding the categorization of IDE devices. These include the publication of the guidance document entitled, “Investigational Device Exemptions (IDEs) for Early Feasibility Medical Device Clinical Studies, Including Certain First in Human (FIH) Studies; Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff,” (Ref. 1) and a subsequent increase in submission of early feasibility studies to FDA, as well as modifications to CMS's regulation regarding IDEs (42 CFR 405 Subpart B).

    On December 2, 2015, FDA's CDRH and CMS's Coverage and Analysis Group (CAG) executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to streamline and facilitate the efficient categorization of investigational medical devices. The MOU became effective as of June 2, 2016. This guidance document describes the process and information that will be used to help determine the appropriate category for a device to be studied. Importantly, the categorization paradigm has shifted from a more rigid approach to one which allows more flexibility and could be of great benefit specifically to manufacturers of, and patients receiving, innovative medical devices. The previous categorization paradigm included several specific criteria upon which a categorization would be based. These criteria were tied to information known about other similar, legally marketed products. The policy has been revised in order to allow FDA to consider information known about investigational devices as well, and provide FDA the flexibility to change categorization as more information regarding a device has been obtained. Therefore, while an innovative medical device may not be reimbursable during early-stage clinical trials, information gained during such studies now can be utilized to potentially help support a category change, and thus full reimbursement, for the device during subsequent studies.

    FDA considered comments received on the draft guidance that appeared in the June 1, 2016, Federal Register notice (81 FR 35032). FDA revised the guidance as appropriate in response to the comments. This document supersedes IDE Guidance Memorandum #95-2 “Implementation of the FDA/HCFA Interagency Agreement Regarding Reimbursement Categorization of Investigational Devices” issued on September 15, 1995.

    II. Significance of Guidance

    This guidance is being issued consistent with FDA's good guidance practices regulation (21 CFR 10.115). The guidance represents the current thinking of FDA on “FDA Categorization of Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) Devices to Assist the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) with Coverage Decisions.” It does not establish any rights for any person and is not binding on FDA or the public. You can use an alternative approach if it satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations. This guidance is not subject to Executive Order 12866.

    III. Electronic Access

    Persons interested in obtaining a copy of the guidance may do so by downloading an electronic copy from the internet. A search capability for all CDRH guidance documents is available at https://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/DeviceRegulationandGuidance/GuidanceDocuments/default.htm. A search capability for all CBER guidance documents is available at: https://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/default.htm. Guidance documents are also available at https://www.regulations.gov. Persons unable to download an electronic copy of “FDA Categorization of Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) Devices to Assist the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) with Coverage Decisions; Guidance for Sponsors, Clinical Investigators, Industry, Institutional Review Boards, and Food and Drug Administration Staff” may send an email request to [email protected] to receive an electronic copy of the document. Please use the document number 1500074 to identify the guidance you are requesting.

    IV. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This guidance refers to previously approved collections of information found in FDA and CMS regulations. These collections of information are subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). The collections of information in 21 CFR part 812 have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0078. The collections of information in 42 CFR part 405, subpart B have been approved under OMB control number 0938-1250.

    V. Reference

    The following reference is on display in the Dockets Management Staff (see ADDRESSES) and is available for viewing by interested persons between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday; it is also available electronically at https://www.regulations.gov. FDA has verified the Web site address, as of the date this document publishes in the Federal Register, but Web sites are subject to change over time.

    1. Investigational Device Exemptions (IDEs) for Early Feasibility Medical Device Clinical Studies, Including Certain First in Human (FIH) Studies; Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff, available at https://www.fda.gov/downloads/medicaldevices/deviceregulationandguidance/guidancedocuments/ucm279103.

    Dated: November 29, 2017. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26195 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2016-D-1210] Technical Considerations for Additive Manufactured Medical Devices; Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff; Availability AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) is announcing the availability of the guidance entitled “Technical Considerations for Additive Manufactured Medical Devices; Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff.” FDA has developed this leapfrog guidance to provide FDA's initial thoughts on technical considerations specific to devices using additive manufacturing, the broad category of manufacturing encompassing 3-dimensional (3D) printing. This guidance outlines technical considerations associated with additive manufacturing processes as well as testing and characterization for final finished devices fabricated using additive manufacturing.

    DATES:

    The announcement of the guidance is published in the Federal Register on December 5, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit either electronic or written comments on Agency guidances at any time 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-2016-D-1210 for “Technical Considerations for Additive Manufactured Medical Devices; Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff; Availability.” Received comments will be placed in the docket and, except for those submitted as “Confidential Submissions,” publicly viewable at https://www.regulations.gov or at the Dockets Management Staff between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    • Confidential Submissions—To submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made publicly available, submit your comments only as a written/paper submission. You should submit two copies total. One copy will include the information you claim to be confidential with a heading or cover note that states “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.” The Agency will review this copy, including the claimed confidential information, in its consideration of comments. The second copy, which will have the claimed confidential information redacted/blacked out, will be available for public viewing and posted on https://www.regulations.gov. Submit both copies to the Dockets Management Staff. If you do not wish your name and contact information to be made publicly available, you can provide this information on the cover sheet and not in the body of your comments and you must identify this information as “confidential.” Any information marked as “confidential” will not be disclosed except in accordance with 21 CFR 10.20 and other applicable disclosure law. For more information about FDA's posting of comments to public dockets, see 80 FR 56469, September 18, 2015, or access the information at: https://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-09-18/pdf/2015-23389.pdf.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or the electronic and written/paper comments received, go to https://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the “Search” box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Dockets Management Staff, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    You may submit comments on any guidance at any time (see 21 CFR 10.115(g)(5)).

    An electronic copy of the guidance document is available for download from the Internet. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for information on electronic access to the guidance. Submit written requests for a single hard copy of the guidance document entitled “Technic