Federal Register Vol. 82, No.239,

Federal Register Volume 82, Issue 239 (December 14, 2017)

Page Range58707-59502
FR Document

82_FR_239
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
82 FR 59216 - Medicare Program: Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Systems and Quality Reporting ProgramsPDF
82 FR 58707 - Catastrophic Risk Protection Endorsement; Area Risk Protection Insurance Regulations; and the Common Crop Insurance Regulations, Basic ProvisionsPDF
82 FR 58749 - Vessel Documentation Regulations-Technical AmendmentsPDF
82 FR 59501 - Reinvigorating America's Human Space Exploration ProgramPDF
82 FR 58971 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Amendment No. 1 to a Proposed Rule Change Amending the Consolidated Audit Trail Funding FeesPDF
82 FR 59122 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE MKT LLC; Notice of Filing of Amendment No. 1 to a Proposed Rule Change Amending the Consolidated Audit Trail Funding FeesPDF
82 FR 58917 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Investors Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing of Amendment No. 1 to a Proposed Rule Change To Establish the Fees for Industry Members Related to the National Market System Plan Governing the Consolidated Audit TrailPDF
82 FR 59004 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Miami International Securities Exchange, LLC; Notice of Filing of Amendment No. 1 to a Proposed Rule Change to Amend the Fee SchedulePDF
82 FR 59094 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; MIAX PEARL, LLC; Notice of Filing of Amendment No. 1 to a Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Fee SchedulePDF
82 FR 58854 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Cboe EDGA Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Amendment No. 1 to a Proposed Rule Change To Establish the Fees for Industry Members Related to the National Market System Plan Governing the Consolidated Audit TrailPDF
82 FR 58944 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing of Amendment No. 2 to a Proposed Rule Change To Adopt Rule 7004 and Chapter XV, Section 11PDF
82 FR 59067 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq GEMX, LLC; Notice of Filing of Amendment No. 2 to a Proposed Rule Change To Adopt Rule 7004 and Chapter XV, Section 11PDF
82 FR 59040 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC.; Notice of Filing of Amendment No. 2 to a Proposed Rule Change To Adopt Rule 7004 and Chapter XV, Section 11PDF
82 FR 58891 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq BX, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Amendment No. 2 to a Proposed Rule Change To Adopt Rule 7004 and Chapter XV, Section 11PDF
82 FR 59177 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Cboe BYX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Amendment No. 1 to a Proposed Rule Change To Establish the Fees for Industry Members Related to the National Market System Plan Governing the Consolidated Audit TrailPDF
82 FR 58731 - Compliance Date for Form 10-D Hyperlink RequirementsPDF
82 FR 59204 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Feedback on Agency Service DeliveryPDF
82 FR 58807 - Notice of Termination of Receivership of 10485, Bank of Wausau, Wausau, WisconsinPDF
82 FR 58792 - Food Crediting in Child Nutrition Programs: Request for InformationPDF
82 FR 58816 - Patient-Focused Drug Development: Developing and Submitting Proposed Draft Guidance Relating to Patient Experience Data; Public Workshop; Request for CommentsPDF
82 FR 58795 - Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting (Webinar)PDF
82 FR 58739 - Military Lending Act Limitations on Terms of Consumer Credit Extended to Service Members and DependentsPDF
82 FR 58824 - New Postal ProductPDF
82 FR 58795 - Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 158-Jackson, Mississippi; Notification of Proposed Production Activity; Traxys Cometals Processing, Inc. (Manganese and Aluminum Alloying Agents); Burnsville, MississippiPDF
82 FR 59205 - City and County of Denver-Acquisition Exemption-Western Stock Show Association in the City and County of Denver, COPDF
82 FR 58818 - Submission for OMB Review; 30-Day Comment Request; Special Volunteer and Guest Researcher Assignment (Office of Intramural Research, Office of the Director)PDF
82 FR 58823 - Meetings of Humanities PanelPDF
82 FR 58807 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Announcement of Board Approval Under Delegated Authority and Submission to OMBPDF
82 FR 58820 - Intent To Grant Exclusive Patent License to Montana Emergent TechnologiesPDF
82 FR 58797 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
82 FR 58797 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Teacher Cancellation Low Income DirectoryPDF
82 FR 58798 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Work Colleges Application and AgreementPDF
82 FR 58798 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Work Colleges Expenditure ReportPDF
82 FR 58728 - Revision to Children's Gasoline Burn Prevention Act RegulationPDF
82 FR 58822 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Reinstatement, With Change, of a Previously Approved Collection for Which Approval Has Expired: FBI eFOIA FormPDF
82 FR 59213 - Reasonable Charges for Medical Care or Services; v3.23, 2018 Calendar Year Update and National Average Administrative Prescription Drug Charge UpdatePDF
82 FR 59206 - Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program; TxDOT Audit #4 ReportPDF
82 FR 58804 - Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission Under Delegated AuthorityPDF
82 FR 58806 - Information Collections Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission Under Delegated AuthorityPDF
82 FR 58759 - Terrestrial Use of the 2473-2495 MHz Bands for Low-Power Mobile Broadband Networks; Amendments to Rules for the Ancillary Terrestrial Component of Mobile Satellite Service SystemsPDF
82 FR 58805 - Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission Under Delegated AuthorityPDF
82 FR 58749 - Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure InvestmentPDF
82 FR 58819 - Information Collection Request to Office of Management and Budget; OMB Control Number: 1625-0011PDF
82 FR 58815 - Public Workshop on Safety Assessment for Investigational New Drug Safety Reporting; CorrectionPDF
82 FR 58817 - Government-Owned Inventions; Availability for LicensingPDF
82 FR 58742 - Safety Zone; Delaware River, Pipeline Removal, Marcus Hook, PAPDF
82 FR 58808 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Prescription Drug Marketing Act of 1987; Administrative Procedures, Policies, and RequirementsPDF
82 FR 58811 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Current Good Manufacturing Practice Regulations for Finished PharmaceuticalsPDF
82 FR 58821 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Abandoned Mine Reclamation FundsPDF
82 FR 58820 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Subsidence Insurance Program GrantsPDF
82 FR 58802 - Cimarron River Pipeline, LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Planned Request for Comments on Environmental IssuesPDF
82 FR 58800 - EnPowered; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
82 FR 58801 - Notice of Availability of the Revised Engineering Guidelines for the Evaluation of Hydropower Projects: Chapter 11-Arch Dams and Request for CommentsPDF
82 FR 58800 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
82 FR 58801 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
82 FR 58799 - City of Fitchburg, Massachusetts; Notice of Preliminary Determination of a Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facility and Soliciting Comments and Motions To IntervenePDF
82 FR 58764 - Federal Reserve Policy on Payment System Risk; U.S. Branches and Agencies of Foreign Banking OrganizationsPDF
82 FR 58731 - Investment Company Reporting ModernizationPDF
82 FR 58796 - Vietnam War Commemoration Advisory Committee; Notice of Federal Advisory Committee MeetingPDF
82 FR 59037 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Amendment No. 2 to the Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Schedule of Fees and Assessments To Adopt a Fee Schedule To Establish Fees for Industry Members Related to the National Market System Plan Governing the Consolidated Audit TrailPDF
82 FR 59151 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Amendment No. 1 to a Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Schedule of Fees and Assessments To Adopt a Fee Schedule To Establish Fees for Industry Members Related to the National Market System Plan Governing the Consolidated Audit TrailPDF
82 FR 58827 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Amendment No. 1 to a Proposed Rule Change to Adopt a Fee Schedule to Establish the Fees for Industry Members Related to the National Market System Plan Governing the Consolidated Audit TrailPDF
82 FR 58881 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Exclude Options Overlying NDX From Several Pricing ProgramsPDF
82 FR 58884 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Amendment No. 2 and Order Approving on an Accelerated Basis a Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 2, To List and Trade Shares of the GraniteShares Platinum Trust Under NYSE Arca Rule 8.201-EPDF
82 FR 58998 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Cboe Futures Exchange, LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change Regarding CFE's New Trading SystemPDF
82 FR 59031 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The Options Clearing Corporation; Notice of Filing of Advance Notice, as Modified by Amendment No. 1, Concerning the Adoption of a New Minimum Cash Requirement for the Clearing FundPDF
82 FR 58825 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Exchange Rules To Make Permanent a Program That Allows Transactions To Take Place in Open Outcry Trading at Prices of at Least $0 But Less Than $1 per Option Contract (“Sub-Dollar Cabinet Trades”)PDF
82 FR 58996 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Cboe EDGX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Related to Transaction Fees for Exchange's Equity Trading PlatformPDF
82 FR 59035 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Exchange's Transaction Fees at Chapter XV, Section 2(1)PDF
82 FR 59148 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board; Order Granting Approval of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend MSRB Form G-45 To Collect Additional Data About the Transactional Fees Primarily Assessed by Programs Established To Implement the ABLE ActPDF
82 FR 58825 - Product Change-Priority Mail Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
82 FR 58824 - Product Change-First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
82 FR 58824 - Product Change-Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
82 FR 58783 - Representation-Case ProceduresPDF
82 FR 58722 - Amendment of the Prohibition Against Certain Flights in Specified Areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) Flight Information RegionPDF
82 FR 58807 - Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding CompaniesPDF
82 FR 58761 - Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; North Atlantic Swordfish FisheryPDF
82 FR 58747 - Contingency Measures for the 1997 PM2.5PDF
82 FR 58790 - Air Plan Approval; Florida; Stationary Sources Emissions Monitoring; Reopening of Comment PeriodPDF
82 FR 58745 - Finding of Failure To Submit a Section 110 State Implementation Plan for Interstate Transport for the 2012 Annual National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Fine ParticlesPDF
82 FR 58718 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus AirplanesPDF
82 FR 58707 - Airworthiness Directives; Fokker Services B.V. AirplanesPDF
82 FR 58778 - PassportsPDF
82 FR 58777 - Ancillary Airline Passenger RevenuesPDF
82 FR 58778 - Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service FeesPDF
82 FR 58715 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus AirplanesPDF
82 FR 58713 - Airworthiness Directives; Alexander Schleicher GmbH & Co. Segelflugzeugbau GlidersPDF
82 FR 58709 - Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company AirplanesPDF
82 FR 58772 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus AirplanesPDF

Issue

82 239 Thursday, December 14, 2017 Contents Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Federal Crop Insurance Corporation

See

Food and Nutrition Service

Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services RULES Medicare Programs: Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Systems and Quality Reporting Programs, 59216-59497 R1--2017--23932 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Safety Zones: Delaware River, Pipeline Removal, Marcus Hook, PA, 58742-58745 2017-26935 Vessel Documentation Regulations: Technical Amendments, 58749 C1--2017--20023 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 58819-58820 2017-26939 Commerce Commerce Department See

Foreign-Trade Zones Board

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Consumer Product Consumer Product Safety Commission RULES Revision to Children's Gasoline Burn Prevention Act Regulation, 58728-58731 2017-26954 Defense Department Defense Department RULES Military Lending Act Limitations on Terms of Consumer Credit Extended to Service Members and Dependents, 58739-58742 2017-26974 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 58797 2017-26958 Meetings: Vietnam War Commemoration Advisory Committee, 58796 2017-26921 Education Department Education Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Teacher Cancellation Low Income Directory, 58797-58798 2017-26957 Work Colleges Application and Agreement, 58798-58799 2017-26956 Work Colleges Expenditure Report, 58798 2017-26955 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Interstate Transport for the 2012 Annual National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Fine Particles, 58745-58747 2017-26894 San Joaquin Valley; Correction of Deficiency, 58747-58749 2017-26899 PROPOSED RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Florida; Stationary Sources Emissions Monitoring; Reopening of Comment Period, 58790-58791 2017-26898 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: Airbus Airplanes, 58715-58722 2017-26627 2017-26842 Alexander Schleicher GmbH & Co. Segelflugzeugbau Gliders, 58713-58715 2017-26620 Fokker Services B.V. Airplanes, 58707-58709 2017-26833 The Boeing Company Airplanes, 58709-58713 2017-26619 Amendment of the Prohibition against Certain Flights in Specified Areas of the Sanaa, 58722-58728 2017-26903 PROPOSED RULES Airworthiness Directives: Airbus Airplanes, 58772-58777 2017-26362 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission RULES Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment, 58749-58759 2017-26940 Ancillary Terrestrial Component of Mobile Satellite Service Systems: Terrestrial Use of the 2473-2495 MHz bands for Low-Power Mobile Broadband Networks, 58759-58761 2017-26943 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 58804-58807 2017-26941 2017-26944 2017-26945 Federal Crop Federal Crop Insurance Corporation RULES Catastrophic Risk Protection Endorsement; Area Risk Protection Insurance Regulations; and the Common Crop Insurance Regulations, Basic Provisions, 58707 C1--2017--25330 Federal Deposit Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation NOTICES Terminations of Receivership: Bank of Wausau, Wausau, WI, 58807 2017-26980 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Combined Filings, 58800-58801 2017-26925 2017-26926 Engineering Guidelines for the Evaluation of Hydropower Projects: Chapter 11—Arch Dams, 58801-58802 2017-26927 Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Cimarron River Pipeline, LLC, 58802-58804 2017-26929 Initial Market-Based Rate Filings Including Requests for Blanket Section 204 Authorizations: EnPowered, 58800-58801 2017-26928 Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facilities: City of Fitchburg, MA, 58799-58800 2017-26924 Federal Highway Federal Highway Administration NOTICES Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program: TxDOT Audit #4 Report, 59206-59212 2017-26947 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System PROPOSED RULES Policy on Payment System Risk; U.S. Branches and Agencies of Foreign Banking Organizations, 58764-58772 2017-26923 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 58807-58808 2017-26962 Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding Companies, 58807 2017-26902 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Current Good Manufacturing Practice Regulations for Finished Pharmaceuticals, 58811-58815 2017-26932 Prescription Drug Marketing Act of 1987; Administrative Procedures, Policies, and Requirements, 58808-58810 2017-26933 Meetings: Patient-Focused Drug Development: Developing and Submitting Proposed Draft Guidance Relating to Patient Experience Data; Public Workshop, 58816-58817 2017-26978 Safety Assessment for Investigational New Drug Safety Reporting; Public Workshop; Correction, 58815 2017-26938 Food and Nutrition Food and Nutrition Service NOTICES Requests for Information: Food Crediting in Child Nutrition Programs, 58792-58795 2017-26979 Foreign Trade Foreign-Trade Zones Board NOTICES Production Activities: Traxys Cometals Processing, Inc., Foreign-Trade Zone 158, Jackson, MS, 58795 2017-26970 Geological Geological Survey NOTICES Exclusive Patent Liceses; Approvals: Montana Emergent Technologies, 58820 2017-26959 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

Interior Interior Department See

Geological Survey

See

Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Office

Justice Department Justice Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: FBI eFOIA Form, 58822-58823 2017-26953 National Foundation National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities NOTICES Meetings: Humanities Panel, 58823 2017-26965 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Special Volunteer and Guest Researcher Assignment, 58818-58819 2017-26966 Government-Owned Inventions; Availability for Licensing, 58817-58818 2017-26937 National Labor National Labor Relations Board PROPOSED RULES Representation-Case Procedures, 58783-58790 2017-26904 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Atlantic Highly Migratory Species: North Atlantic Swordfish Fishery, 58761-58763 2017-26901 NOTICES Meetings: Pacific Fishery Management Council, 58795-58796 2017-26975 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 58824 2017-26973 Postal Service Postal Service NOTICES Product Changes: First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service Agreement, 58824 2017-26907 Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 58824-58825 2017-26905 Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 58825 2017-26906 2017-26908 Presidential Documents Presidential Documents ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS Space Exploration Program, U.S.; Efforts To Reinvigorate (Space Policy Directive-1 of December 11, 2017), 59499-59502 2017-27160 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission RULES Compliance Date for Form 10-D Hyperlink Requirements, 58731 2017-26982 Investment Company Reporting Modernization, 58731-58739 2017-26922 NOTICES Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: Cboe BYX Exchange, Inc., 59177-59204 2017-26996 Cboe EDGA Exchange, Inc., 58854-58881 2017-27011 Cboe EDGX Exchange, Inc., 58996-58998 2017-26911 Cboe Futures Exchange, LLC, 58998-59004 2017-26914 Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc., 59037-59040, 59151-59177 2017-26918 2017-26919 Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., 58827-58854 2017-26917 Investors Exchange LLC, 58917-58944 2017-27018 Miami International Securities Exchange, LLC, 59004-59031 2017-27016 MIAX PEARL, LLC, 59094-59122 2017-27014 Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, 59148-59151 2017-26909 Nasdaq BX, Inc., 58891-58917 2017-27006 Nasdaq GEMX, LLC, 59067-59094 2017-27008 Nasdaq PHLX LLC, 58881-58884, 58944-58971 2017-26916 2017-27009 NYSE Arca, Inc., 58884-58891, 58971-58996 2017-26915 2017-27024 NYSE MKT LLC, 59122-59148 2017-27022 The Nasdaq Stock Market, LLC, 59035-59036, 59040-59067 2017-26910 2017-27007 The Options Clearing Corp., 59031-59035 2017-26913 Small Business Small Business Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Feedback on Agency Service Delivery, 59204-59205 2017-26981 State Department State Department PROPOSED RULES Passports, 58778-58783 2017-26751 Surface Mining Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Abandoned Mine Reclamation Funds, 58821-58822 2017-26931 Subsidence Insurance Program Grants, 58820-58821 2017-26930 Surface Transportation Surface Transportation Board NOTICES Acquisition Exemptions: City and County of Denver; Western Stock Show Association in the City and County of Denver, CO, 59205-59206 2017-26969 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Highway Administration

PROPOSED RULES Ancillary Airline Passenger Revenues, 58777-58778 2017-26708 Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees, 58778 2017-26707
Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department NOTICES Reasonable Charges for Medical Care or Services; v3.23, 2018 Calendar Year Update and National Average Administrative Prescription Drug Charge Update, 59213-59214 2017-26950 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Health and Human Services Department, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 59216-59497 R1--2017--23932 Part III Presidential Documents, 59499-59502 2017-27160 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.

To subscribe to the Federal Register Table of Contents electronic mailing list, go to https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USGPOOFR/subscriber/new, enter your e-mail address, then follow the instructions to join, leave, or manage your subscription.

82 239 Thursday, December 14, 2017 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Federal Crop Insurance Corporation 7 CFR Parts 402, 407, and 457 [Docket No. FCIC-17-0004] RIN 0563-AC56 Catastrophic Risk Protection Endorsement; Area Risk Protection Insurance Regulations; and the Common Crop Insurance Regulations, Basic Provisions Correction

In rule document 2017-25330 beginning on page 55723 in the issue of Friday, November 24, 2017, make the following corrections:

§ 407.9 [Corrected]
1. In § 407.9, on page 55730, in the third column, in the 45th-47th lines, amendatory instruction 4.a should read: a. Remove the phrase “Web site” wherever it appears and add the word “website” in its place; 2. In the same section, on the same page, in the same column, in the 51st-56th lines, amendatory instruction 4.b.ii should read: ii. In the definition of “Limited resource farmer”, remove “http://www.lrftool.sc.egov.usda.gov or a successor website” and add “http://lrftool.sc.egov.usda.gov/LRP_Definition.aspx” in its place;
§ 457.8 [Corrected]
3. In § 457.8, on page 55731, in the second column, in the 33rd-35th lines, amendatory instruction 6.a should read: a. Remove the phrase “Web site” wherever it appears and add the word “website” in its place;
[FR Doc. C1-2017-25330 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1301-00-D
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2017-1103; Product Identifier 2014-NM-063-AD; Amendment 39-19128; AD 2017-25-14] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Fokker Services B.V. Airplanes AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Fokker Services B.V. Model F28 Mark 0070 and 0100 airplanes. This AD requires contacting the FAA to obtain instructions for addressing the unsafe condition on these products, and doing the actions specified in those instructions. This AD was prompted by a report of an engine multiple fan blade-off (MFBO) event, caused by engine fan flutter. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

This AD becomes effective December 29, 2017.

We must receive comments on this AD by January 29, 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: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, 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-2017-1103; 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 AD, the regulatory 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 FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Tom Rodriguez, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW, Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone: 425-227-1137; fax: 425-227-1149.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD 2014-0055, dated March 7, 2014 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for Fokker Services B.V. Model F28 Mark 0070 and 0100 airplanes. The MCAI states:

In 2008, EASA issued AD 2008-0088 to require installation of a modified normal maximum (second) detent reverse thrust on F28 Mark 0100 aeroplanes equipped with TAY 620 engines, except those already modified in accordance with Fokker Services Service Bulletin (SB) SBF100-76-016.

Since that [EASA] AD was issued, the investigation into a TAY 620 Multiple Fan Blade-Off (MFBO) event in September 2012 determined that fan flutter was the root cause. It was also determined that, under certain conditions, fan flutter can develop on TAY 620 engines when the N1 engine speed stabilizes within the range of 54 to 72% for more than 7.5 seconds during reverse thrust operation.

This condition, if not corrected, may lead to further MFBO events, possibly resulting in damage to the aeroplane.

To address this potential unsafe condition, Fokker Services published SBF100-76-022 which provides instructions for removing the normal maximum (second) detent reverse thrust position and for changing the Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) of the affected aeroplanes.

For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD supersedes EASA AD 2008-0088 and requires removal of the normal maximum (second) detent reverse thrust position and introduction of changes to the AFM.

You may examine the MCAI on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-1103.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of This AD

This product has been approved by the aviation authority of another country, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with the State of Design Authority, we have been notified of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI. We are issuing this AD because we evaluated all pertinent information and determined the unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design.

FAA's Determination of the Effective Date

Since there are currently no domestic operators of this product, we find good cause that notice and opportunity for prior public comment are unnecessary. In addition, for the reason(s) stated above, we find that good cause exists for making this amendment effective in less than 30 days.

Comments Invited

This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight safety, and we did not precede it by notice and opportunity for public comment. We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2017-1103; Product Identifier 2014-NM-063-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this AD based on those comments.

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

Costs of Compliance

Currently, there are no affected U.S.-registered airplanes. This AD requires contacting the FAA to obtain instructions for addressing the unsafe condition, and doing the actions specified in those instructions. Based on the actions specified in the MCAI AD, we are providing the following cost estimates for an affected airplane that is placed on the U.S. Register in the future:

Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Modification, Aircraft Maintenance Manual/AFM updates Up to 5 work-hours × $85 per hour = $425 $0 Up to $425.
    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): 2017-25-14 Fokker Services B.V.: Amendment 39-19128; Docket No. FAA-2017-1103; Product Identifier 2014-NM-063-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD becomes effective December 29, 2017.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to the Fokker Services B.V. airplanes, certificated in any category, identified in paragraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2) of this AD.

    (1) Model F28 Mark 0070 airplanes, all serial numbers.

    (2) Model F28 Mark 0100 airplanes equipped with Rolls-Royce Deutschland TAY-620-15 engines.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 76, Engine controls.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by a report of an engine multiple fan blade-off (MFBO) event, caused by engine fan flutter. We are issuing this AD to prevent engine MFBO events, which could lead to structural damage and possible reduced controllability of the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Required Action(s)

    Within 30 days after the effective date of this AD, request instructions from the Manager, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, to address the unsafe condition specified in paragraph (e) of this AD; and accomplish the action(s) at the times specified in, and in accordance with, those instructions. Guidance can be found in Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2014-0055, dated March 7, 2014.

    (h) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    The Manager, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the International Section, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (i)(2) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: 9-AN[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.

    (i) Related Information

    (1) Refer to MCAI EASA AD 2014-0055, dated March 7, 2014, for related information. You may examine the MCAI on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-1103.

    (2) For more information about this AD, contact Tom Rodriguez, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW, Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone: 425-227-1137; fax: 425-227-1149.

    (j) Material Incorporated by Reference

    None.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on December 6, 2017. Dionne Palermo, Acting Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26833 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2017-0473; Product Identifier 2016-NM-195-AD; Amendment 39-19124; AD 2017-25-10] 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 all The Boeing Company Model 737-100, -200, -200C, -300, -400, and -500 series airplanes. This AD was prompted by a report indicating that wear of the bearing plate slider bushings could cause disconnection of certain elevator hinges, which could excite the horizontal stabilizer under certain in-flight speed/altitude conditions and lead to degradation of the structure. This AD requires repetitive inspections and checks of certain elevator hinges and related components, repetitive replacements and tests of the bearing plate, and related investigative and corrective actions, if necessary. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    This AD is effective January 18, 2018.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of January 18, 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-2017-0473.

    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-2017-0473; 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:

    George Garrido, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Section, FAA, Los Angeles ACO Branch, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5357; 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 all The Boeing Company Model 737-100, -200, -200C, -300, -400, and -500 series airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on May 18, 2017 (82 FR 22763). The NPRM was prompted by a report indicating that analysis following a special certification review of the horizontal stabilizer determined that wear of the bearing plate slider bushings could cause disconnection of elevator hinge number 4 or number 6. This disconnection could excite the horizontal stabilizer under certain in-flight speed/altitude conditions and lead to degradation of the structure due to tab flutter, hinge wear, spar chord corrosion, hinge rib web chafing, hinge rib chord cracking, and inspar lower skin cracking. The NPRM proposed to require repetitive inspections and checks of elevator hinge numbers 4 and 6 and related components, repetitive replacements and tests of the bearing plate, and related investigative and corrective actions if necessary.

    We are issuing this AD to detect and correct wear of the bearing plate slider bushings, which could result in heavy airplane vibration and damage and could lead to departure of the elevator and/or horizontal stabilizer from the airplane, and loss of 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.

    Support for the NPRM

    Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) concurred with the content of the NPRM.

    Request To Change Paragraph (g) of This AD

    Boeing stated that no inspections are specified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-55A1099, Revision 1, dated October 21, 2016, for Group 1 airplanes and requested that the reference to Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-55A1099, Revision 1, dated October 21, 2016, be removed from paragraph (g) of this AD.

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) observed that in paragraph (g) of the proposed AD, the reference to Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-55A1099, Revision 1, dated October 21, 2016, for Group 1 airplanes, is not consistent with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-55A1099, Revision 1, dated October 21, 2016, which states only that Group 1 airplanes have exceeded their limit of validity (LOV) and gives no further advice.

    We agree with the commenters. We have removed the reference to Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-55A1099, Revision 1, dated October 21, 2016, from the compliance requirements specified in paragraph (g) of this AD.

    Request To Extend Inspections and Checks to All Hinges

    EASA suggested that the inspections and checks in the proposed AD be extended to all hinges because any other loose hinge could create overloading in adjacent hinges, and therefore could contribute to the failure of hinges 4 and 6.

    We do not agree with the commenter's assessment. We have consulted with Boeing and confirmed the following information.

    Hinge fittings 1 and 2 support thrust loads only and do not have the sliding bearing plates. Therefore, these fittings do not need inspections to address the unsafe condition.

    Boeing's flutter analysis shows that failure (disconnect) at either hinge 4 or 6 is flutter critical. However, a failed hinge 3 or 5, with the shorter span between adjacent hinges, will have less weight relative to stiffness, such that instability does not occur.

    The fatigue loads on the affected Model 737 airplane elevator are not substantial. If hinge 3 or 5 becomes loose, the load increase on hinge 4 or 6 is insignificant. If hinge 3 or 5 fails, the inspection and replacement program in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-55A1099, Revision 1, dated October 21, 2016, will still detect any crack at hinge 4 or 6 before it becomes critical. In addition, the normal maintenance procedure of hinge lubrication per the Maintenance Planning Document during a C check should detect a failed hinge 3 or 5.

    We have not changed this AD in this regard.

    Request for Clarification of Group 2, Configuration 1 Instructions

    EASA requested clarification of the reason that paragraph (i) of the proposed AD includes no repeat instruction for Group 2, Configuration 1 airplanes, regarding bearing plate replacement.

    Group 2, Configuration 1 airplanes are not included in paragraph (i) of this AD, which contains requirements for repetitive bearing plate replacements and tests, because these airplanes do not have the bearing plates. We have not changed this AD regarding this issue.

    Request for Confirmation of Sufficient Access

    EASA requested confirmation that sufficient access exists to adequately inspect and test all areas via the methods defined.

    Boeing has confirmed that sufficient access exists. Additionally, Boeing has released 737-55A1099 Information Notice 01, dated May 23, 2017, to notify operators that hinge 4 inspections cannot be accomplished if existing repairs are installed in accordance with Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 737-55-1059, Revision 1, dated April 6, 2016. In that case, alternative inspection procedures must be approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (m) of this AD.

    Effect of Winglets on Accomplishment of the Proposed Actions

    Aviation Partners Boeing stated that accomplishing the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) ST01219SE does not affect the actions specified in the NPRM.

    We concur with the commenter. We have redesignated paragraph (c) of the proposed AD as paragraph (c)(1) and added paragraph (c)(2) to this AD to state that installation of STC ST01219SE does not affect the ability to accomplish the actions required by this AD. Therefore, for airplanes on which STC ST01219SE 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.

    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 737-55A1099, Revision 1, dated October 21, 2016. The service information describes procedures for repetitive inspections and checks of elevator hinge numbers 4 and 6 and related components, repetitive replacements and tests of the bearing plate, and related investigative and 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 192 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
  • Elevator hinge high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspection, loose bolt check 15 work-hours × $85 per hour = $1,275 per inspection/check cycle $0 $1,275 per inspection/check cycle $244,800 per inspection/check cycle. Horizontal stabilizer HFEC and low frequency eddy current (LFEC) inspection, loose bolt check 13 work-hours × $85 per hour = $1,105 per inspection/check cycle 0 $1,105 per inspection/check cycle $212,160 per inspection/check cycle. Horizontal stabilizer detailed corrosion inspection 5 work-hours × $85 per hour = $425 per inspection cycle 0 $425 per inspection cycle $81,600 per inspection cycle. Elevator general visual inspection for ply damage Up to 4 work-hours × $85 per hour = $340 per inspection cycle 0 Up to $340 per inspection cycle Up to $65,280 per inspection cycle. Elevator skin tap test inspection for delamination Up to 6 work-hours × $85 per hour = $510 per inspection cycle 0 Up to $510 per inspection cycle Up to $97,920 per inspection cycle. Elevator hinge bearing plate replacement and binding test Up to 20 work-hours × $85 per hour = $1,700 per replacement/test cycle 4,860 Up to $6,560 per replacement/test cycle Up to $1,259,520 per replacement/test cycle. Elevator hinge fitting HFEC inspection Up to 5 work-hours × $85 per hour = $425 per inspection cycle 0 Up to $425 per inspection cycle Up to $81,600 per inspection cycle.

    We estimate the following costs to do any necessary related investigative and corrective actions that would be required based on the results of the inspection. We have no way of determining the number of aircraft that might need these actions:

    On-Condition Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Elevator hinge conditional inspections, measurements, replacements, and repairs 28 work-hours × $85 per hour = $2,380 1 $0 $2,380 Horizontal stabilizer conditional inspections, replacements, and repairs 28 work-hours × $85 per hour = $2,380 1 $0 2,380 1 We have received no definitive data that would enable us to provide cost estimates for the parts for on-condition repairs.
    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): 2017-25-10 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-19124; Docket No. FAA-2017-0473; Product Identifier 2016-NM-195-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective January 18, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    (1) This AD applies to all The Boeing Company Model 737-100, -200, -200C, -300, -400, and -500 series airplanes, certificated in any category.

    (2) Installation of Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) ST01219SE (http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgstc.nsf/0/ebd1cec7b301293e86257cb30045557a/$FILE/ST01219SE.pdf) does not affect the ability to accomplish the actions required by this AD. Therefore, for airplanes on which STC ST01219SE 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 55, Stabilizers.

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by a report indicating that wear of the bearing plate slider bushings could cause disconnection of elevator hinge number 4 or number 6, which could excite the horizontal stabilizer under certain in-flight speed/altitude conditions and lead to degradation of the structure, departure of the elevator or horizontal stabilizer from the airplane, and loss of continued safe flight and landing.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Actions for Group 1 Airplanes

    For airplanes identified as Group 1 in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-55A1099, Revision 1, dated October 21, 2016: Within 120 days after the effective date of this AD, do inspections and checks of the elevator and horizontal stabilizer at elevator hinge numbers 4 and 6 and the replacement and test of the bearing plate at elevator hinge numbers 4 and 6, and do all applicable related investigative and corrective actions, using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (m) of this AD.

    (h) Inspections and Checks for Groups 2 and 3 Airplanes

    For airplanes identified as Groups 2 and 3 in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-55A1099, Revision 1, dated October 21, 2016: Except as required by paragraph (j)(1) of this AD, at the applicable time specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-55A1099, Revision 1, dated October 21, 2016, do the applicable inspections and checks of elevator hinge numbers 4 and 6 and related components specified in paragraphs (h)(1) through (h)(8) of this AD, and do all applicable related investigative and corrective actions, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-55A1099, Revision 1, dated October 21, 2016, except as required by paragraph (j)(2) of this AD. Do all applicable related investigative and corrective actions before further flight. Repeat the actions specified in paragraphs (h)(1) through (h)(8) of this AD thereafter at the applicable times specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-55A1099, Revision 1, dated October 21, 2016.

    (1) For Groups 2 and 3 airplanes: A high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspection for cracking of the elevator hinge numbers 4 and 6.

    (2) For Groups 2 and 3 airplanes: A loose bolt check at elevator hinge numbers 4 and 6.

    (3) For Groups 2 and 3 airplanes: An HFEC inspection and low frequency eddy current (LFEC) inspection for cracking of the horizontal stabilizer forward of elevator hinge numbers 4 and 6.

    (4) For Groups 2 and 3 airplanes: A loose bolt check of horizontal stabilizer attach plates at elevator hinge numbers 4 and 6.

    (5) For Groups 2 and 3 airplanes: A detailed inspection of the horizontal stabilizer rear spar outer mold line, gusset plate, and inspar skin for any corrosion.

    (6) For Group 2, Configuration 2, and Group 3 airplanes: A general visual inspection of the elevator front spar around hinge numbers 4 and 6 for any ply damage.

    (7) For Group 2 and 3 airplanes: A tap test inspection of the elevator skin for any delamination at elevator hinge numbers 4 and 6.

    (8) For Group 2, Configuration 2, and Group 3 airplanes on which elevator hinge fitting assembly 65C31307-( ) is installed at elevator hinge number 6: An HFEC inspection of the hinge fitting for any crack.

    (i) Repetitive Bearing Plate Replacement and Test

    For airplanes identified as Group 2, Configuration 2, and Group 3 in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-55A1099, Revision 1, dated October 21, 2016: Except as required by paragraph (j)(1) of this AD, at the applicable time specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-55A1099, Revision 1, dated October 21, 2016, do the actions specified in paragraphs (i)(1) and (i)(2) of this AD, and do all applicable related investigative and corrective actions, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-55A1099, Revision 1, dated October 21, 2016, except as required by paragraph (j)(2) of this AD. All applicable related investigative and corrective actions must be done before further flight. Repeat the actions specified in paragraphs (i)(1) and (i)(2) of this AD thereafter at the applicable time specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-55A1099, Revision 1, dated October 21, 2016.

    (1) Replace the bearing plates at elevator hinge numbers 4 and 6.

    (2) Do an elevator hinge bearing plate binding test at elevator hinge numbers 4 and 6.

    (j) Exceptions to Service Information Specifications

    (1) Where Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-55A1099, Revision 1, dated October 21, 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) Although Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-55A1099, Revision 1, dated October 21, 2016, specifies to contact Boeing for repair instructions, and specifies that action as “RC” (Required for Compliance), this AD requires repair before further flight using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (m) of this AD.

    (k) Parts Installation Limitation

    As of the effective date of this AD: A horizontal stabilizer, an elevator, or a bearing plate may be installed on any airplane, provided the actions required by paragraphs (h) and (i) of this AD are done within the applicable compliance times specified in paragraphs (h) and (i) of this AD.

    (l) Credit for Previous Actions

    This paragraph provides credit for the actions specified in paragraphs (h) and (i) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-55A1099, dated July 5, 2016.

    (m) 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 certification office, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (n) 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 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.

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

    (n) Related Information

    For more information about this AD, contact George Garrido, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Section, FAA, Los Angeles ACO Branch, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5357; fax: 562-627-5210; email: [email protected].

    (o) 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 737-55A1099, Revision 1, dated October 21, 2016.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (3) For 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 December 4, 2017. Jeffrey E. Duven, Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26619 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2017-0911; Product Identifier 2017-CE-025-AD; Amendment 39-19121; AD 2017-25-07] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Alexander Schleicher GmbH & Co. Segelflugzeugbau Gliders AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Alexander Schleicher GmbH & Co. Segelflugzeugbau Models ASH 25M and ASH 26E gliders. This AD results from mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) issued by an aviation authority of another country to identify and correct an unsafe condition on an aviation product. The MCAI describes the unsafe condition as fatigue cracks found on the exhaust silencer. We are issuing this AD to require actions to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    This AD is effective January 18, 2018.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of January 18, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may examine the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-0911; or in person at Document 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 service information identified in this AD, contact Alexander Schleicher GmbH & Co. Segelflugzeugbau, Alexander-Schleicher-Str. 1, D-36163 Poppenhausen, Germany; phone: +49 (0) 06658 89-0; fax: +49 (0) 06658 89-40; internet: http://www.alexander-schleicher.de; email: [email protected] You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Policy and Innovation Division, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (816) 329-4148. It is also available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for Docket No. FAA-2017-0911.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jim Rutherford, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Standards Branch, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4165; fax: (816) 329-4090; 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 all Alexander Schleicher GmbH & Co. Segelflugzeugbau Models ASH 25M and ASH 26E gliders. The NPRM was published in the Federal Register on September 22, 2017 (82 FR 44361). The NPRM proposed to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products and was based on mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country. The MCAI states:

    Occurrences were reported of finding cracks on exhaust silencer part number (P/N) 800.65.0001, installed on ASK 21 Mi powered sailplanes. Subsequent investigation determined that the affected part is susceptible to fatigue cracking and is also installed on other Schleicher powered sailplanes.

    This condition, if not corrected, could lead to heat damage in the engine compartment and to the engine installation, possibly resulting in reduced control of the powered sailplane.

    To address this potentially unsafe condition, Schleicher issued Technical Note (TN) ASK 21 Mi No. 11, TN ASW 22 BLE 50R No. 16, TN ASH 25 M/Mi No. 32 and TN ASH 26 E No. 19 (single document, hereafter referred to as `the TN' in this [EASA] AD), to provide replacement instructions.

    For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD requires replacement of the affected exhaust silencer with an improved part and introduces installation restrictions of a part with P/N 800.65.0001].

    The MCAI can be found in the AD docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FAA-2017-0911-0002. Comments

    We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. We received no comments on the NPRM or on the determination of the cost to the public.

    Conclusion

    We reviewed the relevant data 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

    We reviewed Alexander Schleicher GmbH & Co. Segelflugzeugbau ASK 21 Mi Technical Note No. 11, ASW 22 BLE 50R Technical Note No. 16, ASH 25 M/Mi Technical Note No. 32, ASH 26 E Technical Note No. 19 (single document), dated January 8, 2016. The service information describes procedures for replacing the exhaust silencer with an improved part. 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 of this AD.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD will affect 35 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it will take about 8 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Required parts will cost about $3,900 per product.

    Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this AD on U.S. operators to be $160,300, or $4,580 per product.

    We have no way of determining the number of products that have an affected exhaust silencer, part number 800.65.0001, installed that will need to be replaced. Therefore, this cost estimate includes all affected gliders on the U.S. registry.

    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 small airplanes, gliders, and domestic business jet transport airplanes to the Director of the Policy and Innovation 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 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.

    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-2017-0911; 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 the NPRM, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (telephone (800) 647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    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 AD: 2017-25-07 Alexander Schleicher GmbH & Co. Segelflugzeugbau: Amendment 39-19121; Docket No. FAA-2017-0911; Product Identifier 2017-CE-025-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This airworthiness directive (AD) becomes effective January 18, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Alexander Schleicher GmbH & Co. Segelflugzeugbau Models ASH 25M and ASH 26E gliders, all serial numbers, that:

    (1) Have an exhaust silencer, part number (P/N) 800.65.0001, installed; and

    (2) are certificated in any category.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association of America (ATA) Code 78: Engine Exhaust.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country to identify and correct an unsafe condition on an aviation product. The MCAI describes the unsafe condition as fatigue cracks found on the exhaust silencer. We are issuing this AD to prevent heat damage in the engine compartment and to the engine installation, which could result in reduced control.

    (f) Actions and Compliance

    Unless already done, do the following actions:

    (1) Before exceeding 150 hours time-in-service (TIS) on the exhaust silencer, P/N 800.65.0001, since new, or within the next 5 hours TIS after January 18, 2018 (the effective date of this AD), whichever occurs later, replace P/N 800.65.0001 with an improved exhaust silencer, P/N 800.65.9010. Do the replacement as specified in Alexander Schleicher GmbH & Co. Segelflugzeugbau ASK 21 Mi Technical Note No. 11, ASW 22 BLE 50 R Technical Note No. 16, ASH 25 M/Mi Technical Note No. 32, ASH 26 E Technical Note No. 19 (single document), dated January 8, 2016.

    (2) As of January 18, 2018 (the effective date of this AD), do not install a P/N 800.65.0001 exhaust silencer.

    (g) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, Small Airplane Standards Branch, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. Send information to ATTN: Jim Rutherford, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Standards Branch, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4165; fax: (816) 329-4090; email: [email protected] Before using any approved AMOC on any glider to which the AMOC applies, notify your appropriate principal inspector (PI) in the FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), or lacking a PI, your local FSDO.

    (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, Small Airplane Standards Branch, FAA; or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

    (h) Related Information

    Refer to MCAI EASA AD 2017-0136, dated July 31, 2017, for related information. You may examine the MCAI on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FAA-2017-0911-0002.

    (i) 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) Alexander Schleicher GmbH & Co. Segelflugzeugbau ASK 21 Mi Technical Note No. 11, ASW 22 BLE 50R Technical Note No. 16, ASH 25 M/Mi Technical Note No. 32, ASH 26 E Technical Note No. 19 (single document), dated January 8, 2016.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (3) For Alexander Schleicher GmbH & Co. Segelflugzeugbau service information identified in this AD, contact Alexander Schleicher GmbH & Co. Segelflugzeugbau, Alexander-Schleicher-Str. 1, D-36163 Poppenhausen, Germany; phone: +49 (0) 06658 89-0; fax: +49 (0) 06658 89-40; internet: http://www.alexander-schleicher.de; email: [email protected]

    (4) You may view this service information at the FAA, Policy and Innovation Division, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (816) 329-4148. In addition, you can access this service information on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-0911.

    (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 Kansas City, Missouri, on December 1, 2017. Melvin J. Johnson, Deputy Director, Policy & Innovation Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26620 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2017-0714; Product Identifier 2017-NM-042-AD; Amendment 39-19123; AD 2017-25-09] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2012-21-04, which applied to all Airbus Model A300 series airplanes; Model A310 series airplanes; and Model A300 B4-600, B4-600R, and F4-600R series airplanes, and Model A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes (collectively called Model A300-600 series airplanes).

    AD 2012-21-04 required repetitive inspections for, and replacement of, any cracked hood halves of fuel pump canisters. Since we issued AD 2012-21-04, we allowed inspections of the wing-outer tank and trim tank fuel pump canister hood halves to be terminated.

    This new AD retains the requirements of AD 2012-21-04, reinstates the terminated inspections, and adds optional terminating actions. This AD was prompted by reports of cracked fuel pump canister hoods located in fuel tanks and new in-service events of wing-outer tank fuel pump canister hood cracking. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    This AD is effective January 18, 2018.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of January 18, 2018.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain other publications listed in this AD as of November 27, 2012 (77 FR 64701, October 23, 2012).

    ADDRESSES:

    For service information identified in this final rule, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAW, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone: +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax: +33 5 61 93 44 51; email: [email protected]; internet: http://www.airbus.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Standards Branch, 1601 Lind Avenue SW, Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221. It is also available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-0714.

    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-2017-0714; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for the Docket Office (telephone: 800-647-5527) is Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Discussion

    We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 to supersede AD 2012-21-04, Amendment 39-17220 (77 FR 64701, October 23, 2012) (“AD 2012-21-04”). AD 2012-21-04 applied to all Airbus Model A300 series airplanes; Model A310 series airplanes; and Model A300 B4-600, B4-600R, and F4-600R series airplanes, and Model A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes (collectively called Model A300-600 series airplanes).

    The NPRM published in the Federal Register on August 2, 2017 (82 FR 35911). The NPRM was prompted by reports of cracked fuel pump canister hoods located in fuel tanks and new in-service events of wing-outer tank fuel pump canister hood cracking. The NPRM proposed to retain the requirements of AD 2012-21-04, reinstate terminated inspections, and add optional terminating actions. We are issuing this AD to prevent any detached canister hood fragments/debris from being ingested into the fuel feed system, and becoming a potential source of ignition with consequent fire or explosion.

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD 2017-0051, dated March 23, 2017 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for all Airbus Model A300 series airplanes; Model A310 series airplanes; and Model A300-600 series airplanes. The MCAI states:

    Reports were received of finding cracked fuel pump canister hoods located in fuel tanks on in-service aeroplanes. Initial analyses, laboratory testing and examinations suggested that vibration-induced fatigue could have caused these cracks. However, initial data could not exclude some other potential contributing factors.

    This condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to detached canister hood fragments or debris being ingested into the fuel feed system. In addition, metallic debris inside the fuel tank could result in a potential source of fuel vapour ignition, possibly resulting in a fire or fuel tank explosion and consequent loss of the aeroplane.

    To address this potential unsafe condition, EASA issued AD 2011-0124 (later revised) [FAA AD 2012-21-04 corresponds to EASA AD 2011-0124] to require repetitive inspections of the canister hood halves installed on all fuel pump canisters and, if any damage was found, replacement. EASA AD 2011-0124R1 introduced an optional terminating action for the wing inner and centre fuel tanks, and cancelled the repetitive inspections of the fuel pump canister hoods in outer wing and trim tanks, for which no cracks had been reported following the initial inspection.

    Since that [EASA] AD was issued, new in service events of outer tank fuel pump canister hood cracking have been reported. Consequently, the canister hoods of the outer tank fuel pumps and trim tank fuel pumps will need to be inspected.

    For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD retains the requirements of EASA AD 2011-0124R1, which is superseded, retaining the repetitive inspections of fuel pump canister hoods in wing inner and centre tanks, and reintroduces repetitive detailed inspections (DET) for outer tank and trim tank fuel pump canister hoods. This [EASA] AD also retains the existing optional terminating action for the repetitive DET of wing inner and centre tank fuel pump canister hoods, and introduces a new optional terminating action for the repetitive DET of the outer and trim tank fuel pump canister hoods required by this [EASA] AD.

    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-2017-0714.

    Comments

    We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. We considered the comment received. The commenter, John Sanderson, supported the NPRM.

    Conclusion

    We reviewed the available data, including 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 the following service information.

    • Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-0089, Revision 03, dated December 16, 2016. This service information describes procedures for repetitive detailed inspections of all fuel pump locations (center, wing-inner, and wing-outer tank), and replacing any cracked hood halves of fuel pump canisters.

    • Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-0092, Revision 01, dated August 29, 2014; Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-6110, Revision 01, dated August 29, 2014; and Airbus Service Bulletin A310-28-2175, Revision 01, dated August 29, 2014. This service information describes procedures for replacement of the hood halves of the fuel pump canisters with newer design hood halves for the wing-inner tank and the center tank fuel pumps. These documents are distinct since they apply to different airplane models.

    • Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-0094, Revision 00, dated January 9, 2017. This service information describes procedures for replacement of the hood halves of the fuel pump canisters with newer design hood halves for the wing-outer tank.

    • Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-6106, Revision 03, dated December 16, 2016; and Airbus Service Bulletin A310-28-2173, Revision 03, dated December 16, 2016. This service information describes procedures for repetitive detailed inspections of all fuel pump locations (center, wing-inner, wing-outer, and trim tank), and replacing any cracked hood halves of fuel pump canisters. These documents are distinct since they apply to different airplane models.

    • Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-6114, Revision 00, dated January 9, 2017; and Airbus Service Bulletin A310-28-2178, Revision 00, dated January 9, 2017. This service information describes procedures for replacement of the hood halves of the fuel pump canisters with newer design hood halves for the wing-outer tank and the trim tank fuel pumps. These documents are distinct since they apply to different airplane models.

    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 168 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    The actions required by AD 2012-21-04, and retained in this AD take about 12 work-hours per product, at an average labor rate of $85 per workhour. Based on these figures, the estimated cost of the actions that are required by AD 2012-21-04 is $1,020 per product.

    We also estimate that it will take about 9 work-hours per product to comply with the new basic requirements of this AD, at an average labor rate of $85 per work-hour. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of the new basic requirements of this AD on U.S. operators to be $128,520, or $765 per product.

    In addition, we estimate that the optional terminating actions will take about 1 work-hour and require parts costing $255, for a cost of $340 per product. We have no way of determining the number of aircraft that might need these actions.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2012-21-04, Amendment 39-17220 (77 FR 64701, October 23, 2012), and adding the following new AD: 2017-25-09 Airbus: Amendment 39-19123; Docket No. FAA-2017-0714; Product Identifier 2017-NM-042-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective January 18, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 2012-21-04, Amendment 39-17220 (77 FR 64701, October 23, 2012) (“AD 2012-21-04”).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to the airplanes identified in paragraphs (c)(1), (c)(2), and (c)(3) of this AD, certificated in any category, all certificated models, all manufacturer serial numbers.

    (1) Airbus Model A300 B2-1A, B2-1C, B2K-3C, B2-203, B4-2C, B4-103, and B4-203 airplanes.

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

    (3) Airbus Model A300 B4-601, B4-603, B4-620, and B4-622 airplanes, Model A300 B4-605R and B4-622R airplanes, Model A300 F4-605R and F4-622R airplanes, and Model A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 28, Fuel.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by reports of cracked fuel pump canister hoods located in fuel tanks and new in-service events of wing-outer tank fuel pump canister hood cracking. We are issuing this AD to prevent any detached canister hood fragments/debris from being ingested into the fuel feed system, and becoming a potential source of ignition with consequent fire or explosion.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Retained Initial Inspection and Replacement, With Revised Requirements and Service Information

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (g) of AD 2012-21-04, with revised requirements and service information. Within 30 months after November 27, 2012 (the effective date of AD 2012-21-04), do a detailed inspection for cracking of the fuel pump canister hood halves installed on all center and wing-inner tank fuel pump canisters having part numbers (P/N) 2052C11, 2052C12, and C93R51-601, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the service bulletin specified in paragraph (g)(1), (g)(2), or (g)(3) of this AD, as applicable. If any crack is found on any fuel pump canister hood half during any inspection, before further flight, replace the fuel pump canister hood half, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the service bulletin specified in paragraph (g)(1), (g)(2), or (g)(3) of this AD, as applicable.

    (1) For Model A300 series airplanes: Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A300-28-0089, Revision 01, including Inspection Findings—Reporting Sheet, dated April 15, 2011; or Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-0089, Revision 03, dated December 16, 2016. As of the effective date of this AD, only use Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-0089, Revision 03, dated December 16, 2016.

    (2) For Model A300-600 series airplanes: Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A300-28-6106, Revision 01, including Inspection Findings—Reporting Sheet, dated April 15, 2011; or Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-6106, Revision 03, dated December 16, 2016. As of the effective date of this AD, only use Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-6106, Revision 03, dated December 16, 2016.

    (3) For Model A310 series airplanes: Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A310-28-2173, Revision 01, including Inspection Findings—Reporting Sheet, dated April 15, 2011; or Airbus Service Bulletin A310-28-2173, Revision 03, dated December 16, 2016. As of the effective date of this AD, only use Airbus Service Bulletin A310-28-2173, Revision 03, dated December 16, 2016.

    (h) Retained Repetitive Inspections, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (h) of AD 2012-21-04, with no changes. Within 30 months after accomplishing the actions specified in paragraph (g) of this AD, and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 30 months, repeat the detailed inspection specified in paragraph (g) of this AD.

    (i) New Repetitive Inspections and Replacement of the Wing-Outer Tank and Trim Tank Fuel Pump Canister Hood Halves

    Within 30 months after the effective date of this AD, do a detailed inspection for cracking of the wing-outer tank and trim tank, as applicable, fuel pump canister hood halves installed on all fuel pump canisters having P/Ns 2052C11, 2052C12, and C93R51-601, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the service bulletin specified in paragraph (i)(1), (i)(2), or (i)(3) of this AD, as applicable. Repeat the inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 30 months. If any crack is found on any fuel pump canister hood half during any inspection, before further flight, replace the fuel pump canister hood half, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the service bulletin specified in paragraph (i)(1), (i)(2), or (i)(3) of this AD, as applicable.

    (1) For Model A300 series airplanes: Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-0089, Revision 03, dated December 16, 2016.

    (2) For Model A300-600 series airplanes: Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-6106, Revision 03, dated December 16, 2016.

    (3) For Model A310 series airplanes: Airbus Service Bulletin A310-28-2173, Revision 03, dated December 16, 2016.

    (j) New Optional Terminating Actions

    Replacement of the fuel pump canister hood halves installed on all fuel pump canisters having P/Ns 2052C11, 2052C12, and C93R51-601, constitutes terminating action for the inspections required by paragraphs (g) and (h) of this AD for that airplane. The replacement of the fuel pump canister hood halves must be done in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the service information specified in paragraph (j)(1), (j)(2), or (j)(3) of this AD, as applicable.

    (1) For Model A300 series airplanes: Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-0092, Revision 01, dated August 29, 2014 (for center and wing-inner tank fuel pump canister hood halves); and Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-0094, Revision 00, dated January 9, 2017 (for wing-outer tank fuel pump canister hood halves).

    (2) For Model A300-600 series airplanes: Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-6110, Revision 01, dated August 29, 2014 (for center and wing-inner tank fuel pump canister hood halves); and Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-6114, Revision 00, dated January 9, 2017 (for wing-outer tank and trim tank fuel pump canister hood halves).

    (3) For Model A310 series airplanes: Airbus Service Bulletin A310-28-2175, Revision 01, dated August 29, 2014 (for center and wing-inner tank fuel pump canister hood halves); and Airbus Service Bulletin A310-28-2178, Revision 00, dated January 9, 2017 (for wing-outer tank and trim tank fuel pump canister hood halves).

    (k) Credit for Previous Actions

    (1) This paragraph provides credit for the actions required by paragraph (g) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using the applicable service information specified in paragraph (k)(1)(i), (k)(1)(ii), or (k)(1)(iii) of this AD.

    (i) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-0089, dated January 13, 2011; or Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-0089, Revision 02, dated April 25, 2014.

    (ii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-6106, dated January 13, 2011; or Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-6106, Revision 02, dated April 25, 2014.

    (iii) Airbus Service Bulletin A310-28-2173, dated January 13, 2011; or Airbus Service Bulletin A310-28-2173, Revision 02, dated April 25, 2014.

    (2) This paragraph provides credit for the actions required by paragraph (h) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using the applicable service information specified in paragraph (k)(2)(i), (k)(2)(ii), or (k)(2)(iii) of this AD.

    (i) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-0089, dated January 13, 2011; Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A300-28-0089, Revision 01, dated April 15, 2011; or Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-0089, Revision 02, dated April 25, 2014.

    (ii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-6106, dated January 13, 2011; Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A300-28-6106, Revision 01, dated April 15, 2011; or Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-6106, Revision 02, dated April 25, 2014.

    (iii) Airbus Service Bulletin A310-28-2173, dated January 13, 2011; Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A310-28-2173, Revision 01, dated April 15, 2011; or Airbus Service Bulletin A310-28-2173, Revision 02, dated April 25, 2014.

    (3) This paragraph provides credit for the actions specified in paragraph (j) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-6110, Revision 00, dated November 28, 2013.

    (l) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

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

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

    (ii) AMOCs approved previously for AD 2012-21-04 are not approved as AMOCs with this AD.

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

    (m) Related Information

    (1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA AD 2017-0051, dated March 23, 2017, for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-0714.

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

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

    (n) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (3) The following service information was approved for IBR on January 18, 2018.

    (i) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-0089, Revision 03, dated December 16, 2016.

    (ii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-0092, Revision 01, dated August 29, 2014.

    (iii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-0094, Revision 00, dated January 9, 2017.

    (iv) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-6106, Revision 03, dated December 16, 2016.

    (v) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-6110, Revision 01, dated August 29, 2014.

    (vi) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-28-6114, Revision 00, dated January 9, 2017.

    (vii) Airbus Service Bulletin A310-28-2173, Revision 03, dated December 16, 2016.

    (viii) Airbus Service Bulletin A310-28-2175, Revision 01, dated August 29, 2014.

    (ix) Airbus Service Bulletin A310-28-2178, Revision 00, dated January 9, 2017.

    (4) The following service information was approved for IBR on November 27, 2012 (77 FR 64701, October 23, 2012).

    (i) Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A300-28-0089, Revision 01, including Inspection Findings—Reporting Sheet, dated April 15, 2011.

    (ii) Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A300-28-6106, Revision 01, including Inspection Findings—Reporting Sheet, dated April 15, 2011.

    (iii) Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A310-28-2173, Revision 01, including Inspection Findings—Reporting Sheet, dated April 15, 2011.

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

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

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

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on December 4, 2017. Dionne Palermo, Acting Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26627 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2017-1104; Product Identifier 2017-NM-153-AD; Amendment 39-19130; AD 2017-25-16] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Airbus Model A330-200, A330-200 Freighter, and A330-300 series airplanes; and Airbus Model A340-200, A340-300, A340-500, and A340-600 series airplanes. This AD requires repetitive inspections of certain fuel pumps for cavitation erosion, corrective action if necessary, and revision of the minimum equipment list (MEL). This AD was prompted by a report indicating that a fuel pump showing cavitation erosion breached the fuel pump housing and exposed the fuel pump power supply wires. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    This AD becomes effective December 29, 2017.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of December 29, 2017.

    We must receive comments on this AD by January 29, 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: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    For service information identified in this final rule, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAL, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 45 80; 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-2017-1104.

    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-2017-1104; 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 AD, the regulatory 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 FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Vladimir Ulyanov, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW, Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1138; fax 425-227-1149.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Discussion

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2017-0224, dated November 10, 2017 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for all Airbus Model A330-200, A330-200 Freighter, and A330-300 series airplanes; and Airbus Model A340-200, A340-300, A340-500, and A340-600 series airplanes. The MCAI states:

    An occurrence was reported of a fuel pump showing cavitation erosion which breached the fuel pump housing through the inlet webs and exposed the fuel pump power supply wires. Inspections accomplished on fuel pumps removed from other aeroplanes identified signs of erosion in varying degrees. However, no other instance of break-through due to cavitation erosion was found. A list of potentially affected fuel pump Part Numbers (P/N) was established.

    This condition, if not detected and corrected, could result, in case the pump is running dry, in an ignition source in the fuel tank, which may result in a fuel tank explosion and consequent loss of the aeroplane.

    To address this potential unsafe condition, Airbus issued Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) A28L006-17 to provide instructions to inspect some fuel pumps when installed at specific positions, and to update the applicable Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL).

    For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD requires repetitive inspections of these fuel pumps and, depending on findings, replacement of damaged fuel pumps with serviceable parts. This [EASA] AD also requires an update of the applicable MMEL, and the reporting of inspection results to Airbus.

    This [EASA] AD is considered to be an interim measure and further [EASA] AD action may follow.

    Although the MCAI requires updating the “master minimum equipment list (MMEL),” this AD requires revising the “minimum equipment list (MEL).” The MMEL is a master list of the minimum equipment that the airplane can operate with under given circumstances. A MEL is derived from the MMEL and is tailored for individual operators. You may examine the MCAI on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-1104. Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    Airbus has issued Alert Operators Transmission A28L006-17, Rev. 00, dated November 3, 2017. The service information describes procedures for inspection of certain fuel pumps for cavitation erosion, and corrective actions. The service information also describes dispatch restrictions that affect the MEL. 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.

    FAA's Determination and Requirements of This AD

    This product has been approved by the aviation authority of another country, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with the State of Design Authority, we have been notified of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI and service information referenced above. We are issuing this AD because we evaluated all pertinent information and determined the unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of these same type designs.

    FAA's Determination of the Effective Date

    An unsafe condition exists that requires the immediate adoption of this AD. The FAA has found that the risk to the flying public justifies waiving notice and comment prior to adoption of this rule because the unsafe condition could result in an ignition source in the fuel tank, which could result in a fuel tank explosion. Therefore, we determined that notice and opportunity for public comment before issuing this AD are impracticable and that good cause exists for making this amendment effective in fewer than 30 days.

    Comments Invited

    This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight safety, and we did not precede it by notice and opportunity for public comment. We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2017-1104; Product Identifier 2017-NM-153-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this AD based on those comments.

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

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects 107 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 4 work-hours × $85 per hour = $340 per inspection cycle $0 $340 per inspection cycle $36,380 per inspection cycle. Reporting 1 work-hour × $85 per hour = $85 per inspection cycle 0 $85 per inspection cycle $9,095 per inspection cycle. MEL revision 1 work-hour × $85 per hour = $85 0 $85 $9,095.

    We estimate the following costs to do any necessary replacements that would be required based on the results of the inspection. We have no way of determining the number of aircraft that might need these replacements:

    On-Condition Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Replacement 2 work-hours × $85 per hour = $170 $8,000 $8,170
    Paperwork Reduction Act

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

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2017-25-16 Airbus: Amendment 39-19130; Docket No. FAA-2017-1104; Product Identifier 2017-NM-153-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD becomes effective December 29, 2017.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to the Airbus airplanes identified in paragraphs (c)(1) through (c)(7) of this AD, certificated in any category, all manufacturer serial numbers.

    (1) Model A330-223F and -243F airplanes.

    (2) Model A330-201, -202, -203, -223, and -243 airplanes.

    (3) Model A330-301, -302, -303, -321, -322, -323, -341, -342, and -343 airplanes.

    (4) Model A340-211, -212, and -213 airplanes.

    (5) Model A340-311, -312, and -313 airplanes.

    (6) Model A340-541 airplanes.

    (7) Model A340-642 airplanes.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 28, Fuel System.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by a report indicating that a fuel pump showing cavitation erosion breached the fuel pump housing and exposed the fuel pump power supply wires. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cavitation erosion of certain fuel pumps, which could result, if the pump is running dry, in an ignition source in the fuel tank, and consequent fuel tank explosion.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Definition of Affected Fuel Pump

    (1) For the purpose of this AD, an affected fuel pump has part number (P/N) 568-1-28300-101, P/N 568-1-28300-103, or P/N 568-1-28300-200, and is located at one of the positions specified in paragraph 3.3 of Airbus Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) A28L006-17, Rev. 00, dated November 3, 2017.

    (2) A fuel pump having P/N 568-1-28300-101, P/N 568-1-28300-103, or P/N 568-1-28300-200 that is installed in locations other than those specified in paragraph 3.3 of Airbus AOT A28L006-17, Rev. 00, dated November 3, 2017, is not affected by the inspection requirements of paragraph (i) of this AD.

    (h) Airplane Group Designations

    For the purpose of this AD, airplane groups are designated as specified in paragraphs (h)(1) and (h)(2) of this AD.

    (1) Group 1 airplanes are equipped with an affected fuel pump.

    (2) Group 2 airplanes are not equipped with an affected fuel pump.

    (i) Inspections

    For Group 1 airplanes: Before an affected pump exceeds 10,000 flight hours since first installation on an airplane, or the applicable time specified in paragraph (i)(1) or (i)(2) of this AD, whichever occurs later, inspect all affected fuel pumps for cavitation erosion, in accordance with the instruction of Airbus AOT A28L006-17, Rev. 00, dated November 3, 2017. Repeat the inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed the applicable time specified in table 1 to paragraph (i) of this AD.

    (1) For a center tank, rear center tank, or aft transfer fuel pump: Within 30 days after the effective date of this AD.

    (2) For a stand-by fuel pump: Within 40 days after the effective date of this AD.

    Table 1 to Paragraph (i) of This AD—Repetitive Inspection Intervals Erosion—as defined in the AOT Inspection
  • interval in
  • flight hours
  • No erosion 5,000 Case 1: Light erosion 5,000 Case 2: Medium erosion 800
    (j) Corrective Actions

    If, during any inspection required by paragraph (i) of this AD, severe erosion (Case 3), as specified in Airbus AOT A28L006-17, Rev. 00, dated November 3, 2017, is found on a fuel pump: Before further flight, replace that fuel pump with a serviceable part, or deactivate that fuel pump as specified in the minimum equipment list (MEL), in accordance with the instructions of Airbus AOT A28L006-17, Rev. 00, dated November 3, 2017.

    (k) Part Installation Limitations

    (1) As of the effective date of this AD, a fuel pump having P/N 568-1-28300-101, P/N 568-1-28300-103, or P/N 568-1-28300-200 may be installed on an airplane, provided that the part is new, or, prior to installation, the part has passed the inspection (no erosion or Case 1: Light erosion) required by paragraph (i) of this AD and, following installation, the part is inspected within the applicable repetitive intervals and as required by paragraph (i) of this AD.

    (2) As of the effective date of this AD, a fuel pump having P/N 568-1-28300-101, P/N 568-1-28300-103, or P/N 568-1-28300-200, with Case 2 (medium erosion), as specified in Airbus AOT A28L006-17, Rev. 00, dated November 3, 2017, may be installed on an airplane provided the fuel pump is not installed at a location specified in paragraph 3.3 of Airbus AOT A28L006-17, Rev. 00, dated November 3, 2017.

    (l) MEL Revision

    (1) Within 30 days after the effective date of this AD, revise the applicable MEL, in accordance with the instructions of Airbus AOT A28L006-17, Rev. 00, dated November 3, 2017, and thereafter operate the airplane accordingly.

    (2) For Model A340-500 and A340-600 airplanes: In addition to the MEL revision required by paragraph (l)(1) of this AD, revise the applicable MEL to include the information specified in table 2 to paragraph (l)(2) of this AD, and thereafter operate the airplane accordingly.

    Table 2 to Paragraph (l)(2) of This AD—Amendment to MEL Items 28-27-06 and 28-27-07 Applicability MEL amendment Model A340-500 and A340-600 series airplanes MEL Items 28-27-06 and 28-27-07 can be applied, provided that the related circuit breaker is pulled and tagged for the duration of the MEL item. (m) Reporting

    At the applicable time specified in paragraph (m)(1) or (m)(2) of this AD: Report the results (including no findings) of each inspection required by paragraph (i) of this AD to [email protected], in accordance with the instructions in Airbus AOT A28L006-17, Rev. 00, dated November 3, 2017.

    (1) If the inspection was done on or before the effective date of this AD: Report within 10 days after the effective date of this AD.

    (2) If the inspection was done after the effective date of this AD: Report within 10 days after the inspection.

    (n) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

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

    (o) Related Information

    (1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA Airworthiness Directive 2017-0224, dated November 10, 2017, for related information. You may examine the MCAI on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-1104.

    (2) For more information about this AD, contact Vladimir Ulyanov, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW, Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1138; fax 425-227-1149.

    (p) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (i) Airbus Alert Operators Transmission A28L006-17, Rev. 00, dated November 3, 2017.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (3) For service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAL, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 45 80; 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 December 4, 2017. Dionne Palermo, Acting Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26842 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 91 [Docket No.: FAA-2015-8672; Amdt. No. 91-340A] RIN 2120-AL27 Amendment of the Prohibition Against Certain Flights in Specified Areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) Flight Information Region AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This action amends the Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) that prohibits certain flights in specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) Flight Information Region (FIR) by all: United States (U.S.) air carriers; U.S. commercial operators; persons exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA, except when such persons are operating U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except where the operator of such aircraft is a foreign air carrier. There has been a reduction in the level of risk to U.S. civil aviation operations in limited portions of the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) Flight Information region (FIR) where the FAA had prohibited flight operations under the SFAR. As a result, the FAA is reducing the amount of airspace in the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR in which U.S. civil aviation operations are prohibited. However, there continues to be an unacceptable level of risk to U.S. civil aviation operations in the remainder of the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR, as described in this rule, resulting from terrorist and militant activity. Consequently, the FAA is also amending this SFAR to extend its expiration date. The FAA is also republishing, with minor revisions, the approval process and exemption information for this SFAR.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective on December 14, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michael Filippell, Air Transportation Division, Flight Standards Service, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20591; telephone (202) 267-8166; email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Executive Summary

    This action amends the prohibition of flight operations in specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR by all: U.S. air carriers; U.S. commercial operators; persons exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA, except when such persons are operating U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except where the operator of such aircraft is a foreign air carrier. Due to a reduction in the level of risk to U.S. civil aviation operating in limited portions of the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR where the FAA had prohibited U.S. civil aviation operations under SFAR No. 115, title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 91.1611, this action amends SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, to reduce the amount of airspace in the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR in which U.S. civil aviation operations are prohibited. Specifically, the FAA is revising SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, to prohibit U.S. civil aviation operations in the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR, except that airspace east of a line drawn direct from KAPET (163322N 0530614E) to NODMA (152603N 0533359E), southeast of a line drawn direct from NODMA to ORBAT (140638N 0503924E) then from ORBAT to PAKER (115500N 0463500E), south of a line drawn direct from PAKER to PARIM (123142N 0432712E), and west of a line drawn direct from PARIM to RIBOK (154700N 0415230E). However, there continues to be an unacceptable level of risk to U.S. civil aviation operations in the remainder the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR, as described in this rule, resulting from terrorist and militant activity. Consequently, the FAA is also amending this SFAR to extend its expiration date until January 7, 2020. The FAA finds this action necessary due to continued hazards to U.S. civil aviation operations in these areas.

    II. Legal Authority and Good Cause A. Legal Authority

    The FAA is responsible for the safety of flight in the U.S. and for the safety of U.S. civil operators, U.S.-registered civil aircraft, and U.S.-certificated airmen throughout the world. The FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety is found in title 49, U.S. Code. Subtitle I, sections 106(f) and (g), describe the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII of title 49, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority. Section 40101(d)(1) provides that the Administrator shall consider in the public interest, among other matters, assigning, maintaining, and enhancing safety and security as the highest priorities in air commerce. Section 40105(b)(1)(A) requires the Administrator to exercise his authority consistently with the obligations of the U.S. Government under international agreements.

    This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, subpart III, section 44701, General requirements. Under that section, the FAA is charged broadly with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing, among other things, regulations and minimum standards for practices, methods, and procedures that the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce and national security.

    This regulation is within the scope of FAA's authority under the statutes cited previously, because it continues to prohibit the persons described in paragraph (a) of SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, from conducting flight operations in specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR due to the continued hazards to the safety of such persons' flight operations, as described in the Background section of this final rule.

    B. Good Cause for Immediate Adoption

    Title 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B) authorizes agencies to dispense with notice and comment procedures for rules when the agency for “good cause” finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Section 553(d) also authorizes agencies to forgo the delay in the effective date of the final rule for good cause found and published with the rule. In this instance, the FAA finds good cause to forgo notice and comment, because notice and comment would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. To the extent that the rule is based upon classified information, such information is not permitted to be shared with the general public. Also, threats to U.S. civil aviation and intelligence regarding these threats are fluid. As a result, the agency's original proposal could become unsuitable for minimizing the hazards to U.S. civil aviation in the affected airspace during or after the notice and comment process. The FAA further finds an immediate need to address the continued hazard to U.S. civil aviation that exists in specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR from terrorist and militant activity. This hazard is further described in the Background section of this rule. Finally, it is contrary to the public interest to delay this change in the boundaries of the SFAR to permit U.S. civil aviation operations on two jet routes that were previously prohibited, thereby potentially reducing travel time and costs.

    For the reasons described previously, the FAA finds good cause to forgo notice and comment and any delay in the effective date for this rule. The FAA also finds that this action is fully consistent with the obligations under 49 U.S.C. 40105(b)(1)(A) to ensure that the FAA exercises its duties consistently with the obligations of the United States under international agreements.

    III. Background

    On January 7, 2016, the FAA published a final rule to prohibit U.S. civil aviation operations in specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR, excluding that airspace east and southeast of a line drawn direct from KAPET (163322N 0530614E) to NODMA (152603N 0533359E), then direct from NODMA to PAKER (115500N 0463500E), due to the hazardous situation faced by U.S. civil aviation from ongoing military operations, political instability, violence from competing armed groups, and the continuing terrorism threat from extremist elements associated with the fighting and instability in Yemen. 81 FR 727.

    In taking that action, the FAA determined that international civil air routes that transit the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR and aircraft operating to and from Yemeni airports were at risk from terrorist and militant groups potentially employing anti-aircraft weapons, including Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS), surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), small-arms fire, and indirect fire from mortars and rockets. Due to the fighting and instability, as of January 2016, the FAA stated that there was a risk of possible loss of state control over more advanced anti-aircraft weapons to terrorist and militant groups. Some of the weapons that the FAA was concerned about have the capability to target aircraft at higher altitudes and/or during approach and departure and have weapon ranges that could extend into the near off-shore areas along Yemen's coastline.

    In the January 2016 final rule, the FAA also indicated that U.S. civil aviation was at risk from combat operations and other military-related activity associated with the fighting and instability and that there was an ongoing threat of terrorism. Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) remained active in Yemen and had demonstrated the capability and intent to target U.S. and Western aviation interests. Various Yemeni airports had been attacked during the fighting, including Sanaa International Airport (OYSN) and Aden International Airport (OYAA), resulting in instances of damage to airport facilities and temporary closure of the airports.

    Additionally, in the January 2016 final rule, the FAA assessed that there was a risk to U.S. civil aviation from potential strategic SAM systems. Some of these strategic air defense SAMs, at that time, posed a potential threat to civil aviation. On March 28, 2015, a probable SAM missile was launched from the vicinity of Al Hudaydah, Yemen, along the Red Sea. Collectively, the hazards previously described led the FAA to publish SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, on January 7, 2016.

    Over the last two years, the situation in Yemen has slightly improved, as a coalition of Yemeni government forces, supporting nations, and allied militia elements have successfully limited the area of opposition force control and reduced some of the opposition force weapon capabilities. Opposition elements in Yemen do not currently possess functional medium-/long-range strategic SAM capabilities. As a result, there is a reduced level of risk to U.S. civil aviation operations on certain international air routes that transit offshore areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR. The FAA has determined that the risk to U.S. civil aviation in limited areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR, including these international air routes, has been sufficiently reduced to allow the FAA to shrink the boundaries of its prohibition of U.S. civil aviation operations in specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR.

    Specifically, the FAA is revising SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, to prohibit flight operations in the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR, excluding that airspace east of a line drawn direct from KAPET (163322N 0530614E) to NODMA (152603N 0533359E), southeast of a line drawn direct from NODMA to ORBAT (140638N 0503924E) then from ORBAT to PAKER (115500N 0463500E), south of a line drawn direct from PAKER to PARIM (123142N 0432712E), and west of a line drawn direct from PARIM to RIBOK (154700N 0415230E). This change will permit U.S. operators to use two jet routes, UT702 and M999, that they were previously prohibited from using under SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611. The FAA emphasizes that use of jet route UN303 remains prohibited.

    Opposition forces and terrorist elements continue to operate in various locations with either ongoing fighting or the potential for combat operations to occur with little or no warning. Opposition and terrorist elements, such as AQAP and the Islamic State of Iraq and ash Sham (ISIS) in Yemen, possess a variety of anti-aircraft weapons, to include MANPADS and possible SAMs, which pose an ongoing risk to U.S. civil aviation in Yemeni territory occupied by or influenced by those elements and in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR within the revised SFAR boundaries described in this rule.

    Therefore, as a result of the significant continuing risk to the safety of U.S. civil aviation in specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR, with the revised boundaries previously described, the FAA also amends SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, to extend its expiration date from January 7, 2018, to January 7, 2020, to maintain the prohibition on flight operations in those areas by all: U.S. air carriers; U.S. commercial operators; persons exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA, except when such persons are operating U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except where the operator of such aircraft is a foreign air carrier.

    The FAA will continue to actively monitor the situation and evaluate the extent to which U.S. civil operators may be able to safely operate in specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR, with the revised boundaries previously described, in the future. Further amendments to SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, may be appropriate if the risk to aviation safety and security changes. The FAA may amend or rescind SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, as necessary, prior to its expiration date.

    The FAA also republishes, with minor revisions, the approval process and exemption information for this SFAR, so that persons described in paragraph (a) of the rule will be able to refer to this final rule, rather than having to search through previous final rules to find the relevant approval process and exemption information. This approval process and exemption information is consistent with other similar SFARs and recent agency practice.

    IV. Approval Process Based on a Request From a Department, Agency, or Instrumentality of the United States Government

    If a department, agency, or instrumentality of the U.S. Government determines that it has a critical need to engage any person covered under SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, including a U.S. air carrier or a U.S. commercial operator, to conduct a charter to transport civilian or military passengers or cargo, or other operations, in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR, that department, agency, or instrumentality may request that the FAA approve persons covered under SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, to conduct such operations. An approval request must be made directly by the requesting department, agency or instrumentality of the U.S. Government to the FAA's Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety in a letter signed by an appropriate senior official of the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality. Requests for approval submitted to the FAA by anyone other than the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality will not be accepted and will not be processed. In addition, the senior official signing the letter requesting FAA approval on behalf of the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality must be sufficiently highly placed within the organization to demonstrate that the senior leadership of the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality supports the request for approval and is committed to taking all necessary steps to minimize operational risks to the proposed flights. The senior official must also be in a position to: (1) Attest to the accuracy of all representations made to the FAA in the request for approval and (2) ensure that any support from the requesting U.S. government department, agency, or instrumentality described in the request for approval is in fact brought to bear and is maintained over time. Unless justified by exigent circumstances, requests for approval must be submitted to the FAA no less than 30 calendar days before the date on which the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality wishes the proposed operations, if approved by the FAA, to commence.

    The letter must be sent by the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality to the Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20591. Electronic submissions are acceptable, and the requesting entity may request that the FAA notify it electronically as to whether the approval request is granted. If a requestor wishes to make an electronic submission to the FAA, the requestor should contact the Air Transportation Division, Flight Standards Service, at (202) 267-8166 to obtain the appropriate email address. A single letter may request approval from the FAA for multiple persons covered under SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, and/or for multiple flight operations. To the extent known, the letter must identify the person(s) covered under the SFAR on whose behalf the U.S. Government department, agency, or instrumentality is seeking FAA approval, and it must describe—

    • The proposed operation(s), including the nature of the mission being supported;

    • The service to be provided by the person(s) covered by the SFAR;

    • To the extent known, the specific locations in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR where the proposed operation(s) will be conducted, including, but not limited to, the flight path and altitude of the aircraft while it is operating in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR and the airports, airfields and/or landing zones at which the aircraft will take-off and land; and

    • The method by which the department, agency, or instrumentality will provide, or how the operator will otherwise obtain, current threat information and an explanation of how the operator will integrate this information into all phases of the proposed operations (e.g., the pre-mission planning and briefing, in-flight, and post-flight phases).

    The request for approval must also include a list of operators with whom the U.S. Government department, agency, or instrumentality requesting FAA approval has a current contract(s), grant(s), or cooperative agreement(s) (or with whom its prime contractor has a subcontract(s)) for specific flight operations in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR. Additional operators may be identified to the FAA at any time after the FAA approval is issued. However, all additional operators must be identified to, and obtain an Operations Specification (OpSpec) or Letter of Authorization (LOA), as appropriate, from the FAA for operations in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR, before such operators commence such operations. The approval conditions discussed below will apply to any such additional operators. Updated lists should be sent to the email address to be obtained from the Air Transportation Division by calling (202) 267-8166.

    If an approval request includes classified information, requestors may contact Aviation Safety Inspector Michael Filippell for instructions on submitting it to the FAA. His contact information is listed in the For Further Information Contact section of this final rule.

    FAA approval of an operation under SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, does not relieve persons subject to this SFAR of their responsibility to comply with all other applicable FAA rules and regulations. Operators of civil aircraft must also comply with the conditions of their certificate, OpSpecs, and LOAs, as applicable. Operators must further comply with all rules and regulations of other U.S. Government departments and agencies that may apply to the proposed operations, including, but not limited to, the Transportation Security Regulations issued by the Transportation Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security.

    Approval Conditions

    If the FAA approves the request, the FAA's Aviation Safety Organization will send an approval letter to the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality informing it that the FAA's approval is subject to all of the following conditions:

    (1) The approval will stipulate those procedures and conditions that limit, to the greatest degree possible, the risk to the operator, while still allowing the operator to achieve its operational objectives.

    (2) Before any approval takes effect, the operator must submit to the FAA:

    (a) A written release of the U.S. Government from all damages, claims, and liabilities, including without limitation legal fees and expenses, relating to any event arising out of or related to the approved operations in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR; and

    (b) the operator's agreement to indemnify the U.S. Government with respect to any and all third-party damages, claims, and liabilities, including without limitation legal fees and expenses, relating to any event arising out of or related to the approved operations in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR.

    (3) Other conditions that the FAA may specify, including those that may be imposed in OpSpecs or LOAs, as applicable.

    The release and agreement to indemnify do not preclude an operator from raising a claim under an applicable non-premium war risk insurance policy issued by the FAA under chapter 443 of title 49, United States Code.

    If the proposed operation(s) is approved, the FAA will issue an OpSpec or an LOA, as applicable, to the operator(s) identified in the original request authorizing them to conduct the approved operation(s), and will notify the department, agency, or instrumentality that requested the FAA's approval of any additional conditions beyond those contained in the approval letter. The requesting department, agency, or instrumentality must have a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement (or its prime contractor must have a subcontract) with the person(s) described in paragraph (a) of this SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, on whose behalf the department, agency, or instrumentality requests FAA approval.

    V. Requests for Exemption

    Any operations not conducted under an approval issued by the FAA through the approval process set forth previously must be conducted under an exemption from SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611. A request by any person covered under SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, for an exemption must comply with 14 CFR part 11, and will require exceptional circumstances beyond those contemplated by the approval process set forth above. In addition to the information required by 14 CFR 11.81, at a minimum, the requestor must describe in its submission to the FAA—

    • The proposed operation(s), including the nature of the operation;

    • The service to be provided by the person(s) covered by the SFAR;

    • The specific locations in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR where the proposed operation(s) will be conducted, including, but not limited to, the flight path and altitude of the aircraft while it is operating in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR and the airports, airfields and/or landing zones at which the aircraft will take-off and land;

    • The method by which the operator will obtain current threat information, and an explanation of how the operator will integrate this information into all phases of its proposed operations (e.g., the pre-mission planning and briefing, in-flight, and post-flight phases); and

    • The plans and procedures that the operator will use to minimize the risks, identified in the Background section of this rule, to the proposed operations, so that granting the exemption would not adversely affect safety or would provide a level of safety at least equal to that provided by this SFAR. The FAA has found comprehensive, organized plans and procedures of this nature to be helpful in facilitating the agency's safety evaluation of petitions for exemption from other flight prohibition SFARs.

    Additionally, the release and agreement to indemnify, as referred to above, will be required as a condition of any exemption that may be issued under SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611.

    The FAA recognizes that operations that may be affected by SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, including this amendment, may be planned for the governments of other countries with the support of the U.S. Government. While these operations will not be permitted through the approval process, the FAA will process exemption requests for such operations on an expedited basis and prior to any private exemption requests.

    VI. Regulatory Notices and Analyses

    Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic analyses. First, Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct that each Federal agency shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its costs. Second, the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354), as codified in 5 U.S.C. 603 et seq., requires agencies to analyze the economic impact of regulatory changes on small entities. Third, the Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96-39), 19 U.S.C. Chapter 13, prohibits agencies from setting standards that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. In developing U.S. standards, the Trade Agreements Act requires agencies to consider international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis of U.S. standards. Fourth, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4), as codified in 2 U.S.C. Chapter 25, requires agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits, and other effects of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more annually (adjusted for inflation with base year of 1995). This portion of the preamble summarizes the FAA's analysis of the economic impacts of this final rule.

    In conducting these analyses, the FAA has determined that this final rule has benefits that justify its costs and is a “significant regulatory action” as defined in section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, because it raises novel policy issues contemplated under that Executive Order. The rule is also “significant” as defined in DOT's Regulatory Policies and Procedures. The final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, will not create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States, and will not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or tribal governments, or on the private sector, by exceeding the threshold identified previously.

    A. Regulatory Evaluation

    Department of Transportation Order 2100.5 prescribes policies and procedures for simplification, analysis, and review of regulations. If the expected cost impact is so minimal that a proposed or final rule does not warrant a full evaluation, this order permits a statement to that effect and the basis for it to be included in the preamble if a full regulatory evaluation of the costs and benefits is not prepared. Such a determination has been made for this final rule. The reasoning for this determination follows.

    Due to the significant hazards to U.S. civil aviation described in the Background section of this rule, this rule extends the prohibition against U.S. civil flights in specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR, as described in this rule. Since there has been a reduction in the level of risk to U.S. civil aviation operations in limited portions of the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR in which the FAA had previously prohibited such operations, this action amends SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, to reduce the amount of airspace in which U.S. civil flight operations are prohibited. This change will permit U.S. operators to use two jet routes that they were previously prohibited from using under SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611: UT702 and M999.

    The FAA believes there are very few U.S. operators who wish to operate in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR where U.S. civil aviation operations will continue to be prohibited. The FAA has not received any requests for approval or exemption to conduct flight operations in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR covered by this regulation. Consequently, the FAA estimates the costs of this rule to be minimal. These minimal costs are exceeded by the benefits of avoided deaths, injuries, and property damage that could result from a U.S. operator's aircraft being shot down (or otherwise damaged) due to the hazards described in the Background section of this final rule. In addition, allowing U.S. civil aviation to use the M999 and UT702 routes will benefit U.S. operators who regularly transit the Middle East area, since they will no longer be required to use less direct routes. This change may reduce flight times and certain operating expenses, such as fuel, resulting in potential cost savings for affected U.S. operators. Consequently, the FAA estimates that the benefits of this rule will exceed the costs.

    B. Regulatory Flexibility Determination

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354) (RFA) establishes “as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall endeavor, consistent with the objectives of the rule and of applicable statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale of the businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions subject to regulation. To achieve this principle, agencies are required to solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain the rationale for their actions to assure that such proposals are given serious consideration.” The RFA covers 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 rule will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. If the agency determines that it will, the agency must prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis as described in the RFA. However, if an agency determines that a rule is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, section 605(b) of the RFA provides that the head of the agency may so certify and a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. The certification must include a statement providing the factual basis for this determination, and the reasoning should be clear. As discussed above, the FAA estimates the costs of this rule to be minimal. Moreover, few, if any, operators will be affected by this rule, as the FAA believes that most operators do not wish to operate in specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR in which U.S. civil flight operations will continue to be prohibited, due to the hazards described in the Background section of this rule. Additionally, this rule will allow U.S. civil aviation to use the M999 and UT702 routes, and, to that extent, it may benefit small U.S. operators if they regularly transit the Middle East area, since they will no longer be required to use less direct routes. This change may reduce flight times and certain operating expenses, such as fuel, resulting in potential cost savings for affected small U.S. operators.

    Therefore, as provided in section 605(b), the head of the FAA certifies that this rulemaking will not result in a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    C. International Trade Impact Assessment

    The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96-39) prohibits Federal agencies from establishing standards or engaging in related activities that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. Pursuant to this Act, the establishment of standards is not considered an unnecessary obstacle to the foreign commerce of the United States, so long as the standard has a legitimate domestic objective, such as the protection of safety, and does not operate in a manner that excludes imports that meet this objective. The statute also requires consideration of international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis for U.S. standards.

    The FAA has assessed the effect of this final rule and determined that its purpose is to protect the safety of U.S. civil aviation from a hazard to their operations in specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR, a location outside the U.S. Therefore, the rule is in compliance with the Trade Agreements Act.

    D. Unfunded Mandates Assessment

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4) requires each Federal agency to prepare a written statement assessing the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final agency rule that may result in an expenditure of $100 million or more (in 1995 dollars) in any one year by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector; such a mandate is deemed to be a “significant regulatory action.” The FAA currently uses an inflation-adjusted value of $155.0 million in lieu of $100 million.

    This final rule does not contain such a mandate. Therefore, the requirements of Title II of the Act do not apply.

    E. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) requires that the FAA consider the impact of paperwork and other information collection burdens imposed on the public. The FAA has determined that there is no new requirement for information collection associated with this final rule.

    F. International Compatibility and Cooperation

    In keeping with U.S. obligations under the Convention on International Civil Aviation, it is FAA's policy to conform to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices to the maximum extent practicable. The FAA has determined that there are no ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices that correspond to this regulation.

    G. Environmental Analysis

    The FAA has analyzed this action under Executive Order 12114, Environmental Effects Abroad of Major Federal Actions (44 FR 1957, January 4, 1979), and DOT Order 5610.1C, Paragraph 16. Executive Order 12114 requires the FAA to be informed of environmental considerations and take those considerations into account when making decisions on major Federal actions that could have environmental impacts anywhere beyond the borders of the United States. The FAA has determined that this action is exempt pursuant to Section 2-5(a)(i) of Executive Order 12114, because it does not have the potential for a significant effect on the environment outside the United States.

    In accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures,” paragraph 8-6(c), FAA has prepared a memorandum for the record stating the reason(s) for this determination; this memorandum has been placed in the docket for this rulemaking.

    VII. Executive Order Determinations A. Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    The FAA has analyzed this final rule under the principles and criteria of Executive Order 13132, Federalism. The agency has determined that this action would not have a substantial direct effect on the States, or the relationship between the Federal Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, and, therefore, would not have Federalism implications.

    B. Executive Order 13211, Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use

    The FAA analyzed this final rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (May 18, 2001). The agency has determined that it would not be a “significant energy action” under the executive order and would not be likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy.

    C. Executive Order 13609, Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation

    Executive Order 13609, Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation, (77 FR 26413, May 4, 2012) promotes international regulatory cooperation to meet shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, security, environmental, and other issues and to reduce, eliminate, or prevent unnecessary differences in regulatory requirements. The FAA has analyzed this action under the policies and agency responsibilities of Executive Order 13609, and has determined that this action would have no effect on international regulatory cooperation.

    D. Executive Order 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs

    This rule is not subject to the requirements of E.O. 13771 (82 FR 9339, February 3, 2017) because it is issued with respect to a national security function of the United States.

    VIII. Additional Information A. Availability of Rulemaking Documents

    An electronic copy of rulemaking documents may be obtained from the internet by—

    • Searching the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov);

    • Visiting the FAA's Regulations and Policies web page at http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies or

    • Accessing the Government Publishing Office's web page at http://www.fdsys.gov.

    Copies may also be obtained by sending a request (identified by amendment or docket number of this rulemaking) to the Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM-1, 800 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267-9677. Please identify the docket or amendment number of this rulemaking in your request.

    Except for classified material, all documents the FAA considered in developing this rule, including economic analyses and technical reports, may be accessed from the internet through the Federal eRulemaking Portal referenced above.

    B. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA) requires FAA to comply with small entity requests for information or advice about compliance with statutes and regulations within its jurisdiction. A small entity with questions regarding this document may contact its local FAA official, or the person listed under the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section at the beginning of the preamble. To find out more about SBREFA on the internet, visit http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/rulemaking/sbre_act/.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 91

    Air traffic control, Aircraft, Airmen, Airports, Aviation safety, Freight, Yemen.

    The Amendment

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration amends chapter I of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

    PART 91—GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES 1. The authority citation for part 91 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 1155, 40101, 40103, 40105, 40113, 40120, 44101, 44111, 44701, 44704, 44709, 44711, 44712, 44715, 44716, 44717, 44722, 46306, 46315, 46316, 46504, 46506-46507, 47122, 47508, 47528-47531, 47534, Pub. L. 114-190, 130 Stat. 615 (49 U.S.C. 44703 note); articles 12 and 29 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (61 Stat. 1180), (126 Stat. 11).

    2. Revise § 91.1611 to read as follows:
    § 91.1611 Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 115—Prohibition Against Certain Flights in Specified Areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) Flight Information Region (FIR).

    (a) Applicability. This Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) applies to the following persons:

    (1) All U.S. air carriers and U.S. commercial operators;

    (2) All persons exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA, except when such persons are operating U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and

    (3) All operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except where the operator of such aircraft is a foreign air carrier.

    (b) Flight prohibition. Except as provided in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section, no person described in paragraph (a) of this section may conduct flight operations in the Sanaa (OYSC) Flight Information Region (FIR), except that airspace east of a line drawn direct from KAPET (163322N 0530614E) to NODMA (152603N 0533359E), southeast of a line drawn direct from NODMA to ORBAT (140638N 0503924E) then from ORBAT to PAKER (115500N 0463500E), south of a line drawn direct from PAKER to PARIM (123142N 0432712E), and west of a line drawn direct from PARIM to RIBOK (154700N 0415230E). Use of jet route UT702 is authorized; however, use of jet route UN303 is not authorized.

    (c) Permitted operations. This section does not prohibit persons described in paragraph (a) of this section from conducting flight operations in the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR in that airspace west of a line drawn direct from KAPET (163322N 0530614E) to NODMA (152603N 0533359E), northwest of a line drawn direct from NODMA to ORBAT (140638N 0503924E) then from ORBAT to PAKER (115500N 0463500E), north of a line drawn direct from PAKER to PARIM (123142N 0432712E), and east of a line drawn direct from PARIM to RIBOK (154700N 0415230E), provided that such flight operations are conducted under a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement with a department, agency, or instrumentality of the U.S. government (or under a subcontract between the prime contractor of the department, agency, or instrumentality, and the person subject to paragraph (a)), with the approval of the FAA, or under an exemption issued by the FAA. The FAA will process requests for approval or exemption in a timely manner, with the order of preference being: First, for those operations in support of U.S. government-sponsored activities; second, for those operations in support of government-sponsored activities of a foreign country with the support of a U.S. government department, agency, or instrumentality; and third, for all other operations.

    (d) Emergency situations. In an emergency that requires immediate decision and action for the safety of the flight, the pilot in command of an aircraft may deviate from this section to the extent required by that emergency. Except for U.S. air carriers and commercial operators that are subject to the requirements of 14 CFR part 119, 121, 125, or 135, each person who deviates from this section must, within 10 days of the deviation, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays, submit to the nearest FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) a complete report of the operations of the aircraft involved in the deviation, including a description of the deviation and the reasons for it.

    (e) Expiration. This SFAR will remain in effect until January 7, 2020. The FAA may amend, rescind, or extend this SFAR as necessary.

    Issued in Washington, DC, under the authority of 49 U.S.C. 106(f) and (g), 40101(d)(1), 40105(b)(1)(A), and 44701(a)(5), on December 8, 2017. Michael P. Huerta, Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26903 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 1460 [Docket No. CPSC-2015-0006] Revision to Children's Gasoline Burn Prevention Act Regulation AGENCY:

    Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    ACTION:

    Direct final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Children's Gasoline Burn Prevention Act (CGBPA or the Act) adopted as a consumer product safety rule, the child-resistance requirements for closures on portable gasoline containers published in the ASTM voluntary standard, Standard Specification for Determination of Child Resistance of Portable Fuel Containers for Consumer Use, ASTM F2517-05. ASTM F2517 was revised in 2015. These revisions became law under the Act, which the Commission codified through a direct final rule in 2015. On November 13, 2017, the Commission received notice from ASTM that a revision to ASTM F2517 was published in November 2017. In this direct final rule the Commission reviews and evaluates the revised ASTM F2517, finding that the revisions carry out the purposes of the CGBPA's requirements. Accordingly, the 2017 revisions to the child-resistance requirements will be automatically incorporated and apply as the statutorily mandated standard for closures on portable gasoline containers. This direct final rule updates the Commission's regulation to reflect that the requirements for closures on portable gasoline containers must meet the requirements in ASTM F2517-17.

    DATES:

    This rule will be effective on January 12, 2018, unless the Commission receives significant adverse comment by December 28, 2017. If we receive timely significant adverse comments, we will publish notification in the Federal Register withdrawing this direct final rule. The incorporation by reference of the publication listed in this rule is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of January 12, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. CPSC-2015-0006, by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submissions: Submit electronic comments to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. The Commission does not accept comments submitted by electronic mail (email), except through www.regulations.gov. The Commission encourages you to submit electronic comments by using the Federal eRulemaking Portal, as described above.

    Written Submissions: Submit written comments (paper, disk, or CD-ROM submissions) by mail/hand delivery/courier to: Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Room 820, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814; telephone (301) 504-7923.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this notice. All comments received may be posted without change, including any personal identifiers, contact information, or other personal information provided, to http://www.regulations.gov. Do not submit confidential business information, trade secret information, or other sensitive or protected information that you do not want to be available to the public. If furnished at all, such information should be submitted in writing.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    John Boja, Office of Compliance and Field Operations, Consumer Product Safety Commission, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814-4408; telephone (301) 504-7300; [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    The Children's Gasoline Burn Prevention Act. The CGBPA was enacted on July 17, 2008. The Act established as a consumer product safety rule ASTM International's (ASTM) F2517-05's child-resistance requirements for closures on portable gasoline containers. All portable gasoline containers manufactured on or after January 17, 2009 for sale to consumers in the United States must conform to ASTM F2517's child-resistance requirements. By mandating closures that resist access by children up to 51 months of age (4 years and 3 months), the Act seeks to reduce hazards to children, including children ingesting gasoline and inhaling gasoline fumes, and the risk of burns from fires and explosions that may occur when children access gasoline stored in portable gasoline containers. The Act did not require the Commission to undertake any action for the Act's provisions to take effect; rather, ASTM 2715-05's child-resistance requirements were made mandatory through operation of law. The Children's Gasoline Burn Prevention Act, Public Law 110-278; 122 Stat. 2602, Sec. 2(b) (July 17, 2008), codified as a note to 15 U.S.C. 2056.

    CGBPA Provisions Regarding Updates to ASTM F2517. Under the Act, ASTM must notify the Commission of any revision to the child-resistance requirements for closures contained in ASTM F2517. Once ASTM notifies the CPSC of ASTM's revisions to this voluntary standard, the revisions will be incorporated by operation of law and will become the consumer product safety standard within 60 days after such notice. However, the Commission can prevent such incorporation if the Commission determines that revisions to the voluntary standard do not carry out the purposes of the child-resistance requirements for closures on portable gasoline containers as specified in ASTM F2517, and so notifies ASTM.

    On February 11, 2015, ASTM gave notice to CPSC of revisions to ASTM F2517-05. The revised standard was designated as ASTM F2517-15. The Commission determined that the revisions to the voluntary standard stated in ASTM F2517-15 carried out the purposes of the child-resistance requirements for closures on portable gasoline containers. Accordingly, by operation of law, the revisions became effective 60 days after February 11, 2015, on April 13, 2015. So that the Code of Federal Regulations would include the standard, the Commission published a direct final rule, 80 FR 16961 (March 31, 2015), codifying the Commission's incorporation by reference of ASTM F2517-15 at 16 CFR part 1460.

    2017 Revisions to ASTM F2517. On November 13, 2017, ASTM notified the Commission that it has again revised ASTM F2517. On October 1, 2017, ASTM approved publication of ASTM F2517-17, and published the standard in November 2017. Unless the Commission determines that the revisions to ASTM F2517-17 fail to carry out the purposes of the child-resistance requirements for closures on portable gasoline containers specified in ASTM F2517, and notifies ASTM of this determination, the revisions to ASTM F2517 become a mandatory consumer product safety standard by operation of law, effective January 12, 2018.

    As set forth in this preamble, the Commission has determined that the revisions made to ASTM F2517 carry out the purposes of the child-resistance requirements for closures on portable gasoline containers. Accordingly, by operation of law, the requirements for closures on portable gasoline containers, as specified in ASTM F2517-17, are mandatory for all such containers sold or imported into the United States that were manufactured on or after January 12, 2018. To provide clarity to the regulated industry, the Commission will revise our regulation at 16 CFR part 1460 to reflect the incorporation by reference of this revised voluntary standard.

    II. Description of the Rule

    The rule codifies the child-resistance requirements for closures on portable gasoline containers as stated in ASTM F2517-17. These requirements are mandatory effective January 12, 2018. The Commission is publishing this direct final rule incorporating by reference ASTM F2517-17 so that the Code of Federal Regulations will reflect the current version of this mandatory standard.

    Revisions to ASTM F2517 in the 2017 update increase the stringency of the testing requirements or refine the testing environment to aid in test reliability. These changes are described in more detail in the Staff's Briefing Memorandum.1 Changes to the voluntary standard include:

    1 Staff Briefing Memorandum available at https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/ChildrensGasolineBurnPreventionActRegulation.pdf?OrMoO3W9UP6IAQT1mSA5JLORRPgJA_n9.

    • Reducing the amount of water required in a tested container from a half-filled container to a quarter-filled container. Decreasing the amount of liquid required for the test makes the container weigh less, increasing the likelihood that children are able to manipulate a container to access the liquid.

    • For containers with multiple closures, removing the requirement to seal off closures not being tested. Manufacturers report that children are distracted by sealing mechanisms on closures not being tested. Accordingly, this revision removes the distraction and focuses the children's attention on attempting to open, or “get the liquid out” of the closure being tested. Although children are instructed to try and open one closure at a time on the container, the test is strengthened by failing a container if a child is able to access liquid from any closure during testing.

    • Adding requirements to measure and document the torque needed to secure a closure. Currently, the standard requires testing on new portable gasoline containers that have not been exposed to fuel or residue. ASTM members are concerned that degradation of a portable gasoline container could occur after exposure to fuel, which may affect the torque value of the child-resistant closures. This requirement is intended to aid in consideration of a future provision that would limit the change in torque value after exposure to fuel.

    • Clarifying test instructions and requirements to remove possible ambiguities in the test procedure. ASTM F2517-17 adds information and instructions regarding how manufacturers should seek consent for testing children at daycare facilities. The revised standard also updates instructions given to the children during testing to reflect newer child resistant closure technology that does not necessarily “open” in the traditional sense. Children are now instructed: “Please try to open this for me or get the liquid out.”

    • Allowing the option to use central location testing. Previously, testing was primarily conducted at daycare facilities. Manufacturers expressed frustration with the decreasing number of daycare facilities willing to participate in testing portable gasoline containers. ASTM F2517-17 allows the option to conduct testing at a central location, providing a more feasible testing venue and allowing the industry to continue to develop newer child-safe products. Additionally, a new Appendix to ASTM F2517-17 provides non-mandatory recommendations for laboratory testing procedures that are intended to prevent fraud in testing.

    After reviewing the changes to the child-resistance requirements in F2517-17, as outlined above, the Commission determines that the revised standard carries out the purposes of the Act for closures on portable gasoline containers. Each revision increases the stringency of the testing requirements or refines the testing environment to aid in test reliability. Accordingly, the 2017 revisions to the child-resistance requirements of ASTM F2517 will be incorporated into the CPSC mandatory rule, as provided in the Act. However, because the scope of the consumer product safety rule is established by the CGBPA, this rule does not incorporate by reference the scope section of ASTM F2517-17 or Appendix X2 that relates to the scope section of ASTM F2517-17.

    III. Direct Final Rule

    The Commission is issuing this rule as a direct final rule. The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) generally requires notice and comment rulemaking except when the agency, for good cause, finds that notice and public procedure are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) endorsed direct final rulemaking as an appropriate procedure to expedite promulgation of rules that are noncontroversial and that are not expected to generate significant adverse comment. ACUS also recommended using direct final rulemaking when an agency concludes that notice and comment is “unnecessary” under the APA's good cause exemption. See ACUS, Recommendation, 95-4, 60 FR 43108, 43110 (August 18, 1995).

    This rule will revise the reference at 16 CFR part 1460 to refer to ASTM F2517-17, which will be in full force and effect by operation of law on January 12, 2018. In these circumstances, where the substantive requirements are mandated by statute and become effective under the statute, public comment on updating the reference to the ASTM standard serves little purpose. Moreover, we do not expect that updating the reference would be controversial or result in significant adverse comment. As a result, the Commission believes that a direct final rule codifying the revised standard in these circumstances is appropriate.

    Unless we receive a significant adverse comment by December 28, 2017, the rule will become effective on January 12, 2018. In accordance with ACUS's recommendation, the Commission considers a significant adverse comment to be one in which the commenter explains why the rule would be inappropriate, including an assertion challenging the rule's underlying premise or approach, or a claim that the rule would be ineffective or unacceptable without change. Should the Commission receive a significant adverse comment, the Commission would withdraw this direct final rule. Depending on the comments and other circumstances, the Commission may then incorporate the adverse comment into a subsequent direct final rule or publish a notice of proposed rulemaking providing an opportunity for public comment.

    IV. Incorporation by Reference

    Section 1460.3 of the final rule provides that closures on portable gasoline containers must comply with the child-resistance requirements of ASTM F2517-17. The Office of the Federal Register (OFR) has regulations concerning incorporation by reference. 1 CFR part 51. The OFR's regulation requires that, for a final rule, agencies must discuss in the rule's preamble ways that the materials the agency incorporates by reference are reasonably available to interested persons and how interested parties can obtain the materials. In addition, the preamble to the rule must summarize the material. 1 CFR 51.5(b).

    In accordance with the OFR's requirements, section II of this preamble summarizes the provisions of ASTM F2517-17. Interested persons may purchase a copy of ASTM F2517-17 from ASTM, either through ASTM's website or by mail at the address provided in the rule. One may also inspect a copy of the standard at the CPSC's Office of the Secretary, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    V. Effective Date

    As discussed in the preceding section, this is a direct final rule. Unless the Commission receives a significant adverse comment by December 28, 2017, the rule will become effective on January 12, 2018. Portable gasoline containers manufactured or imported on or after January 12, 2018 must comply with the child-resistance requirements for closures on portable gasoline containers in ASTM F2517-17.

    VI. Other Relevant Statutory Provisions A. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) generally requires an agency to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis of any rule subject to notice and comment rulemaking requirements under the APA or any other statutes unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 5 U.S.C. 603 and 605. This rule updates the reference in part 1460 to reflect requirements in the revised voluntary standard, ASTM F2517-17, that will take effect through operation of law, as specified in the CGBPA. Because the rule does not impose any requirements beyond those put in place by the CGBPA, the rule does not create new substantive obligations for any entity, including any small entity. Accordingly, the Commission certifies that the rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    B. Environmental Considerations

    The Commission's regulations provide a categorical exclusion for the Commission's rules from any requirement to prepare an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement because they “have little or no potential for affecting the human environment.” 16 CFR 1021.5(c)(2). This rule falls within the categorical exclusion, so no environmental assessment or environmental impact statement is required.

    C. Paperwork Reduction Act

    This direct final rule contains no collection of information. Therefore, clearance by the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520) is not required.

    VII. Preemption

    Section 26(a) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), 15 U.S.C. 2075(a), provides that where a “consumer product safety standard under [the CPSA]” is in effect and applies to a product, no state or political subdivision of a state may either establish or continue in effect a requirement dealing with the same risk of injury unless the state requirement is identical to the federal standard. As discussed above, under the CGBPA, the child-resistance requirements of ASTM F2517 are a consumer product safety standard under the CPSA. Children's Gasoline Burn Prevention Act, Public Law 110-278, Sec. 2(a) (July 17, 2008). The child-resistance requirements of ASTM F2517-17, which will be codified under this rule, will invoke the preemptive effect of section 26(a) of the CPSA.

    VIII. Certification

    Section 14(a) of the CPSA requires that products subject to a consumer product safety rule under the CPSA, or to a similar rule, ban, standard, or regulation under any other act enforced by the Commission, be certified as complying with all applicable CPSC requirements. 15 U.S.C. 2063(a). Such certification must be based on a test of each product, or on a reasonable testing program. Because ASTM F2517-17 is a consumer product safety rule under the CPSA, portable gasoline containers manufactured or imported on or after January 12, 2018, are subject to the testing and certification requirements of section 14 of the CPSA with respect to ASTM F2517-17.

    List of Subjects in 16 CFR Part 1460

    Consumer protection, Gasoline, Incorporation by reference, Safety.

    For the reasons stated above, the Commission amends 16 CFR part 1460 as follows:

    PART 1460—CHILDREN'S GASOLINE BURN PREVENTION ACT REGULATION 1. The authority citation for part 1460 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Sec. 2, Pub. L. 110-278, 122 Stat. 2602.

    2. Revise § 1460.3 to read as follows:
    § 1460.3 Requirements for child-resistance for closures on portable gasoline containers.

    Each portable gasoline container manufactured on or after January 12, 2018 for sale in the United States shall conform to the child-resistance requirements for closures on portable gasoline containers specified in sections 2 through 6 of ASTM F2517-17 (including Appendices X1, X3, and X4), Standard Specification for Determination of Child Resistance of Portable Fuel Containers for Consumer Use, approved on October 1, 2017. The Director of the Federal Register approves the incorporation by reference listed in this section in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. You may obtain a copy of these ASTM standards from ASTM International, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, PO Box C700, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959 USA; telephone: 610-832-9585; http://www.astm.org/. You may inspect copies at the Office of the Secretary, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Room 820, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814, telephone 301-504-7923, or at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html.

    Alberta E. Mills, Acting Secretary, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26954 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6355-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION 17 CFR Parts 229, 232, 239 and 249 [Release Nos. 33-10446; 34-82280; File No. S7-19-16] RIN 3235-AL95 Compliance Date for Form 10-D Hyperlink Requirements AGENCY:

    Securities and Exchange Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notification of compliance date.

    SUMMARY:

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) is publishing this document to inform the public that it has set a compliance date for its previously-adopted exhibit hyperlinking requirements for Form 10-Ds that require hyperlinks to any exhibits filed with Form ABS-EE. The Commission on March 1, 2017 required registrants that file registration statements and reports subject to the exhibit requirements under Item 601 of Regulation S-K, or that file Forms F-10 or 20-F, to include a hyperlink to each exhibit listed in the exhibit index of these filings, but deferred setting a compliance date with respect to any Form 10-D that will require hyperlinks to any exhibits filed with Form ABS-EE until the Commission announced that technical programming changes to allow issuers to include Form 10-D and Form ABS-EE in a single submission had been completed, and published a notification of the compliance date for Form 10-D in the Federal Register.

    DATES:

    The compliance date with respect to any Form 10-D that will require hyperlinks to any exhibits filed with Form ABS-EE is June 1, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kayla Roberts, Special Counsel, at (202) 551-3850, in the Office of Structured Finance, Division of Corporation Finance, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On March 1, 2017, the Commission adopted rule and form amendments requiring registrants that file registration statements and reports subject to the exhibit requirements under Item 601 of Regulation S-K,1 or that file Forms F-10 2 or 20-F,3 to include a hyperlink to each exhibit listed in the exhibit index of these filings.4 To enable the inclusion of hyperlinks, the amendments also require that registrants submit all filings on EDGAR in HyperText Markup Language (“HTML”) format because the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (“ASCII”) format cannot support functional hyperlinks.5

    1 17 CFR 229.601.

    2 17 CFR 239.40.

    3 17 CFR 249.220f

    4Exhibit Hyperlinks and HTML Format, Release Nos. 33-10322, 34-80132 (March 1, 2017) [82 FR 14130 (March 17, 2017)] (“Hyperlinks Release”).

    5See id. at Section I.

    The amendments took effect on September 1, 2017 for most registrants. Registrants that are “smaller reporting companies,” as defined in Rule 405 6 under the Securities Act of 1933 and Rule 12b-2 7 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or are neither “large accelerated filers” nor “accelerated filers,” as defined in Exchange Act Rule 12b-2, and that submit filings in ASCII will not need to comply with the new rules until September 1, 2018, one year after the effective date for other filers.8 The Commission deferred establishing a compliance date for any Form 10-D filing that will require a hyperlink to an exhibit filed with Form ABS-EE until Commission staff completed programming changes to EDGAR to allow Form 10-D filers to include the Form 10-D and Form ABS-EE in a single EDGAR submission so that the required hyperlinks could be created at the time the Form 10-D is filed.9 Such programming changes have now been completed.10

    6 17 CFR 230.405.

    7 17 CFR 240.12b-2.

    8See Hyperlinks Release, supra note 1, at Section II.B.3.

    9See Hyperlinks Release, supra note 1, at n. 55 (explaining that asset-backed issuers are required to incorporate by reference Form ABS-EE information in Form 10-D and how the hyperlinking requirement applies with respect to Form 10-D filings) & n.72 and accompanying text.

    10Adoption of Updated EDGAR Manual, Release No. 33-10444, (December 8, 2017), available at https://www.sec.gov/rules/final.shtml.

    Any registrant filing a Form 10-D on or after June 1, 2018, must include a hyperlink to any exhibit filed with Form ABS-EE that is included in the exhibit index of Form 10-D.11

    11 Issuers are not required to submit their Form 10-D and Form ABS-EE in a single submission. An issuer may file a Form 10-D and Form ABS-EE in separate submissions and comply with the new requirements by including an external hyperlink in the Form 10-D to a previously filed Form ABS-EE.

    By the Commission.

    Dated: December 11, 2017. Brent J. Fields, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26982 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION 17 CFR Parts 232, 239, 249, 270, and 274 [Release Nos. 33-10442; 34-82241; IC-32936; File No. S7-08-15] RIN 3235-AL42 Investment Company Reporting Modernization AGENCY:

    Securities and Exchange Commission.

    ACTION:

    Temporary final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) is adopting a temporary final rule that requires funds in larger fund groups to maintain in their records the information that is required to be included in Form N-PORT, in lieu of filing reports with the Commission, until April 2019. As a result, larger funds groups will be required to begin submitting reports on Form N-PORT on the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (“EDGAR”) system by April 30, 2019, and smaller fund groups will be required to begin submitting reports on Form N-PORT by April 30, 2020. The information that funds in larger fund groups maintain in their records will be subject to examination by the Commission. In addition, the Commission is delaying the rescission of current Form N-Q and delaying the effectiveness of certain amendments to other rules and forms.

    DATES:

    Effective January 16, 2018 until March 31, 2026. The effective date for the amendments to 17 CFR 232.401, 249.332, 270.8b-33, 270.30a-2, 270.30a-3, 270.30b1-5, and 17 274.130 and in Instructions 54, 57, 59, and 61 in the final rule published at 81 FR 81870 on November 18, 2016, is delayed until May 1, 2020. The applicable compliance dates are discussed below.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    J. Matthew DeLesDernier, Senior Counsel, Jacob D. Krawitz, Branch Chief, or Brian McLaughlin Johnson, Assistant Director, at (202) 551-6792, Investment Company Rulemaking Office, Division of Investment Management, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Commission is adopting new temporary rule 30b1-9(T) [17 CFR 270.30b1-9(T)] under the Investment Company Act of 1940 [15 U.S.C. 80a-1 et seq.] (“Investment Company Act”). The Commission is also delaying the compliance dates associated with the requirement for smaller fund complexes to file reports on new Form N-PORT [referenced in 17 CFR 274.150] under the Investment Company Act [15 U.S.C. 80a-1 et seq.] and new rule 30b1-9 [17 CFR 270.30b1-9] under the Investment Company Act. In addition, the Commission is delaying the effective date associated with: the rescission of rule 30b1-5 [17 CFR 270.30b1-5] under the Investment Company Act; amendments to rules 8b-33 [17 CFR 270.8b-33], 30a-2 [17 CFR 270.30a-2], 30a-3 [17 CFR 270.30a-3], and 30d-1 [17 CFR 270.30d-1] under the Investment Company Act; amendments to Forms N-1A [referenced in 17 CFR 274.11A], N-2 [referenced in 274.11a-1], and N-3 [referenced in 274.11b] under the Investment Company Act and the Securities Act of 1933 [15 U.S.C. 77a et seq.] (“Securities Act”); the rescission of Form N-Q [referenced in 17 CFR 274.130] under the Investment Company Act and Securities Exchange Act of 1934 [15 U.S.C. 78a et seq.] (“Exchange Act”); and amendments to rule 401 [17 CFR 232.401] of Regulation S-T [17 CFR 232].

    I. Discussion

    In recognition of the importance of sound data security practices and protocols for sensitive, nonpublic information, the Commission is modifying its approach to the requirement to submit reports on Form N-PORT on the EDGAR system. Funds in larger fund groups would have been required to submit reports on Form N-PORT in EDGAR no later than July 30, 2018. The Commission is adopting a temporary final rule that requires funds in larger fund groups to maintain in their records the information that is required to be included in Form N-PORT beginning no later than July 30, 2018. This information will be subject to examination by Commission staff. As a result, funds in larger fund groups must begin to submit reports on Form N-PORT on EDGAR by April 30, 2019, and smaller fund groups must begin to submit reports on Form N-PORT by April 30, 2020. In addition, the Commission is delaying the rescission of current Form N-Q and delaying the effectiveness of certain amendments to other rules and forms.

    A. Form N-PORT

    On October 13, 2016, the Commission adopted new rules and forms as well as amendments to its rules and forms to modernize the reporting and disclosure of information by registered investment companies.1 In particular, the Commission adopted new Form N-PORT, which requires certain registered investment companies to report information about their monthly portfolio holdings to the Commission in a structured data format. We also adopted new Form N-CEN, which requires registered investment companies, other than face-amount certificate companies, to annually report certain census-type information to the Commission in a structured data format. In addition, we rescinded current Forms N-Q (effective August 1, 2019) and N-SAR and amended certain other rules and forms.2

    1 Investment Company Reporting Modernization, Investment Company Act Release No. 32314 (Oct. 13, 2016) [81 FR 81870 (Nov. 18, 2016)] (“Adopting Release”).

    2 The Commission also adopted amendments to Regulation S-X, which require standardized, enhanced disclosure about derivatives in investment company financial statements, as well as other amendments. Finally, it adopted amendments to Forms N-1A, N-3, and N-CSR to require certain disclosures regarding securities lending activities. Id.

    As the Commission stated in the Adopting Release, Form N-PORT, as well as new rules, other forms, and amendments to existing rules and forms will, among other things, improve the information that the Commission receives from investment companies and assist the Commission, in its role as primary regulator of investment companies, to better fulfill its mission of protecting investors; maintaining fair, orderly, and efficient markets; and facilitating capital formation. Investors and other potential users can also utilize this information to help them make more informed investment decisions.

    Form N-PORT is a new portfolio holdings reporting form that will be filed by all registered management investment companies, other than money market funds and small business investment companies, and by unit investment trusts that operate as exchange-traded funds (collectively, “funds”).3 Form N-PORT requires reporting of a fund's complete portfolio holdings and additional information that will facilitate risk analysis and other Commission oversight. Reports on Form N-PORT are required to be filed in an extensible markup language (“XML”) structured data format no later than 30 days after the close of each month using the Commission's EDGAR system.4 In general, reports on Form N-PORT for every third month of each fiscal quarter will be available to the public 60 days after the end of the fiscal quarter.5

    3 Form N-PORT.

    4See rule 30b1-9.

    5 General Instruction F to Form N-PORT.

    Certain information reported on Form N-PORT will be kept nonpublic. As we noted in the Adopting Release, we recognize that more frequent portfolio disclosure than was currently required could potentially harm fund shareholders by expanding the opportunities for professional traders to engage in predatory trading practices.6 In addition, some of the information required by Form N-PORT could imply a false sense of precision because such data, by design, are an aggregation of multiple assumptions and projections.7 In light of these considerations, the Commission in the Adopting Release determined not to make public the information reported on Form N-PORT for the first and second months of each fund's fiscal quarter that is identifiable to any particular fund or adviser; any information reported with regards to country of risk and economic exposure, delta, or miscellaneous securities; or explanatory notes related to any of those topics that is identifiable to any particular fund or adviser.8 In addition, the information on Form N-PORT that will be made public will only be made public after an additional 30-day delay (i.e., 60 days after quarter-end). Moreover, we determined to make all reports for the first six months following June 1, 2018 nonpublic in order to allow funds and the Commission a period of time to fine-tune the technical specifications and data validation processes for reports on Form N-PORT.9

    6See Adopting Release, supra note 1, Part II.A.4.

    7See id.

    8 General Instruction F to Form N-PORT.

    9See Adopting Release, supra note 1, Part II.H.1.

    When we adopted the Form N-PORT filing requirement, we provided for an effective date of January 17, 2017, with a tiered set of compliance dates based on a fund group's asset size. Specifically, for larger entities—funds that together with other investment companies in the same “group of related investment companies” have net assets of $1 billion or more as of the end of the most recent fiscal year of the fund (“larger fund groups”)—we adopted a compliance date of June 1, 2018.10 This would have resulted in larger fund groups filing their first reports on Form N-PORT, reflecting data as of June 30, no later than July 30, 2018.11 For smaller fund groups, we adopted a compliance date of June 1, 2019, anticipating that smaller fund groups would benefit from this extra time to comply and potentially would benefit from the lessons learned by the larger fund groups during the adoption period for Form N-PORT.12

    10Id.

    11Id.

    12Id.

    B. Commission's Determination To Delay Form N-PORT Filing Requirement

    As we noted in the Adopting Release, we recognize the importance of sound data security practices and protocols for sensitive, nonpublic information, including information that may be competitively sensitive.13 To that end, the Adopting Release acknowledged that Commission staff was working to design controls and systems for the use and handling of Form N-PORT data in a manner that reflects the sensitivity of the data and is consistent with the maintenance of its confidentiality.14 In the Adopting Release, the Commission also stated that it “expect[ed] that the staff will have reviewed the controls and systems in place for the use and handling of nonpublic information reported on Form N-PORT.” 15

    13See Adopting Release, supra note 1, Part II.A.3.

    14Id.

    15Id.

    In May 2017, the Commission's Chairman initiated an assessment of the Commission's internal cybersecurity risk profile and its approach to cybersecurity.16 The Chairman also directed the staff to take a number of steps designed to strengthen the Commission's cybersecurity risk profile, with an initial focus on EDGAR.17 As the Chairman explained, the Commission receives, stores, and transmits substantial amounts of data, including sensitive and nonpublic data, in support of its mission.18 Much of that data is collected through EDGAR, which receives and processes over 1.7 million electronic filings per year.19 Thus, as part of the Commission's efforts to strengthen its cybersecurity risk profile going forward, the Commission has initiated a focused review and, as necessary or appropriate, uplift of the EDGAR system.20 The Commission has added, and expects to continue to add, additional resources to these efforts, which are expected to include outside consultants, and will increase the focus on data security matters.21 As the Chairman has indicated, these efforts will require substantial time and effort to complete.22

    16 Statement on Cybersecurity (September 20, 2017), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/public-statement/statement-clayton-2017-09-20.

    17 Update on Review of 2016 Cyber Intrusion Involving EDGAR System (Oct. 2, 2017), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2017-186.

    18 Statement on Cybersecurity (Sept. 20, 2017), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/public-statement/statement-clayton-2017-09-20.

    19Id.

    20 Update on Review of 2016 Cyber Intrusion Involving EDGAR System (Oct. 2, 2017), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2017-186.

    21Id.

    22Id.

    Certain of these measures, which will be designed to improve EDGAR's functionality and security, could negatively affect EDGAR's ability to validate and accept Form N-PORT filings in a timely manner, in particular during peak filing periods. Efforts to address any such potential effects on performance are underway, but we have determined to delay by nine months the requirement that funds file reports on Form N-PORT through the EDGAR system in order to provide time to complete this review and to implement and test any resulting modifications to the EDGAR system.23 This delay of filing reports on Form N-PORT on EDGAR is necessary for Commission staff to complete and review any modifications to EDGAR that are necessary to process these filings effectively and securely, given their frequency, volume, and complexity, as well as the nonpublic nature of much of the data.

    23 The Commission has not considered any other changes to Form N-PORT, rules, other forms, and amendments besides those that are discussed in this release.

    C. Temporary Rule 30b1-9(T)

    To effectuate the nine-month delay, we have determined to adopt temporary rule 30b1-9(T), which will have the effect of delaying the EDGAR submission requirements associated with Form N-PORT for larger fund groups until April 2019. As a result, funds in larger fund groups that previously would have been required to submit their first reports on Form N-PORT on EDGAR for the period ending June 30, 2018 (no later than July 30, 2018) will now be required to submit their first reports on EDGAR by April 30, 2019.24 During this period, funds in larger fund groups that are subject to the June 1, 2018 compliance date must satisfy their reporting obligation by maintaining in their records the information required to be included in Form N-PORT instead of submitting the information via EDGAR.25 To provide for Commission access to this information for a reasonable period of time, consistent with current record retention requirements for registered investment companies, the temporary rule provides that the information maintained in the company's records shall be treated as a record under section 31 of the Investment Company Act and rule 31a-1 hereunder and subject to the requirements of rule 31a-2.26 Like all fund records under the Act, this information is subject to examination by Commission staff.27 Temporary rule 30b1-9(T) does not change the June 1, 2018 compliance date adopted for Form N-PORT for larger fund groups—it instead requires a temporary method for larger fund groups to fulfill their Form N-PORT reporting obligations.28

    24See Rule 30b1-9(T)(a).

    25Id. Furthermore, the EDGAR reporting requirements added to Form N-PORT by the Investment Company Liquidity Risk Management Programs Adopting Release (“Liquidity Adopting Release”) will also be delayed by the temporary rule. See Investment Company Liquidity Risk Management Program, Investment Company Act Release No. 32315 (Oct. 13, 2016) [81 FR 82142 (Nov. 18, 2016)]. However, funds will only be required to comply with temporary rule 30b1-9(T) with respect to these liquidity-related additions to Form N-PORT based on the compliance date set forth in the Liquidity Adopting Release for these additions.

    26See rule 31a-2(a)(2) (providing that funds must preserve certain records for a period not less than six years from the end of the fiscal year, the first two years in an easily accessible place); see generally rule 31a-2(f) (requirements for electronic records). Because rule 31a-2 provides for preservation for not less than six years from the end of the fiscal year, the temporary rule will no longer be effective March 31, 2026.

    27 15 U.S.C. 80a-30(b)(1).

    28See rule 30b1-9(T)(a). While neither this temporary rule nor rule 31a-2(f) require that the information maintained in the funds' records be stored in an XML format, we believe that doing so would facilitate the filing of Form N-PORT following the nine-month delay as we believe funds can use this delay to gain greater facility with the structured reporting format.

    The Adopting Release delayed compliance for smaller fund groups by one year so that they could benefit from the lessons learned by the larger fund groups' earlier compliance date.29 In order to maintain this benefit the compliance date for smaller fund groups will be delayed by nine months from the original compliance date (until March 1, 2020). Not providing smaller fund groups with a compliance date delay would deprive them of receiving the full benefit of the tiered filing requirement that we previously adopted. However, the temporary rule is not relevant to these smaller fund groups,30 as the relevant provision of the temporary rule applies until April 1, 2019—before the new compliance date for smaller fund groups (March 1, 2020). As a result, smaller fund groups are not subject to a requirement to prepare and then retain as a record the information required on Form N-PORT; rather, they will, pursuant to the Adopting Release and this release, need to prepare and file Form N-PORT beginning on or after the delayed March 1, 2020 compliance date.

    29See Adopting Release, supra note 1, at Part II.H.1.

    30See rule 30b1-9(T)(a).

    D. Form N-Q Filing Requirement

    In order for investors and other users to continue to receive at the least the same information that they currently receive regarding fund portfolio holdings, we are requiring funds to continue filing public reports on Form N-Q until they begin filing reports on Form N-PORT using EDGAR (i.e., the March 31, 2019 reporting period for larger fund groups and March 31, 2020 for smaller fund groups). As the Commission concluded in the Adopting Release, Form N-PORT will render reports on Form N-Q unnecessarily duplicative. To that end, the Commission staff recently provided guidance that once a fund begins filing reports on Form N-PORT, it will no longer be required to file reports on Form N-Q.31 The Adopting Release rescinded Form N-Q, effective August 1, 2019. This effective date would have allowed funds sufficient time to satisfy Form N-Q's 60-day filing requirement with regard to their final filing on Form N-Q for the reporting period preceding their first filing on Form N-PORT.32 We also adopted certain changes to Form N-CSR to account for the rescission of Form N-Q.33 Specifically, as we noted in the Adopting Release, when a fund ceases filing reports on Form N-Q, its certification on Form N-CSR must state that the certifying officer has disclosed any change in the registrant's internal control over financial reporting that occurred during the most recent fiscal half-year, rather than the registrant's most recent fiscal quarter as currently required.34

    31See Investment Company Reporting Modernization Frequently Asked Questions, available at https://www.sec.gov/investment/investment-company-reporting-modernization-faq#_ftnref5.

    32 Adopting Release, supra note 1, at 81966.

    33Id. at 81912-13. We also adopted certain technical and conforming amendments related to the rescission of Form N-Q and the adoption of Form N-PORT. See id. at 81965-66.

    34See supra note 1, at Part II.B.2; see also Investment Company Reporting Modernization Frequently Asked Questions, available at https://www.sec.gov/investment/investment-company-reporting-modernization-faq#_ftnref5.

    As a result of this delay of the compliance date for filing reports on Form N-PORT for smaller fund groups by nine months, smaller fund groups will now satisfy their final filing requirements for Form N-Q by May 1, 2020. We are therefore delaying the effective date for the rescission of Form N- Q until May 1, 2020.35 Correspondingly, the compliance dates for the amendments to the certification requirements of Form N-CSR will be March 1, 2019, for larger fund groups, and March 1, 2020, for smaller fund groups.36

    35 Money market funds currently file reports on Form N-Q, but upon its rescission will not have to file reports on Form N-PORT (as money market funds currently file monthly reports on Form N-MFP). While the Commission is extending the effective date for the rescission of Form N-Q until May 1, 2020, money market funds that were relying on the Commission's original August 1, 2019 rescission date for Form N-Q do not have to file reports on Form N-Q after August 1, 2019 despite the new rescission date of May 1, 2020.

    36 We are also delaying the effective date for the corresponding amendments to references to the availability of portfolio holdings schedules in Form N-1A, N-2, and N-3 and the amendments to remove references to Form N-Q in rule 401 of Regulation S-T and rules 8b-33, 30a-2, 30a-3, and 30d-1 under the Investment Company Act, to May 1, 2020, the same day the rescission of Form N-Q will now be effective.

    E. Six-Month Nonpublic Reporting Period

    In the Adopting Release, the Commission determined that having a six-month time period where larger fund groups are required to file reports on Form N-PORT with the Commission, but where those reports are not disclosed publicly, will allow funds and the Commission to make adjustments to fine-tune the technical specifications and data validation processes.37 Because larger fund groups will now be required to submit the reports on EDGAR as of March 31, 2019, those reports for the periods ending March 31, 2019 through September 30, 2019 will be kept nonpublic to preserve the six-month period noted above.38 As before, portfolio information attached as exhibits to Form N-PORT for the first and third quarters of a fund's fiscal year will still be made public during this period, to ensure that information about funds' portfolio holdings continues to be publicly available to investors and other users during the six-month period when reports on Form N-PORT will not be made publicly available.39

    37See Adopting Release, supra note 1, Part II.H.1.

    38 As in the Adopting Release, here, smaller fund groups will not be required to file reports on Form N-PORT through the EDGAR system until after the six-month nonpublic period for larger fund groups has elapsed. This will allow smaller fund groups to benefit from any adjustments to fine-tune the technical specifications and data validation processes that occurred during the six-month nonpublic period for larger fund groups.

    39See Adopting Release, supra note 1, Part II.H.1.

    F. Form N-CEN

    We note that our action today does not affect requirements with respect to Form N-CEN.40 Because those reports will be immediately made public upon filing and because their annual frequency of filing and their smaller size are expected to impose fewer demands on the EDGAR system, we have determined not to change the submission requirements with respect to that form at this time.

    40 Form N-CEN [referenced in 17 CFR 274.101] under the Investment Company Act. Accordingly, the rescission of Form N-SAR will not be delayed by this action.

    G. Procedural and Other Matters

    The Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) generally requires an agency to publish notice of a rulemaking in the Federal Register and provide an opportunity for public comment.41 This requirement does not apply, however, if the agency “for good cause finds . . . that notice and public procedure thereon are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” 42 We have determined to immediately adopt this temporary rule delaying the requirement that funds file reports on Form N-PORT through the EDGAR system for nine months and making the accompanying changes described above. The Commission has determined that the range of potential technological matters accompanying the ongoing and anticipated improvements to the EDGAR system warrant a delay in accepting this entirely new set of EDGAR filings, which involve complex structured data files, until after the EDGAR upgrades that are underway are tested. This judgment is based on the Commission's ongoing, internal assessment of the range of potential modifications to enhance the EDGAR system's functionality, performance, and security. Accordingly, we have concluded that soliciting public comment on this issue would be neither necessary, practicable, nor in the public interest.

    41See 5 U.S.C. 553(b)-(c).

    42 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B).

    In addition, providing immediate certainty to funds is critical because we understand that funds are currently organizing their systems and procedures to comply with the requirements and dates set forth in the Adopting Release. Funds need to know that there will be a nine-month delay of the requirement that they file reports on Form N-PORT through the EDGAR system, and that as a result they will have to maintain their systems for filing reports on Form N-Q longer than contemplated in the Adopting Release. The Commission is concerned, for example, that absent the certainty provided by a final rule funds may eliminate those systems as part of the transition to Form N-PORT. Providing notice and comment would defeat this goal of giving certainty as to funds' obligations in light of the necessary delays stemming from the Commission's recent cybersecurity initiatives. Under these circumstances, notice and comment would be both impracticable and contrary to the public interest.

    For these reasons, the Commission finds that good cause exists to dispense with notice and comment regarding the delay of the requirement to submit reports on Form N-PORT on EDGAR and the associated changes outlined above.43

    43See Section 553(b)(3)(B) of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B)) (an agency may dispense with prior notice and comment when it finds, for good cause, that notice and comment are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest”). This finding also satisfies the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 808(2), allowing the amendments to become effective notwithstanding the requirement of 5 U.S.C. 801 (if a federal agency finds that notice and public comment are impractical, unnecessary or contrary to the public interest, a rule shall take effect at such time as the federal agency promulgating the rule determines). The amendments also do not require analysis under the Regulatory Flexibility Act. See 5 U.S.C. 604(a).

    II. Economic Analysis A. Introduction

    The Commission is sensitive to the economic effects, including the benefits and costs and the effects on efficiency, competition, and capital formation that will result from this temporary final rule and from the nine-month delay of the requirement that funds submit reports on Form N-PORT through EDGAR, the associated delay for the same period of the rescission of Form N-Q, the delay of the semi-annual certification requirement in Form N-CSR, the delay of the effectiveness of certain amendments to other rules and forms, and the change in the six-month period during which filed reports on Form N-PORT with the Commission will be kept nonpublic.44

    44 See Parts I.C, I.D, and I.E for the specific framework of the nine-month delay in the submission of Form N-PORT on EDGAR.

    The Commission relies on information included in reports filed by funds to monitor trends, identify risks, and inform its regulatory functions. Similarly, investors and other market participants rely on funds' public filings to assist in their investment decisions and understanding of financial markets. Form N-PORT, which requires reporting of a fund's complete portfolio holdings on a monthly basis with every third month available to the public, will contribute substantially to information made available to the Commission and the public by funds. As the Commission has previously stated,45 the adoption of Form N-PORT will modernize fund reporting, improve the ability of the Commission to fulfill its regulatory functions, and allow investors to make more informed investment decisions.

    45See Adopting Release, supra note 1, at 81870, 81872.

    The Commission has now determined to delay the requirement that funds submit Form N-PORT through the EDGAR system by nine months to provide time to complete the necessary adjustments to the technical specifications and data validation processes and to complete the necessary functionality, performance, and security enhancements. The Commission's implementation of this delay, while facilitating changes to the EDGAR system, will impose certain costs on market participants, including costs associated with delayed access to structured portfolio holdings data, costs associated with continuing to file Form N-Q, and recordkeeping costs associated with Form N-PORT for larger fund groups. The economic effects of the delay are discussed in more detail below.

    B. Economic Baseline

    The current required reporting of information by funds (e.g., reports on Forms N-Q, N-CSR, and N-SAR), as well as the changes in reporting and disclosure brought by the adoption of Form N-PORT, serve as the baseline against which the costs and benefits as well as the impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation are discussed.46 Additionally, the baseline takes into account the fact that some funds likely have started updating their systems and processes to comply with the new Form N-PORT requirements adopted in October 2016.

    46See Adopting Release, supra note 1, at 81969.

    The entities affected by the delay of the EDGAR submission requirement for reports on Form N-PORT are generally the funds that will report using Form N-PORT; those entities that currently report using Form N-Q and would have ceased doing so as of the applicable Form N-PORT compliance date; and those entities that will rely on either filed information, including the Commission and current and future users of investment company portfolio information including investors, third-party information providers, and other interested potential users.

    As of the end of 2016, approximately 95.8 million individuals owned shares of registered investment companies, representing 55.9 million or 44.4% of U.S. households.47 We estimate that, as of the end of 2016, there were 17,072 funds registered with the Commission, of which 11,548 are required to file Form N-PORT (i.e., 9,090 mutual funds (excluding money market funds), 1,716 ETFs (including eight ETFs organized as UITs and 1,708 ETFs that are management investment companies), and 742 closed-end funds (excluding SBICs)).48 Of the fund groups required to file Form N-PORT, 68.9% of fund groups, representing 0.6% of all fund assets, have net assets below $1 billion. We also estimate that there are 11,540 funds that currently report on Form N-Q and will be required to report on Form N-PORT,49 all of which would have ceased reporting on Form N-Q as of the applicable Form N-PORT compliance date(s).50

    47 2017 Investment Company FactBook (“2017 IC FactBook”), A Review of Trends and Activities in the Investment Company Industry, 57th edition, at 2, available at https://www.ici.org/pdf/2017_factbook.pdf.

    48 Based on data obtained from the 2017 IC FactBook and registrants' filings with the Commission on Form N-SAR as of the end of 2016.

    49 11,540 is equal to 11,548 funds that are required to file Form N-PORT minus 8 ETFs organized as UITs that are required to file Form N-PORT but are not required to file form N-Q. Estimates are based on staff analysis of data obtained from Morningstar Direct, as of December 31, 2016.

    50 Based on data obtained from the 2017 IC FactBook and registrants' filings with the Commission on Form N-SAR as of the end of 2016.

    C. Economic Impacts

    We are mindful of the costs and benefits of the delay in filings on Form N-PORT, the new recordkeeping requirement, and the associated delays in the effectiveness of certain amendments and rescissions. The Commission notes that, where possible, it has sought to quantify the benefits and costs, and effects on efficiency, competition, and capital formation expected to result from the delay in the date for submitting Form N-PORT on EDGAR, the related delay in the rescission of Form N-Q, and the other changes made in this release. However, the Commission is unable to quantify many of the economic effects because it lacks information necessary to provide reasonable estimates. Effects that we are unable to quantify include the extent to which investors would be able to use the information in Form N-PORT to make more informed investment decisions either through direct use or through third-party service providers.

    1. Economic Impacts of Delay in Form N-PORT EDGAR Submission Requirement

    The EDGAR submission requirement was designed to enhance the Commission's ability to access efficiently and timely monthly investment portfolio information of a large number of funds in a structured format, and to also enhance investors' ability to make more informed investment decisions. The delay in the requirement to submit Form N-PORT on EDGAR will benefit reporting funds as well as funds' current and prospective investors, because it will allow the Commission time to make progress in the EDGAR system review and to implement and test resulting modifications to the EDGAR system.51 This will allow the large amounts of new, complex data to be submitted on EDGAR with additional security measures in place. This, in turn, will help ensure that the information contained in Form N-PORT, once submitted to EDGAR, is readily accessible and usable.

    51 To the extent that the Commission's EDGAR review and modernization efforts during the nine-month delay improve current data security for nonpublic information posted on EDGAR, funds will also benefit from efforts to strengthen the Commission's cybersecurity risk profile going forward.

    The Commission acknowledges, however, that there are costs to a delay in the receipt of Form N-PORT information. The delay in the EDGAR submission requirement could potentially temporarily affect the Commission's ability to readily incorporate Form N-PORT information into its mission through better informed policy decisions and oversight, more specific guidance and comments in the disclosure review process, and more targeted examination and enforcement efforts.52 This impact is likely mitigated, however, because during the nine-month delay in the EDGAR submission requirement, larger fund groups must still prepare and maintain in their records the information that is required to be included on Form N-PORT.53 Further, both smaller fund groups and larger fund groups must also prepare and submit reports on Form N-Q. There is overlap between the information that funds will continue to report on Form N-Q and that required in Form N-PORT; however, funds file Form N-Q in a non-structured data format, file the form less frequently, and report fewer data points than on Form N-PORT.54

    52 To the extent that larger fund groups do not prepare and maintain their reports in XML format during the delay period, the nine-month delay in the EDGAR submission requirement could also temporarily negatively affect the Commission because fund reports will not be available in a structured XML format that allows the Commission staff to more efficiently review and analyze fund portfolio information. See Adopting Release, supra note 1, at 81876, 81906-7.

    53See supra Part I.C.

    54 As detailed in the Adopting Release, Form N-PORT requires additional information concerning fund portfolio holdings that is not currently required by Form N-Q. See Adopting Release, supra note 1, at 81875-76. For example, Form N-PORT requires reporting of additional information relating to derivative investments. The form also includes certain risk metric calculations that measure a fund's exposure and sensitivity to changing market conditions, such as changes in asset prices, interest rates, or credit spreads. Form N-PORT also requires information about certain fund transactions and activities such as securities lending, repurchase agreements, and reverse repurchase agreements, including information regarding the counterparties to which the fund is exposed in those transactions, as well as in over-the-counter derivatives transactions.

    The nine-month delay of the EDGAR submission requirement will also delay the ability of current and future users of investment company portfolio information, including investors, third-party information providers, and academics, to access additional publicly available data in a structured format. This delay in the Form N-PORT submission will defer the increase in the transparency of a fund's investment strategies and will also postpone the increase in the ability of investors and other potential users to more efficiently identify the funds' risk exposures, differentiate investment companies based on their investment strategies, and make more informed investment decisions. Any costs of such a temporary delay are partially mitigated by the fact that users of investment company portfolio information will continue to have access to relevant investment company information via the reports on Form N-Q and N-CSR for the duration of the Form N-PORT submission delay.

    To the extent that the delay in the requirement to submit Form N-PORT on EDGAR for larger fund groups and the delay in the requirement to file Form N-PORT for smaller fund groups change costs borne by fund groups, these changes will come in the form of a reduction in the cost of submitting reports on Form N-PORT on EDGAR. For larger fund groups, there will be a cost saving associated with the nine-month delay in the requirement to prepare the funds' systems to accommodate the XML-based reports to the extent those fund groups choose another format to prepare and maintain the information that is required to be included in Form N-PORT during the delay period.55 For smaller fund groups, there will be a cost saving associated with the nine-month delay in both preparing and submitting reports on Form N-PORT on EDGAR.

    55 This cost saving comprises a deferral of initial costs because larger fund groups must prepare their systems to accommodate the XML-based reports with a nine-month delay and a reduction in ongoing costs because larger fund groups have to accommodate the XML-based reports for nine months less. It is possible that certain funds have already started preparing their systems and processes to accommodate the Form N-PORT requirements adopted in October 2016. Any cost reductions and deferrals for those funds are likely lower.

    Based on the cost estimates in the Adopting Release for compiling and submitting Form N-PORT on EDGAR, we believe that the cost savings for larger fund groups associated with the delay in submitting Form N-PORT on EDGAR and the delay in preparing the funds' systems to accommodate the XML Form N-PORT format requirement will be minimal. While filing with the Commission is delayed for nine months, temporary rule 30b1-9(T) will still require larger fund groups to compile the information that is required to be included in Form N-PORT during the nine months that the EDGAR submission requirement is delayed and these funds will incur the additional cost of maintaining the information required by Form N-PORT in the funds' records in an easily accessible place as required by the temporary final rule. We believe that the cost savings for smaller fund groups associated with the delay in preparing and submitting Form N-PORT on EDGAR for nine months will be likely higher compared to the cost savings for larger fund groups. These cost savings likely comprise a nine-month deferral of initial costs associated with preparing the necessary systems and processes for Form N-PORT filings and a reduction in ongoing costs associated with preparing, reviewing, and filing reports on Form N-PORT for nine months.56 Finally, for both larger and smaller funds groups, the proposed delay will temporarily defer costs associated with the public release of information that was previously held private.57

    56See Adopting Release supra note 1, footnotes 1300-1304 for details on the initial and ongoing costs associated with preparing, reviewing, and filing reports on Form N-PORT.

    57 Such costs include potential “front-running,” “predatory trading,” and “copycatting/reverse engineering of trading strategies” by other investors as well as the public release of previously private and sensitive information, such as the identities and weights of all of the individual components in custom baskets or indexes comprising the reference instruments underlying the fund's derivative investments, information regarding fees and financing terms for certain derivatives contracts, information regarding the variable financing rates for swaps that pay or receive financing payments, and the reporting of distressed debt issued by private companies. See Adopting Release, supra note 1, at 81977-80.

    2. Economic Impacts of Delay in Form N-Q Rescission

    The nine-month delay in the Form N-PORT submission on EDGAR likely imposes additional costs to funds required to file reports on Form N-Q for an additional nine months. First, the requirement to submit Form N-Q for an additional nine months as well as prepare and maintain the information that is required to be included in a larger fund group's report on Form N-PORT will impose filing costs for Form N-Q and some duplicative preparation and recordkeeping costs on larger fund groups that will be required to prepare and maintain information that is included in both forms. Using estimates from the Adopting Release, we calculate that preparing and filing Form N-Q imposes annual total cost of $78,518,160 for all funds, or $6,804 per fund annually.58 However, because substantially all of Form N-Q questions have been incorporated into Form N-PORT, we estimate that much of the estimated burden encompasses the cost of gathering and preparing relevant data as well as developing or maintaining the systems and records to generate the data that will be required by both forms. As a result, the additional costs of preparing and filing Form N-Q during the nine-month delay will likely be administrative in nature, and small in relation to the costs that funds already bear for preparing and reviewing Form N-PORT.59

    58 The estimated annual cost per-fund is based upon the following calculations: $6,804 = 21 hours/fund × $324/hour compensation for professionals commonly used in preparation of Form N-Q filings. ($324 = ($308 per hour for senior programmers + $340 per hour for compliance attorneys) ÷ 2 (as half of the time will be performed by senior programmers and half by compliance attorneys)), as we believe these employees would commonly be responsible for completing reports on Form N-Q. The estimated annual total cost is based on the following calculation: $78,518,160 = $6,804 annual per fund cost × 11,540 funds. Funds are currently required to file a quarterly report on Form N-Q after the close of the first and third quarters of each fiscal year. See Adopting Release, supra note 1, at 81998.

    59See Adopting Release, supra note 1, at page 81975.

    Second, the delay in the Form N-PORT submission requirement will impose an additional cost on funds that must continue seeking certification of the Form N-Q for nine more months until Form N-Q is rescinded.60 As mentioned above, once Form N-Q is rescinded, the certifying officer will be required to state that he or she has disclosed in Form N-CSR any change in the registrant's internal control over financial reporting that occurred during the most recent fiscal half-year rather than the most recent quarter to fill the gap in certification coverage that would otherwise occur once Form N-Q is rescinded. Nevertheless, we believe any additional certification costs arising from the delay in the Form N-Q rescission will be minimal.61

    60 On the other hand, the proposed delay in the Form N-Q rescission will also temporarily defer for some funds any costs associated with the rescission of Form N-Q, depending on a particular fund's fiscal year. In particular, the rescission of Form N-Q will eliminate certifications of the accuracy of the portfolio schedules reported for the first and third fiscal quarters and funds will only certify their disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting in Form N-CSR semi-annually. To the extent that Form N-Q's certifications about the accuracy of portfolio holdings improve the accuracy of the data reported during the first and third quarters, reducing the frequency of certifications from quarterly to semiannually could affect the quality of the data reported. The delay in the rescission of Form N-Q could thus delay the potential cost of reduced data quality due to the reduction in the data certification frequency.

    61See Adopting Release, supra note 1, at 81975, 82005.

    3. Analysis of Effects on Efficiency, Competition, and Capital Formation

    Market participants rely on the ability of EDGAR to perform effectively in order to provide the Commission and investors with timely reporting. The Commission prioritizes a secure and fully functional EDGAR for receiving information about its registrants and providing that information to market participants. The delay in the Form N-PORT submission requirement and the resulting delay in the Form N-Q rescission will provide the Commission with time to make progress in the EDGAR system review and to implement and test resulting modifications to the EDGAR system to allow EDGAR to accept new, large, and complex structured data disclosures made by funds effectively, with additional security measures in place, thereby facilitating the ready accessibility of the disclosures by investors and other market participants.

    The Commission acknowledges, however, that the delay will temporarily prevent the Commission, investors, and other market participants from accessing the more comprehensive and structured portfolio information that would be made available by funds filing Form N-PORT. The enhanced disclosures in Form N-PORT would allow the Commission to better monitor industry trends and identify industry outliers, provide guidance and comments to improve disclosure, identify risks, inform policy and rulemaking, and assist the Commission in its oversight efforts. The enhanced disclosures in Form N-PORT would also allow investors and other market participants to more efficiently analyze investment portfolio information, better differentiate investment companies based on their investment strategies and other activities, select funds based on security selection, industry focus, level of diversification, and the use of leverage and derivatives. The enhanced disclosures therefore would ultimately allow investors to allocate capital across reporting funds more in line with their risk preferences and increase the competition among funds for investor capital. Hence, the delay in the Form N-PORT submission requirement might temporarily negatively impact investors; the fair, orderly, and efficient functioning of the markets; and capital formation. Importantly, however, this temporary negative impact is mitigated by delaying the rescission of Form N-Q until May 1, 2020 so that funds will continue to provide some fund portfolio holdings information on Form N-Q.

    The delay may have an incremental competitive effect on larger fund groups, which remain subject to the requirement to prepare the information required by Form N-PORT and Form N-Q, but to retain the former and submit the latter, for an additional nine months, while smaller fund groups are not subject to the costs of preparing and retaining the information required by Form N-PORT. These effects are likely small, given the relative size of the larger fund groups to the smaller fund groups and will only last for nine months.

    D. Alternatives

    As an alternative to the nine-month delay of the EDGAR submission requirement for reports on Form N-PORT, we considered a longer or shorter delay period. While a shorter period would have reduced the costs to the Commission and other current and future users of investment company portfolio information of not receiving investment portfolio information in a more timely manner, the Commission believes that a shorter period would be inadequate for review and testing of the EDGAR system's ability to validate and accept Form N-PORT filings effectively. At this time, the Commission also believes that a longer period is not necessary and would increase the costs to the Commission and other users of investment company portfolio information.

    As an alternative to the tiered EDGAR submission requirement on Form N-PORT for larger and smaller fund groups, we considered a nine-month delay in the Form N-PORT submission requirement only for larger fund groups. Such a delay would not allow smaller fund groups to benefit from the extra time to comply with the new requirements and potentially benefit from the lessons learned by larger fund groups. As discussed above, we are not revisiting the decision made in the Adopting Release to maximize the potential for smaller fund groups (and any external vendors that would be used by both larger and smaller fund groups) to benefit from lessons learned by larger fund groups, and therefore we are preserving a tiered requirement for the Form N-PORT EDGAR submission process.62 Relatedly, similar to larger fund groups, we considered requiring smaller fund groups to prepare and maintain records of the information that is required to be included in Form N-PORT during the delay. However, delaying the filing requirement for smaller fund groups allows them to benefit from the lessons learned by larger fund groups in preparing and filing Form N-PORT on EDGAR as discussed in the Adopting Release.63

    62See supra Part I.C.

    63See Adopting Release, supra note 1, at 81966.

    As an alternative to the delay in the rescission of Form N-Q, we considered not delaying the rescission of Form N-Q while delaying the N-PORT EDGAR submission requirement by nine months. Such an alternative would decrease the information that is available to the Commission and various market participants, such as investors, about fund portfolio performance. Such a reduction in information availability could adversely impact investors, market efficiency, and capital formation.

    We did not revisit the decision made in the Adopting Release to require that funds prepare the information that must be included on Form N-PORT by June 1, 2018 for larger fund groups. The sole purpose of the nine-month delay is to allow the Commission time to make progress in the EDGAR system review and to implement and test resulting modifications to the EDGAR system to allow EDGAR to accept new, large, and complex structured data disclosures made on Form N-PORT by funds effectively, with additional security measures in place.

    III. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Commission is delaying the requirement to submit reports on Form N-PORT on the EDGAR system by nine months for larger fund groups from July 30, 2018 to April 30, 2019 and for smaller fund groups from July 30, 2019 to April 30, 2020. The Commission is also adopting rule 30b1-9(T) that requires funds in larger fund groups to maintain in their records the information required in Form N-PORT during that nine-month delay. In addition, the Commission is delaying the rescission of current Form N-Q and delaying the effectiveness of certain amendments to other rules and forms. We do not believe that any of these changes will make any substantive modifications to any existing collection of information requirements within the meaning of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (“PRA”).64

    64 44 U.S.C. 3501 through 3521.

    A. Form N-PORT

    Rule 30b1-9(T) will require larger fund groups, during the nine-month delay, to satisfy their reporting obligation by maintaining in their records the information required to be included in Form N-PORT instead of submitting the information via EDGAR. We believe that the burden associated with preserving the information required by Form N-PORT in the fund's records in an easily accessible place is similar to the burden associated with submitting the prepared report on EDGAR. Moreover,we believe that some of the burden for smaller fund groups associated with filing Form N-PORT will be deferred for nine months, but because many of the burdens associated with preparing Form N-PORT will be incurred by funds before then, we believe that there will be no substantive modification to the existing collection of information for Form N-PORT. As a result, the Commission believes that the current PRA burden estimates for the existing collection of information requirements remain appropriate.65

    65 “Form N-PORT Under the Investment Company Act, Monthly Portfolio Investments Report” (OMB Control No. 3235-0730).

    B. Rescission of Form N-Q

    As discussed in the Adopting Release, in connection with our adoption of Form N-PORT, we determined to rescind Form N-Q effective August 1, 2019 in order to eliminate unnecessarily duplicative reporting requirements once smaller funds began reporting on Form N-PORT.66 The rescission of Form N-Q will affect all management investment companies required to file reports on the form. Because larger fund groups that are subject to rule 30b1-9(T) will be required to file public reports on Form N-Q at the time they prepare and preserve the information required by Form N-PORT, these requirements include certain requirements that are duplicative, though they will not involve duplicative public reporting requirements. Because we are delaying the effective date of the rescission of Form N-Q by nine months to May 1, 2020, the burden reduction we estimated will be realized nine months later than contemplated by the Adopting Release. As a result, the Commission believes that the current PRA burden estimates for the existing collection of information requirements remain appropriate.67

    66 Adopting Release, supra note 1, at 81998.

    67 “Form N-Q—Quarterly Schedule of Portfolio Holdings of Registered Management Investment Company” (OMB Control No. 3235-0578).

    C. Registration Statement Forms

    We are delaying the effective date of technical and conforming changes to Forms N-1A, N-2, and N-3 referring to the availability of portfolio holdings schedules to May 1, 2020, the same day the rescission of Form N-Q will now be effective.

    In the Adopting Release, we did not estimate a change to burden hours or the external costs related to the technical and conforming amendments related to the availability of portfolio holdings schedules. Therefore, we do not believe that there is a change to burden hours or the external costs resulting from the delay of the effective date of these amendments. Accordingly, the Commission believes that the current PRA burden estimates for the existing collection of information requirements remain appropriate.68

    68 “Form N-1A under the Securities Act of 1933 and under the Investment Company Act of 1940, Registration Statement of Open-End Management Investment Companies” (OMB Control No. 3235-0307); “Form N-2 under the Investment Company Act of 1940 and Securities Act of 1933, Registration Statement of Closed-End Management Investment Companies” (OMB Control No. 3235-0026); and “Form N-3 Under the Investment Company Act of 1940, Registration Statement of Separate Accounts Organized as Management Investment Companies” (OMB Control No. 3235-0316).

    D. Amendments to Form N-CSR

    As discussed in the Adopting Release, in connection with the rescission of Form N-Q, we also adopted amendments to Form N-CSR, the reporting form used by management companies to file certified shareholder reports under the Investment Company Act and the Exchange Act.69

    69 Adopting Release, supra note 1, at 82004. Compliance with the certification requirements will be mandatory, and responses are not kept confidential.

    In the Adopting Release, we estimated that the amendments to the certification requirements of Form N-CSR would not change the annual hour burden or external costs associated with Form N-CSR.70 Therefore, we do not believe that there is a change to burden hours or the external costs resulting from the delay of the effective date of these amendments. Accordingly, the Commission believes that the current PRA burden estimates for the existing collection of information requirements remain appropriate.71

    70Id. at 82005.

    71 “Form N-CSR under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and under the Investment Company Act of 1940, Certified Shareholder Report of Registered Management Investment Companies” (OMB Control No. 3235-0570).

    IV. Statutory Authority

    We are adopting the rules contained in this document under the authority set forth in the Securities Act [15 U.S.C. 77a et seq.], the Exchange Act, particularly sections 10, 13, 15, 23, and 35A thereof [15 U.S.C. 78a et seq.], the Investment Company Act, particularly sections 8, 30, 31, and 38 thereof [15 U.S.C. 80a et seq.], and 44 U.S.C. 3506.

    List of Subjects 17 CFR Part 232

    Administrative practice and procedure, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Securities.

    17 CFR Part 239

    Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Securities.

    17 CFR Part 249

    Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Securities.

    17 CFR Parts 270 and 274

    Investment companies, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Securities.

    For reasons set forth in the preamble, title 17, chapter II of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

    PART 270—RULES AND REGULATIONS, INVESTMENT COMPANY ACT OF 1940 1. The authority citation for part 270 continues to read, in part, as follows: Authority:

    15 U.S.C. 80a-1 et seq., 80a-34(d), 80a-37, 80a-39, and Pub. L. 111-203, sec. 939A, 124 Stat. 1376 (2010), unless otherwise noted.

    2. Section 270.30b1-9(T) is added to read as follows:
    § 270.30b1-9(T) Temporary rule regarding monthly report.

    (a) Until April 1, 2019, each registered management investment company subject to § 270.30b1-9 of this chapter must satisfy its reporting obligation under that section by maintaining in its records the information that is required to be included in Form N-PORT (§ 274.150 of this chapter).

    (b) The information maintained in the registered management investment company's records under paragraph (a) of this section shall be treated as a record under section 31(a)(1) of the Act [15 U.S.C. 80a-30(a)(1)] and § 270.31a-1(b) of this chapter subject to the requirements of § 270.31a-2(a)(2) of this chapter.

    (c) This section will expire and no longer be effective on March 31, 2026.

    By the Commission.

    Dated: December 8, 2017. Brent J. Fields, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26922 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary 32 CFR Part 232 [Docket ID: DOD-2017-OS-0038] RIN 0790-ZA13 Military Lending Act Limitations on Terms of Consumer Credit Extended to Service Members and Dependents AGENCY:

    Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Department of Defense.

    ACTION:

    Interpretive rule; amendment.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Defense (Department) is amending its interpretive rule for the Military Lending Act (the MLA). The MLA, as implemented by the Department, limits the military annual percentage rate (MAPR) that a creditor may charge to a maximum of 36 percent, requires certain disclosures, and provides other substantive consumer protections on “consumer credit” extended to Service members and their families. On July 22, 2015, the Department amended its regulation primarily for the purpose of extending the protections of the MLA to a broader range of closed-end and open-end credit products (the July 2015 Final Rule). On August 26, 2016, the Department issued the first set of interpretations of that regulation in the form of questions and answers; the present interpretive rule amends and adds to those questions and answers to provide guidance on certain questions the Department has received regarding compliance with the July 2015 Final Rule.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: This interpretive rule is effective December 14, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Andrew Cohen, 703-692-5286.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background and Purpose

    In July 2015, the Department of Defense (Department) issued a final rule 1 (July 2015 Final Rule) amending its regulation implementing the Military Lending Act (MLA) 2 primarily for the purpose of extending the protections of the MLA to a broader range of closed-end and open-end credit products, rather than the limited credit products that had been defined as “consumer credit.” 3 Among other amendments, the July 2015 Final Rule modified provisions relating to the optional mechanism a creditor may use when assessing whether a consumer is a “covered borrower,” modified the disclosures that a creditor must provide to a covered borrower, and implemented the enforcement provisions of the MLA.

    1 80 FR 43560 (July 22, 2015).

    2 10 U.S.C. 987.

    3 32 CFR 232.3(b) as implemented in a final rule published at 72 FR 50580 (Aug. 31, 2007).

    Subsequently, the Department received requests to clarify its interpretation of points raised in the July 2015 Final Rule. The Department elected to inform the public of its views by issuing an interpretive rule in the form of questions and answers to assist industry in complying with the July 2015 Final Rule. The Department issued the first set of such interpretations on August 26, 2016 (August 26, 2016 Interpretive Rule).4 The present interpretive rule amends and adds to those questions and answers. This interpretive rule does not change the regulation implementing the MLA, but merely states the Department's preexisting interpretations of an existing regulation. Therefore, under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(A), this rulemaking is exempt from the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, and, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(2), this rule is effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register.

    4 81 FR 58840 (August 26, 2016).

    II. Interpretations of the Department

    The following questions and answers represent official interpretations of the Department on issues related to 32 CFR part 232. For ease of reference, the following terms are used throughout this document: MLA refers to the Military Lending Act (codified at 10 U.S.C. 987); MAPR refers to the military annual percentage rate, as defined in 32 CFR 232.3(p).

    In order to provide further guidance to industry and the public on the Department's view of its existing regulation, the Department amends its guidance on three questions and provides one additional question and answer. The numbering of this document follows the numbering of the questions and answers provided in the August 26, 2016 Interpretive Rule.

    2. Does credit that a creditor extends for the purpose of purchasing a motor vehicle or personal property, which secures the credit, fall within the exception to “consumer credit” under 32 CFR 232.3(f)(2)(ii) or (iii) where the creditor simultaneously extends credit in an amount greater than the purchase price of the motor vehicle or personal property?

    Answer: The answer will depend on what the credit beyond the purchase price of the motor vehicle or personal property is used to finance. Generally, financing costs related to the object securing the credit will not disqualify the transaction from the exceptions, but financing credit-related costs will disqualify the transaction from the exceptions.

    Section 232.3(f)(1) defines “consumer credit” as credit offered or extended to a covered borrower primarily for personal, family, or household purposes that is subject to a finance charge or payable by written agreement in more than four installments. Section 232.3(f)(2) provides a list of exceptions to paragraph (f)(1), including an exception for any credit transaction that is expressly intended to finance the purchase of a motor vehicle when the credit is secured by the vehicle being purchased and an exception for any credit transaction that is expressly intended to finance the purchase of personal property when the credit is secured by the property being purchased.

    A credit transaction that finances the object itself, as well as any costs expressly related to that object, is covered by the exceptions in § 232.3(f)(2)(ii) and (iii), provided it does not also finance any credit-related product or service. For example, a credit transaction that finances the purchase of a motor vehicle (and is secured by that vehicle), and also finances optional leather seats within that vehicle and an extended warranty for service of that vehicle is eligible for the exception under § 232.3(f)(2)(ii). Moreover, if a covered borrower trades in a motor vehicle with negative equity as part of the purchase of another motor vehicle, and the credit transaction to purchase the second vehicle includes financing to repay the credit on the trade-in vehicle, the entire credit transaction is eligible for the exception under § 232.3(f)(2)(ii) because the trade-in of the first motor vehicle is expressly related to the purchase of the second motor vehicle. Similarly, a credit transaction that finances the purchase of an appliance (and is secured by that appliance), and also finances the delivery and installation of that appliance, is eligible for the exception under § 232.3(f)(2)(iii).

    In contrast, a credit transaction that also finances a credit-related product or service rather than a product or service expressly related to the motor vehicle or personal property is not eligible for the exceptions under § 232.3(f)(2)(ii) and (iii). For example, a credit transaction that includes financing for Guaranteed Auto Protection insurance or a credit insurance premium would not qualify for the exception under § 232.3(f)(2)(ii) or (iii). Similarly, a hybrid purchase money and cash advance credit transaction is not expressly intended to finance the purchase of a motor vehicle or personal property because the credit transaction provides additional financing that is unrelated to the purchase. Therefore, any credit transaction that provides purchase money secured financing of a motor vehicle or personal property along with additional “cashout” financing is not eligible for the exceptions under § 232.3(f)(2)(ii) and (iii) and must comply with the provisions set forth in the MLA regulation.

    17. Does the limitation in § 232.8(e) on a creditor using a check or other method of access to a deposit, savings, or other financial account maintained by the covered borrower prohibit the borrower from granting a security interest to a creditor in the covered borrower's checking, savings or other financial account?

    Answer: No. The prohibition in § 232.8(e) does not prohibit covered borrowers from granting a security interest to a creditor in the covered borrower's checking, savings, or other financial account, provided that it is not otherwise prohibited by other applicable law and the creditor complies with all other provisions of the MLA regulation, including the limitation on the MAPR to 36 percent. As discussed in Question and Answer #16 of these Interpretations, § 232.8(e) prohibits a creditor from using the borrower's account information to create a remotely created check or remotely created payment order in order to collect payments on consumer credit from a covered borrower or using a post-dated check provided at or around the time credit is extended.

    Section 232.8(e)(3) further clarifies that covered borrowers may convey security interests in checking, savings, or other financial accounts by describing a permissible security interest granted by covered borrowers. Borrowers may convey security interests for all types of consumer credit covered by the MLA regulation.

    Creditors should also note, however, that 32 CFR 232.7(a) provides that the MLA does not preempt any State or Federal law, rule or regulation to the extent that such law, rule or regulation provides greater protection to covered borrowers than the protections provided by the MLA. For example, although the MLA regulation does not prohibit borrowers from conveying security interests in all types of consumer credit covered by the regulation, including credit card accounts, such accounts may also be subject to other laws, rules and regulations governing offsets and security interests. See, e.g., 12 CFR 1026.12(d).

    18. Does the limitation in § 232.8(e) on a creditor using a check or other method of access to a deposit, savings, or other financial account maintained by the covered borrower prohibit a creditor from exercising a statutory right, or a right arising out of a security interest a borrower grants to a creditor, to take a security interest in funds deposited within a covered borrower's account at any time?

    Answer: No. In addition to the security interests granted by borrowers to creditors, as discussed in Question and Answer #17 of these Interpretations, above, under certain circumstances Federal or State statutes may grant creditors statutory liens on funds deposited within covered borrowers' asset accounts. Section 232.8(e) does not prohibit a creditor from exercising rights to take a security interest in funds deposited into a covered borrower's account at any time, including enforcing statutory liens, provided that it is not otherwise prohibited by other applicable law and the creditor complies with all other provisions of the MLA regulation, including the limitation on the MAPR to 36 percent. For example, under 12 U.S.C. 1757(11) Federal credit unions may “enforce a lien upon the shares and dividends of any member, to the extent of any loan made to him and any dues or charges payable by him.”

    As discussed in Question and Answer #16 of these Interpretations, § 232.8(e) serves to prohibit a creditor from using the borrower's account information to create a remotely created check or remotely created payment order in order to collect payments on consumer credit from a covered borrower or using a postdated check provided at or around the time credit is extended. Section 232.8(e)(3) describes a permissible activity under § 232.8(e). However, the fact that § 232.8(e)(3) specifies a particular time when a creditor may take a security interest in funds deposited in an account does not change the general effect of the prohibition in § 232.8(e). Therefore, § 232.8(e) does not impede a creditor from—for example—exercising a statutory right to take a security interest in funds deposited in an account at any time, provided that the security interest is not otherwise prohibited by other applicable law and the creditor complies with all other provisions of the MLA regulation, including the limitation on the MAPR to 36 percent.

    Creditors may exercise the right to take a security interest in funds deposited into a covered borrower's account in connection with all types of consumer credit covered by the MLA regulation, including credit card accounts, provided the creditor's actions are not prohibited by other State or Federal law, rule or regulation that provides greater protection to covered borrowers than the protections provided in the MLA. For example, although the MLA regulation does not prohibit borrowers from conveying security interests in all types of consumer credit covered by the regulation, including credit card accounts, such accounts may also be subject to other laws, rules and regulations governing offsets and security interests. See, e.g., 12 CFR 1026.12(d).

    20. To qualify for the optional safe harbor under 32 CFR 232.5(b)(3), must the creditor determine the consumer's covered borrower status simultaneously with the consumer's submission of an application for consumer credit or exactly 30 days prior?

    Answer: No. Section 232.5(b)(3)(i) and (ii) permit the creditor to qualify for the safe harbor when it makes a timely determination regarding the status of a consumer at the time the consumer either initiates the transaction or submits an application to establish an account, or anytime during a 30-day period of time prior to such action. Therefore, a creditor qualifies for the safe harbor under § 232.5(b) when the qualified covered borrower check that the creditor relies on is conducted at the time a consumer initiates a credit transaction or applies to establish an account, or up to 30 days prior to the action taken by the consumer. Similarly, the timing provisions in § 232.5(b)(3)(i) and (ii) permit a creditor to qualify for the safe harbor when it conducts a qualified covered borrower check simultaneously with the initiation of the transaction or submission of an application by the consumer or during the course of the creditor's processing of that application for consumer credit.

    III. Regulatory Impact Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review” and Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review”

    Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. It has been determined that this is not a significant rule. This interpretive rule will not have an annual effect of $100 million or more on the economy, or adversely affect productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State or local governments. This rulemaking will not interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency, or raise new legal or policy issues. Finally, this rulemaking will not alter the budgetary impacts of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients of such programs.

    This amended interpretive rule does not change the regulation implementing the MLA, but merely states the Department's preexisting interpretations of an existing regulation. Moreover, the Department's interpretive views do not further prohibit or limit the sale of credit and ancillary credit-related products beyond any limits that may be set forth in the final rule. For example, under the final rule as issued, the inclusion of ancillary credit products in a hybrid transaction makes the credit transaction ineligible for the exemption from “consumer credit” under 32 CFR 232.3(f)(2)(ii) and (iii). This amended interpretive rule merely provides guidance on how the rule applies when such products are included in a credit transaction. Neither the final rule nor this amended interpretive rule prohibits the sale of ancillary credit products by the creditor as part of the credit transaction or as a separate transaction, nor does either prohibit a covered borrower from purchasing such products from the creditor or from another source. The Department estimates there remains a variety of venues for creditors to offer ancillary credit products and covered borrowers to acquire such ancillary credit products.

    In evaluating any potential economic impact, the Department has consulted with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“Bureau”) 5 to assess the scope of the market for motor vehicle loans that also provide financing for a credit-related product or service, as such loans would not meet the exception from “consumer credit” in 32 CFR 232.3(f)(2)(ii). Specifically, the Department's assessment focused on guaranteed asset protection (GAP) and other credit insurance premiums, such as credit life and credit disability insurance, that are financed in connection with a credit transaction expressly intended to purchase a motor vehicle. In conducting its assessment, the Department excluded financing costs that are expressly related to the object being purchased because, as clarified in this interpretive rule, such costs would not prevent an otherwise exempt credit transaction from qualifying for the exemptions from “consumer credit” in 32 CFR 232.3(f)(2)(ii) and (iii).6 In assessing the scope of the market, the Department, in consultation with the Bureau, relied on informal surveys and reports regarding the market for financed motor vehicle transactions, the utilization of GAP and other credit insurance premiums in that market, and the typical costs to consumers associated with such ancillary credit-related products.7

    5 The Bureau monitors, analyzes, and performs outreach to the auto lending industry through its Office of Consumer Lending, Reporting & Collection Markets. The Bureau, as part of its ongoing assistance to the Department, provided the Department with certain data regarding the auto lending marketplace.

    6 For example, the Department excluded from this analysis credit transactions that also finance extended warranty protection or include financing to repay the credit on a trade-in vehicle because the Department interprets such costs as expressly related to the object (motor vehicle) being financed.

    7See Experian, “State of the Automotive Finance Market: A Look at Loans and Leases in Q4 2016,” at 11, 19 (2016); Colonnade Advisors, “F&I Products Industry Market Commentary,” at 2 (2016), available at coladv.com/wp-content/uploads/FI-Product-Industry-Report-April-2016.pdf ; F&I and Showroom, “Tracking F&I Performance,” http://www.fi-magazine.com/article/story/2012/01/tracking-f-i-performance.aspx (last visited Sept. 20, 2017). The Department's research indicates that the available data regarding credit-related ancillary products in the auto lending marketplace are limited and primarily derived from informal surveys and reports.

    8 Approximately 82 percent of Service members are enlisted; 91 percent do not have college degrees; 44 percent are under 25 years of age; and 67 percent of those under 25 own or lease at least one vehicle. The intersection of these portions creates a factor of approximately .22, which can be applied to the total market value of approximately $93.8 million, resulting in a possible market segment of approximately $21.7 million. This segment would then require further apportionment to reflect the share of the products therein that offer interest rates above the 36 percent cap. See 2015 Demographics Profile of the Military Community, Chapter 2, Department of Defense, available at http://download.militaryonesource.mil/12038/MOS/Reports/2015-Demographics-Report.pdf and Table 3202. Consumer units with reference person under age 25 by income before taxes: Average annual expenditures, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2015-2016, Bureau of Labor Statistics, available at https://www.bls.gov/cex/2016/CrossTabs/agebyinc/xunder25.PDF.

    Based on available data, the Department estimates the annual total market revenue for these products at $6,116.5 and $3,761.7 million, respectively, or a total of $9,878.1 million. The Department estimates that the covered borrower market for these products is .95 percent of the total market for these products, as covered borrower households represent .95 percent of total U.S. households, which implies a total possible market for covered borrowers of approximately $93.8 million. Of these covered borrowers, the Department estimates that only a very small portion of these consumers could include the Service members and their families covered by the MLA. As an example, if the typical consumer of such a product is an enlisted Service member under 25, does not have a college degree, and owns a car, the possible market value relevant to the MLA and this interpretive rule might be more like $21.7 million.8 Within this further market segment, an undetermined percentage of these products actually offer interest rates greater than 36 percent and would actually be purchased by this group, which would represent the share of products that fall under the MLA requirement. Generally, in this and other possible scenarios across age groups and other demographic characteristics, the Department anticipates the universe of products that exceed 36 percent interest in this category is very small and possibly negligible, especially considering the time that has passed since the final rule was issued. This number is anticipated to be even more likely to be negligible when considering the number of covered borrowers who would choose to consume this product particularly in light of the existing MLA requirement.

    2 U.S.C. Ch. 25, “Unfunded Mandates Reform Act”

    Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1532) requires agencies to assess anticipated costs and benefits before issuing any rule whose mandates require spending in any 1 year of $100 million in 1995 dollars, updated annually for inflation. In 2014, that threshold is approximately $141 million. This rule will not mandate any requirements for State, local, or tribal governments, nor will it affect private sector costs.

    Public Law 96-354, “Regulatory Flexibility Act” (5 U.S.C. Ch. 6)

    The Department of Defense certifies that this rule is not subject to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601) because it would not, if promulgated, have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Therefore, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended, does not require us to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis.

    Public Law 96-511, “Paperwork Reduction Act” (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35)

    This rule does not impose reporting and record keeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    Executive Order 13132, “Federalism”

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

    Dated: December 11, 2017. Patricia L. Toppings, OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26974 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2017-1053] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Delaware River, Pipeline Removal, Marcus Hook, PA AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Interim rule and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    This interim rule modifies and extends the effective period of the existing temporary safety zone encompassing all navigable waters within a 250-yard radius of Commerce Construction vessels and machinery conducting diving and pipeline removal operations in the Delaware River, in the vicinity of Anchorage 7, near Marcus Hook, PA. The safety zone is needed to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment from potential hazards created by diving and pipeline removal operations. Entry of vessels or persons into this zone is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port Delaware Bay. We invite your comments on this rulemaking.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective without actual notice from December 14, 2017. For the purposes of enforcement, actual notice will be used from December 9, 2017, through December 14, 2017. Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before January 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Documents mentioned in this preamble are part of Docket Number USCG-2017-1053. To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to 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 rulemaking. You may submit comments, identified by docket number, 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 rulemaking, call or email Petty Officer Amanda Boone, Waterways Management Branch, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay; telephone (215) 271-4889, email [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 U.S.C. United States Code II. Regulatory History and Information

    On November 28, 2017, the Coast Guard published a temporary safety zone titled Safety Zone; Delaware River, Pipeline Removal, Marcus Hook, PA (82 FR 56170). The temporary safety zone established a safety zone from November 21, 2017, through December 8, 2017. The safety zone covers all navigable waters within 250 yards of vessels and machinery being used by personnel to conduct diving and pipe removal operations. Due to unforeseen issues with the operation, the expected dates of work have been changed and extended to February 28, 2018.

    Under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making this rule effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Delaying the effective date of this rule would be impracticable because immediate action is needed to address the potential safety hazards associated with diving and pipeline removal operations.

    III. Background, Purpose, and Legal Basis

    The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under authority in 33 U.S.C. 1231. The Captain of the Port Delaware Bay has determined that potential hazards associated with diving and pipe removal operations currently underway in the Delaware River, will be a safety concern for anyone within a 250-yard radius of diving and pipe removal vessels and machinery. This rule is needed to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment in the navigable waters within the safety zone while the operations are being conducted.

    IV. Discussion of Comments, Changes, and the Interim Rule

    Only two changes have been made to the existing temporary rule. First, the original end date for enforcement of the safety zone was December 8, 2017, and the end date for the enforcement of the safety zone is being changed to February 28, 2018. Second, the enforcement period regulatory text, paragraph (d), has been amended to indicate what time of day the zone will be enforced. This timeframe was discussed in the regulatory analyses statements of the temporary final rule but was not included in the regulatory text itself.

    This rule establishes a safety zone from December 9, 2017, through February 28, 2018. The safety zone will cover all navigable waters within 250 yards of vessels and machinery being used by personnel to conduct diving and pipe removal operations.

    V. Regulatory Analyses

    We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and executive orders (E.O.s) related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on a number of these statutes and E.O.s and we discuss First Amendment rights of protestors.

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

    E.O.s 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. E.O. 13771 directs agencies to control regulatory costs through a budgeting process. This rule has not been designated a “significant regulatory action,” under E.O. 12866. Accordingly, the 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 E.O. 13771.

    This regulatory action determination is based on the size, location and duration of the security zone. Vessel traffic will be able to safely transit around this safety zone which would impact a small designated area of the Delaware River from December 9, 2017, through February 28, 2018. Moreover, the Coast Guard will issue a Broadcast Notice to Mariners via VHF-FM marine channel 16, Local Notice to Mariners, and Marine Safety Information Bulletin about the zone, and the rule would allow vessels to seek permission to enter the zone.

    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 would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    While some owners or operators of vessels that intend to transit the security zone may be small entities, for the reasons stated in section V.A above this 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 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 rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

    C. Collection of Information

    This 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 E.O. 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.

    Also, this rule does not have tribal implications under E.O. 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 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 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 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 rule involves a safety zone that will prohibit entry within 250 yards of vessels and machinery being used by personnel to conduct diving and pipe removal operations. It is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph L60(d) of Appendix A, Table 1 of DHS Instruction Manual 023-01-001-01, Rev. 01. A Record of Environmental Consideration (REC) 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 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.

    VI. 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 USCG-2017-1053 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, you may review a Privacy Act notice regarding the Federal Docket Management System in the March 24, 2005, issue of the Federal Register (70 FR 15086).

    Documents mentioned in this rule 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 website'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 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.T05-1053, to read as follows:
    § 165.T05-1053 Safety Zone, Delaware River; Pipeline Removal; Marcus Hook, PA.

    (a) Location. The following areas are safety zones: All navigable waters within 250 yards of the towing vessel JOKER, Commerce Construction crane barge KELLY, and associated diving and pipe removal vessels, as well as any associated equipment, operating in Marcus Hook Range and Anchorage No. 7 near Marcus Hook, PA, on the Delaware River.

    (b) Definitions—(1) Captain of the Port means the Commander, Sector Delaware Bay or any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant, or petty officer who has been authorized by the Captain of the Port to act on his behalf.

    (2) Designated representative means any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant or petty officer who has been authorized by the Captain of the Port, Delaware Bay, to assist with the enforcement of safety zones described in paragraph (a) of this section.

    (c) Regulations. The general safety zone regulations found in 33 CFR part 165 subpart C apply to the safety zone created by this section.

    (1) Entry into or transiting within either safety zone is prohibited unless vessels obtain permission from the Captain of the Port via VHF-FM channel 16, or make satisfactory passing arrangements via VHF-FM channels 13 or 80 with the towing vessel JOKER per this section and the rules of the Road (33 CFR subchapter E). Vessels requesting to transit shall contact the towing vessel JOKER on channel 13 or 80 at least 1 hour, as well as 30 minutes, prior to arrival.

    (2) Vessels granted permission to enter and transit the safety zone must do so in accordance with any directions or orders of the Captain of the Port, his designated representative, or the towing vessel JOKER. No person or vessel may enter or remain in a safety zone without permission from the Captain of the Port or the towing vessel JOKER.

    (3) There are three sections of pipeline that will be removed. The first two sections of pipeline to be removed are in Anchorage No. 7, Marcus Hook Anchorage, in the Delaware River. During removal of these sections of pipeline, the safety zone will restrict vessels from anchoring in the lower portion of Anchorage No. 7.

    (4) During removal of the third section of pipeline, operations will be conducted within the main navigational channel and vessels will be required to transit through the lower portion of Anchorage No. 7. The Coast Guard will issue a Broadcast Notice to Mariners via VHF-FM marine channel 16, Local Notice to Mariners, and Marine Safety Information Bulletin further defining specific work locations and traffic patterns.

    (5) All vessels must operate at the minimum safe speed necessary to maintain steerage and reduce wake.

    (6) This section applies to all vessels that intend to transit through the safety zone except vessels that are engaged in the following operations: enforcement of laws, service of aids to navigation, and emergency response.

    (d) Enforcement periods. This section will be enforced from December 8, 2017, through February 28, 2018. Enforcement will generally be between the hours of 5 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Sunday, while the zone is in effect.

    Dated: December 8, 2017. Scott E. Anderson, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port, Delaware Bay.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26935 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R10-OAR-2017-0677; FRL-9971-88-Region 10] Finding of Failure To Submit a Section 110 State Implementation Plan for Interstate Transport for the 2012 Annual National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Fine Particles AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking final action finding that Washington State failed to submit an infrastructure State Implementation Plan (SIP) to satisfy certain interstate transport requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA) with respect to the 2012 annual fine particles (PM2.5) national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS). Specifically, these requirements pertain to significant contribution to nonattainment, or interference with maintenance, of the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS in other states. This finding of failure to submit establishes a 2-year deadline for the EPA to promulgate a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) to address the interstate transport SIP requirements pertaining to significant contribution to nonattainment and interference with maintenance unless, prior to the EPA promulgating a FIP, the state submits, and the EPA approves, a SIP that meets these requirements.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective on January 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    The EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-R10-OAR-2017-0677. All documents in the dockets are listed on http://www.regulations.gov. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, will be publicly available only in hard copy. Publicly-available docket materials are available at http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the EPA Region 10, Office of Air and Waste, 1200 Sixth Avenue, Seattle, Washington, 98101. The EPA requests that if at all possible, you contact the individuals listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to view the hard copy of the docket. You may view the hard copy of the docket Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., excluding Federal holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jeff Hunt, Air Planning Unit, Office of Air and Waste (OAW-150), EPA, Region 10, 1200 Sixth Ave., Suite 900, Seattle, Washington 98101; (206) 553-0256; [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Contents I. General Information II. Background and Overview III. Finding of Failure To Submit for Washington State IV. Environmental Justice Considerations V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. General Information A. Notice and Comment Under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA)

    Section 553 of the APA, 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B), provides that, when an agency for good cause finds that notice and public procedure are impracticable, unnecessary or contrary to the public interest, the agency may issue a rule without providing notice and an opportunity for public comment. The EPA has determined that there is good cause for making this rule final without prior proposal and opportunity for comment because no significant EPA judgment is involved in making a finding of failure to submit SIPs, or elements of SIPs, required by the CAA, where states have made no submissions or incomplete submissions, to meet the requirement. Thus, notice and public procedure are unnecessary. The EPA finds that this constitutes good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B).

    B. How is the Preamble organized? II. Background and Overview A. Interstate Transport SIPs

    CAA section 110(a) imposes an obligation upon states to submit SIPs that provide for the implementation, maintenance and enforcement of a new or revised NAAQS within 3 years following the promulgation of that NAAQS. Section 110(a)(2) lists specific requirements that states must meet in these SIP submissions, as applicable. The EPA refers to this type of SIP submission as the “infrastructure” SIP because it ensures that states can implement, maintain and enforce the air standards. Within these requirements, section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) contains requirements to address interstate transport of NAAQS pollutants. A SIP revision submitted for this sub-section is referred to as an “interstate transport SIP.” In turn, section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) requires that such a plan contain adequate provisions to prohibit emissions from the state that will contribute significantly to nonattainment of the NAAQS in any other state (“prong 1”) or interfere with maintenance of the NAAQS in any other state (“prong 2”). Interstate transport prongs 1 and 2, also called the “good neighbor” provisions, are the requirements relevant to this finding.

    Pursuant to CAA section 110(k)(1)(B), the EPA must determine no later than 6 months after the date by which a state is required to submit a SIP whether a state has made a submission that meets the minimum completeness criteria established per section 110(k)(1)(A). The EPA refers to the determination that a state has not submitted a SIP submission that meets the minimum completeness criteria as a “finding of failure to submit.” If the EPA finds a state has failed to submit a SIP to meet its statutory obligation to address section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I), pursuant to section 110(c)(1) the EPA has not only the authority, but the obligation, to promulgate a FIP within 2 years to address the CAA requirement. This finding therefore starts a 2-year clock for promulgation by the EPA of a FIP, in accordance with section 110(c)(1), unless prior to such promulgation the state submits, and the EPA approves, a submittal from the state to meet the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) for the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS. The EPA will work with the state subject to this finding of failure to submit and provide assistance as necessary to help the state develop an approvable submittal in a timely manner. The EPA notes this action does not start a mandatory sanctions clock pursuant to CAA section 179 because this finding of failure to submit does not pertain to a part D plan for nonattainment areas required under section 110(a)(2)(I) or a SIP call pursuant section 110(k)(5).

    B. Background on the 2012 Annual PM2.5 NAAQS

    On December 14, 2012, the EPA promulgated a revised primary annual PM2.5 NAAQS to provide increased protection of public health and welfare from fine particle pollution.1 In that action, the EPA revised the primary annual PM2.5 standard, strengthening it from 15.0 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3) to 12.0 μg/m3, which is attained when the 3-year average of the annual arithmetic means does not exceed 12.0 μg/m3. Infrastructure SIPs addressing the revised standard were due on December 14, 2015.

    1 78 FR 3086; January 15, 2013.

    III. Finding of Failure To Submit for Washington State

    To date, Washington State has not submitted a good neighbor SIP for the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS. Accordingly, the EPA is issuing a finding that Washington State has failed to submit a SIP addressing the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) of the CAA, 42 U.S.C. 7410(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) (prongs 1-2), for the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS.

    IV. Environmental Justice Considerations

    This notice is making a procedural finding that Washington State has failed to submit a SIP to address CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) for the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS. The EPA did not conduct an environmental analysis for this rule because this rule would not directly affect the air emissions from particular sources. Because this rule will not directly affect the air emissions from particular sources, it does not affect the level of protection provided to human health or the environment. Therefore, this action will not have potential disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority, low-income or indigenous populations.

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review

    This action is not a significant regulatory action and was therefore not submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.

    B. Executive Order 13771: Reducing Regulations and Controlling Regulatory Costs

    This action is not an Executive Order 13771 regulatory action because it is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.

    C. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

    This action does not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the PRA, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. This final rule does not establish any new information collection requirement apart from what is already required by law.

    D. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

    This action is not subject to the RFA. The RFA applies only to rules subject to notice and comment rulemaking requirements under the APA, 5 U.S.C. 553, or any other statute. This rule is not subject to notice and comment requirements because the agency has invoked the APA “good cause” exemption under 5 U.S.C. 553(b).

    E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA)

    This action does not contain any unfunded mandate as described in UMRA, 2 U.S.C. 1531-1538, and does not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. The action implements mandates specifically and explicitly set forth in the CAA under section 110(a) without the exercise of any policy discretion by the EPA.

    F. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

    This action does not have federalism implications. It will not have substantial direct effects on the states, on the relationship between the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

    G. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

    This action does not have tribal implications as specified in Executive Order 13175. This rule responds to the requirement in the CAA for states to submit SIPs under section 110(a) to address CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) for the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS. No tribe is subject to the requirement to submit an implementation plan under section 110(a) within 3 years of promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this action.

    H. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental Health and Safety Risks

    The EPA interprets Executive Order 13045 as applying only to those regulatory actions that concern environmental health or safety risks that the EPA has reason to believe may disproportionately affect children, per the definition of “covered regulatory action” in section 2-202 of the Executive Order. This action is not subject to Executive Order 13045 because it does not concern an environmental health risk or safety risk.

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

    This action is not subject to Executive Order 13211, because it is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.

    J. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    This rulemaking does not involve technical standards.

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

    The EPA believes the human health or environmental risk addressed by this action will not have potential disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority, low-income or indigenous populations because it does not affect the level of protection provided to human health or the environment. The EPA's evaluation of environmental justice considerations is contained in section IV of this document.

    L. Congressional Review Act (CRA)

    This action is subject to the CRA, and the EPA will submit a rule report to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

    M. Petitions for Judicial Review

    Under section 307(b)(1) of the CAA, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by February 12, 2018. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this rule for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. This action may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements (see section 307(b)(2)).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Interstate transport, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: November 30, 2017. Michelle L. Pirzadeh, Acting Regional Administrator, Region 10.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26894 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2017-0580; FRL-9972-02-Region 9] Contingency Measures for the 1997 PM2.5 Standards; California; San Joaquin Valley; Correction of Deficiency AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or “Agency”) is taking final action to determine that the deficiency that formed the basis for a disapproval of the contingency measures submitted for the San Joaquin Valley nonattainment area for the 1997 fine particulate matter (PM2.5) national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) has been corrected. The effect of this action is to permanently stop the sanctions clocks triggered by the disapproval.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective December 14, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    The EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket No. EPA-R09-OAR-2017-0580. All documents in the docket are listed on the https://www.regulations.gov website. Although listed on the website, some information is not publicly available, e.g., Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available through https://www.regulations.gov, or please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section for additional availability information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rory Mays, EPA Region IX, (415) 972-3227, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    Table of Contents I. Proposed Action II. Public Comments and EPA Responses III. Final Action IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Proposed Action

    On October 23, 2017 (82 FR 48944) (herein “proposed rule”), we proposed to determine that the deficiency that formed the basis for a disapproval of the contingency measures submitted for the San Joaquin Valley 1 nonattainment area for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS (“1997 PM2.5 standards”) 2 has been corrected. We did so based on the Agency's approval of California regulations establishing standards and other requirements relating to the control of emissions from new on-road and new and in-use off-road vehicles and engines (herein, “waiver measures”) into the California State Implementation Plan (SIP), and a finding that the purposes of the contingency measure requirement, as applicable to the San Joaquin Valley based on its initial designation as a nonattainment area for the 1997 PM2.5 standards, have been fulfilled.

    1 The San Joaquin Valley PM2.5 nonattainment area is located in the southern half of California's central valley and includes all of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Tulare, and Kings counties, and the valley portion of Kern County. See 40 CFR 81.305.

    2 The EPA promulgated the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS at 62 FR 38652 (July 18, 1997).

    Our proposed rule provides a detailed background section that describes the relevant NAAQS, area designations, the relevant SIP submittal requirements, and the relevant SIP revisions submitted and either approved or disapproved by the EPA under Clean Air Act (CAA or “Act”) section 110.

    In short, under CAA section 172(c)(9), SIPs for areas designated as nonattainment for a NAAQS must be revised to provide for the implementation of specific measures (“contingency measures”) to take effect if the area fails to make reasonable further progress (RFP) or fails to attain by the applicable attainment date. The EPA disapproved the contingency measure element of a set of SIP revisions collectively referred to as the “2008 PM2.5 Plan,” which was developed and submitted by California to address SIP requirements triggered by the designation of the San Joaquin Valley as a nonattainment area for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS.3

    3 76 FR 69896 (November 9, 2011) (final action on the 2008 PM2.5 Plan).

    In response to the EPA's disapproval of the contingency measure element of the 2008 PM2.5 Plan, California submitted a SIP revision referred to as the “2013 Contingency Measure SIP.” The 2013 Contingency Measure SIP primarily relied upon California's waiver measures, i.e., California mobile source regulations that had been waived or authorized by the EPA under CAA section 209, to provide post-attainment year emissions reductions equivalent to one year's worth of RFP.4

    4 One year's worth of RFP is the yardstick the EPA has cited historically as the approximate quantity of emissions reductions that contingency measures should provide to satisfy CAA section 172(c)(9). See, e.g., 81 FR 58010, at 58066 (August 24, 2016) (final rule implementing the PM2.5 NAAQS).

    The EPA approved,5 but later disapproved,6 the 2013 Contingency Measure SIP in the wake of a court decision 7 that undermined the basis for the EPA's approval. The court decision at issue held that waiver measures must be approved into the SIP if California relies upon them to meet CAA SIP requirements, thereby rejecting the EPA's longstanding practice allowing California SIP credit for waiver measures notwithstanding their absence from the SIP. Our disapproval of the 2013 Contingency Measure SIP became effective on June 13, 2016, and started a sanctions clock for imposition of offset sanctions 18 months after June 13, 2016, and highway sanctions 6 months later, pursuant to CAA section 179 and our regulations at 40 CFR 52.31, unless the State submits and the EPA approves, prior to the implementation of the sanctions, a SIP submission that corrects the deficiencies identified in the disapproval action.8

    5 79 FR 29327 (May 22, 2014) (final action approving the 2013 Contingency Measure SIP).

    6 81 FR 29498 (May 12, 2016) (final action disapproving the 2013 Contingency Measure SIP).

    7Committee for a Better Arvin v. EPA, 786 F.3d 1169 (9th Cir. 2015) (“Committee for a Better Arvin”) (partially granting and partially denying petition for review).

    8 The offset sanction applies to New Source Review (NSR) permits for new major stationary sources or major modifications proposed in a nonattainment area, and it increases the ratio of emissions reductions (i.e., offsets) to increased emissions from the new or modified source, which must be obtained to receive an NSR permit, to 2 to 1. The highway sanction prohibits, with certain exceptions, the U.S. Department of Transportation from approving or funding transportation projects in a nonattainment area.

    Since the disapproval of the 2013 Contingency Measure SIP, we have approved the waiver measures as revisions to the California SIP,9 and our approval of them as part of the SIP addresses the specific deficiency that formed the basis of our May 12, 2016 disapproval of the 2013 Contingency Measure SIP. Moreover, since the 2014 attainment year (for the 2008 PM2.5 Plan), the waiver measures and related vehicle fleet turnover have achieved post-attainment year emission reductions equivalent to approximately one year's worth of RFP as calculated for the 2008 PM2.5 Plan. The waiver measures have thus provided for sufficient progress towards attainment of the 1997 PM2.5 standards while a new attainment plan is being prepared.10 Therefore, in our proposed rule we found that the purposes of the contingency measure requirement, as applicable to the San Joaquin Valley based on the area's designation in 2005 for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS, have been fulfilled, and we proposed to determine that the deficiency that formed the basis for the disapproval of the 2013 Contingency Measure SIP has been corrected. We are finalizing this determination in today's action.

    9 81 FR 39424 (June 16, 2016) and 82 FR 14446 (March 21, 2017).

    10 In response to the EPA's determination of failure to attain the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS, 81 FR 84481 (November 23, 2016), the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District and California Air Resources Board are preparing a new attainment plan with contingency measures for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS for the San Joaquin Valley.

    For a more detailed discussion of the regulatory context and rationale for our action, please see the proposed rule.

    II. Public Comments and EPA Responses

    The EPA's proposed action provided a 30-day public comment period which ended on November 22, 2017. During this period, we received no comments.

    III. Final Action

    For the reasons given in our proposed rule and summarized herein, the EPA is making a final determination that the deficiency that formed the basis of our disapproval of the 2013 Contingency Measure SIP for the San Joaquin Valley for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS has been corrected by the approval of the waiver measures as a revision to the California SIP and the finding that the waiver measures have achieved post-2014 attainment year emissions reductions sufficient to fulfill the purposes of the contingency measure requirement in CAA section 172(c)(9). This final determination permanently stops the sanctions clocks triggered by our disapproval of the 2013 Contingency Measure SIP. See CAA section 179(a) and 40 CFR 52.31(d)(5).

    In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(d), the EPA finds there is good cause for this action to become effective immediately upon publication. This is because a delayed effective date is unnecessary due to the nature of the determination made herein that a deficiency in a previous SIP approval has been corrected. The immediate effective date for this action is authorized under both 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(1), which provides that rulemaking actions may become effective less than 30 days after publication if the rule “grants or recognizes an exemption or relieves a restriction,” and section 553(d)(3), which allows an effective date less than 30 days after publication “as otherwise provided by the agency for good cause found and published with the rule.” The purpose of the 30-day waiting period prescribed in section 553(d) is to give affected parties a reasonable time to adjust their behavior and prepare before the final rule takes effect. This rulemaking, however, does not create any new regulatory requirement such that affected parties would need time to prepare before the rule takes effect. Rather, today's rule makes a determination that has the effect of permanently stopping sanctions clocks triggered by a previous SIP disapproval action. For these reasons, the EPA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) for this action to become effective on the date of publication of this action.

    IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    This action is a determination that a deficiency that is the basis for sanctions has been corrected and imposes no additional requirements. For that reason, this action:

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

    • 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 the EPA with the discretionary authority to address disproportionate human health or environmental effects with practical, appropriate, and legally permissible methods under Executive Order 12898 (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994).

    In addition, this action does not have Tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), because it will 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, 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. The 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 12, 2018. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this rule for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. This action may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements (see section 307(b)(2)).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Nitrogen oxides, Sulfur oxides, Particulate matter.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: December 4, 2017. Alexis Strauss, Acting Regional Administrator, Region IX.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26899 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 46 CFR Part 67 [USCG-2016-0531] Vessel Documentation Regulations—Technical Amendments Correction

    In rule document 2017-20023 beginning on page 43858 in the issue of Wednesday, September 20, 2017, make the following correction:

    § 67.3 [Corrected]
    In § 67.3, on page 43863, in the third column, in the sixth through eighth lines, “redesignate paragraphs (a) and (b) as paragraphs (1) and (2);” should read “redesignate paragraphs (a) through (c) as paragraphs (1) through (3);”.
    [FR Doc. C1-2017-20023 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1301-00-D
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 1 [WT Docket No. 17-79; FCC 17-153] Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Federal Communications Commission (Commission) eliminates historic preservation review of replacement utility poles that support communications equipment, subject to conditions that ensure no effects on historic properties. The Commission also consolidates historic preservation requirements in a single new rule.

    DATES:

    Effective January 16, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    David Sieradzki, [email protected], of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Competition & Infrastructure Policy Division, 202-418-1368.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Commission's Report and Order in WT Docket No. 17-79; FCC 17-153, adopted November 16, 2017, and released on November 17, 2017. The document is available for download at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/. The complete text of this document is also available for inspection and copying during normal business hours in the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street SW, Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an email to [email protected] or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (TTY).

    I. Streamlining the Historic Preservation Review Process

    1. Enhancing the nation's wireless infrastructure is essential to meeting the exploding demand for robust mobile services and delivering the next generation of applications using transformative new network technologies. Review of deployment proposals pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), 54 U.S.C. 306108, generally serves the public policy objective of preserving the nation's historic heritage. Not all infrastructure deployments, however, have the potential to affect historic properties. Where such potential effects do not exist, requiring an individual historic preservation review can impose needless burdens and slow infrastructure deployment.

    2. Section 106 of the NHPA, 54 U.S.C. 306108, requires federal agencies to take into account the effect (if any) of their proposed undertakings on historic properties before proceeding with such undertakings. Agencies are responsible for deciding whether or not particular types of activities qualify as undertakings under the definitions in the regulations of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). See 36 CFR 800.3(a), 800.16(y). Where an agency determines that a type of activity has no potential to affect historic properties under any circumstances, the agency may unilaterally eliminate the review process for such undertakings. 36 CFR 800.3(a)(1).

    3. In 2004, the Commission, the ACHP, and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers agreed to the establishment of the Nationwide Programmatic Agreement for Review of Effects on Historic Properties for Certain Undertakings 2004 NPA). 47 CFR part 1. Of particular relevance here, the 2004 NPA excludes the construction of replacement structures from historic preservation review under defined conditions, but only if the structure being replaced meets the definition of a “tower,” meaning that it was constructed for the sole or primary purpose of supporting Commission-authorized antennas. See 47 CFR part 1, Appendix C, section III.B. A structure that does not qualify as a tower, such as a pole that initially was erected to support electric utility lines, does not fall within the exclusion under the 2004 NPA even if it is later used to support Commission-authorized antennas. Consequently, if such a pole must be replaced to support a communications antenna and no other exclusion applies, the pole replacement is subject to review.

    4. In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the present proceeding, the Commission initiated a broad examination of the regulatory impediments to wireless network infrastructure investment and deployment, and how we may remove or reduce such impediments, consistent with the law and the public interest, in order to promote the rapid deployment of advanced wireless broadband service to all Americans. See Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Deployment, 32 FCC Rcd 3330 (2017) (2017 Wireless Infrastructure NPRM) ; see also Proposed Rule, 82 FR 21761 (May 10, 2017). The Commission specifically sought comment on whether to expand the categories of undertakings that are excluded from historic preservation review to include pole replacements, and whether such a step would facilitate wireless facility siting while creating no or foreseeably minimal potential for adverse impacts to historic properties. The Commission asked whether the construction of replacement poles should be excluded from Section 106 review, provided that the replacement pole is not substantially larger than the pole it is replacing, and solicited input on whether any additional conditions would be appropriate.

    II. Exclusion for Pole Replacements That Have No Potential To Affect Historic Properties

    5. Pursuant to 36 CFR 800.3(a)(1), the Commission concludes that, in the circumstances specified below, replacement of a pole that was constructed with a sole or primary purpose other than supporting communications antennas with a pole that will support such antennas would have no potential to affect historic properties. The Commission therefore revises its rules to provide that the construction of such replacement poles will be excluded from Section 106 review when all the following conditions are met. First, paragraph (b)(3)(i) of the new rule provides that this new exclusion applies only if the original structure is a pole that can hold utility, communications, or related transmission lines; was not originally erected for the sole or primary purpose of supporting antennas that operate pursuant to a spectrum license or authorization issued by the Commission; and is not itself a historic property.

    6. In addition, paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(A) specifies that, to qualify for this new exclusion, the replacement pole must be located no more than 10 feet away from the original pole, based on the distance between the centerpoint of the replacement pole and the centerpoint of the original pole; provided that construction of the replacement pole in place of the original pole entails no new ground disturbance (either laterally or in depth) outside previously disturbed areas, including disturbance associated with temporary support of utility, communications, or related transmission lines. For purposes of paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(A), “ground disturbance” means any activity that moves, compacts, alters, displaces, or penetrates the ground surface of previously undisturbed soils.

    7. Moreover, paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(B) of the new rule provides that a replacement pole qualifies for this exclusion only if its height does not exceed the height of the original pole by more than 5 feet or 10 percent of the height of the original pole, whichever is greater. Paragraph (c)(ii)(C) establishes that the appearance of such a replacement pole must be consistent with the quality and appearance of the original pole. Notably, antennas separately deployed on a replacement pole that is exempted under the rule adopted here remain subject to existing historic preservation rules about antenna deployments, including the exemptions for equipment that is limited in size set forth in 47 CFR part 1, sections VI.A.5, VII.B.2 & 3.

    8. The Commission concludes that, where all of these conditions are met, the construction of a replacement utility pole—i.e., a new pole in place of a preexisting pole that is being removed—will have no potential to affect historic properties (even assuming such properties are present), regardless of whether the original pole was built for the purpose of supporting communications equipment. The Commission further concludes that excluding such replacements from historic preservation review advances the public interest. The Commission has authority to take this step pursuant to 36 CFR 800.3(a)(1), which authorizes agencies to exclude undertakings that have no potential to affect historic properties from historic preservation review. Notably, for present purposes, the Commission does not revisit its treatment of the construction of wireless communications structures, including replacement structures, as Commission undertakings.

    9. The Commission anticipates that adoption of this exclusion will provide significant efficiencies in the deployment of replacement facilities. The record indicates that pole replacements are often required to support small cell facilities, which increasingly will be needed to support the rollout of next-generation services. Small cell antennas are much smaller and less obtrusive than traditional antennas mounted on macro cell towers, but a far larger number of them will be needed to accomplish the network densification that providers need, both in order to satisfy the exploding consumer demand for wireless data for existing services and in order to implement advanced technologies such as 5G. We find that excluding the pole replacements at issue here from review under section 106 of the NHPA will allow providers to complete these deployments more efficiently. In addition, creating an exclusion for replacement of utility poles will make more consistent the process that carriers and pole constructors must follow to comply with our historic preservation review requirements and those they must follow when building replacement poles that are subject to the requirements of other agencies applying the ACHP's 2017 Federal Lands Program Comment. See Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Notice of Issuance of Program Comment for Communications Projects on Federal Lands and Property, 82 FR 23818 (May 24, 2017) (Federal Lands Program Comment).

    10. In implementing large-scale network densification projects that require deployment of large numbers of facilities within a relatively brief period of time, use of existing structures, where feasible, can both promote efficiency and avoid adverse impacts on the human environment. Utility poles may be an appealing option for such deployments, since they often are the appropriate height for small cell antennas and are ubiquitous in many metropolitan areas. When existing utility poles cannot support additional equipment, however, pole replacement is required. Wooden utility poles, in particular, frequently need to be replaced because of their age and condition. For example, over time, wooden poles typically begin to rot from the top, where additional antennas associated with small cell facilities are usually attached, and frequently need to be replaced to have sufficient strength to support additional attachments. A pole also may need to be replaced if it is not sturdy enough or if it lacks sufficient space to mount new small cell antennas above utility infrastructure already installed on the pole, such as electric cables, telephone lines, cable television wires, or other equipment.

    11. Replacement poles placed in essentially the same previously disturbed locations as the original structures will be sturdier than the preexisting poles, but will not necessarily be substantially taller or occupy appreciably more space on or in the ground than the original poles. In those circumstances, there is no likelihood that such pole replacements could affect historic properties. Nonetheless, under current rules, only replacements for poles meeting the definition of a “tower” are excluded from Section 106 review while other types of pole replacements continue to require review. See 47 CFR part 1, section III.B. The Commission finds, consistent with some parties' comments, that there is no valid reason to continue distinguishing between poles based on the purpose for which they were originally constructed, because the statutory test is whether a federal undertaking has a potential effect on historic properties, and is not based on the prior uses of a particular structure. The Commission also finds that adopting an exclusion for replacement utility poles will promote greater consistency by providing similar treatment for similar replacement structures. The Commission expects that creating an additional exclusion for pole replacements will encourage providers to replace existing poles in previously disturbed areas rather than undertaking new construction activity that potentially could affect historic properties.

    12. The Commission limits the replacement pole exclusion, as discussed below, to ensure that such pole replacements have no potential to affect historic properties. These limitations address the concerns raised by some parties about the potential effect of a broad, unlimited exclusion for replacement poles and ensure that the exclusion established in this rule satisfies the strict standard in the ACHP's rules. In adopting these conditions, we rely on, and incorporate, the Commission's and the ACHP's analyses in support of recent similar exclusions, including the exclusion of utility pole replacements in section VIII.B of the ACHP's 2017 Federal Lands Program Comment.

    13. The new exclusion established here focuses only on utility pole replacements. Accordingly, paragraph (b)(3)(i)(A) of the rule describes the new exclusion using terminology consistent with that in section III.O of the Federal Lands Program Comment by referring to poles that “can hold utility, communications, or related transmission lines.” Notably, section III.O of the Federal Lands Program Comment defines a “pole” as “a non-tower structure that can hold utility, communications, and related transmission lines;” paragraph (b)(3)(i)(A) of the Commission's new rule is similar, but uses the word “or” instead of the word “and,” in order to clarify that this replacement pole exclusion extends to replacements where the original poles are capable of supporting any of the listed types of facilities, not necessarily all of them.

    14. Paragraph (b)(3)(i)(B) makes clear that replacements for structures that section III.B of the 2004 NPA defines as “towers,” since that program alternative already sets forth the conditions under which replacement of towers will be excluded from review. See 47 CFR part 1, section III.B. And paragraph (b)(3)(i)(C) of the new rule makes clear that the construction of new poles to replace existing poles that themselves qualify as historic structures are not excluded from review.

    15. The new rule's limitations regarding location, size, quality, and appearance of replacement poles address the concerns raised by some Tribal Nations, State Historic Preservation Officers, and preservation advocates. Consistent with commenters' concerns, the Commission finds that excluding replacement poles that are substantially larger than or that differ in other material ways from the poles being replaced might compromise the integrity of historic properties and districts. The Commission therefore excludes from historic preservation review only those replacement poles that are situated no more than ten feet away from the original hole; are no more than 10 percent or five feet taller than the original pole, whichever is greater; and are consistent with the quality and appearance of the original pole.

    16. The provision limiting the exclusion to a new pole located no more than 10 feet from the original structure ensures that the new pole is truly a “replacement” and that the replacement will not substantially alter the setting of any historic properties that may be nearby. The Commission finds that the minimal change in location permitted here, which will make pole replacements easier to construct as a practical matter, creates no risk of effects on historic properties in light of the fact that no new ground disturbance will be permitted. Moreover, the Commission finds that the deployment of a replacement pole no more than 10 feet from the original pole has no potential to cause effects on historic properties that might be present, because of the close proximity to the original pole and the de minimis size increase permissible to fall into this exception. The Commission cannot reach the same conclusion, however, with regard to replacement poles placed a considerable distance (e.g., 30 feet) away from the originals.

    17. For purposes of this new exclusion, we use a size definition that differs from the definition of “substantial increase in the size of the tower” in 47 CFR part 1, section 1.E.1 and in 47 CFR part 1, sections III.A and III.B, because that definition allows for increasing the height by either 10 percent or 20 feet plus the height of an antenna array, whichever is greater. Utility poles are typically 25 to 40 feet tall, and we find that an increase in height limited to 10 percent or five feet would be de minimis and thus would have no potential to affect historic properties. The flexibility of the five foot alternative addresses concerns expressed in the record that manufacturers typically offer standard utility poles in five-foot increments, and that a height increase of less than five feet often may be insufficient to accommodate new antennas or other equipment on a pole while maintaining the necessary separation from preexisting infrastructure on the pole.

    18. The Commission cannot reach the same conclusion as to a height increase of 20 feet or more, however, because it cannot conclude at this time that a replacement pole that is so much taller than the preexisting structure would have no potential for effects on any historic properties that may be nearby, as is required under 36 CFR 800.3(a)(1) for an agency to act unilaterally. On the other hand, the Commission disagrees with the contention raised by some parties that allowing even small increases in height without historic preservation review ultimately could have effects due to the possibility that multiple incremental replacements over time eventually would result in significantly larger poles. The Commission does not find this speculative concern persuasive: it is aware of no evidence of such repeated “stacked” replacements of utility poles occurring under existing program alternatives, and it believes the likelihood such activities will occur in the future is remote due to the substantial cost of removing and replacing poles.

    19. The phrase “consistent with the quality and appearance of the originals” in paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(C) is imported from the corresponding exclusion in section VIII.B.3 of the Federal Lands Program Comment, to ensure that there can be no visual effects on any nearby historic properties. The Commission notes that a change in materials, such as replacing a wooden pole with a metal pole, is permissible so long as this standard is met.

    20. The Commission adopts an additional limitation as part of paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(A) of the rule to ensure that the pole replacement project—including the removal of the original pole as well as construction of the replacement pole—will entail no new ground disturbance. This limitation recognizes that construction-related ground disturbance or excavation may affect properties that are historic due to the presence of archeological resources, including those of cultural or religious significance to a Tribal Nation or Native Hawaiian organization, which are included within the definition of historic property in 36 CFR 800.16(l)(1). The limitation on new ground disturbance outside previously disturbed areas, including disturbance associated with temporary support of lines, as well as the definition of “ground disturbance” as “any activity that moves, compacts, alters, displaces, or penetrates the ground surface of previously undisturbed soils,” are taken directly from section III.I of the Federal Lands Program Comment. The rule also specifies that the limitation on ground disturbance in previously undisturbed areas applies to increases in both depth and lateral disturbance.

    21. The Commission continues to require that if, after construction commences, the party discovers any human or burial remains or other historic properties (despite the previous ground disturbance), construction must cease immediately, and the party must promptly notify and consult with the Commission, the State Historic Preservation Officer/Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, and any affected Tribal Nation or Native Hawaiian organization to evaluate the discovery and develop any appropriate measures to handle it. See 47 CFR part 1, section IX.A-D. Human or burial remains also must be handled in a manner consistent with any applicable State or Federal laws. Id., section IX.D.

    22. All the conditions described above must be satisfied in order for a replacement pole to be excluded from historic preservation review. The Commission concludes that, taken together, these provisions will ensure protection for historic properties and guard against replacements that would be out of scale with preexisting utility poles in a particular area. By adopting this new exclusion subject to these limitations, the Commission continues to fulfill its statutory responsibilities regarding historic preservation, while removing an unnecessary impediment to the rapid deployment of sorely needed small cell facilities and other wireless infrastructure across the country.

    III. Conforming Amendments and Reorganization of Historic Preservation Rules

    23. In this order, the Commission also reorganizes existing historic preservation regulations into a single rule section that will be clearer, more accessible, and easier to understand. Section 1.1307(a)(4) of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.1307(a)(4), previously commingled detailed provisions implementing the historic preservation review process under section 106 of the NHPA with the provisions implementing the National Environmental Policy Act, 45 U.S.C. 4321-4355. To provide more clarity, the Commission is moving the historic preservation review provisions into a new rule, 47 CFR 1.1320, that more clearly sets forth the existing requirements governing that historic preservation review process; and within that rule, the Commission adopts a paragraph (b)(3) establishing the replacement utility pole exclusion described above.

    24. The Commission finds that notice and comment are unnecessary and that it has good cause to make these clarifying revisions without expressly seeking comment on them. Except for paragraph (b)(3)'s addition of a pole replacement exclusion, new section 1.1320 makes no substantive changes to the existing requirements implementing the historic preservation review process under section 106 of the NHPA and adds no new obligations, but merely simplifies the way the Commission's regulations describe them by collecting existing requirements in one place and organizing them in a more straightforward fashion. Moreover, the delay engendered by a round of comment would be contrary to the public interest. The simpler presentation of our requirements in the new rule should make it easier for licensees and applicants to understand and comply with our historic preservation review requirements, and thus may expedite the completion of such review, thus facilitating more expeditious deployment of wireless infrastructure.

    25. Paragraph (a) of the new rule incorporates into the Commission's rules the existing provisions in the ACHP's regulations (see, e.g. , 36 CFR 800.1(a), 800.2(a), and 800.16(b) & (y)) establishing that all federal agencies' undertakings with the potential to cause effects on historic properties are subject to review under Section 106 of the NHPA. There was no corresponding provision in the Commission's preexisting rules. At the same time, the Commission amends 47 CFR 1.1307(a)(4) to clarify that section 1.1320, as well as Section 106 of the NHPA, identify the historic preservation factors relevant to whether applicants must prepare environmental assessments of proposed actions.

    26. Paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of the new section 1.1320 clarify the procedures that apply to historic preservation review of categories of undertakings. Paragraph (a)(1) clarifies that the ACHP's regulations (36 CFR 800.3-800.13) establish the default procedures that generally apply to Commission undertakings, unless the undertakings are subject to one of the Commission's program alternatives, such as those listed in paragraph (a)(2), in which case they are reviewed using the procedures described in the applicable program alternative.

    27. Paragraph (b) of the new rule lists Commission undertakings that are not subject to any FCC historic preservation review process. Paragraph (b)(1) refers to undertakings for which an agency other than the Commission is the lead Federal agency that is primarily responsible for historic preservation review. Paragraph (b)(2) recognizes that the Commission's program alternatives not only establish streamlined procedures but also exempt some categories of undertakings from review. Paragraph (b)(3) of the new rule sets forth the new utility pole replacement exclusion adopted in this order, and paragraph (b)(4) of the new rule is identical to paragraph (a)(4)(ii) of section 1.1307 of the preexisting rules, setting forth the exclusion for the collocation of antennas and related equipment on buildings other than towers or utility poles. Paragraph (c) of the new rule provides that Commission applicants and licensees are responsible for compliance with the historic preservation review procedures established in 47 CFR part 1, sections III-X. Paragraph (d) adopts definitions of the terms “antenna,” “applicant,” “collocation,” “tower,” and “undertaking” based on the preexisting definitions of these terms set forth, respectively, in 47 CFR part 1, section I.A; 47 CFR part 1, sections II.A.2, II.A.4, and II.A 14; and 36 CFR 800.16(y).

    IV. Procedural Matters A. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    28. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA), an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) was incorporated in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). The Commission sought written public comment on the proposals in the NPRM, including comment on the IRFA. This present Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) conforms to the RFA.

    1. Need for and Objectives of the Rules

    29. In the Order, the Commission adopts rules that streamline the process of deploying next-generation wireless broadband infrastructure by eliminating the need for historic preservation review pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) in certain instances where there is no potential effect on historic properties. Specifically, the Commission finds that the construction of poles that can support antennas or other wireless communications equipment to replace pre-existing utility poles that are substantially identical, under specified conditions, has no potential to affect historic properties, and therefore, the historical preservation review process is unnecessary in this context. This order also reorganizes the rules governing the Commission's historic preservation review procedures by bringing together provisions that previously were scattered across a variety of locations into a single new Rule 1.1320, which clearly sets forth the existing requirements but, with the exception of the new exclusion for replacement utility poles, does not modify them.

    2. Summary of Significant Issues Raised by Public Comments in Response to the IRFA

    30. No parties filed comments that specifically addressed the rules and policies proposed in the IRFA. One party—the Smart Cities and Special Districts Coalition—filed comments arguing that some small local governments, special districts, property owners, or small developers might be harmed if the Commission were to adopt certain policy changes discussed in the NPRM relating to (i) batches of zoning applications filed with state or local governments, (ii) the maximum reasonable time for state or local governments to process zoning applications (“shot clock” rules and “deemed granted” remedies), or (iii) limitations on proprietary properties or regulation of their use. The present order does not deal with any of the issues in the NPRM that the Smart Cities and Special Districts Coalition addressed in the cited portions of its comments. The Commission will address these comments when it acts on the relevant issues in a future order.

    3. Response to Comments by the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration

    31. Pursuant to the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, the Commission is required to respond to any comments filed by the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA), and to provide a detailed statement of any change made to the proposed rules as a result of those comments. The Chief Counsel did not file any comments in response to the proposed rules in this proceeding.

    4. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the Rules Will Apply

    32. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be affected by the rules adopted herein The RFA generally defines the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,” “small organization,” and “small governmental jurisdiction.” In addition, the term “small business” has the same meaning as the term “small business concern” under the Small Business Act. A “small business concern” is one which: (1) Is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Below, the Commission provides a description of such small entities, as well as an estimate of the number of such small entities, where feasible.

    33. Small Businesses, Small Organizations, Small Governmental Jurisdictions. Our actions, over time, may affect small entities that are not easily categorized at present. The Commission therefore describes here, at the outset, three comprehensive small entity size standards that could be directly affected herein. First, while there are industry specific size standards for small businesses that are used in the regulatory flexibility analysis, according to data from the SBA's Office of Advocacy, in general a small business is an independent business having fewer than 500 employees. These types of small businesses represent 99.9% of all businesses in the United States which translates to 28.8 million businesses. Next, the type of small entity described as a “small organization” is generally “any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field.” Nationwide, as of 2007, there were approximately 1,621,215 small organizations. Finally, the small entity described as a “small governmental jurisdiction” is defined generally as “governments of cities, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special districts, with a population of less than fifty thousand.” U.S. Census Bureau data published in 2012 indicate that there were 89,476 local governmental jurisdictions in the United States. The Commission estimates that, of this total, as many as 88,761 entities may qualify as “small governmental jurisdictions.” Thus, the Commission estimates that most governmental jurisdictions are small.

    34. Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite). This industry comprises establishments engaged in operating and maintaining switching and transmission facilities to provide communications via the airwaves. Establishments in this industry have spectrum licenses and provide services using that spectrum, such as cellular services, paging services, wireless internet access, and wireless video services. The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is that such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. For this industry, U.S. Census data for 2012 show that there were 967 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 955 firms had employment of 999 or fewer employees and 12 had employment of 1000 employees or more. Thus, under this category and the associated size standard, the Commission estimates that the majority of wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite) are small entities.

    35. The Commission's own data—available in its Universal Licensing System—indicate that, as of October 25, 2016, there are 280 Cellular licensees that will be affected by our actions today. The Commission does not know how many of these licensees are small, as the Commission does not collect that information for these types of entities. Similarly, according to Commission data, 413 carriers reported that they were engaged in the provision of wireless telephony, including cellular service, Personal Communications Service (PCS), and Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) Telephony services. Of this total, an estimated 261 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 152 have more than 1,500 employees. Thus, using available data, the Commission estimates that the majority of wireless firms can be considered small.

    36. Personal Radio Services. Personal radio services provide short-range, low-power radio for personal communications, radio signaling, and business communications not provided for in other services. Personal radio services include services operating in spectrum licensed under part 95 of our rules. These services include Citizen Band Radio Service, General Mobile Radio Service, Radio Control Radio Service, Family Radio Service, Wireless Medical Telemetry Service, Medical Implant Communications Service, Low Power Radio Service, and Multi-Use Radio Service. There are a variety of methods used to license the spectrum in these rule parts, from licensing by rule, to conditioning operation on successful completion of a required test, to site-based licensing, to geographic area licensing. All such entities in this category are wireless, therefore the Commission applies the definition of Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite), pursuant to which the SBA's small entity size standard is defined as those entities employing 1,500 or fewer persons. For this industry, U.S. Census data for 2012 show that there were 967 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 955 firms had employment of 999 or fewer employees and 12 had employment of 1000 employees or more. Thus, under this category and the associated size standard, the Commission estimates that the majority of wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite) are small entities. The Commission notes that many of the licensees in this category are individuals and not small entities. In addition, due to the mostly unlicensed and shared nature of the spectrum utilized in many of these services, the Commission lacks direct information upon which to base an estimation of the number of small entities that may be affected by our actions in this proceeding.

    37. Public Safety Radio Licensees. Public Safety Radio Pool licensees as a general matter, include police, fire, local government, forestry conservation, highway maintenance, and emergency medical services. Because of the vast array of public safety licensees, the Commission has not developed a small business size standard specifically applicable to public safety licensees. For this category the Commission applies the SBA's definition for Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite) which encompasses business entities engaged in radiotelephone communications and for which the small entity size standard is defined as those entities employing 1,500 or fewer persons. For this industry, U.S. Census data for 2012 show that there were 967 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 955 firms had employment of 999 or fewer employees and 12 had employment of 1000 employees or more. Thus, under this category and the associated size standard, the Commission estimates that the majority of wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite) are small entities. With respect to local governments, in particular, since many governmental entities comprise the licensees for these services, the Commission includes under public safety services the number of government entities affected. According to Commission records, there are a total of approximately 133,870 licenses within these services. There are 3,121 licenses in the 4.9 GHz band, based on an FCC Universal Licensing System search of March 29, 2017. The Commission estimates that fewer than 2,442 public safety radio licensees hold these licenses because certain entities may have multiple licenses.

    38. Private Land Mobile Radio Licensees. Private land mobile radio (PLMR) systems serve an essential role in a vast range of industrial, business, land transportation, and public safety activities. These radios are used by companies of all sizes operating in all U.S. business categories. Because of the vast array of PLMR users, the Commission has not developed a small business size standard specifically applicable to PLMR users. The SBA's definition for Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite) which encompasses business entities engaged in radiotelephone communications and for which the small entity size standard is defined as those entities employing 1,500 or fewer persons. For this industry, U.S. Census data for 2012 show that there were 967 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 955 firms had employment of 999 or fewer employees and 12 had employment of 1000 employees or more. Thus, under this category and the associated size standard, the Commission estimates that the majority of wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite) are small entities. According to the Commission's records, there are a total of 3,374 licenses in the frequencies range 173.225 MHz to 173.375 MHz, which is the range affected by this Notice. The Commission does not require PLMR licensees to disclose information about number of employees, and does not have information that could be used to determine how many PLMR licensees constitute small entities under this definition. The Commission however believes that a substantial number of PLMR licensees may be small entities despite the lack of specific information.

    39. Multiple Address Systems. Entities using Multiple Address Systems (MAS) spectrum, in general, fall into two categories: (1) Those using the spectrum for profit-based uses, and (2) those using the spectrum for private internal uses.

    40. With respect to the first category, Profit-based Spectrum use, the size standards established by the Commission define “small entity” for MAS licensees as an entity that has average annual gross revenues of less than $15 million over the three previous calendar years. A “Very small business” is defined as an entity that, together with its affiliates, has average annual gross revenues of not more than $3 million over the preceding three calendar years. The SBA has approved these definitions. The majority of MAS operators are licensed in bands where the Commission has implemented a geographic area licensing approach that requires the use of competitive bidding procedures to resolve mutually exclusive applications. The Commission's licensing database indicates that, as of April 16, 2010, there were a total of 11,653 site-based MAS station authorizations. Of these, 58 authorizations were associated with common carrier service. In addition, the Commission's licensing database indicates that, as of April 16, 2010, there were a total of 3,330 Economic Area market area MAS authorizations. The Commission's licensing database also indicates that, as of April 16, 2010, of the 11,653 total MAS station authorizations, 10,773 authorizations were for private radio service. In 2001, an auction for 5,104 MAS licenses in 176 EAs was conducted. Seven winning bidders claimed status as small or very small businesses and won 611 licenses. In 2005, the Commission completed an auction (Auction 59) of 4,226 MAS licenses in the Fixed Microwave Services from the 928/959 and 932/941 MHz bands. Twenty-six winning bidders won a total of 2,323 licenses. Of the 26 winning bidders in this auction, five claimed small business status and won 1,891 licenses.

    41. With respect to the second category, Internal Private Spectrum use consists of entities that use, or seek to use, MAS spectrum to accommodate their own internal communications needs, MAS serves an essential role in a range of industrial, safety, business, and land transportation activities. MAS radios are used by companies of all sizes, operating in virtually all U.S. business categories, and by all types of public safety entities. For the majority of private internal users, the definition developed by the SBA would be more appropriate than the Commission's definition. The applicable definition of small entity is the “Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except satellite)” definition under the SBA rules. Under that SBA category, a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. For this category, U.S. Census data for 2012 show that there were 967 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 955 firms had employment of 999 or fewer employees and 12 had employment of 1000 employees or more. Thus, under this category and the associated small business size standard, the Commission estimates that the majority of wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite) are small entities that may be affected by our action.

    42. Broadband Radio Service and Educational Broadband Service. Broadband Radio Service systems, previously referred to as Multipoint Distribution Service (MDS) and Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service (MMDS) systems, and “wireless cable,” transmit video programming to subscribers and provide two-way high speed data operations using the microwave frequencies of the Broadband Radio Service (BRS) and Educational Broadband Service (EBS) (previously referred to as the Instructional Television Fixed Service (ITFS)).

    43. BRS—In connection with the 1996 BRS auction, the Commission established a small business size standard as an entity that had annual average gross revenues of no more than $40 million in the previous three calendar years. The BRS auctions resulted in 67 successful bidders obtaining licensing opportunities for 493 Basic Trading Areas (BTAs). Of the 67 auction winners, 61 met the definition of a small business. BRS also includes licensees of stations authorized prior to the auction. At this time, the Commission estimates that of the 61 small business BRS auction winners, 48 remain small business licensees. In addition to the 48 small businesses that hold BTA authorizations, there are approximately 392 incumbent BRS licensees that are considered small entities. After adding the number of small business auction licensees to the number of incumbent licensees not already counted, the Commission finds that there are currently approximately 440 BRS licensees that are defined as small businesses under either the SBA or the Commission's rules.

    44. In 2009, the Commission conducted Auction 86, the sale of 78 licenses in the BRS areas. The Commission offered three levels of bidding credits: (i) A bidder with attributed average annual gross revenues that exceed $15 million and do not exceed $40 million for the preceding three years (small business) received a 15 percent discount on its winning bid; (ii) a bidder with attributed average annual gross revenues that exceed $3 million and do not exceed $15 million for the preceding three years (very small business) received a 25 percent discount on its winning bid; and (iii) a bidder with attributed average annual gross revenues that do not exceed $3 million for the preceding three years (entrepreneur) received a 35 percent discount on its winning bid. Auction 86 concluded in 2009 with the sale of 61 licenses. Of the ten winning bidders, two bidders that claimed small business status won 4 licenses; one bidder that claimed very small business status won three licenses; and two bidders that claimed entrepreneur status won six licenses.

    45. EBS—The SBA's Cable Television Distribution Services small business size standard is applicable to EBS. There are presently 2,436 EBS licensees. All but 100 of these licenses are held by educational institutions. Educational institutions are included in this analysis as small entities. Thus, the Commission estimates that at least 2,336 licensees are small businesses. Since 2007, Cable Television Distribution Services have been defined within the broad economic census category of Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Wired Telecommunications Carriers are comprised of establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired telecommunications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or a combination of technologies. The SBA's small business size standard for this category is all such firms having 1,500 or fewer employees. U.S. Census data for 2012 shows that there were 3,117 firms that operated that year. Of this total, 3,083 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees. Thus, under this size standard, the majority of firms in this industry can be considered small. To gauge small business prevalence for these cable services, however, the Commission must use the most current census data for the previous category of Cable and Other Program Distribution and its associated size standard which was all such firms having $13.5 million or less in annual receipts. According to U.S. Census Bureau data for 2007, there were a total of 996 firms in this category that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 948 firms had annual receipts of under $10 million, and 48 firms had receipts of $10 million or more but less than $25 million. Thus, the majority of these firms can be considered small.

    46. Location and Monitoring Service (LMS). LMS systems use non-voice radio techniques to determine the location and status of mobile radio units. For purposes of auctioning LMS licenses, the Commission has defined a “small business” as an entity that, together with controlling interests and affiliates, has average annual gross revenues for the preceding three years not to exceed $15 million. A “very small business” is defined as an entity that, together with controlling interests and affiliates, has average annual gross revenues for the preceding three years not to exceed $3 million. These definitions have been approved by the SBA. An auction for LMS licenses commenced on February 23, 1999 and closed on March 5, 1999. Of the 528 licenses auctioned, 289 licenses were sold to four small businesses.

    47. Television Broadcasting. This Economic Census category “comprises establishments primarily engaged in broadcasting images together with sound.” These establishments operate television broadcast studios and facilities for the programming and transmission of programs to the public. These establishments also produce or transmit visual programming to affiliated broadcast television stations, which in turn broadcast the programs to the public on a predetermined schedule. Programming may originate in their own studio, from an affiliated network, or from external sources. The SBA has created the following small business size standard for such businesses: those having $38.5 million or less in annual receipts. The 2012 Economic Census reports that 751 firms in this category operated in that year. Of that number, 656 had annual receipts of $25,000,000 or less, 25 had annual receipts between $25,000,000 and $49,999,999 and 70 had annual receipts of $50,000,000 or more. Based on this data, the Commission therefore estimates that the majority of commercial television broadcasters are small entities under the applicable SBA size standard.

    48. The Commission has estimated the number of licensed commercial television stations to be 1,384. Of this total, 1,264 stations (or about 91 percent) had revenues of $38.5 million or less, according to Commission staff review of the BIA Kelsey Inc. Media Access Pro Television Database (BIA) on February 24, 2017, and therefore these licensees qualify as small entities under the SBA definition. In addition, the Commission has estimated the number of licensed noncommercial educational (NCE) television stations to be 394. Notwithstanding, the Commission does not compile and otherwise does not have access to information on the revenue of NCE stations that would permit it to determine how many such stations would qualify as small entities.

    49. The Commission notes, however, that in assessing whether a business concern qualifies as “small” under the above definition, business (control) affiliations must be included. Our estimate, therefore likely overstates the number of small entities that might be affected by our action, because the revenue figure on which it is based does not include or aggregate revenues from affiliated companies. In addition, another element of the definition of “small business” requires that an entity not be dominant in its field of operation. The Commission is unable at this time to define or quantify the criteria that would establish whether a specific television broadcast station is dominant in its field of operation. Accordingly, the estimate of small businesses to which rules may apply does not exclude any television station from the definition of a small business on this basis and is therefore possibly over-inclusive.

    50. Radio Stations. This Economic Census category “comprises establishments primarily engaged in broadcasting aural programs by radio to the public. Programming may originate in their own studio, from an affiliated network, or from external sources.” The SBA has established a small business size standard for this category as firms having $38.5 million or less in annual receipts. Economic Census data for 2012 shows that 2,849 radio station firms operated during that year. Of that number, 2,806 operated with annual receipts of less than $25 million per year, 17 with annual receipts between $25 million and $49,999,999 million and 26 with annual receipts of $50 million or more. Therefore, based on the SBA's size standard the majority of such entities are small entities.

    51. According to Commission staff review of the BIA Publications, Inc. Master Access Radio Analyzer Database as of June 2, 2016, about 11,386 (or about 99.9 percent) of 11,395 commercial radio stations had revenues of $38.5 million or less and thus qualify as small entities under the SBA definition. The Commission has estimated the number of licensed commercial radio stations to be 11,415. The Commission notes that it has also estimated the number of licensed NCE radio stations to be 4,101. Nevertheless, the Commission does not compile and otherwise does not have access to information on the revenue of NCE stations that would permit it to determine how many such stations would qualify as small entities.

    52. The Commission also notes, that in assessing whether a business entity qualifies as small under the above definition, business control affiliations must be included. The Commission's estimate therefore likely overstates the number of small entities that might be affected by its action, because the revenue figure on which it is based does not include or aggregate revenues from affiliated companies. In addition, to be determined a “small business,” an entity may not be dominant in its field of operation. Tthe Commission further notes, that it is difficult at times to assess these criteria in the context of media entities, and the estimate of small businesses to which these rules may apply does not exclude any radio station from the definition of a small business on these basis, thus our estimate of small businesses may therefore be over-inclusive.

    53. FM Translator Stations and Low Power FM Stations. FM translators and Low Power FM Stations are classified in the category of Radio Stations and are assigned the same NAICS Code as licensees of radio stations. This U.S. industry, Radio Stations, comprises establishments primarily engaged in broadcasting aural programs by radio to the public. Programming may originate in their own studio, from an affiliated network, or from external sources. The SBA has established a small business size standard which consists of all radio stations whose annual receipts are $38.5 million dollars or less. U.S. Census data for 2012 indicate that 2,849 radio station firms operated during that year. Of that number, 2,806 operated with annual receipts of less than $25 million per year, 17 with annual receipts between $25 million and $49,999,999 million and 26 with annual receipts of $50 million or more. Based on U.S. Census data, the Commission concludes that the majority of FM Translator Stations and Low Power FM Stations are small.

    54. Multichannel Video Distribution and Data Service (MVDDS). MVDDS is a terrestrial fixed microwave service operating in the 12.2-12.7 GHz band. The Commission adopted criteria for defining three groups of small businesses for purposes of determining their eligibility for special provisions such as bidding credits. It defined a very small business as an entity with average annual gross revenues not exceeding $3 million for the preceding three years; a small business as an entity with average annual gross revenues not exceeding $15 million for the preceding three years; and an entrepreneur as an entity with average annual gross revenues not exceeding $40 million for the preceding three years. These definitions were approved by the SBA. On January 27, 2004, the Commission completed an auction of 214 MVDDS licenses (Auction No. 53). In this auction, ten winning bidders won a total of 192 MVDDS licenses. Eight of the ten winning bidders claimed small business status and won 144 of the licenses. The Commission also held an auction of MVDDS licenses on December 7, 2005 (Auction 63). Of the three winning bidders who won 22 licenses, two winning bidders, winning 21 of the licenses, claimed small business status.

    55. Satellite Telecommunications. This category comprises firms “primarily engaged in providing telecommunications services to other establishments in the telecommunications and broadcasting industries by forwarding and receiving communications signals via a system of satellites or reselling satellite telecommunications.” The category has a small business size standard of $32.5 million or less in average annual receipts, under SBA rules. For this category, U.S. Census Bureau data for 2012 show that there were a total of 333 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 299 firms had annual receipts of less than $25 million. Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of satellite telecommunications providers are small entities.

    56. All Other Telecommunications. The “All Other Telecommunications” category is comprised of establishments that are primarily engaged in providing specialized telecommunications services, such as satellite tracking, communications telemetry, and radar station operation. This industry also includes establishments primarily engaged in providing satellite terminal stations and associated facilities connected with one or more terrestrial systems and capable of transmitting telecommunications to, and receiving telecommunications from, satellite systems. Establishments providing internet services or voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services via client-supplied telecommunications connections are also included in this industry. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for “All Other Telecommunications,” which consists of all such firms with gross annual receipts of $32.5 million or less. For this category, U.S. Census data for 2012 show that there were 1,442 firms that operated for the entire year. Of these firms, a total of 1,400 had gross annual receipts of less than $25 million. Thus, a majority of “All Other Telecommunications” firms potentially affected by our action can be considered small.

    57. Fixed Microwave Services. Microwave services include common carrier,private-operational fixed, and broadcast auxiliary radio services. They also include the Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS), the Digital Electronic Message Service (DEMS), the 39 GHz Service (39 GHz), the 24 GHz Service, and the Millimeter Wave Service where licensees can choose between common carrier and non-common carrier status. The SBA nor the Commission has defined a small business size standard for microwave services. For purposes of this IRFA, the Commission will use the SBA's definition applicable to Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except satellite)—i.e., an entity with no more than 1,500 persons is considered small. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. U. S. Census Bureau data for 2012, show that there were 967 firms in this category that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 955 had employment of 999 or fewer, and 12 firms had employment of 1,000 employees or more. Thus, under this category and the associated small business size standard, the Commission estimates that the majority of wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite) are small entities that may be affected by our proposed action.

    58. According to Commission data in the Universal Licensing System (ULS) as of September 22, 2015 there were approximately 61,970 common carrier fixed licensees, 62,909 private and public safety operational-fixed licensees, 20,349 broadcast auxiliary radio licensees, 412 LMDS licenses, 35 DEMS licenses, 870 39 GHz licenses, and five 24 GHz licenses, and 408 Millimeter Wave licenses in the microwave services. The Commission notes that the number of firms does not necessarily track the number of licensees. The Commission estimates that virtually all of the Fixed Microwave licensees (excluding broadcast auxiliary licensees) would qualify as small entities under the SBA definition.

    59. Non-Licensee Owners of Towers and Other Infrastructure. Although at one time most communications towers were owned by the licensee using the tower to provide communications service, many towers are now owned by third-party businesses that do not provide communications services themselves but lease space on their towers to other companies that provide communications services. The Commission's rules require that any entity, including a non-licensee, proposing to construct a tower over 200 feet in height or within the glide slope of an airport must register the tower with the Commission's Antenna Structure Registration (“ASR”) system and comply with applicable rules regarding review for impact on the environment and historic properties.

    60. As of March 1, 2017, the ASR database includes approximately 122,157 registration records reflecting a “Constructed” status and 13,987 registration records reflecting a “Granted, Not Constructed” status. These figures include both towers registered to licensees and towers registered to non-licensee tower owners. The Commission does not keep information from which it can easily determine how many of these towers are registered to non-licensees or how many non-licensees have registered towers. Regarding towers that do not require ASR registration, the Commission does not collect information as to the number of such towers in use and therefore cannot estimate the number of tower owners that would be subject to the rules on which the Commission seeks comment. Moreover, the SBA has not developed a size standard for small businesses in the category “Tower Owners.” Therefore, the Commission is unable to determine the number of non-licensee tower owners that are small entities. The Commission believes, however, that when all entities owning 10 or fewer towers and leasing space for collocation are included, non-licensee tower owners number in the thousands, and that nearly all of these qualify as small businesses under the SBA's definition for “All Other Telecommunications.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for “All Other Telecommunications,” which consists of all such firms with gross annual receipts of $32.5 million or less. For this category, U.S. Census data for 2012 show that there were 1,442 firms that operated for the entire year. Of these firms, a total of 1,400 had gross annual receipts of less than $25 million. Thus, a majority of “All Other Telecommunications” firms potentially affected by our action can be considered small. In addition, there may be other non-licensee owners of other wireless infrastructure, including Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) and small cells, that might be affected by the measures on which the Commission seeks comment. The Commission does not have any basis for estimating the number of such non-licensee owners that are small entities.

    5. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements for Small Entities

    61. The Commission is not imposing any additional reporting or record keeping requirements. Rather, as discussed in the next section, the Commission is reducing National Historic Preservation Act compliance burdens, including those on small entities, by eliminating the historic preservation review requirement for construction of replacement utility poles that are capable of supporting antennas or other wireless communications equipment and are substantially similar to the preexisting poles, subject to certain conditions. The Commission is also reorganizing the rules governing its historic preservation review procedures by consolidating them into a single new Rule 1.1320. This should clarify the rules and make compliance easier for small entities.

    6. Steps Taken To Minimize the Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and Significant Alternatives Considered

    62. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): “(1) the establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance and reporting requirements under the rule for such small entities; (3) the use of performance rather than design standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for such small entities.”

    63. This Order streamlines the process of deploying next-generation wireless broadband by eliminating the need for historic preservation review for construction of replacement utility poles in certain circumstances. The Commission anticipates that adoption of this replacement pole exclusion will provide significant efficiencies in the deployment of such facilities, particularly for small entities that may not have the compliance resources and economies of scale of larger entities, while still avoiding adverse impacts on historic properties. The exclusion will also make more consistent the process that carriers and pole construction companies must follow to comply with our historic preservation review requirements and those they must follow when building replacement poles that are subject to the requirements of other agencies pursuant to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's Program Comment for Communications Projects on Federal Lands and Property. By adopting this new exclusion, the Commission continues to fulfill our statutory responsibilities regarding historic preservation, while reducing the burden on small entities by removing unnecessary impediments to the rapid deployment of small cell facilities and other wireless infrastructure across the country.

    64. Further, the Order incorporates the new exclusion for replacement poles into our rules in a manner that more clearly articulates licensees' and applicants' obligations not only as to this specific issue, but more generally as to the entire historic preservation review process. Thus, the Commission is reorganizing its existing regulations to clarify the general requirements regarding historic preservation review, as well as to specify the contours of the new exclusion. This simpler presentation of our requirements in the new rule should make it easier for licensees and applicants to understand and comply with our historic preservation review requirements, and thus may expedite the completion of such review and facilitate more expeditious deployment of wireless infrastructure, further reducing the intrinsic cost and delay associated with such deployment.

    65. As discussed above, the overall approach the Commission has taken is to remove regulatory requirements associated with NHPA compliance with respect to one specified category of undertakings and to simplify and clarify the existing requirements applicable in other contexts. In crafting this regulatory relief, the Commission has not identified any additional steps that itcould take with respect to small entities that could not also be applied to all entities that construct or deploy wireless infrastructure. While the new exclusion for replacement utility poles is not specifically directed at small entities, the Commission recognizes that our actions in the Order can potentially decrease costs for all those subject to NHPA obligations, including small entities.

    7. Report to Congress

    66. The Commission will send a copy of the Report and Order, including this FRFA, in a report to be sent to Congress pursuant to the Congressional Review Act. In addition, the Commission will send a copy of the Report and Order, including this FRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA. The Report and Order and FRFA (or summaries thereof) also will be published in the Federal Register.

    B. Paperwork Reduction Act

    67. The Report and Order does not contain new or revised information collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-13. In addition, therefore, it does not contains any substantive new or modified information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198; see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4).

    C. Congressional Review Act

    68. The Commission will send a copy of the Report and Order in a report to be sent to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (CRA), see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).

    V. Ordering Clauses

    69. Accordingly, it is ordered, pursuant to Sections 1, 2, 4(i), 7, 201, 301, 303, and 332 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended 47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 154(i), 157, 201, 301, 303, and 332, Section 102(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 4332(C), and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, 54 U.S.C. 306108, that the Report and Order is hereby adopted.

    70. It is further ordered that the Commission's Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a copy of the Report and Order, including the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.

    71. It is further ordered that part 1 of the Commission's rules is amended, and that these changes shall be effective January 16, 2018.

    List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 1

    Communications common carriers, Communications equipment, Environmental protection, Historic preservation, Radio, Telecommunications.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Office of the Secretary. Final Rules

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission amends 47 CFR part 1 as follows:

    PART I—PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE 1. The authority citation for part 1 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

    47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i), 155, 157, 225, 303(r), 309, 1403, 1404, 1451, and 1452.

    2. Section 1.1307 is amended by revising paragraph (a)(4) to read as follows:
    § 1.1307 Actions that may have a significant environmental effect, for which Environmental Assessments (EAs) must be prepared.

    (a) * * *

    (4) Facilities that may affect districts, sites, buildings, structures or objects, significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering or culture, that are listed, or are eligible for listing, in the National Register of Historic Places (see 54 U.S.C. 300308; 36 CFR parts 60 and 800), and that are subject to review pursuant to section 1.1320 and have been determined through that review process to have adverse effects on identified historic properties.

    3. Section 1.1320 is added to subpart I to read as follows:
    § 1.1320 Review of Commission undertakings that may affect historic properties.

    (a) Review of Commission undertakings. Any Commission undertaking that has the potential to cause effects on historic properties, unless excluded from review pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section, shall be subject to review under section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as amended, 54 U.S.C. 306108, by applying—

    (1) The procedures set forth in regulations of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, 36 CFR800.3-800.13, or

    (2) If applicable, a program alternative established pursuant to 36 CFR 800.14, including but not limited to the following:

    (i) The Nationwide Programmatic Agreement for the Collocation of Wireless Antennas, as amended, Appendix B of this part.

    (ii) The Nationwide Programmatic Agreement for Review of Effects on Historic Properties for Certain Undertakings, Appendix C of this part.

    (iii) The Program Comment to Tailor the Federal Communications Commission's Section 106 Review for Undertakings Involving the Construction of Positive Train Control Wayside Poles and Infrastructure, 79 FR 30861 (May 29, 2014).

    (b) Exclusions. The following categories of undertakings are excluded from review under this section:

    (1) Projects reviewed by other agencies. Undertakings for which an agency other than the Commission is the lead Federal agency pursuant to 36 CFR 800.2(a)(2).

    (2) Projects subject to program alternatives. Undertakings excluded from review under a program alternative established pursuant to 36 CFR 800.14, including those listed in paragraph (a)(2) of this section.

    (3) Replacement utility poles. Construction of a replacement for an existing structure where all the following criteria are satisfied:

    (i) The original structure—

    (A) Is a pole that can hold utility, communications, or related transmission lines;

    (B) Was not originally erected for the sole or primary purpose of supporting antennas that operate pursuant to the Commission's spectrum license or authorization; and

    (C) Is not itself a historic property.

    (ii) The replacement pole—

    (A) Is located no more than 10 feet away from the original pole, based on the distance between the centerpoint of the replacement pole and the centerpoint of the original pole; provided that construction of the replacement pole in place of the original pole entails no new ground disturbance (either laterally or in depth) outside previously disturbed areas, including disturbance associated with temporary support of utility, communications, or related transmission lines. For purposes of this paragraph, “ground disturbance” means any activity that moves, compacts, alters, displaces, or penetrates the ground surface of previously undisturbed soils;

    (B) Has a height that does not exceed the height of the original pole by more than 5 feet or 10 percent of the height of the original pole, whichever is greater; and

    (C) Has an appearance consistent with the quality and appearance of the original pole.

    (4) Collocations on buildings and other non-tower structures. The mounting of antennas (including associated equipment such as wiring, cabling, cabinets, or backup power) on buildings or other non-tower structures where the deployment meets the following conditions:

    (i) There is an existing antenna on the building or structure;

    (ii) One of the following criteria is met:

    (A) Non-Visible Antennas. The new antenna is not visible from any adjacent streets or surrounding public spaces and is added in the same vicinity as a pre-existing antenna;

    (B) Visible Replacement Antennas. The new antenna is visible from adjacent streets or surrounding public spaces, provided that

    (1) It is a replacement for a pre-existing antenna,

    (2) The new antenna will be located in the same vicinity as the pre-existing antenna,

    (3) The new antenna will be visible only from adjacent streets and surrounding public spaces that also afford views of the pre-existing antenna,

    (4) The new antenna is not more than 3 feet larger in height or width (including all protuberances) than the pre-existing antenna, and

    (5) No new equipment cabinets are visible from the adjacent streets or surrounding public spaces; or

    (C) Other Visible Antennas. The new antenna is visible from adjacent streets or surrounding public spaces, provided that

    (1) It is located in the same vicinity as a pre-existing antenna,

    (2) The new antenna will be visible only from adjacent streets and surrounding public spaces that also afford views of the pre-existing antenna,

    (3) The pre-existing antenna was not deployed pursuant to the exclusion in this paragraph,

    (4) The new antenna is not more than three feet larger in height or width (including all protuberances) than the pre-existing antenna, and

    (5) No new equipment cabinets are visible from the adjacent streets or surrounding public spaces;

    (iii) The new antenna complies with all zoning conditions and historic preservation conditions applicable to existing antennas in the same vicinity that directly mitigate or prevent effects, such as camouflage or concealment requirements;

    (iv) The deployment of the new antenna involves no new ground disturbance; and

    (v) The deployment would otherwise require the preparation of an Environmental Assessment under 1.1304(a)(4) solely because of the age of the structure.

    Note 1 to Paragraph (b)(4):

    A non-visible new antenna is in the “same vicinity” as a pre-existing antenna if it will be collocated on the same rooftop, façade or other surface. A visible new antenna is in the “same vicinity” as a pre-existing antenna if it is on the same rooftop, façade, or other surface and the centerpoint of the new antenna is within ten feet of the centerpoint of the pre-existing antenna. A deployment causes no new ground disturbance when the depth and width of previous disturbance exceeds the proposed construction depth and width by at least two feet.

    (c) Responsibilities of applicants. Applicants seeking Commission authorization for construction or modification of towers, collocation of antennas, or other undertakings shall take the steps mandated by, and comply with the requirements set forth in, Appendix C of this part, sections III-X, or any other applicable program alternative.

    (d) Definitions. For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

    Antenna means an apparatus designed for the purpose of emitting radiofrequency (RF) radiation, to be operated or operating from a fixed location pursuant to Commission authorization, for the transmission of writing, signs, signals, data, images, pictures, and sounds of all kinds, including the transmitting device and any on-site equipment, switches, wiring, cabling, power sources, shelters or cabinets associated with that antenna and added to a tower, structure, or building as part of the original installation of the antenna. For most services, an antenna will be mounted on or in, and is distinct from, a supporting structure such as a tower, structure or building. However, in the case of AM broadcast stations, the entire tower or group of towers constitutes the antenna for that station. For purposes of this section, the term antenna does not include unintentional radiators, mobile stations, or devices authorized under part 15 of this title.

    Applicant means a Commission licensee, permittee, or registration holder, or an applicant or prospective applicant for a wireless or broadcast license, authorization or antenna structure registration, and the duly authorized agents, employees, and contractors of any such person or entity.

    Collocation means the mounting or installation of an antenna on an existing tower, building or structure for the purpose of transmitting and/or receiving radio frequency signals for communications purposes, whether or not there is an existing antenna on the structure.

    Tower means any structure built for the sole or primary purpose of supporting Commission-licensed or authorized antennas, including the on-site fencing, equipment, switches, wiring, cabling, power sources, shelters, or cabinets associated with that tower but not installed as part of an antenna as defined herein.

    Undertaking means a project, activity, or program funded in whole or in part under the direct or indirect jurisdiction of the Commission, including those requiring a Commission permit, license or approval. Maintenance and servicing of towers, antennas, and associated equipment are not deemed to be undertakings subject to review under this section.

    [FR Doc. 2017-26940 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 25 [IB Docket No. 13-213; FCC 16-181] Terrestrial Use of the 2473-2495 MHz Bands for Low-Power Mobile Broadband Networks; Amendments to Rules for the Ancillary Terrestrial Component of Mobile Satellite Service Systems AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Final rule; announcement of effective date.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document, the Commission announces that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved, for a period of three years, the information collection associated with the Commission's Terrestrial Use of the 2473-2495 MHz bands for Low-Power Mobile Broadband Networks; Amendments to Rules for the Ancillary Terrestrial Component of Mobile Satellite Service Systems Report and Order's (Order) modified rules for the operation of an Ancillary Terrestrial Component. This document is consistent with the Order, which stated that the Commission would publish a document in the Federal Register announcing the effective date of those rules.

    DATES:

    The amendments to 47 CFR 25.149 published at 82 FR 8814, January 31, 2017, are effective December 14, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Stephen Duall, Satellite Division, International Bureau, at 202-418-1103 or via email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This document announces that, on June 28, 2017, OMB approved, for a period of three years, the information collection requirements relating to the access stimulation rules contained in the Commission's Order, FCC 16-181, published at 82 FR 8814, January 31, 2017. The OMB Control Number is 3060-0994. The Commission publishes this document as an announcement of the effective date of the rules. If you have any comments on the burden estimates listed below, or how the Commission can improve the collections and reduce any burdens caused thereby, please contact Cathy Williams, Federal Communications Commission, Room 1-C823, 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554. Please include the OMB Control Number, 3060-0298, in your correspondence. The Commission will also accept your comments via email at [email protected]

    To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an email to [email protected] or call the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY).

    SYNOPSIS

    As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507), the FCC is notifying the public that it received final OMB approval on June 28, 2017, for the information collection requirements contained in the modifications to the Commission's rules in 47 CFR part 25.

    Under 5 CFR part 1320, an agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a current, valid OMB Control Number.

    No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act that does not display a current, valid OMB Control Number. The OMB Control Number is 3060-0994.

    The foregoing notice is required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13, October 1, 1995, and 44 U.S.C. 3507.

    The total annual reporting burdens and costs for the respondents are as follows:

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0994.

    OMB Approval Date: June 28, 2017.

    OMB Expiration Date: June 30, 2020.

    Title: Flexibility for Delivery of Communications by Mobile Satellite Service Providers in the 2 GHz Band, the L Band, and the 1.6/2.4 GHz Band.

    Form Number: N/A.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 126 respondents; 126 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: Between 0.5-50 hours.

    Frequency of Response: One-time, annual, and on-occasion reporting requirements, third party disclosure and recordkeeping requirements.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for this information collection is contained in sections 4(i), 7, 302, 303(c), 303(e), 303(f) and 303(r) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 157, 302, 303(c), 303(e), 303(f) and 303(r).

    Total Annual Burden: 520 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: $530,340.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: An assurance of confidentiality is not offered because this information collection does not require the collection of personally identifiable information (PII) from individuals.

    Privacy Act: No impact(s).

    Needs and Uses: On December 23, 2016, the Commission released a Report and Order in IB Docket No. 13-213, FCC 16-181, titled “Terrestrial Use of the 2473-2495 MHz Band for Low-Power Mobile Broadband Networks; Amendments to Rules for the Ancillary Terrestrial Component of Mobile Satellite Service Systems.” The revisions to 47 CFR part 25 adopted in the Report and Order remove a portion of the information collection requirements as it relates to a newly proposed low power broadband network, as described in document FCC 16-181. These revisions enable ATC licensees to operate low-power ATC using licensed spectrum in the 2483.5-2495 MHz band. Although the original low-power ATC proposal described the use of the adjacent 2473-2483.5 MHz band, low-power terrestrial operations at 2473-2483.5 MHz were not authorized by the Report and Order. The revisions provide an exception for low-power ATC from the requirements contained in § 25.149(b) of the Commission's rules, which require detailed showings concerning satellite system coverage and replacement satellites. The revisions also provide an exception from a rule requiring integrated service, which generally requires that service handsets be capable of communication with both satellites and terrestrial base stations. Accordingly, the provider of low-power ATC would be relieved from certain burdens that are currently in place in the existing information collection. To qualify for authority to deploy a low-power terrestrial network in the 2483.5-2495 MHz band, an ATC licensee would need to certify that it will utilize a Network Operating System to manage its terrestrial low-power network. Although the Report and Order also created new technical requirements for equipment designed to communicate with a low-power ATC network, satisfaction of these technical requirements relieves ATC licensees from meeting other technical requirements that apply to ATC systems generally. We also had a revision to this information collection to reflect the elimination of the elements of this information collection for 2 GHz MSS. See 78 FR 48621-22.

    The purposes of the existing information collection are to obtain information necessary for licensing operators of Mobile-Satellite Service (MSS) networks to provide ancillary services in the U.S. via terrestrial base stations (Ancillary Terrestrial Components, or ATCs); obtain the legal and technical information required to facilitate the integration of ATCs into MSS networks in the L-Band and the 1.6/2.4 GHz Bands; and to ensure that ATC licensees meet the Commission's legal and technical requirements to develop and maintain their MSS networks and operate their ATC systems without causing harmful interference to other radio systems.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26943 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 120627194-3657-02] RIN 0648-XF817 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; North Atlantic Swordfish Fishery AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; Swordfish General Commercial permit retention limit inseason adjustment for the Northwest Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and U.S. Caribbean regions.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS is adjusting the Swordfish (SWO) General Commercial permit retention limits for the Northwest Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and U.S. Caribbean regions for January through June of the 2018 fishing year, unless otherwise later noticed. The SWO General Commercial permit retention limit in each of these regions is increased from the regulatory default limits (either two or three fish) to six swordfish per vessel per trip. The SWO General Commercial permit retention limit in the Florida SWO Management Area will remain unchanged at the default limit of zero swordfish per vessel per trip. These adjustments apply to SWO General Commercial permitted vessels and Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Charter/Headboat permitted vessels when on a non-for-hire trip. This action is based upon consideration of the applicable inseason regional retention limit adjustment criteria.

    DATES:

    The adjusted SWO General Commercial permit retention limits in the Northwest Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and U.S. Caribbean regions are effective from January 1, 2018, through June 30, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rick Pearson or Randy Blankinship, 727-824-5399.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Regulations implemented under the authority of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of North Atlantic swordfish by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. North Atlantic swordfish quota recommended by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and implemented by the United States into two equal semi-annual directed fishery quotas—an annual incidental catch quota for fishermen targeting other species or catching swordfish recreationally, and a reserve category, according to the allocations established in the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) (71 FR 58058, October 2, 2006), as amended, and in accordance with implementing regulations. NMFS is required under ATCA and the Magnuson-Stevens Act to provide U.S. fishing vessels with a reasonable opportunity to harvest the ICCAT-recommended quota.

    In 2017, ICCAT recommended that the overall North Atlantic swordfish total allowable catch (TAC) be set at 9,925 metric tons (mt) dressed weight (dw) (13,200 mt whole weight (ww)) through 2021. Consistent with scientific advice, this was a reduction of 500 mt ww (375.9 mt dw) from previous ICCAT-recommended TACs. However, of this TAC, the United States' baseline quota remained at 2,937.6 mt dw (3,907 mt ww) per year. The Recommendation also continued to limit underharvest carryover to 15 percent of a contracting party's baseline quota. Thus, the United States could carry over a maximum of 440.6 mt dw (586.0 mt ww) of underharvest. Absent adjustments, the codified baseline quota is 2,937.6 mt dw for 2018. At this time, given the extent of underharvest in 2017, we anticipate carrying over the maximum allowable 15 percent (440.6 mt dw), which would result in a final adjusted North Atlantic swordfish quota for the 2018 fishing year equal to 3,378.2 mt dw (2,937.6 + 440.6 = 3,378.2 mt dw). Also as in past years, we anticipate allocating from the adjusted quota, 50 mt dw to the Reserve category for inseason adjustments and research, and 300 mt dw to the Incidental category, which includes recreational landings and landings by incidental swordfish permit holders, per § 635.27(c)(1)(i). This would result in an allocation of 3,028.2 mt dw for the directed fishery, which would be split equally (1,514.1 mt dw) between the two semi-annual periods in 2018 (January through June, and July through December).

    Adjustment of SWO General Commercial Permit Vessel Retention Limits

    The 2018 North Atlantic swordfish fishing year, which is managed on a calendar-year basis and divided into two equal semi-annual quotas, begins on January 1, 2018. Landings attributable to the SWO General Commercial permit are counted against the applicable semi-annual directed fishery quota. Regional default retention limits for this permit have been established and are automatically effective from January 1 through December 31 each year, unless changed based on the inseason regional retention limit adjustment criteria at § 635.24(b)(4)(iv). The default retention limits established for the SWO General Commercial permit are: (1) Northwest Atlantic region—three swordfish per vessel per trip; (2) Gulf of Mexico region—three swordfish per vessel per trip; (3) U.S. Caribbean region—two swordfish per vessel per trip; and, (4) Florida SWO Management Area—zero swordfish per vessel per trip. The default retention limits apply to SWO General Commercial permitted vessels and to HMS Charter/Headboat permitted vessels when fishing on non for-hire trips. As a condition of these permits, vessels may not possess, retain, or land any more swordfish than is specified for the region in which the vessel is located.

    Under § 635.24(b)(4)(iii), NMFS may increase or decrease the SWO General Commercial permit vessel retention limit in any region within a range from zero to a maximum of six swordfish per vessel per trip. Any adjustments to the retention limits must be based upon a consideration of the relevant criteria provided in § 635.24(b)(4)(iv), which include: The usefulness of information obtained from biological sampling and monitoring of the North Atlantic swordfish stock; the estimated ability of vessels participating in the fishery to land the amount of swordfish quota available before the end of the fishing year; the estimated amounts by which quotas for other categories of the fishery might be exceeded; effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of the fishery management plan and its amendments; variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or migration patterns of swordfish; effects of catch rates in one region precluding vessels in another region from having a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the overall swordfish quota; and, review of dealer reports, landing trends, and the availability of swordfish on the fishing grounds.

    NMFS has considered these criteria as discussed below and their applicability to the SWO General Commercial permit retention limit in all regions for January through June of the 2018 North Atlantic swordfish fishing year and has determined that the SWO General Commercial permit retention limits in the Northwest Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and U.S. Caribbean regions applicable to persons issued a SWO General Commercial permit or HMS Charter/Headboat permit (when on a non for-hire trip) should be increased from the default levels that would otherwise automatically become effective on January 1, 2018, to six swordfish per vessel per trip from January 1 through June 30, 2018, unless otherwise later noticed.

    Among the regulatory criteria for inseason adjustments to retention limits, and given the rebuilt status of the stock and availability of quota, is the requirement that NMFS consider the “effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of the fishery management plan and its amendments.” One consideration in deciding whether to increase the retention limit, in this case, is the objective of providing opportunities to harvest the full North Atlantic directed swordfish quota without exceeding it based upon the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP goal to, consistent with other objectives of this FMP, “manage Atlantic HMS fisheries for continuing optimum yield so as to provide the greatest overall benefit to the Nation, particularly with respect to food production, providing recreational opportunities, preserving traditional fisheries, and taking into account the protection of marine ecosystems.” Another consideration, consistent with the FMP and its amendments, is to continue to provide protection to important swordfish juvenile areas and migratory corridors.

    The regulatory criteria also require NMFS to consider the estimated ability of vessels participating in the fishery to land the amount of swordfish quota available before the end of the fishing year. In considering these criteria and their application here, NMFS examined electronic dealer reports, which provide accurate and timely monitoring of landings, and considered recent landing trends and information obtained from biological sampling and monitoring of the North Atlantic swordfish stock. A six swordfish per vessel per trip limit for SWO General Commercial permit holders was in effect in the Northwest Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and U.S. Caribbean regions for the entire 2016 fishing season as a result of actions adjusting those limits upwards in January and July (80 FR 81770 and 81 FR 38966). Even with these higher retention limits, 2016 total annual directed swordfish landings through December 31, 2016, were approximately 1,079.0 mt dw, or 32.6 percent of the 3,009.4 mt dw annual adjusted directed swordfish quota. Similarly, with higher retention limits during both semi-annual quota periods in 2017, preliminary total directed swordfish landings through October 31, 2017, are approximately 744.2 mt dw, or 24.7 percent of the 3,009.4 mt dw annual adjusted directed swordfish quota established for 2017.

    The total available directed swordfish quota has not been harvested for several years and, based upon current landing trends, is not likely to be harvested or exceeded during 2018. This information indicates that sufficient directed swordfish quota should be available from January 1 through June 30, 2018, at the higher retention levels, within the limits of the scientifically-supported TAC and consistent with the goals of the FMP.

    The regulatory criteria for inseason adjustments also require NMFS to consider the estimated amounts by which quotas for other categories of the fishery might be exceeded. Based upon recent landings rates from dealer reports, an increase in the vessel retention limit for SWO General Commercial permit holders is not likely to cause quotas for other categories of the fishery to be exceeded as the directed category quota has been significantly underharvested in recent years and landings trends are not expected to vary significantly in 2018. Similarly, regarding the criteria that NMFS consider the effects of catch rates in one region precluding vessels in another region from having a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the overall swordfish quota, NMFS expects there to be sufficient swordfish quota for 2018, and thus increased catch rates in these three regions as a result of this action would not be expected to preclude vessels in the other region (e.g., the buoy gear fishery in the Florida SWO Management Area) from having a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the overall swordfish quota.

    Finally, in making adjustments to the retention limits NMFS must consider variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or migration patterns of swordfish, and the availability of swordfish on the fishing grounds. With regard to swordfish abundance, the 2017 report by ICCAT's Standing Committee on Research and Statistics indicated that the North Atlantic swordfish stock is not overfished (B2015/Bmsy = 1.04), and overfishing is not occurring (F2015/Fmsy = 0.78). Increasing the retention limits for this U.S. handgear fishery is not expected to affect the swordfish stock status determination because any additional landings would be within the established overall U.S. North Atlantic swordfish quota allocation recommended by ICCAT. Increasing opportunity beginning on January 1, 2018, is also important because of the migratory nature and seasonal distribution of swordfish. In a particular geographic region, or waters accessible from a particular port, the amount of fishing opportunity for swordfish may be constrained by the short amount of time the swordfish are present as they migrate.

    NMFS also has determined that the retention limit for the SWO General Commercial permit will remain at zero swordfish per vessel per trip in the Florida SWO Management Area at this time. As discussed above, NMFS considered consistency with the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and its amendments, and the importance for NMFS to continue to provide protection to important swordfish juvenile areas and migratory corridors. As described in Amendment 8 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP (78 FR 52012), the area off the southeastern coast of Florida, particularly the Florida Straits, contains oceanographic features that make the area biologically unique. It provides important juvenile swordfish habitat, and is essentially a narrow migratory corridor containing high concentrations of swordfish located in close proximity to high concentrations of people who may fish for them. Public comment on Amendment 8, including from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, indicated concern about the resultant high potential for the improper rapid growth of a commercial fishery, increased catches of undersized swordfish, the potential for larger numbers of fishermen in the area, and the potential for crowding of fishermen, which could lead to gear and user conflicts. These concerns remain valid. NMFS will continue to collect information to evaluate the appropriateness of the retention limit in the Florida SWO Management Area and other regional retention limits. This action therefore maintains a zero-fish retention limit in the Florida Swordfish Management Area.

    These adjustments are consistent with the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP as amended, ATCA, and the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and are not expected to negatively impact stock health.

    Monitoring and Reporting

    NMFS will continue to monitor the swordfish fishery closely during 2018 through mandatory landings and catch reports. Dealers are required to submit landing reports and negative reports (if no swordfish were purchased) on a weekly basis.

    Depending upon the level of fishing effort and catch rates of swordfish, NMFS may determine that additional retention limit adjustments or closures are necessary to ensure that available quota is not exceeded or to enhance fishing opportunities. Subsequent actions, if any, will be published in the Federal Register. In addition, fishermen may access http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/species/swordfish/landings/index.html for updates on quota monitoring.

    Classification

    The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) finds that it is impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for the following reasons:

    The regulations implementing the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP, as amended, provide for inseason retention limit adjustments to respond to changes in swordfish landings, the availability of swordfish on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature of this species, and regional variations in the fishery. Based on available swordfish quota, stock abundance, fishery performance in recent years, and the availability of swordfish on the fishing grounds, among other considerations, adjustment to the SWO General Commercial permit retention limits from the default levels of two or three fish to six SWO per vessel per trip as discussed above is warranted, while maintaining a zero-fish retention limit in the Florida SWO Management Area. Analysis of available data shows that adjustment to the swordfish retention limit from the default levels would result in minimal risk of exceeding the ICCAT-allocated quota. NMFS provides notification of retention limit adjustments by publishing the notification in the Federal Register, emailing individuals who have subscribed to the Atlantic HMS News electronic newsletter, and updating the information posted on the “Atlantic HMS Breaking News” website at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/news/breaking_news.html. Delays in temporarily increasing these retention limits caused by the time required to publish a proposed rule and accept public comment would adversely and unnecessarily affect those SWO General Commercial permit holders and HMS Charter/Headboat permit holders that would otherwise have an opportunity to harvest more than the otherwise applicable lower default retention limits of three swordfish per vessel per trip in the Northwest Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico regions, and two swordfish per vessel per trip in the U.S. Caribbean region. Further, any delay beyond January 1, 2018, the start of the first semi-annual directed fishing period, could result in even lower swordfish landings because of the lower default retention limits. Limited opportunities to harvest the directed swordfish quota may have negative social and economic impacts for U.S. fishermen. Adjustment of the retention limits needs to be effective on January 1, 2018, to allow SWO General Commercial permit holders and HMS Charter/Headboat permit holders to benefit from the adjustment during the relevant time period, which could pass by for some fishermen, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico and U.S. Caribbean regions who have access to the fishery during a short time period because of seasonal fish migration, if the action is delayed for notice and public comment. Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. For all of the above reasons, there is also good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness.

    This action is being taken under 50 CFR 635.24(b)(4) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq.

    Dated: December 8, 2017. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26901 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    82 239 Thursday, December 14, 2017 Proposed Rules FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM 12 CFR Chapter II [Docket No. OP-1589] Federal Reserve Policy on Payment System Risk; U.S. Branches and Agencies of Foreign Banking Organizations AGENCY:

    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

    ACTION:

    Policy statement; request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (“Board”) is requesting comment on proposed changes to part II of the Federal Reserve Policy on Payment System Risk (“PSR policy”) related to procedures for determining the net debit cap and maximum daylight overdraft capacity of a U.S. branch or agency of a foreign banking organization (“FBO”). Under the PSR policy, an FBO's strength of support assessment (“SOSA”) ranking can affect its eligibility for a positive net debit cap, the size of its net debit cap, and its eligibility to request a streamlined procedure to obtain maximum daylight overdraft capacity. Additionally, an FBO that is a financial holding company (“FHC”) can generally receive a higher net debit cap than an FBO that is not an FHC, and is generally eligible to request a streamlined procedure to obtain maximum daylight overdraft capacity. The proposed changes to the PSR policy would remove references to the SOSA ranking; remove references to FBOs' FHC status; and adopt alternative methods for determining an FBO's eligibility for a positive net debit cap, the size of its net debit cap, and its eligibility to request a streamlined procedure to obtain maximum daylight overdraft capacity. The Board recognizes that the proposed changes would reduce net debit caps for some FBOs, but the Board believes that the adjusted FBO net debit caps would be better tailored to FBOs' actual usage of intraday credit and would not constrain FBOs' U.S. operations.

    DATES:

    Comments on the proposed changes must be received on or before February 12, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. OP-1589, by any of the following methods:

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

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

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

    FAX: 202/452-3819 or 202/452-3102.

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

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

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jeffrey Walker, Assistant Director (202-721-4559), Jason Hinkle, Manager (202-912-7805), or Alex So, Senior Financial Services Analyst (202-452-2300), Division of Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems; or Evan Winerman, Counsel (202-872-7578), Legal Division, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. For users of Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) only, please call 202-263-4869.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Current Use of SOSA Ranking and FHC Status in the PSR Policy

    Part II of the PSR policy establishes the maximum levels of daylight overdrafts that depository institutions (“institutions”) may incur in their Federal Reserve accounts.20 As described further below, an FBO's SOSA ranking—which assesses an FBO's ability to provide financial, liquidity, and management support to its U.S. operations—can affect the FBO's daylight overdraft capacity. Similarly, an FBO's status as an FHC can affect its daylight overdraft capacity.21

    20See https://www.federalreserve.gov/paymentsystems/files/psr_policy.pdf.

    21 The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act defines a “financial holding company” as a bank holding company that meets certain eligibility requirements. In order for a bank holding company to become a financial holding company and be eligible to engage in the new activities authorized under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the Act requires that all depository institutions controlled by the bank holding company be well capitalized and well managed (12 U.S.C. 1841(p)). With regard to a foreign bank that operates a branch or agency or owns or controls a commercial lending company in the United States, the Act requires the Board to apply comparable capital and management standards that give due regard to the principle of national treatment and equality of competitive opportunity (12 U.S.C. 1843(l)).

    A. Net Debit Caps

    An institution's net debit cap is the maximum amount of uncollateralized daylight overdrafts that the institution can incur in its Federal Reserve account. The PSR policy generally requires that an institution be “financially healthy” to be eligible for a positive net debit cap.22 To that end, the Guide to the Federal Reserve's Payment System Risk Policy (“Guide”) clarifies that most FBOs with a SOSA ranking of 3 or a U.S. Operations Supervisory Composite Rating of marginal or unsatisfactory generally do not qualify for a positive net debit cap.23

    22See Part II.D.1 of the PSR Policy.

    23 Section VI.A.1 of the Guide states that “[m]ost SOSA 3-ranked institutions do not qualify for a positive net debit cap,” though it clarifies that “[i]n limited circumstances, a Reserve Bank may grant a net debit cap or extend intraday credit to a financially healthy SOSA 3-ranked FBO.” Separately, Table VII-2 of the Guide states that SOSA-3 ranked FBOs and FBOs that receive a U.S. Operations Supervisory Composite Rating of marginal or unsatisfactory have “below standard” creditworthiness, and Table VII-3 of the Guide states that institutions with below standard creditworthiness cannot incur daylight overdrafts.

    Assuming that an institution qualifies for a positive net debit cap, the size of its net debit cap equals the institution's “capital measure” multiplied by its “cap multiple.” 24 As described further below, an institution's capital measure is a number derived (under most circumstances) from the size of its capital base. An institution's cap multiple is determined by the institution's “cap category,” which generally reflects, among other things, the institution's creditworthiness. An institution with a higher capital measure or a higher cap category (and thus a higher cap multiple) will qualify for a higher net debit cap than an institution with a lower capital measure or lower cap category.

    24See Part II.D.1 of the PSR Policy. All net debit caps are granted at the discretion of the institution's Administrative Reserve Bank, which is the Reserve Bank that is responsible for managing an institution's account relationship with the Federal Reserve.

    An FBO's SOSA ranking can affect both its cap category and its capital measure. An FBO's status as an FHC can affect its capital measure.25

    25 In contrast, the FHC status of a domestic bank holding company does not affect its capital measure.

    1. Cap categories and cap multiples.

    Under Section II.D.2 of the PSR policy, an institution's “cap category” is one of six classifications—high, above average, average, de minimis, exempt-from-filing, and zero. In order to establish a cap category of high, above average, or average, an institution must perform a self-assessment of its own creditworthiness, intraday funds management and control, customer credit policies and controls, and operating controls and contingency procedures. Other cap categories do not require a self-assessment.26 Each cap category corresponds to a “cap multiple.” 27 As noted above, an institution's net debit cap generally equals its capital measure multiplied by its cap multiple.

    26 An institution that meets reasonable safety and soundness standards can request a de minimis cap category, without performing a self-assessment, by submitting a board of directors resolution to its Administrative Reserve Bank. An institution that only rarely incurs daylight overdrafts in its Federal Reserve account that exceed the lesser of $10 million or 20 percent of its capital measure can be assigned an “exempt-from-filing” cap category without performing a self-assessment or filing a board of directors resolution with its Administrative Reserve Bank.

    27 Under Section II.D.1 of the PSR policy, the cap multiple for the “high” category is 2.25, for the “above average” category is 1.875, for the “average” category is 1.125, for the “de minimis” category is 0.4, for the “exempt-from-filing” category is 0.2 or $10 million, and for the “zero” category is 0. Note that the net debit cap for the exempt-from-filing category is equal to the lesser of $10 million or 0.2 multiplied by the capital measure.

    An FBO's SOSA ranking can affect its cap category (and thus its cap multiple). As noted above, an institution that wishes to establish a net debit cap category of high, above average, or average must perform a self-assessment of, among other things, its own creditworthiness. Under Part II.D.2.a of the PSR policy, “[t]he assessment of creditworthiness is based on the institution's supervisory rating and Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) designation.” Part VII.A of the Guide includes a matrix for assessing domestic institutions' creditworthiness that incorporates an institution's supervisory rating and PCA designation. Because FBOs do not receive PCA designations, however, Part VII.A of the Guide includes a separate matrix for assessing FBO creditworthiness that incorporates an FBO's U.S. Operations Supervisory Composite Rating and—in lieu of a PCA designation—SOSA ranking.28

    28 Under Section 38 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, 12 U.S.C. 1831o, PCA designations apply only to insured depository institutions.

    Similarly, while an FBO is not required to perform a self-assessment if it requests a cap category of de minimis or wishes to be assigned a cap category of exempt-from-filing by the Reserve Bank, the Reserve Banks rely on the minimum standards set by the creditworthiness matrix when they evaluate FBO requests for any cap category greater than zero. Accordingly, the Reserve Banks generally do not allow FBOs to qualify for a positive net debit cap, including the de minimis or exempt-from-filing cap category, if the FBO has a SOSA ranking of 3 or a U.S. Operations Supervisory Composite Rating of marginal or unsatisfactory.29

    29See n. 4, supra, and accompanying text.

    In certain situations, the Reserve Banks require institutions to perform a full assessment of their creditworthiness instead of using the relevant self-assessment matrix (e.g., when the institution has experienced a significant development that may materially affect its financial condition). The Guide includes procedures for full assessments of creditworthiness.

    2. Capital measures.

    Under Section II.D.3 of the PSR policy, an institution's “capital measure” is a number derived (under most circumstances) from the size of its capital base. The determination of the capital measure, however, differs between domestic institutions and FBOs. A domestic institution's capital measure equals 100 percent of the institution's risk-based capital. Conversely, an FBO's capital measure (also called “U.S. capital equivalency”) 30 equals a percentage of (under most circumstances) the FBO's worldwide capital base 31 ranging from 5 percent to 35 percent, with the exact percentage depending on (1) the FBO's SOSA ranking and (2) whether the FBO is an FHC. Specifically, the capital measure of an FBO that is an FHC is 35 percent of its capital; an FBO that is not an FHC and has a SOSA ranking of 1 is 25 percent of its capital; and an FBO that is not an FHC and has a SOSA ranking of 2 is 10 percent of its capital. The capital measure of an FBO that is not an FHC and has a SOSA ranking of 3 equals 5 percent of its “net due to related depository institutions” (although, as noted above, FBOs with a SOSA ranking of 3 generally do not qualify for a positive net debit cap).32

    30 The term “U.S. capital equivalency” is used in this context to refer to the particular capital measure used to calculate net debit caps and does not necessarily represent an appropriate capital measure for supervisory or other purposes.

    31 FBOs that wish to establish a non-zero net debit cap must report their worldwide capital on the Annual Daylight Overdraft Capital Report for U.S. Branches and Agencies of Foreign Banks (FR 2225). The instructions for FR 2225 explain how FBOs should calculate their worldwide capital. See https://www.federalreserve.gov/apps/reportforms/reportdetail.aspx?sOoYJ+5BzDZ1kLYTc+ZpEQ==.

    32 An FBO reports its “net due to related depository institutions” on the Report of Assets and Liabilities of U.S. Branches and Agencies of Foreign Banks (FFIEC 002).

    B. Maximum Daylight Overdraft Capacity

    Section II.E of the PSR policy allows certain institutions with self-assessed net debit caps to pledge collateral to their Administrative Reserve Bank to secure daylight overdraft capacity in excess of their net debit caps. An institution's maximum daylight overdraft capacity (“max cap”) equals its net debit cap plus its additional collateralized capacity. The max cap policy is “intended to provide extra liquidity through the pledge of collateral by the few institutions that might otherwise be constrained from participating in risk-reducing payment system initiatives.”

    Institutions that wish to obtain a max cap must generally provide (1) documentation of the business need for collateralized capacity and (2) an annual board of directors' resolution approving any collateralized capacity. Under Section II.E.2 of the PSR policy, however, an FBO that has a SOSA ranking of 1 or is an FHC may request a streamlined procedure for obtaining a max cap.33 Such an FBO is not required to document its business need for collateralized capacity, nor is it required to obtain a board of directors' resolution approving collateralized capacity, as long as the FBO requests a max cap that is 100 percent or less of the FBO's worldwide capital times its self-assessed cap multiple.34

    33 Even under the streamlined procedure, the Administrative Reserve Bank retains the right to assess an FBO's financial and supervisory information, including the FBO's ability to manage intraday credit.

    34 As described above, for example, the capital measure of an FBO that is not an FHC and has a SOSA ranking of 1 is 25 percent of worldwide capital. The net debit cap of such an FBO equals its capital measure times the cap multiple that corresponds to its cap category. The streamlined max cap procedure therefore allows the FBO to request additional collateralized capacity of 75 percent of worldwide capital times its cap multiple. If the FBO requests a max cap in excess of 100 percent of worldwide capital times its cap multiple, the FBO would be ineligible for the streamlined max cap procedure.

    II. Discussion of Proposed Changes; Request for Comment

    The SOSA ranking was originally established to provide input to the development and maintenance of a comprehensive supervisory strategy for the U.S. activities of an FBO, but Federal Reserve supervisors no longer use SOSA rankings for this purpose.35 As a result, the only current use of SOSA rankings by the Federal Reserve is in setting guidelines related to FBO access to Reserve Bank intraday credit and the discount window.36 Federal Reserve supervisors currently provide SOSA rankings to many FBOs, including FBOs that have not requested positive net debit caps. The Board believes that this is an inefficient use of the Federal Reserve's supervisory resources, and that it should streamline the Federal Reserve's FBO supervision program by discontinuing the SOSA ranking. As described further below, the Board proposes to remove references to the SOSA ranking in the PSR policy. The Federal Reserve will continue to provide SOSA rankings until the Board removes such references in the PSR Policy.

    35See SR Letter 00-14, “Enhancements to the Interagency Program for Supervising the U.S. Operations of Foreign Banking Organizations” (Oct. 23, 2000), https://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/srletters/2000/sr0014.htm (letter adopting the SOSA ranking in its current form). See also Section II.C.1.a, infra, explaining that Federal Reserve supervisory staff now have access to better supervisory information that allows supervisors to monitor FBOs on an ongoing basis.

    36 In addition to the PSR policy's use of SOSA rankings, the Reserve Banks use SOSA rankings to determine whether an FBO can receive discount window loans. See https://www.frbdiscountwindow.org/en/Pages/General-Information/The-Discount-Window.aspx. Eliminating SOSA rankings will require adjustments to the Reserve Banks' standards for determining FBO access to primary credit.

    Additionally, for reasons discussed below, the Board no longer believes that an FBO should receive greater daylight overdraft capacity because it is an FHC. The Board therefore proposes to remove references to FBOs' FHC status in the PSR policy.

    The Board proposes to adopt alternative methods for determining an FBO's eligibility for a positive net debit cap, the size of its net debit cap, and its eligibility to request a streamlined procedure to obtain a max cap. As described more fully below:

    • Many undercapitalized FBOs, and all significantly or critically undercapitalized FBOs, would have “below standard” creditworthiness and would generally be ineligible for a positive net debit cap.

    • An FBO's creditworthiness self-assessment would generally be based on the FBO's U.S. Operations Supervisory Composite Rating and the PCA designation that would apply to the FBO if it were subject to the Board's Regulation H.37 An FBO that is not based in a country that adheres to the Basel Capital Accords (“BCA”) would be required to perform a full assessment of its creditworthiness in lieu of the matrix approach to assessing creditworthiness.

    37See 12 CFR 208.43(b).

    • The capital measure of an FBO would equal 10 percent of its worldwide capital.

    • An FBO that is well capitalized could request the streamlined procedure for obtaining a max cap.

    The Board requests comment on all aspects of the proposal, including whether FBOs would require a transition period to adjust to the proposed changes.

    A. Eligibility of SOSA-3 Ranked FBOs for a Positive Net Debit Cap

    As discussed above, SOSA-3 ranked FBOs are presumptively ineligible for a positive net debit cap. Because the proposal would remove all references to the SOSA ranking in the PSR policy, FBOs that currently hold a SOSA-3 ranking would not be—on that basis—presumptively ineligible for a positive net debit cap. Some of those FBOs would be ineligible for positive net debit caps for other reasons, however. First, the revised creditworthiness self-assessment matrix in the Guide (discussed further below) would continue to assume that FBOs that have U.S. Operations Supervisory Composite Ratings of “marginal” or “unsatisfactory” have “below standard” creditworthiness and are generally ineligible for a positive net debit cap.38 Second, the revised creditworthiness self-assessment matrix would—as described further below—assume that many undercapitalized FBOs, and all significantly or critically undercapitalized FBOs, have “below standard” creditworthiness and are generally ineligible for a positive net debit cap. Finally, an Administrative Reserve Bank might decline to provide a positive net debit cap to an FBO if the Reserve Bank has supervisory concerns regarding that FBO.

    38See n. 4, supra. Based on data from third-quarter 2017, one SOSA-3 ranked FBO currently has a U.S. Operations Supervisory Composite Rating of “marginal” or “unsatisfactory,” while nineteen SOSA-3 ranked FBOs currently have U.S. Operations Supervisory Composite Ratings higher than “marginal” or “unsatisfactory.”

    B. FBO Creditworthiness

    As discussed above, an institution that wishes to establish a net debit cap category of high, above average, or average must perform a self-assessment of, among other things, its own creditworthiness. The Board is proposing to revise the PSR policy to provide that, if an FBO is based in a jurisdiction that adheres to the BCA, the FBO's creditworthiness self-assessment will be based on (1) the FBO's U.S. Operations Supervisory Composite Rating and (2) the PCA designation that would apply to the FBO if it were subject to the Board's Regulation H.39 To determine its equivalent PCA designation, the FBO would compare the Regulation H ratios for total risk-based capital, tier 1 risk-based capital, common equity tier 1 risk-based capital, and leverage to the equivalent ratios that the FBO has calculated under its home country standards or on a pro forma basis.

    39See 12 CFR 208.43(b).

    The Board believes that an FBO's equivalent PCA designation would serve the same purpose as the SOSA ranking in the creditworthiness self-assessment matrix. The SOSA ranking has been useful for assessing FBO creditworthiness because it provides insight into whether an FBO's home office has the ability to support its U.S. branch or agency. Similarly, an equivalent PCA designation would provide insight into an FBO's worldwide financial profile and its ability to support its U.S. branch or agency.

    Replacing the SOSA ranking with an equivalent PCA designation would also align the creditworthiness self-assessment for FBOs with the existing creditworthiness self-assessment for domestic institutions.40 The Board would implement these changes by incorporating FBO creditworthiness self-assessments into the Guide's existing matrix for assessing domestic institutions' creditworthiness.41 The revised matrix would assume that many undercapitalized FBOs,42 and all significantly or critically undercapitalized FBOs, have “below standard” creditworthiness and are (like SOSA-3 ranked FBOs under the current PSR policy) generally ineligible for a positive net debit cap.

    40 Until April 2002, the Guide included a single creditworthiness self-assessment matrix for domestic institutions and FBOs, with PCA categories on one axis and supervisory composite ratings on the other axis. The Guide instructed FBOs to calculate an equivalent PCA designation using tier I and total risk-based capital ratios, but did not require FBOs to use leverage ratios. In April 2002, the Guide was revised to its present form, with a separate FBO creditworthiness matrix that lists SOSA rankings on one axis and U.S. supervisory composite ratings on the other axis.

    41See Table VII-1 of the Guide.

    42 An undercapitalized FBO with a U.S. Operations Supervisory Composite Rating of “strong” or “satisfactory” would (like a similarly situated domestic institution) be permitted to perform a full assessment of its creditworthiness to determine its eligibility for a positive net debit cap.

    The Board does not expect that the proposed changes to the creditworthiness self-assessment matrix would significantly affect FBOs' access to Reserve Bank intraday credit. If the proposed changes were to take effect, only four of the eleven FBOs that currently maintain a self-assessed cap category might qualify for a higher creditworthiness self-assessment rating and thus a higher cap category. These four entities would also need to satisfy the other criteria of the cap category self-assessment (intraday funds management and control, customer credit policies and controls, and operating controls and contingency procedures) to qualify for a higher cap category.43 Similarly, if the proposed changes were to take effect, the Board estimates that only one of the eleven FBOs that currently maintain a self-assessed cap category could potentially lose its self-assessed cap and/or be required to complete a full creditworthiness self-assessment.

    43See Table VII-3 of the Guide.

    The Board does not believe that it will be burdensome for FBOs to calculate an equivalent PCA designation. The Board's FR Y-7Q report currently requires that FBOs with total consolidated assets of $50 billion or more report the numerators and denominators of all four ratios in the PCA determination. The FR Y-7Q report also requires that FBOs with total consolidated assets below $50 billion report the numerators and denominators of all ratios in the PCA determination except the common equity tier 1 capital ratio. FBOs with total consolidated assets below $50 billion that are based in BCA-adhering jurisdictions already calculate their common equity tier 1 capital ratios under home country standards.

    As discussed above, while an FBO is not required to perform a self-assessment if it requests a cap category of de minimis or wishes to be assigned a cap category of exempt-from-filing by the Reserve Bank, the Reserve Banks currently rely on the minimum standards set by the creditworthiness matrix when they evaluate an FBO's eligibility for any positive net debit cap, including the de minimis and exempt-from-filing cap categories. The Board proposes that the Reserve Banks will rely on the minimum standards of the revised creditworthiness matrix when they evaluate whether FBOs from BCA-adhering jurisdictions are eligible for a positive net debit cap, including a de minimis or exempt-from-filing cap category. Under the revised creditworthiness matrix, the Reserve Banks generally would not allow significantly or critically undercapitalized FBOs, many undercapitalized FBOs, and FBOs with a U.S. Operations Supervisory Composite Rating of marginal or unsatisfactory to qualify for a positive net debit cap, including a de minimis or exempt-from-filing cap category. The Reserve Banks would use publicly available data to determine the equivalent PCA designation of FBOs that request a cap category of de minimis or wish to be assigned a cap category of exempt-from-filing.

    The Board is also proposing to revise the PSR policy to provide that, if an FBO is not based in a country that adheres to the BCA, the FBO must perform a full assessment of its creditworthiness in lieu of the matrix approach to assessing creditworthiness. As noted above, the Guide includes procedures for full assessments of creditworthiness. The requirement to perform a full assessment of creditworthiness would apply to FBOs from non-BCA jurisdictions that request any net debit cap greater than the exempt-from-filing category, including FBOs that request a de minimis cap category. Additionally, Reserve Banks may request that FBOs from non-BCA jurisdictions perform a full assessment of creditworthiness before assigning the FBO an exempt-from-filing cap category.

    C. FBO Capital Measure

    As discussed above, under the PSR policy, the determination of an FBO's capital measure is based on the FBO's capital base, SOSA ranking, and FHC status. The Board is proposing to (1) eliminate references to SOSA rankings and FHC status in calculating an FBO's capital measure and (2) replace the existing four-tier structure for calculating an FBO's capital measure with a simplified fixed-rate calculation that depends solely on the FBO's capital base. Specifically, the proposed change would provide that the capital measure of an FBO equals 10 percent of its worldwide capital.

    For the reasons described below, the Board believes that it is unnecessary to replace the SOSA ranking with an alternative supervisory rating for purposes of calculating an FBO's capital measure. The Board also believes that an FBO's status as an FHC should not allow the FBO to qualify for a higher capital measure. While the proposed fixed-rate FBO capital measure calculation would reduce net debit caps for many FBOs, the Board believes that the adjusted FBO net debit caps would be better tailored to FBOs' actual usage of intraday credit and generally would not constrain FBOs' U.S. operations. Finally, while FBOs operating in the United States should be, generally, treated no less favorably than similarly-situated U.S. banking organizations, the Board continues to believe that it is reasonable to calculate an FBO's capital measure as a fraction of its worldwide capital, notwithstanding that the capital measure of a domestic institution generally equals 100 percent of the institution's risk-based capital.

    1. It is unnecessary to replace the SOSA ranking with an alternative supervisory rating for purposes of calculating an FBO's capital measure.

    a. The Board and the Reserve Banks now have better supervisory information regarding FBOs.

    Before the Board adopted the current capital measure calculation process in 2002, an FBO's capital measure depended solely on whether the FBO was based in a country that adhered to the BCA.44 The Board adopted the current capital measure calculation in 2002 because it believed that SOSA rankings offered a superior basis for calculating an FBO's capital measure compared to home-country BCA status, explaining that “SOSA rankings provide[d] broader information about the condition of the FBO, its supervision, and the home country, whereas the BCA distinction provide[d] information only about the home country treatment of bank capital adequacy.” 45 The Board also noted that “the BCA designation reflect[ed] the one-time adoption of BCA standards by a country's supervisory authority, while U.S. bank supervisors update[d] the SOSA rankings regularly.” 46

    44 FBOs from countries that adhered to the BCA were eligible to use as their capital measure the greater of 10 percent of their capital or 5 percent of their liabilities to nonrelated parties. FBOs from countries that did not adhere to the BCA were eligible to use as their capital measure the greater of 5 percent of their liabilities to nonrelated parties or the amount of capital that would be required of a national bank being organized at each location.

    45 66 FR 64419, 64424 (Dec. 13, 2001).

    46Id.

    Since the Board adopted the current FBO capital measure calculation in February 2002, Federal Reserve staff have gained access to new internal and external resources that allow the Federal Reserve to better monitor FBOs on an ongoing basis.47 These new resources offer Federal Reserve staff additional information regarding the financial and managerial conditions of FBOs' U.S. and global operations. These resources also provide information regarding home-country accounting practices, financial systems, as well as international supervisory and regulatory developments. Additionally, Federal Reserve staff now enjoy better ongoing communication with many FBOs' home country supervisors.48 Collectively, this improved information allows Administrative Reserve Banks to make better decisions, on an ongoing basis, regarding FBO's level of access to intraday credit. The Board therefore believes that it is unnecessary to include a point-in-time supervisory rating when determining an FBO's capital measure.

    47 For example, the Board began requiring in December 2002 and March 2014 that a top-tier FBO file capital and asset information quarterly (rather than annually) if the FBO is (respectively) an FHC or has total consolidated assets of $50 billion or more. See FR Y-7Q (Capital and Asset Report for Foreign Banking Organizations); 67 FR 72953 (Dec. 9, 2002) and 79 FR 9900 (Feb. 21, 2014). Additionally, improved commercial databases now offer Federal Reserve supervisors more detailed and timely information regarding FBOs and their home countries.

    48 For example, Federal Reserve supervisors participate in “supervisory colleges,” which are “multilateral working groups of relevant supervisors that are formed to promote effective, ongoing consolidated supervision of the overall operations of an international banking group.” These supervisory colleges “enhance [ ] the Federal Reserve's communication and collaboration with foreign supervisors and supplement [ ] bilateral working relationships with foreign supervisors.” Federal Reserve System Purposes & Functions, 94-96. https://www.federalreserve.gov/aboutthefed/files/pf_complete.pdf.

    b. Other elements of the net debit cap calculation consider an FBO's overall financial condition.

    As discussed above, an FBO's net debit cap is determined by its capital measure and cap category. Under the Board's proposed changes to the FBO creditworthiness self-assessment procedures (described above), an FBO's worldwide capital ratios would affect its creditworthiness (and thus its cap category). Additionally, the FBO creditworthiness self-assessment procedures would continue to consider FBOs' U.S. Operations Supervisory Composite ratings. Given that other elements of the net debit cap calculation already consider an FBO's supervisory ratings (and will consider an FBO's overall financial condition if the proposed changes take effect), the Board believes that it is unnecessary to replace the SOSA ranking with an alternative supervisory rating in the FBO capital measure calculation.

    2. An FBO should not qualify for a higher capital measure because it is an FHC.

    When the Board adopted the current FBO capital measure calculation in 2002, it believed that an FBO's status as an FHC indicated that the FBO was financially and managerially strong, and that the FBO should accordingly qualify for a higher capital measure than a non-FHC FBO. Since 2002, however, the Board has recognized the limitations of FHC status in measuring an FBO's health. In particular, FBOs can maintain nominal FHC status (though with reduced ability to use their FHC powers) even when they are out of compliance with the requirement that they remain well capitalized. Accordingly, the Board no longer believes that an FBO should qualify for a higher capital measure because it is an FHC.

    3. The adjusted FBO net debit caps would be better tailored to FBOs' actual usage of intraday credit and generally would not constrain FBOs' U.S. operations.

    While the Board's proposed fixed-rate capital measure calculation would reduce net debit caps for twenty of the 49 FBOs that currently maintain a positive net debit cap,49 the Board believes that the adjusted FBO net debit caps would be better tailored to FBOs' actual usage of intraday credit: Since 2015, only 25 of 62 FBOs with a positive net debit cap have used any daylight overdraft capacity, the highest average cap utilization by an FBO was 28.5 percent, and only two FBOs had an average cap utilization greater than 25 percent.50 Even during the 2007-09 financial crisis, when the use of intraday credit spiked amid the market turmoil near the end of 2008, 51 of 58 FBOs with a positive net debit cap used capacity, the highest average cap utilization was 65 percent, and only seven FBOs had an average cap utilization greater than 25 percent.

    49 Aggregate FBO net debit caps would be reduced by 57%, seventeen FBOs would have their net debit caps reduced by 71%, and three FBOs would have their net debit caps reduced by 60%.

    50 In this context, average cap utilization equals an institution's average daily peak daylight overdraft divided by the FBO's net debit cap.

    The Board recognizes that daylight overdrafts may currently occur less frequently because many institutions hold excess reserves and thus have higher opening balances in their Federal Reserve accounts. The Board believes, however, that FBOs' adjusted net debit caps would not constrain most FBOs' U.S. operations even if FBOs hold lower reserves in the future. The Board has reached this conclusion by comparing FBOs' projected net debit caps under the proposed fixed-rate capital measure calculation to FBOs' actual daylight overdrafts between 2003 and 2007, when FBOs generally maintained lower reserves.51 The Board's comparison indicates that, between 2003 and 2007, only four of the 29 FBOs that currently maintain a cap category higher than exempt-from-filing regularly incurred daylight overdrafts that exceeded their projected net debit caps, while five of the 29 FBOs incurred daylight overdrafts that exceeded their projected net debit caps in limited instances. Twenty of the 29 FBOs never incurred daylight overdrafts that exceeded their projected net debit caps.

    51 For this purpose, the Board projected FBOs' net debit caps using an FBO's worldwide capital at the time of past overdrafts, multiplied by the proposed 10 percent FBO capital measure multiplier, multiplied by the relevant cap multiple that corresponds to the FBO's cap category.

    The Board also notes that FBO net debit caps are large when compared to the net debit caps of peer domestic institutions. For example, the average net debit cap of an FBO with between $10 billion and $50 billion in U.S.-based assets is $2.6 billion, while the average net debit cap of a domestic institution with between $10 billion and $50 billion in assets is $1.4 billion; similarly, the average net debit cap of an FBO with between $50 billion and $150 billion in U.S.-based assets is $28.2 billion, while the average net debit cap of a domestic institution with between $50 billion and $150 billion in assets is $10.5 billion.52 FBOs currently hold seven of the twenty largest net debit caps, but only three FBOs hold U.S. assets that rank among the twenty largest institutions by asset size.

    52 The Board excluded institutions with a cap category of exempt-from-filing from these comparisons because these institutions are limited to a $10 million net debit cap. No FBO has U.S.-based assets above $150 billion.

    The Board recognizes that its proposed changes to the capital measure calculation may increase the instances in which FBOs need additional daylight overdraft capacity. An FBO with a de minimis cap could request a higher net debit cap by applying for a self-assessed cap.53 Similarly, an FBO with a self-assessed cap could apply for a max cap in order to obtain additional collateralized capacity.

    53 Most FBOs with a cap category of exempt-from-filing receive the maximum net debit cap of $10 million and would not be affected by the proposed changes to the FBO capital measure calculation.

    4. National treatment considerations.

    Under the principle of national treatment, FBOs operating in the United States should be, generally, treated no less favorably than similarly-situated U.S. banking organizations.54 When FBOs incur daylight overdrafts, however, they present special legal risks to the Federal Reserve because of differences in insolvency laws in the various FBOs' home countries. As the Board explained in 2001,

    54See, e.g., International Banking Act of 1978, Public Law 95-369, 12 U.S.C. 3101 et seq; S. Rep. No. 95-1073 (Aug. 8, 1978) (legislative history of the International Banking Act of 1978); Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, Public Law 106-102, section 141, 12 U.S.C. 3106(c); Dodd-Frank Act, Public Law 111-203, section 165(b)(2), 12 U.S.C. 5365(b)(2).

    In international financial transactions, the overall risk borne by each party is affected not only by the governing law set out in the contract, but also by the law governing the possible insolvency of its counterparty. The insolvency of an international bank presents significant legal issues in enforcing particular provisions of a financial contract (such as close-out netting or irrevocability provisions) against third parties (such as the liquidator or supervisor of the failed bank). The insolvent party's national law also may permit the liquidator to subordinate other parties' claims (such as by permitting the home country tax authorities to have first priority in bankruptcy), may reclassify or impose a stay on the right the nondefaulting party has to collateral pledged by the defaulting party in support of a particular transaction, or may require a separate proceeding to be initiated against the head office in addition to any proceeding against the branch.

    It is not practicable for the Federal Reserve to undertake and keep current extensive analysis of the legal risks presented by the insolvency law(s) applicable to each FBO with a Federal Reserve account in order to quantify precisely the legal risk that the Federal Reserve incurs by providing intraday credit to that institution. It is reasonable, however, for the Federal Reserve to recognize that FBOs generally present additional legal risks to the payments system and, accordingly, limit its exposure to these institutions.55

    55 66 FR 30205, 30206 (Aug. 6, 2001).

    The Board continues to believe that FBOs present legal risks to the Federal Reserve that are above and beyond the risks posed by domestic institutions when FBOs incur daylight overdrafts. Accordingly, the Board continues to believe that it is reasonable to calculate an FBO's capital measure as a fraction of its worldwide capital, notwithstanding that the capital measure of a domestic institution generally equals 100 percent of the institution's risk-based capital. Nevertheless, as discussed above, the proposed fixed-rate capital measure calculation would allow FBOs to obtain net debit caps that would be well tailored to FBOs' actual usage of intraday credit and generally would not constrain FBOs' U.S. operations.

    D. FBO Requests for Additional Collateralized Credit Under the Max Cap Policy

    As discussed above, an FBO that has a SOSA-1 ranking or is an FHC may request a streamlined procedure for obtaining a max cap. The Board is proposing to remove the SOSA-1 ranking and FHC status as factors in determining whether FBOs can request the streamlined procedure. The Board instead proposes to allow FBOs that are well capitalized to request the streamlined procedure for obtaining a max cap.56

    56 For these purposes, an FBO would determine whether it is well capitalized using the same methodology by which it would determine its equivalent PCA designation for the creditworthiness self-assessment matrix, i.e., the FBO would compare the Regulation H ratios for total risk-based capital, tier 1 risk-based capital, common equity tier 1 risk-based capital, and leverage to the equivalent ratios that the FBO has calculated under its home country standards or on a pro forma basis.

    The Board believes that allowing well-capitalized FBOs to request the streamlined max cap procedure would serve a similar purpose as allowing SOSA-1 ranked FBOs and FBOs with FHC status to request the streamlined procedure. The Board originally allowed SOSA-1 ranked FBOs and FBOs with FHC status to request the streamlined max cap procedure because the Board believed that such FBOs raised fewer supervisory concerns.57 As noted above, however, the Board now believes that (1) creating the SOSA ranking is an inefficient use of Federal Reserve resources and (2) FHC status does not necessarily indicate that FBO status provides a strong indication of financial health, since an FBO can retain nominal FHC status when it is not well capitalized. The Board believes instead that well-capitalized FBOs should be able to request the streamlined max cap procedure, because well-capitalized FBOs are (generally) better positioned than other FBOs to support their U.S. branches and agencies. The Board does not believe that it would be appropriate to substitute another supervisory rating for the SOSA-1 ranking in determining FBO eligibility for the streamlined max cap procedure, because non-SOSA supervisory ratings focus only on the U.S. operations of FBOs.

    57 73 FR 12417, 12430 (Mar. 7, 2008).

    The streamlined max cap procedure would provide well-capitalized FBOs with a straightforward process for obtaining collateralized intraday overdraft capacity, which could offset the reduction to FBO net debit caps that would result from the proposed changes to the FBO capital measure calculation. Any FBO that is not well capitalized and wishes to establish a max cap could continue to use the general procedure for requesting a max cap.

    III. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Congress enacted the Regulatory Flexibility Act (“RFA”) (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) to address concerns related to the effects of agency rules on small entities, and the Board is sensitive to the impact its rules may impose on small entities. The RFA requires agencies either to provide an initial regulatory flexibility analysis with a proposed rule or to certify that the proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. In this case, the relevant provisions of the PSR policy apply to all FBOs that maintain accounts at Federal Reserve Banks. While the Board does not believe that the proposed changes would have a significant impact on small entities, and regardless of whether the RFA applies to the PSR Policy per se, the Board has nevertheless prepared the following Initial Regulatory Flexibility analysis in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 603. The Board requests public comments on all aspects of this analysis.

    1. Statement of the need for, objectives of, and legal basis for, the proposed rule. Section 11(j) of the Federal Reserve Act 58 authorizes the Board to oversee the Reserve Banks' provision of intraday credit to Reserve Bank account holders.

    58 12 U.S.C. 248(j).

    As discussed above, the Board is issuing this proposal to remove references to the SOSA ranking and FBOs' FHC status in the PSR policy. Discontinuing the SOSA ranking would streamline the Federal Reserve's FBO supervision program by eliminating the need for Federal Reserve supervisors to provide supervisory rankings that only serve a purpose for Reserve Bank credit decisions for many FBOs—including FBOs that have not requested positive net debit caps. Removing references to FHC status in the PSR policy would align the policy with the Board's view that an FBO's status as an FHC is not a suitable factor for determining the FBO's eligibility for intraday credit.

    2. Small entities affected by the proposed rule. Pursuant to regulations issued by the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) (13 CFR 121.201), a “small entity” includes an entity that engages in commercial banking and has assets of $550 million or less (NAICS code 522110). Thirty-nine FBOs that maintain Federal Reserve accounts are small entities. Six of those FBOs maintain positive net debit caps.

    3. Projected reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements. The proposed changes would alter the procedures by which FBOs obtain intraday credit from the Reserve Banks. The most important new requirement is that an FBO would need to determine an equivalent PCA designation, based on its worldwide capital ratios, to establish its creditworthiness under the PSR policy. Additionally, an FBO would need to determine that it is well capitalized, based on worldwide capital ratios, in order to qualify for a streamlined procedure for requesting collateralized intraday credit.

    As noted above, the Board does not believe that it will be burdensome for an FBO to calculate an equivalent PCA designation or determine whether it is well capitalized. The Board's FR Y-7Q report currently requires that FBOs with total consolidated assets of $50 billion or more report the numerators and denominators of all four ratios in the PCA determination. The FR Y-7Q report also requires that FBOs with total consolidated assets below $50 billion report the numerators and denominators of all ratios in the PCA determination except the common equity tier 1 capital ratio. FBOs with total consolidated assets below $50 billion that are based in BCA-adhering jurisdictions already calculate their common equity tier 1 capital ratios under home country standards.

    4. Identification of duplicative, overlapping, or conflicting Federal rules. The Board has not identified any Federal rules that duplicate, overlap with, or conflict with the proposed changes to the PSR policy.

    5. Significant alternatives. The Board does not believe that alternatives to the proposed changes would better accomplish the objectives of limiting credit risk to the Reserve Banks while minimizing any economic impact on small entities. While one alternative would be to continue providing SOSA rankings to FBOs and leave the PSR policy in its present form, the Board believes that Federal Reserve supervisory resources should be allocated to other matters. Similarly, the Board could continue to allow FBOs that are FHCs to qualify for higher levels of intraday credit than FBOs that are not FHCs, but (as described above) the Board does not believe that an FBO's status as an FHC should determine the FBO's eligibility for intraday credit.

    In two places—specifically, in the capital measure calculation process and in the eligibility criteria for a streamlined max cap procedure—the proposed changes would delete references to SOSA without replacing those references with an alternative supervisory rating. For the reasons described above, the Board believes that it is unnecessary to substitute another supervisory rating.

    Finally, the proposed changes would replace SOSA rankings in the creditworthiness self-assessment matrix with an equivalent PCA designation. This change would require an FBO to calculate its equivalent PCA designation using worldwide capital ratios. Alternatively, the Board could simply delete the SOSA ranking and judge an FBO's creditworthiness solely on the basis of its U.S. operations supervisory composite rating. The Board believes, however, that using equivalent PCA designations in conjunction with supervisory ratings will better protect the Reserve Banks from credit risk, because an equivalent PCA designation would provide insight into an FBO's worldwide financial profile and its ability to support its U.S. branches and agencies.

    IV. Competitive Impact Analysis

    The Board conducts a competitive impact analysis when it considers a rule or policy change that may have a substantial effect on payment system participants. Specifically, the Board determines whether there would be a direct or material adverse effect on the ability of other service providers to compete with the Federal Reserve due to differing legal powers or due to the Federal Reserve's dominant market position deriving from such legal differences.59

    59 Federal Reserve Regulatory Service, 9-1558.

    The Board believes that the proposed modifications to the PSR policy will have no adverse effect on the ability of other service providers to compete with the Reserve Banks in providing similar services. While the Board expects that the proposed modifications would reduce net debit caps for many FBOs, the Board does not believe this will have a significant effect on FBOs because (as explained above) the adjusted FBO net debit caps would still provide ample levels of intraday credit. The Board therefore believes that most FBOs would retain sufficient access to Reserve Bank intraday credit if the proposed modifications take effect, and accordingly does not expect the proposed modifications would have a significant effect on FBOs' use of Federal Reserve Bank services. Additionally, the proposed modifications will have no effect on intraday credit access for domestic institutions, which comprise the vast majority of Reserve Bank account holders.

    V. Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with section 3512 of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3521) (“PRA”), the Board may not conduct or sponsor, and a respondent is not required to respond to, an information collection unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) control number. The OMB control number is 7100-0217. The Board reviewed the PSR policy changes it is considering under the authority delegated to the Board by the OMB.

    Comments are invited on:

    (a) Whether the collections of information are necessary for the proper performance of the agencies' functions, including whether the information has practical utility;

    (b) The accuracy of the estimates of the burden of the information collections, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    (c) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected;

    (d) Ways to minimize the burden of the information collections on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and

    (e) Estimates of capital or start-up costs and costs of operation, maintenance, and purchase of services to provide information.

    All comments will become a matter of public record. Comments on aspects of this notice that may affect reporting, recordkeeping, or disclosure requirements and burden estimates should be sent to the addresses listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. A copy of the comments may also be submitted to the OMB desk officer: By mail to U.S. Office of Management and Budget, 725 17th Street NW, #10235, Washington, DC 20503; by facsimile to (202) 395-5806; or by email to: [email protected], Attention, Federal Banking Agency Desk Officer.

    Proposed Revisions, With Extension for Three Years, of the Following Information Collection: (1) Title of Information Collection: Annual Report of Net Debit Cap.

    Agency Form Number: FR 2226.

    OMB Control Number: 7100-0217.

    Frequency of Response: Annually.

    Respondents: Depository institutions' board of directors.

    Abstract: Federal Reserve Banks collect these data annually to provide information that is essential for their administration of the PSR policy. The reporting panel includes all financially healthy depository institutions with access to the discount window. The Report of Net Debit Cap comprises three resolutions, which are filed by a depository institution's board of directors depending on its needs. The first resolution is used to establish a de minimis net debit cap and the second resolution is used to establish a self-assessed net debit cap.60 The third resolution is used to establish simultaneously a self-assessed net debit cap and maximum daylight overdraft capacity.

    60 Institutions use these two resolutions to establish a capacity for daylight overdrafts above the lesser of $10 million or 20 percent of the institution's capital measure. Financially healthy U.S. chartered institutions that rarely incur daylight overdrafts in excess of the lesser of $10 million or 20 percent of the institution's capital measure do not need to file board of directors' resolutions or self-assessments with their Reserve Bank.

    Current Actions: Under the PSR policy, an FBO's SOSA ranking can affect its eligibility for a positive net debit cap, the size of its net debit cap, and its eligibility to request a streamlined procedure to obtain maximum daylight overdraft capacity. Additionally, an FBO's status as an FHC can affect the size of its net debit cap and its eligibility to request a streamlined procedure to obtain maximum daylight overdraft capacity. The proposed changes to the PSR policy would (1) remove references to the SOSA ranking, (2) remove references to FBOs' FHC status, and (3) adopt alternative methods for determining an FBO's eligibility for a positive net debit cap, the size of its net debit cap, and its eligibility to request a streamlined procedure to obtain maximum daylight overdraft capacity. The proposed revisions would increase the estimated average hours per response for FR 2226 self-assessment and de minimis respondents that are FBOs by half an hour.

    Estimated number of respondents: De Minimis Cap: Non-FBOs, 915 respondents and FBOs, 18 respondents; Self-Assessment Cap: Non-FBOs, 110 respondents and FBOs, 11 respondents; and Maximum Daylight Overdraft Capacity, 4 respondents.

    Estimated average hours per response: De Minimis Cap—Non-FBOs, 1 hour and FBOs, 1.5 hour; Self-Assessment Cap—Non-FBOs, 1 hour and FBOs, 1.5 hours, and Maximum Daylight Overdraft Capacity, 1 hour.

    Estimated annual burden hours: De Minimis Cap: Non-FBOs, 915 hours and FBOs, 27 hours; Self-Assessment Cap: Non-FBOs, 110 hours and FBOs, 16.5 hours; and Maximum Daylight Overdraft Capacity, 4 hours.

    VI. Federal Reserve Policy on Payment System Risk Revisions to Section II.D of the PSR Policy

    The Board proposes to revise Section II.D of the “Federal Reserve Policy on Payment System Risk” as follows:

    D. Net Debit Caps 2. Cap Categories

    * * *

    a. Self-Assessed

    In order to establish a net debit cap category of high, above average, or average, an institution must perform a self-assessment of its own creditworthiness, intraday funds management and control, customer credit policies and controls, and operating controls and contingency procedures.61 For domestic institutions, the assessment of creditworthiness is based on the institution's supervisory rating and Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) designation.62 For U.S. branches and agencies of FBOs that are based in jurisdictions that adhere to the Basel Capital Accord, the assessment of creditworthiness is based on the institution's supervisory rating and the PCA designation that would apply to the FBO if it were subject to the Board's Regulation H.63 An institution may perform a full assessment of its creditworthiness in certain limited circumstances—for example, if its condition has changed significantly since its last examination or if it possesses additional substantive information regarding its financial condition. Additionally, U.S. branches and agencies of FBOs based in jurisdictions that do not adhere to the Basel Capital Accord are required to perform a full assessment of creditworthiness to determine their ratings for the creditworthiness component. An institution performing a self-assessment must also evaluate its intraday funds-management procedures and its procedures for evaluating the financial condition of and establishing intraday credit limits for its customers. Finally, the institution must evaluate its operating controls and contingency procedures to determine if they are sufficient to prevent losses due to fraud or system failures. The Guide includes a detailed explanation of the self-assessment process.

    61 This assessment should be done on an individual-institution basis, treating as separate entities each commercial bank, each Edge corporation (and its branches), each thrift institution, and so on. An exception is made in the case of U.S. branches and agencies of FBOs. Because these entities have no existence separate from the FBO, all the U.S. offices of FBOs (excluding U.S.-chartered bank subsidiaries and U.S.-chartered Edge subsidiaries) should be treated as a consolidated family relying on the FBO's capital.

    62 An insured depository institution is (1) “well capitalized” if it significantly exceeds the required minimum level for each relevant capital measure, (2) “adequately capitalized” if it meets the required minimum level for each relevant capital measure, (3) “undercapitalized” if it fails to meet the required minimum level for any relevant capital measure, (4) “significantly undercapitalized” if it is significantly below the required minimum level for any relevant capital measure, or (5) “critically undercapitalized” if it fails to meet any leverage limit (the ratio of tangible equity to total assets) specified by the appropriate federal banking agency, in consultation with the FDIC, or any other relevant capital measure established by the agency to determine when an institution is critically undercapitalized (12 U.S.C. 1831o).

    63See 12 CFR 208.43(b).

    b. De Minimis

    Many institutions incur relatively small overdrafts and thus pose little risk to the Federal Reserve. To ease the burden on these small overdrafters of engaging in the self-assessment process and to ease the burden on the Federal Reserve of administering caps, the Board allows institutions that meet reasonable safety and soundness standards to incur de minimis amounts of daylight overdrafts without performing a self-assessment.67 An institution may incur daylight overdrafts of up to 40 percent of its capital measure if the institution submits a board of directors resolution.

    67 U.S. branches and agencies of FBOs that are based in jurisdictions that do not adhere to the Basel Capital Accord are required to perform a full assessment of creditworthiness to determine whether they meet reasonable safety and soundness standards. These FBOs must submit an assessment of creditworthiness with their board of directors resolution requesting a de minimis cap category. U.S. branches and agencies of FBOs that are based in jurisdictions that adhere to the Basel Capital Accord are not required to complete an assessment of creditworthiness, but Reserve Banks will assess such an FBO's creditworthiness based on the FBO's supervisory rating and the PCA designation that would apply to the FBO if it were subject to the Board's Regulation H.

    c. Exempt-From-Filing

    Institutions that only rarely incur daylight overdrafts in their Federal Reserve accounts that exceed the lesser of $10 million or 20 percent of their capital measure are excused from performing self-assessments and filing board of directors resolutions with their Reserve Banks.68 This dual test of dollar amount and percent of capital measure is designed to limit the filing exemption to institutions that create only low-dollar risks to the Reserve Banks and that incur small overdrafts relative to their capital measure. * * *

    68 The Reserve Bank may require U.S. branches and agencies of FBOs that are based in jurisdictions that do not adhere to the Basel Capital Accord to perform a full assessment of creditworthiness to determine whether the FBO meets reasonable safety and soundness standards. U.S. branches and agencies of FBOs that are based in jurisdictions that adhere to the Basel Capital Accord will not be required to complete an assessment of creditworthiness, but Reserve Banks will assess such an FBO's creditworthiness based on the FBO's supervisory rating and the PCA designation that would apply to the FBO if it were subject to the Board's Regulation H.

    3. Capital Measure b. U.S. Branches and Agencies for Foreign Banks

    For U.S. branches and agencies of foreign banks, net debit caps on daylight overdrafts in Federal Reserve accounts are calculated by applying the cap multiples for each cap category to the FBO's U.S. capital equivalency measure.69 U.S. capital equivalency is equal to 10 percent of worldwide capital for FBOs.70

    69 The term “U.S. capital equivalency” is used in this context to refer the particular measure calculate net debit caps and does not necessarily represent an appropriate for supervisory or other purposes.

    70 FBOs that wish to establish a non-zero net debit cap must report their worldwide capital on the Annual Daylight Overdraft Capital Report for U.S. Branches and Agencies of Foreign Banks (FR 2225). The instructions for FR explain how FBOs should calculate their worldwide capital. See https://www.federalreserve.gov/apps/reportforms/reportdetail.aspx?sOoYJ+5BzDZ1kLYTc+ZpEQ==.

    An FBO that is well capitalized (calculated as if the FBO were subject to the Board's Regulation H 71 ) may be eligible for a streamlined procedure (see section II.E.) for obtaining additional collateralized intraday credit under the maximum daylight overdraft capacity provision.

    71See 12 CFR 208.43(b).

    Revisions to Section II.E of the PSR Policy

    The Board proposes to revise Section II.E of the “Federal Reserve Policy on Payment System Risk” as follows:

    E. Maximum Daylight Overdraft Capacity 1. General Procedure

    An institution with a self-assessed net debit cap that wishes to expand its daylight overdraft capacity by pledging collateral should consult with its administrative Reserve Bank. The Reserve Bank will work with an institution that requests additional daylight overdraft capacity to determine the appropriate maximum daylight overdraft capacity level. In considering the institution's request, the Reserve Bank will evaluate the institution's rationale for requesting additional daylight overdraft capacity as well as its financial and supervisory information. The financial and supervisory information considered may include, but is not limited to, capital and liquidity ratios, the composition of balance sheet assets, and CAMELS or other supervisory ratings and assessments. An institution approved for a maximum daylight overdraft capacity level must submit at least once in each twelve-month period a board of directors resolution indicating its board's approval of that level. * * *

    2. Streamlined Procedure for Certain FBOs

    An FBO that is well capitalized (calculated as if the FBO were subject to the Board's Regulation H 75 ) and has a self-assessed net debit cap may request from its Reserve Bank a streamlined procedure to obtain a maximum daylight overdraft capacity. These FBOs are not required to provide documentation of the business need or obtain the board of directors' resolution for collateralized capacity in an amount that exceeds its current net debit cap (which is based on 10 percent worldwide capital times its cap multiple), as long as the requested total capacity is 100 percent or less of worldwide capital times a self-assessed cap multiple.76 In order to ensure that intraday liquidity risk is managed appropriately and that the FBO will be able to repay daylight overdrafts, eligible FBOs under the streamlined procedure will be subject to initial and periodic reviews of liquidity plans that are analogous to the liquidity reviews undergone by U.S. institutions.77 If an eligible FBO requests capacity in excess of 100 percent of worldwide capital times the self-assessed cap multiple, it would be subject to the general procedure.

    75See 12 CFR 208.43(b).

    76 For example, an FBO that is well capitalized is eligible for uncollateralized capacity of 10 percent of worldwide capital times the cap multiple. The streamlined max cap procedure would provide such an institution with additional collateralized capacity of 90 percent of worldwide capital times the cap multiple. As noted above, FBOs report their worldwide capital on the Annual Daylight Overdraft Capital Report for U.S. Branches and Agencies of Foreign Banks (FR 2225).

    77 The liquidity reviews will be conducted by the administrative Reserve Bank, in consultation with each FBO's home country supervisor.

    By order of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, December 8, 2017. Ann E. Misback, Secretary of the Board.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26923 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6210-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2017-1100; Product Identifier 2017-NM-077-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2015-15-13, which applies to certain Airbus Model A319 series airplanes; Model A320-211, -212, -214, -231, -232, and -233 airplanes; and Model A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, and -232 airplanes. AD 2015-15-13 requires modification of the potable water service panel and waste water service panel, including doing applicable related investigative and corrective actions. Since we issued AD 2015-15-13, further investigations linked to widespread fatigue damage (WFD) analysis highlighted that, to meet the WFD requirements, it is necessary that the affected modification not be accomplished before reaching a certain threshold. This proposed AD would require modification of the waste water and potable water service panels with new compliance times. This proposed AD would also remove certain airplanes from the applicability and add Model A320-216 airplanes to the applicability. We are proposing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by January 29, 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.

    For service information identified in this NPRM, 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.

    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-2017-1100; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations office (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    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:

    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-2017-1100; Product Identifier 2017-NM-077-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposed AD based on those comments.

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

    Discussion

    Fatigue damage can occur locally, in small areas or structural design details, or globally, in widespread areas. Multiple-site damage is widespread damage that occurs in a large structural element such as a single rivet line of a lap splice joining two large skin panels. Widespread damage can also occur in multiple elements such as adjacent frames or stringers. Multiple-site damage and multiple-element damage cracks are typically too small initially to be reliably detected with normal inspection methods. Without intervention, these cracks will grow, and eventually compromise the structural integrity of the airplane. This condition is known as WFD. It is associated with general degradation of large areas of structure with similar structural details and stress levels. As an airplane ages, WFD will likely occur, and will certainly occur if the airplane is operated long enough without any intervention.

    The FAA's WFD final rule (75 FR 69746, November 15, 2010) became effective on January 14, 2011. The WFD rule requires certain actions to prevent structural failure due to WFD throughout the operational life of certain existing transport category airplanes and all of these airplanes that will be certificated in the future. For existing and future airplanes subject to the WFD rule, the rule requires that DAHs establish a limit of validity (LOV) of the engineering data that support the structural maintenance program. Operators affected by the WFD rule may not fly an airplane beyond its LOV, unless an extended LOV is approved.

    The WFD rule (75 FR 69746, November 15, 2010) does not require identifying and developing maintenance actions if the DAHs can show that such actions are not necessary to prevent WFD before the airplane reaches the LOV. Many LOVs, however, do depend on accomplishment of future maintenance actions. As stated in the WFD rule, any maintenance actions necessary to reach the LOV will be mandated by airworthiness directives through separate rulemaking actions.

    In the context of WFD, this action is necessary to enable DAHs to propose LOVs that allow operators the longest operational lives for their airplanes, and still ensure that WFD will not occur. This approach allows for an implementation strategy that provides flexibility to DAHs in determining the timing of service information development (with FAA approval), while providing operators with certainty regarding the LOV applicable to their airplanes.

    We issued AD 2015-15-13, Amendment 39-18223 (80 FR 45857, August 3, 2015) (“AD 2015-15-13”), for certain Airbus Model A319 series airplanes; Model A320-211, -212, -214, -231,-232, and -233 airplanes; and Model A321 series airplanes. AD 2015-15-13 was prompted by reports of cracks that could be initiated at the waste water service panel area and the potable water service panel area. AD 2015-15-13 requires modification of the potable water service panel and waste water service panel, including doing applicable related investigative and corrective actions. We issued AD 2015-15-13 to prevent any cracking at the waste water service panel area and the potable water service panel area, which could affect the structural integrity of the airplane.

    Since we issued AD 2015-15-13, further investigations linked to WFD analysis highlighted that, to meet the WFD requirements, it is necessary that the affected modification is not accomplished before reaching a certain threshold by imposing a “window of embodiment.”

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2017-0098, dated June 7, 2017 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for certain Airbus Model A319 series airplanes; Airbus Model A320-211, -212, -214, -216, -231, -232, and -233 airplanes; and Airbus Model A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, and -232 airplanes. The MCAI states:

    During the full scale fatigue test on A320-200, it was noticed that, due to fatigue, cracks could initiate at the potable water and waste water service panel areas.

    This condition, if not detected and corrected, could affect the structural integrity of the aeroplane.

    Prompted by these findings, Airworthiness Limitation Section (ALS) Part 2 tasks were introduced for the affected aeroplanes. Since those actions were taken, Airbus developed production mod 160055 and mod 160056 to embody reinforcements (cold working on certain rivet rows) of the potable water and waste water service panels, and published associated Airbus Service Bulletin (SB) A320-53-1272 and Airbus SB A320-53-1267 for in-service embodiment. Complementary design office studies highlighted that the “Sharklets” installation on certain aeroplanes has a significant impact on the aeroplane structure (particularly, A319 and A320 post-mod 160001, A320 post-SB A320-57-1193 (mod 160080), and A321 post-mod 160021), leading to different compliance times, depending on aeroplane configuration.

    Consequently, EASA issued AD 2014-0081 [which corresponds to FAA AD 2015-15-13] to require reinforcement of the potable water and waste water service panels. Accomplishment of these modifications cancelled the need for the related ALS Part 2 Tasks.

    Since that AD was issued, further investigations linked to the Widespread Fatigue Damage (WFD) analysis highlighted that, to meet the WFD requirements, it is necessary that the affected modification is not accomplished before reaching a certain threshold, by imposing a so-called “window of embodiment”. Consequently, Airbus revised SB A320-53-1272 (now at revision (Rev.) 04) and SB A320-53-1267 (now at Rev. 05).

    For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD retains the requirements of EASA AD 2014-0081, which is superseded, and introduces additional compliance times for those actions.

    This proposed AD would also remove Model A319 series airplanes on which modification 28162, 28238, and 28342 have been embodied (“Corporate Jet” modifications) from the applicability because production modifications mitigated the risk associated with the unsafe condition. This proposed AD would also add Model A320-216 airplanes to the applicability because those airplanes are affected by the identified unsafe condition.

    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-2017-1100.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    Airbus has issued Service Bulletin A320-53-1267, Revision 05, dated November 29, 2016, which describes procedures for modifying the waste water service panel. Airbus has also issued Service Bulletin A320-53-1272, Revision 04, dated November 29, 2016, which describes procedures for modifying the potable water service panel. Both modifications include a check of the diameter of the holes of removed fasteners, a related investigative action (rotating probe inspection for cracking on the holes of the removed fasteners) and a corrective action (repair). 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.

    FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD

    This product has been approved by the aviation authority of another country, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with the State of Design Authority, we have been notified of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI and service information referenced above. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all pertinent information and determined an unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design.

    Explanation of Compliance Time

    The compliance time for the replacement specified in this proposed AD for addressing WFD was established to ensure that discrepant structure is replaced before WFD develops in airplanes. Standard inspection techniques cannot be relied on to detect WFD before it becomes a hazard to flight. We will not grant any extensions of the compliance time to complete any AD-mandated service bulletin related to WFD without extensive new data that would substantiate and clearly warrant such an extension.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD affects 851 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    We also estimate that it would take about 27 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Required parts would cost about $700 per product. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $2,548,745, or $2,995 per product.

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

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

    We determined that this 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 removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2015-15-13, Amendment 39-18223 (80 FR 45857, August 3, 2015), and adding the following new AD: Airbus: Docket No. FAA-2017-1100; Product Identifier 2017-NM-077-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by January 29, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 2015-15-13, Amendment 39-18223 (80 FR 45857, August 3, 2015) (“AD 2015-15-13”).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to the airplanes identified in paragraphs (c)(1), (c)(2), and (c)(3) of this AD, certificated in any category, except for those airplanes on which Airbus modification 160055 or modification 160056 has been embodied in production, and except for Model A319 series airplanes on which modification 28162, 28238, and 28342 have been embodied (“Corporate Jet”).

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

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

    (3) Airbus Model A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, and -232 airplanes.

    (d) Subject

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

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by an evaluation by the design approval holder (DAH) indicating that the potable water and waste water service panel areas are subject to widespread fatigue damage (WFD). We are issuing this AD to prevent cracking of the potable water and waste water service panel areas, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Modification of the Potable Water Service Panel

    (1) Within the compliance times specified in Table 1 to paragraphs (g)(1) and (i) of this AD, as applicable, modify the potable water service panel, including doing a check of the diameter of the holes of removed fasteners, and do all applicable related investigative and corrective actions, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53-1272, Revision 04, dated November 29, 2016, except as required by paragraph (g)(2) of this AD. Do all applicable related investigative and corrective actions before further flight.

    Table 1 to Paragraphs (g)(1) and (i) of This AD—Compliance Times for the Portable Water Service Panel Reinforcement Affected airplanes * Compliance time minimum ** Compliance time maximum
  • (before the accumulation of the specified total flight cycles since the airplane's first flight)
  • A319, pre-modification 160001 and pre-service bulletin A320-57-1193 33,100 total flight cycles 48,500 total flight cycles. A319, post-modification 160001 or post-service bulletin A320-57-1193 None 46,000 total flight cycles. A320, pre-modification 160001 and pre-service bulletin A320-57-1193 25,100 total flight cycles 54,200 total flight cycles. A320, post-modification 160001 or post-service bulletin A320-57-1193 None 48,300 total flight cycles. A321-100 25,100 total flight cycles 60,000 total flight cycles. A321-200 pre-modification 160021 22,100 total flight cycles 60,000 total flight cycles. A321-200 post-modification 160021 None 60,000 total flight cycles. * A321-111, A321-112 and A321-131 airplanes are collectively referred to as “A321-100.” Similarly, A321-211, A321-212, A321-213, A321-231 and A321-232 airplanes are collectively referred to as “A321-200”. ** Not before accumulating the specified total flight cycles since the airplane's first flight.

    (2) Where Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53-1272, Revision 04, dated November 29, 2016, specifies to contact Airbus for appropriate action, and specifies that action as “RC” (Required for Compliance): Before further flight, accomplish corrective actions in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (m)(2) of this AD.

    (h) Modification of the Waste Water Service Panel

    (1) Within the compliance times specified in Table 2 to paragraphs (h)(1) and (i) of this AD, as applicable, modify the waste water service panel, including doing a check of the diameter of the holes of removed fasteners, and do all applicable related investigative and corrective actions in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53-1267, Revision 05, dated November 29, 2016, except as required by paragraph (h)(2) of this AD. Do all applicable related investigative and corrective actions before further flight.

    Table 2 to Paragraphs (h)(1) and (i) of This AD—Compliance Times for the Waste Water Service Panel Reinforcement Affected airplanes * Compliance time minimum ** Compliance time maximum A319, pre-modification 160001 and pre-service bulletin A320-57-1193 28,600 total flight cycles Before the accumulation of 44,400 total flight cycles since the airplane's first flight. A319, post-modification 160001 or post-service bulletin A320-57-1193 None Before the accumulation of 43,600 total flight cycles since the airplane's first flight. A320, pre-modification 160001 and pre-service bulletin A320-57-1193 35,800 total flight cycles Before the accumulation of 46,000 total flight cycles since the airplane's first flight; or within 2,300 flight cycles since the last accomplishment of Airworthiness Limitation Section (ALS) Part 2 Task 534126-01-3 without exceeding 48,000 total flight cycles since the airplane's first flight; whichever occurs later. A320, post-modification 160001 or post-service bulletin A320-57-1193 5,400 total flight cycles Before the accumulation of 39,200 total flight cycles since the airplane's first flight. A321-100 36,900 total flight cycles Before the accumulation of 52,500 total flight cycles since the airplane's first flight. A321-200 pre-modification 160021 35,700 total flight cycles Before the accumulation of 53,500 total flight cycles since the airplane's first flight. A321-200 post-modification 160021 None Before the accumulation of 51,200 total flight cycles since the airplane's first flight. * A321-111, A321-112 and A321-131 airplanes are collectively referred to as “A321-100.” Similarly, A321-211, A321-212, A321-213, A321-231 and A321-232 airplanes are collectively referred to as “A321-200”. ** Not before accumulating the specified total flight cycles since the airplane's first flight.

    (2) Where Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53-1267, Revision 05, dated November 29, 2016, specifies to contact Airbus for appropriate action, and specifies that action as “RC” (Required for Compliance): Before further flight, accomplish corrective actions in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (m)(2) of this AD.

    (i) Corrective Action for Airplanes With Certain Modifications

    For airplanes on which the modification, as required by paragraph (g) or (h) of this AD, as applicable, was accomplished before reaching the applicable minimum compliance time as defined in Table 1 to paragraphs (g)(1) and (i) of this AD or Table 2 to paragraphs (h)(1) and (i) of this AD: Before exceeding 60,000 flight cycles since the airplane's first flight, contact the Manager, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA; or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA); or Airbus's EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA) for approved corrective action instructions and accomplish those instructions accordingly.

    (j) Terminating Action for Airplanes on Which the Potable Water Service Panel Modification Is Done

    Modification of an airplane as required by paragraph (g) of this AD terminates the requirement for accomplishing the ALS Part 2 task for that airplane as specified in Table 3 to paragraph (j) of this AD, as applicable.

    Table 3 to Paragraph (j) of This AD—ALS Part 2 Task Terminated After Potable Water Service Panel Modification Affected airplanes ALS Part 2
  • task No.
  • A319, pre-modification 160001 and pre-service bulletin A320-57-1193 534125-01-2 A319, post-modification 160001 or post-service bulletin A320-57-1193 534125-01-5 A320, pre-modification 160001 and pre-service bulletin A320-57-1193 534125-01-3 A320, post-modification 160001 or post-service bulletin A320-57-1193 534125-01-6 A321 pre-modification 160021 534125-01-4 A321 post-modification 160021 534125-01-7
    (k) Terminating Action for Airplanes on Which the Waste Water Service Panel Modification Is Done

    Modification of an airplane as required by paragraph (h) of this AD terminates the requirement for accomplishing the ALS Part 2 task for that airplane as specified in Table 4 to paragraph (k) of this AD, as applicable.

    Table 4 to Paragraph (k) of This AD—ALS Part 2 Task Terminated After Waste Water Service Panel Modification Affected airplanes ALS Part 2
  • task No.
  • A319, pre-modification 160001 and pre-service bulletin A320-57-1193 534126-01-2 A319, post-modification 160001 or post-service bulletin A320-57-1193 534126-01-5 A320, pre-modification 160001 and pre-service bulletin A320-57-1193 534126-01-3 A320, post-modification 160001 or post-service bulletin A320-57-1193 534126-01-6 A321 pre-modification 160021 534126-01-4 A321 post-modification 160021 534126-01-7
    (l) Credit for Previous Actions

    (1) This paragraph provides credit for actions required by paragraph (g) of this AD if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using the service information in paragraphs (l)(1)(i) through (l)(1)(iv) of this AD.

    (i) Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53-1272, Revision 00, dated January 10, 2013, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (ii) Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53-1272, Revision 01, dated August 6, 2013, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (iii) Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53-1272, Revision 02, dated May 19, 2014, which was incorporated by reference in AD 2015-15-13.

    (iv) Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53-1272, Revision 03, dated November 26, 2015, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (2) This paragraph provides credit for actions required by paragraph (h) of this AD if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using the service information in paragraphs (l)(2)(i) through (l)(2)(v) of this AD.

    (i) Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53-1267, Revision 00, dated June 24, 2013, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (ii) Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53-1267, Revision 01, dated October 2, 2013, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (iii) Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53-1267, Revision 02, dated May 19, 2014, which was incorporated by reference in AD 2015-15-13.

    (iv) Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53-1267, Revision 03, dated November 26, 2015, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (v) Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53-1267, Revision 04, dated February 1, 2016, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (m) Other FAA AD Provisions

    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the International Section, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (n)(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: As of the effective date of this AD, for any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer, the action must be accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA; or the EASA; or Airbus's EASA DOA. If approved by the DOA, the approval must include the DOA-authorized signature.

    (3) Required for Compliance (RC): Except as required by paragraphs (g)(2) and (h)(2) of this AD: If any service information contains procedures or tests that are identified as RC, those procedures and tests must be done to comply with this AD; any procedures or tests that are not identified as RC are recommended. Those procedures and tests that are not identified as RC may be deviated from using accepted methods in accordance with the operator's maintenance or inspection program without obtaining approval of an AMOC, provided the procedures and tests identified as RC can be done and the airplane can be put back in an airworthy condition. Any substitutions or changes to procedures or tests identified as RC require approval of an AMOC.

    (n) Related Information

    (1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA Airworthiness Directive 2017-0098, dated June 7, 2017, for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-1100.

    (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) 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. 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.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on November 29, 2017. Jeffrey E. Duven, Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26362 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Office of the Secretary 14 CFR Part 241 [Docket No. RITA-2011-0001] RIN 2105-AE31 Ancillary Airline Passenger Revenues AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary, Department of Transportation.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; withdrawal.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Transportation (the Department) is withdrawing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published on July 15, 2011 that proposed to collect detailed revenue information regarding airline imposed fees from those air carriers meeting the definition of a large certificated air carrier. We are withdrawing this rulemaking in light of the comments we received. The withdrawal of this rulemaking corresponds with the Department's and Administration's priorities and is consistent with the Executive Order 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs, January 30, 2017.

    DATES:

    Amendatory instructions 3 through 6 of the proposed rule published July 15, 2011 (76 FR 41726), are withdrawn as of December 14, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Electronic Access: You can view and download related documents and public comments by going to the website http://www.regulations.gov. Enter the docket number DOT-RITA-2011-0001 in the search field.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Zeenat Iqbal and Blane A. Workie, Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings, 1200 New Jersey SE, Room W96-414, Washington, DC 20590, (202) 366-9893, [email protected] (email).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    On July 7, 2011, the Office of the Secretary issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to collect detailed information about ancillary fees paid by airline consumers to determine the total amount of fees carriers collect through the a la carte pricing approach for optional services related to air transportation. The Department also proposed to alter its matrix for collecting and publishing data on mishandled baggage and to collect information regarding damage, delay or loss of wheelchairs and scooters transported in the aircraft cargo compartment. The final rule relating to reporting of data for mishandled baggage and wheelchairs (2104-AE41) was issued on November 2, 2016 (81 FR 76300). We are withdrawing the other topic covered in the proposed rule, the reporting of airline fee revenue.

    The NPRM

    In the NPRM, the Department proposed to create two stand-alone reporting forms, designated P-9 and P-9.1, to capture ancillary revenues. Specifically, air carriers with annual reporting revenue of $20 million or more would be required to submit the P-9 form quarterly and air carriers with annual reporting revenue below $20 million would be required to submit the form P-9.1 on a semiannual basis. The information required by the two proposed schedules was identical; they differed only in the required reporting frequency. The NPRM also proposed to define ancillary revenues as those charges paid by airline passengers that are not included in the standard ticket fare. The Department solicited comments on which items should be specifically identified as ancillary revenues, and proposed to collect data on 19 separate charges for optional services. The categories included: (1) Booking fees, (2) priority check-in and security screening, (3) baggage, (4) in-flight medical equipment, (5) in-flight entertainment/internet access, (6) sleep sets, (7) in-flight food/non-alcoholic drinks, (8) alcoholic drinks, (9) pets, (10) seating assignments, (11) reservation cancellation and change fees; (12) charges for lost ticket; (13) unaccompanied minor/passenger assistance fee; (14) frequent flyer points/points acceleration; (15) commissions on travel packages; (16) travel insurance; (17) duty-free and retail sales; (18) one-time access to lounges and (19) other.

    Comments Received

    In response to the 2011 NPRM, the Department received approximately 280 comments from airlines, airports, trade associations, unions, consumer groups and private citizens who use this data. There was wide support among consumers and consumer rights groups for the proposed rule's reporting requirements. Consumers and consumer rights groups, as well as ACI-NA and Southwest Airlines, commented that the reporting requirement would bring the benefits of both increased transparency and improved data corroboration regarding the impact of ancillary fees on the Airport and Airway Trust Fund.

    On the other hand, most airlines and industry organizations commented that the proposed rule will not benefit the public because the Department has not demonstrated a need for this information. They asserted that the rule will not increase the transparency of pricing for airline revenues. Airlines also commented that if the justification for this rule is to tax ancillary revenues, the Department must state that justification. In addition, several airlines and industry groups suggested that the Department underestimated the proposed rule's economic burden on industry.

    With regard to the proposed 19 categories, industry groups, consumer groups and airlines commented that the Department failed to justify the proposed categories and suggested various changes to the list of 19 charges for which air carriers would have to report revenues under the proposed rule. Carriers also expressed concern that the proposed reporting requirements would require carriers to reveal proprietary information to their competitors. Some carriers suggested that there is no correlation between a carrier's disclosure of itemized aggregate revenue data and consumer concerns regarding fare transparency. Southwest Airlines, which supported the Department's stated goal of making ticket pricing more transparent for consumers, also urged the Department to reduce the number of categories by half.

    Reason for Withdrawal

    The purpose of this rulemaking was to make airline pricing more transparent to consumers and airline analysts. Although we believe there would be benefits of collecting and publishing the proposed aviation data, the Department also takes seriously industry concerns about the potential burden of this rule. The Department is withdrawing this rulemaking proposal. The withdrawal of this rulemaking corresponds with the Department's and Administration's priorities and is consistent with the Executive Order 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs, January 30, 2017.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on December 5, 2017. Elaine L. Chao, Secretary of Transportation.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26708 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Office of the Secretary 14 CFR Part 399 [Docket No. DOT-OST-2017-0007] RIN 2105-AE56 Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary (OST), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

    ACTION:

    Notice of withdrawal of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department is withdrawing the supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) on Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees issued on January 9, 2017. The SNPRM proposed to require air carriers, foreign air carriers, and ticket agents to clearly disclose to consumers at all points of sale customer-specific fee information, or itinerary-specific information if a customer elects not to provide customer-specific information, for a first checked bag, a second checked bag, and one carry-on bag wherever fare and schedule information is provided to consumers. The withdrawal of this rulemaking corresponds with the Department's and Administration's priorities and is consistent with Executive Order 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs, January 30, 2017.

    DATES:

    December 14, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments by sending an email to Kimberly Graber ([email protected]) or Blane A. Workie ([email protected]). Please include RIN 2105-AE56 in the subject line of the message.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kimberly Graber or Blane A. Workie, Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20590, 202-366-9342 (phone), [email protected] or [email protected] (email).

    Electronic Access: Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents and comments received, go to the street address listed above or visit http://www.regulations.gov. Enter the docket number DOT-OST-2017-0007 in the search field.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On January 9, 2017, the Department issued an SNPRM that proposed to require air carriers, foreign air carriers, and ticket agents to clearly disclose to consumers at all points of sale customer-specific fee information, or itinerary-specific information if a customer elects not to provide customer-specific information, for a first checked bag, a second checked bag, and one carry-on bag wherever fare and schedule information is provided to consumers (see 82 FR 7536, Jan. 19, 2017). The SNPRM further proposed to require airlines to provide useable, current, and accurate (but not transactable) baggage fee information to all ticket agents that receive and distribute the airline's fare and schedule information, including Global Distribution Systems and metasearch entities. If an airline or ticket agent has a website that markets to U.S. consumers, the SNPRM proposed to require the baggage fee information to be disclosed at the first point in a search process where a fare is listed in connection with a specific flight itinerary, adjacent to the fare. The SNPRM also proposed to permit airlines and ticket agents to allow customers to opt-out of receiving the baggage fee information when using their websites.

    On March 2, 2017, the Department suspended the comment period, which had been scheduled to close on March 20, 2017. The suspension of the comment period was to allow the President's appointees the opportunity to review and consider this action. After a careful review, the Department has determined to withdraw the SNPRM. The Department is committed to protecting consumers from hidden fees and to ensuring transparency. However, we do not believe that Departmental action is necessary to meet this objective at this time. The Department's existing regulations already provide consumers some information regarding fees for ancillary services. The withdrawal corresponds with the Department's and Administration's priorities and is consistent with the Executive Order 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs, January 30, 2017.

    Issued on 5th day of December 2017 in Washington, DC. Elaine L. Chao, Secretary of Transportation.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26707 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-9X-P
    DEPARTMENT OF STATE 22 CFR Parts 50 and 51 [Public Notice 9804] RIN 1400-AD54 Passports AGENCY:

    Department of State.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This proposed rule provides various changes and updates to the Department of State passport rules. The proposed rule incorporates statutory passport denial and revocation requirements for certain convicted sex offenders. It notes that, notwithstanding the legal bases for denial or revocation of a passport, the Department may issue a passport for direct return to the United States. It sets out the Department's procedures for denying and cancelling Consular Reports of Birth Abroad. Finally, the proposed rule provides additional information relating to the conduct of review hearings.

    DATES:

    The Department will accept comments on the proposed regulation up to February 12, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments by any of the following methods:

    Internet: At www.regulations.gov, search for this notice by searching for Docket No. DOS-2016-0080 or RIN 1400-AD54.

    By mail: Director, Office of Legal Affairs and Law Enforcement Liaison, Passport Services, U.S. Department of State, 44132 Mercure Circle, P.O. Box 1227, Sterling, VA 20166-1227

    By email: Submit comments to: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Anita Mody, Office of Legal Affairs, Passport Services, (202) 485-6500. Hearing- or speech-impaired persons may use the Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD) by contacting the Federal Information Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department is proposing to amend various sections of Subparts A, E, and F within Part 51 and Subpart A within Part 50 of Title 22 of the CFR.

    Consistent with 22 U.S.C. 211a, the proposed rule in § 51.4(g)(1) revises the previous rule to now state that a passport is invalid when the passport revocation notification is approved. This revision leaves unchanged the Department's obligation, set forth at § 51.65(a), to send notification of the revocation, and the reasons therefor, in writing.

    The proposed new provision in § 51.4(g)(8) provides that a passport is invalid when a Certificate of Loss of Nationality is approved. This provision, consistent with 8 U.S.C. 1481(a), specifies that a passport is not valid once the Department approves the bearer's formal renunciation of nationality.

    The proposed rule incorporates statutory passport denial and revocation requirements for certain convicted sex offenders as codified at 22 U.S.C. 212a.

    Proposed § 51.60(h) requires denial of a passport to an individual convicted under 18 U.S.C. 2423 and who used a passport or otherwise crossed an international border in committing the underlying offense. In accordance with 22 U.S.C. 212a, upon timely notification by the Attorney General, such an individual's passport application will be denied during the period covering the date of conviction and ending on the later of (1) the date on which the individual is released from a sentence of imprisonment relating to the offense; or (2) the end of a period of parole or other supervised release of the covered individual relating to the offense. However the Department may issue a passport in emergency circumstances or for humanitarian reasons, or may issue a limited passport valid only for direct return to the United States.

    Proposed § 51.60(i) notes the Department's authority, consistent with 22 U.S.C. 217a, to, as appropriate, issue limited validity passports good only for direct return to the United States, notwithstanding any prior revocation or denial.

    Proposed § 51.62(d) requires revocation of a passport previously issued to an individual convicted under 18 U.S.C. 2423 and who used a passport or otherwise crossed an international border in committing the underlying offense. In accordance with 22 U.S.C. 212a, upon timely notification by the Attorney General, such an individual's passport will be revoked once convicted and until the later of (1) the date on which the individual is released from a sentence of imprisonment relating to the offense; or (2) the end of a period of parole or other supervised release of the covered individual relating to the offense.

    Proposed § 51.62(c), deriving from the Department's existing statutory authority including under 8 U.S.C. 1504, sets out that the Department may cancel Consular Reports of Birth Abroad that were obtained illegally, fraudulently or erroneously; were created through illegality or fraud; have been fraudulently altered or misused; or where the bearer of the document is not a U.S. national. Specific reference to cancellation of Consular Reports of Birth Abroad has been added to the provisions on revocation or limitation of passports at § 51.62, notification of such action at § 51.65, the surrendering of passports at § 51.66, and the right to a hearing in certain circumstances at § 51.70(a).

    The proposed rule in § 51.62(a)(1) also removes the reference to § 51.28 concerning passports for minors, thereby removing the Department's discretion to revoke in circumstances where a U.S. passport may be denied under § 51.28. Once parental consent is properly given and a passport issued, the Department has consistently taken the position that such a properly issued passport may not be revoked upon a subsequent withdrawal of parental consent.

    The proposed rule in § 51.70(b) revises the non-exhaustive list of provisions under which a hearing will not be provided if the Department denies, restricts, revokes, cancels or invalidates a passport or Consular Report of Birth Abroad under §§ 51.60(a), 51.60(f), 51.60(g), 51.61(a), 51.62(b), 51.62(c)(3), 51.62(d), or 51.64, such that it is consistent with other revisions made as a part of this notice. Section 51.60(a) refers to instances where the Department may not issue a passport because the applicant is in default on a repatriation loan or certified to be in arrears of child support. In accordance with § 51.60(f), the Department may deny an application if the individual has failed to provide his or her social security number on a passport application, or purposefully provides an incorrect number. In accordance with § 51.60(g), the Department shall not issue a passport to a covered sex offender as defined by 22 U.S.C. 212b(c)(1). Section 51.61(a) specifies that the Department may not issue a passport to an applicant subject to imprisonment or supervised release as a result of a federal or state felony drug offense, if the individual used the passport or crossed an international border in committing the offense. Sections 51.62(b) and 51.62(c)(3) address where the Department revokes a passport, or cancels a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, after determining the individual is not a U.S. national, or revokes the passport after being on notice that an individual's certificate of citizenship or naturalization has been cancelled. Under § 51.62(d), the Department revokes a U.S. passport for individuals convicted of illicit sexual conduct under 18 U.S.C. 2423, during the covered period defined by 22 U.S.C. 212a, and who used a passport or crossed an international border in committing the offense. Section 51.64 refers to specially validated passports for travel to restricted areas.

    The proposed rule amends § 50.7(d), which currently includes procedures for cancellation of Consular Reports of Birth Abroad and hearings for such cancellations, to include a reference to § 51.60 through § 51.74.

    The proposed rule in § 51.65(a)-(c) notes that the procedures for providing notification of denials, revocation, or cancellation of passports also applies to Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, and specifies in proposed § 51.65(c) that the Department may exercise its discretion to administratively re-open a previously filed passport or Consular Report of Birth Abroad application in order to issue the passport or Consular Report of Birth Abroad.

    In order to provide the public with additional information regarding the denial/revocation review hearing process, the proposed rule also provides further details and requirements for the conduct of review hearings and specifies that the set of circumstances for which hearings may be held include certain cancellations of Consular Reports of Birth Abroad. The proposed rule provides at § 51.70(e) that the individual requesting the hearing may obtain one continuance of up to ninety days upon written request; and advises at § 51.71 that the Department will provide copies of the evidence relied upon in denying, revoking, or cancelling the passport or Consular Report of Birth Abroad prior to the hearing. It specifies in § 51.71(a) that the hearing officer will generally be a Department employee from the Bureau of Consular Affairs and that the hearing officer makes only preliminary findings of fact and recommendations and submits them to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services, or his or her designee in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. The proposed rule in § 51.71(b)-(g) specifies the location of the hearing, and that failure to appear—either in person or through an attorney—at the hearing constitutes an abandonment of the request for the hearing; that there is no right to subpoena witnesses or to conduct discovery under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; and that passport hearings are not formal administrative hearings under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The Department is aware of no statute requiring that the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 554 apply to the hearing, and the Department has determined that such procedures will not be used. In addition, the proposed rule provides that individuals requesting hearings are responsible for the costs of any interpreters, who must be duly certified; and confirms that written briefs may be submitted prior to the hearing, but are not required. Proposed § 51.71(h) specifies that the purpose of the hearing is to provide the affected individual with an opportunity to challenge the Department's decision; that the burden of production at the hearing is on the Department; and that the affected individual bears the burden of persuasion at the hearing to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the Department improperly revoked the passport, denied the passport application, or cancelled the Consular Report of Birth Abroad based on the facts at the time such action was taken. The proposed rule in § 51.72 notes that the hearing officer's preliminary findings and recommendation shall not be considered part of the record unless adopted by the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services or his or her designee. The proposed rule in § 51.73 adds “interpreter” to the list of individuals able to be present at the hearing, and changes “official reporters” to “the reporter transcribing the hearing.” Under the proposed rule in § 51.74, the final decision is made by the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services, or his or her designee, based on his or her review of the record of the hearing, findings of fact and recommendations of the hearing officer, and legal and policy considerations he or she deems relevant.

    The proposed rule also amends § 50.11 to include further instruction on where to submit an appeal arising out of a denial of an application for a certificate of identity.

    Regulatory Findings Administrative Procedure Act

    The Department is publishing this rule as a proposed rule, with 60 days for public comments.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act/Executive Order 13272: Small Business

    The Department certifies that this proposed rule is not expected to have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., and Executive Order 13272, section 3(b), as the rule being amended covers only individuals.

    The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

    This proposed rule is not a major rule, as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804, for purposes of congressional review of agency rulemaking. This rule would not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a major increase in costs or prices; or adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of United States-based companies to compete with foreign-based companies in domestic and export markets.

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 1532 generally requires agencies to prepare a statement before proposing any rule that may result in an annual expenditure of $100 million or more by State, local, or tribal governments, or by the private sector. This proposed rule does not result in any such expenditure nor will it significantly or uniquely affect small governments.

    Executive Orders 12372 and 13132: Federalism

    This proposed rule does not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Nor will the rule have federalism implications warranting the application of Executive Orders 12372 and 13132.

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

    The Department has reviewed this proposed rule to ensure its consistency with the regulatory philosophy and principles set forth in Executive Order 12866, and determined that the benefits of the proposed rule justify its costs. The Department does not consider the proposed rule to be an economically significant regulatory action within the scope of section 3(f)(1) of the Executive Order. The Department has considered this proposed rule in light of Executive Order 13563 and affirms that this proposed rule is consistent with the guidance therein.

    The proposed rule revises the Department's determination of when a passport is considered invalid when a passport is revoked or a Certificate of Loss of Nationality is approved. Further, the proposed rule presents the public with additional information regarding passport and Consular Report of Birth Abroad denial, cancellation and revocation hearings. These changes supply the public with more details regarding the place, requirements, procedures and purpose of such hearings. The proposed rule also provides the public with further instruction on where to submit an appeal arising out of a denial of an application for a certificate of identity.

    The proposed rule provides further information to the public about the procedures for cancelling a Consular Reports of Birth Abroad. The proposed rule also notifies the public of the Department's statutory obligation to deny or revoke U.S. passports for certain convicted sex offenders as codified at 22 U.S.C. 212a. The Department finds that this proposed rulemaking implements Congressional intent as reflected in the Immigration and Naturalization Act, and that the benefits of the proposed rulemaking outweigh any costs to the public. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has designated this proposed rule as non-significant within the meaning of Executive Order 12866. Consequently, no actions are required pursuant to Executive Order 13771.

    Executive Order 12988: Civil Justice Reform

    The Department has reviewed the proposed rule in light of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988 to eliminate ambiguity, minimize litigation, establish clear legal standards, and reduce burden.

    Executive Order 13175—Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments.

    The Department has determined that this proposed rule will not have tribal implications, will not impose substantial direct compliance costs on Indian tribal governments, and will not pre-empt tribal law. Accordingly, the requirements of Section 5 of Executive Order 13175 do not apply to this rulemaking.

    Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This proposed rule does not revise or impose any collections of information requirements subject to the PRA.

    List of Subjects 22 CFR Part 50

    Citizenship and naturalization.

    22 CFR Part 51

    Administrative practice and procedure; Drug traffic control; Passports and visas; Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Accordingly, for the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Department proposes to amend 22 CFR parts 50 and 51 as follows:

    PART 50—NATIONALITY PROCEDURES 1. The authority section of part 50 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    22 U.S.C. 2651a; 8 U.S.C. 1104 and 1401 through 1504.

    2. Amend § 50.7 by revising paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 50.7 Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America.

    (d) A Consular Report of Birth Abroad may be cancelled in accordance with applicable provisions in 22 CFR 51.60 through 51.74.

    3. Amend § 50.11 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 50.11 Certificate of identity for travel to the United States to apply for admission.

    (b) When a diplomatic or consular officer denies an application for a certificate of identity under this section, the applicant may submit a written appeal to the Secretary through the U.S. embassy or consulate where the individual applied for the certificate of identity, stating the pertinent facts, the grounds upon which U.S. nationality is claimed, and his or her reasons for considering that the denial was not justified.

    PART 51—PASSPORTS 4. The authority section of part 51 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

    8 U.S.C. 1504; 18 U.S.C. 1621, 2423; 22 U.S.C. 211a, 212, 212a, 212b, 213, 213n (Pub. L. 106-113 Div. B, Sec. 1000(a)(7) [Div. A, Title II, Sec. 236], 113 Stat. 1536, 1501A-430); 214, 214a, 217a, 218, 2651a, 2671(d)(3), 2705, 2714, 2721, 3926; 26 U.S.C. 6039E; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 42 U.S.C. 652(k) [Div. B, Title V of P. L. 103-317, 108 Stat. 1760]; E.O. 11295, FR 10603; Pub. L. 114-119, 130 Stat. 15; Sec. 1 of P. L. 109-210, 120 Stat. 319; Sec. 2 of P. L. 109-167, 119 Stat. 3578; Sec. 5 of P. L. 109-472, 120 Stat. 3554; P. L. 108-447, Div. B, Title IV 118 Stat. 2896; P. L. 108-458, 118 Stat. 3638, 3823.

    5. Amend § 51.4 by revising paragraph (g)(1) and adding paragraph (g)(8) to read as follows:
    § 51.4 Validity of passports.

    (g) * * *

    (1) The Department approves the revocation notification pursuant to § 51.65(a); or

    (8) The Department approves a Certificate of Loss of Nationality for the passport holder pursuant to § 50.40 and 8 U.S.C. 1481.

    6. Revise the heading to Subpart E to read as follows: Denial, Revocation, and Restriction of Passports and Cancellation of Consular Reports of Birth Abroad 7. Amend § 51.60 by adding paragraphs (h) and (i) to read as follows:
    § 51.60 Denial and restriction of passports.

    (h) The Department may not issue a passport, except a limited validity passport for direct return to the United States or in instances where the Department finds that emergency circumstances or humanitarian reasons exist, in any case in which the Department is notified by the Attorney General that, during the covered period as defined by 22 U.S.C. 212a:

    (1) The applicant was convicted of a violation of 18 U.S.C. 2423, and

    (2) The individual used a passport or passport card or otherwise crossed an international border in committing the underlying offense.

    (i) In appropriate circumstances, where an individual's passport application is denied or passport revoked consistent with this part, the Department may issue a limited validity passport good only for direct return to the United States.

    8. Section 51.62 is revised to read as follows:
    § 51.62 Revocation or limitation of passports and cancellation of Consular Reports of Birth Abroad.

    (a) The Department may revoke or limit a passport when:

    (1) The bearer of the passport may be denied a passport under 22 CFR 51.60 or 51.61 or any other applicable provision contained in this part;

    (2) The passport was illegally, fraudulently or erroneously obtained from the Department; or was created through illegality or fraud practiced upon the Department; or

    (3) The passport has been fraudulently altered or misused.

    (b) The Department may revoke a passport when the Department has determined that the bearer of the passport is not a U.S. national, or the Department is on notice that the bearer's certificate of citizenship or certificate of naturalization has been cancelled.

    (c) The Department may cancel a Consular Report of Birth Abroad when:

    (1) The Consular Report of Birth Abroad was illegally, fraudulently or erroneously obtained from the Department, or was created through illegality or fraud practiced upon the Department;

    (2) The Consular Report of Birth Abroad has been fraudulently altered or misused; or

    (3) The Department has determined that the bearer of the Consular Report of Birth Abroad is not a U.S. national, or the Department is on notice that the bearer's certificate of citizenship has been cancelled.

    (d) The Department shall revoke a U.S. passport in any case in which the Department is notified by the Attorney General, that during the covered period as defined by 22 U.S.C. 212a:

    (1) The applicant was convicted of a violation of 18 U.S.C. 2423, and

    (2) The individual used a passport or otherwise crossed an international border in committing the underlying offense.

    (3) Notwithstanding paragraph (d)(1) and (d)(2), the Department may issue a limited validity passport for direct return to the United States.

    9. Revise § 51.65 as follows:
    § 51.65 Notification of denial, revocation or cancellation of passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad.

    (a) The Department will send notice in writing to any person whose application for issuance of a passport or Consular Report of Birth Abroad has been denied, whose passport has been revoked, or whose Consular Report of Birth Abroad has been cancelled. The notification will set forth the specific reasons for the denial, revocation or cancellation and, if applicable, the procedures for review available under 22 CFR 51.70 through 51.74.

    (b) An application for a passport or Consular Report of Birth Abroad will be denied if an applicant fails to meet his or her burden of proof under the applicable regulations or otherwise does not provide documentation sufficient to establish entitlement to a passport or a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or does not provide additional information as requested by the Department within the time provided in the notification by the Department that additional information is required. Thereafter, if an applicant wishes the Department to adjudicate his or her claim of entitlement to a passport or Consular Report of Birth Abroad, he or she must submit a new application, supporting documents, and photograph, along with all applicable fees.

    (c) The Department may, in its sole discretion, administratively re-open a previously filed passport or Consular Report of Birth Abroad application in order to issue a passport or Consular Report of Birth Abroad.

    10. Revise § 51.66 to read as follows:
    § 51.66 Surrender of passport and/or Consular Report of Birth Abroad.

    The bearer of a passport that is revoked or of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad that is cancelled must surrender it to the Department or its authorized representative upon demand.

    11. Revise § 51.70 to read as follows:
    § 51.70 Request for hearing to review certain denials and revocations.

    (a) A person whose passport has been denied or revoked under 22 CFR 51.60(b)(1) through (10), 51.60(c), 51.60(d), 51.61(b), 51.62(a)(1), or 51.62(a)(2), or whose Consular Report of Birth Abroad is cancelled under § 51.62(c)(1) or 51.62(c)(2), may request a hearing to review the basis for the denial, revocation, or cancellation, provided that the Department receives such a request, in writing, from such person or his or her attorney within 60 days of his or her receipt of the notice of the denial, revocation, or cancellation. Failure to timely request a hearing means the denial, revocation, or cancellation is the Department's final action.

    (b) The provisions of §§ 51.70 through 51.74 do not apply to any action of the Department denying, restricting, revoking, cancelling or invalidating a passport or Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or in any other way adversely affecting the ability of a person to receive or use a passport or Consular Report of Birth Abroad, for reasons not set forth in § 51.70(a), including, as applicable, those listed at:

    (1) Section 51.60(a) (instances where the Department may not issue a passport, except for direct return to the United States);

    (2) Section 51.60(f) (failure to provide a social security number, or purposefully providing an incorrect number);

    (3) Section 51.60(g) (denial of passports to certain convicted sex offenders);

    (4) Section 51.61(a) (denial of passports to certain convicted drug traffickers);

    (5) Section 51.62(b) (revocation of passports for non-U.S. nationals or where a certificate of citizenship or naturalization has been cancelled);

    (6) Section 51.62(c)(3) (cancellation of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad upon the Department's determination that the bearer is not a U.S. national or where a certificate of citizenship has been cancelled);

    (7) Section 51.62(d) (revocation of passports issued to certain convicted sex offenders);

    (8) Section 51.64 (specially validated passports);

    (9) Any other provision not listed at § 51.70(a).

    (c) If a timely request for a hearing is made by a person seeking a hearing in accordance with these regulations, the Department will make reasonable efforts to hold the hearing within 90 days of the date the Department receives the request.

    (d) Within a reasonable period of time prior to the hearing, the Department will give the person requesting the hearing written notice of the date, time and place of the hearing and copies of the evidence relied on in denying, revoking, or cancelling the passport or Consular Report of Birth Abroad.

    (e) The person requesting the hearing may obtain one continuance, not to exceed an additional 90 days, upon written request. The request for a continuance must be received by the Department as soon as practicable and in no case less than five business days prior to the scheduled hearing date. Any further continuances are within the sole discretion of the Department.

    12. Revise § 51.71 to read as follows:
    § 51.71 The hearing.

    (a) The Department will name a hearing officer, who will generally be a Department employee from the Bureau of Consular Affairs. The hearing officer will make only preliminary findings of fact and submit recommendations based on the record of the hearing, as defined in 22 CFR 51.72, to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services, or his or her designee, in the Bureau of Consular Affairs.

    (b) The hearing shall take place in Washington, DC or, if the person requesting the hearing is overseas, at the appropriate U.S. diplomatic or consular post. The person requesting the hearing must appear in person or with or through his or her attorney. Failure to appear at the scheduled hearing will constitute an abandonment of the request for a hearing, and the Department's revocation, cancellation or denial will be considered the Department's final action.

    (c) Any attorney appearing at a hearing must be admitted to practice in any state of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any territory or possession of the United States, or be admitted to practice before the courts of the country in which the hearing is to be held.

    (d) There is no right to subpoena witnesses or to conduct discovery. However, the person requesting the hearing may testify in person, offer evidence in his or her own behalf, present witnesses, and make arguments at the hearing. The person requesting the hearing is responsible for all costs associated with the presentation of his or her case, including the cost of interpreters, who must be certified in accordance with standards established for federal courts under 18 U.S.C. 1827. The Department may present witnesses, offer evidence, and make arguments in its behalf. The Department is responsible for all costs associated with the presentation of its case.

    (e) The hearing is informal and permissive. As such, the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 554 et seq. do not apply to the hearing. Formal rules of evidence also do not apply; however, the hearing officer may impose reasonable restrictions on relevancy, materiality, and competency of evidence presented. Testimony will be under oath or by affirmation under penalty of perjury. The hearing officer may not consider any information that is not also made available to the person requesting the hearing, the Department, and made a part of the record of the proceeding.

    (f) If any witness is unable to appear, the hearing officer may, in his or her discretion, accept an affidavit or sworn deposition testimony of the witness, the cost for which will be the responsibility of the requesting party, subject to such limits as the hearing officer deems appropriate.

    (g) The person requesting the hearing and the Department of State may submit written briefs or argument prior to the hearing, but it is not required. The hearing officer will specify the date and schedule for the parties to submit written briefs, should they choose to do so.

    (h) The purpose of the hearing is to provide the person requesting the hearing an opportunity to challenge the basis for the Department's decision to deny or revoke the passport, or cancel the Consular Report of Birth Abroad. The burden of production is on the Department, and the Department shall provide the evidence it relied upon in revoking or denying the passport, or cancelling the Consular Report of Birth Abroad, prior to the hearing. The burden of persuasion is on the person requesting the hearing, to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the Department improperly revoked the passport or denied the passport application, or cancelled the Consular Report of Birth Abroad, based on the facts and law in effect at the time such action was taken.

    13. Revise § 51.72 to read as follows:
    § 51.72 Transcript and record of the hearing.

    A qualified reporter, provided by the Department, will make a complete verbatim transcript of the hearing. The person requesting the hearing or his or her attorney may review and purchase a copy of the transcript directly from the reporter. The hearing transcript and all the information and documents received by the hearing officer, whether or not deemed relevant, will constitute the record of the hearing. The hearing officer's preliminary findings and recommendations are deliberative, and shall not be considered part of the record unless adopted by the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services, or his or her designee.

    14. Revise § 51.73 to read as follows:
    § 51.73 Privacy of hearing.

    Only the person requesting the hearing, his or her attorney, an interpreter, the hearing officer, the reporter transcribing the hearing, and employees of the Department concerned with the presentation of the case may be present at the hearing. Witnesses may be present only while actually giving testimony or as otherwise directed by the hearing officer.

    15. Revise § 51.74 to read as follows:
    § 51.74 Final decision.

    After reviewing the record of the hearing and the preliminary findings of fact and recommendations of the hearing officer, and considering legal and policy considerations he or she deems relevant, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services, or his or her designee, will decide whether to uphold the denial or revocation of the passport or cancellation of the Consular Report of Birth Abroad. The Department will promptly notify the person requesting the hearing of the decision in writing. If the decision is to uphold the denial, revocation, or cancellation, the notice will contain the reason(s) for the decision. The decision is final and is not subject to further administrative review.

    Carl C. Risch, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Department of State.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26751 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4710-13-P
    NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD 29 CFR Parts 101 and 102 RIN 3142-AA12 Representation-Case Procedures AGENCY:

    National Labor Relations Board.

    ACTION:

    Request for information.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Labor Relations Board (the Board) is seeking information from the public regarding its representation election regulations (the Election Regulations), with a specific focus on amendments to the Board's representation case procedures adopted by the Board's final rule published on December 15, 2014 (the Election Rule or Rule). As part of its ongoing efforts to more effectively administer the National Labor Relations Act (the Act or the NLRA) and to further the purposes of the Act, the Board has an interest in reviewing the Election Rule to evaluate whether the Rule should be: Retained without change, retained with modifications, or rescinded, possibly while making changes to the prior Election Regulations that were in place before the Rule's adoption. Regarding these questions, the Board believes it will be helpful to solicit and consider public responses to this request for information.

    DATES:

    Responses to this request for information must be received by the Board on or before February 12, 2018. No late responses will be accepted. Responses are limited to 25 pages.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit responses by the following methods: Internet—Electronic responses may be submitted by going to www.nlrb.gov and following the link to submit responses to this request for information. The Board encourages electronic filing. Delivery—If you do not have the ability to submit your response electronically, responses may be submitted by mail to: Roxanne Rothschild, Deputy Executive Secretary, National Labor Relations Board, 1015 Half Street SE, Washington, DC 20570. Because of security precautions, the Board experiences delays in U.S. mail delivery. You should take this into consideration when preparing to meet the deadline for submitting responses. It is not necessary to submit responses by mail if they have been filed electronically on www.nlrb.gov. If you submit responses by mail, the Board recommends that you confirm receipt of your delivered responses by checking www.nlrb.gov to confirm that your response is posted there (allowing time for receipt by mail). Only responses submitted as described above will be accepted; ex parte communications received by the Board will be made part of the record and will be treated as responses only insofar as appropriate.

    The Board requests that responses include full citations or internet links to any authority relied upon. All responses submitted to www.nlrb.gov will be posted on the Agency's public website as soon after receipt as practicable without making any changes to the responses, including changes to personal information provided. The Board cautions responders not to include in the body of their responses personal information such as Social Security numbers, personal addresses, personal telephone numbers, and personal email addresses, as such submitted information will become viewable by the public when the responses are posted online. It is the responders' responsibility to safeguard their information. The responders' email addresses will not be posted on the Agency website unless they choose to include that information as part of their responses.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Roxanne Rothschild, Deputy Executive Secretary, National Labor Relations Board, 1015 Half Street SE, Washington, DC 20570, (202) 273-2917 (this is not a toll-free number), 1-866-315-6572 (TTY/TDD).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    On December 15, 2014, the Board published the Election Rule, which amended the Board's prior Election Regulations. 79 FR 74308 (December 15, 2014). The Election Rule was adopted after public comment periods in which tens of thousands of public comments were received. The Rule was approved by a three-member Board majority, with two Board members expressing dissenting views. Thereafter, the Rule was submitted for review by Congress pursuant to the Congressional Review Act. In March 2015, majorities in both houses of Congress voted in favor of a joint resolution disapproving the Board's rule and declaring that it should have no force or effect. President Obama vetoed this resolution on March 31, 2015. The amendments adopted by the final rule became effective on April 14, 2015, and have been applicable to all representation cases filed on or after that date. Multiple parties initiated lawsuits challenging the facial validity of the Election Rule, and those challenges were rejected. See Associated Builders & Contractors of Texas, Inc. v. NLRB, 826 F.3d 215 (5th Cir. 2015), affg. No. 1-15-CV-026 RP, 2015 WL 3609116 (W.D. Tex. June 1, 2015); Chamber of Commerce of U.S. v. NLRB, 118 F. Supp. 3d 171 (D.D.C. 2015). These rulings did not preclude the possibility that the Election Rule might be invalid as applied in particular cases.

    II. Authority Regarding Board Review of the 2014 Election Rule Amendments

    Agencies have the authority to reconsider past decisions and rules and to retain, revise, replace, and rescind decisions and rules. See FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., 556 U.S. 502, 514-515 (2009); Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Ass'n of U.S., Inc. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., 463 U.S. 29, 42 (1983); National Ass'n of Home Builders v. EPA, 682 F.3d 1032, 1038-1039,1043 (DC Cir. 2012).

    The Election Rule has been in effect for more than 2 years. The current five-member Board includes only two members who participated in the 2014 rulemaking: Member Pearce, who joined the majority vote to adopt the final rule, and Chairman Miscimarra, who joined former Member Johnson in dissent. In addition to the proceedings described above, and other congressional hearings and proposed legislation, numerous cases litigated before the Board have presented significant issues concerning application of the Election Rule. See, e.g., UPS Ground Freight, Inc., 365 NLRB No. 113 (2017); European Imports, Inc., 365 NLRB No. 41 (2017); Yale University, 365 NLRB No. 40 (2017); Brunswick Bowling Products, LLC, 364 NLRB No. 96 (2016).

    III. Request for Information From the Public

    The Board invites information relating to the following questions:

    1. Should the 2014 Election Rule be retained without change?

    2. Should the 2014 Election Rule be retained with modifications? If so, what should be modified?

    3. Should the 2014 Election Rule be rescinded? If so, should the Board revert to the Election Regulations that were in effect prior to the 2014 Election Rule's adoption, or should the Board make changes to the prior Election Regulations? If the Board should make changes to the prior Election Regulations, what should be changed?

    IV. Response to the Dissents

    It is surprising that the Board lacks unanimity about merely posing three questions about the 2014 Election Rule, when none of the questions suggests a single change in the Board's representation-election procedures. Nonetheless, two dissenting colleagues object to the request for information regarding the Election Rule because, among other things, they believe that (i) the Election Rule has worked effectively (or even, in Member Pearce's estimation, essentially flawlessly), (ii) any request for information from the public about the Rule is premature, (iii) merely requesting information reveals a predetermination on our part to revise or rescind the Election Rule, and (iv) future changes will be based on “alternative facts” and “manufactur[ed]” rationales.

    It is the Board's duty to periodically conduct an objective and critical review of the effectiveness and appropriateness of our rules. In any event, our dissenting colleagues would answer the above Question 1 in the affirmative: They believe the Election Rule should be retained without change. That is their opinion. However, the Board is seeking the opinions of others: Unions, employers, associations, labor-law practitioners, academics, members of Congress, and anyone from the general public who wishes to provide information relating to the questions posed above. In addition, we welcome the views of the General Counsel and also the Regional Directors, whose experience working with the 2014 Election Rule makes them a valuable resource.

    One thing is clear: Issuing the above request for information is unlike the process followed by the Board majority that adopted the 2014 Election Rule. The rulemaking process that culminated in the 2014 Election Rule (like the process followed prior to issuance of the election rule adopted by Members Pearce and Becker in 2011) started with a lengthy proposed rule that outlined dozens of changes in the Board's election procedures, without any prior request for information from the public regarding the Board's election procedures. By contrast, the above request does not suggest even a single specific change in current representation-election procedures. Again, the Board merely poses three questions, two of which contemplate the possible retention of the 2014 Election Rule.1

    1 Member McFerran contends that the Board's open-ended request “depart[s] from the norms of rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act.” Her contention is misplaced. The Board is merely requesting information. We are not engaged in rulemaking.

    V. Dissenting Views of Member Mark Gaston Pearce and Member Lauren McFerran

    Member Pearce, dissenting.

    I dissent from the Notice and Request for Information, which should more aptly be titled a “Notice and Quest for Alternative Facts.” It ignores the Final Rule's success in improving the Board's representation-case procedures and judicial rejection of dissenting Members Miscimarra and Johnson's legal pronouncements about the Final Rule.

    Some two and a half years ago, the National Labor Relations Board concluded lengthy rulemaking pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act to reexamine our representation-case procedures. We had proposed a number of targeted solutions to discrete problems identified with the Board's methods of processing petitions for elections with a goal of removing unnecessary barriers to the fair and expeditious resolution of representation cases. The rulemaking sought to simplify representation-case procedures, codify best practices, increase transparency and uniformity across regions, eliminate duplicative and unnecessary litigation, and modernize rules concerning documents and communication in light of changing technology. After a painstaking three and a half year process, involving the consideration of tens of thousands of comments generated over two separate comment periods totaling 141 days, and 4 days of hearings with live questioning by the Board Members, we issued a final rule that became effective on April 14, 2015. Representation-Case Procedures, 79 FR 74308 (Dec. 15, 2014).

    The Final Rule was careful and comprehensive—spanning over 100 pages of the Federal Register's triple-column format in explaining the 25 changes ultimately made to the Board's rules and regulations. For each change, the Final Rule identified the problem to be ameliorated, catalogued every type of substantive response from the public, and set forth the Board's analysis as to why the proposed amendment was either being adopted, discarded or modified.1

    1 See Associated Builders and Contractors of Texas, Inc. v. NLRB, 826 F.3d 215, 229 (5th Cir. 2016) (noting that the Board “conducted an exhaustive and lengthy review of the issues, evidence, and testimony, responded to contrary arguments, and offered factual and legal support for its final conclusions”); Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America v. NLRB, 118 F.Supp.3d 171, 220 (D.D.C. 2015) (“[T]he Board engaged in a comprehensive analysis of a multitude of issues relating to the need for and the propriety of the Final Rule, and it directly addressed the commenters' many concerns[.]”).

    Complying with the rulemaking process, and dealing with the deluge of public comments generated, was not an easy task for our Agency. Thousands of staff hours were expended; research and training was required into statutes and procedures with which we were unfamiliar; expensive licensing was purchased for software to sort, and websites to house, the tens of thousands of comments received; and contributions were made from all corners of the Agency. Through this extensive process, the fundamental questions were asked and answered. The amended procedures have now been in place for some two and a half years, and my colleagues show no serious justification for calling them into question.

    Indeed, it is with some irony that I am reminded of the sentiment expressed in dissent to the Final Rule in 2014 that “the countless number of hours spent by Board personnel in rulemaking” would be better spent expeditiously processing cases. 79 FR at 74457. Yet, in the past 9 months, the Board's case output has fallen precipitously,2 and we face the specter of budget cuts that could further hamper our ability to perform our statutory mission. Now, the majority will burden the Agency with the exercise of continued rulemaking in an area that has already been thoroughly addressed.

    2 Comparing the period February 1 through October 2017, to the equivalent nine-month period from 2016, the Board's output of contested unfair labor practice decisions and published representation case decisions has been reduced by approximately 45 percent (i.e., a drop in excess of 100 cases). Searches in the Board's NxGen case processing software show that from February 1, 2017, to October 31, 2017, the Board issued 136 decisions in contested unfair labor practice cases and published representation cases, while from February 1, 2016, to October 31, 2016, the Board issued 247 such decisions.

    As a consequence, our attention will be diverted from case processing to explore the rollback of a Final Rule that has provided a bounty of beneficial changes, and which applies equally to initial organizing campaigns and efforts to decertify incumbent unions. A non-exhaustive list includes:

    • Parties may now use modern technology to electronically file and serve petitions and other documents, thereby saving time and money, and affording non-filing parties the earliest possible notice.

    • Petitions and election objections must be supported, and must be served on other parties.

    • Board procedures are more transparent, and more meaningful information is more widely available at earlier stages of our proceedings.

    • Issues in dispute are clarified, and parties are enabled to make more informed judgments about whether to enter into election agreements.

    • Across regions, employees' Section 7 rights are afforded more equal treatment, the timing of hearings is more predictable, and litigation is more efficient and uniform.

    • Parties are more often spared the expense of litigating, and the Board is more often spared the burden of deciding, issues that are not necessary to determine whether a question of representation exists, and which may be mooted by election results.

    • The Board enjoys the benefit of a regional director decision in all representation cases.

    • Board practice more closely adheres to the statutory directive that requests for review not stay any action of the regional director unless specifically ordered by the Board.

    • Nonemployer parties are able to communicate about election issues with voters using modern means of communication such as email, texts and cell phones, and are less likely to challenge voters out of ignorance.

    • Notices of Election are more informative, and more often electronically disseminated.

    • Employees voting subject to challenge are more easily identified, and the chances are lessened of their ballots being comingled.

    And all of this has been accomplished while processing representation cases more expeditiously from petition, to election, to closure.

    So why would the majority suggest rescinding all of these benefits to the Agency, employees, employers, and unions? In evaluating that question, it is worthwhile to remind ourselves of a basic tenet of administrative law: while an agency rule, once adopted, is not frozen in place, the agency must offer valid reasons for changing it and must fairly account for the benefits lost as a result of the change. Citizens Awareness Network, Inc. v. U.S., 391 F.3d 338, 351-352 (1st Cir. 2004).

    None of the reasons offered by today's majority constitutes a persuasive justification for requesting information from the public, let alone for rescinding or modifying the Final Rule. The majority notes that the Final Rule has been in effect for more than two years. But the fact that two years have transpired since the Final Rule was adopted hardly constitutes a reason for rescinding or modifying it. The Board has a wealth of casehandling information that can be obtained through an analysis of our own records. And because the Board has access to all regional director pre- and post-election decisions, and because parties may request Board review of any action taken by the regional directors, the Board already is aware of the nature of any complaints about how the Final Rule has worked in particular cases. As for reverting to the prior representation rules, the public already had the opportunity to comment on whether they should be maintained or modified.

    The majority next points to a change in Board member composition, but by itself, that is not a sufficient reason for rescinding, modifying, or requesting information from the public concerning the Final Rule. The majority also cites a grand total of four cases (out of the many cases) applying the Final Rule, but none provides any reason to invite public comment on the Final Rule, much less for the Board to reconsider it. While the majority also cites congressional efforts to overturn the Final Rule, they did not succeed, and cannot be used to demonstrate that the Final Rule contravenes our governing statute. As the courts have recognized, “It is well-established that `the view of a later Congress cannot control the interpretation of an earlier enacted statute.' ” Huffman v. OPM, 263 F.3d 1341, 1354 (Fed. Cir. 2001) (quoting O'Gilvie v. United States, 519 U.S. 79, 90 (1996)). Finally, as the majority is forced to concede, every legal challenge to the Final Rule has been struck down by the courts.

    In evaluating the appropriateness of the Notice and Request for Information, it is also worth journeying back in time to consider the pronouncements and dire predictions voiced by then-Members Miscimarra and Johnson about the Final Rule when it issued. In considering these matters, the reader need not take my word, for the dissent appears in the Federal Register.

    Suffice it to say that the Final Rule's dissenters were so wrong about so much. They did not simply disagree with the Board's judgments, but instead claimed that the Final Rule violated the NLRA, the APA, and the U.S. Constitution.

    The Final Rule dissent pronounced that the Rule's amendments contradicted our statute and were otherwise impermissibly arbitrary. 79 FR at 74431. It was wrong on both counts. See Associated Builders and Contractors of Texas, Inc. v. NLRB, 826 F.3d 215, 218 (5th Cir. 2016) (The “rule, on its face, does not violate the National Labor Relations Act or the Administrative Procedure Act[.]”); Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America v. NLRB, 118 F. Supp. 3d 171, 220 (D.D.C. 2015) (rejecting claims that the Final Rule contravenes either the NLRA or the Constitution or is arbitrary and capricious or an abuse of the Board's discretion).

    The Final Rule dissent pronounced that the Rule's primary purpose and effect was to shorten the time from the filing of petition to the conduct of the election, and that this violated the NLRA and was otherwise arbitrary or capricious. 79 FR at 74430, 74433-74435. It was wrong on all three counts. See ABC of Texas, 826 F.3d at 227-228 (noting that the Board properly considered delay in scheduling elections and that the Board also reasoned that the final rule was necessary to further “a variety of additional permissible goals and interests”); Chamber of Commerce, 118 F.Supp.3d at 218-219 (rejecting claim that the Rule promotes speed in holding elections at the expense of all other statutory goals and requirements, and noting that many of the Rule's provisions do not relate to the length of the election cycle).

    The Final Rule dissent pronounced that the Rule's granting regional directors discretion to defer litigation of individual eligibility issues at the pre-election hearing was contrary to the statute and was arbitrary and capricious in violation of the APA. 79 FR at 74430, 74436-74438, 74444-74446. The courts rejected those arguments. See Chamber of Commerce, 118 F. Supp. 3d at 181, 195-203 (“Granting regional directors the discretion to decline to hear evidence on individual voter eligibility and inclusion issues does not violate the NLRA [and] is not arbitrary and capricious.”); ABC of Texas, 826 F.3d at 220-223. See also Associated Builders and Contractors of Texas, Inc. v. NLRB, 2015 WL 3609116 * 2, *7 (W.D. Tex. 2015).

    The Final Rule dissent pronounced that the Rule violated the Act and the Constitution by infringing on protected speech and by providing an insufficient time period for employees to understand the issues before having to vote, thereby compelling them to vote now, understand later. (79 FR at 74430-74431, 74436, 74438). But these claims were also rejected by the courts. See Chamber of Commerce, 118 F. Supp. 3d at 181-182, 189, 206-208, 220 (“The elimination of the presumptive pre-election waiting period does not violate the NLRA or the First Amendment” and “[p]laintiffs have failed to show that the Final Rule inhibits . . . debate in any meaningful way.”); ABC of Texas, 826 F.3d at 220, 226-227 (rejecting claim that “the cumulative effect of the rule change improperly shortens the overall pre-election period in violation of the `free speech' provision of the Act” or inhibits meaningful debate).

    The Final Rule dissent pronounced that the Rule ran afoul of the APA because the Board failed to demonstrate a need for the amendments. 79 FR 74431, 74434. Here again, the courts rejected that contention. See, e.g., Chamber of Commerce, 118 F. Supp. 3d at 219-220 (“the Board has offered grounds to show that the issues targeted by the Final Rule were sufficiently tangible to warrant action”); ABC of Texas, 826 F.3d at 227-229.

    The Final Rule dissent pronounced that the Rule's accelerated deadlines and hearing provisions violated employers' due process rights and the NLRA's appropriate hearing requirement. 79 FR at 74431-74442, 74451. Wrong. See Chamber of Commerce, 118 F.Supp.3d at 177, 205-206 (due process challenge does “not withstand close inspection” because, among other reasons, it is “predicated on mischaracterizations of what the Final Rule actually provides”); Associated Builders and Contractors of Texas, Inc. v. NLRB, 2015 WL 3609116 *2, *5-*7, affd, 826 F.3d at 220, 222-223 (“the rule changes to the pre-election hearing did not exceed the boundaries of the Board's statutory authority”).

    The Final Rule dissent pronounced that the Rule's provision making Board review of regional director post-election determinations discretionary contravened the Board's duty to oversee the election process and was arbitrary and capricious. 79 FR at 74431, 74449-74451. Wrong again. See Chamber of Commerce, 118 F. Supp. 3d at 215-218 (rejecting claims that “the Final Rule's `elimination of mandatory Board review of post-election disputes . . . contravenes the Board's `statutory obligation to oversee the election process'” and is arbitrary and capricious).

    The Final Rule dissent pronounced that the Rule's voter list provisions were not rationally justified or consistent with the Act, did not adequately address privacy concerns, and imposed unreasonable compliance burdens on employers. 79 FR at 74452, 74455. Wrong on all counts. See Chamber of Commerce, 118 F. Supp. 3d at 209-215 (“The Employee Information Disclosure Requirement [in the Rule's voter list provisions] does not violate the NLRA,” and “is not arbitrary and capricious;” the Board did not act arbitrarily in concluding that “the [r]equirement ensures fair and free employee choice” and “facilitates the public interest;” and “the Board engaged in a lengthy and thorough analysis of the privacy risks and other concerns raised by the commenters before reaching its conclusion that the Employee Information Disclosure Requirement was warranted.”); ABC of Texas, 826 F.3d at 223-226 (rejecting claims that the voter list provisions violate the NLRA and conflict with federal laws that protect employee privacy; that the provisions “are arbitrary and capricious under the APA because the rule disregards employees' privacy concerns,” and “place an undue, substantial burden on employers”); see also Associated Builders and Contractors of Texas, Inc. v. NLRB, 2015 WL 3609116 *2, *8-*11.

    Apart from their wrong-headed views concerning the legal merits of the Rule, the Final Rule dissenters made a number of erroneous predictions regarding how the Final Rule would work in practice. But as far-fetched as I found these speculations in 2014, one can now see that these predictions are refuted by the Board's actual experience administering the Final Rule. A quick review of several published agency statistics shows some of their most notable speculations of dysfunction to be completely unfounded.

    The Final Rule dissenters speculated that the changes made by the Rule would drive down the Board's historically high rate of elections conducted by agreement of the parties either because the Final Rule does not provide enough time to reach agreement, 79 FR 74442, or because parties can no longer stipulate to mandatory Board review of post-election disputes, 79 FR 74450. They argued, “[e]ven if the percentage of election agreements decreases by a few points, the resulting increase in pre- and post-election litigation will likely negate any reduction of purported delay due to the Final Rule's implementation.” 79 FR at 74450. But they were wrong. Following the Final Rule's implementation, the Board's election agreement rate has actually increased.3

    3 See Percentage of Elections Conducted Pursuant to Election Agreements in FY2017, www.nlrb.gov/news-outreach/graphs-data/petitions-and-elections (reporting a post-Final Rule election agreement rate of 91.7% in fiscal year (FY) 2017; past versions of this chart reported a post-Final Rule election agreement rate of 91.7% in FY 2016, and pre-Final Rule election agreement rates of 91.1% for both FY 2014 and FY 2013).

    Additionally, the Final Rule dissenters claimed that the Rule would do little to address those few representation cases that in their view involved too much delay, namely those cases that take more than 56 days to process from petition to election. 79 FR at 74456-57.4 But, in fact, the percentage of elections that were conducted more than 56 days from petition has decreased since the Final Rule was adopted.5 Moreover, for contested cases—the category which consistently failed to meet the 56-day target—the Final Rule has reduced the median time from petition to election by more than three weeks.6

    4 See also 79 FR at 74434 (The dissenters highlighted pre-Final Rule fiscal year 2013 as a period in which 94.3% of elections were conducted within 56 days of the petition as a means of concluding that “by the Board's own measures, less than 6% of elections were unduly `delayed.' ”). Of course, as explained in the Final Rule, the Board disagreed that only those cases taking more than 56 days were worthy of attention. 79 FR at 74317.

    5 See Performance Accountability Reports, FYs 2013-2017, www.nlrb.gov/reports-guidance/reports (reporting that, pre-Final Rule, the Agency processed 94.3% of its representation cases from petition to election in 56 days in FY 2013 and 95.7% in FY 2014, as compared to post-Final Rule rates of 99.1% in FY 2016 and 98.5% in FY 2017).

    6 See Median Days from Petition to Election, www.nlrb.gov/news-outreach/graphs-data/petitions-and-elections (reporting post-Final Rule median processing times for contested cases as 36 days in FY 2017 and 35 days in FY 2016, as compared to pre-Final Rule median processing times ranging from 59 to 67 days in FYs 2008 to 2014). See also Annual Review of Revised R-Case Rules, www.nlrb.gov/news-outreach/news-story/annual-review-revised-r-case-rules (reporting that in the first calendar year following the Final Rule's implementation, the median time to process contested cases from petition to election fell from 64 to 34 days).

    The Final Rule dissent further hypothesized that whatever time-savings might be achieved in processing cases from petition to election, there was a likelihood that “the overall time needed to resolve post-election issues will increase.” 79 FR at 74435. Here again, the dissent was wrong. The Agency's 100-day closure rate—which by definition takes into account a representation case's overall processing time—is better than ever. In FY 2017, the second fiscal year following the Final Rule's implementation, the Agency achieved a historic high of closing 89.9% of its representation cases within 100 days of a petition's filing. And in FY 2016, the first fiscal year following the Final Rule's implementation, the Agency's representation case closure rate of 87.6% outpaced all but one of the six years preceding the Final Rule.7

    7 See Performance Accountability Reports, fiscal years 2013-2017, www.nlrb.gov/reports-guidance/reports (indicating the following representation case 100-day closure rates: FY 2017-89.9%, FY 2016-87.6%, FY 2014-88.1%; FY 2013-87.4%; FY 2012-84.5%; FY 2011-84.7%; FY 2010-86.3%; FY 2009-84.4%).

    All of the foregoing raises the question: If the Final Rule dissent's claims of statutory infirmity have been roundly rejected by the courts, and the predictions that the Final Rule would cause procedural dysfunction have been undercut by agency experience, why is comment being solicited as to whether the Final Rule should be further amended or rescinded? The answer would appear to be all too clear. When the actual facts do not support the current majority's preferred outcome, the new Members join Chairman Miscimarra to look for “alternative facts” to justify rolling back the Agency's progress in the representation-case arena.

    It is indeed unfortunate that when historians examine how our Agency functioned during this tumultuous time, they will have no choice but to conclude that the Board abandoned its role as an independent agency and chose to cast aside reasoned deliberation in pursuit of an arbitrary exercise of power.

    Accordingly, I dissent.

    Member McFerran, dissenting.

    On April 14, 2015—after thousands of public comments submitted over two periods spanning 141 days, four days of public hearings, and over a hundred, dense Federal Register pages of analysis—a comprehensive update of NLRB election rules and procedures took effect. The Election Rule was designed to simplify and modernize the Board's representation process, to establish greater transparency and consistency in administration, and to better provide for the fair and expeditious resolution of representation cases. As stated in the Rule's Federal Register preamble:

    While retaining the essentials of existing representation case procedures, these amendments remove unnecessary barriers to the fair and expeditious resolution of representation cases. They simplify representation-case procedures, codify best practices, and make them more transparent and uniform across regions. Duplicative and unnecessary litigation is eliminated. Unnecessary delay is reduced. Procedures for Board review are simplified. Rules about documents and communications are modernized in light of changing technology.

    79 FR 74308 (Dec. 15, 2014).

    During the short, two-and-a-half years since the Rule's implementation, there has been nothing to suggest that the Rule is either failing to accomplish these objectives or that it is causing any of the harms predicted by its critics. As Member Pearce catalogs in his dissent, by every available metric the Rule appears to have met the Board's expectations, refuting predictions about the Rule's supposedly harmful consequences. The majority makes no effort to rebut Member Pearce's comprehensive analysis. The preliminary available data thus indicates that the rule is achieving its intended goals—without altering the “playing field” for unions or employers in the election process.1 The validity of the Rule, moreover, has been upheld in every court where it has been challenged.2 In short, the Rule appears to be a success so far.

    1 See NLRB, Annual Review of Revised R-Case Rules, available at https://www.nlrb.gov/news-outreach/news-story/annual-review-revised-r-case-rules (showing, in comparison between pre- and post-Rule representation cases, modest decrease in time elapsed from petition to election, no substantial change in party win-rates, and largely stable number of elections agreed to by stipulation); NLRB, Graphs and Data, Petitions and Elections, available at https://www.nlrb.gov/news-outreach/graphs-data/petitions-and-elections (showing similar outcomes, based on fiscal-year data on representation cases).

    2 See Assoc. Builders and Contractors v. NLRB, 826 F.3d 215 (5th Cir. 2016) (rejecting multiple facial challenges to Rule); Chamber of Commerce v. NLRB, 118 F. Supp. 3d 171 (D.D.C. 2015) (same).

    Nonetheless, today a new Board majority issues a Request for Information (RFI) seeking public opinion about whether to retain, repeal, or modify the Rule—and signaling its own desire to reopen the Rule. Of course, administrative agencies ought to evaluate the effectiveness of their actions, whether in the context of rulemaking or adjudication, and public input can serve an important role in conducting such evaluations.3 But the nature and timing of this RFI, along with its faulty justifications, suggests that the majority's interest lies not in acquiring objective data upon which to gauge the early effectiveness of the Rule, but instead in manufacturing a rationale for a subsequent rollback of the Rule in light of the change in the composition of the Board. Because it seems as if the RFI is a mere fig leaf to provide cover for an unjustified attack on a years-long, comprehensive effort to make the Board's election processes more efficient and effective, I cannot support it. I would remain open, however, to a genuine effort to gather useful information about the Rule's effectiveness to this point.

    3 I have no objection at all to seeking public participation in the Board's policymaking, as reflected in the Board's standard practice of inviting amicus briefs in major cases, including those where the Board is reconsidering precedent. Ironically, the new majority has now broken with that practice for no good reason in reversing recent precedent. See, e.g., UPMC, 365 NLRB No. 153 (2017) (Member McFerran, dissenting). I hope this unfortunate omission does not signal a permanent change to the Board's approach in seeking public input in major cases.

    I. The RFI is premature, poorly crafted, and unlikely to solicit meaningful feedback.

    Initially, it seems premature to seek public comment on the Rule a mere two-and-a-half years after the Rule's implementation.4 The Rule has been in place for less time at this point than the rulemaking process took from beginning to end.5 Moreover, as noted, so far the Rule appears to be achieving its stated ends without producing the dire consequences some purported to fear. In short, there does not appear to be any present basis or need for this RFI.

    4 I would be surprised if even the most ardent advocates of regulatory review would support such a short regulatory lookback period. Indeed, Section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, for example, contemplates that agencies may take up to 10 years—significantly longer than our 2-plus years' experience with the Rule—before they may adequately assess a rule's effectiveness. See 5 U.S.C. 610 (providing that agencies shall develop plan “for the review of such rules adopted after the effective date of this chapter within ten years of the publication of such rules as the final rule”).

    5 The Board's original notice of proposed rulemaking was published on June 22, 2011. The final rule upheld by the courts was published on December 15, 2014, with an effective date of April 14, 2015.

    Nevertheless, as stated, I am not opposed to genuine efforts to meaningfully evaluate the Rule's performance to date. But I believe that any useful request for information would have to seek comprehensive information on the precise effects of the specific changes made by the Rule.6 In my view, such detailed information is essential to facilitating meaningful analysis of the Rule's effectiveness, and to determining whether this or any future request for information is warranted. In fact, precisely because agencies benefit most from receiving specific rather than generalized feedback, an agency's typical request for information (unlike this RFI) follows the agency's assessment and identification of what particular information would be useful in evaluating a rule's effectiveness.7 Indeed, other agencies' requests for information have often posed specific questions reflecting their own considered analysis of what aspects of rulemaking might require further inquiry and are geared toward the acquisition of concrete facts from the public.8

    6 For example, to assess the success of some of the Rule's intended new efficiencies, it would be useful to have quantitative data on: Motions for extensions and motions to file a document out-of-time; missed deadlines; motions for stays of election or other extraordinary relief; eligibility issues deferred until after the election, and whether such issues were mooted by the election results. This type of data would be valuable not only to decision makers at the Agency, but also to the public in determining how to evaluate and comment on the effectiveness of the Rule.

    7 The majority states that it is the Board's duty to periodically review its rules. Without a doubt, the Board must monitor its rules to be sure that they are meeting their goals and to help the Board better effectuate the statute. But choosing to reopen the Election Rule now is highly dubious. The Board has many longstanding rules—addressing issues from industry jurisdiction to health care bargaining units—which have never been reviewed after promulgation. Yet the majority chooses the newly-minted Election Rule, among all others, for attention—with no explanation for its choice. Given the resources required of both the agency and interested parties when the Board revisits a rule, the Board's periodic review should reflect the exercise of reasoned judgment. In this case, the majority has failed to identify any reasonable basis for seeking public input on the Election Rule at this time. Nor has the majority made any effort to obtain or analyze easily available data that conceivably could support issuing an RFI.

    8 See, e.g., Dept. of the Treasury, Proprietary Trading and Certain Interests in and Relationships With Covered Funds (Volcker Rule); Request for Public Input, 82 FR 36692, Aug 7, 2017 (enumerating lengthy list of specific, data-oriented questions); Dept. of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Admin., Request for Information Regarding the Fiduciary Rule and Prohibited Transaction Exemptions, 82 FR 31278, July 6, 2017 (same).

    The majority's request is not framed to solicit detailed data, or even informed feedback. The broad questions it poses, absent any empirical context, amount to little more than an open-ended “raise-your-hand-if-you-don't-like-the-Rule” straw poll. That is hardly a sound approach to gathering meaningful feedback.

    The irony, of course, is that, if the majority were sincerely interested in beginning to assess the Rule's effectiveness, the best initial source of empirical, objective data lies within the Agency itself. The Board's regional offices process and oversee the litigation of every single election petition filed under the Rule. All the majority needs to do is ask the Board's General Counsel to prepare a comprehensive report highlighting all relevant factual elements of the processing of election petitions over the past 2-plus years.9 If the resulting data were to suggest that, after such a short time on the books, the Rule is in need of refinement, or that additional public input could enhance the Board's understanding of the Rule's functioning, the Board might then craft tailored questions designed to elicit meaningful, constructive feedback.

    9 The majority makes the odd suggestion that the RFI—a measure directed to the general public—is somehow also the most effective way to obtain information from the General Counsel. This is nonsensical. The General Counsel supervises the Board's representation proceedings under a delegation of authority from the Board, and the Board is obviously able to direct the General Counsel to provide whatever relevant information it requests, without issuing an RFI or initiating a rulemaking.

    In any event, although I was not a participant in the earlier rulemaking process, it is clear from the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that the Board based its proposals on a thorough, pre-rulemaking analysis of relevant data and agency experience that enabled it to seek public comment on specific, carefully-crafted policy proposals. In short, the Board did its homework before seeking public participation. The majority's current effort is utterly lacking the same foundation. The majority curiously seems to view this as an attribute, rather than a manifest departure from the norms of rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act.

    Unfortunately, in addition to framing a vague, unfounded inquiry that is unlikely to solicit useful information, the majority's request also establishes an unnecessarily rushed comment process that is likely to frustrate those interested parties who might actually hope to provide meaningful input. To the extent members of the public wish to provide informed feedback on the Rule, they will need information. In the absence of a comprehensive analysis from the General Counsel, outside parties are likely to seek relevant data on the Rule's functioning through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The public's acquisition and analysis of such data through the FOIA process will involve the assembly and submission of FOIA requests, which in turn may require the agency to survey and compile extensive data for each such request. Thereafter parties will have to take stock of any data acquired through FOIA before being in a position to give informed feedback on the Rule. This process could take far more than the 60 days provided for comment by the RFI. Indeed, during the 2014 rulemaking process leading up to the Election Rule, the Chamber of Commerce, well into the 60-day comment period, sought an extension to give it more time to both request and analyze FOIA data. While it was ultimately determined that the comment period should not be extended under the circumstances at the time, the Chamber's effort highlights the relevance of FOIA data and the time-intensiveness of parties' analysis of such data. My colleagues' failure to allot time to account for the parties' information-gathering process only confirms that the RFI is not designed to solicit and yield well-informed responses that might genuinely assist the Board's evaluation of the Rule.

    II. The RFI is a transparent effort to manufacture a justification for revising the Rule.

    As emphasized, I fully support the notion that the Board should take care to ensure that its rules and regulations are serving their intended purposes. I would welcome a genuine opportunity to receive and review meaningful information on the Rule's performance at an appropriate time. But this hurried effort to solicit a “show of hands” of public opinion without the benefit of meaningful data (or even thoughtfully framed points of inquiry) bears none of the hallmarks of a genuine effort at regulatory review.10 Gathering useful information is demonstrably not the purpose of this RFI. Instead, this RFI is a transparent effort to manufacture a justification for reopening the Rule. No legitimate justification exists.

    10 The majority suggests that my view that the rule has been a success thus far is just one “opinion,” and that they are merely soliciting a wider range of opinions from the public to better assess the Rule. But the fact that public opinion on the Rule may be divided—as it was during and after the rulemaking process—is not a reason for the Board to revisit the Rule. Canvassing public opinion might make sense if it were done in a manner that first gathered and considered evidence on the Rule's functioning, and framed any questions in a way that actually requested useful substantive feedback on the agency's own analysis.

    But the open-ended solicitation we have here, without the benefit of data or analysis, is not a productive way to enlist public opinion. As the dissenters to the Election Rule observed, including Chairman Miscimarra, the rulemaking was of “immense scope and highly technical nature,” and it generated “an unprecedented number of comments, espousing widely divergent views.” 79 FR 74430, 74459. It is accurate to say that the Rule is both comprehensive and technical, and that the public holds polarized views thereon. Yet now the majority broadly seeks public opinion on the fate of the Rule without offering any data or analysis of its own to provide a foundation for the public's assessment. Ultimately, they provide no persuasive explanation of how soliciting public input in the absence of any agency analysis or proposals—input that, as noted, is tantamount to a “thumbs up or thumbs down” movie review—will provide a foundation for an effective rulemaking process.

    The Supreme Court has made clear that, when an agency is considering modifying or rescinding a valid existing rule, it must treat the governing rule as the status quo and must provide “good reasons” to justify a departure from it. See Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television, 556 U.S. 502, 515 (2009). Obviously, determining whether there are “good reasons” for departing from an existing policy requires an agency to have a reasonable understanding of the policy and how it is functioning. Only with such an understanding can the agency recognize whether there is a good basis for taking a new approach and explain why. Id. at 515-516. Indeed, even when an agency is only beginning to explore possible revisions to an existing rule, the principles of reasoned decision-making demand a deliberative approach, informed by the agency's own experience administering the existing rule.11

    11 See, e.g., Dept. of Labor, Wage and Hour Div., Request for Information on the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, 71 FR 69504, 69505-06, Dec. 1, 2006 (“[T]he subject matter areas [of this RFI] are derived from comments at . . . stakeholder meetings and also from (1) rulings of the Supreme Court of the United States and other federal courts over the past twelve years; (2) the Department's experience in administering the law; and (3) public input presented in numerous Congressional hearings and public comments filed with the Office of Management and Budget . . . in connection with three annual reports to Congress regarding the Costs and Benefits of Federal regulations in 2001, 2002, 2004. . . . During this process, the Department has heard a variety of concerns expressed about the FMLA.”); cf. Dept. of Labor, Wage and Hour Div., Request for Information; Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees, 82 FR 34616, July 26, 2017 (rule enjoined by court, and Department faced with legal questions concerning its analysis and justification for aspects of rule).

    If this RFI asked the public specific, well-crafted questions geared toward a neutral assessment of the Rule's functioning—and was based on a foundation of internal evidence or experience suggesting there was a problem with the Rule's implementation thus far—there would be far less basis to doubt the majority's reasons for revisiting it.12 Indeed, the majority's reticence to focus this inquiry on the agency's own data—the most straightforward source of information about how the Rule is working—is puzzling. The majority's failure to take this basic step suggests that they would rather not let objective facts get in the way of an effort to find some basis to justify reopening the Rule. Hence the majority instead poses the vague questions in this RFI, which belie any “good reasons” for revisiting the Rule.

    12 Indeed, if it were properly founded in objective data indicating significant problems with the rule in its implementation, I might well join such an effort to assess the effectiveness of the Rule, as I subscribe to the view that timely, informed public input can be vital to making good public policy. In contrast, my colleagues in the majority seem to take the view that soliciting the views of the public is good only when it furthers their predetermined purposes. In a recent Board decision where public input would have had a far greater likelihood of aiding the Board's decision-making process, they nonetheless dismissed the possibility that such input might be useful in order to more hastily issue a decision reversing Board precedent. See UPMC, 365 NLRB No. 153 (2017). In that case, the public's own experiential data and legal and policy arguments would have had immediate relevance; yet the Board took the drastic step of reversing precedent without the benefit of such. It seems clear that they seek public input here, however heedlessly, so that they can point to negative public feedback about the rule as an (inadequate) procedural precursor to justify reopening the rulemaking process under the APA; whereas in UPMC the adjudicative reversal of precedent did not require the same procedural formality, and thus they took a more expedient route to accomplish their goal in that case.

    Further, in the preamble to this RFI the majority has failed to identify, much less establish, any “good reasons” to revisit or to consider reopening the Rule at this time. The majority summarily cites congressional votes, hearings, and proposed (but never-passed) legislation as reasons to issue this RFI. Although such congressional actions might raise concern over a rule's actual effectiveness in other circumstances, here—where criticism was leveled in the absence of any meaningful experience under the Rule—they seem to signify little more than partisan opposition to the Rule.13 Reasoned decision-making is not a matter of partisanship.

    13 Similarly, the unfounded criticism of the Rule as it was adopted, both among its legal challengers and the Board members who dissented from the Rule, is not a sound basis for this RFI. As the United States District Court for the District of Columbia made clear in rejecting a challenge to the Rule: “[The Rule's challengers'] dramatic pronouncements are predicated on mischaracterizations of what the Final Rule actually provides and the disregard of provisions that contradict plaintiffs' narrative. And the claims that the regulation contravenes the NLRA are largely based upon statutory language or legislative history that has been excerpted or paraphrased in a misleading fashion. Ultimately, the statutory and constitutional challenges do not withstand close inspection.” Chamber of Commerce v. NLRB, supra, 118 F. Supp. 3d at 177. That court further pointed out that rhetoric like “quickie election,” employed by the Rule's challengers and borrowed from the Board members who dissented from the Rule, were part of a vague, conclusory, and argumentative set of attacks. Id. at 189.

    The majority also asserts that “numerous” cases litigated before the Board have raised “significant” issues concerning its application. Of course, many issues concerning the proper interpretation and application of the Rule can and should be resolved in adjudication, where they arise. In fact, the four recent cases the majority cites involved case-specific applications of the Rule that offer little if any insight into how well the Rule is working overall.14 More broadly, as stated, all legal challenges to the Rule have been soundly rejected by the courts.

    14 If any conclusion can be gleaned from these four cases, it is that they were processed in just the manner contemplated by the Rule: Fostering efficiency while preserving the fairness of the proceedings. For example, in UPS Ground Freight, 365 NLRB No. 113 (2017), the employer complained about the conduct and timing of a pre-election hearing, but it did not establish any prejudice to its ability to fully make its arguments. In other words, the procedures under the Rule were prompt and resulted in no unfairness. In Yale University, 365 NLRB No. 40 (2017), and European Imports, 365 NLRB No. 41 (2017), the Board refused to stay an election, but allowed parties to preserve their pre-election claims—thus leaving the substantive legal claims intact, while making the process more efficient by deferring resolution until after the election, at which time the election results may have mooted those claims. In Brunswick Bowling, 364 NLRB No. 96 (2016), the Board emphasized the importance of position statements, which were intended under the Rule to narrow the issues for pre-election hearings, but also noted that a party's failure to file one did not affect a regional director's independent statutory duties with respect to representation petitions.

    In any event, a better measure of the Rule's early effectiveness, which I advocate for below, would be a thorough internal Agency review of all the cases processed under the Rule, including those that have not come before the Board.

    Last, although not mentioned by the majority, no one has petitioned the Board to revisit the Rule or for new rulemaking on the Board's election processes. Perhaps the absence of such a petition is attributable to all of the circumstances described above. Perhaps it is explained by the common-sense notion that the Agency's and the public's limited experience with the Rule would make such a petition glaringly premature. See 5 U.S.C. 553(e).15

    15 Indeed, another argument to defer any examination of the Rule's effectiveness until a later date is that a longer timeframe would yield a larger body of cases that presumably would provide more representative and meaningful insights into its performance.

    The only remaining asserted justification for considering revisiting the Rule at this early stage is the majority's express reliance on the change in the composition of the Board.16 This certainly is not a “good reason” for revisiting a past administrative action, particularly in the context of rulemaking. See generally Motor Vehicles Manufacturers v. State Farm, 463 U.S. 29 (1983). Yet, I fear this is the origin of the RFI, and regrettably so. The Board has long and consistently rejected motions to reconsider its decisions based on a change in the composition of the Board. See, e.g., Brown & Root Power & Mfg., 2014 WL 4302554 (Aug. 29, 2014); Visiting Nurse Health System, Inc., 338 NLRB 1074 (2003); Wagner Iron Works, 108 NLRB 1236 (1954). We should continue to exercise such restraint with respect to the Rule, unless and until a day comes when we discover or are presented with a legitimate basis for taking action. Today, however, is manifestly not that day.

    16 I reject the majority's implied suggestion that my joining the Board since the Rule was enacted somehow supports today's effort to revisit the Rule. I begin with the proposition that the Rule, promulgated under notice-and-comment and upheld by the courts, is governing law—whether or not particular Board members disagreed with its adoption or would have disagreed, had they been on the Board at the time. As explained, I would support revisiting the Rule only if there were some reasoned basis to do so.

    As a result, it should come as no surprise to the majority if a court called upon to review any changes ultimately made to the Rule looks back skeptically at the origins of the rulemaking effort. The RFI is easily viewed as simply a scrim through which the majority is attempting to project a distorted view of the Rule's current functioning and thereby justify a partisan effort to roll it back. Cf. United Steelworkers v. Pendergrass, 819 F.2d 1263, 1268 (3d Cir. 1987) (“Some of the questions [in an ANPRM] could hardly have been posed with the serious intention of obtaining meaningful information, since the answers are self-evident.”). Such opportunism is wholly inconsistent with the principles of reasoned Agency decision-making. It is equally inconsistent with our shared commitment to administer the Act in a manner designed to fairly and faithfully serve Congressional policy and to protect the legitimate interests of the employees, unions, and employers covered by the Act. Whatever one thinks of the Rule, the Agency, its staff, and the public deserve better.

    VI. Conclusion

    The Board invites interested parties to submit responses during the public response period and welcomes pertinent information regarding the above questions.

    Roxanne Rothschild, Deputy Executive Secretary, National Labor Relations Board.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26904 Filed 12-12-17; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R04-OAR-2017-0500; FRL-9971-71-Region 4] Air Plan Approval; Florida; Stationary Sources Emissions Monitoring; Reopening of Comment Period AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; reopening of public comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reopening the comment period for a proposed rulemaking notice published in the Federal Register on October 13, 2017, which accompanied a direct final rulemaking published on the same date. The direct final rulemaking has been withdrawn due to the receipt of an adverse comment. In the October 13, 2017, proposed rulemaking, EPA proposed to approve a portion of a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision submitted by the State of Florida, through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) on February 1, 2017, for the purpose of revising Florida's requirements and procedures for emissions monitoring at stationary sources. Additionally, the October 13, 2017, document included a proposed correction to remove a Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.) rule that was previously approved for removal from the SIP in a separate action but was never removed. It was brought to EPA's attention that the February 1, 2017, state submittals and related materials were not accessible to the public through the electronic docket. The materials are now accessible in the electronic docket. EPA is reopening the comment period for an additional 30 days.

    DATES:

    The comment period for the proposed rule published October 13, 2017 (82 FR 47662), reopened. Comments must be received on or before January 16, 2018. In a future final action based on the proposed rule, EPA will address all public comments received, including the adverse comment received on the direct final rule.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2017-0500 at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. 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, 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:

    Andres Febres, Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. Mr. Febres can be reached via telephone at (404) 562-8966 or via electronic mail at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    EPA published a proposed rulemaking on October 13, 2017 (82 FR 47662), which accompanied a direct final rulemaking published on the same date (82 FR 47636). The proposed revision includes amendments to three F.A.C. rule sections, as well as the removal of one F.A.C. rule section from the Florida SIP, in order to eliminate redundant language and make updates to the requirements for emissions monitoring at stationary sources. Additionally, the October 13, 2017, proposed rulemaking included a correction to remove an additional F.A.C. rule that was previously approved for removal from the SIP in a separate action but was never removed. It was brought to EPA's attention that the February 1, 2017, state submittals and related materials were not accessible to the public through the electronic docket. The materials are now accessible in the electronic docket. EPA is reopening the comment period for an additional 30 days.

    Dated: November 21, 2017. Onis “Trey” Glenn, III, Regional Administrator, Region 4.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26898 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    82 239 Thursday, December 14, 2017 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food and Nutrition Service Food Crediting in Child Nutrition Programs: Request for Information AGENCY:

    Food and Nutrition Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Request for information.

    SUMMARY:

    The National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, and Summer Food Service Program (Child Nutrition Programs), which are administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), play a critical role in ensuring that America's children have access to the nutritious food they need to learn and succeed in the classroom, afterschool, and during the summer. It is FNS' responsibility to establish and support the meal patterns and nutrition standards (collectively referred to as meal patterns) in the Child Nutrition Programs that advance the goals of providing nutritious and satisfying meals to a broad population of children. At the same time, FNS works to simplify the menu planning process for Program operators to promote the efficient use of Program funds and provide a wide variety of food choices to menu planners and children.

    In order to claim Federal reimbursement, Child Nutrition Program operators must serve meals and snacks that meet the minimum meal pattern requirements of the respective Program. Crediting is the process designed by FNS to specify how individual food items contribute to the Child Nutrition Programs' meal patterns. Several factors impact how food products can credit toward reimbursable meals, such as volume, weight, and overall nutrient profile.

    The purpose of this Request for Information is to help FNS gather feedback from a wide variety of stakeholders on how FNS' crediting system can best address today's evolving food and nutrition environment, as well as to offer first-rate customer service to those operating and benefitting from the Child Nutrition Programs. FNS welcomes comments from all interested stakeholders. While FNS is interested in your general comments about the crediting process, FNS also invites comments on the crediting of several specific food products. FNS is especially interested in understanding both the possible benefits and any negative impacts associated with potential changes to how certain foods may or may not credit.

    DATES:

    To be assured of consideration, written information must be submitted or postmarked on or before February 12, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    The Food and Nutrition Service, USDA, invites the submission of the requested information through one of the following methods:

    Preferred method: Submit information through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submissions.

    Mail: Submissions should be addressed to Angela Kline, Director, Policy and Program Development, Child Nutrition Programs, Food and Nutrition Service, P.O. Box 66740, Saint Louis, MO 63166-6740.

    All information properly and timely submitted, using one of the two methods described above, in response to this Request for Information will be included in the record and will be made available to the public on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov. Please be advised that the substance of the information provided and the identity of the individuals or entities submitting it will be subject to public disclosure.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Tina Namian, Branch Chief, Policy and Program Development, Child Nutrition Programs, Food and Nutrition Service at (703) 305-2590.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background Child Nutrition Programs' Nutrition Standards

    One of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service's (FNS) highest priorities is to ensure that participants in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) (collectively referred to as the Child Nutrition Programs) receive wholesome, nutritious, and tasty meals. The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (NSLA) and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (CNA) authorize FNS to establish meal patterns and nutrition standards (collectively referred to as meal patterns) for the Child Nutrition Programs. The NSLA requires FNS to develop meal patterns that are consistent with the recommendations of the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Dietary Guidelines) and current nutrition research.

    The Child Nutrition Programs' meal patterns establish the foods and minimum serving sizes that must be served for a meal or snack to be reimbursable. The meal patterns are currently based on food groups (components), not individual nutrients. A reimbursable meal or snack includes a certain amount (or combination) of vegetables, fruits, fluid milk, grains, and meats or meat alternates (e.g., protein foods, such as chicken, and dairy foods, such as yogurt). Each Child Nutrition Program has individualized meal patterns for the various age and grade groups that participate in the Program. The meal patterns were created to enable children to be self-sufficient by providing the adequate and consistent levels of foods and nutrients children need to learn and grow, as well as help children build healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

    Crediting Methodology

    Crediting is the process established by FNS to determine how individual foods contribute to the Child Nutrition Programs' meal patterns. A food is considered creditable when it meets the minimum standards that count toward a reimbursable meal or snack. Generally, this means foods are grouped into categories of similar foods which are credited in a similar way.

    The main focus of FNS' crediting system is to provide simple information that allows Child Nutrition Program operators to (1) easily plan menus with foods and quantities that meet the meal patterns, and (2) offer foods in a way that encourages healthy habits and teaches children how to build balanced meals. Crediting information is conveyed through resources such as FNS' Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs and other technical assistance materials.

    A number of factors impact how foods credit toward a reimbursable meal. It is critical that crediting decisions be made on the fullest range of factors possible to ensure transparency and consistency in the crediting process. The overall nutrient profile of a food is a primary consideration. Foods in each food component are based on a range of nutrients instead of an individual food's nutrient profile. For example, foods in the meats/meat alternates component are grouped based on a collection of nutrients that include protein, B vitamins, selenium, choline, phosphorus, zinc, and copper. Therefore, different varieties of meat (e.g., lean beef versus turkey) are not currently evaluated separately based on their protein content. The volume or weight of the food is also an important factor in making crediting determinations. All meats/meat alternates and grains are credited in ounces equivalencies. Fruits, vegetables, and fluid milk are credited based on volume served.

    In addition, foods that credit toward a reimbursable meal in the Child Nutrition Programs sometimes have a Federal standard of identity. Standards of identity are established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). They are mandatory requirements that determine what a food must contain to be marketed under a certain name. For example, for a product to be labeled peanut butter, it must meet the standard of identity requirements that specify the amount and type of ingredients that may be included. Standards of identity assist FNS in crediting because they provide a common standard under which specific foods are made. This allows FNS to set crediting policy with confidence that products from all manufacturers will have the same characteristics and, thus, make a consistent contribution to the meal patterns. There are some products on the commercial market that do not have an FDA or FSIS standard of identity, but have industry-defined standards. FNS first considers Federal standards of identity when making crediting decisions. When a Federal standard of identity does not exist, then FNS may use industry standards for production to better understand the manufacturing process.

    FNS also considers the customary use of a product. For example, some foods are typically consumed as a snack food and have not been considered appropriate for including as part of a meal in the Child Nutrition Programs. Therefore, they are currently not creditable. This is discussed more in section II. Questions and Answers. Finally, FNS considers the role of the Child Nutrition Program in teaching children healthy eating habits when making crediting decisions.

    Purpose and Scope

    FNS' objective in issuing this Request for Information is to receive input from a broad spectrum of stakeholders to assist FNS in making informed decisions on how FNS' crediting system can best address today's evolving food and nutrition environment, ensure children have access to the nutrition they need, and offer excellent customer service to those operating and benefitting from the Child Nutrition Programs. It is important that FNS' crediting system balances the nutritional needs of the Child Nutrition Programs' participants, as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines, and the need to offer flexibility and a wide range of choices. FNS recognizes that new or reformulated food products are regularly entering the food market. These new or reformulated food products can offer more choices to menu planners and children.

    FNS is especially interested in understanding both the possible benefits and any negative impacts associated with potential changes to how certain foods may or may not credit. As such, FNS is seeking feedback from all interested stakeholders on the questions listed below. Some questions address specific foods due to a high volume of interest in those products. However, FNS is open to feedback about the creditability of other food products as well (see Questions 20-25) and crediting process in general. Additionally, while all comments are welcome, FNS is particularly interested in comments that are consistent with the current statutory framework for the Child Nutrition Programs.

    II. Questions Factors To Determine Crediting

    FNS currently considers the following factors when making crediting decisions:

    Volume or weight of the food. All meats/meat alternates and grains are credited in ounces. Fruits, vegetables, and fluid milk are credited based on volume served. However, dried fruit credits at twice the volume served and raw, leafy greens credit as half the volume served. Additionally, tomato puree and tomato paste credit as if they were reconstituted, instead of as volume served.

    1. Is it appropriate to continue to credit foods based on the volume or weight served, with the few exceptions discussed above? Why or why not?

    2. What are the benefits and negative impacts of having different crediting values for different forms of vegetables and fruits?

    Overall nutrient profile. Foods in each component are based on a range of nutrients instead of an individual food's nutrient profile. For example, foods in the meats/meat alternates component are grouped based on a collection of nutrients that include protein, B vitamins, selenium, choline, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and vitamins D and E. Generally, FNS has not considered fortification in the creditability of foods.

    3. Should fortification play a role in determining if and how a food is credited in the Child Nutrition Programs? Why or why not?

    4. Is the presence of certain nutrients more important than other nutrients when determining if and how a food credits in the Child Nutrition Programs? Why or why not?

    Federal standards of identity and industry standards of production. Many creditable food products in the Child Nutrition Programs have Federal standards of identity or industry standards for production. Standards of identity assist FNS in crediting because they ensure food products with the same name have the same characteristics and, therefore, make a consistent contribution to the meal patterns.

    5. If a food product does not have a Federal standard of identity or industry standards for production, how could these food products credit in the Child Nutrition Programs? Please be as specific as possible.

    Customary use of the food product. Some foods are generally consumed as snacks and, therefore, have not been considered appropriate for service in the Child Nutrition Programs. In other cases, the volume of food required to meet the minimum serving size would be unreasonably large. In other cases, such products do credit. For example, tortillas and tortilla products, such as taco shells, may credit as a grain item in the Child Nutrition Programs because in certain cultures they are served as the grain component of a meal. (Please see below for more information about snack-type foods.)

    6. Is it appropriate to continue to consider the customary use of a product when determining how a food credits in the Child Nutrition Programs? Why or why not?

    The role of the Child Nutrition Program in teaching children healthy eating habits. Meals and snacks served in the Child Nutrition Programs act as a teaching tool for children by visually demonstrating how to build a healthy, balanced meal with the key food groups and amounts recommended by the Dietary Guidelines. For example, although pasta made from lentils has a standard of identity and may be used in all Child Nutrition Programs, in order for the pasta to credit as a vegetable, it must be served with another vegetable, such as broccoli or tomato sauce, to help children recognize the vegetable component. Likewise, lentil pasta can credit as a meat alternate if it is served with another meat/meat alternate, such as chicken or black beans.

    7. What role should such educational considerations play in determining the creditability of a food in the Child Nutrition Programs?

    8. Are there other factors FNS should consider in determining how foods credit in the Child Nutrition Programs? Why or why not?

    9. Are there additional ways FNS can make the crediting process more simple, fair, or transparent? Please be as specific as possible.

    Foods From the Meat/Meat Alternate Component

    Shelf-stable, Dried or Semi-dried Meat, Poultry, and Seafood Snacks, and Surimi: Currently, shelf stable, dried and semi-dried meat, poultry, and seafood products, such as beef jerky or summer sausage, (collectively referred to as dried meat/poultry/seafood snacks) currently do not credit towards the Child Nutrition Programs' meal patterns. These foods have a Federal standard of identity that varies widely, there is a wide variety of industry standards for production, and they are typically seen as snack-type foods. However, FNS understands these products may be appealing to some Child Nutrition Program operators because dried meat/poultry/seafood snacks are shelf stable, work well with alternative meal delivery methods, such as breakfast in the classroom and lunches for field trips, and provide more choices to menu planners and children. Similarly, surimi, which is whitefish that is processed to resemble more expensive seafood and labeled as “imitation,” such as imitation crab, does not credit towards the Child Nutrition Programs' meal patterns. Surimi lacks an FDA standard of identity and there is a wide variety of industry standards for production. Additionally, foods labeled as “imitation” may have significantly different nutrition profiles than the foods they are meant to replace. To assist reviewers in adequately compiling public feedback, please provide separate comments on dried meat/poultry/seafood snacks, and imitation crab.

    10. Are Child Nutrition Program operators currently offering any of these foods as an extra item that does not contribute to the Child Nutrition Programs' meal patterns? If so, which ones?

    10a. If yes, how are they being served (e.g., as an extra component at snack) and how often?

    11. Should FNS allow any of these foods to contribute to the Child Nutrition Programs' meal patterns? Why or why not?

    12. If any of these foods are allowed to contribute to the Child Nutrition Programs' meal patterns, how should they be credited? Be as specific as possible, such as the volume or weight needed, or a specific nutrient content.

    12a. Is there an ingredient or processing method that would qualify or disqualify these products?

    13. If any of these foods are allowed to contribute to the Child Nutrition Programs' meal patterns, would Child Nutrition Program operators incorporate these foods into menus to meet the meats/meat alternates requirement? Why or why not?

    13a. If yes, how would they be served (e.g., at snack, as part of a reimbursable lunch)?

    14. If any of these foods are allowed to contribute to the Child Nutrition Programs' meal patterns, how would this impact the Child Nutrition Programs, including its participants and operators? What are the potential benefits and negative impacts?

    Yogurt: Yogurt may be used to meet all or part of the meats/meat alternates component. It may be plain or flavored, unsweetened or sweetened, traditional (non-strained or non-thickened) or Greek or Greek-style (high protein, strained or thickened). Four ounces (weight) or 1/2 cup (volume) of traditional or high protein yogurt is credited as one ounce equivalent of meat alternate. This crediting was based on public comment (62 FR 10187, April 1997) and acknowledges the relatively low levels of iron and niacin in yogurt compared to other foods from the meats/meat alternates component. Since then, high protein yogurt has increased in popularity and availability. As such, FNS was asked to consider whether it would be beneficial to allow a lesser volume of high protein yogurt to credit toward the meat/meat alternate component compared to traditional yogurt. The rationale for this request was that high protein yogurt contains a higher level of protein per ounce versus traditional yogurt. Currently, crediting has not been based on an individual food's nutrient profile, or any one nutrient. That is, the contribution of a food towards the meat/meat alternate requirement is not based solely on the grams of protein. For example, different varieties of meat (e.g., lean beef versus turkey) are not evaluated separately based on their protein content.

    15. Are Child Nutrition Program operators currently offering high protein yogurt as part of a reimbursable meal?

    16. Should FNS create a separate crediting standard for high protein yogurt that is different than the crediting standard for traditional yogurt for the Child Nutrition Programs? Why or why not?

    17. If high protein yogurt is allowed to contribute differently to the Child Nutrition Programs' meal patterns than traditional yogurt, how should high protein yogurt be credited? Be as specific as possible, such as the volume or weight needed.

    17a. Is there an ingredient or processing method that could qualify or disqualify a particular yogurt from crediting in the Child Nutrition Programs (e.g., a particular thickening agent could disqualify a high protein yogurt)?

    18. If high protein yogurt is allowed to contribute differently to the Child Nutrition Programs' meal patterns than traditional yogurt, would Child Nutrition Program operators take advantage of using it to meet the meats/meat alternates requirement? Why or why not?

    18a. If yes, how would Child Nutrition Program operators serve it (e.g., at snack, as part of a reimbursable lunch)?

    19. If high protein yogurt is allowed to contribute differently to the Child Nutrition Programs' meal patterns than traditional yogurt, how would this impact the Child Nutrition Programs, including its participants and operators, as well as food manufacturers? What are the potential benefits and negative impacts?

    Other Foods Not Currently Creditable

    In the past, FNS has chosen not to credit a small number of other foods in the Child Nutrition Programs because these foods do not meet the requirement for any food component in the Child Nutrition Programs' meal patterns. For various reasons this has occurred, including being considered snack-type foods, lacking a standard of identity, or because the volume of food required to meet the minimum serving size would be unreasonably large. For example, foods such as popcorn, vegetable chips (does not include chips made from grain such as tortilla chips), bacon, and tempeh are currently not creditable for the aforementioned reasons. A list of various foods that do not currently credit in the Child Nutrition Programs is available in FNS' Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs under “Other Foods” (see https://fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/tn/fbg-section5-other.pdf). Comments on any foods currently not creditable in the Child Nutrition Programs are welcome, using the following questions as a guide.

    20. Are Child Nutrition Program operators currently offering any of these foods as an extra item that does not contribute to the Child Nutrition Programs' meal patterns? If so, which ones?

    21. Should FNS allow any of these foods to contribute to the Child Nutrition Programs' meal patterns? Why or why not? If so, which ones?

    22. If any of these foods are allowed to contribute to the Child Nutrition Programs' meal patterns, how should they be credited? Be as specific as possible, such as the volume or weight needed, or a specific nutrient content.

    22a. Is there an ingredient, processing method, or nutrient standard (e.g., sodium content) that should qualify or disqualify any of these foods?

    23. If any of these foods are allowed to contribute to the Child Nutrition Programs' meal patterns, would Child Nutrition Program operators incorporate them into menus to meet the Child Nutrition Programs' meal patterns? Why or why not?

    23a. If yes, how would they be served (e.g., as part of a reimbursable snack)?

    24. If any of these foods are allowed to contribute to the Child Nutrition Programs' meal patterns, how would this impact the Child Nutrition Programs, including its participants and operators, as well as food manufacturers? What are the potential benefits and negative impacts?

    25. Are there additional products not mentioned in this request for information that are currently not creditable, but you would wish to provide comments on? Please be as specific as possible.

    FNS appreciates your thoughtful and responsive comments. FNS welcomes comments from all interested stakeholders and will consider all of them carefully. Your comments are essential to enabling FNS to provide first rate customer service to those we serve.

    Dated: December 7, 2017. Brandon Lipps, Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26979 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-30-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [B-77-2017] Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 158—Jackson, Mississippi; Notification of Proposed Production Activity; Traxys Cometals Processing, Inc. (Manganese and Aluminum Alloying Agents); Burnsville, Mississippi

    Traxys Cometals Processing, Inc. (Traxys Cometals), submitted a notification of proposed production activity to the FTZ Board for its facility in Burnsville, Mississippi. The notification conforming to the requirements of the regulations of the FTZ Board (15 CFR 400.22) was received on November 27, 2017.

    The applicant indicates that it will be submitting a separate application for FTZ designation at the Traxys Cometals facility under FTZ 158. The facility will be used to produce high-grade manganese and aluminum alloying agents to be supplied to steel and aluminum production plants. Pursuant to 15 CFR 400.14(b), FTZ activity would be limited to the specific foreign-status materials and components and specific finished products described in the submitted notification (as described below) and subsequently authorized by the FTZ Board.

    Production under FTZ procedures could exempt Traxys Cometals from customs duty payments on the foreign-status components used in export production. On its domestic sales, for the foreign-status materials/components noted below, Traxys Cometals would be able to choose the duty rates during customs entry procedures that apply to carbon-free manganese briquettes, low-carbon manganese briquettes, manganese powder, MnAl (manganese/aluminum) briquettes, and CrAl (chromium/aluminum) briquettes (duty rate ranges from 1.4% to 14%). Traxys Cometals would be able to avoid duty on foreign-status components which become scrap/waste. Customs duties also could possibly be deferred or reduced on foreign-status production equipment.

    The components and materials sourced from abroad include electrolytic manganese flakes, chromium powder, and chromium waste (duty rate ranges from duty-free to 14%).

    Public comment is invited from interested parties. Submissions shall be addressed to the Board's Executive Secretary at the address below. The closing period for their receipt is January 23, 2018.

    A copy of the notification will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Executive Secretary, Foreign-Trade Zones Board, Room 21013, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230-0002, and in the “Reading Room” section of the Board's website, which is accessible via www.trade.gov/ftz.

    For further information, contact Christopher Wedderburn at [email protected] or (202) 482-1963.

    Dated: December 11, 2017. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26970 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XF884 Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting (Webinar) AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meeting (webinar).

    SUMMARY:

    The Pacific Fishery Management Council's (Pacific Council) will host the Area 2A Pacific Halibut Managers Coordination Meeting via webinar. The meeting is open to the public.

    DATES:

    The webinar meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 3, 2018, from 10 a.m. until business for the day has been completed.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held via webinar. A public listening station is available at the Pacific Council office (address below). To attend the webinar (1) join the meeting by visiting this link https://www.gotomeeting.com/webinar and selecting `join a webinar' in the upper right corner (2) enter the Webinar ID: 793-330-227, and (3) enter your name and email address (required). After logging in to the webinar, please (1) dial this TOLL number 1 (213) 929-4232 (not a toll-free number), (2) enter the attendee phone audio access code 676-925-992, and (3) then enter your audio phone pin (shown after joining the webinar). NOTE: We have disabled Mic/Speakers as an option and require all participants to use a telephone or cell phone to participate. Technical Information and system requirements: PC-based attendees are required to use Windows® 7, Vista, or XP; Mac®-based attendees are required to use Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer; Mobile attendees are required to use iPhone®, iPad®, AndroidTM phone or Android tablet (See https://www.gotomeeting.com/meeting/ipad-iphone-android-apps). You may send an email to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt at [email protected] or contact him at (503) 820-2280, extension 411 for technical assistance. A public listening station will also be available at the Pacific Council office.

    Council address: Pacific Fishery Management Council, 7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 101, Portland, OR 97220.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Robin Ehlke, Pacific Council; telephone: (503) 820-2410.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The primary purpose of the Area 2A Pacific halibut manager's meeting is to prepare and develop recommendations for the January 22-26, 2018, International Pacific Halibut Commission's (IPHC) annual meeting in Portland, Oregon. Recommendations generated from the meeting will be communicated to the IPHC by the Pacific Council's representative, Mr. Phil Anderson. Attendees may also address other topics relating to Pacific halibut management. No management actions will be decided by the attendees. The meeting will be open to the public, and the agenda, which will be posted on the PFMC website prior to the meeting, will provide for a public comment period.

    Although non-emergency issues not contained in the meeting agenda may be discussed, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during this meeting. Action will be restricted to those issues specifically listed in this document and any issues arising after publication of this document that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, provided the public has been notified of the intent to take final action to address the emergency.

    Special Accommodations

    This meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt (503) 820-2411 at least 10 business days prior to the meeting date.

    Dated: December 11, 2017. Jeffrey N. Lonergan, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26975 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary Vietnam War Commemoration Advisory Committee; Notice of Federal Advisory Committee Meeting AGENCY:

    Deputy Chief Management Officer, Department of Defense.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Federal Advisory Committee meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Defense (DoD) is publishing this notice to announce that the following Federal Advisory Committee meeting of the Vietnam War Commemoration Advisory Committee will take place.

    DATES:

    Thursday, February 8, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    241 18th Street South, Room 101, Arlington, VA 22202.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mrs. Marcia L. Moore, 703-571-2005 (Voice), 703-692-4691 (Facsimile), [email protected] (Email). Mailing address is DoD Vietnam War Commemoration Program Office, 241 18th Street South, Suite 101, Arlington, VA 22202. Website: http://www.vietnamwar50th.com. The most up-to-date changes to the meeting agenda can be found on the website.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This meeting is being held under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) of 1972 (5 U.S.C., Appendix, as amended), the Government in the Sunshine Act of 1976 (5 U.S.C. 552b, as amended), and 41 CFR 102-3.140 and 102-3.150.

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552b and 41 CFR 102-3.140 through 102-3.165, and the availability of space, this meeting is open to the public. All members of the public who wish to attend the public meeting must contact Mrs. Marcia Moore or Mr. Mark Franklin at the number listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section by February 1, 2018.

    Purpose of the Meeting: The Committee will convene and receive briefings on current activities, accomplishments to-date, the Strategic Plan for the Vietnam War 50th Commemoration's 2018-2025, and activities and plans influenced by the Committee's recommendations.

    Agenda: The Committee will convene at 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on February 8, 2018. The morning briefings will cover current activities and accomplishments to date for the Commemoration of the Vietnam War. The afternoon agenda will be a review of the Strategic Plan for the Vietnam War 50th Commemoration's 2018-2025 and activities and plans influenced by the Committee's recommendations.

    Meeting Accessibility: Special Accommodations: Individuals requiring special accommodations to access the public meeting should contact Mrs. Marcia Moore or Mr. Mark Franklin at the number listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section by February 1, 2018 so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

    Written Statements: Pursuant to 41 CFR 102-3.105(j) and 102-3.140, and section 10(a)(3) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972, the public or interested organizations may submit written comments to the Committee about its mission and topics pertaining to this public meeting. Written comments should be received by the DFO by February 1, 2018. Written comments should be submitted via email to the address for the DFO given in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section in either Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Word format. Please note that since the Committee operates under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, all submitted comments and public presentations will be treated as public documents and will be made available for public inspection, including, but not limited to, being posted on the Committee's website.

    Dated: December 8, 2017. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26921 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID: DOD-2013-OS-0161] Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), Department of Defense.

    ACTION:

    30-day information collection notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Defense has submitted to OMB for clearance, the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    DATES:

    Consideration will be given to all comments received by January 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments and recommendations on the proposed information collection should be emailed 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.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Fred Licari, 571-372-0493.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title, Associated Form and OMB Number: Claim Certification and Voucher for Death Gratuity Payment; DD Form 397; OMB Control Number 0730-0017.

    Type of Request: Reinstatement, without change, of a previously approved collection for which approval has expired.

    Number of Respondents: 500.

    Responses per Respondent: 1.

    Annual Responses: 500.

    Average Burden per Response: 30 minutes.

    Annual Burden Hours: 250.

    Needs and Uses: The information collection requirement allows the government to collect the signatures and information needed to pay a death gratuity. Pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 1475-1480, a designated beneficiary(ies) or next-of-kin can receive a death gratuity payment for a deceased service member. This form serves as a record of the disbursement. The DoD Financial Management Regulation (FMR), Volume 7 A, Chapter 36, defines the eligible beneficiaries and procedures for payment. To provide internal controls for this benefit, and to comply with the above-cited statutes, the information requested is needed to substantiate the receipt of the benefit.

    Affected Public: Individuals or Households.

    Frequency: On occasion.

    Respondent's Obligation: Voluntary.

    OMB Desk Officer: Ms. Jasmeet Seehra.

    You may also submit comments and recommendations, identified by Docket ID number and title, by the following method:

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

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name, Docket ID number and title for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

    DOD Clearance Officer: Mr. Frederick Licari.

    Written requests for copies of the information collection proposal should be sent to Mr. Licari at WHS/ESD Directives Division, 4800 Mark Center Drive, East Tower, Suite 03F09, Alexandria, VA 22350-3100.

    Dated: December 11, 2017. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26958 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No.: ED-2017-ICCD-0156] Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Teacher Cancellation Low Income Directory AGENCY:

    Federal Student Aid (FSA), Department of Education (ED).

    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 12, 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-0156. 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 Tammy Gay, 816-804-0848.

    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: Teacher Cancellation Low Income Directory.

    OMB Control Number: 1845-0077.

    Type of Review: An extension of an existing information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: State, Local, and Tribal Governments.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 57.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 6,840.

    Abstract: The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, (HEA) allows for up to a one hundred percent cancellation of a Federal Perkins Loan and loan forgiveness of a Federal Family Education Loan and Direct Loan program loan if the graduate teaches full-time in an elementary or secondary school serving low-income students.

    The data collected for the development of the Teacher Cancellation Low Income Directory provides web-based access to a list of all elementary and secondary schools, and educational service agencies that serve a total enrollment of more than 30 percent low income students (as defined under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended). The Directory allows post-secondary institutions to determine whether or not a teacher, who received a Federal Perkins Loan, Direct Loan, or Federal Family Education Loan at their school, is eligible to receive loan cancellation or forgiveness or that a teacher who received a TEACH Grant is meeting the service obligation.

    Dated: December 11, 2017. Kate Mullan, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26957 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No.: ED-2017-ICCD-0154] Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Work Colleges Expenditure Report AGENCY:

    Federal Student Aid (FSA), Department of Education (ED).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, ED is proposing a new information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before February 12, 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-0154. 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 Tammy Gay, 816-804-0848.

    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: Work Colleges Expenditure Report.

    OMB Control Number: 1845—NEW.

    Type of Review: A new information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: State, Local, and Tribal Governments.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 10.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 20.

    Abstract: The Higher Education Opportunity Act, Public Law 110-315 includes provisions for the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, in section 448 that promotes the use of comprehensive work-learning-service programs as a valuable education approach when it is an integral part of the institution's education program and a part of a financial plan which decreases reliance on grants and loans. Work Colleges participants are required to report expenditure of funds annually. The data collected in this report is used by the Department to monitor program effectiveness and accountability of fund expenditures. The data is used in conjunction with institutional program reviews to assess the administrative capability and compliance of the applicant. There are no other resources for collecting this data.

    Dated: December 11, 2017. Kate Mullan, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26955 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No.: ED-2017-ICCD-0155] Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Work Colleges Application and Agreement AGENCY:

    Federal Student Aid (FSA), Department of Education (ED).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, ED is proposing a new information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before February 12, 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-0155. 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 Tammy Gay, 816-804-0848.

    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: Work Colleges Application and Agreement.

    OMB Control Number: 1845—NEW.

    Type of Review: A new information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: State, Local, and Tribal Governments.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 10.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 20.

    Abstract: The Higher Education Opportunity Act, Public Law 110-315 includes provisions for the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, in section 448 that promotes the use of comprehensive work-learning-service programs as a valuable education approach when it is an integral part of the institution's education program and a part of a financial plan which decreases reliance on grants and loans. The Work Colleges Application and Agreement form is the tool for an institution to apply for participation in this program. The data will be used by the Department to assess an institution's preparedness to participate in this program and as a signed agreement to comply with all requirements for participating in the program. The data is used in conjunction with institutional program reviews to assess the administrative capability and compliance of the applicant.

    Dated: December 11, 2017. Kate Mullan, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26956 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CD18-3-000] City of Fitchburg, Massachusetts; Notice of Preliminary Determination of a Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facility and Soliciting Comments and Motions To Intervene

    On December 1, 2017, the City of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, filed a notice of intent to construct a qualifying conduit hydropower facility, pursuant to section 30 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), as amended by section 4 of the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013 (HREA). The proposed Narrows Road Pressure Reduction Valve (PRV) Station Project would have an installed capacity of up to 10 kilowatts (kW), and would be located along an existing municipal water supply line within the Narrows Road PRV station near the City of Fitchburg, Worcester County, Massachusetts.

    Applicant Contact: Weston & Sampson Engineers, Inc., 100 International Drive, Suite 152, Portsmouth, NH 03801, Phone No. (603) 431-3937.

    FERC Contact: Christopher Chaney, Phone No. (202) 502-6778, email: [email protected]

    Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facility Description: The proposed project would consist of: (1) One pump as turbine unit with a nameplate capacity of 10 kW located within the existing Narrows Road PRV station; and (2) appurtenant facilities. The proposed project would have an estimated annual generating capacity of about 65,000 kilowatt-hours.

    A qualifying conduit hydropower facility is one that is determined or deemed to meet all of the criteria shown in the table below.

    Table 1—Criteria for Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facility Statutory provision Description Satisfies
  • (Y/N)
  • FPA 30(a)(3)(A), as amended by HREA The conduit the facility uses is a tunnel, canal, pipeline, aqueduct, flume, ditch, or similar manmade water conveyance that is operated for the distribution of water for agricultural, municipal, or industrial consumption and not primarily for the generation of electricity Y FPA 30(a)(3)(C)(i), as amended by HREA The facility is constructed, operated, or maintained for the generation of electric power and uses for such generation only the hydroelectric potential of a non-federally owned conduit Y FPA 30(a)(3)(C)(ii), as amended by HREA The facility has an installed capacity that does not exceed 5 megawatts Y FPA 30(a)(3)(C)(iii), as amended by HREA On or before August 9, 2013, the facility is not licensed, or exempted from the licensing requirements of Part I of the FPA Y

    Preliminary Determination: The proposed addition of the hydroelectric project along the existing municipal water supply line will not alter its primary purpose. Therefore, based upon the above information and criteria, Commission staff preliminarily determines that the proposal satisfies the requirements for a qualifying conduit hydropower facility, which is not required to be licensed or exempted from licensing.

    Comments and Motions to Intervene: Deadline for filing comments contesting whether the facility meets the qualifying criteria is 45 days from the issuance date of this notice.

    Deadline for filing motions to intervene is 30 days from the issuance date of this notice.

    Anyone may submit comments or a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.210 and 385.214. Any motions to intervene must be received on or before the specified deadline date for the particular proceeding.

    Filing and Service of Responsive Documents: All filings must (1) bear in all capital letters the COMMENTS CONTESTING QUALIFICATION FOR A CONDUIT HYDROPOWER FACILITY” or “MOTION TO INTERVENE, as applicable; (2) state in the heading the name of the applicant and the project number of the application to which the filing responds; (3) state the name, address, and telephone number of the person filing; and (4) otherwise comply with the requirements of sections 385.2001 through 385.2005 of the Commission's regulations.1 All comments contesting Commission staff's preliminary determination that the facility meets the qualifying criteria must set forth their evidentiary basis.

    1 18 CFR 385.2001-2005 (2017).

    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file motions to intervene and comments using the Commission's eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. Commenters can submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp. You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected], (866) 208-3676 (toll free), or (202) 502-8659 (TTY). In lieu of electronic filing, please send a paper copy to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426. A copy of all other filings in reference to this application must be accompanied by proof of service on all persons listed in the service list prepared by the Commission in this proceeding, in accordance with 18 CFR 4.34(b) and 385.2010.

    Locations of Notice of Intent: Copies of the notice of intent can be obtained directly from the applicant or such copies can be viewed and reproduced at the Commission in its Public Reference Room, Room 2A, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426. The filing may also be viewed on the web at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/elibrary.asp using the “eLibrary” link. Enter the docket number (i.e., CD18-3) in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, call toll-free 1-866-208-3676 or email [email protected] For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: December 7, 2017. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26924 Filed 12-13-17; 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: RP18-242-000.

    Applicants: Southern Natural Gas Company, L.L.C.

    Description: Compliance filing Abandon Rate Schedule X-72 Compliance Filing CP18-2-000 to be effective 1/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 12/6/17.

    Accession Number: 20171206-5003.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/18/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-243-000.

    Applicants: Blue Lake Gas Storage Company.

    Description: Compliance filing Settlement Compliance Filing RP17-898-000 to be effective 12/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/6/17.

    Accession Number: 20171206-5042.

    Comments 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: December 7, 2017. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26926 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER18-391-000] EnPowered; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization

    This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding of EnPowered's application for market-based rate authority, with an accompanying rate tariff, noting that such application includes a request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest should file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant.

    Notice is hereby given that the deadline for filing protests with regard to the applicant's request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability, is December 27, 2017.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http://www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an eRegistration account using the eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests.

    Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the intervention or protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426.

    The filings in the above-referenced proceeding are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the website that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected] or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: December 7, 2017. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26928 Filed 12-13-17; 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: EC18-28-000.

    Applicants: American Transmission Company LLC, Wisconsin Power and Light Company.

    Description: Application for Authority to Acquire Transmission Facilities under Section 203 of the FPA of American Transmission Company LLC, et al.

    Filed Date: 12/6/17.

    Accession Number: 20171206-5135.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/27/17.

    Docket Numbers: EC18-29-000.

    Applicants: Big Savage, LLC, Big Sky Wind, LLC, EverPower Commercial Services LLC, Highland North LLC, Howard Wind LLC, Krayn Wind LLC, Mustang Hills, LLC, Patton Wind Farm, LLC.

    Description: Application Under FPA Section 203 of Big Savage, LLC et al.

    Filed Date: 12/6/17.

    Accession Number: 20171206-5143.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/27/17.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER12-524-001.

    Applicants: Longview Power, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing: Informational Filing Regarding Upstream Change in Control and Request for Waiver to be effective N/A.

    Filed Date: 12/6/17.

    Accession Number: 20171206-5094.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/27/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-1916-001.

    Applicants: Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Compliance filing: SMECO submits compliance filing to replace the placeholder effective date to be effective N/A.

    Filed Date: 12/7/17.

    Accession Number: 20171207-5068.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/28/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-2291-001.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: PJM submits Response to Deficiency Letter re Pseudo-Tie PJM Tarrif Revisions to be effective 11/9/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/7/17.

    Accession Number: 20171207-5082.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/28/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-390-000.

    Applicants: AES Ohio Generation, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing: AES Reactive Power Compliance Filing [EC17-117-000] to be effective 12/31/9998.

    Filed Date: 12/5/17.

    Accession Number: 20171205-5120.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/19/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-400-000.

    Applicants: Tucson Electric Power Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Engineering and Design Agreement, Rate Schedule No. 338 to be effective 12/8/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/7/17.

    Accession Number: 20171207-5054.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/28/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-401-000.

    Applicants: Southwestern Public Service Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: SPS-RBEC-GSEC-IA-TXNW-699-0.0.0 to be effective 12/8/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/7/17.

    Accession Number: 20171207-5061.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/28/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-402-000.

    Applicants: Virginia Electric and Power Company, PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: VEPCO submits WDSAs, Service Agreement Nos. 4852, 4853, 4854, and 4855 to be effective 11/11/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/7/17.

    Accession Number: 20171207-5066.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/28/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-403-000.

    Applicants: Westar Energy, Inc.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Notice of Cancellation of certain designated Rate Schedules to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/7/17.

    Accession Number: 20171207-5080.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/28/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-404-000.

    Applicants: Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: BGE submits revisions to Attachment H-2A re: Abandoned Plant and Land Costs to be effective 2/5/2018.

    Filed Date: 12/7/17.

    Accession Number: 20171207-5083.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/28/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-405-000.

    Applicants: Carson Cogeneration Company LP.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Cancellation of Market Based Rate Tariff to be effective 12/8/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/7/17.

    Accession Number: 20171207-5088.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/28/17.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-406-000.

    Applicants: Brunner Island, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Revised Reactive Service Rate Schedule and Request for Waiver to be effective 12/31/9998.

    Filed Date: 12/7/17.

    Accession Number: 20171207-5094.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/28/17.

    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: December 7, 2017. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26925 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. Ad18-6-000] Notice of Availability of the Revised Engineering Guidelines for the Evaluation of Hydropower Projects: Chapter 11—Arch Dams and Request for Comments

    The staff of the Office of Energy Projects (OEP) is revising Chapter 11—Arch Dams of its Engineering Guidelines for the Evaluation of Hydropower Projects. The staff has revised Chapter 11—Arch Dams 1 and comments are now requested on the draft document from federal and state agencies, licensees whose infrastructure portfolio includes arch dams, independent consultants and inspectors, and other interested parties with special expertise with respect dam safety and arch dams. A 60-day public comment period is allotted to collect comments. Please note that this comment period will close on February 5, 2018.

    1 The existing Chapter 11—Arch Dams is dated October 1999 and can be found on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (Commission) website to use as a reference to see the changes made: http://www.ferc.gov/industries/hydropower/safety/guidelines/eng-guide/chap11.pdf.

    Interested parties can help us determine the appropriate updates and improvements by providing: Meaningful comments or suggestions that focus on the specific sections requiring clarification; updates to reflect current laws and regulations; or improved measures for evaluating the safety of arch dams. The more specific your comments, the more useful they will be. A detailed explanation of your submissions and/or any references of scientific studies associated with your comments will greatly help us with this process. We will consider all timely comments on the revised Guidelines before issuing the final version.

    For your convenience, there are three methods which you can use to submit your comments to the Commission. In all instances please reference the docket number (AD18-6-000) on the first page of your submission. The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing.

    (1) You can file your comments electronically using the eComment feature on the Commission's website (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. This is an easy method for interested persons to submit brief, text-only comments up to 6,000 characters. You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments;

    (2) You can file your comments electronically using the eFiling feature on the Commission's website (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. When selecting the filing type, select General, then chose Comment (on Filing, Environ. Report or Tech Conf); or

    (3) In lieu of electronic filing, you can mail a paper copy of your comments to: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.

    The OEP staff provided copies of revised Chapter 11—Arch Dams to federal and state agencies, licensees whose portfolio includes arch dams, independent consultants and inspectors, and other interested parties. In addition, all information related to the proposed updates to Chapter 11—Arch Dams and submitted comments can be found on the FERC website (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., AD18-6). Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. The Commission also 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 electronic notification of these filings and direct links to the documents. Go to www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp. Users must be registered in order to use eSubscription.

    For assistance with filing or any of the Commission's online systems, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected] or toll free at (866) 208-3676, or for TTY, contact (202) 502-8258.

    Dated: December 7, 2017. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26927 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. PF17-7-000] Cimarron River Pipeline, LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Planned 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 Cimarron Expansion Project involving construction and operation of facilities by Cimarron River Pipeline, LLC (Cimarron) in Beaver and Texas Counties, Oklahoma and Seward County, Kansas. 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 January 8, 2018.

    If you sent comments on this Project to the Commission before the opening of this docket on July 10, 2017, you will need to file those comments in Docket No. PF17-7-000 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 website (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 website (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 website (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 (PF17-7-000) 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

    Cimarron plans to construct, own, operate, and maintain the Project facilities to provide up to an aggregate of 631 million standard cubic feet of natural gas per day of additional firm natural gas transportation capacity in order to support the growing demand for liquids-rich natural gas transportation service in the region to ensure that gas is properly treated and processed before it is distributed for market use.

    Cimarron plans to expand its pipeline system by constructing about 49.3 miles of new natural gas pipeline in Beaver County, Oklahoma and Seward County, Kansas and leasing approximately 19.1 miles of an existing, currently idle 26-inch-diameter pipeline in Texas and Beaver Counties, Oklahoma.

    A total of 23 miles of the Project would consist of 20-inch-diameter pipeline extending north from a proposed tie-in facility located near Cimarron's existing Beaver Compressor Station in Beaver County. At a new tie-in with the leased pipeline in Beaver County, the 20-inch-diameter pipeline would change to 30-inch-diameter pipeline and continue north about 24.3 miles through Seward County, Kansas before reaching a new drip valve site. Two 30-inch-diameter pipelines would then extend for approximately 1.5 miles and 0.6 mile, respectively, to the National Helium Gas Processing Plant. The planned Project also includes two new receipt point facilities, one at the beginning of the leased pipeline in Texas County, Oklahoma and one along the 0.6-mile-long 30-inch-diameter pipeline between the new drip valve site and the National Helium Gas Processing Plant. The Project also includes the construction of five new pig launcher and/or receiver facilities 1 at the beginning and end of the new pipelines and at the end of the leased pipeline; three meter and regulator facilities; and four mainline valves.

    1 A “pig” is a tool that the pipeline company inserts into and pushes through the pipeline for cleaning the pipeline, conducting internal inspections, or other purposes.

    The general location of the Project facilities is shown in appendix 1.2

    2 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 page 6 of this notice.

    Land Requirements for Construction

    Construction of the planned facilities would disturb about 649.7 acres of land for the pipelines and aboveground facilities. Following construction, Cimarron would maintain about 339.2 acres for permanent operation of the Project facilities; the remaining acreage would be restored and revert to former uses. About 67 percent of the planned pipeline route is within or parallel to existing pipeline, utility, or road rights-of-way.

    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 3 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.

    3 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;

    • 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.4 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.

    4 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 applicable State Historic Preservation Office(s), 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.5 We will define the Project-specific Area of Potential Effects (APE) in consultation with the SHPO(s) 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.

    5 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; environmental and public interest groups; 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 Cimarron 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 website. 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 website (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., PF17-7). 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: December 7, 2017. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26929 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [OMB 3060-1205] 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 12, 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.: 3060-1205.

    Title: Section 74.802, Low Power Auxiliary Stations Co-channel Coordination with TV Broadcast Stations.

    Form No.: Not Applicable.

    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Individuals and households; business or other for-profit entities; not-for-profit institutions; Federal government; and state, local or tribal government.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 400 respondents and 227 responses.

    Estimated Time Per Response: 1.0 hour.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion reporting requirement and third party disclosure requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for this collection of information is contained in 47 U.S.C. 151, 154, 301, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 316, 319, 325(b), 332, 336(f), 338, 339, 340, 399b, 403, 534, 535, 1404, 1452, and 1454.

    Total Annual Burden: 227 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: $56,750.00.

    Privacy Act Impact Assessment: This information collection may affect individuals or households. However, the information collection consists of third-party disclosures in which the Commission has no direct involvement. Personally identifiable information (PII) is not being collected by, made available to, or made accessible by the Commission. There are no additional impacts under the Privacy Act.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: In general there is no need for confidentiality with this collection of information.

    Needs and Uses: On June 2, 2014, the Commission released a Report and Order, FCC 14-50, GN Docket No. 12-268, “Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions.” This order adopted a revision to a Commission rule, 47 CFR 74.802(b), to permit low power auxiliary stations (LPAS), including wireless microphones, to operate in the bands allocated for TV broadcasting at revised distances from a co-channel television's contour, and provided LPAS operators to operate even closer to television stations proved that any such operations are coordinated with TV broadcast stations that could be affected by the LPAS operations.

    The Commission seeks Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval for an extension of the currently approved information collection for the coordination process adopted in the Commission's Report and Order, FCC 14-50 for such co-channel operations, in 47 CFR 74.802d(b)(2).

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26945 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [OMB 3060-1154] 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 12, 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: 3060-1154.

    Title: Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (“CALM”) Act; General Waiver Requests.

    Form Number: Not applicable.

    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 20 respondents and 20 responses.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion reporting requirement.

    Estimated Time per Response: 20 hours.

    Total Annual Burden: 400 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: $12,000.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain benefits. The statutory authority for this collection of information is contained in 47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 154(i), 303(r) and 621.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no assurance of confidentiality provided to respondents, but, in accordance with the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 0.459, a station/MVPD may request confidential treatment for financial information supplied with its waiver request.

    Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Needs and Uses: TV stations and multiple video programming distributors (MVPDs) may file general waiver requests to request waiver of the rules implementing the CALM Act for good cause. The information obtained by general waiver requests will be used by Commission staff to evaluate whether grant of a waiver would be in the public interest.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26941 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [OMB 3060-0264 and OMB 3060-0297] Information Collections 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 12, 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: 3060-0264.

    Title: Section 80.413, On-Board Station Equipment Records.

    Form Number: N/A.

    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities, not-for-profit institutions, and state, local or tribal government.

    Number of Respondents: 1,000 respondents; 1,000 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 2 hours.

    Frequency of Response: Recordkeeping requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. Statutory authority for this information collection is contained in 47 U.S.C. 154, 303, 307(e), 309 and 332 and 151-155 and sections 301-609 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    Total Annual Burden: 2,000 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: No cost.

    Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality.

    Needs and Uses: The Commission is seeking an extension of this expiring information collection in order to obtain the full three year approval from OMB. There is no change to the recordkeeping requirement.

    The information collection requirements contained in Section 80.413 require the licensee of an on-board station to keep equipment records which show:

    (1) The ship name and identification of the on-board station;

    (2) The number of and type of repeater and mobile units used on-board the vessel; and

    (3) The date the type of equipment which is added or removed from the on-board station.

    The information is used by FCC personnel during inspections and investigations to determine what mobile units and repeaters are associated with on-board stations aboard a particular vessel. If this information were not maintained, no means would be available to determine if this type of radio equipment is authorized or who is responsible for its operation. Enforcement and frequency management programs would be negatively affected if the information were not retained.

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0297.

    Title: Section 80.503, Cooperative Use of Facilities.

    Form Number: N/A.

    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities; Not-for-profit institutions; and State, Local, or Tribal Government.

    Number of Respondents: 100 respondents; 100 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 16 hours.

    Frequency of Response: 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 151-155, 301-609 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended; and 3 UST 3450, 3 UST 4726, 12 UST 2377.

    Total Annual Burden: 1,600 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: No cost.

    Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Needs and Uses: The information collection requirements contained in Section 80.503 require that a licensee of a private coast station or marine utility station on shore may install ship radio stations on board United States commercial transport vessels of other persons. In each case these persons must enter into a written agreement verifying that the ship station licensee has the sole right of control of the ship stations, that the vessel operators must use the ship stations subject to the orders and instructions of the coast station or marine utility station on shore, and that the ship station licensee will have sufficient control of the ship station to enable it to carry out its responsibilities under the ship station license. A copy of the contract/written agreement must be kept with the station records and made available for inspection by Commission representatives.

    The information is used by FCC personnel during inspection and investigations to insure compliance with applicable rules. If this information was not available, enforcement efforts could be hindered; frequency congestion in certain bands could increase; and the financial viability of some public coast radiotelephone stations could be threatened.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26944 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION Notice of Termination of Receivership of 10485, Bank of Wausau, Wausau, Wisconsin

    The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC or Receiver), as Receiver for 10485, Bank of Wausau, Wausau, Wisconsin, has been authorized to take all actions necessary to terminate the Receivership Estate of Bank of Wausau (Receivership Estate); the Receiver has made all dividend distributions required by law.

    The Receiver has further irrevocably authorized and appointed FDIC-Corporate as its attorney-in-fact to execute and file any and all documents that may be required to be executed by the Receiver which FDIC-Corporate, in its sole discretion, deems necessary, including but not limited to releases, discharges, satisfactions, endorsements, assignments, and deeds.

    Effective December 1, 2017, the Receivership Estate has been terminated, the Receiver discharged, and the Receivership Estate has ceased to exist as a legal entity.

    Dated: December 11, 2017. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26980 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6714-01-P
    FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding Companies

    The companies listed in this notice have applied to the Board for approval, pursuant to the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (12 U.S.C. 1841 et seq.) (BHC Act), Regulation Y (12 CFR part 225), and all other applicable statutes and regulations to become a bank holding company and/or to acquire the assets or the ownership of, control of, or the power to vote shares of a bank or bank holding company and all of the banks and nonbanking companies owned by the bank holding company, including the companies listed below.

    The applications listed below, as well as other related filings required by the Board, are available for immediate inspection at the Federal Reserve Bank indicated. The applications will also be available for inspection at the offices of the Board of Governors. Interested persons may express their views in writing on the standards enumerated in the BHC Act (12 U.S.C. 1842(c)). If the proposal also involves the acquisition of a nonbanking company, the review also includes whether the acquisition of the nonbanking company complies with the standards in section 4 of the BHC Act (12 U.S.C. 1843). Unless otherwise noted, nonbanking activities will be conducted throughout the United States.

    Unless otherwise noted, comments regarding each of these applications must be received at the Reserve Bank indicated or the offices of the Board of Governors not later than January 8, 2018.

    A. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (David L. Hubbard, Senior Manager) P.O. Box 442, St. Louis, Missouri 63166-2034. Comments can also be sent electronically to [email protected]:

    1. MRV Financial Corp., Sainte Genevieve, Missouri; to acquire at least 21.30 percent of the voting shares of Grok Bancshares, Inc., St. Louis, Missouri, and thereby indirectly acquire CBC Bank, Bowling Green, Missouri.

    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, December 8, 2017. Ann E. Misback, Secretary of the Board.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26902 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM Agency Information Collection Activities: Announcement of Board Approval Under Delegated Authority and Submission to OMB AGENCY:

    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

    SUMMARY:

    The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board) is adopting a proposal to extend for three years, without revision, the Reporting Requirements Associated with Regulation XX Concentration Limit (FR XX) and Financial Company (as defined) Report of Consolidated Liabilities (FR XX-1) (OMB No. 7100-0363).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Federal Reserve Board Clearance Officer—Nuha Elmaghrabi—Office of the Chief Data Officer, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Washington, DC 20551 (202) 452-3829. Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) users may contact (202) 263-4869, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Washington, DC 20551.

    OMB Desk Officer—Shagufta Ahmed—Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, Room 10235, 725 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20503 or by fax to (202) 395-6974.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On June 15, 1984, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) delegated to the Board authority under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) to approve of and assign OMB control numbers to collection of information requests and requirements conducted or sponsored by the Board. Board-approved collections of information are incorporated into the official OMB inventory of currently approved collections of information. Copies of the Paperwork Reduction Act Submission, supporting statements and approved collection of information instrument(s) are placed into OMB's public docket files. The Federal Reserve may not conduct or sponsor, and the respondent is not required to respond to, an information collection that has been extended, revised, or implemented on or after October 1, 1995, unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    Final Approval Under OMB Delegated Authority of the Extension for Three Years, Without Revision, of the Following Report

    Report title: Reporting Requirements Associated with Regulation XX Concentration Limit; Financial Company (as defined) Report of Consolidated Liabilities.

    Agency form number: FR XX; FR XX-1.

    OMB control number: 7100-0363.

    Frequency: Event-generated; annual.

    Respondents: Insured depository institutions, bank holding companies, foreign banking organizations, savings and loan holding companies, companies that control insured depository institutions, and nonbank financial companies supervised by the Board; U.S. and foreign financial companies that do not otherwise report consolidated financial information to the Board or other appropriate Federal banking agency.

    Estimated number of respondents: FR XX (Section 251.4(b)): 1; FR XX (Section 251.4(c)): 1; FR XX-1: 43.

    Estimated average hours per response: FR XX (Section 251.4(b)): 10, FR XX (Section 251.4(c)): 10; FR XX-1: 2.

    Estimated annual burden hours: FR XX (Section 251.4(b)): 10; FR XX (Section 251.4(c)): 10; FR XX-1: 86 (106 total).

    General description of report: The Board adopted Regulation XX to implement section 14 of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (BHC Act), which was added by section 622 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act). Section 14 established a financial sector concentration limit that generally prohibits a financial company from merging or consolidating with, or otherwise acquiring, another company if the resulting company's liabilities upon consummation would exceed 10 percent of the aggregate liabilities of all financial companies. Regulation XX established certain reporting requirements for financial companies. The Board created the FR XX-1 reporting form to collect information required to be submitted by Regulation XX.

    Legal authorization and confidentiality: This information collection is authorized by section 14 of the Bank Holding Company Act (12 U.S.C. 1852(d)) and Regulation XX (12 CFR part 251). The obligation of financial companies to comply with the consolidated liabilities reporting requirement is mandatory. Compliance by financial companies with the transactional reporting requirements is required in order to obtain the benefit of Board consent to consummation of the transactions.

    Section 251.6 and FR XX-1. As noted, the required reporting of calendar year-end liabilities under section 251.6 of Regulation XX can be satisfied by many financial companies through their continued reporting of consolidated financial information to the Board or other appropriate Federal banking agency though the various reports listed above. The information collected on those forms has been the subject of separate authorization and confidentiality determinations. With regard to the collection of the specific information at issue, calendar year-end liabilities (including as collected on the FR XX-1), such information generally is not considered confidential, but some information, depending on the circumstances, may be the type of confidential commercial and financial information that may be withheld under exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C 552(b)(4)). As required information, it may be withheld under exemption 4 on a case-by-case basis only if public disclosure could result in substantial competitive harm to the submitting institution. Any request from a submitter for confidential treatment should be accompanied by a detailed justification for confidentiality.

    Section 251.4. The information collected under section 251.4 (under both its prior written consent provision for individual transactions and the general consent authority) consists of (1) a description of the acquisition and (2) the change in and resultant aggregate amount of financial company liabilities. The reported liabilities information, in like fashion to the liabilities information reported under section 251.6, generally is not considered confidential but, depending on the circumstances, may be the type of confidential commercial and financial information that may be withheld under exemption 4 of FOIA. The description of the individual acquisitions provided under the prior written consent provisions generally would not be deemed confidential, but that some such information may be of the type that could be withheld under exemption 4 on a case-by-case basis, under the standards enumerated above.

    Current actions: On August 16, 2017, the Board published a notice in the Federal Register (82 FR 38906) requesting public comment for 60 days on the extension, without revision, of the FR XX and FR XX-1. The comment period for this notice expired on October 16, 2017. The Board did not receive any comments. The information collection will be extended as proposed.

    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, December 11, 2017. Ann E. Misback, Secretary of the Board.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26962 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6210-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2011-N-0279] Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Prescription Drug Marketing Act of 1987; Administrative Procedures, Policies, and Requirements AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) is announcing an opportunity for public comment on the proposed collection of certain information by the Agency. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Federal Agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension of an existing collection of information, and to allow 60 days for public comment in response to the notice. This notice solicits comments on the information collection in the regulations on the Prescription Drug Marketing Act of 1987; Administrative Procedures, Policies, and Requirements.

    DATES:

    Submit either electronic or written comments on the collection of information by February 12, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments as follows. Please note that late, untimely filed comments will not be considered. Electronic comments must be submitted on or before February 12, 2018. The https://www.regulations.gov electronic filing system will accept comments until midnight Eastern Time at the end of February 12, 2018. Comments received by mail/hand delivery/courier (for written/paper submissions) will be considered timely if they are postmarked or the delivery service acceptance receipt is on or before that date.

    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-2011-N-0279 for “Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Prescription Drug Marketing Act of 1987; Administrative Procedures, Policies, and Requirements.” Received comments, those filed in a timely manner (see ADDRESSES), will be placed in the docket and, except for those submitted as “Confidential Submissions,” publicly viewable at https://www.regulations.gov or at the Dockets Management Staff between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    • Confidential Submissions—To submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made publicly available, submit your comments only as a written/paper submission. You should submit two copies total. One copy will include the information you claim to be confidential with a heading or cover note that states “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.” The Agency will review this copy, including the claimed confidential information, in its consideration of comments. The second copy, which will have the claimed confidential information redacted/blacked out, will be available for public viewing and posted on https://www.regulations.gov. Submit both copies to the Dockets Management Staff. If you do not wish your name and contact information to be made publicly available, you can provide this information on the cover sheet and not in the body of your comments and you must identify this information as “confidential.” Any information marked as “confidential” will not be disclosed except in accordance with 21 CFR 10.20 and other applicable disclosure law. For more information about FDA's posting of comments to public dockets, see 80 FR 56469, September 18, 2015, or access the information at: https://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-09-18/pdf/2015-23389.pdf.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or the electronic and written/paper comments received, go to https://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the “Search” box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Dockets Management Staff, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Domini Bean, Office of Operations, Food and Drug Administration, Three White Flint North, 10A-12M, 11601 Landsdown St., North Bethesda, MD 20852, 301-796-5733, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), Federal Agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. “Collection of information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c) and includes Agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)) requires Federal Agencies to provide a 60-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension of an existing collection of information, before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, FDA is publishing notice of the proposed collection of information set forth in this document.

    With respect to the following collection of information, FDA invites comments on these topics: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of FDA's functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of FDA's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques, when appropriate, and other forms of information technology.

    Prescription Drug Marketing Act of 1987—Administrative Procedures, Policies, and Requirements OMB Control Number 0910-0435—Extension

    This information collection supports FDA regulations. Specifically, regulations codified at 21 CFR part 203 implement the Prescription Drug Marketing Act of 1987 (PDMA). The PDMA was intended to ensure safe and effective drug products and to avoid an unacceptable risk that counterfeit, adulterated, misbranded, subpotent, or expired drugs are sold to consumers. The reporting and recordkeeping requirements found in the regulations are intended to help achieve the following goals: (1) To ban the reimportation of prescription drugs produced in the United States, except when reimported by the manufacturer or under FDA authorization for emergency medical care; (2) to ban the sale, purchase, or trade, or the offer to sell, purchase, or trade, of any prescription drug sample; (3) to limit the distribution of drug samples to practitioners licensed or authorized to prescribe such drugs or to pharmacies of hospitals or other healthcare entities at the request of a licensed or authorized practitioner; (4) to require licensed or authorized practitioners to request prescription drug samples in writing; (5) to mandate storage, handling, and recordkeeping requirements for prescription drug samples; (6) to prohibit, with certain exceptions, the sale, purchase, or trade, or the offer to sell, purchase, or trade, of prescription drugs that were purchased by hospitals or other healthcare entities or that were donated or supplied at a reduced price to a charitable organization; and (7) to require unauthorized wholesale distributors to provide, prior to the wholesale distribution of a prescription drug to another wholesale distributor or retail pharmacy, a statement identifying each prior sale, purchase, or trade of the drug. In the tables below we have listed specific regulatory provisions that include information collection.

    We estimate the burden of the information collection as follows:

    Table 1—Estimated Annual Reporting Burden 1 21 CFR section/activity Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Total annual
  • responses
  • Average
  • burden per
  • response
  • (in hours)
  • Total hours
    203.11—Reimportation 1 1 1 0.5 1 203.30(a)(1) and (b)—Drug sample requests 61,961 12 743,532 0.06 44,612 203.30(a)(3), (a)(4), and (c)—Drug sample receipts 61,961 12 743,532 0.06 44,612 203.31(a)(1) and (b)—Drug sample requests 232,355 135 31,367,925 0.04 1,254,717 203.31(a)(3), (a)(4), and (c)—Drug sample receipts 232,355 135 31,367,925 0.03 941,038 203.37(a)—Falsification of records 50 4 200 0.25 50 203.37(b)—Loss or theft of samples 50 40 2,000 0.25 500 203.37(c)—Convictions 1 1 1 1 1 203.37(d)—Contact person 50 1 50 0.08 4 203.39(g)—Reconciliation report 1 1 1 1 1 Total 2,285,536 1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.
    Table 2—Estimated Annual Recordkeeping Burden 1 21 CFR section/activity Number of recordkeepers Number of records per recordkeeper Total annual records Average
  • burden per
  • recordkeeping
  • (in hours)
  • Total hours
    203.23(a) and (b)—Returned drugs 31,676 5 158,380 0.25 39,595 203.23(c)—Returned drugs documentation 31,676 5 158,380 0.08 12,670 203.30(a)(2) and 203.31(a)(2)—Practitioner verification 2,208 100 220,800 0.5 110,400 203.31(d)(1) and (d)(2)—Inventory record and reconciliation report 2,208 1 2,208 40 88,320 203.31(d)(4)—Investigation of discrepancies and losses 442 1 442 24 10,608 203.31(e)—Representatives lists 2,208 1 2,208 1 2,208 203.34—Administrative systems 90 1 90 40 3,600 203.37(a)—Falsification of drug sample records 50 4 200 6 1,200 203.37(b)—Loss or theft of drug samples 50 40 2,000 6 12,000 203.39(d)—Destroyed or returned drug samples 65 1 65 1 65 203.39(e)—Donated drug samples 3,221 1 3,221 0.5 1,611 203.39(f)—Distribution of donated drug samples 3,221 1 3,221 8 25,768 203.39(g)—Drug samples donated to charitable institutions 3,221 1 3,221 8 25,768 203.50(a)—Drug origin statement 125 100 12,500 0.17 2,125 203.50(b)—Drug origin statement retention 125 100 12,500 0.5 6,250 203.50(d)—Authorized distributors of record 691 1 691 2 1,382 Total 343,570 1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.

    Based on a review of the information collection, we have retained the currently approved estimated burden.

    Dated: December 8, 2017. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26933 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2011-N-0362] Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Current Good Manufacturing Practice Regulations for Finished Pharmaceuticals AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) is announcing an opportunity for public comment on the proposed collection of certain information by the Agency. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Federal Agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension of an existing collection of information, and to allow 60 days for public comment in response to the notice. This notice solicits comments on the information collection for the Current Good Manufacturing Practice Regulations for Finished Pharmaceuticals.

    DATES:

    Submit either electronic or written comments on the collection of information by February 12, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments as follows. Please note that late, untimely filed comments will not be considered. Electronic comments must be submitted on or before February 12, 2018. The https://www.regulations.gov electronic filing system will accept comments until midnight Eastern Time at the end of February 12, 2018. Comments received by mail/hand delivery/courier (for written/paper submissions) will be considered timely if they are postmarked or the delivery service acceptance receipt is on or before that date.

    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-2011-N-0362 for “Current Good Manufacturing Practice Regulations for Finished Pharmaceuticals.” Received comments, those filed in a timely manner (see ADDRESSES), will be placed in the docket and, except for those submitted as “Confidential Submissions,” publicly viewable at https://www.regulations.gov or at the Dockets Management Staff 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.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Domini Bean, Office of Operations, Food and Drug Administration, Three White Flint North, 10-12M, 11601 Landsdown St., North Bethesda, MD 20852, 301-796-5733, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), Federal Agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. “Collection of information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c) and includes Agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)) requires Federal Agencies to provide a 60-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension of an existing collection of information, before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, FDA is publishing notice of the proposed collection of information set forth in this document.

    With respect to the following collection of information, FDA invites comments on these topics: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of FDA's functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of FDA's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques, when appropriate, and other forms of information technology.

    Current Good Manufacturing Practice Regulations for Finished Pharmaceuticals (21 CFR Parts 210 and 211) OMB Control Number 0910-0139—Extension

    This information collection supports FDA regulations. Specifically, under section 501(a)(2)(B) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) (21 U.S.C. 351(a)(2)(B)), a drug is adulterated if the methods used in or the facilities or controls used for its manufacture, processing, packing, or holding do not conform to or are not operated or administered in conformity with Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP). The CGMP regulations help ensure drug products meet the statutory requirements for safety and have their purported or represented identity, strength, quality, and purity characteristics. The information collection requirements in the CGMP regulations provide FDA with the necessary information to perform its duty to protect public health and safety. CGMP requirements establish accountability for manufacturing and processing drug products, provide for meaningful FDA inspections, and enable manufacturers to improve the quality of drug products over time. The CGMP recordkeeping requirements also serve preventive and remedial purposes and provide crucial information if it is necessary to recall a drug product.

    The general requirements for recordkeeping under part 211 (21 CFR part 211) are set forth in § 211.180. Any production, control, or distribution record associated with a batch and required to be maintained in compliance with part 211 must be retained for at least 1 year after the expiration date of the batch and, for certain over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, 3 years after distribution of the batch (§ 211.180(a)). Records for all components, drug product containers, closures, and labeling are required to be maintained for at least 1 year after the expiration date and 3 years for certain OTC products (§ 211.180(b)).

    All part 211 records must be readily available for authorized inspections during the retention period (§ 211.180(c)), and such records may be retained either as original records or as true copies (§ 211.180(d)). Additionally, § 11.2(a) (21 CFR 11.2(a)) provides that “for records required to be maintained but not submitted to the Agency, persons may use electronic records in lieu of paper records or electronic signatures in lieu of traditional signatures, in whole or in part, provided that the requirements of this part are met.” To the extent this electronic option is used, the burden of maintaining paper records should be substantially reduced, as should any review of such records.

    To facilitate improvements and corrective actions, records must be maintained so data can be used to evaluate the quality standards of each drug product on at least an annual basis and determine whether to change any drug product specifications or manufacturing or control procedures (§ 211.180(e)). Written procedures for these evaluations are to be established and include provisions for a review of a representative number of batches and, where applicable, records associated with the batch; provisions for a review of complaints, recalls, returned or salvaged drug products; and investigations conducted under § 211.192 for each drug product.

    The specific information collection provisions are as follows:

    • Section 211.34—Consultants advising on the manufacture, processing, packing, or holding of drug products must have sufficient education, training, and experience to advise on the subject for which they are retained. Records must be maintained stating the name, address, and qualifications of any consultants and the type of service they provide.

    • Section 211.67(c)—Records must be kept of maintenance, cleaning, sanitizing, and inspection as specified in §§ 211.180 and 211.182.

    • Section 211.68—Appropriate controls must be exercised over computer or related systems to assure that changes in master production and control records or other records are instituted only by authorized personnel.

    • Section 211.68(a)—Records must be maintained of calibration checks, inspections, and computer or related system programs for automatic, mechanical, and electronic equipment.

    • Section 211.68(b)—All appropriate controls must be exercised over all computers or related systems and control data systems to assure that changes in master production and control records or other records are instituted only by authorized persons.

    • Section 211.72—Filters for liquid filtration used in the manufacture, processing, or packing of injectable drug products intended for human use must not release fibers into such products.

    • Section 211.80(d)—Each container or grouping of containers for components or drug product containers or closures must be identified with a distinctive code for each lot in each shipment received. This code must be used in recording the disposition of each lot. Each lot must be appropriately identified as to its status.

    • Section 211.100(b)—Written production and process control procedures must be followed in the execution of the various production and process control functions and must be documented at the time of performance. Any deviation from the written procedures must be recorded and justified.

    • Section 211.105(b)—Major equipment must be identified by a distinctive identification number or code that must be recorded in the batch production record to show the specific equipment used in the manufacture of each batch of a drug product. In cases where only one of a particular type of equipment exists in a manufacturing facility, the name of the equipment may be used in lieu of a distinctive identification number or code.

    • Section 211.122(c)—Records must be maintained for each shipment received of each different labeling and packaging material indicating receipt, examination, or testing.

    • Section 211.130(e)—Inspection of packaging and labeling facilities must be made immediately before use to assure that all drug products have been removed from previous operations. Inspection must also be made to assure that packaging and labeling materials not suitable for subsequent operations have been removed. Results of inspection must be documented in the batch production records.

    • Section 211.132(c)—Certain retail packages of OTC drug products must bear a statement that is prominently placed so consumers are alerted to the specific tamper-evident feature of the package. The labeling statement is required to be so placed that it will be unaffected if the tamper-resistant feature of the package is breached or missing. If the tamper-evident feature chosen is one that uses an identifying characteristic, that characteristic is required to be referred to in the labeling statement.

    • Section 211.132(d)—A request for an exemption from packaging and labeling requirements by a manufacturer or packer is required to be submitted in the form of a citizen petition under 21 CFR 10.30.

    • Section 211.137—Requirements regarding product expiration dating and compliance with 21 CFR 201.17.

    • Section 211.160(a)—The establishment of any specifications, standards, sampling plans, test procedures, or other laboratory control mechanisms, including any change in such specifications, standards, sampling plans, test procedures, or other laboratory control mechanisms, must be drafted by the appropriate organizational unit and reviewed and approved by the quality control unit. These requirements must be followed and documented at the time of performance. Any deviation from the written specifications, standards, sampling plans, test procedures, or other laboratory control mechanisms must be recorded and justified.

    • Section 211.165(e)—The accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, and reproducibility of test methods employed by a firm must be established and documented. Such validation and documentation may be accomplished in accordance with § 211.194(a)(2).

    • Section 211.166—Stability testing program for drug products.

    • Section 211.173—Animals used in testing components, in-process materials, or drug products for compliance with established specifications must be maintained and controlled in a manner that assures their suitability for their intended use. They must be identified, and adequate records must be maintained showing the history of their use.

    • Section 211.180(e)—Written records required by part 211 must be maintained so that data can be used for evaluating, at least annually, the quality standards of each drug product to determine the need for changes in drug product specifications or manufacturing or control procedures. Written procedures must be established and followed for such evaluations and must include provisions for a representative number of batches, whether approved or unapproved or rejected, and a review of complaints, recalls, returned or salvaged drug products, and investigations conducted under § 211.192 for each drug product.

    • Section 211.180(f)—Procedures must be established to assure that the responsible officials of the firm, if they are not personally involved in or immediately aware of such actions, are notified in writing of any investigations, conducted under § 211.198, § 211.204, or § 211.208, any recalls, reports of inspectional observations issued, or any regulatory actions relating to good manufacturing practices brought by FDA.

    • Section 211.182—Specifies requirements for equipment cleaning records and the use log.

    • Section 211.184—Specifies requirements for component, drug product container, closure, and labeling records.

    • Section 211.186—Specifies master production and control records requirements.

    • Section 211.188—Specifies batch production and control records requirement.

    • Section 211.192—Specifies the information that must be maintained on the investigation of discrepancies found in the review of all drug product production and control records by the quality control staff.

    • Section 211.194—Explains and describes laboratory records that must be retained.

    • Section 211.196—Specifies the information that must be included in records on the distribution of the drug.

    • Section 211.198—Specifies and describes the handling of all complaint files received by the applicant.

    • Section 211.204—Specifies that records be maintained of returned and salvaged drug products and describes the procedures involved.

    Written procedures, referred to here as standard operating procedures (SOPs), are required for many part 211 records. Current SOP requirements were initially provided in a final rule published in the Federal Register of September 29, 1978 (43 FR 45014), and are now an integral and familiar part of the drug manufacturing process. The major information collection impact of SOPs results from their creation. Thereafter, SOPs need to be periodically updated. A combined estimate for routine maintenance of SOPs is provided in table 1. The 25 SOP provisions under part 211 in the combined maintenance estimate include:

    • Section 211.22(d)—Responsibilities and procedures of the quality control unit;

    • Section 211.56(b)—Sanitation procedures;

    • Section 211.56(c)—Use of suitable rodenticides, insecticides, fungicides, fumigating agents, and cleaning and sanitizing agents;

    • Section 211.67(b)—Cleaning and maintenance of equipment;

    • Section 211.68(a)—Proper performance of automatic, mechanical, and electronic equipment;

    • Section 211.80(a)—Receipt, identification, storage, handling, sampling, testing, and approval or rejection of components and drug product containers or closures;

    • Section 211.94(d)—Standards or specifications, methods of testing, and methods of cleaning, sterilizing, and processing to remove pyrogenic properties for drug product containers and closures;

    • Section 211.100(a)—Production and process control;

    • Section 211.110(a)—Sampling and testing of in-process materials and drug products;

    • Section 211.113(a)—Prevention of objectionable microorganisms in drug products not required to be sterile;

    • Section 211.113(b)—Prevention of microbiological contamination of drug products purporting to be sterile, including validation of any sterilization process;

    • Section 211.115(a)—System for reprocessing batches that do not conform to standards or specifications to insure that reprocessed batches conform with all established standards, specifications, and characteristics;

    • Section 211.122(a)—Receipt, identification, storage, handling, sampling, examination and/or testing of labeling and packaging materials;

    • Section 211.125(f)—Control procedures for the issuance of labeling;

    • Section 211.130—Packaging and label operations, prevention of mixup and cross contamination, identification and handling of filed drug product containers that are set aside and held in unlabeled condition, and identification of the drug product with a lot or control number that permits determination of the history of the manufacture and control of the batch;

    • Section 211.142—Warehousing;

    • Section 211.150—Distribution of drug products;

    • Section 211.160—Laboratory controls;

    • Section 211.165(c)—Testing and release for distribution;

    • Section 211.166(a)—Stability testing;

    • Section 211.167—Special testing requirements;

    • Section 211.180(f)—Notification of responsible officials of investigations, recalls, reports of inspectional observations, and any regulatory actions relating to good manufacturing practice;

    • Section 211.198(a)—Written and oral complaint procedures, including quality control unit review of any complaint involving specifications failures, and serious and unexpected adverse drug experiences;

    • Section 211.204—Holding, testing, and reprocessing of returned drug products; and

    • Section 211.208—Drug product salvaging.

    In addition, the following regulations in parts 610 and 680 (21 CFR parts 610 and 680) reference certain CGMP regulations in part 211: §§ 610.12(g), 610.13(a)(2), 610.18(d), 680.2(f), and 680.3(f). In table 1, the burden associated with the information collection requirements in these regulations is included in the burden estimates under §§ 211.165, 211.167, 211.188, and 211.194, as appropriate.

    Although most CGMP provisions covered in this document were created many years ago, some existing firms expanding into new manufacturing areas and startup firms will need to create SOPs. As provided in table 1, FDA assumes approximately 50 firms will have to create up to 25 SOPs for a total of 1,250 records, estimating 20 hours per recordkeeper to create 25 new SOPs for a total of 25,000 hours.

    FDA estimates the burden of this collection of information as follows:

    Table 1—Estimated Annual Recordkeeping Burden 1 21 CFR section/activity Number of
  • recordkeepers
  • Number of
  • records per
  • recordkeeper
  • Total annual
  • records
  • Average
  • burden per
  • recordkeeping
  • (in hours) 1
  • Total hours
    SOP Maintenance 3,270 3,270 25 81,750 New Startup SOPs 50 25 1,250 20 25,000 211.34—Consultants 3,270 0.25 818 5 4090 211.67(c)—Equipment cleaning and maintenance 3,270 50 163,500 0.25 40,875 211.68—Changes in master production and control records or other records 3,270 2 6,540 1 6,540 211.68(a)—Automatic, mechanical, and electronic equipment 3,270 10 32,700 0.5 16,350 211.68(b)—Computer or related systems 3,270 5 16,350 0.25 4,088 211.72—Filters 416 0.25 104 1 104 211.80(d)—Components and drug product containers or closures 3,270 0.25 818 0.1 82 211.100(b)—Production and process controls 3,270 3 9,810 2 19,620 211.105(b)—Equipment identification 3,270 0.25 818 0.25 205 211.122(c)—Labeling and packaging material 3,270 50 163,500 0.25 40,875 211.130(e)—Labeling and packaging facilities 3,270 50 163,500 0.25 40,875 211.132(c)—Tamper-evident packaging 1,613 20 32,260 0.5 16,130 211.132(d)—Tamper-evident packaging 1,613 0.2 323 0.5 162 211.137—Expiration dating 3,270 5 16,350 0.5 8,175 211.160(a)—Laboratory controls 3,270 2 6,540 1 6,540 211.165(e)—Test methodology 3,270 1 3,270 1 3,270 211.166—Stability testing 3,270 2 6,540 0.5 3,270 211.173—Laboratory animals 33 1 33 0.25 8 211.180(e)—Production, control, and distribution records 3,270 0.2 654 0.25 164 211.180(f)—Procedures for notification of regulatory actions 3,270 0.2 654 1 654 211.182—Equipment cleaning and use log 3,270 2 6,540 0.25 1,635 211.184—Component, drug product container, closure, and labeling records 3,270 3 9,810 0.5 4,905 211.186—Master production and control records 3,270 10 32,700 2 65,400 211.188—Batch production and control records 3,270 25 81,750 2 163,500 211.192—Discrepancies in drug product production and control records 3,270 2 6,540 1 6,540 211.194—Laboratory records 3,270 25 81,750 0.5 40,875 211.196—Distribution records 3,270 25 81,750 0.25 20,438 211.198—Compliant files 3,270 5 16,350 1 16,350 211.204—Returned drug products 3,270 10 32,700 0.5 16,350 Total 651,139 1 Burden estimates of less than 1 hour are expressed as a fraction of an hour in the format “[number of minutes per response]/60”.

    The recordkeeping requirement estimates provided in table 2 are specific to medical gases. In particular, on June 29, 2017, FDA published a Notice of Availability (NOA) in the Federal Register regarding revised draft guidance for industry entitled “Current Good Manufacturing Practice for Medical Gases” (82 FR 29565). This guidance is intended to help medical gas manufacturers comply with applicable CGMP regulations found in parts 210 and 211. In the NOA for the revised draft guidance, FDA noted the guidance includes information collection provisions subject to review by the OMB under the PRA and, in accordance with the PRA, before publication of the final guidance, FDA intends to solicit public comment and obtain OMB approval for any recommended new information collections or material modifications to previously approved collections of information found in FDA regulations. This notice is intended to solicit such public comment.

    The regulations addressed in table 2 are the same as those listed in table 1, but the estimated information collection burden differs and is specific to medical gas manufacturing. FDA estimates the burden of this collection of information as follows:

    Table 2—Estimated Annual Recordkeeping Burden (Medical Gases) 1 21 CFR section/activity Number of
  • recordkeepers
  • Number of
  • records per
  • recordkeeper
  • Total annual
  • records
  • Average
  • burden per
  • recordkeeping
  • (in hours) 1
  • Total hours
    SOP Maintenance 2,284 0.65 1,485 25 37,125 New startup SOPs 100 25 2,500 20 50,000 211.34—Consultants 2,284 0.25 571 0.5 286 211.67(c)—Equipment cleaning and maintenance 2,284 32.5 74,230 0.25 18,558 211.68—Changes in master production and control records or other records 2,284 2 4,568 1 4,568 211.68(a)—Automatic, mechanical, and electronic equipment 2,284 10 22,840 0.5 11,420 211.68(b)—Computer or related systems 2,284 5 11,420 0.25 2,855 211.72—Filters 2,284 0.25 571 1 571 211.80(d)—Components and drug product containers or closures 2,284 0.25 571 0.1 57 211.100(b)—Production and process controls 2,284 3 6,382 2 13,704 211.105(b)—Equipment identification 2,284 0.25 571 0.25 143 211.122(c)—Labeling and packaging material 2,284 50 114,200 0.25 28,550 211.130(e)—Labeling and packaging facilities 2,284 50 114,200 0.25 28,550 211.132(c)—Tamper-evident packaging 2,284 20 45,680 0.5 22,840 211.132(d)—Tamper-evident packaging 2,284 0.2 457 0.5 229 211.137—Expiration dating 2,284 3.25 7,423 0.33 2,450 211.160(a)—Laboratory controls 2,284 2 4,568 1 4,568 211.165(e)—Test methodology 2,284 1 2,284 1 2,284 211.166—Stability testing 2,284 1.3 2,969 0.33 980 211.173—Laboratory animals 2,284 1 2,284 0.25 571 211.180(e)—Production, control, and distribution records 2,284 0.2 457 0.25 114 211.180(f)—Procedures for notification of regulatory actions 2,284 0.2 457 1 457 211.182—Equipment cleaning and use log 2,284 1.3 2,969 0.16 475 211.184—Component, drug product container, closure, and labeling records 2,284 1.95 4,454 0.33 1,470 211.186—Master production and control records 2,284 10 22,840 2 45,680 211.188—Batch production and control records 2,284 16.25 37,115 1.3 48,250 211.192—Discrepancies in drug product production and control records 2,284 2 4,568 1 4,568 211.194—Laboratory records 2,284 25 57,100 0.5 28,550 211.196—Distribution records 2,284 25 57,100 0.25 14,275 211.198—Complaint files 2,284 5 11,420 1 11,420 211.204—Returned drug products 2,284 10 22,840 0.5 11,420 Total 396,988 1 Burden estimates of less than 1 hour are expressed as a fraction of an hour in the format “[number of minutes per response]/60”.
    Dated: December 8, 2017. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26932 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2015-D-4562] Public Workshop on Safety Assessment for Investigational New Drug Safety Reporting; Correction AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice; correction.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration is correcting a notice entitled “Safety Assessment for Investigational New Drug Safety Reporting; Public Workshop” that appeared in the Federal Register of November 27, 2017. The document announced a public workshop to engage external stakeholders in discussions related to finalizing the draft guidance entitled “Safety Assessment for IND Safety Reporting.” The date of the meeting has changed.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Lauren Wedlake, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 51, Rm. 6362, Silver Spring, MD 20993, 301-796-2728, [email protected]

    In the Federal Register of Monday, November 27, 2017, in FR Doc. 2017-25454, the following correction is made:

    1. On page 56036, in the first column, in the first sentence of the DATES section, “The public workshop will be held on January 11, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Eastern Time.” is corrected to read “The public workshop will be held on March 8, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Eastern Time.”

    Dated: December 8, 2017. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26938 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2017-N-6312] Patient-Focused Drug Development: Developing and Submitting Proposed Draft Guidance Relating to Patient Experience Data; Public Workshop; Request for Comments AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public workshop; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) is announcing the following public workshop entitled “Patient-Focused Drug Development: Developing and Submitting Proposed Draft Guidance Relating to Patient Experience Data.” The purpose of the public workshop is to convene a discussion on how a person seeking to develop and submit proposed draft guidance relating to patient experience data for consideration by FDA may submit such proposed draft guidance to the Agency. This workshop will inform development of patient-focused drug development guidance as required by the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act). FDA plans to publish a background document approximately 2 weeks before the workshop date.

    DATES:

    The public workshop will be held on March 19, 2018, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Submit either electronic or written comments on this public workshop by May 18, 2018. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for additional registration information.

    ADDRESSES:

    The public workshop will be held at FDA's White Oak Campus, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 31 Conference Center, the Great Room (Rm. 1503), Silver Spring, MD 20993. Entrance for the public workshop participants (non-FDA employees) is through Building 1 where routine security check procedures will be performed. For parking and security information, please refer to https://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/WorkingatFDA/BuildingsandFacilities/WhiteOakCampusInformation/ucm241740.htm. Workshop updates, agenda, and background document will be made available at https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/NewsEvents/ucm582081.htm prior to the workshop.

    You may submit comments as follows. Please note that late, untimely filed comments will not be considered. Electronic comments must be submitted on or before May 18, 2018. The https://www.regulations.gov electronic filing system will accept comments until midnight Eastern Time at the end of May 18, 2018. Comments received by mail/hand delivery/courier (for written/paper submissions) will be considered timely if they are postmarked or the delivery service acceptance receipt is on or before that date.

    Electronic Submissions

    Submit electronic comments in the following way:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Comments submitted electronically, including attachments, to https://www.regulations.gov will be posted to the docket unchanged. Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for ensuring that your comment does not include any confidential information that you or a third party may not wish to be posted, such as medical information, your or anyone else's Social Security number, or confidential business information, such as a manufacturing process. Please note that if you include your name, contact information, or other information that identifies you in the body of your comments, that information will be posted on https://www.regulations.gov.

    • If you want to submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made available to the public, submit the comment as a written/paper submission and in the manner detailed (see “Written/Paper Submissions” and “Instructions”).

    Written/Paper Submissions

    Submit written/paper submissions as follows:

    Mail/Hand delivery/Courier (for written/paper submissions): Dockets Management Staff (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    • For written/paper comments submitted to the Dockets Management Staff, FDA will post your comment, as well as any attachments, except for information submitted, marked and identified, as confidential, if submitted as detailed in “Instructions.”

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the Docket No. FDA-2017-N-6312 for “Patient-Focused Drug Development: Developing and Submitting Proposed Draft Guidance Relating to Patient Experience Data.” Received comments, those filed in a timely manner (see ADDRESSES), will be placed in the docket and, except for those submitted as “Confidential Submissions,” publicly viewable at https://www.regulations.gov or at the Dockets Management Staff between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    • Confidential Submissions—To submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made publicly available, submit your comments only as a written/paper submission. You should submit two copies total. One copy will include the information you claim to be confidential with a heading or cover note that states “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.” The Agency will review this copy, including the claimed confidential information, in its consideration of comments. The second copy, which will have the claimed confidential information redacted/blacked out, will be available for public viewing and posted on https://www.regulations.gov. Submit both copies to the Dockets Management Staff. If you do not wish your name and contact information to be made publicly available, you can provide this information on the cover sheet and not in the body of your comments and you must identify this information as “confidential.” Any information marked as “confidential” will not be disclosed except in accordance with 21 CFR 10.20 and other applicable disclosure law. For more information about FDA's posting of comments to public dockets, see 80 FR 56469, September 18, 2015, or access the information at: https://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-09-18/pdf/2015-23389.pdf.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or the electronic and written/paper comments received, go to https://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the “Search” box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Dockets Management Staff, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Meghana Chalasani, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 51, Rm. 1146, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 240-402-6525, Fax: 301-847-8443, [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    This public workshop is intended to support FDA implementation of requirements for guidance development under section 3002 of the Cures Act (Pub. L. 114-255). Section 3002 of Title III, Subtitle A, of the Cures Act directs FDA to develop patient-focused drug development guidance to address a number of areas, including how a person seeking to develop and submit a proposed draft guidance relating to patient experience data for consideration by FDA may submit such proposed draft guidances.

    In FDA's “Plan for Issuance of Patient-Focused Drug Development Guidance,” (the Plan) available at https://www.fda.gov/downloads/ForIndustry/UserFees/PrescriptionDrugUserFee/UCM563618.pdf, the Agency proposed issuing a guidance addressing this topic described in section 3002 during the second quarter of 2018. FDA recognizes that, like the other patient-focused drug development guidances described in the Plan, developing this draft guidance will also benefit from public input from the wider community of patients, patient advocates, academic researchers, expert practitioners, drug developers, and other stakeholders prior to FDA's drafting of the guidance. Accordingly, the Agency is scheduling this public workshop. After this public workshop, FDA will take into consideration the stakeholder input from the workshop and the public docket, and publish a draft guidance by the end of fiscal year 2018.

    II. Purpose and Scope of Meeting

    FDA is announcing a public workshop to convene a discussion on topics related to developing and submitting proposed draft guidance relating to patient experience data by an external stakeholder. The purpose of this public workshop is to obtain input from stakeholders on considerations for development and submission of proposed draft guidance relating to patient experience data submitted by an external stakeholder, including: (1) Defining the scope of the proposed draft guidance, (2) developing the proposed draft guidance, and (3) submitting the proposed draft guidance to FDA, including the process and format. The Agency is seeking information and comments from a broad range of stakeholders, including patients, patient advocates, academic and medical researchers, expert practitioners, drug developers, and other interested persons. FDA will publish a background document outlining the topic areas that will be addressed in the draft guidance approximately 2 weeks before the workshop date at the following website: https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/NewsEvents/ucm582081.htm.

    After this public workshop, FDA will take into consideration the stakeholder input from the workshop and the public docket, and publish a draft guidance by the end of fiscal year 2018.

    III. Participating in the Public Workshop

    Registration: Interested parties are encouraged to register early. To register electronically, please visit https://pfdd-proposeddraftguidance.eventbrite.com. Persons without access to the internet can call 240-402-6525 to register. If you are unable to attend the public workshop in person, you can register to view a live webcast. You will be asked to indicate in your registration if you plan to attend in person or via the webcast. Seating will be limited, so early registration is recommended. Registration is free and will be on a first-come, first-served basis. However, FDA may limit the number of participants from each organization based on space limitations. Registrants will receive confirmation once they have been accepted. Onsite registration on the day of the public workshop will be based on space availability. If you need special accommodations because of a disability, please contact Meghana Chalasani (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) at least 7 days before the public workshop.

    Open Public Comment: There will be time allotted during the public workshop for open public comment. Sign-up for this session will be on a first-come, first-serve basis on the day of the public workshop. Individuals and organizations with common interests are urged to consolidate or coordinate, and request time for a joint presentation. No commercial or promotional material will be permitted to be presented or distributed at the public workshop.

    Transcripts: As soon as a transcript is available of the public workshop, FDA will post it at https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/NewsEvents/ucm582081.htm.

    Dated: December 11, 2017. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26978 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Government-Owned Inventions; Availability for Licensing AGENCY:

    National Institutes of Health, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The invention listed below is owned by an agency of the U.S. Government and is available for licensing to achieve expeditious commercialization of results of federally-funded research and development. Foreign patent applications are filed on selected inventions to extend market coverage for companies and may also be available for licensing.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Natalie Greco, 301-761-7898; [email protected] Licensing information and copies of the patent applications listed below may be obtained by communicating with the indicated licensing contact at the Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Office, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 5601 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852; tel. 301-496-2644. A signed Confidential Disclosure Agreement will be required to receive copies of unpublished patent applications.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Technology description follows.

    Monoclonal Antibody Specific for DNA/RNA Hybrid Molecules Description of Technology

    NIAID has a hybridoma available for non-exclusive licensing that produces a monoclonal antibody specific for DNA/RNA hybrids. This antibody, which has been extensively characterized by NIH researchers, is already a widely-used research tool. It is currently the only monoclonal antibody available that is specific for DNA/RNA hybrids, making it a unique reagent. It is used in immuno-fluorescence (IF) microscopy, where it can be used to detect sites of transcriptional activity and potentially sites of viral replication. It has also been used in DNA/RNA immunoprecipitation (DRIP) experiments by a variety of researchers.

    Aside from its use as a research tool, this antibody has potential to be used in diagnostic kits for viral/bacterial infections, cancers, and a variety of other human diseases. DNA/RNA hybrids arise during normal cellular function, but they are typically present in cells at low levels. When DNA/RNA hybrids are found at high levels in a cell, it indicates that the cell is “abnormal”. For example, the cell may be cancerous or infected with a virus. NIH researchers have also incorporated the antibody into a micro-array platform, expanding its potential for use in diagnostic devices.

    This technology is available for licensing for commercial development in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR part 404, as well as for further development and evaluation under a research collaboration.

    Potential Commercial Applications

    Research tool:

    • Detection and visualization of DNA/RNA hybrids, “R-loops”, or sites of viral replication in cells • DNA/RNA immunoprecipitation (DRIP) studies • Antibody based micro-arrays

    For use in diagnostic kits that detect:

    • Viral/bacterial infections • miRNA biomarkers of disease (i.e. certain cancers) Competitive Advantages • Only available monoclonal antibody specific for DNA/RNA hybrids • Binding properties extensively characterized by NIH researchers • Widely-accepted as a key research reagent • Antibody based micro-arrays are inexpensive, efficient, and increase detection of small or structured transcripts, as well as transcripts present at low levels Development Stage in vitro data available Inventors

    S. Leppla, C. Leysath, D. Phillips, D. Garboczi, L. Lantz (all of NIAID).

    Publications • Phillips DD, et al. (2013)—PMID: 23784994—PMCID: PMC4061737—The sub-nanomolar binding of DNA-RNA hybrids by the single-chain Fv fragment of antibody S9.6 • Hu Z, et al. (2006)—PMID: 16614443—PMCID: PMC1435976—An antibody-based microarray assay for small RNA detection

    Intellectual Property: HHS Reference No. E-738-2013

    Licensing Contact: Dr. Natalie Greco, 301-761-7898; [email protected]

    Collaborative Research Opportunity: The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate or commercialize antibodies produced by the S9.6 hybridoma. For collaboration opportunities, please contact Dr. Natalie Greco, 301-761-7898; [email protected]

    Dated: December 1, 2017. Suzanne Frisbie, Deputy Director, Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Office, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26937 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Submission for OMB Review; 30-Day Comment Request; Special Volunteer and Guest Researcher Assignment (Office of Intramural Research, Office of the Director) AGENCY:

    National Institutes of Health, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request for review and approval of the information collection listed below.

    DATES:

    Comments regarding this information collection are best assured of having their full effect if received within 30-days of the date of this publication.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments and/or suggestions regarding the item(s) contained in this notice, especially regarding the estimated public burden and associated response time, should be directed to the: Office of Management and Budget, Office of Regulatory Affairs, [email protected] or by fax to 202-395-6974, Attention: Desk Officer for NIH.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request more information on the proposed project or to obtain a copy of the data collection plans and instruments, contact: Dr. Arlyn Garcia-Perez, Assistant Director, Office of Intramural Research, Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health, 1 Center Drive MSC 0140, Building 1, Room 160, MSC-0140, Bethesda, Maryland 20892 or call non-toll-free number (301) 496-1921 or (301) 496-1381 or Email your request, including your address to: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This proposed information collection was previously published in the Federal Register on September 15, 2017, page 43394 (82 FR 43394) and allowed 60 days for public comment. No public comments were received. The purpose of this notice is to allow an additional 30 days for public comment. The Office of Intramural Research (OIR), Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health, may not conduct or sponsor, and the respondent is not required to respond to, an information collection that has been extended, revised, or implemented on or after October 1, 1995, unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    In compliance with Section 3507(a)(1)(D) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request for review and approval of the information collection listed below.

    Proposed Collection: Special Volunteer and Guest Researcher Assignment—0925-0177, exp., date08/31/2017—Reinstatement without Change of, Office of Intramural Research (OIR), Office of the Director (OD), National Institutes of Health (NIH).

    Need and Use of Information Collection: Form Number: NIH-590 is a single form completed by an NIH official for each Guest Researcher or Special Volunteer prior to his/her arrival at NIH. The information on the form is necessary for the approving official to reach a decision on whether to allow a Guest Researcher to use NIH facilities, or whether to accept volunteer services offered by a Special Volunteer. If the original assignment is extended, another form notating the extension is completed to update the file. In addition, each Special Volunteer and Guest Researcher reads and signs an NIH Agreement.

    OMB approval is requested for 3 years. There are no costs to respondents other than their time. The total estimated annualized burden hours are 527.

    Estimated Annualized Burden Hours Form name Type of respondents Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses
  • per
  • respondent
  • Average
  • burden per
  • response
  • (in hours)
  • Total annual
  • hour burden
  • hours
  • Special Volunteer and Guest Researcher Assignment Special Volunteers and Guest researchers 2,870 1 6/60 287 NIH Special Volunteer Agreement Special Volunteers 2,600 1 5/60 217 NIH Guest Researcher Agreement Guest Researchers 270 1 5/60 23 Totals 2,870 527
    Dated: December 8, 2017. Lawrence A. Tabak, Deputy Director, NIH.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26966 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard [Docket No. USCG-2017-0952] Information Collection Request to Office of Management and Budget; OMB Control Number: 1625-0011 AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    60-Day notice requesting comments.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the U.S. Coast Guard intends to submit an Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), requesting an extension of its approval for the following collection of information: 1625-0011, Applications for Private Aids to Navigation and for Class I Private Aids to Navigation on Artificial Islands and Fixed Structures; without change. Our ICR describes the information we seek to collect from the public. Before submitting this ICR to OIRA, the Coast Guard is inviting comments as described below.

    DATES:

    Comments must reach the Coast Guard on or before February 12, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments identified by Coast Guard docket number [USCG-2017-0952] to the Coast Guard 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.

    A copy of the ICR is available through the docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov. Additionally, copies are available from: Commandant (CG-612), Attn: Paperwork Reduction Act Manager, U.S. Coast Guard, 2703 Martin Luther King Jr Ave. SE, Stop 7710, Washington, DC 20593-7710.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Contact Mr. Anthony Smith, Office of Information Management, telephone 202-475-3532, or fax 202-372-8405, for questions on these documents.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Public Participation and Request for Comments

    This Notice relies on the authority of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995; 44 U.S.C. chapter 35, as amended. An ICR is an application to OIRA seeking the approval, extension, or renewal of a Coast Guard collection of information (Collection). The ICR contains information describing the Collection's purpose, the Collection's likely burden on the affected public, an explanation of the necessity of the Collection, and other important information describing the Collection. There is one ICR for each Collection.

    The Coast Guard invites comments on whether this ICR should be granted based on the Collection being necessary for the proper performance of Departmental functions. In particular, the Coast Guard would appreciate comments addressing: (1) The practical utility of the Collection; (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden of the Collection; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of information subject to the Collection; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the Collection on respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. In response to your comments, we may revise this ICR or decide not to seek an extension of approval for the Collection. We will consider all comments and material received during the comment period.

    We encourage you to respond to this request by submitting comments and related materials. Comments must contain the OMB Control Number of the ICR and the docket number of this request [USCG-2017-0952], and must be received by February 12, 2018.

    Submitting Comments

    We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document for alternate instructions. Documents mentioned in this notice, and all public comments, are in our online docket at http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that website's instructions. Additionally, if you go to the online docket and sign up for email alerts, you will be notified when comments are posted.

    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, you may review a Privacy Act notice regarding the Federal Docket Management System in the March 24, 2005, issue of the Federal Register (70 FR 15086).

    Information Collection Request

    Title: Applications for Private Aids to Navigation and for Class I Private Aids to Navigation on Artificial Islands and Fixed Structures.

    OMB Control Number: 1625-0011.

    Summary: Under the provision of 14 U.S.C. 81, the Coast Guard is authorized to establish aids to navigation. Title 14 U.S.C. 83 prohibits establishment of aids to navigation without permission of the Coast Guard. Title 33 CFR 66.01-5 provides a means for private individuals to establish privately maintained aids to navigation. Under 43 U.S.C. 1333, the Coast Guard has the authority to promulgate and enforce regulations concerning lights and other warning devices relating to the promotion of safety of life and property on artificial islands, installations, and other devices on the outer continental shelf involved in the exploration, development, removal, or transportation of resources there from. Title 33 CFR 67.35-1 prescribes the type of aids to navigation that must be installed on artificial islands and fixed structures. Under the provision of 33 U.S.C. 409, the Secretary of Homeland Security is mandated to prescribe rules and regulations for governing the marking of sunken vessels. This authorization was delegated to the Commandant of the Coast Guard under Department of Homeland Security. Delegation number 0170 and the marking of sunken vessels are set out in 33 CFR part 64.11. The information collected for the rule can be obtained from the owners of sunken vessels. The information collection requirements are contained in 33 CFR 66.01-5, and 67.35-5.

    Need: The information on these private aid applications (CG-2554 and CG-4143) provides the Coast Guard with vital information about private aids to navigation and is essential for safe marine navigation. These forms are required under 33 CFR 66 & 67. The information is processed to ensure the private aid is in compliance with current regulations. Additionally, these forms provide the Coast Guard with information which can be distributed to the public to advise of new, or changes to private aids to navigation. In addition, colleting the applicant's contact information is important because it allows the Coast Guard to contact the applicant should there be a discrepancy or mishap involving the permitted private aid to navigation. Certain discrepancies create hazards to navigation and must be responded to and immediately corrected or repaired.

    Forms: CG-2554, Private Aids To Navigation Application and CG-4143, Application For Class I Private Aids To Navigation On Artificial Islands and Fixed Structures.

    Respondents: Owners of private aids to navigation.

    Frequency: On occasion.

    Hour Burden Estimate: The estimated burden has decreased from 2,000 hours to 1,709 hours due to a decrease in the number of respondents a year.

    Authority:

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995; 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, as amended.

    Dated: December 6, 2017. James D. Roppel, U.S. Coast Guard, Acting Chief, Office of Information Management.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26939 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Geological Survey [GX17AE6000C1000] Intent To Grant Exclusive Patent License to Montana Emergent Technologies AGENCY:

    U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of intent to grant exclusive patent license; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Department of the Interior, is contemplating the grant of an exclusive license in the United States of America, its territories, possessions and commonwealths, to USGS's interest in the invention embodied in U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/333,616, titled “Subsurface Environment Sampler,” to Montana Emergent Technologies (MET). USGS requests public comments on or objections to the proposed grant.

    DATES:

    Comments or objections must be received by December 29, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments or objections relating to the prospective license may be submitted by U.S. mail, facsimile, or email to James Mitchell, Patent and Licensing Manager, Office of Policy and Analysis, USGS, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, MS 153, Reston, VA 20192, (703) 648-4688 (fax); [email protected] Information relating to the prospective license will be available at this address during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Information about other USGS inventions available for licensing can be found online at https://www2.usgs.gov/tech-transfer/available_patents.html.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    James Mitchell, Patent and Licensing Manager, Office of Policy and Analysis, USGS, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, MS 153, Reston, VA 20192, (703) 648-4344 (phone), (703) 648-4688 (fax); [email protected] Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. The Service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The prospective exclusive license will be royalty bearing and will comply with the terms and conditions of 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR 404.7. The prospective exclusive license may be granted unless, within fifteen (15) days from the date of this published Notice, USGS receives written evidence and argument which establish that the grant of the license would not be consistent with the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR 404.7. The Provisional Patent Application was filed on March 9, 2016 and describes product sampler and methods for testing subsurface environment.

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Authority:

    35 U.S.C. 209.

    Katherine McCulloch, Deputy Associate Director for the Office for Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26959 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4338-11-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement [S1D1S SS08011000 SX066A0067F 178S180110; S2D2D SS08011000 SX066A00 33F 17XS501520; OMB Control Number 1029-0107] Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Subsidence Insurance Program Grants AGENCY:

    Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of information collection; request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) are proposing to renew an information collection relating to Subsidence insurance program grants.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before January 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send written comments on this information collection request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget's Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior by email at [email protected]; or via facsimile to (202) 395-5806. Please provide a copy of your comments to John Trelease, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 1849 C. Street NW, Mail Stop 4559, Washington, DC 20240; or by email to [email protected] Please reference OMB Control Number 1029-0107 in the subject line of your comment

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request additional information about this ICR, contact John Trelease by email at [email protected], or by telephone at (202) 208-2783. You may also view the ICR at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we provide the general public and other Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on new, proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps us assess the impact of our information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand our information collection requirements and provides the requested data in the desired format.

    A Federal Register notice with a 60-day public comment period soliciting comments on this collection of information was published on August 16, 2017 (82 FR 38930). No comments were received.

    We are again soliciting comments on the proposed ICR that is described below. We are especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is the collection necessary to the proper functions of OSMRE; (2) is the estimate of burden accurate; (3) how might OSMRE enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) how might OSMRE minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology.

    Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of public record. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Title: 30 CFR part 887—Subsidence insurance program grants.

    OMB Control Number: 1029-0107.

    Summary: States and Indian tribes having an approved reclamation plan may establish, administer and operate self-sustaining State and Indian Tribe-administered programs to insure private property against damages caused by land subsidence resulting from underground mining. States and Indian tribes interested in requesting monies for their insurance programs would apply to the Director of OSMRE.

    Bureau Form Number: None.

    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: States and Indian tribes with approved coal reclamation plans.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Respondents: One State or Tribal AML reclamation agency.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 1.

    Estimated Completion Time per Response: 8 hours.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 8 hours.

    Respondent's Obligation: Required to Obtain or Retain a Benefit.

    Frequency of Collection: One time.

    Total Estimated Annual Nonhour Burden Cost: $0.

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    The authority for this action is the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

    Dated: October 25, 2017. John A. Trelease, Acting Chief, Division of Regulatory Support.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26930 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-05-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement [S1D1S SS08011000 SX066A0067F 178S180110; S2D2D SS08011000 SX066A00 33F 17XS501520; OMB Control Number 1029-0054] Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Abandoned Mine Reclamation Funds AGENCY:

    Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of information collection; request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) are proposing to renew an information collection with revisions relating to abandoned mine reclamation funds.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before January 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send written comments on this information collection request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget's Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior by email at [email protected]; or via facsimile to (202) 395-5806. Please provide a copy of your comments to John Trelease, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 1849 C. Street NW, Mail Stop 4559, Washington, DC 20240; or by email to [email protected] Please reference OMB Control Number 1029-0054 in the subject line of your comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request additional information about this ICR, contact John Trelease by email at [email protected], or by telephone at (202) 208-2783. You may also view the ICR at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we provide the general public and other Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on new, proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps us assess the impact of our information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand our information collection requirements and provides the requested data in the desired format.

    A Federal Register notice with a 60-day public comment period soliciting comments on this collection of information was published on August 16, 2017 (82 FR 38931). No comments were received.

    We are again soliciting comments on the proposed ICR that is described below. We are especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is the collection necessary to the proper functions of OSMRE; (2) is the estimate of burden accurate; (3) how might OSMRE enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) how might OSMRE minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology.

    Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of public record. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Title: 30 CFR part 872—Abandoned Mine Reclamation Funds.

    OMB Control Number: 1029-0054.

    Summary: 30 CFR part 872 establishes a procedure whereby States and Indian tribes submit written statements announcing the State/Tribe's decision not to submit reclamation plans, and therefore, will not be granted AML funds. Additional information is provided to OSMRE by state reclamation agencies to determine eligibility of economic development projects requesting Treasury Funds allocated to the AML Pilot Program.

    Bureau Form Number: None.

    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: State and Tribal abandoned mine land reclamation agencies; and businesses and non-profit organizations.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Respondents: One State or Tribal AML reclamation agency which may submit a notification to cease their AML program; approximately 54 AML Pilot Project applicants, and 6 State AML Pilot Coordinators processing 9 projects each.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 109.

    Estimated Completion Time per Response: One hour for AML reclamation agencies to prepare written statements to cease their AML program; 85 hours for AML Pilot Project applicants, and 155 hours for State AML Pilot Coordinators to review each application.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 12,961 hours.

    Respondent's Obligation: Required to Obtain or Retain a Benefit.

    Frequency of Collection: One time.

    Total Estimated Annual Nonhour Burden Cost: $0.

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    The authority for this action is the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

    Dated: October 25, 2017. John A. Trelease, Acting Chief, Division of Regulatory Support.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26931 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-05-P
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE [OMB Number 1110-0053] Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Reinstatement, With Change, of a Previously Approved Collection for Which Approval Has Expired: FBI eFOIA Form AGENCY:

    Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice.

    ACTION:

    30-Day notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs, Federal Bureau of Investigation, will be submitting the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. This proposed information collection was previously published in the Federal Register, on October 10, 2017 allowing for a 60 day comment period.

    DATES:

    Comments are encourages and will be accepted for an additional 30 day until January 16, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have additional comments especially on the estimated public burden or associated response time, suggestions, or need a copy of the proposed information collection instrument with instructions or additional information, please contact Leanna Ramsey, at 540-868-4292 FOIA Public Information Officer, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Written comments and suggestions from the public and affected agencies concerning the proposed collection of information are encouraged. Your comments should address one or more of the following four points:

    —Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; —Evaluate the accuracy of the agencies estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; —Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and —Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. Overview of This Information Collection

    (1) Type of Information Collection: Reinstatement of the FBI eFOIA form with changes, a previously approved collection for which approval has expired.

    (2) Title of the Form/Collection: FBI eFOIA form

    (3) Agency form number, if any, and the applicable component of the Department sponsoring the collection: The applicable component within the Department of Justice is the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    (4) Affected public who will be asked or required to respond, as well as a brief abstract:

    The general public who wish to make online FOIA request will be the most affected group. This information collection is to allow the Federal Bureau of Investigation to accept and responded to FOIA requester as defined in 28 CFR part 16.3.

    (a) How made and addressed. You may make a request for records of the Department of Justice by writing directly to the Department component that maintains those records. You may find the Department's “Freedom of Information Act Reference Guide”—which is available electronically at the Department's World Wide website, and is available in paper form as well—helpful in making your request. For additional information about the FOIA, you may refer directly to the statute. If you are making a request for records about yourself, see § 16.41(d) for additional requirements. If you are making a request for records about another individual, either a written authorization signed by that individual permitting disclosure of those records to you or proof that that individual is deceased (for example, a copy of a death certificate or an obituary) will help the processing of your request. Your request should be sent to the component's FOIA office at the address listed in appendix I to part 16. In most cases, your FOIA request should be sent to a component's central FOIA office. For records held by a field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), however, you must write directly to that FBI or INS field office address, which can be found in most telephone books or by calling the component's central FOIA office. (The functions of each component are summarized in part 0 of this title and in the description of the Department and its components in the “United States Government Manual,” which is issued annually and is available in most libraries, as well as for sale from the Government Printing Office's Superintendent of Documents. This manual also can be accessed electronically at the Government Printing Office's World Wide website (which can be found at http://www.access.thefederalregister.org/su_docs).) If you cannot determine where within the Department to send your request, you may send it to the FOIA/PA Mail Referral Unit, Justice Management Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20530-0001. That office will forward your request to the component(s) it believes most likely to have the records that you want. Your request will be considered received as of the date it is received by the proper component's FOIA office. For the quickest possible handling, you should mark both your request letter and the envelope “Freedom of Information Act Request.” (b) Description of records sought. You must describe the records that you seek in enough detail to enable Department personnel to locate them with a reasonable amount of effort. Whenever possible, your request should include specific information about each record sought, such as the date, title or name, author, recipient, and subject matter of the record. In addition, if you want records about a court case, you should provide the title of the case, the court in which the case was filed, and the nature of the case. If known, you should include any file designations or descriptions for the records that you want. As a general rule, the more specific you are about the records or type of records that you want, the more likely the Department will be able to locate those records in response to your request. If a component determines that your request does not reasonably describe records, it shall tell you either what additional information is needed or why your request is otherwise insufficient. The component also shall give you an opportunity to discuss your request so that you may modify it to meet the requirements of this section. If your request does not reasonably describe the records you seek, the agency's response to your request may be delayed.

    Code of Federal Regulations/Title 28—Judicial Administration/Vol. 1/2013-07-01279

    (c) Agreement to pay fees. If you make a FOIA request, it shall be considered an agreement by you to pay all applicable fees charged under § 16.11, up to $25.00, unless you seek a waiver of fees. The component responsible for responding to your request ordinarily will confirm this agreement in an acknowledgement letter. When making a request, you may specify a willingness to pay a greater or lesser amount.

    (5) An estimate of the total number of respondents and the amount of time estimated for an average respondent to respond/reply: An estimated 21,406 FOI/PA requests are completed annually. These requests can be submitted via free-form letter, email or the eFOIA form. In FY 2017, approximately 16,402 online eFOIA forms were submitted. An average of 8 minutes per respondent is needed to complete form the eFOIA form. The estimated range of burden for respondents is expected to be between 4 minutes to 12 minutes for completion.

    (6) An estimate of the total public burden (in hours) associated with the collection: The estimated public burden associated with this collection is .5 hours. It is estimated that respondents will take .5 hour to complete a questionnaire. The burden hours for collecting respondent data sum to 250 hours 500 respondents × .5 hours = 250 hours).

    If additional information is required contact: Melody Braswell, Department Clearance Officer, United States Department of Justice, Justice Management Division, Policy and Planning Staff, Two Constitution Square, 145 N Street NE, Suite 3E.405B, Washington, DC 20530.

    Dated: December 11, 2017. Melody Braswell, Department Clearance Officer, PRA, U.S. Department of Justice.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26953 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-02-P
    NATIONAL FOUNDATION ON THE ARTS AND THE HUMANITIES Meetings of Humanities Panel AGENCY:

    National Endowment for the Humanities.

    ACTION:

    Notice of meetings.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Endowment for the Humanities will hold three meetings of the Humanities Panel, a federal advisory committee, during January, 2018. The purpose of the meetings is for panel review, discussion, evaluation, and recommendation of applications for financial assistance under the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965.

    DATES:

    See Supplementary Information section for meeting dates. The meetings will open at 8:30 a.m. and will adjourn by 5:00 p.m. on the dates specified below.

    ADDRESSES:

    Please see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for locations.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Elizabeth Voyatzis, Committee Management Officer, 400 7th Street SW, Room 4060, Washington, DC 20506; (202) 606-8322; [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Pursuant to section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meetings:

    1. Date: January 8, 2018.

    This meeting will discuss applications for Next Generation Humanities Ph.D.: Planning Grants, submitted to the Division of Education Programs. The meeting will be held at the NEH offices at 400 7th Street SW, Washington, DC 20506.

    2. Date: January 18, 2018.

    This meeting will discuss applications on the subjects of the Americas and Europe: History, Social Sciences, Literature, and Studies Linguistics, for Kluge Fellowships, submitted to the Division of Research Programs. The meeting will be held at The Library of Congress, Jefferson Building, 10 First Street SE, RoomLJ-220, Washington, DC 20540.

    2. Date: January 22, 2018.

    This meeting will discuss applications on the subjects of Africa, Asia, and Europe: History, Social Sciences, Literature, and Studies for Kluge Fellowships, submitted to the Division of Research Programs. The meeting will be held at The Library of Congress, Jefferson Building, 10 First Street SE, Room LJ-220, Washington, DC 20540.

    Because these meetings will include review of personal and/or proprietary financial and commercial information given in confidence to the agency by grant applicants, the meetings will be closed to the public pursuant to sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6) of Title 5, U.S.C., as amended. I have made this determination pursuant to the authority granted me by the Chairman's Delegation of Authority to Close Advisory Committee Meetings dated April 15, 2016. Dated: December 11, 2017. Elizabeth Voyatzis, Committee Management Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26965 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7536-01-P
    POSTAL REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket Nos. MC2018-49 and CP2018-80; MC2018-50 and CP2018-81; MC2018-51 and CP2018-82; MC2018-52 and CP2018-83] New Postal Product AGENCY:

    Postal Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Commission is noticing a recent Postal Service filing for the Commission's consideration concerning a negotiated service agreement. This notice informs the public of the filing, invites public comment, and takes other administrative steps.

    DATES:

    Comments are due: December 18, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments electronically via the Commission's Filing Online system at http://www.prc.gov. Those who cannot submit comments electronically should contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section by telephone for advice on filing alternatives.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    David A. Trissell, General Counsel, at 202-789-6820.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Contents I. Introduction II. Docketed Proceeding(s) I. Introduction

    The Commission gives notice that the Postal Service filed request(s) for the Commission to consider matters related to negotiated service agreement(s). The request(s) may propose the addition or removal of a negotiated service agreement from the market dominant or the competitive product list, or the modification of an existing product currently appearing on the market dominant or the competitive product list.

    Section II identifies the docket number(s) associated with each Postal Service request, the title of each Postal Service request, the request's acceptance date, and the authority cited by the Postal Service for each request. For each request, the Commission appoints an officer of the Commission to represent the interests of the general public in the proceeding, pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 505 (Public Representative). Section II also establishes comment deadline(s) pertaining to each request.

    The public portions of the Postal Service's request(s) can be accessed via the Commission's website (http://www.prc.gov). Non-public portions of the Postal Service's request(s), if any, can be accessed through compliance with the requirements of 39 CFR 3007.40.

    The Commission invites comments on whether the Postal Service's request(s) in the captioned docket(s) are consistent with the policies of title 39. For request(s) that the Postal Service states concern market dominant product(s), applicable statutory and regulatory requirements include 39 U.S.C. 3622, 39 U.S.C. 3642, 39 CFR part 3010, and 39 CFR part 3020, subpart B. For request(s) that the Postal Service states concern competitive product(s), applicable statutory and regulatory requirements include 39 U.S.C. 3632, 39 U.S.C. 3633, 39 U.S.C. 3642, 39 CFR part 3015, and 39 CFR part 3020, subpart B. Comment deadline(s) for each request appear in section II.

    II. Docketed Proceeding(s)

    1. Docket No(s).: MC2018-49 and CP2018-80; Filing Title: USPS Request to Add Priority Mail Express & Priority Mail Contract 54 to Competitive Product List and Notice of Filing Materials Under Seal; Filing Acceptance Date: December 8, 2017; Filing Authority: 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 39 CFR 3020.30 et seq.; Public Representative: Kenneth R. Moeller; Comments Due: December 18, 2017.

    2. Docket No(s).: MC2018-50 and CP2018-81; Filing Title: USPS Request to Add Priority Mail Contract 386 to Competitive Product List and Notice of Filing Materials Under Seal; Filing Acceptance Date: December 8, 2017; Filing Authority: 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 39 CFR 3020.30 et seq.; Public Representative: Kenneth R. Moeller; Comments Due: December 18, 2017.

    3. Docket No(s).: MC2018-51 and CP2018-82; Filing Title: USPS Request to Add First-Class Package Service Contract 86 to Competitive Product List and Notice of Filing Materials Under Seal; Filing Acceptance Date: December 8, 2017; Filing Authority: 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 39 CFR 3020.30 et seq.; Public Representative: Jennaca D. Upperman; Comments Due: December 18, 2017.

    4. Docket No(s).: MC2018-52 and CP2018-83; Filing Title: USPS Request to Add Priority Mail Contract 387 to Competitive Product List and Notice of Filing Materials Under Seal; Filing Acceptance Date: December 8, 2017; Filing Authority: 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 39 CFR 3020.30 et seq.; Public Representative: Jennaca D. Upperman; Comments Due: December 18, 2017.

    This notice will be published in the Federal Register.

    Stacy L. Ruble, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26973 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-FW-P
    POSTAL SERVICE Product Change—First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service Agreement AGENCY:

    Postal ServiceTM.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Postal Service gives notice of filing a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission to add a domestic shipping services contract to the list of Negotiated Service Agreements in the Mail Classification Schedule's Competitive Products List.

    DATES:

    Date of notice required under 39 U.S.C. 3642(d)(1): December 14, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Elizabeth A. Reed, 202-268-3179.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The United States Postal Service® hereby gives notice that, pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 3632(b)(3), on December 8, 2017, it filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission a USPS Request to Add First-Class Package Service Contract 86 to Competitive Product List. Documents are available at www.prc.gov, Docket Nos. MC2018-51, CP2018-82.

    Elizabeth A. Reed, Attorney, Corporate and Postal Business Law.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26907 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-12-P
    POSTAL SERVICE Product Change—Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement AGENCY:

    Postal ServiceTM.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Postal Service gives notice of filing a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission to add a domestic shipping services contract to the list of Negotiated Service Agreements in the Mail Classification Schedule's Competitive Products List.

    DATES:

    Date of notice required under 39 U.S.C. 3642(d)(1): December 14, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Elizabeth A. Reed, 202-268-3179.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The United States Postal Service® hereby gives notice that, pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 3632(b)(3), on December 8, 2017, it filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission a USPS Request to Add Priority Mail Express & Priority Mail Contract 54 to Competitive Product List. Documents are available at www.prc.gov, Docket Nos. MC2018-49, CP2018-80.

    Elizabeth A. Reed, Attorney, Corporate and Postal Business Law.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26905 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-12-P
    POSTAL SERVICE Product Change—Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement AGENCY:

    Postal ServiceTM.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Postal Service gives notice of filing a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission to add a domestic shipping services contract to the list of Negotiated Service Agreements in the Mail Classification Schedule's Competitive Products List.

    DATES:

    Date of notice required under 39 U.S.C. 3642(d)(1): December 14, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Elizabeth A. Reed, 202-268-3179.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The United States Postal Service® hereby gives notice that, pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 3632(b)(3), on December 8, 2017, it filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission a USPS Request to Add Priority Mail Contract 387 to Competitive Product List. Documents are available at www.prc.gov, Docket Nos. MC2018-52, CP2018-83.

    Elizabeth A. Reed, Attorney, Corporate and Postal Business Law.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26908 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-12-P
    POSTAL SERVICE Product Change—Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement AGENCY:

    Postal ServiceTM.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Postal Service gives notice of filing a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission to add a domestic shipping services contract to the list of Negotiated Service Agreements in the Mail Classification Schedule's Competitive Products List.

    DATES:

    Date of notice required under 39 U.S.C. 3642(d)(1): December 14, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Elizabeth A. Reed, 202-268-3179.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The United States Postal Service® hereby gives notice that, pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 3632(b)(3), on December 8, 2017, it filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission a USPS Request to Add Priority Mail Contract 386 to Competitive Product List. Documents are available at www.prc.gov, Docket Nos. MC2018-50, CP2018-81.

    Elizabeth A. Reed, Attorney, Corporate and Postal Business Law.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26906 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-12-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-82245; File No. SR-Phlx-2017-99] Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Exchange Rules To Make Permanent a Program That Allows Transactions To Take Place in Open Outcry Trading at Prices of at Least $0 But Less Than $1 per Option Contract (“Sub-Dollar Cabinet Trades”) December 8, 2017.

    Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),1 and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,2 notice is hereby given that on November 29, 2017 Nasdaq PHLX LLC (“Phlx” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I and II below, which Items have been prepared by the Exchange. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons.

    1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).

    2 17 CFR 240.19b-4.

    I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

    The Exchange proposes to a proposal[sic] to amend the Exchange's rules to make permanent a program that allows transactions to take place in open outcry trading at prices of at least $0 but less than $1 per option contract (“sub-dollar cabinet trades”).

    The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's website at http://nasdaqphlx.cchwallstreet.com/, at the principal office of the Exchange, and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

    II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

    In its filing with the Commission, the Exchange included statements concerning the purpose of and basis for the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. The Exchange has prepared summaries, set forth in sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements.

    A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change 1. Purpose

    The Exchange proposes to amend Rule 1059 to make permanent a program that allows transactions to take place at a price that is below $1 per option contract.3 The program is currently subject to a pilot that is scheduled to expire on January 5, 2018.4

    3See Commentary .02, Limit Orders Priced Below $1, to Exchange Rule 1059, Accommodation Transactions.

    4See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 79782 (January 12, 2017), 82 FR 6667 (January 19, 2017) (SR-Phlx-2017-01). The Exchange initially adopted the program in 2010. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 63626 (December 30, 2010), 76 FR 812 (January 6, 2011) (SR-Phlx-2010-185).

    An “accommodation” or “cabinet” trade refers to trades in listed options on the Exchange that are worthless or not actively traded. Trading is generally conducted in accordance with Exchange Rules, except as provided in Exchange Rule 1059, Accommodation Transactions (Cabinet Trades), which sets forth specific procedures for engaging in cabinet trades.

    Rule 1059 provides that a “cabinet order” is a closing limit order at a price of $1 per option contract for the account of a customer, firm, specialist or ROT. An opening order is not a “cabinet order” but may in certain cases be matched with a cabinet order. Prior to the pilot program, only closing limit orders at a price of $1 per option contract for the accounts of customer, firm, specialists and Registered Options Traders (“ROTs”) could be placed in the cabinet.

    Rule 1059 currently provides that cabinet transactions at a price of $1 per option contract may occur via open outcry in any options series open for trading on the Exchange. However, the $1 Cabinet Trading procedures are not available in Penny Pilot Program classes because in those classes an option series can trade in a standard increment as low as $ 0.01 per share (or $1.00 per option contract with a 100 share multiplier).

    The Exchange amended the Cabinet Trading procedures to allow transactions to take place in open outcry at a price of at least $0 but less than $1 per option contract. This amendment expires on January 5, 2018. These lower-priced transactions are permitted to be traded pursuant to the same procedures applicable to $1 Cabinet Trades, except that (i) bids and offers for opening transactions are only permitted to accommodate closing transactions, and (ii) transactions in option classes participating in the Penny Pilot Program are permitted. The Exchange believes that allowing a price of at least $0 but less than $1 better accommodates the closing of options positions in series that are worthless or not actively traded, particularly when there has been a significant move in the price of the underlying security, resulting in a large number of series being out-of-the-money. For example, a market participant might have a long position in a put series with a strike price of $30 and the underlying stock might be trading at $100. In such an instance, there is likely no market to close-out the position, even at the $1 cabinet price.

    As with other accommodation liquidations under Rule 1059, transactions at prices less than $1 are not disseminated to the public on the consolidated tape. In addition, as with other accommodation liquidations under Rule 1059, the transactions are exempt from the Consolidated Options Audit Trail (“COATS”) requirements of Exchange Rule 1063(e)(i). However, Rule 1059 requires all transactions, including transaction for less than $1, to be reported to the Exchange following the close of each business day.

    The Exchange notes that while the level of liquidation trades is not meaningful, such trades serve an essential purpose in that they allow market participants to close out options positions that are worthless or not actively trading. To illustrate, in 2016, there were a total of 442 Cabinet Trades comprising 244,734 contracts. Each contract was executed at a trade price of $ 0.01. The Exchange believes this level of trading demonstrates the benefit of the current program to market participants.

    The current rule was adopted on a pilot basis to provide the Exchange time to evaluate the efficacy of the change and to address any operational issues that might arise in processing Cabinet trades. In support of making the program permanent, the Exchange represents that there are no operational issues in processing and clearing Cabinet Trades in penny and subpenny increments. The Exchange is also not aware of the Options Clearing Corporation (“OCC”) having operational issues with processing Cabinet trades submitted by the Exchange. Each Cabinet Trade is input manually into the clearing system, and then flows seamlessly for settlement at OCC. More specifically, upon receiving an order for a Cabinet Trade, a Floor Broker fills out a designated cabinet transaction form provided by the Exchange noting the order details. The Floor Broker subsequently calls for a market for the order by announcing the terms of the order to the trading crowd. The Floor Broker proceeds to execute the order and submits the designated cabinet transaction form to the Nasdaq Market Operations staff for clearance and reporting at the close of the business day. Nasdaq Market Operations staff then enter the transaction into the Phlx system, which transmits the trade to OCC for clearance and settlement.

    At the time of adoption of the pilot the Phlx system permitted reporting a cabinet trade at a price as small as $0.0001, as it does today. The Exchange system allows Cabinet trades to be processed in a manner similar to how all other trades are processed by the exchange.

    Additionally, the Exchange notes that members and member organizations have not raised any concerns with the processing of Cabinet Trades.

    2. Statutory Basis

    The Exchange believes that its proposal is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act,5 in general, and furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act,6 in particular, in that it is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system, and, in general to protect investors and the public interest. The Exchange believes that liquidation trades promote competition and afford market participants the opportunity to close out their options positions. The Exchange believes that permanently approving the rules that allow for liquidations at a price less than $1 per option contract would better facilitate the closing of options positions that are worthless or not actively trading, especially in Penny Pilot issues where Cabinet Trades are not otherwise permitted. The Exchange believes that approving the program on a permanent basis is also consistent with the Act. With respect to the level of liquidation trades transacted on the Exchange, the Exchange believes that the data gathered provides meaningful support to make the program permanent.

    5 15 U.S.C. 78f(b).

    6 15 U.S.C. 78f(b)(5).

    B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

    The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change will impose any burden on competition not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. The Exchange believes that approving the program on a permanent basis will not impact competition, as it will continue to facilitate members' ability to close positions in worthless or not actively traded series.

    C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants, or Others

    No written comments were either solicited or received.

    III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action

    Within 45 days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or within such longer period up to 90 days (i) as the Commission may designate if it finds such longer period to be appropriate and publishes its reasons for so finding or (ii) as to which the Exchange consents, the Commission shall: (a) By order approve or disapprove such proposed rule change, or (b) institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule change should be disapproved.

    IV. Solicitation of Comments

    Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Comments

    • Use the Commission's internet comment form (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml); or

    • Send an email to [email protected] Please include File Number SR-Phlx-2017-99 on the subject line.

    Paper Comments

    • Send paper comments in triplicate to Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549-1090.

    All submissions should refer to File Number SR-Phlx-2017-99. This file number should be included on the subject line if email is used. To help the Commission process and review your comments more efficiently, please use only one method. The Commission will post all comments on the Commission's internet website (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml). Copies of the submission, all subsequent amendments, all written statements with respect to the proposed rule change that are filed with the Commission, and all written communications relating to the proposed rule change between the Commission and any person, other than those that may be withheld from the public in accordance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552, will be available for website viewing and printing in the Commission's Public Reference Room, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549, on official business days between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Copies of the filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the Exchange. All comments received will be posted without change. Persons submitting comments are cautioned that we do not redact or edit personal identifying information from comment submissions. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. All submissions should refer to File Number SR-Phlx-2017-99 and should be submitted on or before December 29, 2017.

    For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.7

    7 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).

    Eduardo A. Aleman, Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26912 Filed 12-13-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-82253; File No. SR-FINRA-2017-011] Self-Regulatory Organizations; Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Amendment No. 1 to a Proposed Rule Change to Adopt a Fee Schedule to Establish the Fees for Industry Members Related to the National Market System Plan Governing the Consolidated Audit Trail December 8, 2017.

    On May 8, 2017, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”), pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”) 1 and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,2 a proposed rule change to adopt a fee schedule to establish the fees for Industry Members related to the National Market System Plan Governing the Consolidated Audit Trail (“CAT NMS Plan”). The proposed rule change was published in the Federal Register for comment on May 22, 2017.3 The Commission received seven comment letters on the proposed rule change,4 and a response to comments from the Participants.5 On June 30, 2017, the Commission temporarily suspended and initiated proceedings to determine whether to approve or disapprove the proposed rule change.6 The Commission thereafter received seven comment letters,7 and a response to comments from the Participants.8 On November 9, 2017, the Commission extended the time period within which to approve the proposed rule change or disapprove the proposed rule change to January 14, 2018.9 On December 1, 2017, FINRA filed Amendment No. 1 to the proposed rule change, as described in Items I and II below, which Items have been prepared by FINRA.10 The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments from interested persons on Amendment No. 1.

    1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).

    2 17 CFR 240.19b-4.

    3See Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 80710 (May 17, 2017), 82 FR 23639 (May 23, 2017) (“Original Proposal”).

    4 Since the CAT NMS Plan Participants' proposed rule changes to adopt fees to be charged to Industry Members to fund the consolidated audit trail are substantively identical, the Commission is considering all comments received on the proposed rule changes regardless of the comment file to which they were submitted. See text accompanying notes 12-15 infra, for a list of the CAT NMS Plan Participants. See Letter from Theodore R. Lazo, Managing Director and Associate General Counsel, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Commission (dated June 6, 2017), available at: https://www.sec.gov/comments/sr-batsbzx-2017-38/batsbzx201738-1788188-153228.pdf; Letter from Patricia L. Cerny and Steven O'Malley, Compliance Consultants, to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Commission (dated June 12, 2017), available at: https://www.sec.gov/comments/sr-cboe-2017-040/cboe2017040-1799253-153675.pdf; Letter from Daniel Zinn, General Counsel, OTC Markets Group Inc., to Eduardo A. Aleman, Assistant Secretary, Commission (dated June 13, 2017), available at: https://www.sec.gov/comments/sr-finra-2017-011/finra2017011-1801717-153703.pdf; Letter from Joanna Mallers, Secretary, FIA Principal Traders Group, to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Commission (dated June 22, 2017), available at: https://www.sec.gov/comments/sr-cboe-2017-040/cboe2017040-1819670-154195.pdf; Letter from Stuart J. Kaswell, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, General Counsel, Managed Funds Association, to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Commission (dated June 23, 2017), available at: https://www.sec.gov/comments/sr-finra-2017-011/finra2017011-1822454-154283.pdf; and Letter from Suzanne H. Shatto, Investor, to Commission (dated June 27, 2017), available at: https://www.sec.gov/comments/sr-batsedgx-2017-22/batsedgx201722-154443.pdf. The Commission also received a comment letter which is not pertinent to these proposed rule changes. See Letter from Christina Crouch, Smart Ltd., to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Commission (dated June 5, 2017), available at: https://www.sec.gov/comments/sr-batsbzx-2017-38/batsbzx201738-1785545-153152.htm.

    5See Letter from CAT NMS Plan Participants to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Commission (dated June 29, 2017), available at: https://www.sec.gov/comments/sr-batsbyx-2017-11/batsbyx201711-1832632-154584.pdf.

    6See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 81067 (June 30, 2017), 82 FR 31656 (July 7, 2017).

    7See Letter from W. Hardy Callcott, Partner, Sidley Austin LLP, to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Commission (dated July 27, 2017), available at: https://www.sec.gov/comments/sr-batsbyx-2017-11/batsbyx201711-2148338-157737.pdf; Letter from Kevin Coleman, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, Belvedere Trading LLC, to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Commission (dated July 28, 2017), available at: https://www.sec.gov/comments/sr-batsbyx-2017-11/batsbyx201711-2148360-157740.pdf; Letter from Joanna Mallers, Secretary, FIA Principal Traders Group, to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Commission (dated July 28, 2017), available at: https://www.sec.gov/comments/sr-batsbyx-2017-11/batsbyx201711-2151228-157745.pdf; Letter from Theodore R. Lazo, Managing Director and Associate General Counsel, SIFMA, to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Commission (dated July 28, 2017), available at: https://www.sec.gov/comments/sr-batsbyx-2017-11/batsbyx201711-2150977-157744.pdf; Letter from Stuart J. Kaswell, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, General Counsel, Managed Funds Association, to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Commission (dated July 28, 2017), available at: https://www.sec.gov/comments/sr-batsbyx-2017-11/batsbyx201711-2150818-157743.pdf; Letter from John Kinahan, Chief Executive Officer, Group One Trading, L.P., to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Commission (dated August 10, 2017), available at: https://www.sec.gov/comments/sr-finra-2017-011/finra2017011-2214568-160619.pdf; Letter from Joseph Molluso, Executive Vice President and CFO, Virtu Financial, to Brent J. Fields, Commission (dated August 18, 2017), available at: https://www.sec.gov/comments/sr-finra-2017-011/finra2017011-2238648-160830.pdf.

    8See Letter from Michael Simon, Chair, CAT NMS Plan Operating Committee, to Brent J. Fields, Commission, Secretary (dated November 2, 2017), available at https://www.sec.gov/comments/sr-batsbyx-2017-11/batsbyx201711-2674608-161412.pdf.

    9See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 82049 (November 9, 2017), 82 FR 53549 (November 16, 2017).

    10 Amendment No. 1 replaces and supersedes the Original Proposal in its entirety.

    I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

    FINRA is proposing to file Amendment No. 1 to SR-FINRA-2017-011 (the “Original Proposal”), pursuant to which FINRA proposed to adopt a fee schedule to establish the fees for Industry Members related to the National Market System Plan Governing the Consolidated Audit Trail (the “CAT NMS Plan” or “Plan”).11 FINRA files this proposed rule change (the “Amendment”) to amend the Original Proposal. This Amendment replaces the Original Proposal in its entirety, and also describes the changes from the Original Proposal.

    11 Unless otherwise specified, capitalized terms used in this fee filing are defined as set forth herein, the CAT Compliance Rule Series, in the CAT NMS Plan, or the Original Proposal.

    The text of the proposed rule change is available on FINRA's website at http://www.finra.org, at the principal office of FINRA and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

    II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

    In its filing with the Commission, FINRA included statements concerning the purpose of and basis for the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. FINRA has prepared summaries, set forth in sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements.

    A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change 1. Purpose

    BOX Options Exchange LLC, Cboe BYX Exchange, Inc., Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc., Cboe EDGA Exchange, Inc., Cboe EDGX Exchange, Inc., Cboe C2 Exchange, Inc., Cboe Exchange, Inc.,12 Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc., Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”), Investors' Exchange LLC, Miami International Securities Exchange, LLC, MIAX PEARL, LLC, NASDAQ BX, Inc., Nasdaq GEMX, LLC, Nasdaq ISE, LLC, Nasdaq MRX, LLC,13 NASDAQ PHLX LLC, The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC, New York Stock Exchange LLC, NYSE American LLC,14 NYSE Arca, Inc. and NYSE National, Inc.15 (collectively, the “Participants”) filed with the Commission, pursuant to Section 11A of the Exchange Act 16 and Rule 608 of Regulation NMS thereunder,17 the CAT NMS Plan.18 The Participants filed the Plan to comply with Rule 613 of Regulation NMS under the Exchange Act.19 The Plan was published for comment in the Federal Register on May 17, 2016,20 and approved by the Commission, as modified, on November 15, 2016.21 The Plan is designed to create, implement and maintain a consolidated audit trail (“CAT”) that would capture customer and order event information for orders in NMS Securities and OTC Equity Securities, across all markets, from the time of order inception through routing, cancellation, modification, or execution in a single consolidated data source. The Plan accomplishes this by creating CAT NMS, LLC (the “Company”), of which each Participant is a member, to operate the CAT.22 Under the CAT NMS Plan, the Operating Committee of the Company (“Operating Committee”) has discretion to establish funding for the Company to operate the CAT, including establishing fees that the Participants will pay, and establishing fees for Industry Members that will be implemented by the Participants (“CAT Fees”).23 The Participants are required to file with the SEC under Section 19(b) of the Exchange Act any such CAT Fees applicable to Industry Members that the Operating Committee approves.24

    12 Note that Bats BYX Exchange, Inc., Bats BZX Exchange, Inc., Bats EDGA Exchange, Inc., Bats EDGX Exchange, Inc., LLC, C2 Options Exchange, Incorporated, and Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated, have been renamed Cboe BYX Exchange, Inc., Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc., Cboe EDGA Exchange, Inc., Cboe EDGX Exchange, Inc., Cboe C2 Exchange, Inc., Cboe Exchange, Inc., respectively.

    13 ISE Gemini, LLC, ISE Mercury, LLC and International Securities Exchange, LLC have been renamed Nasdaq GEMX, LLC, Nasdaq MRX, LLC, and Nasdaq ISE, LLC, respectively. See Securities Exchange Act Rel. No. 80248 (March 15, 2017), 82 FR 14547 (March 21, 2017); Securities Exchange Act Rel. No. 80326 (March 29, 2017), 82 FR 16460 (April 4, 2017); and Securities Exchange Act Rel. No. 80325 (March 29, 2017), 82 FR 16445 (April 4, 2017).

    14 NYSE MKT LLC has been renamed NYSE American LLC. See Securities Exchange Act Rel. No. 80283 (March 21, 2017), 82 FR 15244 (March 27, 2017).

    15 National Stock Exchange, Inc. has been renamed NYSE National, Inc. See Securities Exchange Act Rel. No. 79902 (January 30, 2017), 82 FR 9258 (February 3, 2017).

    16 15 U.S.C. 78k-1.

    17 17 CFR 242.608.

    18See Letter from the Participants to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Commission, dated September 30, 2014; and Letter from Participants to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Commission, dated February 27, 2015. On December 24, 2015, the Participants submitted an amendment to the CAT NMS Plan. See Letter from Participants to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Commission, dated December 23, 2015.

    19 17 CFR 242.613.

    20 Securities Exchange Act Release No. 77724 (April 27, 2016), 81 FR 30614 (May 17, 2016).

    21 Securities Exchange Act Release No. 79318 (November 15, 2016), 81 FR 84696 (November 23, 2016) (“Approval Order”).

    22 The Plan also serves as the limited liability company agreement for the Company.

    23 Section 11.1(b) of the CAT NMS Plan.

    24See supra note 16.

    Accordingly, on May 8, 2017, FINRA submitted the Original Proposal to propose the Consolidated Audit Trail Funding Fees, which would require Industry Members that are FINRA members to pay the CAT Fees determined by the Operating Committee. Each of the other Participants filed substantively identical fee filings in accordance with the Plan. The Commission published the Original Proposal for public comment in the Federal Register on May 23, 2017,25 and received comments in response to the Original Proposal or similar fee filings by other Participants.26 On June 30, 2017, the Commission suspended, and instituted proceedings to determine whether to approve or disapprove, the Original Proposal.27 The Commission received seven comment letters in response to those proceedings.28

    25 Securities Exchange Act Release No. 80710 (May 17, 2017), 82 FR 23639 (May 23, 2017) (Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of File No. SR-FINRA-2017-011).

    26 For a summary of comments, see generally Securities Exchange Act Release No. 81067 (June 30, 2017), 82 FR 31656 (July 7, 2017) (“Suspension Order”).

    27 Suspension Order.

    28See Letter from W. Hardy Callcott, Sidley Austin LLP, to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, SEC, dated July 27, 2017 (“Sidley Letter”); Letter from Kevin Coleman, General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer, Belvedere Trading LLC, to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, SEC, dated July 28, 2017 (“Belvedere Letter”); Letter from Joanna Mallers, Secretary, FIA Principal Traders Group, to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, SEC, dated July 28, 2017 (“FIA Principal Traders Group Letter”); Letter from Stuart J. Kaswell, Executive Vice President, Managing Director and General Counsel, Managed Funds Association, to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, SEC, dated July 28, 2017 (“MFA Letter”); Letter from Theodore R. Lazo, Managing Director and Associate General Counsel, SIFMA, to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, SEC, dated July 28, 2017 (“SIFMA Letter”); Letter from John Kinahan, Chief Executive Officer, Group One Trading, L.P., to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, SEC, dated Aug. 10, 2017 (“Group One Letter”); and Letter from Joseph Molluso, Executive Vice President, Virtu Financial, to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, SEC, August 18, 2017) (“Virtu Financial Letter”).

    In response to the comments on the Original Proposal, the Operating Committee determined to make the following changes to the funding model: (1) Add two additional CAT Fee tiers for Equity Execution Venues; (2) discount the OTC Equity Securities market share of Execution Venue ATSs trading OTC Equity Securities as well as the market share of the FINRA over-the-counter reporting facility (“ORF”) by the average shares per trade ratio between NMS Stocks and OTC Equity Securities (calculated as 0.17% based on available data from the second quarter of 2017) when calculating the market share of Execution Venue ATS trading OTC Equity Securities and FINRA; (3) discount the Options Market Maker quotes by the trade to quote ratio for options (calculated as 0.01% based on available data for June 2016 through June 2017) when calculating message traffic for Options Market Makers; (4) discount equity market maker quotes by the trade to quote ratio for equities (calculated as 5.43% based on available data for June 2016 through June 2017) when calculating message traffic for equity market makers; (5) decrease the number of tiers for Industry Members (other than the Execution Venue ATSs) from nine to seven; (6) change the allocation of CAT costs between Equity Execution Venues and Options Execution Venues from 75%/25% to 67%/33%; (7) adjust tier percentages and recovery allocations for Equity Execution Venues, Options Execution Venues and Industry Members (other than Execution Venue ATSs); (8) focus the comparability of CAT Fees on the individual entity level, rather than primarily on the comparability of affiliated entities; (9) commence invoicing of CAT Reporters as promptly as possible following the latest of the operative date of the Consolidated Audit Trail Funding Fees for each of the Participants and the operative date of the CAT NMS Plan amendment adopting CAT Fees for Participants; and (10) require the proposed fees to automatically expire two years from the operative date of the CAT NMS Plan amendment adopting CAT Fees for Participants. As discussed in detail below, FINRA proposes to amend the Original Proposal to reflect these changes approved by the Operating Committee.

    (1) Executive Summary

    The following provides an executive summary of the CAT funding model approved by the Operating Committee, as well as Industry Members' rights and obligations related to the payment of CAT Fees calculated pursuant to the CAT funding model, as amended by this Amendment. A detailed description of the CAT funding model and the CAT Fees, as amended by this Amendment, as well as the changes made to the Original Proposal follows this executive summary.

    (A) CAT Funding Model

    CAT Costs. The CAT funding model is designed to establish CAT-specific fees to collectively recover the costs of building and operating the CAT from all CAT Reporters, including Industry Members and Participants. The overall CAT costs used in calculating the CAT Fees in this fee filing are comprised of Plan Processor CAT costs and non-Plan Processor CAT costs incurred, and estimated to be incurred, from November 21, 2016 through November 21, 2017. Although the CAT costs from November 21, 2016 through November 21, 2017 were used in calculating the CAT Fees, the CAT Fees set forth in this fee filing would be in effect until the automatic sunset date, as discussed below. (See Section 3(a)(2)(E) below)

    Bifurcated Funding Model. The CAT NMS Plan requires a bifurcated funding model, where costs associated with building and operating the CAT would be borne by (1) Participants and Industry Members that are Execution Venues for Eligible Securities through fixed tier fees based on market share, and (2) Industry Members (other than alternative trading systems (“ATSs”) that execute transactions in Eligible Securities (“Execution Venue ATSs”)) through fixed tier fees based on message traffic for Eligible Securities. (See Section 3(a)(2) below)

    Industry Member Fees. Each Industry Member (other than Execution Venue ATSs) will be placed into one of seven tiers of fixed fees, based on “message traffic” in Eligible Securities for a defined period (as discussed below). Prior to the start of CAT reporting, “message traffic” will be comprised of historical equity and equity options orders, cancels, quotes and executions provided by each exchange and FINRA over the previous three months. After an Industry Member begins reporting to the CAT, “message traffic” will be calculated based on the Industry Member's Reportable Events reported to the CAT. Industry Members with lower levels of message traffic will pay a lower fee and Industry Members with higher levels of message traffic will pay a higher fee. To avoid disincentives to quoting behavior, Options Market Maker and equity market maker quotes will be discounted when calculating message traffic. (See Section 3(a)(2)(B) below)

    Execution Venue Fees. Each Equity Execution Venue will be placed in one of four tiers of fixed fees based on market share, and each Options Execution Venue will be placed in one of two tiers of fixed fees based on market share. Equity Execution Venue market share will be determined by calculating each Equity Execution Venue's proportion of the total volume of NMS Stock and OTC Equity shares reported by all Equity Execution Venues during the relevant time period. For purposes of calculating market share, the OTC Equity Securities market share of Execution Venue ATSs trading OTC Equity Securities as well as the market share of the FINRA ORF will be discounted. Similarly, market share for Options Execution Venues will be determined by calculating each Options Execution Venue's proportion of the total volume of Listed Options contracts reported by all Options Execution Venues during the relevant time period. Equity Execution Venues with a larger market share will pay a larger CAT Fee than Equity Execution Venues with a smaller market share. Similarly, Options Execution Venues with a larger market share will pay a larger CAT Fee than Options Execution Venues with a smaller market share. (See Section 3(a)(2)(C) below)

    Cost Allocation. For the reasons discussed below, in designing the model, the Operating Committee determined that 75 percent of total costs recovered would be allocated to Industry Members (other than Execution Venue ATSs) and 25 percent would be allocated to Execution Venues. In addition, the Operating Committee determined to allocate 67 percent of Execution Venue costs recovered to Equity Execution Venues and 33 percent to Options Execution Venues. (See Section 3(a)(2)(D) below)

    Comparability of Fees. The CAT funding model charges CAT Reporters with the most CAT-related activity (measured by market share and/or message traffic, as applicable) comparable CAT Fees. (See Section 3(a)(2)(F) below)

    (B) CAT Fees for Industry Members

    Fee Schedule. The quarterly CAT Fees for each tier for Industry Members are set forth in the two fee schedules in the Consolidated Audit Trail Funding Fees, one for Equity ATSs and one for Industry Members other than Equity ATSs. (See Section 3(a)(3)(B) below)

    Quarterly Invoices. Industry Members will be billed quarterly for CAT Fees, with the invoices payable within 30 days. The quarterly invoices will identify within which tier the Industry Member falls. (See Section 3(a)(3)(C) below)

    Centralized Payment. Each Industry Member will receive from the Company one invoice for its applicable CAT Fees, not separate invoices from each Participant of which it is a member. Each Industry Member will pay its CAT Fees to the Company via the centralized system for the collection of CAT Fees established by the Operating Committee. (See Section 3(a)(3)(C) below)

    Billing Commencement. Industry Members will begin to receive invoices for CAT Fees as promptly as possible following the latest of the operative date of the Consolidated Audit Trail Funding Fees for each of the Participants and the operative date of the Plan amendment adopting CAT Fees for Participants. (See Section 3(a)(2)(G) below)

    Sunset Provision. The Consolidated Audit Trail Funding Fees will sunset automatically two years from the operative date of the CAT NMS Plan amendment adopting CAT Fees for Participants. (See Section 3(a)(2)(J) below)

    (2) Description of the CAT Funding Model

    Article XI of the CAT NMS Plan requires the Operating Committee to approve the operating budget, including projected costs of developing and operating the CAT for the upcoming year. In addition to a budget, Article XI of the CAT NMS Plan provides that the Operating Committee has discretion to establish funding for the Company, consistent with a bifurcated funding model, where costs associated with building and operating the Central Repository would be borne by (1) Participants and Industry Members that are Execution Venues through fixed tier fees based on market share, and (2) Industry Members (other than Execution Venue ATSs) through fixed tier fees based on message traffic. In its order approving the CAT NMS Plan, the Commission determined that the proposed funding model was “reasonable” 29 and “reflects a reasonable exercise of the Participants' funding authority to recover the Participants' costs related to the CAT.” 30

    29 Approval Order at 84796.

    30 Approval Order at 84794.

    More specifically, the Commission stated in approving the CAT NMS Plan that “[t]he Commission believes that the proposed funding model is reasonably designed to allocate the costs of the CAT between the Participants and Industry Members.” 31 The Commission further noted the following:

    31 Approval Order at 84795.

    The Commission believes that the proposed funding model reflects a reasonable exercise of the Participants' funding authority to recover the Participants' costs related to the CAT. The CAT is a regulatory facility jointly owned by the Participants and . . . the Exchange Act specifically permits the Participants to charge their members fees to fund their self-regulatory obligations. The Commission further believes that the proposed funding model is designed to impose fees reasonably related to the Participants' self-regulatory obligations because the fees would be directly associated with the costs of establishing and maintaining the CAT, and not unrelated SRO services.32

    32 Approval Order at 84794.

    Accordingly, the funding model approved by the Operating Committee imposes fees on both Participants and Industry Members.

    As discussed in Appendix C of the CAT NMS Plan, in developing and approving the approved funding model, the Operating Committee considered the advantages and disadvantages of a variety of alternative funding and cost allocation models before selecting the proposed model.33 After analyzing the various alternatives, the Operating Committee determined that the proposed tiered, fixed fee funding model provides a variety of advantages in comparison to the alternatives.

    33 Section B.7, Appendix C of the CAT NMS Plan; Approval Order at 85006.

    In particular, the fixed fee model, as opposed to a variable fee model, provides transparency, ease of calculation, ease of billing and other administrative functions, and predictability of a fixed fee. Such factors are crucial to estimating a reliable revenue stream for the Company and for permitting CAT Reporters to reasonably predict their payment obligations for budgeting purposes. Additionally, a strictly variable or metered funding model based on message volume would be far more likely to affect market behavior and place an inappropriate burden on competition.

    In addition, reviews from varying time periods of current broker-dealer order and trading data submitted under existing reporting requirements showed a wide range in activity among broker-dealers, with a number of broker-dealers submitting fewer than 1,000 orders per month and other broker-dealers submitting millions and even billions of orders in the same period. Accordingly, the CAT NMS Plan includes a tiered approach to fees. The tiered approach helps ensure that fees are equitably allocated among similarly situated CAT Reporters and furthers the goal of lessening the impact on smaller firms.34 In addition, in choosing a tiered fee structure, the Operating Committee concluded that the variety of benefits offered by a tiered fee structure, discussed above, outweighed the fact that CAT Reporters in any particular tier would pay different rates per message traffic order event or per market share (e.g., an Industry Member with the largest amount of message traffic in one tier would pay a smaller amount per order event than an Industry Member in the same tier with the least amount of message traffic). Such variation is the natural result of a tiered fee structure.35 The Operating Committee considered several approaches to developing a tiered model, including defining fee tiers based on such factors as size of firm, message traffic or trading dollar volume. After analyzing the alternatives, it was concluded that the tiering for Industry Members (other than ATSs) should be based on message traffic, which will reflect the relative impact of Industry Member CAT Reporters on the CAT System.

    34 Section B.7, Appendix C of the CAT NMS Plan, Approval Order at 85006.

    35 Moreover, as the SEC noted in approving the CAT NMS Plan, “[t]he Participants also have offered a reasonable basis for establishing a funding model based on broad tiers, in that it may be easier to implement.” Approval Order at 84796.

    Accordingly, the CAT NMS Plan contemplates that costs will be allocated across the CAT Reporters on a tiered basis in order to allocate higher costs to those CAT Reporters that contribute more to the costs of creating, implementing and maintaining the CAT and lower costs to those that contribute less.36 The fees to be assessed at each tier are calculated so as to recoup a proportion of costs appropriate to the message traffic or market share (as applicable) from CAT Reporters in each tier. Therefore, Industry Members generating the most message traffic will be in the higher tiers, and will be charged a higher fee. Industry Members with lower levels of message traffic will be in lower tiers and will be assessed a smaller fee for the CAT.37 Correspondingly, Execution Venues with the highest market shares will be in the top tier, and will be charged higher fees. Execution Venues with the lowest market shares will be in the lowest tier and will be assessed smaller fees for the CAT.38

    36 Approval Order at 85005.

    37 Approval Order at 85005.

    38 Approval Order at 85005.

    The CAT NMS Plan states that Industry Members (other than Execution Venue ATSs) will be charged based on message traffic, and that Execution Venues will be charged based on market share.39 While there are multiple factors that contribute to the cost of building, maintaining and using the CAT, processing and storage of incoming message traffic is one of the most significant cost drivers for the CAT.40 Thus, the CAT NMS Plan provides that the fees payable by Industry Members (other than Execution Venue ATSs) will be based on the message traffic generated by such Industry Member.41

    39 Section 11.3(a) and (b) of the CAT NMS Plan.

    40 Section B.7, Appendix C of the CAT NMS Plan, Approval Order at 85005.

    41 Section 11.3(b) of the CAT NMS Plan.

    In contrast to Industry Members, which determine the degree to which they produce message traffic that constitute CAT Reportable Events, the CAT Reportable Events of the Execution Venues are largely derivative of quotations and orders received from Industry Members that they are required to display. The business model for Execution Venues (other than FINRA), however, is focused on executions in their markets. As a result, the Operating Committee believes that it is more equitable to charge Execution Venues based on their market share rather than their message traffic.

    Focusing on message traffic would make it more difficult to draw distinctions between large and small Execution Venues and, in particular, between large and small options exchanges. For instance, the Operating Committee analyzed the message traffic of Execution Venues and Industry Members for the period of April 2017 to June 2017 and placed all CAT Reporters into a nine-tier framework (i.e., a single tier may include both Execution Venues and Industry Members). The Operating Committee's analysis found that the majority of exchanges (15 total) were grouped in Tiers 1 and 2. Moreover, virtually all of the options exchanges were in Tiers 1 and 2.42 Given the resulting concentration of options exchanges in Tiers 1 and 2 under this approach, the analysis shows that a funding model for Execution Venues based on message traffic would make it more difficult to distinguish between large and small options exchanges, as compared to the proposed fee approach that bases fees for Execution Venues on market share.

    42 The Operating Committee notes that this analysis did not place MIAX PEARL in Tier 1 or Tier 2 since the exchange commenced trading on February 6, 2017.

    The CAT NMS Plan's funding model also is structured to avoid a “reduction in market quality.” 43 The tiered, fixed fee funding model is designed to limit the disincentives to providing liquidity to the market. For example, the Operating Committee expects that a firm that has a large volume of quotes would likely be categorized in one of the upper tiers, and would not be assessed a fee for this traffic directly as they would under a more directly metered model. In contrast, strictly variable or metered funding models based on message volume are far more likely to affect market behavior. In approving the CAT NMS Plan, the SEC stated that “[t]he Participants also offered a reasonable basis for establishing a funding model based on broad tiers, in that it may be . . . less likely to have an incremental deterrent effect on liquidity provision.” 44

    43 Section 11.2(e) of the CAT NMS Plan.

    44 Approval Order at 84796.

    The funding model also is structured to avoid a reduction in market quality because it discounts Options Market Maker and equity market maker quotes when calculating message traffic for Options Market Makers and equity market makers, respectively. As discussed in more detail below, the Operating Committee determined to discount the Options Market Maker quotes by the trade to quote ratio for options when calculating message traffic for Options Market Makers. Similarly, to avoid disincentives to quoting behavior on the equities side as well, the Operating Committee determined to discount equity market maker quotes by the trade to quote ratio for equities when calculating message traffic for equity market makers. The proposed discounts recognize the value of the market makers' quoting activity to the market as a whole.

    The CAT NMS Plan is further structured to avoid potential conflicts raised by the Operating Committee determining fees applicable to its own members—the Participants. First, the Company will operate on a “break-even” basis, with fees imposed to cover costs and an appropriate reserve. Any surpluses will be treated as an operational reserve to offset future fees and will not be distributed to the Participants as profits.45 To ensure that the Participants' operation of the CAT will not contribute to the funding of their other operations, Section 11.1(c) of the CAT NMS Plan specifically states that “[a]ny surplus of the Company's revenues over its expenses shall be treated as an operational reserve to offset future fees.” In addition, as set forth in Article VIII of the CAT NMS Plan, the Company “intends to operate in a manner such that it qualifies as a `business league' within the meaning of Section 501(c)(6) of the [Internal Revenue] Code.” To qualify as a business league, an organization must “not [be] organized for profit and no part of the net earnings of [the organization can] inure[] to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.” 46 As the SEC stated when approving the CAT NMS Plan, “the Commission believes that the Company's application for Section 501(c)(6) business league status addresses issues raised by commenters about the Plan's proposed allocation of profit and loss by mitigating concerns that the Company's earnings could be used to benefit individual Participants.” 47 The Internal Revenue Service recently has determined that the Company is exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code.

    45 Approval Order at 84792.

    46 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(6).

    47 Approval Order at 84793.

    The funding model also is structured to take into account distinctions in the securities trading operations of Participants and Industry Members. For example, the Operating Committee designed the model to address the different trading characteristics in the OTC Equity Securities market. Specifically, the Operating Committee proposes to discount the OTC Equity Securities market share of Execution Venue ATSs trading OTC Equity Securities as well as the market share of the FINRA ORF by the average shares per trade ratio between NMS Stocks and OTC Equity Securities to adjust for the greater number of shares being traded in the OTC Equity Securities market, which is generally a function of a lower per share price for OTC Equity Securities when compared to NMS Stocks. In addition, the Operating Committee also proposes to discount Options Market Maker and equity market maker message traffic in recognition of their role in the securities markets. Furthermore, the funding model creates separate tiers for Equity Execution Venues and Options Execution Venues due to the different trading characteristics of those markets.

    Finally, by adopting a CAT-specific fee, the Operating Committee will be fully transparent regarding the costs of the CAT. Charging a general regulatory fee, which would be used to cover CAT costs as well as other regulatory costs, would be less transparent than the selected approach of charging a fee designated to cover CAT costs only.

    A full description of the funding model is set forth below. This description includes the framework for the funding model as set forth in the CAT NMS Plan, as well as the details as to how the funding model will be applied in practice, including the number of fee tiers and the applicable fees for each tier. The complete funding model is described below, including those fees that are to be paid by the Participants. The proposed Consolidated Audit Trail Funding Fees, however, do not apply to the Participants; the proposed Consolidated Audit Trail Funding Fees only apply to Industry Members. The CAT Fees for Participants will be imposed separately by the Operating Committee pursuant to the CAT NMS Plan.

    (A) Funding Principles

    Section 11.2 of the CAT NMS Plan sets forth the principles that the Operating Committee applied in establishing the funding for the Company. The Operating Committee has considered these funding principles as well as the other funding requirements set forth in the CAT NMS Plan and in Rule 613 in developing the proposed funding model. The following are the funding principles in Section 11.2 of the CAT NMS Plan:

    • To create transparent, predictable revenue streams for the Company that are aligned with the anticipated costs to build, operate and administer the CAT and other costs of the Company;

    • To establish an allocation of the Company's related costs among Participants and Industry Members that is consistent with the Exchange Act, taking into account the timeline for implementation of the CAT and distinctions in the securities trading operations of Participants and Industry Members and their relative impact upon the Company's resources and operations;

    • To establish a tiered fee structure in which the fees charged to: (i) CAT Reporters that are Execution Venues, including ATSs, are based upon the level of market share; (ii) Industry Members' non-ATS activities are based upon message traffic; (iii) the CAT Reporters with the most CAT-related activity (measured by market share and/or message traffic, as applicable) are generally comparable (where, for these comparability purposes, the tiered fee structure takes into consideration affiliations between or among CAT Reporters, whether Execution Venue and/or Industry Members);

    • To provide for ease of billing and other administrative functions;

    • To avoid any disincentives such as placing an inappropriate burden on competition and a reduction in market quality; and

    • To build financial stability to support the Company as a going concern.

    (B) Industry Member Tiering

    Under Section 11.3(b) of the CAT NMS Plan, the Operating Committee is required to establish fixed fees to be payable by Industry Members, based on message traffic generated by such Industry Member (except for Execution Venue ATSs), with the Operating Committee establishing at least five and no more than nine tiers.

    The CAT NMS Plan clarifies that the fixed fees payable by Industry Members pursuant to Section 11.3(b) shall, in addition to any other applicable message traffic, include message traffic generated by: (i) An ATS that does not execute orders that is sponsored by such Industry Member; and (ii) routing orders to and from any ATS sponsored by such Industry Member. In addition, the Industry Member fees will apply to Industry Members that act as routing broker-dealers for exchanges. The Industry Member fees will not be applicable, however, to an ATS that qualifies as an Execution Venue, as discussed in more detail in the section on Execution Venue tiering.

    In accordance with Section 11.3(b), the Operating Committee approved a tiered fee structure for Industry Members (other than Execution Venue ATSs) as described in this section. In determining the tiers, the Operating Committee considered the funding principles set forth in Section 11.2 of the CAT NMS Plan, seeking to create funding tiers that take into account the relative impact on CAT System resources of different Industry Members, and that establish comparable fees among the CAT Reporters with the most Reportable Events. The Operating Committee has determined that establishing seven tiers results in an allocation of fees that distinguishes between Industry Members with differing levels of message traffic in a way that is fair and equitable. Thus, each such Industry Member will be placed into one of seven tiers of fixed fees, based on “message traffic” for a defined period (as discussed below).

    A seven tier structure was selected to provide a wide range of levels for tiering Industry Members such that Industry Members submitting significantly less message traffic to the CAT would be adequately differentiated from Industry Members submitting substantially more message traffic. The Operating Committee considered historical message traffic from multiple time periods, generated by Industry Members across all exchanges and as submitted to FINRA's Order Audit Trail System (“OATS”), and considered the distribution of firms with similar levels of message traffic, grouping together firms with similar levels of message traffic. Based on this, the Operating Committee determined that seven tiers would group firms with similar levels of message traffic, charging those firms with higher impact on the CAT more, while lowering the burden on Industry Members that have less CAT-related activity. Furthermore, the selection of seven tiers establishes comparable fees among the largest CAT Reporters.

    Each Industry Member (other than Execution Venue ATSs) will be ranked by message traffic and tiered by predefined Industry Member percentages (the “Industry Member Percentages”). The Operating Committee determined to use predefined percentages rather than fixed volume thresholds to ensure that the total CAT Fees collected recover the expected CAT costs regardless of changes in the total level of message traffic. To determine the fixed percentage of Industry Members in each tier, the Operating Committee analyzed historical message traffic generated by Industry Members across all exchanges and as submitted to OATS, and considered the distribution of firms with similar levels of message traffic, grouping together firms with similar levels of message traffic. Based on this, the Operating Committee identified seven tiers that would group firms with similar levels of message traffic.

    The percentage of costs recovered by each Industry Member tier will be determined by predefined percentage allocations (the “Industry Member Recovery Allocation”). In determining the fixed percentage allocation of costs recovered for each tier, the Operating Committee considered the impact of CAT Reporter message traffic on the CAT System as well as the distribution of total message volume across Industry Members while seeking to maintain comparable fees among the largest CAT Reporters. Accordingly, following the determination of the percentage of Industry Members in each tier, the Operating Committee identified the percentage of total market volume for each tier based on the historical message traffic upon which Industry Members had been initially ranked. Taking this into account along with the resulting percentage of total recovery, the percentage allocation of costs recovered for each tier were assigned, allocating higher percentages of recovery to tiers with higher levels of message traffic while avoiding any inappropriate burden on competition. Furthermore, by using percentages of Industry Members and costs recovered per tier, the Operating Committee sought to include elasticity within the funding model, allowing the funding model to respond to changes in either the total number of Industry Members or the total level of message traffic.

    The following chart illustrates the breakdown of seven Industry Member tiers across the monthly average of total equity and equity options orders, cancels, quotes and executions in the second quarter of 2017 as well as message traffic thresholds between the largest of Industry Member message traffic gaps. The Operating Committee referenced similar distribution illustrations to determine the appropriate division of Industry Member percentages in each tier by considering the grouping of firms with similar levels of message traffic and seeking to identify relative breakpoints in the message traffic between such groupings. In reviewing the chart and its corresponding table, note that while these distribution illustrations were referenced to help differentiate between Industry Member tiers, the proposed funding model is driven by fixed percentages of Industry Members across tiers to account for fluctuating levels of message traffic over time. This approach also provides financial stability for the CAT by ensuring that the funding model will recover the required amounts regardless of changes in the number of Industry Members or the amount of message traffic. Actual messages in any tier will vary based on the actual traffic in a given measurement period, as well as the number of firms included in the measurement period. The Industry Member Percentages and Industry Member Recovery Allocation for each tier will remain fixed with each Industry Member's tier to be reassigned periodically, as described below in Section 3(a)(2)(I).

    EN14DE17.004 Industry Member tier Approximate message
  • traffic per industry
  • member (Q2 2017)
  • (orders, quotes,
  • cancels and executions)
  • Tier 1 > 10,000,000,000 Tier 2 1,000,000,000-10,000,000,000 Tier 3 100,000,000-1,000,000,000 Tier 4 1,000,000-100,000,000 Tier 5 100,000-1,000,000 Tier 6 10,000-100,000 Tier 7 < 10,000

    Based on the above analysis, the Operating Committee approved the following Industry Member Percentages and Industry Member Recovery Allocations:

    Industry Member tier Percentage
  • of Industry
  • Members
  • Percentage
  • of Industry
  • Member
  • recovery
  • Percentage
  • of total
  • recovery
  • Tier 1 0.900 12.00 9.00 Tier 2 2.150 20.50 15.38 Tier 3 2.800 18.50 13.88 Tier 4 7.750 32.00 24.00 Tier 5 8.300 10.00 7.50 Tier 6 18.800 6.00 4.50 Tier 7 59.300 1.00 0.75 Total 100 100 75

    For the purposes of creating these tiers based on message traffic, the Operating Committee determined to define the term “message traffic” separately for the period before the commencement of CAT reporting and for the period after the start of CAT reporting. The different definition for message traffic is necessary, as there will be no Reportable Events as defined in the Plan, prior to the commencement of CAT reporting. Accordingly, prior to the start of CAT reporting, “message traffic” will be comprised of historical equity and equity options orders, cancels, quotes and executions provided by each exchange and FINRA over the previous three months. Prior to the start of CAT reporting, orders would be comprised of the total number of equity and equity options orders received and originated by a member of an exchange or FINRA over the previous three-month period, including principal orders, cancel/replace orders, market maker orders originated by a member of an exchange, and reserve (iceberg) orders as well as executions originated by a member of FINRA, and excluding order rejects, system-modified orders, order routes and implied orders.48 In addition, prior to the start of CAT reporting, cancels would be comprised of the total number of equity and equity option cancels received and originated by a member of an exchange or FINRA over a three-month period, excluding order modifications (e.g., order updates, order splits, partial cancels) and multiple cancels of a complex order. Furthermore, prior to the start of CAT reporting, quotes would be comprised of information readily available to the exchanges and FINRA, such as the total number of historical equity and equity options quotes received and originated by a member of an exchange or FINRA over the prior three-month period. Additionally, prior to the start of CAT reporting, executions would be comprised of the total number of equity and equity option executions received or originated by a member of an exchange or FINRA over a three-month period. After an Industry Member begins reporting to the CAT, “message traffic” will be calculated based on the Industry Member's Reportable Events reported to the CAT as will be defined in the Technical Spe