Federal Register Vol. 82, No.249,

Federal Register Volume 82, Issue 249 (December 29, 2017)

Page Range61673-61949
FR Document

82_FR_249
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
82 FR 61808 - Rate for Assessment on Direct Payment of Fees to Representatives in 2018PDF
82 FR 61788 - Notice of Temporary Closures: Selected Public Lands in La Paz County, AZPDF
82 FR 61789 - Notice of Intent To Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Revisions to the Coordinated Long-Term Operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project, and Related FacilitiesPDF
82 FR 61759 - Becton, Dickinson and Company and C. R. Bard; Analysis To Aid Public CommentPDF
82 FR 61924 - Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands; Rescission of a 2015 RulePDF
82 FR 61813 - Notice of OFAC Sanctions ActionsPDF
82 FR 61754 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment RequestPDF
82 FR 61805 - Notice of Submission for Approval: Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions (SF 85)PDF
82 FR 61699 - Fast-Start Pricing in Markets Operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System OperatorsPDF
82 FR 61754 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
82 FR 61755 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
82 FR 61791 - Notice of Receipt of Complaint; Solicitation of Comments Relating to the Public InterestPDF
82 FR 61751 - Stainless Steel Butt-Weld Pipe Fittings From Italy, Malaysia, and the Philippines: Continuation of Antidumping Duty OrdersPDF
82 FR 61777 - Mississippi; Major Disaster and Related DeterminationsPDF
82 FR 61777 - California; Emergency and Related DeterminationsPDF
82 FR 61784 - Idaho; Amendment No. 2 to Notice of a Major Disaster DeclarationPDF
82 FR 61787 - Puerto Rico; Amendment No. 6 to Notice of a Major Disaster DeclarationPDF
82 FR 61768 - Puerto Rico; Amendment No. 2 to Notice of an Emergency DeclarationPDF
82 FR 61787 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Revision to National Flood Insurance Program Maps: Application Forms and Instructions for LOMRs and CLOMRsPDF
82 FR 61769 - Proposed Flood Hazard DeterminationsPDF
82 FR 61752 - Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Trawl Rationalization Program; 2018 Cost RecoveryPDF
82 FR 61784 - Changes in Flood Hazard DeterminationsPDF
82 FR 61696 - Suspension of Community EligibilityPDF
82 FR 61778 - Changes in Flood Hazard DeterminationsPDF
82 FR 61752 - Marine Mammals; File No. 21295PDF
82 FR 61795 - Bulk Manufacturer of Controlled Substances Application: AMPAC Fine Chemicals LLCPDF
82 FR 61795 - Bulk Manufacturer of Controlled Substances Application: Cambrex High Point, Inc.PDF
82 FR 61795 - Importer of Controlled Substances Application: ABBVIE LTD; CorrectionPDF
82 FR 61773 - Changes in Flood Hazard DeterminationsPDF
82 FR 61771 - Changes in Flood Hazard DeterminationsPDF
82 FR 61782 - Proposed Flood Hazard DeterminationsPDF
82 FR 61673 - Hazelnuts Grown in Oregon and Washington; Increased Assessment RatePDF
82 FR 61806 - Validea Capital Management, LLC, et al.; Notice of ApplicationPDF
82 FR 61800 - Arkansas Nuclear One, Units 1 and 2; Grand Gulf Nuclear Station, Unit 1; River Bend Station, Unit 1; and Waterford Steam Electric Station, Unit 3 Consideration of Approval of Transfer of Licenses and Conforming AmendmentsPDF
82 FR 61796 - Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Clean Air ActPDF
82 FR 61725 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Findings on Petitions To List a Species and Remove a Species From the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and PlantsPDF
82 FR 61808 - Presidential Declaration of a Major Disaster for Public Assistance Only for the State of AlaskaPDF
82 FR 61766 - Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Minority HealthPDF
82 FR 61762 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
82 FR 61675 - Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company AirplanesPDF
82 FR 61767 - National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
82 FR 61767 - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
82 FR 61766 - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
82 FR 61767 - National Institute on Aging; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
82 FR 61768 - National Institute on Aging; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
82 FR 61742 - Notice of January 18, 2018 Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid MeetingPDF
82 FR 61694 - Safety Zone; Mississippi River, Baton Rouge, LAPDF
82 FR 61797 - Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”)PDF
82 FR 61758 - Notice to All Interested Parties of Intent To Terminate the Receivership of 10191, Bank of Illinois, Normal, IllinoisPDF
82 FR 61796 - Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”)PDF
82 FR 61763 - Formal Meetings Between the Food and Drug Administration and Sponsors or Applicants of Prescription Drug User Fee Act Products; Draft Guidance for Industry; AvailabilityPDF
82 FR 61764 - Best Practices for Communication Between Investigational New Drug Application Sponsors and the Food and Drug Administration; Guidance for Industry and Review Staff; AvailabilityPDF
82 FR 61758 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection Renewals; Comment RequestPDF
82 FR 61798 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
82 FR 61799 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
82 FR 61792 - Certain Access Control Systems and Components Thereof Notice of Commission Determination To Review in Part a Final Initial Determination; Schedule for Filing Written Submissions; Extension of Target DatePDF
82 FR 61744 - Amendment of the Land Management Plan for Santa Fe National ForestPDF
82 FR 61756 - Underground Injection Control Program; Hazardous Waste Injection Restrictions; Petition for Exemption Reissuance-Class I Hazardous Waste Injection; TM Deer Park Services (TMDPS) Limited Partnership, Deer Park, TexasPDF
82 FR 61794 - Notice Pursuant to the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993-Cooperative Research Group on ROS-Industrial Consortium-AmericasPDF
82 FR 61795 - Notice Pursuant to the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993-Network Centric Operations Industry Consortium, Inc.PDF
82 FR 61809 - Qualifications of Drivers; Applications for Exemptions; HearingPDF
82 FR 61812 - Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Implantable Cardioverter DefibrillatorsPDF
82 FR 61728 - Adoption of RecommendationsPDF
82 FR 61803 - Information Collection Request; Submission for OMB ReviewPDF
82 FR 61804 - Information Collection Request; Submission for OMB ReviewPDF
82 FR 61757 - Environmental Impact Statements; Notice of AvailabilityPDF
82 FR 61700 - Schedules of Controlled Substances: Temporary Placement of Fentanyl-Related Substances in Schedule IPDF
82 FR 61745 - Order Renewing Order Temporarily Denying Export PrivilegesPDF
82 FR 61806 - Product Change-Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
82 FR 61768 - Center for Substance Abuse Treatment; Notice of MeetingPDF
82 FR 61797 - Notice of Lodging of Proposed Modification of Consent Decree Under the Clean Air ActPDF
82 FR 61756 - Submission to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Information Collection Request for the National Study of Nutrient Removal and Secondary Technologies: Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) Screener QuestionnairePDF
82 FR 61698 - Proposed Amendment of Class E Airspace: Muscatine, IAPDF
82 FR 61678 - TRICARE; Reimbursement of Long Term Care Hospitals and Inpatient Rehabilitation FacilitiesPDF
82 FR 61816 - Exemptions from Certain Prohibited Transaction RestrictionsPDF
82 FR 61743 - Notice of Request for Extension or Renewal of a Currently Approved Information CollectionPDF
82 FR 61703 - Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations on the Outer Continental Shelf-Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems-RevisionsPDF
82 FR 61725 - Radio Broadcasting Services; Gaylord, MichiganPDF

Issue

82 249 Friday, December 29, 2017 Contents Administrative Administrative Conference of the United States NOTICES Adoption of Recommendations, 61728-61742 2017-28124 Agency Agency for International Development NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid, 61742-61743 2017-28152 Agricultural Marketing Agricultural Marketing Service RULES Increased Assessment Rates: Hazelnuts Grown in Oregon and Washington, 61673-61675 2017-28171 Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Agricultural Marketing Service

See

Forest Service

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 61743-61744 2017-27448
Antitrust Division Antitrust Division NOTICES Changes Under National Cooperative Research and Production Act: Network Centric Operations Industry Consortium, Inc., 61795 2017-28129 ROS-Industrial Consortium-Americas, 61794 2017-28130 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 61754 2017-28204 Safety Enviromental Enforcement Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement PROPOSED RULES Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems; Revisions: Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations on the Outer Continental Shelf, 61703-61724 2017-27309 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 61762-61763 2017-28159 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Safety Zones: Mississippi River, Baton Rouge, LA, 61694-61696 2017-28145 Commerce Commerce Department See

Industry and Security Bureau

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Defense Department Defense Department RULES TRICARE: Reimbursement of Long Term Care Hospitals and Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities, 61678-61694 2017-28022 Drug Drug Enforcement Administration PROPOSED RULES Schedules of Controlled Substances: Temporary Placement of Fentanyl-Related Substances in Schedule I, 61700-61703 2017-28114 NOTICES Bulk Manufacturers of Controlled Substances; Applications: AMPAC Fine Chemicals LLC, 61795 2017-28178 Cambrex High Point, Inc., 61795-61796 2017-28177 Importers of Controlled Substances; Applications: ABBVIE LTD; Correction, 61795 2017-28176 Employee Benefits Employee Benefits Security Administration NOTICES Exemptions: Certain Prohibited Transaction Restrictions, 61816-61921 2017-27977 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Request for the National Study of Nutrient Removal and Secondary Technologies—Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) Screener Questionnaire, 61756-61757 2017-28104 Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Weekly Receipts, 61757-61758 2017-28116 Petitions for Exemptions; Reissuance: Underground Injection Control Program; Hazardous Waste Injection Restrictions; Class I Hazardous Waste Injection; TM Deer Park Services Limited Partnership, Deer Park, TX, 61756 2017-28133 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: The Boeing Company Airplanes, 61675-61678 2017-28158 PROPOSED RULES Class E Airspace; Amendments: Muscatine, IA, 61698-61699 2017-28048 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission PROPOSED RULES Radio Broadcasting Services: Gaylord, MI, 61725 2017-27115 Federal Deposit Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 61758-61759 2017-28138 Terminations of Receivership: 10191, Bank of Illinois, Normal, IL, 61758 2017-28142 Federal Emergency Federal Emergency Management Agency RULES Suspension of Community Eligibility, 61696-61697 2017-28182 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Revision to National Flood Insurance Program Maps: Application Forms and Instructions, 61787-61788 2017-28188 Emergency and Related Determinations: California, 61777 2017-28194 Emergency Declarations: Puerto Rico; Amendment No. 2, 61768-61769 2017-28191 Flood Hazard Determinations; Changes, 61771-61782, 61784-61787 2017-28174 2017-28175 2017-28181 2017-28183 Flood Hazard Determinations; Proposals, 61769-61771, 61782-61784 2017-28173 2017-28186 Major Disaster and Related Determinations: Mississippi, 61777-61778 2017-28195 Major Disaster Declarations: Idaho; Amendment No. 2, 61784 2017-28193 Puerto Rico; Amendment No. 6, 61787 2017-28192 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission PROPOSED RULES Fast-Start Pricing in Markets Operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators, 61699-61700 2017-28201 NOTICES Combined Filings, 61754-61756 2017-28199 2017-28200 Federal Motor Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration NOTICES Hours of Service of Drivers; Exemption Applications: Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators, 61812-61813 2017-28127 Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications: Hearing, 61809-61812 2017-28128 Federal Trade Federal Trade Commission NOTICES Proposed Consent Agreements: Becton, Dickinson and Company and C. R. Bard, 61759-61762 2017-28213 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service PROPOSED RULES Endangered and Threatened Species: 12-Month Findings on Petitions To List a Species and Remove a Species From the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants, 61725-61727 2017-28163 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration NOTICES Guidance: Best Practices for Communication Between Investigational New Drug Application Sponsors and the Food and Drug Administration, 61764-61766 2017-28139 Formal Meetings Between the Food and Drug Administration and Sponsors or Applicants of Prescription Drug User Fee Act Products, 61763-61764 2017-28140 Foreign Assets Foreign Assets Control Office NOTICES Blocking or Unblocking of Persons and Properties, 61813-61814 2017-28210 Forest Forest Service NOTICES Land Management Plans; Revisions and Amendments: Santa Fe National Forest, 61744-61745 2017-28134 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

See

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee on Minority Health, 61766 2017-28161
Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Industry Industry and Security Bureau NOTICES Export Privileges; Denials: Mahan Airways; Pejman Mahmood Kosarayanifard; Mahmoud Amini; et al., 61745-61751 2017-28113 Interior Interior Department See

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Land Management Bureau

See

Reclamation Bureau

International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Stainless Steel Butt-Weld Pipe Fittings From Italy, Malaysia, and the Philippines, 61751-61752 2017-28196 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Complaints: Certain Subsea Telecommunications Systems and Components Thereof, 61791-61792 2017-28197 Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Access Control Systems and Components Thereof, 61792-61794 2017-28135 Justice Department Justice Department See

Antitrust Division

See

Drug Enforcement Administration

NOTICES Proposed Consent Decrees: CERCLA, 61796-61797 2017-28141 2017-28143 Clean Air Act, 61796 2017-28164 Clean Air Act; Modification, 61797-61798 2017-28105
Labor Department Labor Department See

Employee Benefits Security Administration

Land Land Management Bureau RULES Oil and Gas: Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands; Rescission of a 2015 Rule, 61924-61949 2017-28211 NOTICES Public Lands; Temporary Closures: La Paz County, AZ, 61788-61789 2017-28217 National Archives National Archives and Records Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 2017-28136 61798-61799 2017-28137 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Meetings: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 61766-61768 2017-28155 2017-28156 National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 61767 2017-28157 National Institute on Aging, 61767-61768 2017-28153 2017-28154 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOTICES Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States: Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Trawl Rationalization Program; 2018 Cost Recovery, 61752-61754 2017-28185 Permit Applications: Marine Mammals; File No. 21295, 61752 2017-28179 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES License Transfer Applications: Arkansas Nuclear One, Units 1 and 2; Grand Gulf Nuclear Station, Unit 1; River Bend Station, Unit 1; and Waterford Steam Electric Station, Unit 3, 61800-61803 2017-28165 Peace Peace Corps NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 61803-61805 2017-28117 2017-28118 2017-28119 2017-28120 Personnel Personnel Management Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions, 61805-61806 2017-28203 Postal Service Postal Service NOTICES Product Changes: Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 61806 2017-28109 Reclamation Reclamation Bureau NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Revisions to the Coordinated Long-Term Operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project, and Related Facilities, 61789-61791 2017-28215 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Applications: Validea Capital Management, LLC, et al., 61806-61808 2017-28166 Small Business Small Business Administration NOTICES Major Disaster Declarations: Alaska; Public Assistance Only, 61808 2017-28162 Social Social Security Administration NOTICES Rate for Assessment on Direct Payment of Fees to Representatives in 2018, 61808-61809 2017-28218 Substance Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration NOTICES Meetings: Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, 61768 2017-28107 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Treasury Treasury Department See

Foreign Assets Control Office

Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Labor Department, Employee Benefits Security Administration, 61816-61921 2017-27977 Part III Interior Department, Land Management Bureau, 61924-61949 2017-28211 Reader Aids

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

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82 249 Friday, December 29, 2017 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 982 [Doc. No. AMS-SC-17-0036; SC17-982-1 FR] Hazelnuts Grown in Oregon and Washington; Increased Assessment Rate AGENCY:

Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This rule implements a recommendation from the Hazelnut Marketing Board (Board) to increase the assessment rate established for the 2017-2018 and subsequent marketing years from $0.005 to $0.006 per pound of hazelnuts handled under the Marketing Order (Order). The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.

DATES:

Effective January 29, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dale Novotny, Marketing Specialist, or Gary D. Olson, Regional Director, Northwest Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (503) 326-2724, Fax: (503) 326-7440, or Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

Small businesses may request information on complying with this regulation by contacting Richard Lower, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Telephone: (202) 720-2491, Fax: (202) 720-8938, or Email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This action, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, amends regulations issued to carry out a marketing order as defined in 7 CFR 900.2(j). This final rule is issued under Marketing Agreement No. 115 and Order No. 982, both as amended (7 CFR part 982), regulating the handling of hazelnuts grown in Oregon and Washington. Part 982 (hereinafter referred to as the “Order”), is effective under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601-674), hereinafter referred to as the “Act.” The Board locally administers the Order and is comprised of growers and handlers of hazelnuts operating within the area of production and also includes one public member.

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing this final rule in conformance with Executive Orders 13563 and 13175. This action falls within a category of regulatory actions that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) exempted from Executive Order 12866 review. Additionally, because this rule does not meet the definition of a significant regulatory action, it does not trigger the requirements contained in Executive Order 13771. See OMB's Memorandum titled, “Interim Guidance Implementing Section 2 of the Executive Order of January 30, 2017, titled `Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs' ” (February 2, 2017).

This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. Under the Marketing Order now in effect, Oregon and Washington hazelnut handlers are subject to assessments. Funds to administer the Order are derived from such assessments. It is intended that the assessment rate as issued herein will be applicable to all assessable hazelnuts beginning July 1, 2017, and continue until amended, suspended, or terminated.

The Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted before parties may file suit in court. Under section 608c(15)(A) of the Act, any handler subject to an order may file with USDA a petition stating that the order, any provision of the order, or any obligation imposed in connection with the order is not in accordance with law and request a modification of the order or to be exempted therefrom. Such handler is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. After the hearing, USDA would rule on the petition. The Act provides that the district court of the United States in any district in which the handler is an inhabitant, or has his or her principal place of business, has jurisdiction to review USDA's ruling on the petition, provided an action is filed not later than 20 days after the date of the entry of the ruling.

This final rule increases the assessment rate established for the Hazelnut Marketing Board for the 2017-2018 and subsequent marketing years from $0.005 to $0.006 per pound of hazelnuts handled.

The hazelnut Marketing Order provides authority for the Board, with the approval of USDA, to formulate an annual budget of expenses and collect assessments from handlers to administer the program. The members and alternate members of the Board are growers and handlers of Oregon and Washington hazelnuts. The Board's membership also includes one public member and an alternate public member, neither of whom are involved in the production or handling of hazelnuts. The Board members are familiar with the program's needs and with the costs for goods and services in their local area and are thus in a position to formulate an appropriate budget and assessment rate. The assessment rate is formulated and discussed in a public meeting. Thus, all directly affected persons have an opportunity to participate and provide input.

For the 2000-2001 and subsequent marketing years, the Board recommended, and USDA approved, an assessment rate that would continue in effect from marketing year to marketing year unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA upon recommendation and information submitted by the Board or other information available to USDA.

The Board met on May 17, 2017, and unanimously recommended 2017-2018 marketing year expenditures of $878,627 and an assessment rate of $0.006 per pound of hazelnuts handled. In comparison, last year's budgeted expenditures were $765,598. The assessment rate of $0.006 per pound is $0.001 per pound higher than the rate currently in effect.

The major expenditures recommended by the Board for the 2017-2018 marketing year include $210,590 for administrative expenses, $111,000 for a crop survey, $342,037 for promotional activities, $35,000 for consulting, and $180,000 for undesignated emergency/miscellaneous expenses. Budgeted expenses for these items in the 2016-2017 marketing year were $138,088, $96,000, $234,510, $35,000, and $262,000, respectively. The increase in administrative expenses reflects the addition of an administrative staff member. The budget increase for marketing and promotion expenditures reflects the Board's desire to improve domestic hazelnut's share of the edible nut market and to increase consumer awareness of Oregon and Washington hazelnut products.

The assessment rate recommended by the Board was derived at an annual meeting of the Board where budgetary matters for the forthcoming marketing year were discussed. After an open discussion with growers, handlers, and industry personnel, the Board established a crop estimate for the 2017-2018 marketing year. The Board considered the crop estimate, the recommended 2017-2018 marketing year expenses, and the Board's financial reserve when it recommended the assessment rate increase.

Shipments for the year are estimated to be 80,000,000 pounds, which should provide $480,000 in assessment income at the $0.006 per pound assessment rate. Income derived from handler assessments, along with funds from the Board's authorized reserve and other income, should be adequate to cover budgeted expenses. Section 982.62(a) specifies that the financial reserve is not to exceed approximately one marketing year's operational expenses. The Board expects its financial reserve to be $316,881 at the beginning of the 2017-2018 marketing year and $117,348 at the end of the year, which would be within the reserve limit authorized under the Order.

The assessment rate established in this rule will continue in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA upon recommendation and information submitted by the Board or other available information.

Although this assessment rate will be in effect for an indefinite period, the Board will continue to meet prior to or during each marketing year to recommend a budget of expenses and consider recommendations for modification of the assessment rate. The dates and times of Board meetings are available from the Board or USDA. Board meetings are open to the public and interested persons may express their views at these meetings. USDA will evaluate Board recommendations and other available information to determine whether modification of the assessment rate is needed. Further rulemaking will be undertaken as necessary. The Board's 2017-2018 marketing year budget, and those for subsequent marketing years, would be reviewed and, as appropriate, approved by USDA.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601-612), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has considered the economic impact of this final rule on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has prepared this final regulatory flexibility analysis.

The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of businesses subject to such actions in order that small businesses will not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. Marketing orders issued pursuant to the Act, and the rules issued thereunder, are unique in that they are brought about through group action of essentially small entities acting on their own behalf.

According to the Board, there are approximately 800 growers of hazelnuts in the production area and approximately 17 handlers subject to regulation under the Marketing Order. Small agricultural producers (growers) are defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as those having annual receipts less than $750,000, and small agricultural service firms (handlers) are defined as those whose annual receipts are less than $7,500,000 (13 CFR 121.201).

According to the latest National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS) data, 2015 grower prices averaged $1.40 per pound. With a total production of 62,000,000 pounds in the same year, the farm gate value for hazelnuts in 2015 totaled $86.8 million ($1.40 per pound multiplied by 62,000,000 pounds). Taking the total 2015 value of production for hazelnuts and dividing it by the approximate number of hazelnut growers provides an average return per grower of $108,500. It is estimated by the Board that approximately 98 percent of hazelnut growers under the Marketing Order have annual receipts less than $750,000. Therefore, a majority of hazelnut growers are considered small entities under the SBA standards.

According to the Board, four of the approximately 17 hazelnut handlers process and ship 80 percent of the total crop. An estimation of handler receipts can be calculated using the same 2015 farm gate value of $86.8 million from NASS, described above. Multiplying $86.8 million by 80 percent ($86.8 million × 80 percent = $69.4 million) and dividing by four indicates that the largest hazelnut handlers received an estimated $17.4 million each. Dividing the remaining 20 percent ($17.4 million) by the remaining 13 handlers yields average annual receipts of $1.3 million per handler. Therefore, under SBA's definition of a small agricultural business, about 24 percent of handlers could be considered large businesses and about 76 percent could be considered small businesses. Thus, the majority of hazelnut handlers in Oregon and Washington may be classified as small entities.

This rule increases the assessment rate established for the Board and collected from handlers for the 2017-2018 and subsequent marketing years from $0.005 to $0.006 per pound of hazelnuts handled. The Board unanimously recommended 2017-2018 expenditures of $878,627 and an assessment rate of $0.006 per pound. The assessment rate of $0.006 per pound is $0.001 per pound higher than the 2016-2017 rate. The quantity of assessable hazelnuts for the 2017-2018 marketing year is estimated at 80,000,000 pounds. Thus, the $0.006 per pound rate should provide $480,000 in assessment income. This amount, along with the Board's reserve funds and other income, should be adequate to cover budgeted expenses.

The major expenditures recommended by the Board for the 2017-2018 marketing year include $210,590 for administrative expenses, $111,000 for a crop survey, $342,037 for promotional activities, $35,000 for consulting, and $180,000 for undesignated emergency/miscellaneous expenses. Budgeted expenses for these items in the 2016-2017 marketing year were $138,088, $96,000, $234,510, $35,000, and $262,000, respectively.

The Board believes there is a need to expand its promotion and outreach activities to increase consumers' awareness of, and desire for, Oregon and Washington hazelnuts in the edible tree nut market. The Oregon and Washington hazelnut industry has experienced a large amount of growth in new orchard plantings in recent years. The supply of hazelnuts grown in the production area is expected to increase greatly as newly planted trees come into nut bearing age (approximately three to seven years after planting, depending on the variety of hazelnut tree). The increased assessment rate is necessary to fund expanded promotional activities intended to assist marketing of the anticipated increased supply of hazelnuts in the forthcoming years.

Prior to arriving at this budget and assessment rate, the Board considered information from various sources, such as the Board's Budget and Personnel Committee, representatives from private research firms, and input from industry personnel. Alternative expenditure levels were discussed by these groups, based upon the relative value of various activities to the hazelnut industry. Many growers at the May 17, 2017, meeting were in favor of even greater spending by the Board on promotional activities for hazelnuts, while handlers were more conservative.

The Board ultimately determined that 2017-2018 marketing year expenditures of $878,627 were appropriate, and the recommended assessment rate, when combined with reserve funds and other income, should generate sufficient revenue to meet its budgeted expenses. Further, the Board will maintain a $180,000 emergency fund throughout the 2017-2018 marketing year in order to cover any unforeseen or emergency operational expenses. If the 2017-2018 emergency funds are not expended, the resulting operating reserve would not exceed the limit authorized under the Order.

A review of historical information and preliminary information pertaining to the upcoming marketing year indicates that the grower price for the 2017-2018 marketing year could range between $0.81 and $1.80 per pound (NASS, 2017). Therefore, the estimated assessment revenue for the 2017-2018 marketing year as a percentage of total grower revenue could range between 0.74 and 0.33 percent, respectively.

This action increases the assessment obligation imposed on handlers. While assessments impose some additional costs on handlers, the costs are minimal and uniform on all handlers. Some of the additional costs may be passed on to growers. However, these costs would be offset by the benefits derived by the operation of the Marketing Order. In addition, the Board's meeting was widely publicized throughout the Oregon and Washington hazelnut industry, and all interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and participate in Board deliberations on all issues. Like all Board meetings, the May 17, 2017, meeting was a public meeting, and all entities, both large and small, were able to express views on this issue.

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the Order's information collection requirements have been previously approved by OMB and assigned OMB No. 0581-0178, “Vegetable and Specialty Crops.” No changes in those requirements are necessary as a result of this action. Should any changes become necessary, they would be submitted to OMB for approval.

This final rule imposes no additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large Oregon and Washington hazelnut handlers. As with all Federal marketing order programs, reports and forms are periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and duplication by industry and public sector agencies. As noted in the initial regulatory flexibility analysis, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this final rule.

AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote the use of the internet and other information technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes.

A proposed rule concerning this action was published in the Federal Register on August 18, 2017 (82 FR 39369). Copies of the rule were mailed or sent via facsimile to all Board members and hazelnut handlers. Finally, the rule was made available through the internet by USDA and the Office of the Federal Register. A 30-day comment period ending September 18, 2017, was provided to allow interested persons to respond to the proposal.

Two comments were received during the comment period in response to the proposal. Both comments were generally in support of the assessment rate increase and believed that the action would have a minimal impact on consumers. However, one commenter was concerned that the notice and comment process for changes in assessment rates was burdensome, and the other commenter expressed the opinion that the assessment rate should have a time limit and should not be in effect indefinitely.

Notice and comment rulemaking is required by statute for all changes made to marketing order regulations, including, but not limited to, establishment of assessment rates. In addition, all marketing order regulations are in effect indefinitely unless a specific effective period is defined in the regulation when it is established. The Board chose not to establish a specific time period for the regulation and is aware that the regulation will be effective indefinitely until changed. Accordingly, no changes will be made to the rule as proposed, based on the comments received.

A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/moa/small-businesses. Any questions about the compliance guide should be sent to Richard Lower at the previously mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

After consideration of all relevant matter presented, including the information and recommendation submitted by the Board and other available information, it is hereby found that this rule, as hereinafter set forth, will tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 982

Hazelnuts, Marketing agreements, Nuts, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 982 is amended as follows:

PART 982—HAZELNUTS GROWN IN OREGON AND WASHINGTON 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 982 continues to read as follows: Authority:

7 U.S.C. 601-674.

2. Section 982.340 is revised to read as follows:
§ 982.340 Assessment rate.

On and after July 1, 2017, an assessment rate of $0.006 per pound is established for Oregon and Washington hazelnuts.

Dated: December 26, 2017. Bruce Summers, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-28171 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-02-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2017-1179; Product Identifier 2017-NM-177-AD; Amendment 39-19141; AD 2017-26-10] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

We are superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2015-08-01, which applied to certain The Boeing Company Model 757 airplanes. AD 2015-08-01 required, depending on airplane configuration, installing new relays and bracket assemblies, inspecting to ensure that the new relays do not contact adjacent wire bundles, torqueing the bracket assembly installation nuts and ground stud nuts, retesting the bond resistance between the bracket assemblies and the terminal lugs on the ground studs, and doing related investigative and corrective actions if necessary. This AD does not retain any requirements, and instead requires deactivating the spoiler control module relays and capping and stowing the associated wiring on airplanes on which the actions required by AD 2015-08-01 have been done. This AD was prompted by a report of an uncommanded spoiler movement during flap configuration just before landing, on an airplane on which the actions required by AD 2015-08-01 had been done. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

This AD is effective January 3, 2018.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of January 3, 2018.

We must receive comments on this AD by February 12, 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 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-2017-1179.

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-2017-1179; 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 street address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Myra Kuck, Aerospace Engineer, Cabin Safety, Mechanical & Environmental Systems Section, FAA, Los Angeles ACO Branch, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5316; fax: 562-627-5210; email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

We issued AD 2015-08-01, Amendment 39-18137 (80 FR 21645, April 20, 2015) (“AD 2015-08-01”), for certain Model 757 airplanes. AD 2015-08-01 required, depending on airplane configuration, installing new relays and bracket assemblies, inspecting to ensure that the new relays do not contact adjacent wire bundles, torqueing the bracket assembly installation nuts and ground stud nuts, retesting the bond resistance between the bracket assemblies and the terminal lugs on the ground studs, and doing related investigative and corrective actions if necessary. AD 2015-08-01 resulted from numerous reports of unintended lateral oscillations during final approach, just before landing. We issued AD 2015-08-01 to reduce the chance of unintended lateral oscillations near touchdown, which could result in loss of lateral control of the airplane, and consequent airplane damage or injury to flight crew and passengers.

Actions Since AD 2015-08-01 Was Issued

Since we issued AD 2015-08-01, we have received a report of a momentary uncommanded spoiler movement during flap configuration just before landing, on a Model 757 airplane that had been inspected and modified in accordance with AD 2015-08-01. AD 2015-08-01 requires accomplishment of Boeing Service Bulletin 757-27A0152, which is intended to reduce the chance of a pilot-induced oscillation (PIO) during quick flight maneuvers, such as the final phase of approach in strong wind conditions, by preventing the deployment, during landing operations, of spoiler pairs 1 and 12, and 5 and 8. Boeing's subsequent investigation of Boeing Service Bulletin 757-27A0152 found that a switch in one of the relays added by that service information had failed to an electrically open position. We are issuing this AD to correct the unsafe condition on these products.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-27A0157, dated December 18, 2017. The service information describes procedures for deactivating the spoiler control module relays and capping and stowing the associated wiring. 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

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

AD Requirements

This AD retains none of the requirements of AD 2015-08-01. This AD requires accomplishment of the actions identified as “RC” (required for compliance) in the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-27A0157, dated December 18, 2017, described previously. For information on the procedures and compliance times, see this service information at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-1179.

Interim Action

We consider this AD interim action. If final action is later identified, we might consider further rulemaking then.

FAA's Justification and Determination of the Effective Date

An unsafe condition exists that requires the immediate adoption of this AD without providing an opportunity for public comments prior to adoption. The FAA has found that the risk to the flying public justifies waiving notice and comment prior to adoption of this rule because failure to deactivate the spoiler control module relays and cap and stow associated wiring can result in a failure condition that can cause an uncommanded spoiler movement resulting in loss of controllability of the airplane during the approach phase of flight. Therefore, we find good cause that notice and opportunity for prior public comment are impracticable. In addition, for the reason 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 was not preceded by notice and an opportunity for public comment. However, we invite you to send any written data, views, or arguments about this final rule. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include the docket number FAA-2017-1179 and Product Identifier 2017-NM-177-AD at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this final rule. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this final rule because of those comments.

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

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 626 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
  • Deactivating spoiler control module relay 14 work-hours × $85 per hour = $1,190 $1,380 $2,570 * * Based on our estimate of 169 airplanes that are in compliance with the requirements of AD 2015-08-01 and subject to the deactivation requirements of this AD, the total fleet cost for this AD is approximately $434,330.
    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 have 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 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) 2015-08-01, Amendment 39-18137 (80 FR 21645, April 20, 2015), and adding the following new AD: 2017-26-10 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-19141; Docket No. FAA-2017-1179; Product Identifier 2017-NM-177-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective January 3, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 2015-08-01, Amendment 39-18137 (80 FR 21645, April 20, 2015) (“AD 2015-08-01”).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to The Boeing Company Model 757-200, -200PF, -200CB, and -300 series airplanes, certificated in any category, as identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-27A0157, dated December 18, 2017.

    (d) Subject

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

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by a report of a momentary uncommanded spoiler movement during flap configuration just before landing that occurred on an airplane on which the actions required by AD 2015-08-01 had been done. We are issuing this AD to prevent a failure condition that can cause an uncommanded spoiler movement resulting in loss of controllability of the airplane during the approach phase of flight.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Required Actions

    (1) For airplanes in Configuration 1 in Groups 1, 2, and 3, as defined in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-27A0157, dated December 18, 2017: Within 90 days after the effective date of this AD, do all applicable actions identified as “RC” (required for compliance) in, and in accordance with, the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-27A0157, dated December 18, 2017.

    (2) For airplanes in Configuration 2 in Groups 1, 2, and 3, as defined in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-27A0157, dated December 18, 2017: No work is required by this paragraph.

    (h) Prohibited Modification

    As of the effective date of this AD, do not accomplish the actions specified in Boeing Service Bulletin 757-27A0152 on any airplane.

    (i) 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 (j) 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) AMOCs approved previously for AD 2015-08-01 are not approved as AMOCs for any provision in this AD.

    (5) For service information that contains steps that are labeled as RC, the provisions of paragraphs (i)(5)(i) and (i)(5)(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.

    (j) Related Information

    For more information about this AD, contact Myra Kuck, Aerospace Engineer, Cabin Safety, Mechanical & Environmental Systems Section, FAA, Los Angeles ACO Branch, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5316; fax: 562-627-5210; email: [email protected]

    (k) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (i) Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-27A0157, dated December 18, 2017.

    (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 22, 2017. John P. Piccola, Jr., Acting Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28158 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary 32 CFR Part 199 [Docket ID: DOD-2012-HA-0146] RIN 0720-AB47 TRICARE; Reimbursement of Long Term Care Hospitals and Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary, Department of Defense (DoD).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This final rule establishes reimbursement rates for Long Term Care Hospitals (LTCHs) and Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs) in accordance with the statutory requirement that TRICARE inpatient care “payments shall be determined to the extent practicable in accordance with the same reimbursement rules as apply to payments to providers of services of the same type under Medicare.” This final rule adopts Medicare's reimbursement methodologies for inpatient services provided by LTCHs and IRFs. Each reimbursement methodology will be phased in over a 3-year period. This final rule also removes the definitions for “hospital, long-term (tuberculosis, chronic care, or rehabilitation)” and “long-term hospital care,” and creates separate definitions for “Long Term Care Hospital” and “Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility” adopting Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) classification criteria. This final rule also includes authority for a year-end, discretionary General Temporary Military Contingency Payment Adjustment (GTMCPA) for inpatient services in TRICARE network IRFs when deemed essential to meet military contingency requirements.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective March 5, 2018.

    Applicability Date: The regulations setting forth the revised reimbursement systems shall be applicable for all admissions to Long Term Care Hospitals and Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities, respectively, commencing on or after the first day of the month which is at least 120 days after the date of publication of this rule in the Federal Register.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sharon Seelmeyer, Defense Health Agency (DHA), Medical Benefits and Reimbursement Branch, telephone (303) 676-3690.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Executive Summary A. Purpose of the Final Rule 1. Long Term Care Hospitals (LTCHs)

    The purpose of this final rule is to establish a reimbursement system for LTCHs in accordance with the statutory provision at title 10, United States Code (U.S.C.), section 1079(i)(2). This statute requires that TRICARE payment for institutional care be determined, to the extent practicable, in accordance with the same rules as those that apply to payments to providers of services of the same type under Medicare. Medicare pays LTCHs using a LTCH Prospective Payment System (PPS) which classifies LTCH patients into distinct Diagnosis-Related Groups (DRGs). The patient classification system groupings are called Medicare Severity Long Term Care Diagnosis Related Groups (MS-LTC-DRGs), which are the same DRG groupings used under the Medicare acute hospital inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS), but that have been weighted to reflect the resources required to treat the medically complex patients treated at LTCHs.

    On January 26, 2015, a TRICARE proposed rule was published in the Federal Register [79 FR 51127], proposing to adopt a TRICARE LTCH PPS similar to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service's (CMS') reimbursement system for LTCHs, with the exception of not adopting Medicare's LTCH 25 percent rule. This TRICARE proposed rule was subsequently withdrawn and replaced by the proposed rule published August 31, 2016 [81 FR 59934]. We refer the reader to the August 31, 2016, proposed rule for additional information.

    TRICARE pays for most hospital care under the TRICARE DRG-based payment system, which is similar to Medicare's, but some hospitals are exempt by current regulation from the TRICARE DRG-based payment system. LTCHs were exempted from the TRICARE DRG-based payment system and were paid by TRICARE at the lower of a negotiated rate or billed charges. Paying billed charges is fiscally imprudent and inconsistent with TRICARE's governing statute. Paying LTCHs under Medicare's methods is prudent, because it reduces government costs without affecting beneficiary access to services or quality; it is practicable, because it can be implemented without major costs; and, it is harmonious with the statute because the statute states that TRICARE shall determine its payments for institutional services to the extent practicable in accordance with Medicare's payment rates. The final rule creates a gradual transition from TRICARE's current policy of authorizing LTCHs 100 percent of allowable charges (which is either the billed charge or a voluntarily negotiated rate) by phasing-in Medicare's LTCH reimbursement rates as follows: Allowing 135 percent of Medicare LTCH PPS amounts in the first 12-month period after implementation, 115 percent in the second 12-month period after implementation, and 100 percent in the third 12-month period after implementation and follows Medicare policies during subsequent Fiscal Years (FY). Our legal authority for this portion of the final rule is 10 U.S.C. 1079(i)(2).

    2. Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs)

    The purpose of this rule is to also adopt Medicare's reimbursement system for inpatient care for IRFs in accordance with the statutory requirement at 10 U.S.C. 1079 (i)(2) that TRICARE “payments shall be determined to the extent practicable in accordance with the same reimbursement rules as apply to payments to providers of services of the same type under [Medicare].” Medicare pays IRFs using an IRF Prospective Payment System (PPS) which classifies IRF patients into one of 92 case-mix groups (CMGs).

    Similar to LTCHs, IRFs (both freestanding rehabilitation hospitals and rehabilitation hospital units) are currently exempted from the TRICARE DRG-based payment system and paid by TRICARE at the lower of a negotiated rate or billed charges. As discussed earlier, paying billed charges is fiscally imprudent and inconsistent with TRICARE's governing statute. Paying IRFs under a method similar to Medicare's is prudent, practicable, and harmonious with the statute. The final rule creates a gradual transition from TRICARE's current policy of authorizing IRFs 100 percent of allowable charges (which is either the billed charge or a voluntarily negotiated rate) by phasing-in Medicare's IRF PPS as follows: Allowing 135 percent of Medicare IRF PPS amounts in the first 12-month period after implementation, 115 percent in the second 12-month period after implementation, and 100 percent in the third 12-month period after implementation and follow Medicare's policies during subsequent FYs. Our legal authority for this portion of the final rule is 10 U.S.C. 1079(i)(2).

    B. Summary of the Major Provisions of the Final Rule 1. Payment Method for LTCHs

    TRICARE shall reimburse LTCHs for inpatient care using Medicare's LTCH PPS using Medicare's MS-LTC-DRGs. TRICARE is creating a 3-year transition period as described below. Payment for a TRICARE patient will be made at a predetermined, per-discharge amount for each Medicare Severity (MS)-LTC-DRG under the TRICARE LTCH PPS reimbursement methodology. The TRICARE LTCH PPS reimbursement methodology includes payment for all inpatient operating and capital costs of furnishing covered services (including routine and ancillary services), but not certain pass-through costs (e.g., bad debts, direct medical education, and blood clotting factors). When the Medicare hospital day limit is exhausted for TRICARE beneficiaries, who are also eligible for Medicare (i.e., TRICARE For Life (TFL) beneficiaries), TRICARE is the primary payer for medically necessary services, the beneficiary will be responsible for the appropriate TRICARE inpatient cost share. The beneficiary's out-of-pocket costs will be limited by the respective statutory catastrophic cap.

    2. LTCH Transition Period

    In response to public comments, we agree that a transition period is appropriate in order to prepare LTCHs for changes in reimbursement. TRICARE will allow LTCHs 135 percent of the Medicare LTCH PPS amounts in the first 12-month period after implementation, 115 percent in the second 12-month period after implementation, and 100 percent in the third 12-month period after implementation and follow Medicare's policies during subsequent fiscal years.

    CMS has established two different types of LTCH PPS payment rates based on the Pathway for Sustainable Growth Rate Reform Act of 2013: (1) Standard LTCH PPS payment rates; and (2) lower site-neutral LTCH PPS payment rates that are paid at the lower of the IPPS comparable per diem amount, or the estimated cost of the case. Site-neutral patients include LTCH patients who do not use prolonged mechanical ventilation during their LTCH stay or who did not spend three or more days in the intensive care unit (ICU) during their prior acute care hospital stay. Medicare transitioned to the site-neutral payment rate reductions in FY 2016 and FY 2017 by requiring payment based on a 50/50 blend of the standard LTCH PPS rate and the site-neutral LTCH PPS rate for site-neutral patients in those years. Beginning at the individual hospital's cost reporting period beginning in FY 2018, all Medicare LTCH payments for site-neutral patients are calculated using the site-neutral payment methodology (without a 50/50 blend in payments).

    TRICARE will adopt the Medicare LTCH PPS in its entirety except for the Medicare 25 percent threshold rule, including both the full LTCH PPS Standard Federal Payment Rate and site-neutral LTCH PPS methodology for qualifying LTCH cases. TRICARE will have a 3-year transition period which will start at the applicability date of this final rule. We will apply the FY 2019 LTCH PPS for the purposes of the 12-month period beginning on October 1, 2018, and follow any changes adopted by Medicare LTCH PPS for subsequent years. For example, if FY 2019 is the first year of the TRICARE transition period, TRICARE would follow Medicare and all TRICARE LTCHs would receive 135 percent of the full site-neutral payment for TRICARE site-neutral patients. TRICARE will also consider military treatment facilities (MTF) and Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals as Subsection (d) hospitals for the purposes of the site-neutral policy.

    3. Children's Hospitals and Pediatric Patients in LTCHs

    Children's hospitals will be exempt from the TRICARE LTCH PPS and will be paid under the TRICARE DRG-based payment system. Pediatric patients who receive care in TRICARE authorized LTCHs will be paid under the TRICARE LTCH PPS. This final rule edits the regulatory language to include this provision.

    4. Payment Method for IRFs

    TRICARE shall reimburse IRFs for inpatient care using Medicare's IRF PPS. TRICARE is creating a 3-year transition period as described below. Payment for a TRICARE patient will be made at a prospectively-set, fixed payment per discharge based on a patient's classification into one of 92 CMGs. Each CMG has a national relative weight reflecting the expected relative costliness of treatment for patients in that category compared with that for the average Medicare inpatient rehabilitation patient. The relative weight for each CMG is multiplied by a standardized Medicare IRF base payment amount to calculate the case-mix adjusted prospective payment rate. The TRICARE IRF PPS payment rates will cover all inpatient operating and capital costs that IRFs are expected to incur in furnishing inpatient rehabilitation services. When the Medicare hospital day limit is exhausted for TRICARE beneficiaries who are also eligible for Medicare (i.e., TRICARE For Life (TFL) beneficiaries), TRICARE will then be the primary payer for medically necessary services and the beneficiary will be responsible for the appropriate TRICARE inpatient cost share. The beneficiary's out-of-pocket costs will be limited by the respective statutory catastrophic cap.

    5. IRF Transition Period

    In response to public comments, we agree that a transition period is appropriate in order to prepare IRFs for changes in reimbursement. To protect IRFs from sudden significant reductions, the final rule creates a gradual transition from TRICARE's current policy of allowing 100 percent of allowable charges (which is either the billed charge or a voluntarily negotiated rate) by phasing-in the Medicare IRF PPS rates as follows: allowing 135 percent of Medicare IRF PPS amounts in the first 12-month period after implementation, 115 percent in the second 12-month period after implementation, and 100 percent in the third 12-month period after implementation. We will apply the FY 2019 IRF PPS for purposes of the 12-month period beginning on October 1, 2018, and follow any changes adopted by the Medicare IRF PPS for subsequent years.

    6. Children's Hospitals and Pediatric Patients in IRFs

    As stated in the supplementary language of the proposed rule published on August 31, 2016, Children's hospitals will be exempt from the TRICARE IRF PPS and will be paid under the TRICARE DRG-based payment system. Pediatric patients who receive care in TRICARE authorized IRFs will be paid under the TRICARE IRF PPS.

    7. IRF Low Income Payment (LIP) Adjustment

    TRICARE is including the LIP adjustment in the TRICARE IRF PPS.

    8. Removal of Outdated Terms

    This final rule removes outdated definitions in Title 32, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 199.2 for “[h]ospital, long-term (tuberculosis, chronic care, or rehabilitation)” and “[l]ong-term hospital care” and adds a new definition for “Long-Term Care Hospital (LTCH)” as well as adding a new definition for “Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility (IRF).” The new definitions adopt CMS' LTCH and IRF classifications. The TRICARE requirements for both LTCHs and IRFs to be authorized institutional providers have been added to 32 CFR 199.6.

    9. General Temporary Military Contingency Payment Adjustment (GTMCPA) For IRFs

    One of the purposes of the TRICARE program is to support military members and their families during periods of war or contingency operations, when military facility capability may be diverted or insufficient to meet military readiness priorities. To preserve the availability of IRFs during such periods, the final rule includes authority for a year-end discretionary, temporary adjustment that the Director, DHA may approve in extraordinary economic circumstances for a network IRF that serves a disproportionate share of Active Duty Service members (ADSMs) and Active Duty dependents (ADDs). TRICARE is in the process of developing policy and procedural instructions for exercising the discretionary authority under the qualifying criteria for the GTMCPAs for inpatient services provided in IRFs. The policy and procedural instructions will be available within three to six months following the applicability date of the new inpatient reimbursement methodology for IRFs. Network IRFs will be able to request a GTMCPA approximately 14 months from the applicability date of the new reimbursement method as any GTMCPA will be based on twelve months of claims payment data under the new method. Once finalized, the policy and procedural instructions will be available in the TRICARE Reimbursement Manual at http://manuals.tricare.osd.mil. As with any discretionary authority exercised under the regulation, a determination approving or denying a GTMCPA for an IRF is not subject to the appeal and hearing procedures set forth in 32 CFR 199.10, and Section 199.14(a)(10) of this final rule has been revised to clarify this point.

    C. Costs and Benefits

    Consistent with OMB Circular A-4, the effect of this rule is a transfer caused by a Federal budget action; it does not impose costs, including private expenditures. The final rule is anticipated to reduce DoD allowed amounts to LTCHs by approximately $73M in the first year of the transition, if implemented in FY 2019 when TRICARE site-neutral LTCH cases will be paid at the full applicable LTCH PPS payment amount (see Table 1). DoD allowed amounts to LTCHs would be reduced by $86M in the second year, and $98M in the third and final year of the transition.

    This final rule is also anticipated to reduce DoD allowed amounts to IRFs by approximately $24M in FY 2019, which is anticipated to be the first year of the transition period, $41M in the second year, and $57M in the final year of transition.

    ER29DE17.000 II. Discussion of Final Rule A. Introduction and Background

    In the Federal Register of August 31, 2016 [81 FR 59934], DoD published for public comment a rule proposing to revise its reimbursement methodologies for LTCHs and IRFs. Under 10 U.S.C. 1079(i)(2), the amount to be paid to hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and other institutional providers under TRICARE, “shall be determined to the extent practicable in accordance with the same reimbursement rules as apply to payments to providers of services of the same type under Medicare.”

    B. TRICARE LTCH PPS Reimbursement Methodology

    Patients with clinically complex problems, such as multiple acute or chronic conditions, may need hospital care for an extended period of time. LTCHs represent a relatively small number of hospitals (approximately 425 under Medicare), which treat a critically ill population with complex needs and long lengths of stay. Per 32 CFR 199.14(a)(1)(ii)(D)(4), LTCHs are currently exempt from the TRICARE DRG-based payment system, just as they were exempt from Medicare's IPPS when the CMS initially implemented its DRG-based payment system. Because there is no alternate TRICARE reimbursement mechanism in 32 CFR part 199 at this time, LTCH inpatient care provided to TRICARE beneficiaries is currently paid the lower of a negotiated rate or billed charges, which is usually substantially greater than what would be paid using the TRICARE DRG method.

    Medicare created a PPS for LTCHs effective with the cost reporting period beginning on or after October 1, 2002. The MS-LTC-DRG system under Medicare's LTCH PPS classifies patients into distinct diagnostic groups based on their clinical characteristics and expected resource needs. The patient classification groupings, which are the same groupings used under the inpatient acute care hospital groupings (i.e., MS-DRGs), are weighted to reflect the resources required to treat the medically complex patients who are treated in LTCHs. By their nature, LTCHs treat patients with comorbidities requiring long-stay, hospital-level care.

    TRICARE often adopts Medicare's reimbursement methods, but delays implementation, generally, until any transition phase is complete for the Medicare program. CMS included a 5-year transition period when it adopted LTCH PPS for Medicare, under which LTCHs could elect to be paid a blended rate for a set period of time. This transition period ended in 2006. Following the transition phase, in 2008 Medicare adopted an LTCH-specific DRG system, which uses MS-LTC-DRGs, as the patient classification method for LTCHs. In FY 2016, Medicare began its adoption of a site-neutral payment system for LTCHs. Beginning in FY 2016 and continuing in FY 2017 and 2018, CMS has been phasing in the site-neutral payment methodology; during that time, 50 percent of the allowed amount for site-neutral patients was calculated using the site-neutral payment methodology (IPPS comparable amount) and 50 percent was calculated using the current full LTCH PPS standard federal payment rate methodology. Beginning in cost reporting periods that start in FY 2018, all Medicare payments for qualifying LTCH site-neutral patients are calculated using the Medicare site-neutral payment methodology. All other LTCH patients meeting the Medicare criteria for a full LTCH PPS Standard Payment will be paid using the standard LTCH PPS payment methodology. Under 10 U.S.C. 1079(i)(2), the amount to be paid to hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and other institutional providers under TRICARE, “shall be determined to the extent practicable in accordance with the same reimbursement rules as apply to payments to providers of services of the same type under [Medicare].” Based on 10 U.S.C. 1079(i)(2), TRICARE is adopting Medicare's LTCH PPS, to include Medicare's MS-LTC-DRG weights and rates, and Medicare's site-neutral payment methodology for TRICARE authorized LTCHs. TRICARE will adopt the Medicare payment methodology that is in place at the time of TRICARE's implementation and TRICARE will adopt any additional updates or changes to Medicare's LTCH PPS payment methodology as they are adopted by Medicare. TRICARE is also adopting Medicare's adjustments for short-stay outliers, site-neutral payments, interrupted stay policy, the method of payment for preadmission services, and high-cost outlier payments. TRICARE is not adopting Medicare's 25 percent rule because there are too few TRICARE discharges at individual LTCHs to have a threshold policy based on TRICARE admissions. In FY15, only 15 of the 200 LTCHs with TRICARE discharges had 10 or more TRICARE admissions and over 70 percent of the 200 LTCH discharges were from LTCHs with 1-3 TRICARE discharges. As a result, TRICARE has too few discharges at all but a very small number of LTCHs to calculate and apply the 25 percent test using TRICARE discharges. TRICARE could not apply the results of the Medicare 25 percent rule to TRICARE LTCH discharges because the results of Medicare's test are not known until the LTCH's Medicare cost report is settled after the end of the year. Even if DHA knew which LTCHs had failed the 25 percent rule and could identify the specific acute care hospitals that had exceeded the 25 percent rule, it would not be appropriate to apply an adjustment to the TRICARE LTCH discharges from that acute care hospital because DHA would not know which specific TRICARE LTCH discharges from that acute care hospital should have payment reductions and it would be inconsistent with Medicare's policy to reduce the payments for all TRICARE LTCH discharges from that hospital. As a result, DoD is not adopting Medicare's 25 percent rule. TRICARE will also incorporate Medicare's LTCH Quality Reporting (QR) payment adjustments for TRICARE LTCHs that are reflected Medicare's annual payment update for that facility. TRICARE is not establishing a separate reporting requirement for hospitals, but will utilize Medicare's payment adjustments resulting from their LTCH QR Program. Please see Medicare's final rule published on August 22, 2016 [81 FR 56761] for more detail about that program.

    TRICARE will have a three-year phase-in period to prepare LTCHs for these changes in TRICARE reimbursement. TRICARE will allow LTCHs 135 percent of the Medicare LTCH PPS amounts in the first 12-month period after implementation, 115 percent in the second 12-month period after implementation, and 100 percent in the third 12-month period after implementation and follow Medicare's LTCH PPS policies during subsequent FYs.

    C. TRICARE IRF PPS Reimbursement Methodology

    IRFs are free standing rehabilitation hospitals and rehabilitation units in acute care hospitals that provide an intensive rehabilitation program. Per 32 CFR 199.14(a)(1)(ii)(D)(2) and (3), IRFs are currently exempt from the TRICARE DRG-based payment system, just as they were exempt from Medicare's IPPS when the CMS initially implemented its DRG-based payment system. Per 42 CFR 412.1(a)(3), an inpatient rehabilitation hospital or rehabilitation unit of an acute care hospital must meet the requirement for classification as an IRF stipulated in 42 CFR 412.604. In order to qualify as a Medicare-certified IRF, Medicare requires that a certain percentage (currently 60 percent) of the IRF's total inpatient population must meet at least one of 13 medical conditions listed in 42 CFR 412.29(b)(2). Because there is no alternate TRICARE reimbursement mechanism in 32 CFR part 199 at this time, IRF care provided to TRICARE beneficiaries in this setting is currently paid the lower of a negotiated rate, or billed charges. We are adopting Medicare's 60 percent requirement for IRFs.

    Medicare created a PPS for IRFs effective with the cost reporting period beginning in January 2002. Section 4421 of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (Pub. L. 105-33) modified how Medicare payment for IRF services is to be made by creating Section 1886(j) of the Social Security Act, which authorized the implementation of a per-discharge prospective payment system for inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and rehabilitation units of acute care hospitals—referred to as IRFs. As required by Section 1886(j) of the Act, the Federal rates reflect all costs of furnishing IRF services (routine, ancillary, and capital related). CMS included a 9-month transition period when it adopted the IRF PPS for Medicare, under which IRFs could elect to be paid a blended rate. The transition period ended October 1, 2002. Following the transition period, payment to all IRFs was based entirely on the prospective payment.

    TRICARE will also have a three-year phase-in to protect IRFs from sudden significant reductions. The final rule creates a gradual transition to full implementation of the Medicare IRF PPS by allowing 135 percent of Medicare IRF PPS amounts in the first 12-month period after implementation, 115 percent in the second 12-month period after implementation, and 100 percent in the third 12-month period after implementation and follow Medicare's IRF PPS policies during subsequent FYs.

    Under 10 U.S.C. 1079(i)(2), the amount to be paid to hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and other institutional providers under TRICARE, “shall be determined to the extent practicable in accordance with the same reimbursement rules as apply to payments to providers of services of the same type under [Medicare].” Based on 10 U.S.C. 1079(i)(2), TRICARE is adopting Medicare's IRF reimbursement methodology for TRICARE authorized IRFs.

    TRICARE is also adopting Medicare's IRF adjustments for interrupted stays, short stays of less than three days, short-stay transfers (defined as transfers to another institutional setting with an IRF length of stay less than the average length for the CMG), high-cost outliers, and the LIP adjustment. Further, TRICARE is adopting Medicare's Inpatient Rehabilitation Hospital Quality Reporting (IRFQR) payment adjustments for TRICARE authorized IRFs that reflect Medicare's annual payment update for that facility. TRICARE is not establishing a separate reporting requirement for hospitals, but will utilize Medicare's payment adjustments resulting from their IRFQR Program. Please see Medicare's final rule [CMS-1632-F; CMS-1632-CN2] RIN 0938-AS41.

    D. Pediatric Cases in TRICARE Authorized LTCHs and IRFs 1. LTCH

    Our analysis found that in FY 2015, there were five pediatric TRICARE patients treated at TRICARE LTCHs. We found that TRICARE LTCH patients had similar diagnoses as Medicare LTCH patients and that the few pediatric LTCH patients had similar diagnoses as TRICARE patients. Therefore, we are also adopting Medicare's LTCH PPS methodology for pediatric patients treated in TRICARE authorized LTCHs. Some TRICARE patients are treated at Children's hospitals and these hospitals will be exempt from the LTCH PPS and will be paid under the TRICARE DRG-based payment system.

    2. IRF

    Approximately 50 TRICARE beneficiaries under the age of 17 received treatment at TRICARE IRFs in FY 2015. We are adopting Medicare's IRF PPS for pediatric patients treated at TRICARE authorized IRFs. Some TRICARE patients are treated at Children's hospitals and these hospitals will be exempt from the IRF PPS, and will be paid under the TRICARE DRG-based payment system.

    E. Veterans Administration (VA) Hospitals

    VA hospitals specialize in treating injured veterans and provide access to rehabilitative care.

    1. LTCH

    VA hospitals are not Medicare-authorized LTCHs (because they are Federal hospitals) and they are not reimbursed using Medicare's LTCH PPS method.

    2. IRF

    VA hospitals are not Medicare-authorized IRFs (because they are Federal hospitals) and they are not reimbursed using Medicare's IRF PPS method. TRICARE allows VA hospitals to provide inpatient rehabilitation care to TRICARE beneficiaries, and VA hospitals provide care for over 200 TRICARE patients each year (mostly ADSMs). VA hospitals will continue to be paid under existing payment methodologies.

    F. IRF General Temporary Military Contingency Payment Adjustment (GTMCPA)

    In response to the public comments, the final rule includes authority for a year-end, discretionary, GTMCPA that the Director, DHA, may approve in extraordinary economic circumstances for inpatient services from TRICARE network IRFs deemed to be essential for military readiness and support during contingency operations. The Director, DHA, or designee, may approve a GTMCPA for network IRFs that serve a disproportionate share of ADSMs and ADDs. Specific procedures for requesting an IRF GTMCPA will be outlined in the TRICARE Reimbursement Manual.

    G. Additional Revisions to the Regulations

    In reviewing the proposed rule, we realized that the current regulation regarding the reimbursement of facilities and services that exempt from the DRG-based payment system (32 CFR 199.14(a)(1)(ii)(C)) contains an incorrect cross-reference to paragraph (a)(3) vice (a)(4). The new paragraph (a)(3) was added as part of TRICARE; Reimbursement of Critical Access Hospitals final rule (74 FR 44752, August 31, 2009). The old paragraph (a)(3) regarding billed charges and set rates was renumbered as (a)(4), which is now the correct reference. Consequently, we have included this correction in the final rule,

    III. Public Comments

    The TRICARE LTCH and IRF proposed rule [81 FR 59934] published on August 31, 2016, provided a 60-day comment period. Following is a summary of the public comments and our responses.

    A. LTCH

    Comment: One commenter stated that DHA should have a transition period for the LTCH rule because LTCHs are already experiencing financial instability due to the implementation of Medicare's site-neutral payments. The commenter further stated that because of this instability, LTCHs may temporarily suspend all care to TRICARE beneficiaries upon implementation of the LTCH-PPS. The commenter believes this would be less likely to occur if DHA implements a two-year transition period.

    Response: In response to this comment, we have considered whether we should modify our approach to include a transition period. We analyzed our options and as a result, we are including a 3-year phase in to full adoption of Medicare's LTCH PPS rates. TRICARE LTCHs will be allowed 135 percent of Medicare LTCH PPS amounts in the first 12-month period after implementation, 115 percent in the second 12-month period after implementation, and 100 percent in the third 12-month period after implementation and subsequent FYs.

    Comment: Two commenters stated that DHA should do additional analysis on TRICARE LTCH beneficiaries to understand whether the LTCH payment reform will limit beneficiary access to needed care. These commenters believe that analyses should be done to ensure that the LTCH-PPS rates would adequately cover the cost of care for the TRICARE population. They opined that DHA should delay implementation of the LTCH-PPS to do these analyses.

    Response: DHA analyzed FY 2015 TRICARE LTCH claims data to understand the differences between the LTCH payment rates for TRICARE patients under the current TRICARE method and proposed adoption of Medicare methods. We note that: (1) TRICARE's proposed LTCH payment rates would be no less than Medicare rates; (2) Medicare LTCH rates are higher than LTCH costs; (3) during the transition period the TRICARE rates would be much higher than the Medicare rates; and (4) that in studying Medicare beneficiary access to LTCHs, Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has found that LTCH access has been maintained for Medicare beneficiaries (MedPAC, 2016 Report to Congress, Chapter 10). Thus, for the reasons stated above, DHA believes it is reasonable to assume that TRICARE beneficiaries will not have access problems for LTCH care.

    Comment: One commenter stated DHA should not implement a TRICARE-specific 25-percent policy for LTCHs because the 25-percent rule would penalize many TRICARE LTCHs that admit less than four TRICARE patients annually. If implemented, the 25-percent rule would reduce TRICARE payments by far more than 67 percent.

    Response: We agree with the commenter that DHA should not include a TRICARE-specific 25-percent policy for LTCHs. Our intent was not to have a TRICARE-specific 25-percent policy for LTCHs. We have also decided it is not practicable for TRICARE to adopt Medicare's 25-percent policy adjustments for TRICARE LTCHs because there are too few TRICARE discharges to have a threshold policy based on TRICARE admissions, and it would be unfair to adjust all of an LTCH's payments if the LTCH failed the Medicare threshold (and this would also be inconsistent with Medicare's policy).

    Comment: One commenter stated that DHA should modify its LTCH-PPS short stay outlier policy for LTCHs to cap payments at the cost of the case. The commenter believed the Medicare Short Stay Outlier (SSO) policy would encourage perverse incentives for LTCHs who may discharge patients at certain points of their stay based on what outlier payment they would receive. A capped policy would also be easier to implement.

    Response: We disagree that the Medicare LTCH SSO policy should be modified for TRICARE. DHA aims to follow Medicare policy as closely as possible, and for this reason, using Medicare's exact outlier methodology is appropriate.

    Comment: Two commenters stated that TRICARE should treat military treatment facilities and VA hospitals as “subsection (d)” hospitals for the purposes of determining whether a case meets the clinical patient-level criteria used to determine eligibility for the LTCH-PPS standard reimbursement rate.

    Response: We thank the commenters for bringing to our attention that due to the site neutral criteria, patients may potentially be rejected from admission to Long Term Care Hospitals because the preceding stay was not at a subsection (d) hospital. In order to eliminate a potential rejection, DHA agrees that TRICARE should treat military treatment facilities and VA hospitals as “subsection (d)” hospitals for the purposes of LTCH admission and qualification for the LTCH-PPS payment. It is important to ensure that Military Treatment Facility (MTF) and VA discharged TRICARE beneficiaries do not have LTCH access issues. We would also note that this approach is consistent with the guidance issued by CMS. Specifically, for patients who may have used their VA benefit or received inpatient care at a MTF that qualified as an “immediately preceding” stay, applicable criteria for exclusion from the site neutral payment rate are met. (See MLN Matters® Number: SE1627 released October 18, 2016.)

    Comment: One commenter stated that few TRICARE patients go to LTCHs so the TRICARE LTCH payment change is irrelevant.

    Response: We disagree with the commenter on their statement that few TRICARE patients go to LTCHs, and that changes to the TRICARE LTCH payment system would be irrelevant. In FY 2015, over 700 TRICARE patients were admitted to approximately 200 LTCHs, with allowed amounts of over $90M. As a result, LTCH payment changes would not be irrelevant.

    Comment: One commenter stated the SSO policy proposed would be different than Medicare's reimbursement system.

    Response: This comment was in response to the withdrawn TRICARE proposed rule published in the Federal Register on January 26, 2015 [79 FR 51127]. The proposed rule has since been withdrawn. We published a new proposed rule in the Federal Register on August 31, 2016 [81 FR 59934], stating we would adopt Medicare's short stay outlier policy in its entirety.

    Comment: One commenter agreed with our proposed definition changes.

    Response: We thank the commenter for their review and observations.

    B. IRF

    Comment: One commenter stated the proposed timeline date of the beginning FY 2017 for implementation was incorrect.

    Response: We agree that the timeline cannot begin at the beginning of FY 2017 and have modified the projected implementation date to FY 2019 for both LTCHs and IRFs.

    Comment: One commenter stated that DHA should reduce IRF administrative burdens such as the repetitive authorization process.

    Response: This comment does not appear to be contingent on the proposed rule, and is instead commenting on TRICARE IRF current practice. We invite the commenter to contact their regional Managed Care Support Contractor to work with them and make them aware of the issue.

    Comment: Two commenters stated that TRICARE should have a transition period for the IRF rule. Providers should be given adequate advance notice of any changes to their reimbursement and should have the flexibility to transition to the new system.

    Response: In response to this comment, we have considered whether we should modify our approach to include a transition period. We are including a 3-year transition period for adopting Medicare's IRF PPS rates. TRICARE will allow 135 percent of Medicare IRF PPS amounts in the first 12-month period after implementation, 115 percent in the second 12-month period after implementation, and 100 percent in the third 12-month period after implementation, and follow Medicare's IRF PPS policies during subsequent FYs.

    Comment: One commenter, noting that TRICARE beneficiaries are substantially younger than Medicare beneficiaries, stated Medicare's CMG system and weights are not appropriate for TRICARE patients because TRICARE IRF patient characteristics are much different than Medicare IRF patient characteristics. This commenter also suggested that TRICARE should increase CMG weights for key TRICARE categories in order to account for TRICARE patients' different needs.

    Response: We believe that the Medicare CMG system and weight structure is appropriate for TRICARE patients because although TRICARE may have a different case mix of IRF patients than Medicare, TRICARE IRF patients require similar rehabilitation services in IRFs as Medicare patients. Although in aggregate TRICARE patients do stay longer in the IRF setting (15 days in FY 2015, in comparison to the Medicare average length-of-stay of 13 days in FY 2014 (MedPAC, March 2016 Report to Congress, Table 9-5, Chapter 9)), we think the factors that are built into the Medicare CMGs are appropriate for TRICARE patients because they require similar rehabilitation services. IRF patients are grouped into one of 92 CMGs based on a number of characteristics such as the diagnosis requiring rehabilitation, functional status, cognitive status, age, and comorbidities. We think CMGs are appropriate for both Medicare and TRICARE patients. With respect to the age difference between Medicare and TRICARE beneficiaries, the Medicare CMG system is also currently used for the reimbursement of patients under the age of 65 who are entitled to Medicare. Further, in examining FY 2015 TRICARE IRF claims, three-quarters of IRF claims and about half of all allowed amounts were for retirees and their dependents.

    Comment: One commenter suggested that a closer review of the legislative history shows that Congress did not intend to require DoD to adopt Medicare reimbursement rules for IRF care.

    Response: We disagree. The pertinent statutory provision (10 U.S.C. 1079(i)(2)) states, “payments may be determined to the extent practicable in accordance with the same reimbursement rules as apply to payments to providers of services of the same type under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act.” The commenter argues that it was not Congress' intent to adopt Medicare rates to TRICARE IRF beneficiaries because the above statutory language was enacted before Medicare's PPS reimbursement system for IRFs went into effect. The commenter would like to read this statutory authority as being limited to only those types of care for which Medicare had a reimbursement methodology in place at the time of enactment of the statute. We see no justification that allows DoD to disregard the unambiguous requirement in the statute to adopt Medicare reimbursement methodologies to the extent practicable. We believe for the reasons stated in the proposed rule that using the IRF-PPS for TRICARE patients is practicable, and therefore, is in accordance with DoD's statutory obligation.

    Comment: One commenter stated that if TRICARE implements the Medicare IRF-PPS, more TRICARE patients will be discharged from IRFs to other post-acute care settings (like Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs)). Because TRICARE does not have a limit on the number of medically necessary SNF days, the commenter opines that TRICARE patients may stay indefinitely at SNFs. The commenter asserted that TRICARE's projected savings from adopting the Medicare IRF PPS would be reduced because of the increased use of post-acute care.

    Response: First, we would note that the commenter assumes there will be a reduction in the amount of care provided in an IRF setting which will then cause TRICARE beneficiaries to take greater advantage of other post-acute care. We do not believe this will occur. We agree with the commenter that if there is an increase in the number of TRICARE patients who are discharged from IRFs and then admitted to SNFs, it would reduce the estimated level of TRICARE savings. However, we think that the impact of this effect would be small. For example, even under the very unrealistic assumption that every TRICARE patient discharged from an IRF would have an additional 7-day stay at a SNF that otherwise would not occur, it would increase TRICARE costs by less than $10M, which is much less than the anticipated TRICARE payment reduction of almost $60M in FY 2020. Further, we disagree with the commenter that TRICARE patients who transfer to SNFs would stay at SNFs indefinitely. Only patients who require medically necessary care will be admitted to SNFs, and the stays must continue to be medically necessary. Based upon the experience of other TRICARE SNF patients who have an average length of stay of 22 days, we do not think that TRICARE SNF stays will be indefinite.

    Comment: One commenter stated that TRICARE can retain contractual relationships with in-network providers, and negotiate with out-of-network providers on a case by case basis.

    Response: The managed care support contractors are responsible for negotiating discounts from providers, and have strong incentives to do this today. We found that about 37 percent of out-of-network TRICARE IRFs were reimbursed at a discount off of billed charges in FY 2015 and that over 60 percent were paid at 100 percent of billed charges. Relying on the managed care support contractors to negotiate rates with network providers, however, is not a substitute for establishing an applicable reimbursement methodology. Further, negotiating rates with out-of-network providers on a case-by-case basis does not ensure compliance with statutory obligations not to pay more than Medicare rates when practicable.

    Comment: One commenter stated that TRICARE could adopt Medicare rules for certain TRICARE patients like retirees who may have more similar characteristics to Medicare beneficiaries, and maintain current payment policy for other family members and active duty service members. This will ensure that ADSMs and their families will continue to receive the full scope of IRF services.

    Response: We have reviewed the beneficiary population data, and we agree that a discretionary adjustment should be considered to ensure that there is sufficient access for ADSMs and their families. Those network IRFs with a high proportion of ADSM/ADD admissions may be eligible to receive a GTMCPA.

    Comment: One commenter stated that TRICARE should make outlier payments based on a marginal cost factor equal to 100% of the costs in excess of the fixed-loss threshold, rather than 80% as provided by Medicare, since this practice is inconsistent with the ordinary practices of the insurance industry. TRICARE should use individual hospital cost-to-charge ratios rather than a national cost-to-charge ratio. This will help ensure payment for care provided to Service members and their families.

    Response: We disagree that using Medicare's outlier methodology would be inappropriate for TRICARE patients. Under 10 U.S.C. 1079(i)(2), the amount to be paid to hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and other institutional providers under TRICARE, “shall be determined to the extent practicable in accordance with the same reimbursement rules as apply to payments to providers of services of the same type under [Medicare].” Given the statutory language, TRICARE is adopting Medicare's IRF PPS reimbursement method for our beneficiaries. Medicare does use facility-specific cost-to-charge ratios (please see Medicare's final rule published on August 6, 2015 [80 FR 47036]), and DHA plans on doing the same.

    Comment: One commenter stated that DHA should do additional analysis on TRICARE IRF beneficiaries to understand whether the IRF payment reform will limit beneficiary access to needed care. Additionally, analyses should be done to ensure that the IRF-PPS rates would adequately cover the cost of care for the TRICARE population.

    Response: DHA disagrees that there will be access problems because TRICARE will pay no less than Medicare does for IRF care and because MedPAC has found that there do not appear to be capacity constraints on IRF care for Medicare patients (MedPAC, 2016 Report to Congress, Chapter 9). MedPAC has also found that Medicare IRF payments exceed IRF costs.

    Comment: One commenter stated that they do not agree that the agency is compelled to adopt the Medicare IRF PPS.

    Response: 10 U.S.C. 1079(i)(2) states that “payments may be determined to the extent practicable in accordance with the same reimbursement rules as apply to payments to providers of services of the same type under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act.” We believe that it is practicable to adopt the Medicare system, and that adopting the IRF-PPS more closely aligns TRICARE to Medicare payment methods and rules.

    Comment: One commenter stated that DHA should implement the LIP adjustment in IRF-PPS method, and revert back to policy from the original proposed rule because it is a fundamental part of the Medicare program and critical to providers serving vulnerable populations, and should not be excluded from the TRICARE rate.

    Response: We agree with the commenter that the LIP adjustment should be included in the TRICARE IRF PPS. This will allow for the same payment to LIP adjusted hospitals as Medicare, and will also provide additional reimbursement to IRFs serving vulnerable TRICARE populations.

    Comment: One commenter stated that TRICARE patients to IRFs should not complicate the compliance methodology for satisfying the 60 Percent Rule and that the 60 Percent Rule is not a component of payment policy.

    Response: We believe that the statement in the proposed rule has confused the commenter regarding TRICARE and Medicare's 60 percent rule. It was the intent of the policy to note that TRICARE would honor the Medicare adjustments based on fulfilling the criteria of the 60 percent rule with Medicare patients, and not that TRICARE would require a 60 percent rule for its own patients. In other words, if Medicare penalizes an IRF because the IRF did not meet the 60 percent rule criteria with Medicare patients, TRICARE would also penalize the hospital. This is because TRICARE would use the same grouping software as Medicare, which already includes the 60-percent rule adjustments.

    Comment: One commenter requested that we confirm that the majority of out-of-network IRF reimbursement is being reimbursed at 100 percent of billed charges.

    Response: Using FY 2015 data, we found that about 63 percent of TRICARE non-network IRFs were reimbursed at 100 percent of billed charges. On average, out-of-network providers were reimbursed at 87 percent of billed charges.

    IV. Regulatory Impact Analyses for LTCHs and IRFs A. Overall Impact

    DoD has examined the impacts of this final rule as required by Executive Orders (E.O.s) 12866 (September 1993, Regulatory Planning and Review) and 13563 (January 18, 2011, Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review), the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (September 19, 1980, Pub. L. 96-354), the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4), the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 804(2)), and E.O. 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs (January 30, 2017).

    1. Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563

    E.O.s 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). E.O. 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. A regulatory impact analysis (RIA) must be prepared for major rules with economically significant effects ($100M or more in any one year).

    We estimate that the effects of the LTCH and IRF provisions that would be implemented by this rule would not result in LTCH or IRF revenue reductions exceeding $100 million in any one year individually, however, when combined revenue reductions would exceed $100 million, making this rulemaking “economically significant” as measured by the $100 million threshold. We have prepared a Regulatory Impact Analyses that, to the best of our ability, presents the costs and benefits of the rulemaking. This final rule is anticipated to reduce DoD allowed amounts to LTCHs by $73M and to IRFs by $24M in FY 2019 during the first year of transition.

    2. Congressional Review Act. 5 U.S.C. 801

    Under the Congressional Review Act, a major rule may not take effect until at least 60 days after submission to Congress of a report regarding the rule. A major rule is one that would have an annual effect on the economy of $100M or more or have certain other impacts. This final rule is a major rule under the Congressional Review Act.

    3. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The RFA requires agencies to analyze options for regulatory relief of small businesses if a rule has a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. For purposes of the RFA, small entities include small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. Most hospitals are considered to be small entities, either by being nonprofit organizations or by meeting the Small Business Administration (SBA) identification of a small business (having revenues of $34.5M or less in any one year). For purposes of the RFA, we have determined that the majority of LTCHs and IRFs would be considered small entities according to the SBA size standards. Individuals and States are not included in the definition of a small entity. Therefore, this rule would have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. The Regulatory Impact Analyses, as well as the contents contained in the preamble, also serves as the Regulatory Flexibility Analysis.

    4. Unfunded Mandates

    Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 also requires that agencies assess anticipated costs and benefits before issuing any rule whose mandates require spending in any one year of $100M in 1995 dollars, updated annually for inflation. That threshold level is currently approximately $140M. This final rule will not mandate any requirements for State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector.

    5. Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule will not impose significant additional information collection requirements on the public under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3502-3511). Existing information collection requirements of the TRICARE and Medicare programs will be utilized. We do not anticipate any increased costs to hospitals because of paperwork, billing, or software requirements since we are keeping TRICARE's billing/coding requirements (i.e., hospitals will be coding and filing claims in the same manner as they currently are with TRICARE).

    6. Executive Order 13132, “Federalism”

    This rule has been examined for its impact under E.O. 13132, and it does not contain policies that have Federalism implications that would have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of Government. Therefore, consultation with State and local officials is not required.

    7. Executive Order (E.O.) 13771, “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs”

    E.O. 13771 seeks to control costs associated with the government imposition of private expenditures required to comply with Federal regulations and to reduce regulations that impose such costs. This rule is not subject to the requirements of E.O. 13771 because this rule results in no more than de minimis costs.

    B. Hospitals Included In and Excluded From the Proposed LTCH and IRF PPS Reimbursement Methodologies

    The TRICARE LTCH PPS and the TRICARE IRF PPS encompass all Medicare-classified LTCHs and IRFs that are also authorized by TRICARE and that have inpatient stays for TRICARE beneficiaries, except for hospitals in States that are paid by Medicare and TRICARE under a waiver that exempts them from Medicare's inpatient prospective payment system or the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS) DRG-based payment system, respectively. Neoplastic Disease Care Hospitals would also be exempt from the TRICARE LTCH PPS, while Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals would be exempt from the TRICARE IRF PPS. Children's hospitals would be exempt from the TRICARE LTCH PPS and IRF PPS.

    C. Analysis of the Impact of Policy Changes on Payment for LTCH and IRF Alternatives Considered

    The alternatives that were considered, the changes that we are proposing, and the reasons that we have chosen these options are discussed below.

    1. Alternatives Considered for Addressing Reduction in LTCH Payments

    Under the method discussed here, TRICARE's LTCH payments per discharge would decrease by 50-80 percent for most LTCHs once the LTCH PPS rates were adopted. Because the impact of moving from a charge-based reimbursement method to Medicare's method would produce such large reductions in the TRICARE allowed amounts for LTCH care, we initially considered a 4-year phase-in of this approach. Under this option, one portion of the payment would continue to be paid as the billed charge and the remaining portion would be paid under the Medicare approach. In the first year, 75 percent of the payment would be based on billed charges and in each subsequent year this portion would be reduced by 25 percentage points so that by the fourth year the billed charge portion would not be used.

    As stated in our proposed rule, we believed this transition approach was not appropriate for four main reasons: (1) Medicare-based payments for TRICARE patients would have a minimal impact on overall LTCH payments, (2) LTCHs admit few TRICARE patients each year, (3) TRICARE payments would be equal to Medicare payments, and (4) there are not likely to be access issues as a result of the reimbursement change (MedPAC, 2015 Report to Congress, Chapter 11).

    After careful review of the comments on the proposed rule, however, we agree that TRICARE should adopt a transition. During the transition, TRICARE would pay more than Medicare (135 percent of Medicare LTCH PPS payments in year 1 and 115 percent of Medicare LTCH PPS payments in year 2), and 100 percent of Medicare LTCH PPS payments in the final year of the transition. This transition will offer a gradual transition to full Medicare rates. Given that the TRICARE LTCH rates will equal Medicare LTCH rates in the final year of the transition, and because TRICARE payments will have a limited impact on overall LTCH payments, we do not anticipate access problems for TRICARE beneficiaries under this transition. Further, by statute, hospitals that participate under Medicare are required to agree to accept TRICARE reimbursement.

    2. Alternatives Considered for Addressing Reduction in IRF Payments

    Under the method discussed here, TRICARE's IRF payments per discharge would decrease by almost 30 percent for the median TRICARE IRF and about one-third of TRICARE IRFs would have a reduction of 50 percent or more in allowed amounts. Because the impact of moving from a charge-based reimbursement method to Medicare's method would produce such large reductions in the TRICARE allowed amounts for IRF care, we considered a 3-year phase-in of this approach. Under this option, one portion of the payment would continue to be paid as the billed charge while the remaining portion would be paid under the Medicare approach. In the first year, two-thirds of the payment would be based on billed charges and in each subsequent year this portion would be reduced by one-third so that by the third year the billed charge portion would not be used.

    As stated in our proposed rule, we believed this transition approach was not appropriate for four main reasons: (1) Medicare payments for TRICARE patients would have a minimal impact on overall IRF payments, (2) IRFs admit few TRICARE patients each year, (3) TRICARE payments will be equal to Medicare payments, and (4) access issues as a result of the reimbursement change are unlikely because MedPAC reports IRFs paid by Medicare have positive margins (MedPAC, 2015 Report to Congress, Chapter 10).

    After careful review of the comments on the proposed rule, however, we agree that TRICARE should adopt a transition that allows a percentage of Medicare payments in the first two years (135 percent of Medicare IRF PPS payments in year 1 and 115 percent of Medicare IRF PPS payments in year 2), and 100 percent of Medicare IRF PPS payments in the final year of the transition. This transition will protect IRFs from sudden significant reductions, offering a gradual transition to full Medicare rates. Given that the TRICARE IRF rates will equal Medicare IRF rates in the final year of the transition and will have a limited impact on overall IRF payments, we do not anticipate access problems for TRICARE beneficiaries using the 3-year transition period. Further, by statute, hospitals that participate under Medicare are required to agree to accept TRICARE reimbursement.

    D. Analysis of the Impact of TRICARE LTCH and IRF Payment Reform 1. LTCH Methodology

    We analyzed the impact of TRICARE implementing a new method of payment for LTCHs. The proposed method is Medicare's LTCH PPS payment method, which uses the Medicare MS-LTC-DRG system for cases that meet specific clinical criteria to qualify for the standard LTCH PPS payment rates and, as of FY 2018, the Medicare IPPS MS-DRG system for all non-standard payment (site-neutral) patients. Our analysis compares the impact on allowed charges of the new methodology compared to current TRICARE methodology (where TRICARE pays billed charges or discounts off of these billed charges for all LTCH claims).

    The data used in developing the quantitative analyses presented below are taken from TRICARE allowed charge data from October 2014 to September 2015. We drew upon various sources for the data used to categorize hospitals in Table 2, below. We attempted to construct these variables using information from Medicare's FY 2015 Impact file to verify that each provider was in fact a Medicare LTCH. One limitation is that for individual hospitals, some mis-categorizations are possible. We were unable to match 3 LTCHs with 4 hospital claims to the FY 2015 Impact file, and as a result, these 4 claims were excluded from the analysis. We also excluded 32 hospital claims where the DRG on the claim was unclassifiable. All Neoplastic Disease Care Hospitals (1 hospital, 1 claim) and Children's Hospital claims (2 hospitals, 46 claims) were also excluded from the analysis, and there were no TRICARE beneficiaries who were treated in Maryland LTCHs in FY 2015. After we removed the excluded claims for which we could not assign charge and hospital classification variables, we used the remaining hospitals and claims as the basis for our analysis. We focused the analysis on TRICARE claims where TRICARE was the primary payer because only these TRICARE payments will be affected by the proposed reforms.

    Using allowed charge data from FY 2015, the FY 2015 Medicare MS-LTC-DRG and MS-DRG weights, the FY 2015 Medicare LTCH and IPPS national base payment rates, the FY 2015 Medicare high cost outlier fixed thresholds, and the FY 2015 wage index adjustment factors, we simulated TRICARE allowed amounts in FY 2015 using the proposed LTCH prospective payment method. Under “current policy” we assumed that TRICARE LTCH costs would increase by 7 percent per year from FY 2015 to FY 2020 to reflect increases in billed charges. We then projected the costs under the proposed policy, assuming that under the Medicare LTCH-PPS, costs would increase by 3 percent per year from FY 2015 to FY 2020. Under the Medicare LTCH-PPS, the percentage annual increase of 3 percent in TRICARE allowed amounts is less than the percentage increase under current policy due to slower increases in Medicare LTCH reimbursement rates (in comparison to TRICARE billed charges). The difference between the current and the proposed policy assuming full implementation of the transition period would have been $65M if fully implemented in FY 2015.

    2. IRF Methodology

    We analyzed the impact of TRICARE implementing a new method of payment for IRFs. The proposed method is Medicare's IRF prospective payment system (PPS) method, which pays a prospectively-set fixed payment per discharge based on a patient's classification into one of 92 case-mix groups (CMGs). Our analysis compares the impact on allowed charges of the new methodology compared to current TRICARE methodology (where TRICARE pays billed charges or discounts off of these billed charges for all IRF claims).

    The data used in developing the quantitative analyses presented below are taken from TRICARE allowed charge data from October 2014 to September 2015. We drew upon various sources for the data used to categorize hospitals in Table 3, below. We attempted to construct these variables using information from Medicare's FY 2016 IRF rate setting file and the Medicare Provider file to verify that each TRICARE IRF provider was in fact a Medicare IRF. One limitation is that for individual hospitals, some mis-categorizations are possible. We were unable to match 8 IRF claims from 4 IRFs to Medicare provider numbers within the FY 2016 IRF rate setting file, and therefore had to exclude them from the analysis, even though these 4 IRFs were confirmed to be Medicare-certified IRFs in the October 2016 Medicare IRF Provider Specific file. We also excluded all Children's Hospital (2 hospitals, 11 discharges) and all Veterans hospital (12 hospitals, 239 discharges) claims because these hospitals are not paid under the Medicare IRF PPS. After we removed the excluded claims for which we could not assign charge and hospital classification variables, we used the remaining hospitals and claims as the basis for our analysis. We focused the analysis on TRICARE claims where TRICARE was the primary payer because only these TRICARE payments will be affected by the proposed reforms.

    The impact of adopting the Medicare IRF-PPS is difficult to estimate because there is insufficient diagnosis information on the TRICARE claims to classify TRICARE patients into a CMG. Because we were unable to classify TRICARE discharges into one of the 92 Medicare CMGs, we took an alternative approach to estimate the costs of adopting the Medicare IRF-PPS system. Our approach is based on first calculating the facility-specific “Medicare” costs for TRICARE IRF discharges at each IRF using the FY 2015 TRICARE billed charges at that IRF and the 2015 Medicare cost-to-charge ratio (CCR) for that IRF. We then used Medicare payment and cost data from the FY 2016 Medicare IRF rate setting file to calculate the Medicare margin at each IRF. In a third step of our approach we multiplied the estimated cost of each TRICARE discharge calculated in the first step by the IRF-specific margin to get an estimate of the allowed amount that would be paid by TRICARE under the Medicare IRF-PPS for each discharge.

    Under “current policy” we assumed that TRICARE IRF costs would increase by 6 percent per year from FY 2015 to FY 2020 to reflect increases in billed charges. We then projected the costs under the proposed policy, assuming that under the Medicare IRF-PPS, costs would increase by 2.5 percent per year from FY 2015 to FY 2020. Under the Medicare IRF-PPS, the percentage annual increase of 2.5 percent in TRICARE allowed amounts is less than the percentage increase under current policy due to slower increases in Medicare IRF reimbursement rates (in comparison to TRICARE billed charges).

    As a result, this approach allows us to estimate the change in allowed amounts under the Medicare method without having CMG data on TRICARE patients. The difference between the current and the proposed policy, assuming full implementation of the transition period would have been $33M if fully implemented in FY 2015.

    3. Effect of Payment Policy Change on LTCHs

    Table 2, Impact of TRICARE LTCH Rule in FY 2015, presents the results of our analysis of FY 2015 TRICARE claims data. This table categorizes LTCHs which had TRICARE inpatient stays in FY 2015 by various geographic and special payment consideration groups to illustrate the varying impacts on different types of LTCHs. The first column represents the number of LTCHs in FY 2015 in each category which had inpatient stays in which TRICARE was the primary payer. The second column shows the number of TRICARE discharges in each category. The third column shows the average TRICARE allowed amount per discharge in FY 2015. The fourth column shows the simulated average allowed amount per discharge under the Medicare LTCH payment method, assuming full implementation of both the TRICARE transition and the Medicare site-neutral payment policy. The fifth column shows the percentage reduction in the allowed amounts under the full implementation of the Medicare site-neutral method relative to the current allowed amounts.

    The first row in Table 2 shows the overall impact on the 207 LTCHs included in the analysis. The next three rows of the table contain hospitals categorized according to their urban/rural status in FY 2015 (large urban, other urban, and rural). The second major grouping is by LTCH bed-size category, followed by TRICARE network status of the LTCH. The fourth grouping shows the LTCHs by regional divisions while the final grouping is by LTCH ownership status.

    Upon full implementation of the Medicare site-neutral payment policy and after the TRICARE transition is complete, TRICARE allowed amounts to LTCHs would have decreased by 70 percent in comparison to allowed amounts paid to LTCHs under the current TRICARE policy (in FY 2015 dollars). For all the LTCH groups shown in Table 2, allowed amounts under the proposed payment methodology would be reduced.

    The following discussion highlights some of the changes in allowed amounts among LTCH classifications. 99 percent of all TRICARE LTCH admissions were to urban LTCHs. Allowed amounts would have decreased by 69 percent for large urban, 71 percent for other urban and 67 percent for rural LTCHs.

    Very small LTCHs (1-24 beds) would have had the least impact; allowed amounts would have been reduced by 53 percent. The change in payment methodology would have had the greatest impacts on large LTCHs (125 or more beds), where allowed amounts would have been reduced by about 73 percent.

    The change in LTCH payment methodology would have a larger impact on TRICARE non-network LTCHs than network LTCHs because almost all network LTCHs currently offer a discount off billed charges while the majority of non-network LTCHs do not. Allowed charges to non-network LTCHs would have declined by 74 percent, in comparison to 67 percent for in-network hospitals. We found that network hospitals on average provide a 32 percent discount off billed charges for non-TFL TRICARE beneficiaries and that 70 percent of all TRICARE LTCH discharges were in-network in FY 2015.

    LTCHs in various geographic areas would have been affected differently due to this change in payment methodology. The two regions with the largest number of TRICARE claims, the South Atlantic and West South Central region, would have had an average decrease of 69 and 71 percent in allowed charges respectively, which are very similar to the overall average of 70 percent. LTCHs in the New England and West North Central regions would have had the lowest reductions in allowed charges: 39 and 50 percent, respectively.

    77 percent of all TRICARE LTCH discharges in FY 2015 were in proprietary (for-profit) LTCHs, and these facilities would have had their allowed amounts reduced by approximately 71 percent. The decline in allowed amounts for voluntary (not-for-profit) LTCHs would have been less than for-profit hospitals (61 percent).

    BILLING CODE 5001-06-P ER29DE17.001 BILLING CODE 5001-06-C 4. Effect of Payment Policy Change on IRFs

    Table 3, Impact of TRICARE IRF Rule in FY 2015, presents the results of our analysis of FY 2015 TRICARE claims data. This table categorizes IRFs which had TRICARE inpatient stays in FY 2015 by various geographic and special payment consideration groups to illustrate the varying impacts of different types of IRFs. The first column represents the number of IRFs in FY 2015 in each category which had inpatient stays in which TRICARE was the primary payer. The second column shows the simulated number of TRICARE discharges in each category. The third column shows the average TRICARE allowed amount per discharge in FY 2015. The fourth column shows the average allowed amount per discharge under the Medicare IRF payment method, assuming full implementation of the TRICARE transition, and including the LIP adjustment. The fifth column shows the percentage reduction in the allowed amounts under the Medicare payment method relative to the current TRICARE allowed amounts.

    The first row in Table 3 shows the overall impact on the 493 IRFs included in the analysis. The next two rows of the table categorize hospitals according to their geographic location in FY 2015 (urban and rural). The second major grouping is by IRF bed-size category, followed by whether the IRF is a freestanding facility or a part of a hospital unit. The fourth grouping shows IRFs by TRICARE network status and fifth by teaching status. The sixth grouping is by regional divisions and the final grouping is by IRF ownership status.

    The following discussion highlights some of the changes in allowed amounts among IRF classifications. 96 percent of all TRICARE IRF admissions were to urban IRFs. Allowed amounts would have decreased by 36 percent for urban IRFs and 11 percent for rural IRFs.

    Very small IRFs (1-24 beds) would have had the most impact; allowed amounts would have been reduced by 50 percent. The change in payment methodology would have had the least impact on medium to large IRFs (75 to 124 beds), where allowed amounts would have been reduced by about 8 percent.

    The change in IRF payment methodology would have resulted in a 49 percent reduction in the allowed amounts for IRFs that are part of a hospital unit. In comparison, freestanding IRF payments would have been reduced by 18 percent. The change in IRF payment methodology would have also had a larger impact on TRICARE non-network IRFs than network IRFs because network IRFs currently offer a discount off billed charges while non-network IRFs typically do not. Allowed charges to non-network IRFs would have declined by 55 percent, in comparison to 30 percent for in-network hospitals. We found that network hospitals on average provide a 34 percent discount off billed charges for TRICARE beneficiaries without other health insurance, and that 85 percent of all TRICARE IRF discharges were in-network in FY 2015.

    We also found that the change in IRF payment methodology would have a larger impact on teaching hospitals, where payments would have been reduced by 41 percent, in comparison to non-teaching hospitals, where payments would have been reduced by 34 percent. Approximately 81 percent of all TRICARE IRF discharges were from non-teaching IRF facilities.

    IRFs in various geographic areas will be affected differently by this change in payment methodology. The two regions with the largest number of TRICARE IRF claims, the South Atlantic (803 discharges) and West South Central (668 discharges), would have had an average decrease of 35 and 33 percent in allowed charges respectively. IRFs in New England and the Middle Atlantic would have had the lowest reductions in allowed charges of 13 percent. The Mountain, West South Central, and Pacific regions would have had the highest reductions (between 33 and 49 percent).

    BILLING CODE 5001-06-P ER29DE17.002 BILLING CODE 5001-06-C

    46 percent of all TRICARE IRF discharges in FY 2015 were in proprietary (for-profit) IRFs, and these facilities would have had their allowed amounts reduced by approximately 29 percent. The decline in allowed amounts for voluntary (not-for-profit) and government-owned IRFs would have been slightly more than proprietary hospitals (41 and 38 percent).

    List of Subjects in 32 CFR Part 199

    Claims, Dental health, Health care, Health insurance, Individuals with disabilities, Military personnel.

    Accordingly, 32 CFR part 199 is amended as follows:

    PART 199—CIVILIAN HEALTH AND MEDICAL PROGRAM OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES (CHAMPUS) 1. The authority citation for part 199 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 301; 10 U.S.C. chapter 55.

    2. In § 199.2, paragraph (b) is amended by: a. Removing the definition of “Hospital, long-term (tuberculosis, chronic care, or rehabilitation).” b. Adding the definition of “Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility (IRF)” in alphabetical order. c. Adding the definition of “Long Term Care Hospital (LTCH)” in alphabetical order. d. Removing the definition of “Long-term hospital care.”

    The additions read as follows:

    § 199.2 Definitions.

    (b) * * *

    Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility (IRF). A facility classified by CMS as an IRF and meets the applicable requirements established by § 199.6(b)(4)(xx) (which includes the requirement to be a Medicare participating provider).

    Long Term Care Hospital (LTCH). A hospital that is classified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as an LTCH and meets the applicable requirements established by § 199.6(b)(4)(v) (which includes the requirement to be a Medicare participating provider).

    3. In § 199.6, revise paragraphs (b)(4)(v) and (xvi), and add paragraph (b)(4)(xx) to read as follows:
    § 199.6 TRICARE—authorized providers.

    (b) * * *

    (4) * * *

    (v) Long Term Care Hospital (LTCH). LTCHs must meet all the criteria for classification as an LTCH under 42 CFR part 412, subpart O, as well as all of the requirements of this part in order to be considered an authorized LTCH under the TRICARE program.

    (A) In order for the services of LTCHs to be covered, the hospitals must comply with the provisions outlined in paragraph (b)(4)(i) of this section. In addition, in order for services provided by such hospitals to be covered by TRICARE, they must be primarily for the treatment of the presenting illness.

    (B) Custodial or domiciliary care is not coverable under TRICARE, even if rendered in an otherwise authorized LTCH.

    (C) The controlling factor in determining whether a beneficiary's stay in a LTCH is coverable by TRICARE is the level of professional care, supervision, and skilled nursing care that the beneficiary requires, in addition to the diagnosis, type of condition, or degree of functional limitations. The type and level of medical services required or rendered is controlling for purposes of extending TRICARE benefits; not the type of provider or condition of the beneficiary.

    (xvi) Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs). CAHs must meet all conditions of participation under 42 CFR 485.601 through 485.645 in relation to TRICARE beneficiaries in order to receive payment under the TRICARE program. If a CAH provides inpatient psychiatric services or inpatient rehabilitation services in a distinct part unit, the distinct part unit must meet the conditions of participation in 42 CFR 485.647, with the exception of being paid under the inpatient prospective payment system for psychiatric facilities as specified in 42 CFR 412.1(a)(2) or the inpatient prospective payment system for rehabilitation hospitals or rehabilitation units as specified in 42 CFR 412.1(a)(3). Upon implementation of TRICARE's IRF PPS in § 199.14(a)(10), if a CAH provides inpatient rehabilitation services in a distinct part unit, the distinct part unit shall be paid under TRICARE's IRF PPS.

    (xx) Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility (IRF). IRFs must meet all the criteria for classification as an IRF under 42 CFR part 412, subpart B, and meet all applicable requirements established in this part in order to be considered an authorized IRF under the TRICARE program.

    (A) In order for the services of inpatient rehabilitation facilities to be covered, the facility must comply with the provisions outlined in paragraph (b)(4)(i) of this section. In addition, in order for services provided by these facilities to be covered by TRICARE, they must be primarily for the treatment of the presenting illness.

    (B) Custodial or domiciliary care is not coverable under TRICARE, even if rendered in an otherwise authorized inpatient rehabilitation facility.

    (C) The controlling factor in determining whether a beneficiary's stay in an inpatient rehabilitation facility is coverable by TRICARE is the level of professional care, supervision, and skilled nursing care that the beneficiary requires, in addition to the diagnosis, type of condition, or degree of functional limitations. The type and level of medical services required or rendered is controlling for purposes of extending TRICARE benefits; not the type of provider or condition of the beneficiary.

    4. Section 199.14 is amended by: a. Revising paragraph (a)(1)(ii)(C) introductory text; b. Revising paragraphs (a)(1)(ii)(D)(2), (3) and (4), and (a)(1)(ii)(E); c. Revising paragraph (a)(3)(i); d. Revising paragraph (a)(4) introductory text; and e. Adding paragraphs (a)(9) and (10).

    The revisions read as follows:

    § 199.14 Provider reimbursement methods.

    (a) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (ii) * * *

    (C) Services exempt from the DRG-based payment system. The following hospital services, even when provided in a hospital subject to the CHAMPUS DRG-based payment system, are exempt from the CHAMPUS DRG-based payment system. The services in paragraphs (a)(1)(ii)(C)(1) through (a)(1)(ii)(C)(4) and (a)(1)(ii)(C)(7) through (a)(1)(ii)(C)(9) of this section shall be reimbursed under the procedures in paragraph (a)(4) of this section, and the services in paragraphs (a)(1)(ii)(C)(5) and (a)(1)(ii)(C)(6) of this section shall be reimbursed under the procedures in paragraph (j) of this section.

    (D) * * *

    (2) Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRF). Prior to implementation of the IRF PPS methodology described in paragraph (a)(10) of this section, an inpatient rehabilitation facility which is exempt from the Medicare prospective payment system is also exempt from the TRICARE DRG-based payment system.

    (3) Psychiatric and rehabilitation units (distinct parts). Prior to implementation of the IRF PPS methodology described in paragraph (a)(10) of this section, a rehabilitation unit which is exempt from the Medicare prospective payment system is also exempt from the TRICARE DRG-based payment system. A psychiatric unit which is exempt from the Medicare prospective payment system is also exempt from the TRICARE DRG-based payment system.

    (4) Long Term Care Hospitals. Prior to implementation of the LTCH PPS methodology described in paragraph (a)(9) of this section, a long-term care hospital which is exempt from the Medicare prospective payment system is also exempt from the CHAMPUS DRG-based payment system.

    (E) Hospitals which do not participate in Medicare. Any hospital which is subject to the CHAMPUS DRG-based payment system and which otherwise meets CHAMPUS requirements but which is not a Medicare-participating provider (having completed a form HCA-1514, Hospital Request for Certification in the Medicare/Medicaid Program and a form HCFA-1561, Health Insurance Benefit Agreement) must complete a participation agreement with TRICARE. By completing the participation agreement, the hospital agrees to participate on all CHAMPUS inpatient claims and to accept the CHAMPUS-determined allowable amount as payment in full for these claims. Any hospital which does not participate in Medicare and does not complete a participation agreement with TRICARE will not be authorized to provide services to TRICARE beneficiaries.

    (3) * * *

    (i) For admissions on or after December 1, 2009, inpatient services provided by a CAH, other than services provided in psychiatric and rehabilitation distinct part units, shall be reimbursed at allowable cost (i.e., 101 percent of reasonable cost) under procedures, guidelines, and instructions issued by the Director, DHA, or designee. This does not include any costs of physicians' services or other professional services provided to CAH inpatients. Inpatient services provided in psychiatric distinct part units would be subject to the TRICARE mental health payment system. Inpatient services provided in rehabilitation distinct part units would be subject to billed charges. Upon implementation of TRICARE's IRF PPS, inpatient services provided in rehabilitation distinct part units would be subject to the TRICARE IRF PPS methodology in paragraph (a)(10) of this section.

    (4) The allowable cost for authorized care in all hospitals not subject to the TRICARE DRG-based payment system, the TRICARE mental health per-diem system, the TRICARE reasonable cost method for CAHs, the TRICARE reimbursement rules for SCHs, the TRICARE LTCH-PPS, or the TRICARE IRF PPS shall be determined on the basis of billed charges or set rates.

    (9) Reimbursement for inpatient services provided by a Long Term Care Hospital (LTCH). (i) In accordance with 10 U.S.C. 1079(i)(2), TRICARE payment methods for institutional care shall be determined, to the extent practicable, in accordance with the same reimbursement rules as those that apply to payments to providers of services of the same type under Medicare. The TRICARE-LTC-DRG reimbursement methodology shall be in accordance with Medicare's Medicare Severity Long Term Care Diagnosis Related Groups (MS-LTC-DRGs) as found in regulation at 42 CFR part 412, subpart O. Inpatient services provided in hospitals subject to the Medicare LTCH Prospective Payment System (PPS) and classified as LTCHs and also as specified in 42 CFR parts 412 and 413 will be paid in accordance with the provisions outlined in sections 1886(d)(1)(B)(IV) and 1886(m)(6) of the Social Security Act and its implementing Medicare regulation (42 CFR parts 412, 413, and 170) to the extent practicable. Under the above governing provisions, TRICARE will recognize, to the extent practicable, in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 1079(i)(2), Medicare's LTCH PPS methodology to include the relative weights, inpatient operating and capital costs of furnishing covered services (including routine and ancillary services), interrupted stay policy, short-stay and high cost outlier payments, site-neutral payments, wage adjustments for variations in labor-related costs across geographical regions, cost-of-living adjustments, payment adjustments associated with the quality reporting program, method of payment for preadmission services, and updates to the system. TRICARE will not be adopting Medicare's 25 percent threshold payment adjustment.

    (ii) Implementation of the TRICARE LTCH PPS will include a gradual transition to full implementation of the Medicare LTCH PPS rates as follows:

    (A) For the first 12 months following implementation, the TRICARE LTCH PPS allowable cost will be 135 percent of Medicare LTCH PPS amounts.

    (B) For the second 12 months of implementation, TRICARE LTCH PPS allowable cost will be 115 percent of the Medicare LTCH PPS amounts.

    (C) For the third 12 months of implementation, and subsequent years, TRICARE LTCH PPS allowable cost will be 100 percent of the Medicare LTCH PPS amounts.

    (iii) Exemption. The TRICARE LTCH PPS methodology under this paragraph does not apply to hospitals in States that are reimbursed by Medicare and TRICARE under a waiver that exempts them from Medicare's inpatient prospective payment system or the TRICARE DRG-based payment system, to Children's Hospitals, or to Neoplastic Disease Care Hospitals, respectively.

    (10) Reimbursement for inpatient services provided by Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRF). (i) In accordance with 10 U.S.C. 1079(i)(2), TRICARE payment methods for institutional care shall be determined to the extent practicable, in accordance with the same reimbursement rules as those that apply to payments to providers of services of the same type under Medicare. The TRICARE IRF PPS reimbursement methodology shall be in accordance with Medicare's IRF PPS as found in 42 CFR part 412. Inpatient services provided in IRFs subject to the Medicare IRF prospective payment system (PPS) and classified as IRFs and also as specified in 42 CFR 412.604 will be paid in accordance with the provisions outlined in section 1886(j) of the Social Security Act and its implementing Medicare regulation found at 42 CFR part 412, subpart P to the extent practicable. Under the above governing provisions, TRICARE will recognize, to the extent practicable, in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 1079(i)(2), Medicare's IRF PPS methodology to include the relative weights, payment rates covering all operating and capitals costs of furnishing rehabilitative services adjusted for wage variations in labor-related costs across geographical regions, adjustments for the 60 percent compliance threshold, teaching adjustment, rural adjustment, high-cost outlier payments, low income payment adjustment, payment adjustments associated with the quality reporting program, and updates to the system.

    (ii) Implementation of the TRICARE IRF PPS will include a gradual transition to full implementation of the Medicare IRF PPS rates as follows:

    (A) For the first 12 months of implementation, the TRICARE IRF PPS allowable cost will be 135 percent of Medicare IRF PPS amounts.

    (B) For the second 12 months of implementation, the TRICARE IRF PPS allowable cost will be 115 percent of the Medicare IRF PPS amounts.

    (C) For the third 12 months of implementation, and subsequent years, the TRICARE IRF PPS allowable cost will be 100 percent of the Medicare IRF PPS amounts.

    (iii) The IRF PPS allowable cost in paragraph (a)(10)(ii) of this section may be supplemented by an inpatient general temporary military contingency payment adjustment (GTMCPA) for TRICARE authorized IRFs.

    (A) This is a year-end discretionary, temporary adjustment that the Director, DHA (or designee) may approve based on the following criteria:

    (1) The IRF serves a disproportionate share of ADSMs and ADDs;

    (2) The IRF is a TRICARE network hospital;

    (3) The IRF's actual costs for inpatient services exceed TRICARE payments or other extraordinary economic circumstance exists; and

    (4) Without the GTMCPA, DoD's ability to meet military contingency mission requirements will be significantly compromised.

    (B) Policy and procedural instructions implementing the GTMCPA will be issued as deemed appropriate by the Director, DHA (or designee). As with other discretionary authority under this part, a decision to allow or deny a GTMCPA to an IRF is not subject to the appeal and hearing procedures of § 199.10.

    (iv) Exemption. The TRICARE IRF PPS methodology under this paragraph does not apply to hospitals in States that are reimbursed by Medicare and TRICARE under a waiver that exempts them from Medicare's inpatient prospective payment system or the TRICARE DRG-based payment system, to Children's hospitals, or to VA hospitals, respectively.

    Dated: December 22, 2017. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28022 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2017-1077] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Mississippi River, Baton Rouge, LA AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Temporary final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone for all navigable waters from mile marker (MM) 229.5 to MM 230.5 Above Head of Passes on the Lower Mississippi River. This temporary safety zone is necessary to provide for the safety of life on these navigable waters near downtown, Baton Rouge, LA, during a fireworks display on December 31, 2017. Entry of vessels or persons into this zone is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port Sector New Orleans or a designated representative.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective from 11:30 p.m. on December 31, 2017, through 1 a.m. on January 1, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2017-1077 in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rule.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this rule, call or email Lieutenant Raymond Wagner, Marine Safety Unit Baton Rouge, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone 225-298-5400 ext. 230, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Table of Abbreviations AHP Above Head of Passes CFR Code of Federal Regulations COTP Captain of the Port Sector New Orleans DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking § Section U.S.C. United States Code II. Background Information and Regulatory History

    The Coast Guard is issuing this temporary rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because it is impractical and contrary to public interest. We must establish this safety zone by December 31, 2017. It is impracticable to publish an NPRM because we lack sufficient time to provide a reasonable comment period and then consider those comments before issuing the rule. It is also contrary to public interest as it would delay the safety measures necessary to protect life and property from the possible hazards associated with the display.

    Under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making it effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Waiting a full 30 days after publication in the Federal Register is contrary to the public interest as that would delay the effectiveness of the safety zone until after the planned fireworks event. Immediate action is needed to protect vessels and mariners from the safety hazards associated with an aerial fireworks display over the waterway. The Coast Guard will notify the public and maritime community that the safety zone will be in effect and of the enforcement periods via broadcast notices to mariners.

    III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

    The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under authority in 33 U.S.C. 1231. The Captain of the Port Sector New Orleans (COTP) has determined that potential hazards associated with the fireworks display on December 31, 2017 will be a safety concern for any vessels or persons in the vicinity of the launch area between mile marker (MM) 229.5 and MM 230.5 Above Head of Passes (AHP) on the Lower Mississippi River. This rule is needed to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment in the navigable waters within the safety zone during the fireworks display.

    IV. Discussion of the Rule

    The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone on the Lower Mississippi River for 1 hour and 30 minutes on the night of December 31, 2017. The safety zone will include all navigable waters of the Lower Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, LA, from mile marker (MM) 229.5 to MM 230.5, AHP. Entry into this zone is prohibited unless permission has been granted by the COTP or a designated representative. Public notifications will be made to the local maritime community prior to the event through broadcast notice to mariners. Mariners and other members of the public may also contact the COTP to inquire about the safety zone by telephone at (225) 298-5400 ext. 230.

    V. Regulatory Analyses

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

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

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

    This regulatory action determination is based on the size, location, duration, and time-of-year of the safety zone. This temporary safety zone will only restrict navigation on the Lower Mississippi River on an area of less than 2 miles and for 1 hour and 30 minutes on the night of December 31, 2017. Due to the limited scope and short duration of the safety zone, the impacts on routine navigation are expected to be minimal.

    B. Impact on Small Entities

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

    While some owners or operators of vessels intending to transit the safety zone may be small entities, for the reasons stated in section V.A above, this rule will not have a significant economic impact on any vessel owner or operator.

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

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

    C. Collection of Information

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

    D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Governments

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

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

    E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

    F. Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have determined 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 establishment of a temporary safety zone for all waters of the Lower Mississippi River from MM 229.5 to MM 230.5 AHP. It is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph L60(a) of Appendix A, Table 1 of DHS Instruction Manual 023-01-001-01, Rev. 01. A Record of Environmental Consideration supporting this determination is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES.

    G. Protest Activities

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

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

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

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

    PART 165—SPECIFIC 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.T08-1077 to read as follows:
    § 165.T08-1077 Safety Zone; Fireworks Display Lower Mississippi River mile marker (MM) 229.5 to MM 230.5, Baton Rouge, LA.

    (a) Location. The following area is a safety zone: All navigable waters of the Lower Mississippi River from mile marker 229.5 to mile marker 230.5 Above Head of Passes, Baton Rouge, LA.

    (b) Regulations. (1) Under the general safety zone regulations in subpart C of this part, you may not enter the safety zone described in paragraph (a) of this section unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Sector New Orleans (COTP) or the COTP's designated representative.

    (2) To seek permission to enter, vessels must request permission from the COTP or a designated representative. The designated representative can be contacted on VHF-FM Channel 16 or 67, or through the Marine Safety Unit Baton Rouge Officer of the Day at 225-281-4789.

    (3) Persons and vessels permitted to enter this temporary safety zone must transit at the slowest speed and comply with all lawful directions issued by the COTP or the designated representative.

    (c) Enforcement period. This section will be enforced from 11:30 p.m. on December 31, 2017, through 1 a.m. on January 1, 2018.

    Dated: December 22, 2017 K.M. Luttrell, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Acting Captain of the Port Sector New Orleans.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28145 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency 44 CFR Part 64 [Docket ID FEMA-2017-0002; Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-8511] Suspension of Community Eligibility AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This rule identifies communities where the sale of flood insurance has been authorized under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that are scheduled for suspension on the effective dates listed within this rule because of noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program. If the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) receives documentation that the community has adopted the required floodplain management measures prior to the effective suspension date given in this rule, the suspension will not occur and a notice of this will be provided by publication in the Federal Register on a subsequent date. Also, information identifying the current participation status of a community can be obtained from FEMA's Community Status Book (CSB). The CSB is available at https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program-community-status-book.

    DATES:

    The effective date of each community's scheduled suspension is the third date (“Susp.”) listed in the third column of the following tables.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you want to determine whether a particular community was suspended on the suspension date or for further information, contact Adrienne L. Sheldon, PE, CFM, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 400 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472, (202) 212-3966.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The NFIP enables property owners to purchase Federal flood insurance that is not otherwise generally available from private insurers. In return, communities agree to adopt and administer local floodplain management measures aimed at protecting lives and new construction from future flooding. Section 1315 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 4022, prohibits the sale of NFIP flood insurance unless an appropriate public body adopts adequate floodplain management measures with effective enforcement measures. The communities listed in this document no longer meet that statutory requirement for compliance with program regulations, 44 CFR part 59. Accordingly, the communities will be suspended on the effective date in the third column. As of that date, flood insurance will no longer be available in the community. We recognize that some of these communities may adopt and submit the required documentation of legally enforceable floodplain management measures after this rule is published but prior to the actual suspension date. These communities will not be suspended and will continue to be eligible for the sale of NFIP flood insurance. A notice withdrawing the suspension of such communities will be published in the Federal Register.

    In addition, FEMA publishes a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) that identifies the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) in these communities. The date of the FIRM, if one has been published, is indicated in the fourth column of the table. No direct Federal financial assistance (except assistance pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act not in connection with a flood) may be provided for construction or acquisition of buildings in identified SFHAs for communities not participating in the NFIP and identified for more than a year on FEMA's initial FIRM for the community as having flood-prone areas (section 202(a) of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, 42 U.S.C. 4106(a), as amended). This prohibition against certain types of Federal assistance becomes effective for the communities listed on the date shown in the last column. The Administrator finds that notice and public comment procedures under 5 U.S.C. 553(b), are impracticable and unnecessary because communities listed in this final rule have been adequately notified.

    Each community receives 6-month, 90-day, and 30-day notification letters addressed to the Chief Executive Officer stating that the community will be suspended unless the required floodplain management measures are met prior to the effective suspension date. Since these notifications were made, this final rule may take effect within less than 30 days.

    National Environmental Policy Act. FEMA has determined that the community suspension(s) included in this rule is a non-discretionary action and therefore the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) does not apply.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act. The Administrator has determined that this rule is exempt from the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act because the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, as amended, Section 1315, 42 U.S.C. 4022, prohibits flood insurance coverage unless an appropriate public body adopts adequate floodplain management measures with effective enforcement measures. The communities listed no longer comply with the statutory requirements, and after the effective date, flood insurance will no longer be available in the communities unless remedial action takes place.

    Regulatory Classification. This final rule is not a significant regulatory action under the criteria of section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 of September 30, 1993, Regulatory Planning and Review, 58 FR 51735.

    Executive Order 13132, Federalism. This rule involves no policies that have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.

    Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule meets the applicable standards of Executive Order 12988.

    Paperwork Reduction Act. This rule does not involve any collection of information for purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.

    List of Subjects in 44 CFR Part 64

    Flood insurance, Floodplains.

    Accordingly, 44 CFR part 64 is amended as follows:

    PART 64—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for part 64 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq.; Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp.; p. 329; E.O. 12127, 44 FR 19367, 3 CFR, 1979 Comp.; p. 376.

    § 64.6 [Amended]
    2. The tables published under the authority of § 64.6 are amended as follows: State and location Community
  • No.
  • Effective date authorization/
  • cancellation of sale of
  • flood insurance in
  • community
  • Current effective
  • map date
  • Date certain
  • Federal
  • assistance
  • no longer
  • available in
  • SFHAs
  • Region VI Louisiana: Beauregard Parish, Unincorporated Areas 220026 September 25, 1979, Emerg; May 3, 1990, Reg; January 5, 2018, Susp January 5, 2018 January 5, 2018 DeRidder, City of, Beauregard and Vernon Parishes 220027 September 9, 1974, Emerg; October 19, 1982, Reg; January 5, 2018, Susp ......do   Do. Merryville, Town of, Beauregard Parish 220028 November 1, 1974, Emerg; February 1, 1987, Reg; January 5, 2018, Susp ......do   Do. -do- = Ditto. Code for reading third column: Emerg.—Emergency; Reg.—Regular; Susp.—Suspension.
    Dated: December 14, 2017. Eric Letvin, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Mitigation, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28182 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-12-P
    82 249 Friday, December 29, 2017 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2017-1002; Airspace Docket No. 17-ACE-12] Proposed Amendment of Class E Airspace: Muscatine, IA AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    This action proposes to amend Class E airspace designated as a surface area and amend Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at Muscatine Municipal Airport, Muscatine, IA. The FAA is proposing this action due to the decommissioning of the Port City VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) facility, which provided navigation guidance for the instrument procedures to this airport. The VOR has been decommissioned as part of the VOR Minimum Operational Network (MON) Program.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before February 12, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send comments on this proposal to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590; telephone (202) 366-9826, or (800) 647-5527. You must identify FAA Docket No. FAA-2017-1002; Airspace Docket No. 17-ACE-12 at the beginning of your comments. You may also submit comments through the internet at http://www.regulations.gov. You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received, and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.

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

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

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jeffrey Claypool, Federal Aviation Administration, Operations Support Group, Central Service Center, 10101 Hillwood Parkway, Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5711.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Authority for This Rulemaking

    The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is found in Title 49 of the United States Code. Subtitle I, Section 106 describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority. This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart I, Section 40103. Under that section, the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to assign the use of airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that authority as it would amend Class E airspace designated as a surface area and amend Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at Muscatine Municipal Airport, Muscatine, IA, to support instrument flight rules (IFR) operations at the airport.

    Comments Invited

    Interested parties are invited to participate in this proposed rulemaking by submitting such written data, views, or arguments, as they may desire. Comments that provide the factual basis supporting the views and suggestions presented are particularly helpful in developing reasoned regulatory decisions on the proposal. Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, aeronautical, economic, environmental, and energy-related aspects of the proposal. Communications should identify both docket numbers and be submitted in triplicate to the address listed above. Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments on this notice must submit with those comments a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket No. FAA-2017-1002; Airspace Docket No. 17-ACE-12.” The postcard will be date/time stamped and returned to the commenter.

    All communications received before the specified closing date for comments will be considered before taking action on the proposed rule. The proposal contained in this notice may be changed in light of the comments received. A report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerned with this rulemaking will be filed in the docket.

    Availability of NPRMs

    An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded through the internet at http://www.regulations.gov. Recently published rulemaking documents can also be accessed through the FAA's web page at http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/airspace_amendments/.

    You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received, and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office (see the ADDRESSES section for the address and phone number) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. An informal docket may also be examined during normal business hours at the Federal Aviation Administration, Air Traffic Organization, Central Service Center, Operations Support Group, 10101 Hillwood Parkway, Fort Worth, TX 76177.

    Availability and Summary of Documents for Incorporation by Reference

    This document proposes to amend FAA Order 7400.11B, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 3, 2017, and effective September 15, 2017. FAA Order 7400.11B is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. FAA Order 7400.11B lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points.

    The Proposal

    The FAA is proposing an amendment to Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 71 that would:

    Modify Class E airspace designated as a surface area to within a 4.1-mile radius (increased from a 3.9-mile radius) of Muscatine Municipal Airport, Muscatine, IA, with an extension 1.0 mile either side of the 305° bearing from the airport from the 4.1-mile radius to 4.4 miles northwest of the airport, and an extension 1.0 mile either side of the 238° bearing from the airport from the 4.1-mile radius to 4.4 miles southwest of the airport; and

    Modify Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at Muscatine Municipal Airport by removing the Port City VOR/DME from the airspace description, removing the extensions referencing the Port City VOR/DME, and adding an extension 3.8 miles either side of the 238° bearing from the airport from the 6.6-mile radius to 10.5 miles southwest of the airport.

    Airspace reconfiguration is necessary due to the decommissioning of the Port City VOR as part of the VOR MON Program, and to bring the airspace and airspace descriptions into compliance with FAA Order 7400.2L, Procedures for Handling Airspace Matters. Controlled airspace is necessary for the safety and management of IFR operations at the airport.

    Class E airspace designations are published in paragraph 6002 and 6005, respectively, of FAA Order 7400.11B, dated August 3, 2017, and effective September 15, 2017, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Class E airspace designations listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

    Regulatory Notices and Analyses

    The FAA has determined that this proposed regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current, is non-controversial and unlikely to result in adverse or negative comments. It, therefore: (1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a regulatory evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. Since this is a routine matter that will only affect air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this proposed rule, when promulgated, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    Environmental Review

    This proposal will be subject to an environmental analysis in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures” prior to any FAA final regulatory action.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

    Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

    The Proposed Amendment

    Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend 14 CFR part 71 as follows:

    PART 71—DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS 1. The authority citation for 14 CFR part 71 continues to read as follows: Authority:

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

    § 71.1 [Amended]
    2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.11B, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 3, 2017, and effective September 15, 2017, is amended as follows: Paragraph 6002 Class E Airspace Areas Designated as Surface Areas. ACE IA E2 Muscatine, IA [Amended] Muscatine Municipal Airport, IA (Lat. 41°22′04″ N, long. 91°08′54″ W)

    Within a 4.1-mile radius of Muscatine Municipal Airport, and within 1.0 mile either side of the 305° bearing from the airport from the 4.1-mile radius to 4.4 miles northwest of the airport, and within 1.0 mile either side of the 238° bearing from the airport from the 4.1-mile radius to 4.4 miles southwest of the airport. This Class E airspace area is effective during specific dates and times established in advance by a Notice to Airmen. The effective date and time will thereafter be continuously published in the Chart Supplement.

    Paragraph 6005 Class E Airspace Areas Extending Upward From 700 Feet or More Above the Surface of the Earth. ACE IA E5 Muscatine, IA [Amended] Muscatine Municipal Airport, IA (Lat. 41°22′04″ N, long. 91°08′54″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 6.6-mile radius of Muscatine Municipal Airport and within 3.8 miles either side of the 238° bearing from the airport from the 6.6-mile radius to 10.5 miles southwest of the airport.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on December 19, 2017. Christopher L. Southerland, Acting Manager, Operations Support Group, ATO Central Service Center.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28048 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 18 CFR Part 35 [Docket No. RM17-3-000] Fast-Start Pricing in Markets Operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators AGENCY:

    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, DOE.

    ACTION:

    Withdrawal of notice of proposed rulemaking and termination of rulemaking proceeding.

    SUMMARY:

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is withdrawing its proposal to amend its regulations to require that each regional transmission organization and independent system operator incorporate market rules that meet certain requirements when pricing fast-start resources.

    DATES:

    As of December 29, 2017, the notice of proposed rulemaking published on December 30, 2016, at 81 FR 96,391, is withdrawn.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel Kheloussi (Technical Information), Office of Energy Policy and Innovation, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-6391, [email protected] Angela Amos (Technical Information), Office of Energy Market Regulation, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-6676, [email protected] Kaleb Lockwood (Legal Information), Office of the General Counsel, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-8255, [email protected]
    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    1. On December 15, 2016, the Commission issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) in this proceeding.1 For the reasons set forth below, we are exercising our discretion to withdraw the NOPR and terminate this rulemaking proceeding.

    1Fast-Start Pricing in Markets Operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators, 81 FR 96,391 (Dec. 30, 2016), FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 32,720 (2016).

    2. In the NOPR, the Commission preliminarily found that some existing regional transmission organization/independent system operator (RTO/ISO) fast-start pricing practices, or lack of fast-start pricing practices, may not result in rates that are just and reasonable.2 As a result, the Commission proposed to require that each RTO/ISO establish the following set of requirements for its fast-start pricing: (1) Apply fast-start pricing to any resource committed by the RTO/ISO that is able to start up within ten minutes, has a minimum run time of one hour or less, and that submits economic energy offers to the market; (2) incorporate commitment costs, i.e., start-up and no-load costs, of fast-start resources in energy and operating reserve prices; (3) modify fast-start pricing to relax the economic minimum operating limit of fast-start resources and treat them as dispatchable from zero to the economic maximum operating limit for the purpose of calculating prices; (4) if the RTO/ISO allows offline fast-start resources to set prices for addressing certain system needs, the resource must be feasible and economic; and (5) incorporate fast-start pricing in both the day-ahead and real-time markets. The Commission sought comment on the proposed reforms.3

    2 NOPR, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 32,720 at PP 36-37.

    3 NOPR, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 32,720 at P 44.

    3. The Commission received a number of comments in response to the proposed reforms in the NOPR. Some commenters expressed support for the proposed reforms. Other commenters raised concerns about the need for the proposed reforms relative to the burden of implementing changes. Additionally, some commenters discussed the need for regional flexibility to allow RTOs/ISOs to implement fast-start pricing practices that are appropriate for their regions.

    4. Upon further consideration and after review of the comments received in response to the NOPR, we will withdraw the NOPR and terminate this proceeding. We appreciate the feedback received in response to the NOPR. We continue to believe that improved fast-start pricing practices have the potential to achieve the goals outlined in the NOPR; however, we are persuaded by comments that question whether the proposed reforms would bring sufficient value in all RTOs/ISOs and argued for regional flexibility. Having considered these comments, we are persuaded to not require a uniform set of fast-start pricing requirements that would apply to all RTOs/ISOs. Instead, we will pursue the goals of the NOPR through section 206 actions involving NYISO, PJM, and SPP 4 focusing on specific concerns with each RTO's/ISO's implementation of fast-start pricing consistent with the concerns outlined in the NOPR.

    4New York Independent System Operator, Inc., 161 FERC ¶ 61,294; PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., 161 FERC ¶ 61,295; and Southwest Power Pool, Inc., 161 FERC ¶ 61,296, (2017).

    5. The Commission therefore withdraws the NOPR and terminates this rulemaking proceeding.

    By direction of the Commission.

    Issued: December 21, 2017. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28201 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Drug Enforcement Administration 21 CFR Part 1308 [Docket No. DEA-476] Schedules of Controlled Substances: Temporary Placement of Fentanyl-Related Substances in Schedule I AGENCY:

    Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice.

    ACTION:

    Proposed amendment; notice of intent.

    SUMMARY:

    The Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration is publishing this notice of intent to issue an order temporarily scheduling fentanyl-related substances that are not currently listed in any schedule of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The temporary order will place these substances in schedule I. This action is based on a finding by the Administrator that the placement of these synthetic opioids in schedule I is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety. When it is issued, the temporary scheduling order will impose regulatory requirements under the CSA on the manufacture, distribution, reverse distribution, possession, importation, exportation, research, and conduct of instructional activities, and chemical analysis of these synthetic opioids, as well as administrative, civil, and criminal remedies with respect to persons who fail to comply with such requirements or otherwise violate the CSA with respect to these substances.

    DATES:

    December 29, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michael J. Lewis, Diversion Control Division, Drug Enforcement Administration; Mailing Address: 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152; Telephone: (202) 598-6812.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This notice of intent is issued pursuant to the temporary scheduling provisions of 21 U.S.C. 811(h). The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) intends to issue a temporary order (in the form of a temporary amendment) placing fentanyl-related substances in schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. The temporary scheduling order will be published in the Federal Register on or after January 29, 2018.

    Legal Authority

    Section 201 of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), 21 U.S.C. 811, provides the Attorney General with the authority to temporarily place a substance in schedule I of the CSA for two years without regard to the requirements of 21 U.S.C. 811(b) if he finds that such action is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety. 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(1). In addition, if proceedings to control a substance permanently are initiated under 21 U.S.C. 811(a)(1) while the substance is temporarily controlled under section 811(h), the Attorney General may extend the temporary scheduling for up to one year. 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(2).

    Where the necessary findings are made, a substance may be temporarily scheduled if it is not listed in any other schedule under section 202 of the CSA, 21 U.S.C. 812, or if there is no exemption or approval in effect for the substance under section 505 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), 21 U.S.C. 355. 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(1). The Attorney General has delegated scheduling authority under 21 U.S.C. 811 to the Administrator of the DEA. 28 CFR 0.100.

    Background The Nature of the Problem and DEA's Approach To Correct It

    It is well known that deaths associated with the abuse of substances structurally related to fentanyl 1 in the United States are on the rise and have already reached alarming levels. While a number of factors appear to be contributing to this public health crisis, chief among the causes is the sharp increase in recent years in the availability of illicitly produced, potent substances structurally related to fentanyl. Fentanyl is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine, and the substances structurally related to fentanyl that DEA will be temporarily controlling also tend to be potent substances. Typically, these substances are manufactured outside the United States by clandestine manufacturers and then smuggled into the United States.

    1 As explained further below, in this document, the term “fentanyl-related substances” is defined to include substances structurally related to fentanyl but which are not controlled under a separate scheduling action (listed under another Administration Controlled Substance Code Number). Thus, all “fentanyl-related substances” are structurally related to fentanyl, but some fentanyl-related substances are controlled under separate scheduling actions.

    Fentanyl is often mixed with heroin and other substances (such as cocaine and methamphetamine) or used in counterfeit pharmaceutical prescription drugs. As a consequence, users who buy these substances on the illicit market are often unaware of the specific substance they are actually consuming and the associated risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids (excluding methadone), such as fentanyl and tramadol, increased from 5,544 in 2014 to 9,580 in 2015. According to provisional data released in August 2017 by the CDC, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), an estimated 55 Americans are dying every day from overdoses of synthetic opioids (excluding methadone).2 Drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids excluding methadone for the 12-month period ending in January of 2017 (20,145 deaths) more than doubled from the corresponding data for the period ending in January of 2016 (9,945 deaths).

    2 Provisional synthetic opioid death overdose counts are based on CDC data available for analysis as of August 6, 2017, based on the 12-month reporting period ending January 2017. See https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/health_policy/monthly-drug-overdose-death-estimates.pdf accessed 09-06-2017.

    DEA has responded to this crisis by issuing six temporary scheduling orders to control nine substances structurally related to fentanyl since 2015 and recently issued a notice of intent on November 21, 2017 to temporarily control another such substance. However, this approach has not been completely effective in preventing the emergence of new substances structurally related to fentanyl. This is because when DEA temporarily controls a given substance structurally related to fentanyl, illicit manufacturers located abroad begin producing new such substances through other structural modifications. Those new nonscheduled substances then are smuggled into the United States, where they are distributed by traffickers in this country as a purportedly “noncontrolled” substance.3 In this way, traffickers are effectively circumventing the temporary control mechanism that Congress established under 21 U.S.C. 811(h) to combat newly emerging dangerous drugs. Post mortem toxicology and medical examiner reports collected by the DEA show mortality connected to substances structurally related to fentanyl. Control of these substances is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety.

    3 Such trafficking is actually illegal as persons who do so can be prosecuted using the controlled substance analogue provisions of the CSA. 21 U.S.C. 802(32), 813. However, prosecution under the analogue provisions requires proof of additional elements not required for prosecuting trafficking in scheduled substances.

    Given the gravity of the ongoing fentanyl-related overdose crisis in the United States, protection of the public safety demands the utilization of 21 U.S.C. 811(h) in a manner that cannot be readily circumvented by drug traffickers. Specifically, in issuing the upcoming temporary scheduling order, DEA will exercise its authority to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety by placing fentanyl-related substances, as defined later in this document, in schedule I. As explained below, these fentanyl-related substances—including those that have not yet been introduced by traffickers into the U.S. market—present a significant risk to the public health and safety and need to be controlled under section 811(h) to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety. It should also be noted that none of the substances that will be temporarily controlled has an accepted medical use in the United States; nor is any of the substances the subject of an exemption or approval under section 505 of the FD&C Act. In accordance with section 811(h), if any exemption or approval is in effect under section 505 of the FD&C Act with respect to a substance that falls within the definition of a fentanyl-related substance set forth in this document, such substance will be excluded from the temporary scheduling order.

    What Will Be Controlled Under the Temporary Scheduling Order

    When the temporary scheduling order is issued, fentanyl-related substances will be placed in schedule I of the CSA for two years. DEA may extend the temporary scheduling for an additional year (a total of three years) if proceedings to permanently schedule the substances are pending. DEA's intention is that the temporary scheduling order will define fentanyl-related substances to include any substance not otherwise controlled in any schedule (i.e., not included under any other Administration Controlled Substance Code Number) that is structurally related to fentanyl by one or more of the following modifications:

    (A) Replacement of the phenyl portion of the phenethyl group by any monocycle, whether or not further substituted in or on the monocycle;

    (B) substitution in or on the phenethyl group with alkyl, alkenyl, alkoxyl, hydroxyl, halo, haloalkyl, amino or nitro groups;

    (C) substitution in or on the piperidine ring with alkyl, alkenyl, alkoxyl, ester, ether, hydroxyl, halo, haloalkyl, amino or nitro groups;

    (D) replacement of the aniline ring with any aromatic monocycle whether or not further substituted in or on the aromatic monocycle; and/or

    (E) replacement of the N-propionyl group by another acyl group.

    How DEA Will Identify Individual Fentanyl-Related Substances That Fall Within This Temporary Scheduling Order

    As indicated, the temporary scheduling order that is the subject of this Notice of Intent will include all substances that fall within the above definition—even if such substances have not yet emerged on the illicit market in the United States. As a result, DEA cannot currently specify the chemical name of every potential substance that might fall under this new definition. In the future, if and when DEA identifies a specific new substance that falls under the definition, the agency will publish in the Federal Register, and on the agency website, the chemical name of such substance. Thus, the text of the definition of fentanyl-related substance will include language indicating that it “includes, but is not limited to, the following substances:” It bears emphasis, however, that even in the absence of a future publication by DEA specifically identifying such a substance, the substance will be controlled by virtue of the temporary scheduling order—at the time the temporary scheduling order is published—if it falls within the definition of fentanyl-related substance.

    Notification to the Secretary of Health and Human Services

    Section 201(h)(4) of the CSA, 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(4), requires the Administrator to notify the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of his intention to temporarily place a substance in schedule I of the CSA.4 On November 6, 2017, the Administrator transmitted notice by letter to the Assistant Secretary for Health of HHS of his intent to place fentanyl-related substances, unless listed in another schedule, in schedule I on a temporary basis. The Assistant Secretary responded by letter dated November 29, 2017, and advised that based on a review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they are not aware of any investigational new drug applications or approved new drug applications for fentanyl-related substances as defined above under section 505 of the FD&C Act, 21 U.S.C. 355 and that HHS has no objection to the temporary placement of these substances into schedule I of the CSA. As indicated, in accordance with section 811(h), fentanyl-related substances will be defined under the temporary scheduling order to exclude any substance for which an exemption or approval is in effect under section 505 of the FD&C Act.

    4 As discussed in a memorandum of understanding entered into by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the FDA acts as the lead agency within the HHS in carrying out the Secretary's scheduling responsibilities under the CSA, with the concurrence of NIDA. 50 FR 9518, Mar. 8, 1985. The Secretary of the HHS has delegated to the Assistant Secretary for Health of the HHS the authority to make domestic drug scheduling recommendations. 58 FR 35460, July 1, 1993.

    Grounds for Temporary Scheduling Order

    To find that placing a substance temporarily in schedule I of the CSA is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety, the Administrator is required to consider three of the eight factors set forth in 21 U.S.C. 811(c): The substance's history and current pattern of abuse; the scope, duration and significance of abuse; and what, if any, risk there is to the public health. 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(3). These factors include, but are not limited to, actual abuse, diversion from legitimate channels, and clandestine importation, manufacture, or distribution. Id. DEA has considered these factors for fentanyl-related substances, as defined above, and finds that the information is consistent across this class of substances. The DEA's three-factor analysis is available in its entirety under “Supporting and Related Material” of the public docket for this action at www.regulations.gov under Docket Number DEA-476.

    Substances that are included in the above-listed structural modifications and any combination of these structural modifications have been found to cause pharmacological effects that are similar to those of fentanyl. It therefore is reasonable to expect that all such substances, even if they have yet to appear on the illicit market in the United States, share the dangerous and potentially lethal properties that have caused the recent spike in fentanyl-related overdose deaths in the United States. By temporarily placing these fentanyl-related substances in schedule I, it is DEA's intention to deter the production and introduction of these substances into the United States that traffickers might be considering—before such activity ever begins—thereby avoiding an imminent hazard to the public safety. The alternative approach, of only temporarily controlling substances that have already appeared in the illicit U.S. market, is beneficial but has not eliminated the danger these newly created substances pose and is not as effective in preventing future deaths and serious injuries associated with these substances. In addition, by controlling fentanyl-related substances, the temporary scheduling order will facilitate the development of international, national, and local prevention strategies that decrease morbidity and mortality from overdoses caused by or associated with fentanyl-related substances.

    For these reasons, DEA has concluded that issuing a temporary scheduling order is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety.

    Schedule I Classification

    A substance meeting the statutory requirements for temporary scheduling may only be placed in schedule I. 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(1). Substances in schedule I are those that have a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. 21 U.S.C. 812(b)(1).

    As indicated, DEA finds that the fentanyl-related substances that will be temporarily controlled have a high potential for abuse. Information provided by the Assistant Secretary of HHS indicates that these fentanyl-related substances, as defined, have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and lack accepted safety for use under medical supervision.

    Conclusion

    This notice of intent provides the 30-day notice pursuant to section 201(h) of the CSA, 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(1), of DEA's intent to issue a temporary scheduling order. The temporary placement of fentanyl-related substances in schedule I of the CSA will take effect pursuant to a temporary scheduling order, which will not be issued before January 29, 2018. Because the Administrator hereby finds that it is necessary to temporarily place fentanyl-related substances in schedule I to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety, the temporary order scheduling these substances will be effective on the date that order is published in the Federal Register, and will be in effect for a period of two years. DEA may extend the temporary scheduling for an additional year (a total of three years) if proceedings to permanently schedule the substances are pending. 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(1) and (2). It is the intention of the Administrator to issue a temporary scheduling order as soon as possible after the expiration of 30 days from the date of publication of this document. Upon publication of the temporary order, fentanyl-related substances, as defined in the order, will be subject to the full range of regulatory, civil, and criminal provisions of the CSA that apply to schedule I controlled substances.

    Regulatory Matters

    Section 201(h) of the CSA, 21 U.S.C. 811(h), provides for a temporary scheduling action where such action is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety. As provided in this subsection, the Attorney General may, by order, schedule a substance in schedule I on a temporary basis. Such an order may not be issued before the expiration of 30 days from (1) the publication of a notice in the Federal Register of the intention to issue such order and the grounds upon which such order is to be issued and (2) the date that notice of the proposed temporary scheduling order is transmitted to the Assistant Secretary of HHS. 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(1).

    Inasmuch as section 201(h) of the CSA directs that temporary scheduling actions be issued by order and sets forth the procedures by which such orders are to be issued, the notice-and-comment requirements of section 553 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 553, do not apply to this notice of intent. In the alternative, even if this notice were subject to section 553 of the APA, the Administrator would find that there is good cause to forgo the notice-and-comment requirements of section 553, as any further delays in the process for issuance of temporary scheduling orders would be contrary to the public interest in view of the urgent need to control fentanyl-related substances to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety.

    Since this notice of intent is not a “rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 601(2), it is not subject to the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). The requirements for the preparation of an initial regulatory flexibility analysis in 5 U.S.C. 603(a) are not applicable where, as here, the DEA is not required by section 553 of the APA or any other law to publish a general notice of proposed rulemaking.

    Additionally, this action is not a significant regulatory action as defined by Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review), section 3(f), and, accordingly, this action has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

    This action will not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with Executive Order 13132 (Federalism) it is determined that this action does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment.

    List of Subjects in 21 CFR Part 1308

    Administrative practice and procedure, Drug traffic control, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons set out above, the DEA proposes to amend 21 CFR part 1308 as follows:

    PART 1308—SCHEDULES OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES 1. The authority citation for part 1308 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    21 U.S.C. 811, 812, 871(b), 956(b), unless otherwise noted.

    2. In § 1308.11, add paragraph (h)(30), to read as follows:
    § 1308.11 Schedule I

    (h) * * *

    (30) Fentanyl-related substances, their isomers, esters, ethers, salts and salts of isomers, esters and ethers . . . 9850

    (i) Fentanyl-related substance means any substance not otherwise listed under another Administration Controlled Substance Code Number, and for which no exemption or approval is in effect under section 505 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act [21 U.S.C. 355], that is structurally related to fentanyl by one or more of the following modifications:

    (A) Replacement of the phenyl portion of the phenethyl group by any monocycle, whether or not further substituted in or on the monocycle;

    (B) Substitution in or on the phenethyl group with alkyl, alkenyl, alkoxyl, hydroxyl, halo, haloalkyl, amino or nitro groups;

    (C) Substitution in or on the piperidine ring with alkyl, alkenyl, alkoxyl, ester, ether, hydroxyl, halo, haloalkyl, amino or nitro groups;

    (D) Replacement of the aniline ring with any aromatic monocycle whether or not further substituted in or on the aromatic monocycle; and/or

    (E) Replacement of the N-propionyl group by another acyl group.

    (ii) This definition includes, but is not limited to, the following substances:

    [Reserved]

    Dated: December 21, 2017. Robert W. Patterson, Acting Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28114 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-09-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement 30 CFR Part 250 [Docket ID: BSEE-2017-0008; 189E1700D2 ET1SF0000.PSB000 EEEE500000] RIN 1014-AA37 Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations on the Outer Continental Shelf—Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems—Revisions AGENCY:

    Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) proposes to amend the regulations regarding oil and natural gas production to reduce certain unnecessary regulatory burdens imposed under the existing regulations, while correcting errors and clarifying current requirements. Accordingly, after thoroughly reexamining the current regulations, and based on experiences from the implementation process, and BSEE policy, BSEE proposes to amend, revise, or remove current regulatory provisions that create unnecessary burdens on stakeholders while maintaining or advancing the level of safety and environmental protection.

    DATES:

    Submit comments by January 29, 2018. BSEE may not fully consider comments received after this date. You may submit comments to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on the information collection burden in this proposed rule by January 29, 2018. The deadline for comments on the information collection burden does not affect the deadline for the public to comment to BSEE on the proposed regulations.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on the rulemaking by any of the following methods. Please use the Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) 1014-AA37 as an identifier in your message. See also Public Availability of Comments under Procedural Matters.

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the entry titled Enter Keyword or ID, enter BSEE-2017-0008, then click search. Follow the instructions to submit public comments and view supporting and related materials available for this rulemaking. The BSEE may post all submitted comments.

    • Mail or hand-carry comments to the Department of the Interior (Department or DOI); Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement; Attention: Regulations Development Branch; 45600 Woodland Road, VAE-ORP, Sterling VA 20166. Please reference “Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems—Revisions, 1014-AA37” in your comments and include your name and return address.

    Send comments on the information collection in this proposed rule to: Interior Desk Officer 1014-0003, Office of Management and Budget; 202-395-5806 (fax); email: [email protected] Please send a copy to BSEE.

    • Public Availability of Comments—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. In order for BSEE to withhold from disclosure your personal identifying information, you must identify any information contained in the submittal of your comments that, if released, would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of your personal privacy. You must also briefly describe any possible harmful consequence(s) of the disclosure of information, such as embarrassment, injury, or other harm. 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.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Amy White, Regulations and Standards Branch, 703-787-1665 or by email: [email protected]

    Table of Contents A. BSEE Statutory and Regulatory Authority and Responsibilities B. Summary of the Rulemaking C. Recent Executive and Secretarial Orders D. Incorporation by Reference of Industry Standards E. Section-by-Section Discussion of Changes Procedural Matters Regulatory Planning and Review (E.O. 12866, E.O. 13563, E.O. 13771) Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act and Regulatory Flexibility Act Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 Takings Implication Assessment (E.O. 12630) Federalism (E.O. 13132) Civil Justice Reform (E.O. 12988) Consultation With Indian Tribes (E.O. 13175) Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 Data Quality Act Effects on the Nation's Energy Supply (E.O. 13211) Clarity of This Regulation (E.O. 12866)
    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    A. BSEE Statutory and Regulatory Authority and Responsibilities

    BSEE derives its authority primarily from the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), 43 U.S.C. 1331-1356a. Congress enacted OCSLA in 1953, authorizing the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to lease the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for mineral development and to regulate oil and gas exploration, development, and production operations on the OCS. In 1978, Congress amended OCSLA to create environmental safeguards, promote greater cooperation between the Federal government and States and localities, and to ensure safe working conditions for those employed on the OCS. The Secretary has delegated authority to perform certain of these functions to BSEE.

    To carry out its responsibilities, BSEE regulates offshore oil and gas operations to enhance the safety of offshore exploration and development of oil and gas on the OCS and to ensure that those operations protect the environment and implement advancements in technology. BSEE also conducts onsite inspections to assure compliance with regulations, lease terms, and approved plans. Detailed information concerning BSEE's regulations and guidance to the offshore oil and gas industry may be found on BSEE's website at: http://www.bsee.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/index.

    BSEE's regulatory program covers a wide range of facilities and activities, including drilling, completion, workover, production, pipeline, and decommissioning operations.

    B. Summary of the Rulemaking

    This proposed rule would amend and update the 30 CFR part 250, subpart H, Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems regulations. This proposed rule would fortify the Administration's objective of facilitating energy dominance though encouraging increased domestic oil and gas production, by reducing unnecessary burdens on stakeholders while maintaining or advancing the level of safety and environmental protection. Since 2010, the Department has promulgated several rulemakings (e.g., Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) I and II final rules, the final safety measures rule, the annular casing pressure management final rule, and the blowout preventer systems and well control final rule) to improve worker safety and environmental protection. On September 7, 2016, the Department published a final rule substantially revising Subpart H—Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems (81 FR 61834). That final rule addressed issues such as production safety systems, subsurface safety devices, and safety device testing. These systems play a critical role in protecting workers and the environment. Most of the provisions of that rulemaking took effect on November 7, 2016. Since that time, BSEE has become aware that certain provisions in that rulemaking created potentially unduly burdensome requirements to oil and natural gas production operators on the OCS, without significantly increasing safety of the workers or protection of the environment. While implementing the requirements from the previous rulemaking, BSEE reassessed a number of the provisions in the original rulemaking and determined that some provisions could be revised to reduce or eliminate some of the concerns expressed by the operators, reducing the burden, while providing the same level of safety and protection of the environment.

    This proposed rulemaking would primarily revise sections of 30 CFR part 250, subpart H—Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems that address the following requirements in the current Subpart H regulations:

    • Update the incorporated edition of standards referenced in subpart H.

    • Add gas lift shut down valves (GLSDVs) to the list of safety and pollution prevention equipment (SPPE).

    • Revise requirements for SPPE to clarify the existing regulations, and remove the requirement for operators to certify through an independent third party that each device is designed to function in the most extreme conditions to which it will be exposed and that the device will function as designed. Compliance with the various required standards (including American Petroleum Institute (API) Spec Q1, American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/API Spec. 14A, ANSI/API RP 14B, ANSI/API Spec. 6A, and API Spec. 6AV1) ensures that each device will function in the conditions for which it was designed.

    • Clarify failure reporting requirements.

    • Clarify and revise some of the production safety system design requirements, including revising the requirements for piping schematics, simplifying the requirements for electrical system information, clarifying when operators must provide certain documents to BSEE, and clarifying when operators must update existing documents.

    • Clarify requirements for Class 1 vessels.

    • Clarify requirements for inspection of the fire tube for tube-type heaters.

    • Clarify the requirement for notifying the District Manager before commencing production.

    • Make other conforming changes to ensure consistency within the regulations and minor edits.

    C. Recent Executive and Secretarial Orders

    Since the start of 2017, the President issued several Executive Orders (E.O.) that necessitated the review of BSEE's rules. On January 30, 2017, the President issued E.O. 13771, entitled, “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,” which requires Federal agencies to take proactive measures to reduce the costs associated with complying with Federal regulations. On March 28, 2017, the President issued E.O. 13783, “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth,” (82 FR 16093). This E.O. directed Federal agencies to review all existing regulations and other agency actions and, ultimately, to suspend, revise, or rescind any such regulations or actions that unnecessarily burden the development of domestic energy resources beyond the degree necessary to protect the public interest or otherwise comply with the law. E.O. 13783 also required a review of all “existing rules, regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies, and any other similar agency actions,” that may burden energy development. The E.O. directed agencies to “suspend, revise, or rescind, or publish for notice and comment proposed rules suspending, revising, or rescinding, those actions” that unduly burden oil and gas development beyond what is needed to protect the public interest or comply with the law.

    On April 28, 2017, the President issued E.O. 13795, “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” (82 FR 20815). The E.O. directed the Secretary to reconsider the Well Control Rule 1 and to take appropriate action to revise any related rules for consistency with the order's stated policy “to encourage energy exploration and production, including on the Outer Continental Shelf, in order to maintain the Nation's position as a global energy leader and foster energy security and resilience for the benefit of the American people, while ensuring that any such activity is safe and environmentally responsible” and “publish for notice and comment a proposed rule revising that rule, if appropriate and as consistent with law.”

    1 Oil and Gas and Sulfur Operations in the Outer Continental Shelf—Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control, 81 FR 25887 (April 29, 2016).

    To further implement E.O. 13783, the Secretary issued Secretary's Order (S.O.) 3349, “American Energy Independence” on March 29, 2017. The order directed the DOI to review all existing regulations “that potentially burden the development or utilization of domestically produced energy resources.” To further implement E.O. 13795, the Secretary issued S.O. 3350, “America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” on May 1, 2017, which directed BSEE to review the Well Control Rule and related rulemakings. BSEE interpreted each of these orders to apply to the Subpart H—Production Safety System rulemaking (Subpart H Rule).

    As part of its response to E.O.s 13783 and 13795, and S.O.s 3349 and 3350, BSEE reviewed the previous Subpart H Rule and is proposing revisions to the current regulations that could potentially reduce burdens on operators without impacting safety and protection of the environment. In addition, in response to comments from industry received since the previous final Subpart H Rule was published, BSEE is proposing certain revisions that would clarify the existing regulations.

    D. Incorporation by Reference of Industry Standards

    BSEE frequently uses standards (e.g., codes, specifications (Spec.), and recommended practices (RP)) developed through a consensus process, facilitated by standards development organizations and with input from the oil and gas industry, as a means of establishing requirements for activities on the OCS. BSEE may incorporate these standards into its regulations by reference without republishing the standards in their entirety in regulations. The legal effect of incorporation by reference is that the incorporated standards become regulatory requirements. This incorporated material, like any other regulation, has the force and effect of law. Operators, lessees, and other regulated parties must comply with the documents incorporated by reference in the regulations. BSEE currently incorporates by reference over 100 consensus standards in its regulations. (See 30 CFR 250.198.)

    Federal regulations, at 1 CFR part 51, govern how BSEE and other Federal agencies incorporate documents by reference. Agencies may incorporate a document by reference by publishing in the Federal Register the document title, edition, date, author, publisher, identification number, and other specified information. The preamble of the proposed rule must also discuss the ways that the incorporated materials are reasonably available to interested parties and how those materials can be obtained by interested parties. The Director of the Federal Register will approve each incorporation of a publication by reference in a final rule that meets the criteria of 1 CFR part 51.

    When a copyrighted publication is incorporated by reference into BSEE regulations, BSEE is obligated to observe and protect that copyright. BSEE provides members of the public with website addresses where these standards may be accessed for viewing—sometimes for free and sometimes for a fee. Standards development organizations decide whether to charge a fee. One such organization, the American Petroleum Institute (API), provides free online public access to view read only copies of its key industry standards, including a broad range of technical standards. All API standards that are safety-related and that are incorporated into Federal regulations are available to the public for free viewing online in the Incorporation by Reference Reading Room on API's website at: http://publications.api.org. 2 In addition to the free online availability of these standards for viewing on API's website, hardcopies and printable versions are available for purchase from API. The API website address to purchase standards is: http://www.api.org/publications-standards-and-statistics/publications/government-cited-safety-documents.

    2 To view these standards online, go to the API publications website at: http://publications.api.org. You must then log-in or create a new account, accept API's “Terms and Conditions,” click on the “Browse Documents” button, and then select the applicable category (e.g., “Exploration and Production”) for the standard(s) you wish to review.

    For the convenience of members of the viewing public who may not wish to purchase copies or view these incorporated documents online, they may be inspected at BSEE's office, 45600 Woodland Road, Sterling, Virginia 20166, or by sending a request by email to [email protected]

    E. Section-by-Section Discussion of Changes Documents Incorporated by Reference (§ 250.198)

    This proposed rulemaking would update the incorporation by reference of superseded standards currently incorporated in Subpart H to the current edition of the relevant standard. This includes incorporating new or recently reaffirmed editions of a number of standards referenced in Subpart H, as well as replacing one standard currently incorporated in the regulations, that was withdrawn by API, with a new standard. However, BSEE is still evaluating the newer editions of these standards to analyze the specific changes between the incorporated editions and the current editions and to assess the potential impacts of those changes on offshore operations. BSEE may decide not to replace the incorporated edition of a specific standard before the publication of the final rule. BSEE is soliciting comments that will inform our decision on updating these standards, including comments on potential risks and costs associated with the new editions. BSEE will consider a number of factors in evaluating the current editions; primarily focusing how compliance with the current edition balances impacts on safety and protection of the environment and with costs and burdens. If BSEE decides to replace the incorporated documents with new editions in the final rule, the new editions would apply to all sections of 30 CFR part 250 where those documents are incorporated. BSEE may also make some conforming changes to the regulatory text in the final rule that were not identified in this proposed rule.

    This proposed rulemaking would replace the following standard:

    • API RP 14H, Recommended Practice for Installation, Maintenance and Repair of Surface Safety Valves and Underwater Safety Valves Offshore was withdrawn by API and superseded by API STD 6AV2—Installation, Maintenance, and Repair of Surface Safety Valves and Underwater Safety Valves Offshore. API STD 6AV2, first edition 2014 revises and supersedes API Recommended Practice 14H, Fifth Edition 2007. API STD 6AV2 provides practices for installing and maintaining SSVs and USVs used or intended to be used as part of a safety system, as defined by documents such as API Recommended Practice 14C. The standard includes provisions for conducting inspections, installations, and maintenance, field and off-site repair. Other provisions address testing procedures, acceptance criteria, failure reporting, and documentation. Significant changes include updated definitions; new provisions for qualified personnel; documentation, test procedures and acceptance criteria for post-installation and post-field repair, and offsite repair and remanufacture alignment to API 6A.

    BSEE would update the incorporated edition of the following standards:

    • ANSI/American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section I, Rules for Construction of Power Boilers; including Appendices, 2017 Edition; and July 2017 Addenda, and all Section I Interpretations Volume 55. This would update the current incorporation of the 2004 Edition (and 2005 Addenda) of the same standard. ASME BPVC Section 1 provides all methods and requirements for construction of power, electric, and miniature boilers; high temperature water boilers, heat recovery steam generators, and certain fired pressure vessels to be used in stationary service; and power boilers used in locomotive, portable, and traction service. Major Changes in this edition include (a) visual examination guidance in the fabrication process, (b) a non-mandatory option for ultrasonic examination acceptance criteria, (c) rules for retaining radiographs as digital images, (d) clarification on material identification requirements for a “pressure part material”, (e) updated mandatory training for qualified personnel for various non-destructive examination (NDE) techniques, (f) updated what types of auxiliary lift devices can be used for alternative testing of valves to align with current state of the art, (g) clarified that welded pressure parts shall be hydrostatic tested with the completed boiler, and references to other standards updated.

    • ANSI/ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section IV, Rules for Construction of Heating Boilers; including Appendices 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and Non-mandatory Appendices B, C, D, E, F, H, I, K, L, and M, and the Guide to Manufacturers Data Report Forms, 2017 Edition; July 2017 Addenda, and all Section IV Interpretations Volume 55. This would update the current incorporation of the 2004 Edition (and 2005 Addenda) of the same standard. This Section provides requirements for design, fabrication, installation and inspection of steam heating, hot water heating, hot water supply boilers, and potable water heaters intended for low pressure service that are directly fired by oil, gas, electricity, coal or other solid or liquid fuels. The new edition has (a) equipment scope clarifications, (b) a new mandatory appendix for feedwater economizers, (c) deleted conformity assessments requirements and moved them to normative reference ASME CA-1, (d) new corrosion resistant alloy requirements for internal tank surfaces of heat exchangers installed in storage tanks, and (e) clarified requirements for modular boilers.

    • ANSI/ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section VIII, Rules for Construction of Pressure Vessels; Divisions 1 and 2, 2017 Edition; July 2017 Addenda, Divisions 1, 2, and 3 and all Section VIII Interpretations Volumes 54 and 55.

    This document gives detailed requirements for the design, fabrication, testing, inspection, and certification of both fired and unfired pressure vessels. It specifically refers to those pressure vessels that operate at pressures, either internal or external, that exceed 15 psig. Since the 2004 edition, ASME has attempted to rewrite the ASME code to incorporate the latest technologies and engineering knowledge. Section VIII contains three divisions, each of which covers different vessel specifications.

    Division 1 of Section VIII largely contains appendixes, some mandatory and some non-mandatory, that detail supplementary design criteria, nondestructive examination techniques, and inspection acceptance standards for pressure vessels. It also contains rules that apply to the use of the single ASME certification mark. Significant changes include (a) new general requirements for quick-actuating closures and quick-opening closures, (b) updated nozzle design methods, (c) moved conformity assessment requirements to the newly referenced ASME CA-1 standard, (d) clarified when manual or automated ultrasonic examination methods are acceptable, and (e) allowance for organizations who fabricate parts without design responsibility to obtain an ASME certification.

    Division 2 contains more rigorous requirements for the materials, design, and nondestructive examination techniques for pressure vessels to offset the use of higher stress intensity values in the design. Significant changes include (a) the addition of two classes of vessels, with differing design margins, and certification requirements, (b) updated acceptance criteria for shear stresses, (c) moved conformity assessment requirements to the newly referenced ASME CA-1 standard, (d) axial and compressive hoop compression requirements, and (e) corrected design equation for non-circular vessels.

    • API 510, Pressure Vessel Inspection Code: In-Service Inspection, Rating, Repair, and Alteration, Downstream Segment, Tenth Edition, May 2014; Addendum 1, May 2017. This would update the current incorporation of the Ninth Edition (from 2006) of the same standard. The tenth edition of API 510 was issued May 2014 and replaces the ninth edition from June 2006. API 510 covers the in-service inspection, repair, alteration, and re-rating activities for pressure vessels and the pressure-relieving devices protecting these vessels. The intent of API 510 is to specify the in-service inspection and condition-monitoring program that is needed to determine the integrity of pressure vessels and pressure-relieving devices. The tenth edition includes updated normative references, updated definitions, and new requirements for inspection programs, corrective actions, management of change, integrity operating windows, pressure testing, corrosion considerations and marking requirements.

    • API STD 2RD, Dynamic Risers for Floating Production Systems, Second Edition, September 2013. This would update the current incorporation of the First Edition (from 1998; as well as 2009 Errata) of the same standard. API RP 2RD first edition was published in 1998. In September 2013, the second edition of the document was issued as a standard instead of a recommended practice (RP). The second edition attempts to address the advancement in technology and deepwater environments and addresses a broader scope of marine risers compared to the first edition. The design approach has changed from an allowable stress criteria to a load and resistance factor design, also known as limit state design. From there, four different methods are given to evaluate combined loads and the designer has the flexibility to choose which one to use. Each method ensures burst limit states are not exceeded for the extreme “Accidental Limit State” (survival) case. Other design changes addressed include both structural and leak limit states for components, exceedance of yield, combined load approach, explicit burst and collapse checks, temperature de-rating, special material testing requirements, fatigue checks, and accidental load assessments. A requirement to develop and implement an integrity management program is also in the second edition, along with integrity management activities such as new installation requirements and monitoring, post installation surveys, and fatigue damage analyses.

    • API RP 2SK, Recommended Practice for Design and Analysis of Stationkeeping Systems for Floating Structures, Third Edition, October 2005, Addendum, May 2008, Reaffirmed June 2015. This would update the current incorporation of this standard to reflect its reaffirmation in June 2015. The third edition of API RP 2SK was released in October 2005 and reaffirmed in 2015. This document presents a rational method for analyzing, designing, or evaluating station-keeping systems used for floating units. This document addresses station-keeping system (mooring, dynamic positioning, or thruster-assisted mooring) design, analysis and operation. Different design requirements for mobile and permanent moorings are provided. There are no changes to this document; we are simply revising to reflect the reaffirmation of this standard.

    • API RP 2SM, Recommended Practice for Design, Manufacture, Installation, and Maintenance of Synthetic Fiber Ropes for Offshore Mooring, Second Edition, July 2014. This would update the current incorporation of the First Edition (from 2001; as well as 2007 Addendum) of the same standard. API 2SM first edition was published March 2001 and its update was published in July 2014. This document covers recommended practices for manufacture, installation and maintenance of synthetic fiber ropes as offshore moorings for permanent and temporary offshore installations. The document also discusses the difference between steel catenary moorings and synthetic fiber moorings. This scope and structure provides guidance as to the advantages of utilizing each anchoring methodology and the logic an operator should use in selecting mooring systems. The most significant change in the new edition of API 2SM is the addition of more requirements for in-service inspection, testing, and maintenance. This document intends to ensure robust design and use of synthetic fiber rope for offshore moorings.

    • ANSI/API RP 14B, Recommended Practice for Design, Installation, Repair and Operation of Subsurface Safety Valve Systems, Sixth Edition, September 2015. This would update the current incorporation of the fifth edition (from 2005) of the same standard. ANSI/API RP 14B sixth edition was published September 2015, and supersedes the fifth edition published October 2005. This standard creates requirements and provides guidelines for subsurface safety valves (SSSV) system equipment. Subsurface safety valve systems are designed and installed to prevent uncontrolled well flow when actuated. The new edition addresses system design, installation, operation, testing, redress, support activities, documentation, and failure reporting. Specific equipment covered in the standard includes control systems, control lines, SSSVs and secondary tools. The new edition also emphasizes supplier and manufacturer operating manuals, systems integration manuals, handling, system quality, documentation, and data control. Finally, ANSI/API RP 14B provides criteria for proper redress for replacement or disassembly of an SSSV.

    • API RP 14C, Recommended Practice for Analysis, Design, Installation, and Testing of Basic Surface Safety Systems for Offshore Production Platforms, Eighth Edition, February 2017. This would update the current incorporation of the Seventh Edition (from 2001, reaffirmed 2007) of the same standard. The eighth edition API RP 14C contains extensive changes compared to the last substantive revision (sixth edition) in 1998. This document presents provisions for designing, installing, and testing both process safety and non-marine emergency support systems (ESSs) on an offshore fixed or floating facility. API RP 14C addresses methods to document and verify process safety system functions, as well as procedures for testing common safety devices with recommendations for test data and acceptable test tolerances.

    Components addressed in the new standard are boarding shut down valve requirements, pipeline Shutdown Valve (SDV)/Flow Safety Valve (FSV) leakage and testing requirements, compressors, heat exchangers, High Integrity Pressure Protection System (HIPPS), acceptable SSV leakage rates, pump suction lines, and Temperature Safety Element (TSE) requirements. For users of HIPPS, the eighth edition references to more performance based standards, such as API 521, “Guide for Pressure-Relieving and Depressuring Systems.” New annexes in the eighth edition cover HIPPS, logic solvers, safety system bypassing, and remote operations. Finally, all subsea requirements were removed and relocated to the new standard API 17V, “Recommended Practice for Analysis, Design, Installation, and Testing of Safety Systems for Subsea Applications,” while API 14C addresses topside safety systems.

    • API RP 14FZ, Recommended Practice for Design and Installation of Electrical Systems for Fixed and Floating Offshore Petroleum Facilities for Unclassified and Class I, Zone 0, Zone 1 and Zone 2 Locations, Second Edition, May 2013. This would update the current incorporation of the first Edition (from 2001, reaffirmed 2007) of the same standard. API RP 14FZ first edition was published September 2001 and reaffirmed March 2007. The second edition of API RP 14FZ was published May 2013 and contains substantial changes from the first edition. The second edition establishes minimum requirements and guidelines for design and installation of electrical systems on fixed and floating petroleum facilities located offshore when hazardous locations are classified as Zone 0, Zone 1, or Zone 2. As revised, API RP 14FZ applies to both permanent and temporary electrical installations and is intended to describe basic desirable electrical practices for offshore electrical systems.

    • API RP 14G, Recommended Practice for Fire Prevention and Control on Fixed Open-type Offshore Production Platforms, Fourth Edition, April 2007; reaffirmed January 2013. This would update the current incorporation of this standard to reflect its reaffirmation in 2013. This publication includes provisions for minimizing the likelihood of having an accidental fire, and for designing, inspecting, and maintaining fire control systems. It emphasizes the need to train personnel in firefighting, to conduct routine drills, and to establish methods and procedures for safe evacuation. The fire control systems in this publication are intended to provide an early response to incipient fires to prevent their growth. However, this recommended practice is not intended to preclude the application of more extensive practices to meet special situations or the substitution of other systems which will provide an equivalent or greater level of protection. This publication is applicable to fixed open-type offshore production platforms which are generally installed in moderate climates and which have sufficient natural ventilation to minimize the accumulation of vapors. Enclosed areas, such as quarters buildings and equipment enclosures, normally installed on this type platform, are addressed. Totally enclosed platforms installed for extreme weather conditions or other reasons are beyond the scope of this RP.

    • API RP 500, Recommended Practice for Classification of Locations for Electrical Installations at Petroleum Facilities Classified as Class I, Division 1 and Division 2, Third Edition, December 2012; Errata January 2014. This would update the current incorporation of the second edition (from 1997, reaffirmed in 2002) of the same standard. The purpose of this recommended practice is to provide guidelines for classifying locations Class I, Division 1 and Class I, Division 2 at petroleum facilities for the selection and installation of electrical equipment. Basic definitions given in the 2011 edition of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70, National Electrical Code (NEC), have been followed in developing this RP.

    • ANSI/API Specification Q1 (ANSI/API Spec. Q1), Specification for Quality Programs for the Petroleum, Petrochemical and Natural Gas Industry, Ninth Edition, June 2013; effective date June 1, 2014; Errata, February 2014; Errata 2, March 2014; Addendum 1, June 2016. This would update the current incorporation of the eighth edition (from 2007) of the same standard. API Specification Q1, ninth edition was published June 2013, and supersedes API Specification Q1, eighth edition 2007. This revision features over 85 new clauses and 5 new sections, creating a major shift in quality management as it applies to the oil and gas industry. A thematic change is the approach to quality through risk assessment and risk management. The five new sections include risk assessment and management, contingency planning, product quality plan, preventative maintenance, and management of change. Another motivation for the ninth edition revision is alignment with the 2011 publication API Specification Q2, Specification for Quality Management System Requirements for Service Supply Organizations for the Petroleum and Natural Gas Industries, first edition. Overall, the goal of API Q1 ninth edition is to further enhance the minimum baseline requirements of quality management systems of oil and gas equipment manufacturers.

    • ANSI/API Specification 6A (ANSI/API Spec. 6A), Specification for Wellhead and Christmas Tree Equipment, Twentieth Edition, October 2010; Addendum 1, November 2011; Errata 2, November 2011; Addendum 2, November 2012; Addendum 3, March 2013; Errata 3, June 2013; Errata 4, August 2013; Errata 5, November 2013; Errata 6, March 2014; Errata 7, December 2014; Errata 8, February 2016; Addendum 4: June 2016; Errata 9, June 2016; Errata 10, August 2016. This would update the current incorporation of the Nineteenth Edition (from 2004) of the same standard. The twentieth edition of API Spec. 6A includes notable changes from the previous edition. Major changes include: (a) Updated definitions and terms, (b) updated normative references to other standards, (c) temperature ratings, (d) more stringent material performance requirements, (e) revamped repair and remanufacture annex, (f) updated requirements for equipment in hydrogen sulfide service, and (g) Surface Safety Valve (SSV) and Underwater Safety Valve (USV) performance requirements. This edition also aligns with other standards, such as material performance to NACE MR0175 (for use in H2S-containing Environments), and options to use various ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) International documents for material testing. References to obsolete standards and requirements for obsolete equipment were removed from the twentieth edition.

    • API Spec. 6AV1, Specification for Verification Test of Wellhead Surface Safety Valves and Underwater Safety Valves for Offshore Service, Second Edition, February 2013. This would update the current incorporation of the first edition (from 1996, reaffirmed in 2003) of the same standard. The second edition of API Spec 6AV1 is the first substantive change in 21 years. The new edition establishes design validation requirements for API Specification 6A, Specification for Wellhead and Christmas Tree Equipment, for SSVs and USVs and associated valve bore sealing mechanisms for Class II and Class III. Major changes from the first edition include: Replacing “Performance Requirement” with the term “Class,” phasing out the use of Class 1/PR1 valves, the API licensing of test agencies, updated facility requirements, more specificity on the validation testing procedures of Class II, and new validation tests for Class III SSVs and USVs.

    • ANSI/API Spec. 14A, Specification for Subsurface Safety Valve Equipment, Twelfth Ed. January 2015; Errata, July 2015; Addendum, June 2017. This would update the current incorporation of the eleventh edition (from 2005) of the same standard. API 14A twelfth edition was published January 2015 and was the successor to the eleventh edition of the document published October 2005. SSSVs are downhole valves that have integral importance to the safety of an offshore production system. The new edition now addresses other equipment such as injection valves (SSISVs), alternative SSSV technology, and secondary tools to SSSVs. Other significant changes include design analysis methods, new validation grades and associated testing, new HPHT requirements, and finally, harmonization with ANSI/API 14B, Design, Installation, Operation, Test, and Redress of Subsurface Safety Valves. This specification covers both valves and the secondary tools that interface with the valves to function properly.

    • ANSI/API Spec. 17J, Specification for Unbonded Flexible Pipe, Fourth Edition May 2014; Errata 1, September 2016; Errata 2, May 2017; Addendum 1, October 2017. This would update the current incorporation of the third edition (from 2008) of the same standard. API 17J fourth edition was published May 2014 and it follows the third edition from July 2008. API 17J defines the technical requirements for safe, dimensionally and functionally interchangeable, flexible pipes. Minimum requirements are specified for the design, material selection, manufacture, testing, pipe composition, marking, and packaging of flexible pipes, with reference to existing codes and standards where applicable. The current edition updates definitions, overall functional requirements, internal pressure and temperature design considerations, fluid composition, corrosion protection, gas venting, fire resistance, and exothermal chemical reaction cleaning. Flexible pipe span lengths can flow from seabed to platform and from offshore to an onshore receiving entity.

    • API 570 Piping Inspection Code: In-service Inspection, Rating, Repair, and Alteration of Piping Systems, Fourth Edition, February 2016; Addendum 1: May 2017. This would update the current incorporation of the third edition (from 2009) of the same standard. API 570 covers inspection, rating, repair, and alteration procedures for metallic and fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) piping systems and their associated pressure relieving devices that have been placed in service. This inspection Code applies to all hydrocarbon and chemical process piping covered in section 1.2.1 that have been placed in service unless specifically designated as optional per section 1.2.2. This publication does not cover inspection of specialty equipment including instrumentation, exchanger tubes and control valves. Process piping systems that have been retired from service and abandoned in place are no longer covered by this “in service inspection” Code. However abandoned in place piping may still need some amount of inspection and/or risk mitigation to assure that it does not become a process safety hazard because of continuing deterioration. Process piping systems that are temporarily out of service but have been mothballed (preserved for potential future use) are still covered by this Code. BSEE is also proposing to revise §§ 250.198(h)(58) and 250.198(h)(62) to update cross references to § 250.842(b) that would change to § 250.842(c) in this rulemaking.

    What must the DWOP contain? (§ 250.292)

    BSEE is proposing to revise § 250.292 paragraph (p)(3) to replace the incorporation by reference of API RP 2RD to API STD 2RD.

    General (§ 250.800)

    BSEE is proposing to revise § 250.800 paragraph (c)(2) to replace the incorporation by reference of API RP 2RD to API STD 2RD.

    Safety and Pollution Prevention Equipment (SPPE) Certification. (§ 250.801)

    This section would be revised to explicitly state that GLSDVs are included in SPPE. This is merely a clarification, since GLSDVs already must follow § 250.801. Under § 250.873 in the current regulations, GLSDVs must meet the requirements in §§ 250.835 and 250.836 for boarding shutdown valves (BSDVs). Further, § 250.835 requires that BSDVs meet the requirements in §§ 250.801 through 250.803. Since § 250.835 currently requires that BSDVs meet the requirements in § 250.801, and GLSDVs must meet the requirements for BSDVs in § 250.835 pursuant to § 250.873, it follows that GLSDVs are already required to meet the requirements of § 250.801. BSEE proposes to revise § 250.801 to expressly include GLSDVs in the list of equipment that BSEE considers to be SPPE to make this requirement more clear. BSEE also considered identifying water injection shutdown valves (WISDVs) as SPPE. However, under normal operation WISDVs do not handle hydrocarbons, so they do not serve the same function as other equipment identified as SPPE.

    BSEE is proposing to revise the introductory sentence in paragraph (a) of this section to remove the phrase, “[i]n wells located on the OCS.” BSEE does not need to specify the location of the SPPE, since all of the equipment that is considered SPPE, is either located in a well or a riser.

    Requirements for SPPE (§ 250.802)

    Consistent with the proposed revision to § 250.801, BSEE would revise this section to add GLSDVs to the list of equipment in this section, as well.

    BSEE would also remove the provision at § 250.802(c)(1) and redesignate subsequent paragraphs under paragraph (c). Current § 250.802(c)(1), is redundant with industry standards incorporated in BSEE's regulations. This section currently requires that a qualified independent third-party certify that SPPE will function as designed, including under the most extreme conditions to which it may be exposed.

    Operators raised concerns that it may not be possible for independent third parties to certify that specific SPPE will perform under the most extreme conditions to which it will be exposed. Compliance with the various required standards (including API Spec Q1, ANSI/API Spec. 14A, ANSI/API RP 14B, ANSI/API Spec. 6A, and API Spec. 6AV1) ensures that each device will function in the conditions for which it was designed. In addition, the third-party reviews and certifications are unnecessary because the use of the standards referenced in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section (e.g., ANSI/API Spec. 6A, API Spec. 6AV1, ANSI/API Spec. 14A, and ANSI/API RP 14B) ensures the valves will function in the full range of operating conditions for which they were designed. BSEE generally requires independent third party reviews when the regulated technology, system, or component: (1) Is not addressed in existing engineering standards; (2) requires a high degree of specialized or technically complex engineering expertise to understand or evaluate; and/or (3) has an associated level of risk (or even novelty) associated that additional review, assurance, or evaluation is deemed prudent prior to acceptance or approval. These criteria for independent third-party review are not present since the SPPE meet the applicable specified industry standards incorporated into BSEE's regulations. Industry has used these SPPE for decades and the use of these valves does not require highly specialized expertise. Using these valves as intended reduces the risk associated with oil and natural gas production operations. Therefore, after review and consideration of the current requirements, BSEE concluded that requiring independent third party review and certification of these valves is not necessary, because ANSI/API Spec. 14A and ANSI/API Spec. Q1 provide for independent testing to ensure the devices will function as designed.

    During the implementation of the original final rule, a number of operators inquired about using existing inventory of BSDVs that meet the requirements of § 250.802, but are not certified. BSEE is considering an approach that would allow operators to use this existing inventory. We are requesting comments on how to allow this, including information on the size of existing inventory and timing for use of that inventory, as well as comments on an approach to allow for this.

    Consistent with the proposed change in § 250.801(a), BSEE would revise paragraph (d)(2) to remove the phrase, “on that well.” BSEE does not need to specify the location of the SPPE, since all of the equipment that is considered SPPE, is either located in a well or a riser. The preamble to the 2016 final rule describes the current table in § 250.802(d) as clarifying “when operators must install SPPE equipment that conforms to the requirements of § 250.801” and makes no mention of whether the SPPE is located in the well or riser (81 FR 61859). Consistently throughout, that preamble describes the requirements of existing §§ 250.800 through 250.802 without any reference to the location of the SPPE as on a well or riser, (e.g., (81 FR 61846), describing the existing § 250.800(c)(2) as allowing operators to continue using BDSV and single bore production risers already installed on floating production systems).

    What SPPE failure reporting procedures must I follow? (§ 250.803)

    In addition to the specific proposals described below, BSEE is seeking input about how to revise the current language specifying what constitutes “failure” used in this regulation. In response to comments received on the previous proposed rulemaking, BSEE included this language in the previous Subpart H rulemaking. During implementation of the current rule, BSEE received a number of questions from industry asking for additional clarification of this language and of what specific equipment issues operators must report. BSEE is requesting comments on revising how “failure” is specified. The current § 250.803 states, “[a] failure is any condition that prevents the equipment from meeting the functional specification or purpose.”

    Operators are required to follow the failure reporting requirements from ANSI/API Spec. 6A for SSVs, BSDVs, and USVs and to follow ANSI/API Spec. 14A and ANSI/API RP 14B for SSSVs. BSEE seeks input on specifying what constitutes “failure” for the purposes of the reporting requirements under § 250.803. The documents incorporated by reference in § 250.803 have different definitions of failure or may not include a definition of failure at all. Given these various definitions of failure, BSEE is inquiring as to if it is appropriate to include a single description of what constitutes failure that applies to all of the SPPE covered in § 250.803? Or is it more useful to include various descriptions, based on the type of equipment?

    BSEE reviewed the definition of failure in various industry standards related to production systems, and found the following definitions:

    API Spec 6AV1, Specification for Verification Test of Wellhead Surface Safety Valves and Underwater Safety Valves for Offshore Service, Second Edition (incorporated by reference at §§ 250.802(a), 250.833, 250.873(b), and 250.874(g)), defines failure as: [i]mproper performance of a device or equipment item that prevents completion of its design function.”

    ANSI/API Spec. 14A, Specification for Subsurface Safety Valve Equipment, Twelfth Edition (incorporated by reference at §§ 250.802(b) and 250.803(a)), defines failure as: [a]ny equipment condition that prevents it from performing to the requirements of the functional specification.

    ABS 281, Guide for Classification and Certification of Subsea Production Systems, Equipment and Components, August 2017, defines failure as: [a]n event causing an undesirable condition (e.g., loss of component or system function) or deterioration of functional capability to such an extent that the safety of the unit, personnel, or environment is significantly reduced.

    BSEE would revise paragraph (a) of this section to include GLSDVs in the list of equipment that are subject to the failure reporting requirements. In addition, BSEE is proposing to revise this paragraph to require operators to submit their SPPE failure information to BSEE through the Chief, Office of Offshore Regulatory Programs, unless BSEE has designated a third-party. If BSEE has designated a third party, then operators would be required to submit it to that party. Currently, operators submit this information through www.SafeOCS.gov, where it is received and processed by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the designee of the Chief of the Office of Offshore Regulatory Programs (OORP). BSEE previously identified BTS as the designee of the Chief of OORP and recommended that SPPE failure information be sent to BTS via www.SafeOCS.gov through a press release issued on October 26, 2016 (https://www.bsee.gov/newsroom/latest-news/statements-and-releases/press-releases/bsee-expands-safeocs-program). BSEE and BTS have an MOU that provides for BTS collection of BOP and SPPE failure reports. The MOU may be viewed on BSEE's website at: https://www.bsee.gov/sites/bsee.gov/files/bsee-bts-mou-08-18-2016_0.pdf.

    Reporting instructions are on the SafeOCS website at: https://www.SafeOCS.gov. Reports submitted through www.SafeOCS.gov are collected and analyzed by BTS and protected from release under the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA). BTS operates under this Federal law, the CIPSEA, which requires that the program, under strict criminal and civil penalties for noncompliance, treats and stores reports confidentially. Information submitted under this statute also is protected from release to other government agencies, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and subpoena. If the information were to be submitted to BSEE, BSEE could only protect its confidentiality as allowed by Federal law. Accordingly, while BSEE could keep certain information confidential, it would likely need to release much of the information related to the failure of SPPE. Were BSEE to reconsider its agreement with BTS to collect these reports, BSEE would look for arrangements with other agencies or non-governmental organizations that could provide the same degree of confidentiality as that provided by BTS under CIPSEA.

    BSEE proposes to revise paragraph (d) to address the use of a BSEE-designated third party to receive the failure reporting information.

    Design, Installation, and Operation of SSSVs—Dry Trees (§ 250.814)

    BSEE would revise § 250.814 paragraph (d) to replace the incorporation by reference of API RP 14B with ANSI/API 14B.

    Use of SSVs (§ 250.820)

    This section would be revised to replace the incorporation by reference of API RP 14H, which was withdrawn by API, to API STD 6AV2.

    Emergency Action and Safety System Shutdown—Dry Trees (§ 250.821)

    BSEE is proposing to revise paragraph (a) of this section to clarify that operators must shut in the production on any facility that “is impacted or that will potentially be impacted by an emergency situation.” BSEE includes some examples of emergencies such as named storms, ice events in the Arctic, or earthquakes. It was not BSEE's intent to specify all emergency events that could trigger this regulation. The operator must determine when their facility is impacted or will potentially be impacted due to an emergency situation. The existing regulations do not clearly state that operators must shut in any facility that has been or may potentially be impacted by an impending emergency. The proposed clarification is to ensure that operators understand that they have an obligation to properly secure wells before the platform is evacuated in the event of an emergency. For example, if a well is capable of flowing and does not have a subsurface safety device, one must be installed. The current regulations require that this activity be done as soon as possible. BSEE requests comments on whether the phrase “as soon as possible” provides sufficient regulatory certainty or if there are more objective criteria, such as a before the facility is evacuated, that could be used to define these obligations.

    Design, Installation, and Operation of SSSVs—Subsea Trees (§ 250.828)

    BSEE would revise § 250.828 paragraph (c) to replace the incorporation by reference of API RP 14B with ANSI/API 14B.

    Specification for Underwater Safety Valves (USVs) (§ 250.833)

    BSEE is proposing to revise the introductory paragraph in this section to replace API Spec. 6A with ANSI/API Spec. 6A.

    Use of USVs (§ 250.834)

    This section would be revised to update the incorporation by reference of API RP 14H, which was withdrawn by API, to API STD 6AV2.

    Use of BSDVs (§ 250.836)

    This section would be revised to update the incorporation by reference of API RP 14H, which was withdrawn by API, to API STD 6AV2.

    Emergency Action and Safety System Shutdown—Subsea Trees (§ 250.837)

    BSEE is proposing to revise paragraph (a) of this section to clarify that operators must shut in the production on any facility that “is impacted or that will potentially be impacted by an emergency situation.” This revision is consistent with the revision proposed for § 250.821(a) for facilities with dry tress. BSEE includes some examples of emergencies such as named storms, ice events in the Arctic, or earthquakes. It is not BSEE's intent to specify all emergency events that could trigger this regulation. The operator must determine when there may be potential impacts due to an emergency or if their facility was impacted by an emergency event. The existing regulations do not clearly state that operators must shut in any facility that has been or may be impacted by an impending emergency. BSEE would also add GLSDVs to the list of equipment that is closed during a shut-in. This is consistent with identifying GLSDVs as SPPE in §§ 250.801 through 250.803 and elsewhere in this subpart.

    In addition, BSEE is proposing to revise paragraph (b) of this section to clarify the requirements for dropped objects in an area with subsea operations, and to be consistent with the provisions of subpart G on dropped objects. For example, the current subpart H regulations state that the operator must develop and submit a dropped objects plan to the appropriate District Manager, as part of an Application for Permit to Drill (APD) or Application for Permit to Modify (APM). A dropped objects plan is required by § 250.714. However, § 250.714 does not require operators to submit this plan as part of the APD or APM; rather, they must make their dropped object plans available to BSEE upon request. A dropped object plan is not a static plan, § 250.714 requires operators to update their dropped objects plans as the subsea infrastructure changes.

    Throughout this section, BSEE would replace “MODU or other type of workover vessel” with “vessel.” The use of the word “vessel” is a more comprehensive term that includes any type of equipment that could be used to perform well operations.

    Platforms (§ 250.841)

    BSEE would add a new paragraph (c) to this section to address major modifications to a facility, by directing operators to follow the requirements in § 250.900(b)(2). This is not a new requirement, as operators are already required to follow the provisions of § 250.900(b)(2) for major modifications. This simply provides direction to the operator and emphasizes the need to follow § 250.900(b)(2).

    The existing paragraph (b) of this section currently requires operators to maintain all piping for platform production processes as specified in API RP 14E Recommended Practice for Design and Installation of Offshore Production Platform Piping Systems (API RP 14E). Section 6.5(a)(1) of API RP 14E addresses painting of steel piping to prevent corrosion. Corrosion prevention is important for safety and pollution prevention, and BSEE is not currently proposing to remove the reference to API RP 14E from this section. However, BSEE is interested in comments on whether other changes may be warranted. BSEE recognizes that there are difficulties accessing some of the piping on existing facilities, and BSEE is aware that operators have asked for extension, after BSEE has issued an incident of noncompliance, to provide additional time to implement this requirement on some facilities. In these cases, BSEE has generally requested that operators submit a departure request that includes an implementation plan to BSEE for complying with this section of API RP 14E. In the implementation plan, BSEE is looking for the operator to: (1) Identify facilities for which extra time is needed for compliance, (2) specify areas of inaccessible piping, (3) address precautions taken until the piping can be accessed for painting, and (4) prioritize high-risk areas for more rapid treatment.

    Approval of Safety Systems Design and Installation Features (§ 250.842)

    BSEE proposes to revise some of the requirements related to the diagrams and drawings the operators must to submit to BSEE for approval. Currently, operators must submit all of the documents listed in existing paragraph (a) of this section to BSEE for approval and those documents are required to be stamped by a registered professional engineer (PE). BSEE would revise this provision to require operators to submit only the most critical documents to BSEE and have those documents stamped by a PE. However, BSEE has identified some documents that the operator would be required to develop and maintain, but that that operator would not be required to submit to BSEE; nor would these documents would be required to be stamped by at PE. BSEE would list these less critical documents in a new paragraph (b).

    BSEE would reorganize this section in conjunction with these changes. This proposed rulemaking would also clarify that operators do not need to update existing drawings until a modification request is submitted to BSEE. When an operator submits a modification request, it must include fully updated drawings as required in paragraph (a) with all changes stamped by a PE.

    Existing introductory paragraph (a) states that before installing or modifying a production safety system the operator must submit a production safety system application to the District Manager for approval. This would be revised to clearly state that the operator must receive approval from the District Manager before commencing production through or utilizing the new or modified system.

    The table in existing paragraph (a) identifies specific diagrams and drawings that the operator is required to submit to BSEE as part of the production safety system application and be stamped by a PE. BSEE would revise the table to require operators to submit the safety analysis flow diagram, safety analysis function evaluation (SAFE) chart, electrical one line diagram, and area classification diagram for new facilities and for modifications to existing facilities. In addition revised paragraph (a) would be revised to require operators to submit piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&ID) for new facilities only; the operator would not be required to submit the P&ID modification. The table under paragraph (a) would be reordered as part of this revision.

    Existing paragraph § 250.842(a)(3), which addresses electrical system information would be substantially revised. This paragraph would be redesignated as paragraph (a)(2). Some items currently required as part electrical system information would be removed from the scope of required submissions. BSEE would revise this section would now require the operator to submit an electrical diagrams, showing key elements, including generators, circuit breakers, transformers, bus bars, conductors, battery banks, automatic transfer switches, uninterruptable power supply (UPS), dynamic (motor) loads, and static (e.g., electrostatic treater grid, lighting panels, etc.) loads. Other information required under the current regulations would be moved to paragraph (b)(1) in this proposed revision, such as electrical drawings for cable/tray conduit routing plans and panel board/junction box location plans.

    The proposed rule would redesignate existing paragraph (b) as paragraph (c) and insert a new paragraph (b). Some of the diagrams required in existing paragraph (a) would be moved to the new paragraph (b). The operator would still be required to develop and maintain all of the diagrams included in existing paragraph (a). However, for those diagrams proposed to be moved into new paragraph (b), BSEE would only require the operator to develop and maintain them, and provide them to BSEE upon request. The operator would no longer be required to submit these with the production safety system application. These diagrams would include: Additional electrical system information, schematics of the fire and gas-detection systems, and revised P&IDs for existing facilities. The operator would not be required to have the diagrams and drawings listed in proposed new paragraph (b) certified and stamped by a PE. The operator would be required to develop and maintain these diagrams to accurately document any changes made to the production systems; and provide these to BSEE upon request.

    The requirements for schematic P&IDs that are currently required under (a)(1) in the table would be moved to (a)(4) and revised to state that the operator is required to submit the P&ID for new facilities to BSEE. The operator would be required to develop and maintain revised P&IDs for modifications to existing facilities, under new (b)(3).

    The safety analysis flow diagram and the related SAFE chart currently in section (a)(2) would be moved to (a)(1), with additional details added to clarify what the operator must include on the diagram.

    Current paragraph (a)(3) in the table requires the operator to submit electrical system information. The proposed rule would move this to (a)(2) and revise it to require the operator to submit only the electrical one-line diagram. The additional electrical information in the current paragraph (a)(3) would be included in new section (b)(1), with details added to specify what electrical system information the operator must develop, maintain, and make available to BSEE.

    This section would no longer require operators to identify all areas where potential ignition sources are located. This requirement is already addressed under § 250.842(c)(3), which requires operators to perform a hazards analysis in accordance with § 250.1911 and API RP 14J. API RP 14J specifically addresses ignition sources and minimizing the chances of ignition. API RP 14J directs the operators to consider all ignition sources when designing their facility and provides detailed guidance on designing the facility and equipment to prevent the ignition of hydrocarbons. The requirement for operators to develop and maintain a separate document identifying ignition sources is not necessary because this is inherent to compliance with API RP 14J. In addition, § 250.842(c)(3) requires operators to have a hazards analysis program in place to assess potential hazards during the operation of the facility.

    New paragraph (b)(2) would address the schematics of the fire and gas-detection systems, which are currently addressed in existing paragraph (a)(4). New paragraph (b)(3) would include revised P&IDs for modifications to existing facilities.

    Redesignated paragraph (c) (existing paragraph (b)), would continue to require operators to certify that: (1) The all electrical installations were designed according to API RP 14F or API RP 14FZ, as applicable; (2) a hazards analysis was performed in accordance with § 250.1911 and API RP 14J; and (3) operators have a hazards analysis program in place to assess potential hazards during the operation of the facility. Redesignated (c)(2) of § 250.842 (existing (b)(2)) would be revised to state that the designs for the mechanical and electrical systems that the operator is required to submit under paragraph (a) of this section be reviewed, approved, and stamped by an appropriate registered PE.

    The drawings that would be required under new paragraph (b) include additional electrical system information, schematics of the fire and gas-detection systems, and revised P&IDs for existing facilities; would no longer require review, approval, and stamping by an appropriate registered PE. This change would reduce the burden on operators by no longer requiring a PE to certify as many diagrams and drawings. Operators would still be required to develop these diagrams and drawings and provide them to BSEE upon request. The operators would also be required to maintain them, ensuring they accurately reflect the current production system.

    BSEE would remove existing paragraph (c), which currently requires operators to submit a letter to the District Manager certifying that the mechanical and electrical systems were installed in accordance with the approved designs, before beginning production. This step was intended to ensure the operator properly documented the installation of the mechanical and electrical systems. This submittal was a burdensome step to assure document management and confirm that operator performed the modification as proposed and approved. Because the operators must submit the as-built drawings which BSEE uses for field verification, the certification letter was not needed.

    Under existing paragraph (d), the operators are already required to have the as-built diagrams stamped by a PE and to submit the as-built diagrams for the new or modified production safety systems to BSEE. Under the proposed rule, BSEE would no longer require operators to submit a letter to certify that the mechanical and electrical systems were installed in accordance with the approved designs. This letter was primarily used for tracking documentation; it is not needed by either industry or BSEE.

    BSEE would clarify existing § 250.842(d) regarding PE stamping of required drawings.

    The proposed rule would require the diagrams that are submitted to BSEE under § 250.842 paragraphs (a)(1), (2), and (3) to be reviewed, approved, and stamped by an appropriate registered PE(s). The requirement from existing paragraph (e), that the operators submit the as-built diagrams within 60 days of commencing production would be included in this section.

    BSEE would redesignate existing paragraph (f) as paragraph (e), since the requirements from existing paragraph (e) would be moved to new paragraph (d). Redesignated paragraph (e) addresses the requirements for maintaining the documents required in this section. BSEE is not proposing any revisions to the requirements in this paragraph.

    Pressure Vessels (Including Heat Exchangers) and Fired Vessels (§ 250.851)

    BSEE is proposing to remove the dates from this section that required that existing uncoded pressure and fired vessels that were in use on November 7, 2016 (the effective date of the previous Subpart H rulemaking), to be code stamped before March 1, 2018. These dates no longer need to be included as they both will have already passed by the time the final rulemaking is issued in this rulemaking. In addition, most pressure vessels and fired vessels were already required to be coded stamped. The previous regulations only added vessels with an operating pressure greater than 15 psig to that requirement. The existing regulations provide that the operator may request approval from the District Manager to continue to use uncoded pressure and fired vessels.

    Flowlines/Headers (§ 250.852)

    BSEE is proposing to revise paragraphs § 250.852(e)(1) and (e)(4) to replace the reference to API Spec. 17J with ANSI/API Spec. 17J.

    Safety Sensors (§ 250.853)

    This section would be revised to add a new paragraph (d) to require that all level sensors are equipped to permit testing through an external bridle on all new vessel installations, where possible, depending on the type of vessel for which the level sensor is used. This change was originally included in the previous proposed rulemaking. However, it was not included in the final rule, based on concerns raised by public comments. BSEE has reviewed those comments and is reconsidering its decision to remove this provision from the final rule. The preamble of the previous final rule stated that BSEE removed proposed paragraph (d) from the final rule because BSEE can address level sensors adequately using existing regulatory processes, such as the Deepwater Operations Plan (DWOP), and we do not need to specify uses and conditions of such sensors in this regulation.

    When BSEE reviewed that decision, we determined that including this requirement in the regulations is important because it clearly states the expectation to have an external bridle to permit testing. This would ensure that, where possible, the sensor is accessible for testing, which is the accepted approach, at this time. A comment on the previous rulemaking asserted that certain sensor testing technologies (e.g., ultrasonic and capacitance) are not suitable for use in external bridles, and that some proposed or new projects evaluated using ultrasonic, optical, microwave, conductive, or capacitance sensors, and that such sensors do not use bridles. BSEE recognizes that there are sensors that do not use bridles and that other equipment options exist. However, the use of level sensor with an external bridle that allows testing through the bridle remains BSEE's preferred approach. Sensor testing equipment built according to API standards, which are incorporated by reference into BSEE's regulations, should be able to meet this provision. We are proposing additional language to recognize other approaches, stating that operators must ensure that all level sensors are equipped to permit testing through an external bridle “where possible, depending on the type of vessel for which the level sensor is used.” This language allows BSEE more flexibility in approving a different design, without requiring the operator to apply for an alternate procedure or equipment to test the level sensor under § 250.141.

    Temporary Quarters and Temporary Equipment (§ 250.867)

    BSEE is proposing to revise paragraph (a) of this section to require District Manager approval of safety systems and safety devices associated with the temporary quarters prior to installation. This would apply to all temporary quarters to be installed on OCS production facilities. The existing regulations specify that that operator must receive approval for temporary quarters “. . . installed in production processing areas or other classified areas on OCS facilities.” This proposed would require approval of the safety systems and safety devices, instead of approval of the actual temporary quarters, regardless of where the temporary quarters are located. This proposed change recognizes that risk of a hazard occurring related to production is not restricted to the production areas or classified areas. This change would ensure that temporary quarters have the proper safety systems and devices installed to protect individuals in the temporary quarters, regardless of where they are located on the facility.

    BSEE recognizes the authority of the United States Coast Guard (USCG) as the lead agency for living quarters on the OCS. This is recognized in two Memorandums of Agreement (MOAs) between BSEE and USCG related to oil and gas production facilities: MOA OCS-09, Fixed OCS Facilities, dated September 19, 2014 and MOA OCS-04, Floating OCS Facilities, dated January 28, 2016. MOA OCS-09 establishes BSEE as the lead for safety systems, specifically for emergency shutdown systems, gas detection, and safety and shutdown systems on fixed OCS facilities. MOA OCS-04 establishes BSEE as the lead for emergency shutdown systems and components on floating OCS facilities. The existing requirement that temporary quarters must be equipped with all safety devices required by API RP 14C, Annex G would not change. This paragraph would ensure operators install the proper safety devices on or in temporary quarters, including fire and gas detection equipment and emergency shut down stations addressed in API RP 14C. BSEE will discuss this proposed change with the USCG to ensure an understanding that the USCG will not approve the installation of the temporary quarters until the operator obtains approval of the safety systems and devices from BSEE.

    BSEE would also add a new paragraph (d) to this section that states that operators must receive District Manager approval before installing temporary generators that would require a change to the electrical one-line diagram under § 250.842(a).

    Time Delays on Pressure Safety Low (PSL) Sensors (§ 250.870)

    BSEE is proposing to revise the requirement in paragraph (a) of this section regarding the use of Class B, Class C, or Class B/C logic. This section currently states that the operator “may apply any or all of the industry standard Class B, Class C, or Class B/C logic to all applicable PSL sensors installed on process equipment, as long as the time delay does not exceed 45 seconds.” BSEE would delete the phrase “any or all of the” from that sentence, as it is not needed. We would no longer require the operator to seek approval from BSEE for alternative compliance under § 250.141 to use a PSL sensor with a time delay that is greater than 45 seconds. Instead, the section would state that if the device may be bypassed for greater than 45 seconds, the operator must monitor the bypassed devices in accordance with § 250.869(a). The alternative compliance approval is not needed, since monitoring bypassed devices is addressed in the current § 250.869(a), for which no change is proposed.

    Atmospheric Vessels (§ 250.872)

    BSEE would revise paragraph (a) of this section to state that atmospheric vessels connected to the process system that contain a Class I liquid must be reflected on the corresponding drawings, along with the associated pumps. The current regulations do not specifically require the operator to include the atmospheric vessels on these drawings. However, since these tanks are used to process or store liquid hydrocarbons, it is important to identify where they are located in the processing system and to ensure they are properly protected.

    BSEE is also proposing to revise paragraph (b) of this section, adding language that the operator must design the level safety high (LSH) sensor on the atmospheric vessel to prevent pollution as required by § 250.300(b)(3) and (4). This is not a new requirement. BSEE is adding this provision to emphasize the importance that these vessels be designed to prevent pollution.

    In addition, BSEE is proposing to change the current requirement that the LSH must be installed to sense the level in the oil bucket, to limit this requirement to newly installed atmospheric vessels with oil buckets. The proposed change is based on questions and departure requests BSEE received during implementation of the Subpart H Rule. BSEE recognizes that the installation of a LSH on the oil bucket is not possible on some existing vessels without extensive modifications to the vessels.

    BSEE is proposing to remove § 250.872(c) which currently states that operators must ensure that all flame arrestors are maintained to ensure proper design function (installation of a system to allow for ease of inspection should be considered). This requirement is not necessary as it is redundant with § 250.800(a) which requires operators to maintain all production safety equipment in a manner to ensure the safety and protection of the human, marine, and coastal environments.

    Subsea Gas Lift Requirements (§ 250.873)

    BSEE is proposing to revise the table in paragraph (b) of this section to replace multiple references to API Spec. 6A with ANSI/API Spec. 6A.

    Subsea Water Injection Systems (§ 250.874)

    BSEE would revise paragraph (g)(2) of this section to replace the reference to API Spec. 6A with ANSI/API Spec. 6A.

    Fired and Exhaust Heated Components (§ 250.876)

    BSEE would revise this section to delete the requirement that the fire tube be removed during inspection. BSEE recognizes that there are other ways to inspect the fire tube, without removing them. For example, a combination of cameras with thickness sensors could be used to inspect fire tubes that cannot be easily accessed, instead of removing the fire tube completely. This change would allow the operator to determine an appropriate method to inspect the fire tube and is a more flexible, performance-based approach. BSEE recognizes the need for fire tube inspections; however, the process to remove the fire tube for inspection can pose its own safety concerns. In some cases, use of an alternative method for inspections would actually increase safety, since removing the fire tube may present a hazard if the fire tube is located in a place where it is not easy to remove.

    Production Safety System Testing (§ 250.880)

    BSEE is proposing to clarify language in paragraph (a)(1) of this section to clearly state that the operator must notify BSEE at least 72 hours before commencing initial production on a facility. The current language states that the operator must notify BSEE, “at least 72 hours before commencing production.” It does not specify that this notification is for initial production, leading to possible interpretation that the operator must notify BSEE anytime production on a facility has been shut in and the operator is ready to resume production. This interpretation was not BSEE's intent.

    In addition, BSEE would revise paragraphs (c)(2)(iv) and (c)(4)(iii) to update the incorporation by reference of API RP 14H, which was withdrawn by API, to API STD 6AV2.

    BSEE would also revise § 250.880 paragraph (c) to replace the incorporation by reference of API RP 14B with ANSI/API 14B.

    What industry standards must your platform meet? (§ 250.901)

    BSEE is proposing to revise paragraph (a) of § 250.901 and the table in paragraph (d) to update the incorporation by reference of API STD 2RD.

    Design Requirements for DOI Pipelines (§ 250.1002)

    BSEE is proposing to revise paragraph (b) of § 250.1002 to update the references to ANSI/API Spec. 6A, ANSI/API Spec. 17J, and API STD 2RD.

    What To Include in Applications (§ 250.1007)

    BSEE is proposing to revise paragraphs (a) of § 250.1007 to replace the reference to API Spec. 17J with ANSI/API Spec. 17J.

    F. Additional Comments Solicited

    BSEE has identified a number of potential revisions to the 30 CFR part 250 regulations that are not specifically included in this proposed rulemaking. However, BSEE is soliciting comments on these potential revisions, which it may implement in the final rule or a future rulemaking.

    Potential Revisions to § 250.107(c) Best Available and Safest Technology (BAST)

    In the 2016 final rule, BSEE revised the definition of BAST contained in Section 250.107 based on public comments. BSEE solicits comments on whether this language adequately reflects the statutory mandate concerning the use of BAST on the OCS.

    Potential Revisions to § 250.198 Documents Incorporated by Reference

    BSEE is considering potential, non-substantive revisions to § 250.198, as a whole, for the purposes of reorganizing and revising that section to make it clearer, more user-friendly, and more consistent with the Office of the Federal Register's (OFR's) recommendations for incorporations by reference in Federal regulations. BSEE will continue to consult with the OFR regarding its suggestions for specific organizational and language changes to § 250.198 and expects to address such revisions in a separate rulemaking as soon as possible. BSEE does not anticipate that those potential revisions would have any substantive impact on the proposed incorporations by reference of industry standards discussed in this notice.

    Considerations for failure reporting under § 250.803 what SPPE failure reporting procedures must I follow?

    BSEE is seeking input on clarifying when a failure analysis is required under § 250.803. Under what circumstances should BSEE require more failure analysis information? For example, a formal root cause failure analysis conducted by Subject Matter Experts, or the manufacturer? Should BSEE limit the formal failure analysis to cases where SPPE are returned to shore for remedial action to address the cause of the failure?

    Extension of Compliance for Pressure Safety Valve (PSV) Testing Under § 250.880 Production Safety System Testing

    BSEE also considered revising the requirements regarding PSV testing in § 250.880(c)(2)(i). This existing provision requires operators to test PSVs annually and that the main valve piston must be lifted during this test. The main valve piston is a critical component of the PSV, and this approach will verify it will actually vent when needed. BSEE recognizes that this is a change to the approach used for testing prior to the 2016 rule and that some operators needed time develop new testing procedures. In some cases, operators may need to modify existing equipment or fabricate new equipment to fully comply. BSEE granted departures to this provision, giving operators who requested a departure under § 250.142, until November 7, 2018 to comply with this requirement. BSEE expects that operators will be able to comply by that date and a revision to this requirement is not needed; nevertheless BSEE is considering whether it is appropriate to provide additional time to perform the first required test on those PSVs where it is not possible to lift the piston during the test. BSEE would potentially consider an additional 1 to 2 years beyond the effective of this rulemaking for BSEE seeks comments on this issue, including comments on an appropriate time period for the delay.

    Potential Revisions Based on the Investigation of the Explosion and Fatality on West Delta Block 105 Platform E

    In 2016, BSEE issued a panel report entitled Investigation of November 20, 2014, Explosion and Fatality, Lease OCS-00842, West Delta Block 105 Platform E. The incident involved an explosion inside the electrostatic heater treater located on the platform while the contract cleaning crew personnel were engaged in activities related to cleaning the vessel. The report and corresponding memorandum, can be found at https://www.bsee.gov/wd-105-e-panel-report. We are seeking comments on the possibility of revising BSEE's regulations to address the recommendations in this report, including information on timing, costs, and other considerations. BSEE will consider relevant comments in developing any proposed rulemaking addressing the following topics from the report:

    Safety Device To De-Energize Electrostatic Heater Treater

    Should BSEE consider requiring facilities to have a safety device able to detect a drop in the level of the coalescing section of electrostatic treaters and have the associated function of tripping the power to the transformer and/or grid if the level drops too low? How are the associated risks for similar equipment managed?

    Safe Cleaning Procedures for Tanks and Vessels

    Do the existing BSEE regulations and standards provide adequate guidance regarding safety when performing cleaning activities on tanks or vessels that contain, or previously contained, petroleum or petroleum-related products? If not, what revisions to BSEE's regulations or incorporated standards are needed?

    Implementation of This Rulemaking

    BSEE seeks comments on potential obstacles for implementing the requirements in this NPRM; including the feasibility of implementation and any hardships operators may encounter during implementation.

    Procedural Matters Regulatory Planning and Review (E.O. 12866, E.O. 13563, E.O. 13771)

    Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within OMB will review all significant rules. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has determined that this proposed rule is neither economically significant nor significant because it would raise novel legal or policy issues. After reviewing the requirements of this proposed rule, BSEE has determined that it will not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more nor adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, public health or safety, the environment, or state, local, or tribal governments or communities.

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

    Executive Order 13771 requires Federal agencies to take proactive measures to reduce the costs associated with complying with Federal regulations. Consistent with E.O. 13771 BSEE has evaluated this rulemaking based on the requirements of E.O. 13771. This proposed rule is expected to be an E.O. 13771 deregulatory action. Details on the estimated cost savings of this proposed rule can be found in the rule's economic analysis. While this rulemaking is not a significant regulatory action under E.O. 12866, the regulatory clarifications, reduction in paperwork burdens, adoption of industry standards, migration to performance standards for select provisions and additional time for operators to meet the production equipment requirements constitutes an E.O. 13771 deregulatory action. BSEE also finds the reduction in regulated entity compliance burden does not increase the safety or environmental risk for offshore production operations.

    This rule primarily proposes to revise sections of 30 CFR part 250 subpart H—Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems. BSEE has reassessed a number of the provisions in the original (1014-AA10) rulemaking and determined that some provisions should be written as performance standards rather than prescriptive requirements. Other proposed revisions reduce or eliminate parts of the paperwork burden of the original rulemaking, while providing the same level of safety and environmental protection. BSEE has reexamined the economic analysis for the 2016 1014-AA10 final rule and now believes that it may have underestimated compliance costs. BSEE is therefore revising some of the compliance cost assumptions in that analysis for this rulemaking. The underestimate of compliance costs in the 1014-AA10 analysis is primarily related to (1) the burden for obtaining PE review and stamping of all drawings on a facility if any production equipment modifications are proposed and (2) duplicative independent third party equipment certifications that would no longer be required under this proposal. BSEE underestimated both the cost and number of PE reviews required under § 250.842. The cost of independent 3rd party testing and certifications required under the § 250.802 paragraph (c)(1) was also underestimated by BSEE.

    BSEE expects this proposed rule to reduce the regulatory burden on industry. Regulatory compliance cost savings are a result of changes in the proposed rule that reduce burden hours, PE stamping for production safety system components and independent third party equipment certifications. BSEE estimates this rulemaking, if adopted, would reduce industry compliance burdens by $33 million annually. Over 10 years BSEE estimates the reduced compliance burdens and cost savings to be $281 million discounted at 3 percent or $228 million discounted at 7 percent. As discussed in the initial Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) the proposed amendments would not negatively impact worker safety or the environment.

    The cost savings for revised provisions on PE stamping of production safety system modification documents (§ 250.842) is the single largest single cost savings provision in this proposed rule. The additional PE certifications and stamping will no longer be required for all production safety system documents in an application, only the documents for those components being modified. BSEE estimates the net regulatory cost savings will be $23.1 million in the first year (2018) and $162.0 million over 10 years discounted at 7 percent. The other provision providing substantial regulatory relief is the proposed elimination of the third-party reviews and certifications for select SPEE. Compliance with the various required standards (including API Spec Q1, ANSI/API Spec. 14A, ANSI/API RP 14B, ANSI/API Spec. 6A, and API Spec. 6AV1) ensures that each device will function in the conditions for which it was designed. The table below summarizes BSEE's estimate 10-year the compliance cost savings. Additional information on the compliance costs, savings and benefits can be found in the initial RIA posted in the docket.

    Total Estimated Cost Savings Associated With Amendments to Subpart H [2016 $] Year Undiscounted Discounted
  • at 3%
  • Discounted
  • at 7%
  • Total $332,630,000 $281,021,257 $228,268,048 Annualized 33,263,000 32,944,264 32,500,235

    BSEE has developed this final rule consistent with the requirements of E.O. 12866, E.O. 13563, and E.O. 13771. This proposed rule revises various provisions in the current regulations with performance-based provisions based upon the best reasonably obtainable safety, technical, economic, and other information. BSEE has provided industry flexibility to meet the safety or equipment standards rather than specifying the compliance method when practical. Based on a consideration of the qualitative and quantitative safety and environmental factors related to the proposed rule, BSEE's assessment is that its promulgation is consistent with the requirements of the applicable E.O.s and the OCSLA and that this rulemaking would impose the least burden on industry and provide the public a net benefit.

    Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The proposed rule is not a major rule under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.). This proposed rule:

    a. Would not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. This proposed rule would revise the requirements for oil and gas production safety systems. The changes would not have any negative impact on the economy or any economic sector, productivity, jobs, the environment, or other units of government. Most of the new requirements are related to inspection, testing, and paperwork requirements, and would not add significant time to development and production processes.

    b. Would not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions.

    c. Would not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises. The requirements will apply to all entities operating on the OCS.

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-612, requires agencies to analyze the economic impact of proposed regulations when a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities is likely and to consider regulatory alternatives that will achieve the agency's goals while minimizing the burden on small entities. The Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), which assesses the impact of this proposed rule on small entities, can be found in the Regulatory Impact Analysis within the rulemaking docket.

    As defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA), a small entity is one that is “independently owned and operated and which is not dominant in its field of operation.” What characterizes a small business varies from industry to industry in order to properly reflect industry size differences. This proposed rule would affect lease operators that are conducting OCS drilling or well operations. BSEE's analysis shows this could include about 69 companies with active operations. Of the 69 companies, 21 (30 percent) are large and 48 (70 percent) are small. Entities that would operate under this proposed rule primarily fall under the SBA's North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes 211111 (Crude Petroleum and Natural Gas Extraction). For the NAICS code 211111, a small company has fewer than 1,251 employees.

    BSEE considers that a rule will have an impact on a “substantial number of small entities” when the total number of small entities impacted by the rule is equal to or exceeds 10 percent of the relevant universe of small entities in a given industry. BSEE's analysis shows that there are 48 small companies with active operations on the OCS. All of the operating businesses meeting the SBA classification are potentially impacted; therefore BSEE expects that the proposed rule would affect a substantial number of small entities.

    This proposed rule is a deregulatory action and BSEE has estimated the overall associated costs savings. BSEE has estimated the annualized cost savings and allocated those savings to small or large entities based on the number of active or idle OCS production facilities. Using the share of small and large companies' production facilities, we estimate that small companies would realize 87 percent of the cost savings from this rulemaking and large companies 13 percent. Small companies operate ~90 percent of the shallow water facilities and are expected to realize most of the benefits in this rulemaking due to the greater number of facilities operated. Additional information can be found in the IRFA in the rulemaking docket.

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This proposed rule would not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector of more than $100 million per year. The proposed rule would not have a significant or unique effect on State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector. A statement containing the information required by Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) is not required.

    Takings Implication Assessment (E.O. 12630)

    Under the criteria in E.O. 12630, this proposed rule does not have significant takings implications. The proposed rule is not a governmental action capable of interference with constitutionally protected property rights. A Takings Implications Assessment is not required.

    Federalism (E.O. 13132)

    Under the criteria in E.O. 13132, this proposed rule does not have federalism implications. This proposed rule would not substantially and directly affect the relationship between the Federal and State governments. To the extent that State and local governments have a role in OCS activities, this proposed rule would not affect that role. A Federalism Assessment is not required.

    The BSEE has the authority to regulate offshore oil and gas production. State governments do not have authority over offshore production on the OCS. None of the changes in this proposed rule would affect areas that are under the jurisdiction of the States. It would not change the way that the States and the Federal government interact, or the way that States interact with private companies.

    Civil Justice Reform (E.O. 12988)

    This rule complies with the requirements of E.O. 12988. Specifically, this rule:

    (a) Meets the criteria of section 3(a) requiring that all regulations be reviewed to eliminate errors, ambiguity, and be written to minimize litigation; and

    (b) Meets the criteria of section 3(b)(2) requiring that all regulations be written in clear language and contain clear legal standards.

    Consultation With Indian Tribes (E.O. 13175)

    Under the criteria in E.O. 13175 and the DOI Tribal Consultation Policy, we have evaluated this proposed rule and determined that it would have no substantial, direct effects on federally recognized Indian tribes.

    Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995

    This proposed rule contains a collection of information that will be submitted to the OMB for review and approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). As part of our continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burdens, BSEE invites the public and other Federal agencies to comment on any aspect of the proposed reporting and recordkeeping burden. If you wish to comment on the information collection (IC) aspects of this proposed rule, you may send your comments directly to OMB and send a copy of your comments to BSEE's Regulations and Standards Branch (see the ADDRESSES section of this proposed rule). Please reference; 30 CFR part 250, subpart H, Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems Revisions, 1014-0003, in your comments. BSEE specifically requests comments concerning: the need for the information, its practical utility, the accuracy of the agency's burden estimate, and ways to minimize the burden. You may obtain a copy of the supporting statement for the collection of information by contacting the Bureau's Information Collection Clearance Officer at (703) 787-1607. To see a copy of the entire IC Review submitted to OMB, go to http://www.reginfo.gov (select Information Collection Review, Currently Under Review).

    The PRA provides that 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. OMB is required to make a decision concerning the collection of information contained in these proposed regulations 30 to 60 days after publication of this document in the Federal Register. Therefore, a comment to OMB is best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it by January 29, 2018. This does not affect the deadline for the public to comment to BSEE on the proposed regulations.

    The title of the collection of information for this rule is 30 CFR part 250, subpart H, Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems Revisions (Proposed Rulemaking). The proposed regulations concern oil and gas production requirements, and the information is used in our efforts to protect life and the environment, conserve natural resources, and prevent waste.

    Potential respondents comprise Federal OCS oil, gas, and Sulphur operators and lessees. The frequency of response varies depending upon the requirement. Responses to this collection of information are mandatory, or are required to obtain or retain a benefit; they are also submitted on occasion, annually, and as a result of situations encountered depending upon the requirement. The IC does not include questions of a sensitive nature. The BSEE will protect proprietary information according to the FOIA (5 U.S.C. 552) and its implementing regulations (43 CFR part 2), 30 CFR part 252, OCS Oil and Gas Information Program, and 30 CFR 250.197, Data and Information to be made available to the public or for limited inspection.

    Proposed changes to the information collection due to this rulemaking are as follows:

    • § 250.802(c)(1) is being eliminated and would cause a reduction in non-hour costs burdens by −$550,000.

    • § 250.842(c) is being eliminated and would cause a reduction in hour burden by −192 hours.

    • During the 1014-AA10 rulemaking (original Subpart H rewrite), BSEE inadvertently omitted costs for Professional Engineers required to stamp documents in § 250.842. This revision to the collection requests approval of an additional $23,470,000 non-hour costs (PE Costs). We are adding this category of costs in this rulemaking but note that this rulemaking reduces the amount of information a PE must stamp from the 2016 rule.

    Current subpart H regulations have 95,997 hours and $5,582,481 non-hour cost burdens (cost recovery fees) approved by OMB. Due to this rulemaking, the revisions to the collection would result in a total of 95,805 hours and $28,502,481 non-hour cost burdens.

    Once this rule becomes effective, the changes in hour burdens and non-hour cost burdens will be adjusted in the current OMB approved collection (1014-0003).

    National Environmental Policy Act of 1969

    BSEE has prepared a draft environmental assessment (EA) to determine whether this proposed rule would have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). If the final EA supports the issuance of a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the rule, the preparation of an environmental impact statement pursuant to the NEPA would not be required.

    The draft EA was placed in the file for BSEE's Administrative Record for the rule at the address specified in the ADDRESSES section. A copy of the draft EA can be viewed at the Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov (use the keyword/ID “BSEE-2017-0008”).

    Data Quality Act

    In developing this rule we did not conduct or use a study, experiment, or survey requiring peer review under the Data Quality Act (Pub. L. 106-554, app. C § 515, 114 Stat. 2763, 2763A-153-154).

    Effects on the Nation's Energy Supply (E.O. 13211)

    This proposed rule is not a significant energy action under the definition in E.O. 13211. A Statement of Energy Effects is not required.

    Clarity of This Regulation (E.O. 12866)

    We are required by E.O. 12866, E.O. 12988, and by the Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain language. This means that each rule we publish must:

    (a) Be logically organized;

    (b) Use the active voice to address readers directly;

    (c) Use clear language rather than jargon;

    (d) Be divided into short sections and sentences; and

    (e) Use lists and tables wherever possible.

    If you feel that we have not met these requirements, send us comments by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. To better help us revise the rule, your comments should be as specific as possible. For example, you should tell us the numbers of the sections or paragraphs that you find unclear, which sections or sentences are too long, the sections where you feel lists or tables would be useful, etc.

    Public Availability of Comments

    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.

    Severability

    If a court holds any provisions of a subsequent final rule or their applicability to any person or circumstances invalid, the remainder of the provisions and their applicability to other people or circumstances will not be affected.

    List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 250

    Administrative practice and procedure, Continental shelf, Environmental impact statements, Environmental protection, Government contracts, Incorporation by reference, Investigations, Oil and gas exploration, Penalties, Pipelines, Public lands—mineral resources, Public lands—rights-of-way, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulphur.

    Dated: December 7, 2017. Katharine S. MacGregor, Deputy Assistant Secretary—Land and Minerals Management, Exercising the authority of the Assistant Secretary—Land and Minerals Management U.S. Department of the Interior.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) proposes to amend 30 CFR part 250 as follows:

    PART 250—OIL AND GAS AND SULPHUR OPERATIONS IN THE OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF 1. The authority citation for part 250 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    30 U.S.C. 1751; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 33 U.S.C. 1321(j)(1)(C); 43 U.S.C. 1334.

    2. Amend § 250. 198 by revising paragraphs (g)(1),(2), and (3), (h)(1), (51), (52), (53), (55), (56), (58), (59), (60), (61), (62), (65), (68), (70), (71), (73), (74), and (96) to read as follows:
    § 250.198 Documents incorporated by reference.

    (g) * * *

    (1) ANSI/ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section I, Rules for Construction of Power Boilers; including Appendices, 2017 Edition; and July 2017 Addenda, and all Section I Interpretations Volume 55, incorporated by reference at §§ 250.851(a), and 250.1629(b).

    (2) ANSI/ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section IV, Rules for Construction of Heating Boilers; including Appendices 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and Non-mandatory Appendices B, C, D, E, F, H, I, K, L, and M, and the Guide to Manufacturers Data Report Forms, 2017 Edition; July 2017 Addenda, and all Section IV Interpretations Volume 55, incorporated by reference at §§ 250.851(a) and 250.1629(b).

    (3) ANSI/ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section VIII, Rules for Construction of Pressure Vessels; Divisions 1 and 2, 2017 Edition; July 2017 Addenda, Divisions 1, 2, and 3 and all Section VIII Interpretations Volumes 54 and 55, incorporated by reference at §§ 250.851(a) and 250.1629(b).

    (h) * * *

    (1) API 510, Pressure Vessel Inspection Code: In-Service Inspection, Rating, Repair, and Alteration, Downstream Segment, Tenth Edition, May 2014; Addendum 1, May 2017; incorporated by reference at §§ 250.851(a) and 250.1629(b);

    (51) API STD 2RD, Dynamic Risers for Floating Production Systems, Second Edition, September 2013; incorporated by reference at §§ 250.292, 250.733, 250.800(c), 250.901(a), (d), and 250.1002(b);

    (52) API RP 2SK, Recommended Practice for Design and Analysis of Stationkeeping Systems for Floating Structures, Third Edition, October 2005, Addendum, May 2008, Reaffirmed June 2015; incorporated by reference at §§ 250.800(c) and 250.901(a) and (d);

    (53) API RP 2SM, Recommended Practice for Design, Manufacture, Installation, and Maintenance of Synthetic Fiber Ropes for Offshore Mooring, Second Edition, July 2014; incorporated by reference at §§ 250.800(c) and 250.901;

    (55) ANSI/API RP 14B, Recommended Practice for Design, Installation, Repair and Operation of Subsurface Safety Valve Systems, Sixth Edition, September 2015; incorporated by reference at §§ 250.802(b), 250.803(a), 250.814(d), 250.828(c), and 250.880(c);

    (56) API RP 14C, Recommended Practice for Analysis, Design, Installation, and Testing of Safety Systems for Offshore Production Facilities, Eight Edition, February 2017; incorporated by reference at §§ 250.125(a), 250.292(j), 250.841(a), 250.842(a), 250.850, 250.852(a), 250.855, 250.856(a), 250.858(a), 250.862(e), 250.865(a), 250.867(a), 250.869(a) through (c), 250.872(a), 250.873(a), 250.874(a), 250.880(b) and (c), 250.1002(d), 250.1004(b), 250.1628(c) and (d), 250.1629(b), and 250.1630(a);

    (58) API RP 14F, Recommended Practice for Design, Installation, and Maintenance of Electrical Systems for Fixed and Floating Offshore Petroleum Facilities for Unclassified and Class 1, Division 1 and Division 2 Locations, Upstream Segment, Fifth Edition, July 2008, Reaffirmed: April 2013; incorporated by reference at §§ 250.114(c), 250.842(c), 250.862(e), and 250.1629(b);

    (59) API RP 14FZ, Recommended Practice for Design and Installation of Electrical Systems for Fixed and Floating Offshore Petroleum Facilities for Unclassified and Class I, Zone 0, Zone 1 and Zone 2 Locations, Second Edition, May 2013; incorporated by reference at §§ 250.114(c), 250.842(c), 250.862(e), and 250.1629(b);

    (60) API RP 14G, Recommended Practice for Fire Prevention and Control on Fixed Open-type Offshore Production Platforms, Fourth Edition, April 2008, reaffirmed January 2013; incorporated by reference at §§ 250.859(a), 250.862(e), 250.880(c), and 250.1629(b);

    (61) API STD 6AV2, Installation, Maintenance, and Repair of Surface Safety Valves and Underwater Safety Valves Offshore; First Edition, March 2014; Errata 1, August 2014; incorporated by reference at §§ 250.820, 250.834, 250.836, and 250.880(c);

    (62) API RP 14J, Recommended Practice for Design and Hazards Analysis for Offshore Production Facilities, Second Edition, May 2001; Reaffirmed: January 2013; incorporated by reference at §§ 250.800(b) and (c), 250.842(c), and 250.901(a);

    (65) API RP 500, Recommended Practice for Classification of Locations for Electrical Installations at Petroleum Facilities Classified as Class I, Division 1 and Division 2, Third Edition, December 2012; Errata January 2014, API Stock No. C50002; incorporated by reference at §§ 250.114(a), 250.459, 250.842(a), 250.862(a) and (e), 250.872(a), 250.1628(b) and (d), and 250.1629(b);

    (68) ANSI/API Specification Q1 (ANSI/API Spec. Q1), Specification for Quality Programs for the Petroleum, Petrochemical and Natural Gas Industry, Ninth Edition, June 1, 2014; Errata, February 2014; Errata 2, March 2014; Addendum 1, June 2016; incorporated by reference at §§ 250.730, 250.801(b) and (c);

    (70) ANSI/API Specification 6A (ANSI/API Spec. 6A), Specification for Wellhead and Christmas Tree Equipment, Twentieth Edition, October 2010; Addendum 1, November 2011; Errata 2, November 2011; Addendum 2, November 2012; Addendum 3, March 2013; Errata 3, June 2013; Errata 4, August 2013; Errata 5, November 2013; Errata 6, March 2014; Errata 7, December 2014; Errata 8, February 2016; Addendum 4: June 2016; Errata 9, June 2016; Errata 10, August 2016; incorporated by reference at §§ 250.730, 250.802(a), 250.803(a), 250.833, 250.873(b), 250.874(g), and 250.1002(b);

    (71) API Spec. 6AV1, Specification for Verification Test of Wellhead Surface Safety Valves and Underwater Safety Valves for Offshore Service, Second Edition, February 2013; incorporated by reference at §§ 250.802(a), 250.833, 250.873(b), and 250.874(g);

    (73) ANSI/API Spec. 14A, Specification for Subsurface Safety Valve Equipment, 12th Ed. January 2015; Errata, July 2015; Addendum, June 2017; incorporated by reference at §§ 250.802(b) and 250.803(a);

    (74) ANSI/API Spec. 17J, Specification for Unbonded Flexible Pipe, Fourth Edition, May 2014; Errata 1, September 2016; Errata 2, May 2017; incorporated by reference at §§ 250.852(e), 250.1002(b), and 250.1007(a).

    (96) API 570 Piping Inspection Code: In-service Inspection, Rating, Repair, and Alteration of Piping Systems, Fourth Edition, February 2016; Addendum 1: May 2017; incorporated by reference at § 250.841(b).

    3. Amend § 250.292 by revising paragraph (p)(3) to read as follows:
    § 250.292 What must the DWOP contain?

    (p) * * *

    (3) A description of how you met the design requirements, load cases, and allowable stresses for each load case according to API STD 2RD (as incorporated by reference in § 250.198);

    4. Amend § 250.800 revise paragraph (c)(2) to read as follows:
    § 250.800 General.

    (c) * * *

    (2) Meet the production riser standards of API STD 2RD (incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198), provided that you may not install single bore production risers from floating production facilities;

    5. Amend § 250.801 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 250.801 Safety and pollution prevention equipment (SPPE) certification.

    (a) SPPE equipment. You must install only safety and pollution prevention equipment (SPPE) considered certified under paragraph (b) of this section or accepted under paragraph (c) of this section. BSEE considers the following equipment to be types of SPPE:

    (1) Surface safety valves (SSV) and actuators, including those installed on injection wells capable of natural flow;

    (2) Boarding shutdown valves (BSDV) and their actuators. For subsea wells, the BSDV is the surface equivalent of an SSV on a surface well;

    (3) Underwater safety valves (USV) and actuators;

    (4) Subsurface safety valves (SSSV) and associated safety valve locks and landing nipples; and

    (5) Gas lift shutdown valves (GLSDV) and their actuators.

    6. Amend § 250.802 paragraphs (a), (c), and (d) to read as follows:
    § 250.802 Requirements for SPPE.

    (a) All SSVs, BSDVs, USVs, and GLSDVs and their actuators must meet all of the specifications contained in ANSI/API Spec. 6A and API Spec. 6AV1 (both incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198).

    (c) Requirements derived from the documents incorporated in this section for SSVs, BSDVs, USVs, USVs, GLSDVs, and their actuators, include, but are not limited to, the following:

    (1) All materials and parts must meet the original equipment manufacturer specifications and acceptance criteria.

    (2) The device must pass applicable validation tests and functional tests performed by an API-licensed test agency.

    (3) You must have requalification testing performed following manufacture design changes.

    (4) You must comply with and document all manufacturing, traceability, quality control, and inspection requirements.

    (5) You must follow specified installation, testing, and repair protocols.

    (6) You must use only qualified parts, procedures, and personnel to repair or redress equipment.

    (d) You must install and use SPPE according to the following table.

    If . . . Then . . . (1) You need to install any SPPE You must install SPPE that conforms to § 250.801. (2) A non-certified SPPE is already in service It may remain in service. (3) A non-certified SPPE requires offsite repair, re-manufacturing, or any hot work such as welding You must replace it with SPPE that conforms to § 250.801.
    7. Revise § 250.803 to read as follows:
    § 250.803 What SPPE failure reporting procedures must I follow?

    (a) You must follow the failure reporting requirements contained in section 10.20.7.4 of ANSI/API Spec. 6A SSVs, BSDVs, GLSDVs and USVs and section 7.10 of ANSI/API Spec. 14A and Annex F of API RP 14B for SSSVs (all incorporated by reference in § 250.198). Within 30 days after the discovery and identification of the failure, you must provide a written notice of equipment failure to the manufacturer of such equipment and to BSEE through the Chief, Office of Offshore Regulatory Programs, unless BSEE has designated a third party as provided in paragraph (d) of this section. A failure is any condition that prevents the equipment from meeting the functional specification or purpose.

    (b) You must ensure that an investigation and a failure analysis are performed within 120 days of the failure to determine the cause of the failure. If the investigation and analyses are performed by an entity other than the manufacturer, you must ensure that the analysis report is submitted to the manufacturer and to BSEE through the Chief, Office of Offshore Regulatory Programs, unless BSEE has designated a third party as provided in paragraph (d) of this section. You must also ensure that the results of the investigation and any corrective action are documented in the analysis report.

    (c) If the equipment manufacturer notifies you that it has changed the design of the equipment that failed or if you have changed operating or repair procedures as a result of a failure, then you must, within 30 days of such changes, report the design change or modified procedures in writing to BSEE through the Chief, Office of Offshore Regulatory Programs, unless BSEE has designated a third party as provided in paragraph (d) of this section.

    (d) BSEE may designate a third party to receive this data on behalf of BSEE. If BSEE designates a third party, you must submit the information required in this section to the designated third party, as directed by BSEE.

    8. Amend § 250.814 by revising paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 250.814 Design, installation, and operation of SSSVs—dry trees.

    (d) You must design, install, maintain, inspect, repair, and test all SSSVs in accordance with ANSI/API RP 14B (incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198). For additional SSSV testing requirements, refer to § 250.880.

    9. Revise § 250.820 to read as follows:
    § 250.820 Use of SSVs.

    You must install, maintain, inspect, repair, and test all SSVs in accordance with API STD 6AV2 (incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198). If any SSV does not operate properly, or if any gas and/or liquid fluid flow is observed during the leakage test as described in § 250.880, then you must shut-in all sources to the SSV and repair or replace the valve before resuming production.

    10. Amend § 250.821 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 250.821 Emergency action and safety system shutdown—dry trees.

    (a) If your facility is impacted or will potentially be impacted by an emergency situation (e.g., an impending National Weather Service-named tropical storm or hurricane, ice events in the Arctic, or post-earthquake), you must:

    (1) Properly install a subsurface safety device on any well that is not yet equipped with a subsurface safety device and that is capable of natural flow, as soon as possible, with due consideration being given to personnel safety.

    11. Amend § 250.828 by revising paragraph (c) to read as follows:
    § 250.828 Design, installation, and operation of SSSVs—subsea trees.

    (c) You must design, install, maintain, inspect, repair, and test all SSSVs in accordance with your Deepwater Operations Plan (DWOP) and ANSI/API RP 14B (incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198). For additional SSSV testing requirements, refer to § 250.880.

    12. Amend § 250.833, by revising the introductory text to read as follows:
    § 250.833 Specification for underwater safety valves (USVs).

    All USVs, including those designated as primary or secondary, and any alternate isolation valve (AIV) that acts as a USV, if applicable, and their actuators, must conform to the requirements specified in §§ 250.801 through 250.803. A production master or wing valve may qualify as a USV under ANSI/API Spec. 6A and API Spec. 6AV1 (both incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198).

    13. Revise § 250.834 to read as follows:
    § 250.834 Use of USVs.

    You must install, maintain, inspect, repair, and test any valve designated as the primary USV in accordance with this subpart, your DWOP (as specified in §§ 250.286 through 250.295), and API STD 6AV2 (incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198). For additional USV testing requirements, refer to § 250.880.

    14. Revise § 250.836 to read as follows:
    § 250.836 Use of BSDVs.

    You must install, inspect, maintain, repair, and test all new BSDVs and BSDVs that you remove from service for remanufacturing or repair in accordance with API STD 6AV2 (incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198) for SSVs. If any BSDV does not operate properly or if any gas fluid and/or liquid fluid flow is observed during the leakage test, as described in § 250.880, you must shut-in all sources to the BSDV and immediately repair or replace the valve.

    15. Amend § 250.837 by revising paragraphs (a), (b), and (c)(5) to read as follows:
    § 250.837 Emergency action and safety system shutdown—subsea trees.

    (a) If your facility is impacted or will potentially be impacted by an emergency situation (e.g., an impending National Weather Service-named tropical storm or hurricane, ice events in the Arctic, or post-earthquake), you must shut-in all subsea wells unless otherwise approved by the District Manager. A shut-in is defined as a closed BSDV, USV, GLSDV, and surface-controlled SSSV.

    (b) When operating a vessel (e.g., mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) or other type of workover or intervention vessel) in an area with subsea infrastructure, you must:

    (1) Suspend production from all such wells that could be affected by a dropped object, including upstream wells that flow through the same pipeline; or

    (2) Establish direct, real-time communications between the vessel and the production facility control room and develop a dropped objects plan, as required in § 250.714. If an object is dropped, you must immediately secure the well directly under the vessel while simultaneously communicating with the platform to shut-in all affected wells. You must also maintain without disruption, and continuously verify, communication between the production facility and the vessel. If communication is lost between the vessel and the platform for 20 minutes or more, you must shut-in all wells that could be affected by a dropped object.

    (c) * * *

    (5) Subsea ESD (vessel). In the event of an ESD activation that is initiated by a dropped object from a vessel, you must secure all wells in the proximity of the vessel by closing the USVs and surface-controlled SSSVs in accordance with the applicable tables in §§ 250.838 and 250.839. You must notify the appropriate District Manager before resuming production.

    16. Amend § 250.841, by adding paragraph (c) to read as follows:
    § 250.841 Platforms.

    (c) If you plan to make a major modification to any facility you must follow the requirements in § 250.900(b)(2). A major modification is defined in § 250.900(b)(2).

    17. Amend § 250. 842 by: a. Revising paragraph (a); b. Removing paragraph (c); c. Redesignating paragraph (b) as paragraph (c); d. Adding a new paragraph (b); e. Revising paragraph (d); f. Removing paragraph (e); and g. Redesignating existing paragraph (f) as (e) to read as follows:
    § 250.842 Approval of safety systems design and installation features.

    (a) Before you install or modify a production safety system, you must submit a production safety system application to the District Manager. The District Manager must approve your production safety system application before you commence production through or utilize the new or modified system. The application must include the information prescribed in the following table:

    You must submit: Details and/or additional requirements: (1) Safety analysis flow diagram (API RP 14C, Annex B) and Safety Analysis Function Evaluation (SAFE) chart (API RP 14C, section 6.3.3) (incorporated by reference in 2500.198) Your safety analysis flow diagram must show the following:
  • (i) Well shut-in tubing pressure;
  • (ii) Piping specification breaks, piping sizes;
  • (iii) Pressure relieving device set points; (iv) Size, capacity, and design working pressures of separators, flare scrubbers, heat exchangers, treaters, storage tanks, compressors and metering devices; (v) Size, capacity, design working pressures, and maximum discharge pressure of hydrocarbon-handling pumps; (vi) Size, capacity, and design working pressures of hydrocarbon-handling vessels, and chemical injection systems handling a material having a flash point below 100 degrees Fahrenheit for a Class I flammable liquid as described in API RP 500 and API RP 505 (both incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198); and (vii) Size and maximum allowable working pressures as determined in accordance with API RP 14E (incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198). (2) Electrical one-line diagram Showing elements, including generators, circuit breakers, transformers, bus bars, conductors, battery banks, automatic transfer switches, uninterruptable power supply (UPS), dynamic (motor) loads, and static (e.g., electrostatic treater grid, lighting panels, etc.) loads. You must also include a functional legend. (3) Area classification diagram A plan for each platform deck and outlining all classified areas. You must classify areas according to API RP 500 or API RP 505 (both incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198). The plan must contain: (i) All major production equipment, wells, and other significant hydrocarbon and class 1 flammable sources, and a description of the type of decking, ceiling, walls (e.g., grating or solid), and firewalls; and (ii) The location of generators, control rooms, motor control center (MCC) buildings, and any other building or major structure on the platform. (4) A schematic piping and instrumentation diagram, for new facilities A detailed diagram which shows the piping and vessels in the process flow, together with the instrumentation and control devices. (5) The service fee listed in § 250.125 The fee you must pay will be determined by the number of components involved in the review and approval process.

    (b) You must develop and maintain the following diagrams and make them available to BSEE upon request:

    Diagram: Details and/or additional requirements: (1) Additional electrical system information, (i) Cable tray/conduit routing plan which identifies the primary wiring method (e.g., type cable, conduit, wire); (ii) Cable schedule; and (iii) Panel board/junction box location plan. (2) Schematics of the fire and gas-detection systems Showing a functional block diagram of the detection system, including the electrical power supply and also including the type, location, and number of detection sensors; the type and kind of alarms, including emergency equipment to be activated; the method used for detection; and the method and frequency of calibration. (3) Revised P&ID for existing facilities A detailed diagram which shows the piping and vessels in the process flow, together with the instrumentation and control devices.

    (c) In the production safety system application, you must also certify the following:

    (1) That all electrical installations were designed according to API RP 14F or API RP 14FZ, as applicable (incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198);

    (2) That the designs for the mechanical and electrical systems that you are required to submit under paragraph (a) of this section were reviewed, approved, and stamped by an appropriate registered professional engineer(s). For modified systems, only the modifications are required to be approved and stamped by an appropriate registered professional engineer(s). The registered professional engineer must be registered in a State or Territory of the United States and have sufficient expertise and experience to perform the duties; and

    (3) That a hazards analysis was performed in accordance with § 250.1911 and API RP 14J (incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198), and that you have a hazards analysis program in place to assess potential hazards during the operation of the facility.

    (d) Within 60 days after production commences, you must submit to the District Manager the as-built diagrams for the new or modified production safety systems outlined in paragraphs (a)(1), (2), and (3) of this section, the diagrams must be reviewed, approved, and stamped by an appropriate registered professional engineer(s). The registered professional engineer must be registered in a State or Territory in the United States and have sufficient expertise and experience to perform the duties.

    18. Amend § 250.851 by revising paragraph (a)(2) to read as follows:
    § 250.851 Pressure vessels (including heat exchangers) and fired vessels.

    (a) * * *

    Item name Applicable codes and requirements *         *         *         *         *         *         * (2) Existing uncoded pressure and fired vessels; (i) with an operating pressure greater than 15 psig; and (ii) that are not code stamped in accordance with the ANSI/ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Must be justified and approval obtained from the District Manager for their continued use. *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    19. Amend § 250.852 by revising paragraphs (e)(1) and (e)(4) to read as follows:
    § 250.852 Flowlines/Headers.

    (e) * * *

    (1) Review the manufacturer's Design Methodology Verification Report and the independent verification agent's (IVA's) certificate for the design methodology contained in that report to ensure that the manufacturer has complied with the requirements of ANSI/API Spec. 17J (incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198);

    * * *

    (4) Submit to the District Manager a statement certifying that the pipe is suitable for its intended use and that the manufacturer has complied with the IVA requirements of ANSI/API Spec. 17J (incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198).

    20. Amend § 250.853 by adding paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 250.853 Safety sensors.

    (d) All level sensors are equipped to permit testing through an external bridle on all new vessel installations where possible, depending on the type of vessel for which the level sensor is used.

    21. Amend § 250.867 by revising paragraph (a) and adding paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 250.867 Temporary quarters and temporary equipment.

    (a) You must equip temporary quarters with all safety devices required by API RP 14C, Annex G (incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198). The District Manager must approve the safety system/safety devices associated with the temporary quarters prior to installation.

    (d) The District Manager must approve temporary generators that would require a change to the electrical one-line diagram in § 250.842(a).

    22. Amend § 250.870 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 250.870 Time delays on pressure safety low (PSL) sensors.

    (a) You may apply industry standard Class B, Class C, or Class B/C logic to applicable PSL sensors installed on process equipment. If the device may be bypassed for greater than 45 seconds, you must monitor the bypassed devices in accordance with § 250.869(a). You must document on your field test records any use of a PSL sensor with a time delay greater than 45 seconds. For purposes of this section, PSL sensors are categorized as follows:

    23. Revise § 250.872 to read as follows:
    § 250.872 Atmospheric vessels.

    (a) You must equip atmospheric vessels used to process and/or store liquid hydrocarbons or other Class I liquids as described in API RP 500 or 505 (both incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198) with protective equipment identified in API RP 14C, section A.6 (incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198). Transport tanks approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, that are sealed and not connected via interconnected piping to the production process train and that are used only for storage of refined liquid hydrocarbons or Class I liquids, are not required to be equipped with the protective equipment identified in API RP 14C, section A.5. The atmospheric vessels connected to the process system that contains a Class I liquid and the associated pumps must be reflected on the corresponding drawings.

    (b) You must ensure that all atmospheric vessels are designed and maintained to ensure the proper working conditions for LSH sensors. The LSH must be designed in such a way to prevent pollution as required by § 250.300(b)(3) and (4). The LSH sensor bridle must be designed to prevent different density fluids from impacting sensor functionality. For newly installed atmospheric vessels that have oil buckets, the LSH sensor must be installed to sense the level in the oil bucket.

    24. Amend § 250.873 by revising paragraph (b)(3) to read as follows:
    § 250.873 Subsea gas lift requirements.

    (b) * * *

    If your subsea gas lift system
  • introduces the
  • lift gas to the . . .
  • Then you must install a ANSI/API Spec 6A and API Spec 6AV1 (both incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198) gas-lift shutdown valve (GLSDV), and . . . FSV on the gas-lift supply pipeline . . . PSHL on the gas-lift supply . . . ANSI/API Spec 6A and API Spec 6AV1 manual isolation valve . . . In addition, you must
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * (3) Pipeline risers via a gas-lift line contained within the pipeline riser Meet all of the requirements for the GLSDV described in §§ 250.835(a), (b), and (d) and 250.836 on the gas-lift supply pipeline. Attach the GLSDV by flanged connection directly to the ANSI/API Spec. 6A component used to suspend and seal the gas-lift line contained within the production riser. To facilitate the repair or replacement of the GLSDV or production riser BSDV, you may install a manual isolation valve between the GLSDV and the ANSI/API Spec. 6A component used to suspend and seal the gas-lift line contained within the production riser, or outboard of the production riser BSDV and inboard of the ANSI/API Spec. 6A component used to suspend and seal the gas-lift line contained within the production riser upstream (in-board) of the GLSDV flowline upstream (in-board) of the FSV downstream (out board) of the GLSDV (i) Ensure that the gas-lift supply flowline from the gas-lift compressor to the GLSDV is pressure-rated for the MAOP of the pipeline riser.
  • (ii) Ensure that any surface equipment associated with the gas-lift system is rated for the MAOP of the pipeline riser.
  • (iii) Ensure that the gas-lift compressor discharge pressure never exceeds the MAOP of the pipeline riser.
  • (iv) Suspend and seal the gas-lift flowline contained within the production riser in a flanged ANSI/API Spec. 6A component such as an ANSI/API Spec. 6A tubing head and tubing hanger or a component designed, constructed, tested, and installed to the requirements of ANSI/API Spec. 6A.
  • (v) Ensure that all potential leak paths upstream or near the production riser BSDV on the platform provide the same level of safety and environmental protection as the production riser BSDV.
  • (vi) Ensure that this complete assembly is fire-rated for 30 minutes.
  • 25. Amend § 250.874 by revising paragraph (g)(2) to read as follows:
    § 250.874 Subsea water injection systems.

    (g) * * *

    (2) If a designated USV on a water injection well fails the applicable test under § 250.880(c)(4)(ii), you must notify the appropriate District Manager and request approval to designate another ANSI/API Spec 6A and API Spec. 6AV1 (both incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198) certified subsea valve as your USV.

    26. Revise § 250.876 to read as follows:
    § 250.876 Fired and exhaust heated components.

    No later than September 7, 2018, and at least once every 5 years thereafter, you must have a qualified third-party inspect, and then you must repair or replace, as needed, the fire tube for tube-type heaters that are equipped with either automatically controlled natural or forced draft burners installed in either atmospheric or pressure vessels that heat hydrocarbons and/or glycol. If inspection indicates tube-type heater deficiencies, you must complete and document repairs or replacements. You must document the inspection results, retain such documentation for at least 5 years, and make the documentation available to BSEE upon request.

    27. Amend § 250.880 by revising paragraphs (a) introductory text, (a)(1) (c)(1)(i), (c)(2)(iv), (c)(4)(i) and (iii) to read as follows:
    § 250.880 Production safety system testing.

    (a) Notification. You must:

    (1) Notify the District Manager at least 72 hours before you commence initial production on a facility, so that BSEE may conduct a preproduction inspection of the integrated safety system.

    (c) * * *

    (1) * * *

    Item name Testing frequency, allowable leakage rates, and other requirements (i) Surface-controlled SSSVs (including devices installed in shut-in and injection wells Semi-annually, not to exceed 6 calendar months between tests. Also test in place when first installed or reinstalled. If the device does not operate properly, or if a liquid leakage rate >400 cubic centimeters per minute or a gas leakage rate >15 standard cubic feet per minute is observed, the device must be removed, repaired, and reinstalled or replaced. Testing must be according to ANSI/API RP 14B (incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198) to ensure proper operation. *         *         *         *         *         *         *

    (2) * * *

    Item name Testing frequency and requirements *         *         *         *         *         *         * (iv) SSVs Once each calendar month, not to exceed 6 weeks between tests. Valves must be tested for both operation and leakage. You must test according to API STD 6AV2 (incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198). If an SSV does not operate properly or if any gas and/or liquid fluid flow is observed during the leakage test, the valve must be immediately repaired or replaced. *         *         *         *         *         *         *

    (4) * * *

    Item name Testing frequency, allowable leakage rates, and other requirements (i) Surface-controlled SSSVs (including devices installed in shut-in and injection wells) Tested semiannually, not to exceed 6 months between tests. If the device does not operate properly, or if a liquid leakage rate >400 cubic centimeters per minute or a gas leakage rate >15 standard cubic feet per minute is observed, the device must be removed, repaired, and reinstalled or replaced. Testing must be according to ANSI/API RP 14B (incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198) to ensure proper operation, or as approved in your DWOP. *         *         *         *         *         *         * (iii) BSDVs Tested at least once each calendar month, not to exceed 6 weeks between tests. Valves must be tested for both operation and leakage. You must test according to API STD 6AV2 for SSVs (incorporated by reference as specified in § 250.198). If a BSDV does not operate properly or if any fluid flow is observed during the leakage test, the valve must be immediately repaired or replaced. *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    28. Amend § 250.901 by revising paragraph (a)(10) and (d)(19) to read as follows:
    § 250.901 What industry standards must your platform meet?

    (a) * * *

    (10) API STD 2RD, Design of Risers for Floating Production Systems (FPSs) and Tension-Leg Platforms (TLPs), (as incorporated by reference in § 250.198);

    (d) * * *

    (19) API STD 2RD, Design of Risers for Floating Production Systems (FPSs) and Tension-Leg Platforms (TLPs);

    29. Amend § 250.1002 by revising paragraphs (b)(1), (2), (4) and (5) to read as follows:
    § 250.1002 Design requirements for DOI pipelines.

    (b)(1) Pipeline valves shall meet the minimum design requirements of ANSI/API Spec 6A (as incorporated by reference in § 250.198), API Spec 6D (as incorporated by reference in § 250.198), or the equivalent. A valve may not be used under operating conditions that exceed the applicable pressure-temperature ratings contained in those standards.

    (2) Pipeline flanges and flange accessories shall meet the minimum design requirements of ANSI B16.5, ANSI/API Spec 6A, or the equivalent (as incorporated by reference in 30 CFR 250.198). Each flange assembly must be able to withstand the maximum pressure at which the pipeline is to be operated and to maintain its physical and chemical properties at any temperature to which it is anticipated that it might be subjected in service.

    (4) If you are installing pipelines constructed of unbonded flexible pipe, you must design them according to the standards and procedures of ANSI/API Spec 17J, as incorporated by reference in 30 CFR 250.198.

    (5) You must design pipeline risers for tension leg platforms and other floating platforms according to the design standards of API STD 2RD, Design of Risers for Floating Production Systems (FPSs) and Tension Leg Platforms (TLPs) (as incorporated by reference in § 250.198).

    30. Amend § 250.1007 by revising paragraph (a)(4)(i)(D) to read as follows:
    § 250.1007 What to include in applications.

    (a) * * *

    (4) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (D) A review by a third-party independent verification agent (IVA) according to ANSI/API Spec 17J (as incorporated by reference in § 250.198), if applicable.

    [FR Doc. 2017-27309 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-VH-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 73 [DA 17-1099; MB Docket No. 16-320; RM-11774] Radio Broadcasting Services; Gaylord, Michigan AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; dismissal.

    SUMMARY:

    The Audio Division dismisses the petition for rulemaking filed by N Content Marketing, LLC (Petitioner), proposing to amend the FM Table of Allotments, by allotting Channel 246C2 at Gaylord, Michigan. Petitioner did not file comments expressing a continuing interest in the proposed Gaylord allotment. It is the Commission's policy to refrain from making an allotment to a community absent an expression of interest. Roy E. Henderson and Great Northern Broadcasting, Inc., jointly (Joint Counterpropsal), as well as Smile FM, separately, submitted counterproposals. The Joint Counterproposal is dismissed and Smile FM is given the opportunity to file its counterproposal as a petition for rulemaking within 60 days for consideration in a new proceeding. We will not allot Channel 246C2 at Gaylord, Michigan.

    DATES:

    This document was released on November 9, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Adrienne Y. Denysyk, Media Bureau, (202) 418-2700.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a synopsis of the Commission's Report and Order, MB Docket No. 16-320, adopted November 9, 2017, and released November 9, 2017. The full text of this Commission decision is available for inspection and copying during normal business hours in the FCC's Reference Information Center at Portals II, CY-A257, 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554. The full text is also available online at http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/. This document does not contain information collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. This document is not subject to the Congressional Review Act. (The Commission is not required to submit a copy of this Report and Order to Government Accountability Office, pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A) since the proposed petition for rule making is dismissed).

    Federal Communications Commission. Nazifa Sawez, Assistant Chief, Audio Division, Media Bureau.
    [FR Doc. 2017-27115 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17 [4500090022] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Findings on Petitions To List a Species and Remove a Species From the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of 12-month petition findings.

    SUMMARY:

    We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce 12-month findings on petitions to list a species as an endangered or threatened species and remove a species from the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants (List or Lists) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). After a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we find that it is not warranted at this time to add the beaverpond marstonia to the Lists or remove the southwestern willow flycatcher from the List. However, we ask the public to submit to us at any time any new information that becomes available relevant to the status of either of the species listed above or their habitats.

    DATES:

    The findings in this document were made on December 29, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Detailed descriptions of the basis for each of these findings are available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov under the following docket numbers:

    Species Docket number Beaverpond marstonia FWS-R4-ES-2017-0090 Southwestern willow flycatcher FWS-R2-ES-2016-0039

    Supporting information used to prepare these findings is available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours, by contacting the appropriate person, as specified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Please submit any new information, materials, comments, or questions concerning these findings to the appropriate person, as specified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Species Contact information Beaverpond marstonia Don Imm, Field Supervisor, Georgia Ecological Services Field Office, 706-613-9493, ext. 230. Southwestern willow flycatcher Steve Spangle, Field Supervisor, Arizona Ecological Services Field Office, 602-242-0210.

    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), please call the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    We are required to make a finding whether or not the petitioned action is warranted within 12 months after receiving any petition we determined contained substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted (section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) (“12-month finding”). We must make a finding that the petitioned action is: (1) Not warranted; (2) warranted; or (3) warranted but precluded. “Warranted but precluded” means that (a) the petitioned action is warranted, but the immediate proposal of a regulation implementing the petitioned action is precluded by other pending proposals to determine whether species are endangered or threatened species, and (b) expeditious progress is being made to add qualified species to the Lists and to remove from the Lists species for which the protections of the Act are no longer necessary. Section 4(b)(3)(C) of the Act requires that we treat a petition for which the requested action is found to be warranted but precluded as though resubmitted on the date of such finding, that is, requiring that a subsequent finding be made within 12 months of that date. We must publish these 12-month findings in the Federal Register.

    Summary of Information Pertaining to the Five Factors

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and the implementing regulations at part 424 of title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (50 CFR part 424) set forth procedures for adding species to, removing species from, or reclassifying species on the Lists. The Act defines “endangered species” as any species that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range (16 U.S.C. 1532(6)), and “threatened species” as any species that is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range (16 U.S.C. 1532(20)). Under section 4(a)(1) of the Act, a species may be determined to be an endangered species or a threatened species because of any of the following five factors:

    (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range;

    (B) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;

    (C) Disease or predation;

    (D) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or

    (E) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.

    In considering whether a species may meet the definition of a threatened species or an endangered species because of any of the five factors, we must look beyond the mere exposure of the species to the stressor to determine whether the species responds to the stressor in a way that causes actual impacts to the species. If there is exposure to a stressor, but no response, or only a positive response, that stressor does not cause a species to meet the definition of a threatened species or an endangered species. If there is exposure and the species responds negatively, we determine whether that stressor drives or contributes to the risk of extinction of the species such that the species warrants listing as an endangered or threatened species. The mere identification of stressors that could affect a species negatively is not sufficient to compel a finding that listing is or remains warranted. For a species to be listed or remain listed, we require evidence that these stressors are operative threats to the species and its habitat, either singly or in combination, to the point that the species meets the definition of an endangered or a threatened species under the Act.

    In conducting our evaluation of the five factors provided in section 4(a)(1) of the Act to determine whether the beaverpond marstonia and southwestern willow flycatcher meet the definition of “endangered species” or “threatened species,” we considered and thoroughly evaluated the best scientific and commercial information available regarding the past, present, and future stressors and threats. We reviewed the petitions, information available in our files, and other available published and unpublished information. These evaluations may include information from recognized experts; Federal, State, and tribal governments; academic institutions; foreign governments; private entities; and other members of the public.

    The species assessment form for the beaverpond marstonia and the 12-month finding assessment for the southwestern willow flycatcher contain more detailed biological information, a thorough analysis of the listing factors, and an explanation of why we determined that these species do not meet the definition of an endangered species or threatened species. This supporting information can be found on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov under the appropriate docket number (see ADDRESSES, above). The following are informational summaries for each of the findings in this notice.

    Beaverpond marstonia (Marstonia castor) Previous Federal Actions

    On April 20, 2010, we received a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity, Alabama Rivers Alliance, Clinch Coalition, Dogwood Alliance, Gulf Restoration Network, Tennessee Forests Council, and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, requesting that the beaverpond marstonia be listed as an endangered or threatened species under the Act. On September 27, 2011, we published a 90-day finding in the Federal Register (76 FR 59836) concluding that the petition presented substantial information indicating that listing the beaverpond marstonia may be warranted. Subsequently, we entered into a stipulated settlement agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity that required us to submit a 12-month finding to the Federal Register by December 31, 2017. This notice constitutes the 12-month finding on the April 20, 2010, petition to list the beaverpond marstonia under the Act.

    Summary of Finding

    The beaverpond marstonia is a freshwater snail in the Hydrobiidae family. The tan-colored shell of the beaverpond marstonia is less than 4 millimeters (mm) (0.2 inches (in)) in length. The species has been found at only three creeks in Georgia, and, like other members of its family, it has limited dispersal capabilities and a narrow distribution in a local drainage system.

    Little is known about the biology and ecology of the beaverpond marstonia, but in the creeks where it was located, it was found primarily by clumps of vegetation in shallow, clear water with a slight current. In this fragile habitat, the beaverpond marstonia relies on fine particulate organic matter and aquatic microorganisms as its primary food sources.

    The beaverpond marstonia was last observed in 2000. Repeated surveys for the species, starting in 2014 through March of 2017, in the locations where it was previously found and in surrounding areas with similar habitat have yielded no specimens. Based on both the results of repeated species surveys by qualified species experts at all three historical locations and suitable habitat in surrounding areas, the best available science indicates there are no extant populations of beaverpond marstonia.

    Therefore, we believe the beaverpond marstonia to be extinct. As a result, the beaverpond marstonia does not fall within the statutory definition of either a threatened species or an endangered species and, accordingly, does not warrant listing under the Act. A detailed discussion of the basis for this finding can be found in the beaverpond marstonia species assessment form and other supporting documents (see ADDRESSES, above).

    Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) Previous Federal Actions

    The southwestern willow flycatcher was listed as an endangered species under the Act on February 27, 1995 (60 FR 10694). On August 20, 2015, we received a petition from The Pacific Legal Foundation (representing The Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy, and Reliability, Building Industry Legal Defense Fund, California Building Industry Association, California Cattlemen's Association, New Mexico Business Coalition, New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau, and New Mexico Wool Growers Inc.), requesting that the southwestern willow flycatcher be removed from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife under the Act. On March 16, 2016, we published a 90-day finding in the Federal Register (81 FR 14058) concluding that the petition presented substantial information indicating that removing the southwestern willow flycatcher may be warranted based on information related to the taxonomic status. This notice constitutes the 12-month finding on the August 19, 2015, petition to remove the southwestern willow flycatcher from the List.

    Summary of Finding

    The southwestern willow flycatcher is a small, neotropical migrant bird that grows to about 15 centimeters (cm) (6 in) in length. During its breeding season from about May to September, this subspecies of willow flycatcher is found in the southwestern United States in parts of California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

    The southwestern willow flycatcher breeds in areas from near sea level to over 2,600 meters (m) (8,500 feet (ft)) in vegetation alongside rivers, streams, or other wetlands. It establishes nesting territories, builds nests, and forages in mosaics of relatively dense and expansive growths of trees and shrubs, near or adjacent to surface water or underlain by saturated soil. The subspecies eats a wide range of terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates including flying and ground- and vegetation-dwelling insects.

    We evaluated the subspecies classification and all relevant stressors under the five factors, including any regulatory mechanisms and conservation measures addressing these stressors. In our evaluation of the subspecies classification, we considered information provided in the petition suggesting that the southwestern willow flycatcher is not a valid subspecies, reports and literature (including more recent quantitative data), the professional opinion of a broad group of ornithological organizations, and additional analyses of recent flycatcher studies evaluating diagnostic subspecies characteristics. We found that the southwestern willow flycatcher is a valid subspecies and that the following threats are acting on the subspecies such that it continues to meet the definition of an endangered species under the Act: habitat loss and modification caused by dams and reservoirs, diversion and groundwater pumping, invasive plants and beetles, river management, urbanization, agricultural development, livestock grazing and management, fire and fire management, cowbird parasitism, and recreation (Factor A); other natural or manmade factors including drought and the effects of climate change, vulnerability of small or isolated populations, and genetic effects (Factor E); and cumulative effects of these threats. The existing regulatory mechanisms are not adequate to ameliorate these threats (Factor D). Therefore, we find that removing the southwestern willow flycatcher from the List is not warranted. A detailed discussion of the basis for this finding can be found in the southwestern willow flycatcher 12-month finding assessment and other supporting documents (see ADDRESSES, above).

    New Information

    We request that you submit any new information concerning the taxonomy, biology, ecology, status of, or stressors to, the southwestern willow flycatcher. We further request that you contact us as soon as possible if new information becomes available suggesting specimens of beaverpond marstonia have been located. Please contact the appropriate person, as specified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, whenever it becomes available. New information will help us monitor the species and make appropriate decisions about their conservation and status. We encourage local agencies and stakeholders to continue cooperative monitoring and conservation efforts.

    References Cited

    Lists of the references cited in the petition findings are available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov in the dockets listed above in ADDRESSES and upon request from the appropriate person, as specified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    Authors

    The primary authors of this document are the staff members of the Species Assessment Team, Ecological Services Program.

    Authority

    The authority for this action is section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: December 3, 2017. James W. Kurth, Deputy Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Exercising the Authority of the Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28163 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333-15-P
    82 249 Friday, December 29, 2017 Notices ADMINISTRATIVE CONFERENCE OF THE UNITED STATES Adoption of Recommendations AGENCY:

    Administrative Conference of the United States.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Administrative Conference of the United States adopted five recommendations at its Sixty-Eighth Plenary Session. The appended recommendations address Plain Language in Regulatory Drafting; Marketable Permits; Agency Guidance Through Policy Statements; Learning from Regulatory Experience; and Regulatory Waivers and Exemptions.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For Recommendations 2017-3 and Recommendation 2017-7, Frank Massaro; for Recommendations 2017-4 and 2017-5, Gisselle Bourns; and for Recommendation 2017-6, Todd Rubin. For each of these actions the address and telephone number are: Administrative Conference of the United States, Suite 706 South, 1120 20th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036; Telephone 202-480-2080.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Administrative Conference Act, 5 U.S.C. 591-596, established the Administrative Conference of the United States. The Conference studies the efficiency, adequacy, and fairness of the administrative procedures used by Federal agencies and makes recommendations to agencies, the President, Congress, and the Judicial Conference of the United States for procedural improvements (5 U.S.C. 594(1)). For further information about the Conference and its activities, see www.acus.gov. At its Sixty-Eighth Plenary Session, held December 14-15, 2017, the Assembly of the Conference adopted five recommendations.

    Recommendation 2017-3, Plain Language in Regulatory Drafting. This recommendation identifies tools and techniques agencies have used successfully to write regulatory documents (including rulemaking preambles and guidance documents) using plain language, proposes best practices for agencies in structuring their internal drafting processes, and suggests ways agencies can best use trainings and other informational resources.

    Recommendation 2017-4, Marketable Permits. This recommendation provides best practices for structuring, administering, and overseeing marketable permitting programs for any agency that has decided to implement such a program.

    Recommendation 2017-5, Agency Guidance Through Policy Statements. This recommendation, formerly titled Agency Guidance, provides best practices to agencies on the formulation and use of policy statements. It lists steps that agencies can take to remain flexible in their use of policy statements and to encourage, when appropriate, public participation in the adoption or modification of policy statements.

    Recommendation 2017-6, Learning from Regulatory Experience. This recommendation, formerly titled Regulatory Experimentation, offers advice to agencies on learning from different regulatory approaches. It encourages agencies to collect data, conduct analysis at all stages of the rulemaking lifecycle (from pre-rule analysis to retrospective review), and solicit public input at appropriate points in the process.

    Recommendation 2017-7, Regulatory Waivers and Exemptions. This recommendation provides best practices to agencies in structuring their waiver and exemption procedures for regulatory requirements. It encourages transparency and public input by asking agencies to consider establishing standards and procedures for approval of waivers and exemptions and to seek public comments in developing standards and procedures and in approving individual waivers and exemptions.

    The Appendix below sets forth the full texts of these five recommendations, as well as a timely filed Separate Statement associated with Recommendation 2017-5, Agency Guidance Through Policy Statements. The Conference will transmit the recommendations to affected agencies, Congress, and the Judicial Conference of the United States, as appropriate. The recommendations are not binding, so the entities to which they are addressed will make decisions on their implementation.

    The Conference based these recommendations on research reports that are posted at: https://www.acus.gov/68thPlenary.

    Dated: December 22, 2017. Shawne C. McGibbon, General Counsel. APPENDIX—RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE CONFERENCE OF THE UNITED STATES Administrative Conference Recommendation 2017-3 Plain Language in Regulatory Drafting Adopted December 14, 2017

    For decades, agencies have worked to make regulatory requirements more comprehensible to regulatory stakeholders and the public at large, including by using “plain language” or “plain writing.” 1 Clearly drafting and explaining regulations facilitates the core administrative law goals of public participation, efficient compliance, judicial review, and the protection of rights. Numerous statutory and executive requirements direct agencies to draft rules and guidance plainly.

    1 These terms carry the same meaning and are used interchangeably here.

    Plain Language Legal Requirements

    The Plain Writing Act of 2010 (PWA) 2 and Executive Order 13,563 3 require agencies to use plain language in various public-facing documents.4 Plain writing, as defined by the PWA, is “writing that is clear, concise, well-organized, and follows other best practices appropriate to the subject or field and intended audience.” 5 The Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN) 6 further explains that “[w]ritten material is in plain language if your audience can find what they need, understand what they find, and use what they find to meet their needs.” 7 As such, writing in plain language does not mean abandoning complexity or nuance, nor does it mean omitting technical terms.8 For the purposes of this recommendation, writing that is “plain” conveys the intended meaning in a way that the intended audience can easily understand.

    2 Public Law 111-274, 124 Stat. 2861 (2010) (codified at 5 U.S.C. 301 note).

    3 Exec. Order No. 13,563, 76 FR 3821 (Jan. 18, 2011).

    4 Executive guidance issued prior to the PWA's enactment also directs agencies to use plain language. Executive Order 12,866 provides that “[e]ach agency shall draft its regulations to be simple and easy to understand.” Exec. Order No. 12,866 § 2(b), 58 FR 51,735, 51,737 (Oct. 4, 1993). President Clinton's 1998 Plain Language Memorandum further requires agencies to “use plain language in all new documents, other than regulations, that explain how to obtain a benefit or service, or how to comply with a requirement [the agency] administer[s] or enforce[s],” as well as “all proposed and final rulemaking documents published in the Federal Register.” Memorandum on Plain Language in Government Writing, 63 FR 31,885 (June 10, 1998).

    5 5 U.S.C. 301 note sec. 3(3).

    6 PLAIN grew out of early, informal agency efforts to share plain writing tools and techniques, and has served as a hub for such resources since its establishment during the Clinton Administration. About Us, Plain Language Action & Information Network, https://plainlanguage.gov/about/.

    7What is Plain Language?, Plain Language Action & Information Network, https://plainlanguage.gov/about/definitions/.

    8 For guidance on writing plainly without compromising nuance or avoiding important technical terms, consult the Federal Plain Language Guidelines, a resource compiled by PLAIN, which both the PWA and executive guidance direct agencies to use. Plain Language Action & Information Network, Federal Plain Language Guidelines (Rev. ed. May 2011), http://www.plainlanguage.gov/guidelines/.

    The PWA requires agencies to use plain language in all “covered documents,” which are: Documents necessary “for obtaining any Federal Government benefit or service or filing taxes;” documents that “provide information about any Federal Government benefit or service,” such as pamphlets; and documents that provide recommendations on “how to comply with a requirement the Federal Government administers or enforces,” such as guidance documents.9 Although the PWA does not cover regulations, Executive Order 13,563 requires them to be “accessible, consistent, written in plain language, and easy to understand.” 10 The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) interprets the PWA to apply to “rulemaking preambles,” 11 because a “regulation,” as exempted by the PWA, is a “rule carrying the force of law,” 12 but a preamble explains a rule's basis and purpose 13 and is not binding.

    9 5 U.S.C. 301 note sec. 3(2)(A).

    10 Exec. Order No. 13,563 § 1(a), 76 FR 3821, 3821 (Jan. 18, 2011).

    11 Office of Mgmt. & Budget, Exec. Office of the President, OMB Mem. M-11-15, Final Guidance on Implementing the Plain Writing Act of 2010 5 (2011).

    12See United States v. Mead Corp., 533 U.S. 218, 226-27 (2001).

    13 5 U.S.C. 553(c).

    The PWA further directs agencies to: Designate “senior officials to oversee . . . agency implementation”; communicate PWA requirements to employees and train them in plain writing; maintain a “plain writing section of the agency's website”; and issue annual compliance reports.14 Finally, the Act precludes judicial review of agencies' compliance with its terms.15

    14Id. § 301 note sec. 4(a).

    15Id. § 301 note sec. 6.

    Agency Plain Language Practices

    The PWA formalized and expanded a decades-long internal administrative effort to promote plain language in rules and guidance documents.16 For instance, many agencies have provided trainings and other resources on plain writing since the 1970s 17 —a practice codified by the Act.18 Some agencies make their trainings and related resources publicly available. Trainings may cover the PWA's requirements and plain writing techniques, including the use of organization and formatting to guide readers through a document; the use of bullet points, lists, and other visual aids; and the use of simple rather than complex vocabulary, if doing so will not alter the intended meaning. Additionally, trainings may focus on meeting the needs of the agency's various audiences, such as regulated small businesses.

    16See Cynthia Farina, Mary J. Newhart, & Cheryl Blake, The Problem with Words: Plain Language and Public Participation in Rulemaking, 83 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 1358, 1367-79 (2015).

    17 Blake Emerson & Cheryl Blake, Plain Language in Regulatory Drafting 33 (Dec. 8, 2017) (report to the Admin. Conf. of the U.S.), https://www.acus.gov/report/plain-language-regulatory-drafting-final-report.

    18 5 U.S.C § 301 note secs. 4(a)(1)(A), 4(a)(1)(C).

    Agencies must also designate officials to oversee compliance with the Act's requirements, such as by delivering trainings.19 Agencies may designate plain language officials in a number of different kinds of offices, such as media, executive correspondence, or public outreach. These officials can provide a valuable coordination function when the agency is communicating with the public.20 In some agencies, plain language officials may be well positioned to support agency staff during—not just after—the drafting process.

    19Id. § 301 note sec. 4(a).

    20 Emerson & Blake, supra note 17, at 32-33.

    Rule and guidance drafting processes may directly incorporate other efforts to promote plain writing. Agencies' internal drafting manuals, which provide style and formatting guidelines, often encompass plain writing techniques. Agencies also have guidelines specifying how offices within the agency should coordinate when drafting rules or guidance. These practices have important implications for how agencies implement plain writing, though divergent approaches may be equally successful. For example, one agency's practice is to assign each office involved in drafting the responsibility for reviewing documents based on its expertise; this can include reviewing documents for plain language, in addition to reviewing them for technical sufficiency. In this agency, edits or comments on a document marked as within an office's assigned responsibilities must be either accepted or resolved in consultation with that office. Thus, a regulatory attorney may flag text that could be interpreted in multiple ways as an issue of both plainness and legal ambiguity. Similarly, program staff, economists, and engineers may be responsible for ensuring that text involving their areas of expertise is not only accurate, but plain to relevant audiences. Other agencies may not assign such formal responsibilities to particular offices; rather, the program office originating a rule or guidance may be in charge of reviewing the whole of the document and working with other participating offices to ensure text is plainly written.

    Each of the above practices structures how an agency drafts rules and guidance, both of which may inform an agency's audiences of regulatory requirements or benefits.21 For instance, a final rule may target an audience of legal professionals and industry experts who expect to see certain terms of art, whereas a guidance document may walk a small business through the process of filing financial forms. Though it is appropriate to tailor guidance to a specialist audience, sometimes tailoring documents to particular specialist audiences runs the risk of obscuring or glossing over important information for other audiences. In certain circumstances, some commentators have raised concerns that guidance may omit salient information, leaving non-specialist parties at a disadvantage compared to experts.22 Crafting guidance carefully can ensure it is fully explanatory while remaining comprehensible—though this may come at the cost of brevity.23

    21 Some envision rulemaking and guidance documents as situated along a “continuum” ranging from more “complicated” documents like the rule itself to simpler documents that digest the material for non-specialist audiences. Complicated documents can be written plainly, but may require greater resource investment.

    22 Joshua D. Blank & Leigh Osofsky, Simplexity: Plain Language and the Tax Law, 66 Emory L.J. 189, 193 (2017).

    23 For a closer examination of guidance practices, see Nicholas R. Parrillo, Federal Agency Guidance: An Institutional Perspective (Dec. 1, 2017) (report to the Admin. Conf. of the U.S.), https://www.acus.gov/report/agency-guidance-final-report.

    Finally, though agencies have worked to implement plain writing for rules and guidance both prior to and since the PWA's enactment, challenges remain. Inter- and intra-agency coordination in drafting is inherently difficult. Additionally, departing from language that external stakeholders expect to see, or that has required significant negotiation, may be costly. And, due to ever-present resource constraints, agencies must prioritize investing in plain writing when audiences will most benefit.

    This Recommendation identifies tools and techniques agencies have successfully used to facilitate plain language drafting in rulemaking and guidance documents. Additionally, this recommendation proposes best practices for agencies' internal drafting processes, makes suggestions to maximize the value of trainings and related resources, and notes special considerations for drafting rulemaking preambles and guidance documents.

    Recommendation Plain Writing Practices in General

    1. Agencies should follow the plain language best practices and writing techniques documented in the Federal Plain Language Guidelines.

    Agency Internal Drafting Processes

    2. Agencies should consider directing one or more offices involved in drafting rules and guidance to review them for plain language.

    Agency Plain Language Officials, Trainings, and Related Resources

    3. To improve the accessibility of rules and guidance, agency drafting staff should consider soliciting guidance or input from senior officials responsible for overseeing an agency's compliance with the Plain Writing Act (PWA).

    4. When delivering trainings on plain writing techniques and the requirements of the PWA and related executive guidance, agencies should ensure appropriate focus on how plain language promotes the core administrative law goals of public participation, efficient compliance, judicial review, and the protection of rights. Agencies should additionally consider offering trainings to their technical experts to help them understand their role in the regulatory process and how they can draft technical text plainly for both specialist and non-specialist audiences.

    5. In their PWA compliance reports, agencies should consider highlighting rulemaking preambles and guidance documents that exemplify plain language best practices.

    Plain Drafting in Rulemaking Documents

    6. To support plain drafting, internal agency rulemaking guidelines should include:

    a. A requirement that rule drafters write documents in terms that the relevant audience can understand.

    b. Information on plain language techniques and reference materials that the agency considers most relevant to its rulemaking practice. Such techniques include omitting excess words; using active voice, headings and other formatting techniques, such as bullet points, lists, Q&As, and other visual aids, to organize documents; and replacing complex vocabulary with simple words by, among other things, providing examples of substitutions that would be appropriate.

    c. Examples of how the agency's rules, guidance, or other documents have implemented these techniques.

    d. In addition to accounting for the needs of each relevant audience in any given document, at a minimum:

    i. The preambles to proposed rules should include a summary of the rule that non-specialists and the general public can understand. Such summaries may be those already required by the Administrative Committee of the Federal Register or applicable executive guidance. Other subparts of the preamble should include language that is plain for specialist audiences if it is not practicable to describe the rule's purpose, reasoning, or requirements without legal or technical language, although these subparts may benefit from brief introductory summaries directed at non-specialists.

    ii. The preambles and text of final rules should be written in language that reviewing courts and attorneys inside and outside the agency can easily understand.

    7. Agencies should consider including in each notice of proposed rulemaking a request for comments on whether the regulation's purposes and requirements are clear and understandable. Agencies should also consider specifying topics or questions on which the agency would most benefit from feedback from non-specialist stakeholders and the general public.

    Plain Drafting in Guidance Documents

    8. When drafting guidance documents, agencies should tailor the guidance to the informational needs and level of expertise of the intended audiences. Audiences that are particularly likely to benefit from tailored guidance include: Regulated small business; regulatory beneficiaries, e.g., benefit recipients, consumers, and protected classes; and private compliance offices, e.g., human resources departments. For audiences that may find complex technical and legal details inaccessible, plain language summaries, Q&As, or related formats may be especially helpful.

    9. When drafting guidance documents, agencies should strive to balance brevity, usefulness, and completeness. One way to help strike this balance is for guidance documents to include citations, hyperlinks, or other references or points of contact enabling readers to easily locate underlying regulatory or statutory requirements.

    Administrative Conference Recommendation 2017-4 Marketable Permits Adopted December 14, 2017

    Marketable permits are a type of government-created license that regulates the level of a particular activity.1 Often, they ration the use of a resource (for instance, clean air by limiting pollution, fisheries by limiting fish catch, or the electromagnetic spectrum by allocating it among various uses), but they may also be used to satisfy affirmative obligations to engage in an activity (such as requirements to produce renewable energy). Marketable permits are distinguishable from other regulatory permits in that they can be bought or sold independently of any real property or other interest.2 Because marketable permits are alienable, it is particularly important to define their longevity and the privileges conveyed by their ownership, so that parties will understand exactly what it is that they are purchasing.

    1See Jason Schwartz, Marketable Permits: Recommendations on Application and Management i (Dec. 11, 2017) (report to the Admin. Conf. of the U.S.), https://www.acus.gov/report/marketable-permits-final-report.

    2 In 2015, the Administrative Conference issued recommendations on the design and tailoring of regulatory permits generally, which are defined as “any administrative agency's statutorily authorized, discretionary, judicially reviewable granting of permission to do something which would otherwise be statutorily prohibited.” Admin. Conf. of the U.S., Recommendation 2015-4, Designing Federal Permitting Programs, 80 FR 78,164 (Dec. 16, 2015).

    Marketable permitting programs generally fall into one of three types.3 In “cap-and-trade” programs, regulators set a limit, or cap, on the total amount of activity that can take place. For example, the cap could be total tons of a pollutant, total number of fish that can be caught, or total number of airport landing slots. A “rate-based trading” program is similar, but instead of capping the total amount of a regulated activity, agencies limit the relative amount of activity per regulated entity or unit of regulated activity. For example, a rate-based air pollution permit market may limit the amount of pollution power plants can emit per unit of electricity generated, and fuel efficiency standards set limits on the acceptable amount of fuel required to drive a mile. Finally, in “credit trading” systems, regulators set a relative goal (e.g., no net emissions increase or no net increase in property development), and then any covered entities seeking, for example, to increase emissions or develop property must purchase offsetting credits that are sold by third parties and verified by regulators. Credits can be earned when parties limit their level of the regulated activity by more than the required amount. Credit systems can also be combined with cap-and-trade or rate-based programs. For example, in a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program, unregulated sources may be allowed to reduce their emissions voluntarily and sell verified credits on the market. In a property development setting, a party could decline to develop a particular parcel of land to generate a credit, and then sell that credit to another party.

    3 Many of the examples in this Recommendation are drawn from marketable permitting programs in the environmental context because a significant amount of the experience and writing to date regarding marketable permitting programs stems from the environmental area. This is not meant to imply that marketable permits are not suitable in other contexts, nor that they are always useful in environmental contexts.

    Establishing a Marketable Permitting Program

    Like other agency activities, marketable permitting programs must be within the agency's statutory authority. But even when an agency has statutory discretion to use a marketable permitting program, such a program may not be the most suitable regulatory tool to achieve an agency's goal. Marketable permitting programs are more likely to be suitable when:

    • The agency can clearly define the privileges or obligations to be assigned by the program and has the necessary information to set the level of regulated activity.

    • The agency has sufficient resources to design and administer the program and is capable of reevaluating the appropriate target level of activity over time.

    • The agency finds it difficult or expensive to discern compliance costs for individual regulated parties. This often occurs when the activity to be regulated is conducted by numerous heterogeneous or small sources, or when there are as yet unrealized opportunities for significant technological developments by actors other than those upon whom the regulatory obligations fall.

    • The agency is reasonably confident that a robust market is feasible. This requires interest and participation by regulated entities that have, or are capable of developing, sufficient knowledge to make efficient decisions in the market.

    • Regulated parties have sufficiently differing compliance costs, such that the savings from trading are likely to be greater than transaction costs.

    • The agency determines that the overall level of an activity is more significant than the identity or location of the actors engaging in the activity. Alternatively, a marketable permit system could take locational differences into account in its structure, by, for example, setting prices so that it costs more to buy permits in a place where the marginal benefits of cutbacks are high.4

    4 For example, as with sulfur dioxide emissions from the Midwest which affect the East Coast and emissions from the East Coast which mostly blow out to sea.

    Marketable permitting programs are less likely to be suitable when:

    • The balance of factors listed above is not favorable.

    • The risk of unintended consequences from trading, such as the potential for localized problems,5 is difficult to manage.

    5See, e.g., Exec. Order No. 12,898, § 1-101, 59 FR 7629, 7629 (Feb. 16, 1994) (requiring each federal agency to “identif[y] and addres[s], as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations”); see also Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. 7491(a)(1) (2016) (noting with respect to “Class I” areas (primarily national parks) that “Congress hereby declares as a national goal the prevention of any future, and the remedying of any existing, impairment of visibility in mandatory class I Federal areas which impairment results from manmade air pollution.”).

    Once an agency has decided to create a marketable permitting program, it must consider how to establish it. Many agencies have used notice-and-comment rulemaking when creating a marketable permitting regime.6 In a handful of instances, agencies have established marketable permitting programs through guidance documents.7 Since agencies cannot impose legally binding obligations through guidance documents,8 this latter approach can lead to some uncertainty among existing and prospective permittees and even agency officials as to the permanence of the program.9 While notice-and-comment rulemaking has costs, it also has the virtue of soliciting stakeholder input while a rule is being shaped.10 Public input can be beneficial in determining whether a particular activity lends itself to regulation via a marketable permitting regime and, if so, how the program should be designed so as to best serve the public interest.

    6 Schwartz, supra note 1, at 27.

    7Id.

    8Chrysler Corp. v. Brown, 441 U.S. 281, 301-02 (1979).

    9 Schwartz, supra note 1, at 27-28.

    10 The Administrative Conference has long advised use of notice-and-comment even when it is not legally required. See, e.g., Admin. Conf. of the U.S., Recommendation 2012-2, Midnight Rules, 77 FR 47,801 (Aug. 10, 2012); Admin. Conf. of the U.S., Recommendation 92-1, The Procedural and Practice Rule Exemption from the APA Notice-and-Comment Rulemaking Requirements, 57 FR 30,101 (July 8, 1992); Admin. Conf. of the U.S., Recommendation 82-2, Resolving Disputes Under Federal Grant Programs, 47 FR 30,701 (July 15, 1982).

    Allocating Permits

    Once a marketable permitting program has been established, permits will need to be distributed. The initial allocation of permits is referred to as the “primary market” for permits.11 Agencies typically develop systems and regulations to allocate and keep track of permits and to verify their ultimate retirement, under their authority to implement the underlying permitting program.

    11See Interagency Working Grp. for the Study on Oversight of Carbon Mkts., Report on the Oversight of Existing and Prospective Carbon Markets Carbon Study 12 (2011) (describing the primary market as the entry point for permits, whether entry occurs as a result of the government distributing permits directly to market participants, auctioning permits, or some combination of the two).

    Agencies predominantly follow one of two approaches in distributing permits: Historical-based allocations and auctions. Historical-based allocations distribute permits based on historical use of the regulated activity. This method is typically used to avoid disruptions to the status quo, to protect returns on past investments, and to ease tensions with the regulated industry and gain political support. However, it may also reward parties for engaging in activity that the agency now wants to curb, increase the risk of monopolies in the permit market, reduce the incentive to innovate, and incentivize undesirable strategic behavior, like a firm artificially inflating its use of a resource ahead of an allocation benchmark to increase its share of allocated permits.12

    12 T.H. Tietenberg, Emissions Trading: Principles and Practice 138-39 (2d ed. 2006).

    By comparison, distributing permits through auctions reduces the barriers to entry to the regulated activity. Auctions also tend to lower the risk of monopolies and strategic behavior, facilitate price discovery, and prevent undue windfalls. However, auctions can be challenging to administer, especially for agencies without prior experience in doing so, and may require significant resources upfront to design and implement.13

    13 Peter Cramton & Jesse Schwartz, Collusive Bidding: Lessons from the FCC Spectrum Auctions, 17 J. Reg. Econ. 229 (2000).

    There are also several other, less common ways of conducting initial permit allocation that may be useful in certain specialized contexts. These include output-based allocations,14 allocating permits to particular communities,15 or allocating permits based on other policy objectives.

    14 Often proposed in marketable permitting programs that regulate electricity generators, output-based allocation distributes permits for pollution based on the amount of electricity produced by a given party, as opposed to the historical amount of pollution that party generated. This results in awarding permits to some of the cleanest producers of electricity, like renewable energy, rather than disproportionately to the most heavily polluting producers. Project on Alt. Regulation, Marketable Rights: A Practical Guide to the Use of Marketable Rights as a Regulatory Alternative 14 (1981).

    15 For instance, tradable fish catch shares are sometimes allocated directly to native communities to enable them to protect their interests.

    In deciding how to allocate permits, agencies must make two additional important decisions. The first is to decide who is eligible to purchase permits. Some agencies restrict the buying and selling of permits to regulated entities, whereas others allow non-regulated parties—such as brokers, speculators, market facilitators, or the general public—to purchase permits. Allowing access to the market for permits to a wider range of parties can promote market liquidity and facilitate efficient price discovery, though it also increases the risk of market participants trying to “corner the market” (amassing permits to control prices). Allowing unregulated parties to buy permits and retire them also allows the public to decrease the level of the cap.

    The second is whether to hold a pool of permits in reserve for future entrants. Once the initial allocation of permits has been made, in the absence of competitive markets, permit holders may have an incentive to impede purchases from potential new competitors.16 Agencies have sometimes addressed this barrier to entry by creating a reserve pool of permits for new entrants. Some agencies have also instituted similar mechanisms for introducing permits into the market in the wake of large economic changes or emergencies that heavily drive demand for permits.

    16 For example, airlines in possession of valuable landing slots have an incentive to retain the slots for possible future ridership, rather than deciding to sell the slots to a potential new competitor.

    Overseeing a Marketable Permitting Program

    Once initial permit distribution has occurred, agencies will want to ensure that parties comply with any obligations that arise under their permits. Monitoring ongoing performance is essential to achieving compliance with permit obligations. This includes tracking ownership of permits through their lifecycle, tracking the amount of regulated activity by permit holders, and verifying that credits represent real offsets of regulated activity. Agencies often conduct compliance monitoring themselves, but sometimes rely on self-verification by regulated parties or use third parties to verify compliance.17

    17 In some marketable permitting programs, monitoring has been accomplished by spot checking only a small percentage of permit holders. On the other end of the spectrum, some programs require extensive measures such as third-party audits of all permits or credits annually or every few years.

    In the event that regulated parties engage in more of the regulated activity than their permits allow, agencies have several enforcement tools.18 For instance, agencies can require parties to buy additional permits until their use is in compliance with the number of permits they possess and can require parties to develop plans to ensure future compliance. Agencies can also impose sanctions. There is evidence that compliant parties are more supportive of enforcement in marketable permitting programs because noncompliance by other parties lowers the value of their allowances.19

    18 An example of a program that has achieved near perfect compliance is the acid rain market. It features a sophisticated monitoring system that tracks pollution allowance holdings and compares them at the end of the compliance period to total emissions registered in an emissions monitoring system. It also includes stiff penalties fixed to inflation per excess ton of pollutant discharged and imposes a requirement to submit a plan for how excess emissions will be offset in future years. Schwartz, supra note 1, at 65.

    19 For example, in many fishery and catch share programs, fishers are reportedly more cooperative with enforcement officials after the introduction of a marketable permitting program, recognizing that illegal fishing reduces the value of their quota. Tom Tietenberg, Tradable Permits in Principle and Practice, 14 Penn. St. Envtl. L. Rev. 251, 260 (2006).

    Compliance monitoring and enforcement are important aspects of ensuring the integrity of a marketable permitting program. Another involves overseeing secondary and derivative markets that may emerge, with or without government assistance, following the initial allocation of permits. The secondary market for permits involves transactions in which permits are bought and sold following their initial entry into commerce in the primary market. This is in contrast to derivative markets, which are primarily risk management and price discovery markets in which actual transfer of permits might not occur.20 Trading in secondary and derivative markets can be accomplished through (1) negotiations between buyers and sellers—which may or may not be facilitated by third parties (these are known as over-the-counter transactions)—or (2) exchanges, which match buyers and sellers in standardized transactions.21

    20 Derivatives are contracts or instruments based on the value of another financial or economic interest or property and are used for hedging and speculation. A derivative of a marketable permit would be a contract or instrument based on the value of the permit. Hedging allows the transfer of market risks to parties more capable of assuming it. Speculation involves attempting to earn profit by anticipating price movements or taking advantage of a perceived mispricing. Commonly traded types of derivative contracts include futures, options, and swaps.

    21 Interagency Working Grp. for the Study on Oversight of Carbon Mkts., supra note 11, at 14.

    The authority to oversee trading on secondary markets is somewhat fragmented, and authority over marketable permit programs is not always well defined and would benefit from clarification. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has broad enforcement authority to pursue manipulation of the price of a commodity in interstate commerce.22 It also has the authority to surveil spot trading (sales for the immediate delivery of a commodity) conducted on exchanges.23 However, the CFTC only rarely brings enforcement actions for fraud in spot markets. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)—under its authority to act against unfair, anticompetitive, and deceptive practices affecting commerce—and the Department of Justice—under its antitrust authority—also have some authority over secondary permit markets, though they have had limited involvement with marketable permitting programs to date. An individual agency's ability to oversee secondary markets will depend on its statutory authority, but even when it does have such authority, it may lack the expertise or resources to routinely monitor trading in these markets.

    22See id. at 43 (“Because the CFTC has broad enforcement authority to pursue manipulation of a commodity's price in interstate commerce, the agency would have the authority to bring actions against individuals or entities believed to be involved in the price manipulation of allowance and carbon offsets.”).

    23 For example, the CFTC oversees trading of permits for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the acid rain market on exchanges like the Chicago Climate Futures Exchange.

    Authority to oversee derivative markets is largely vested in the CFTC.24 It oversees derivatives traded in exchanges, which must publish certain kinds of trading information that would allow the CFTC to detect fraud and manipulation. The CFTC also has authority to oversee over-the-counter transactions. The CFTC's authority over derivative markets, and particularly over-the-counter derivative transactions, was strengthened by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.25

    24 Interagency Working Grp. for the Study on Oversight of Carbon Mkts., supra note 11, at 44, 51. The Securities and Exchange Commission has authority over securities and securities based swaps.

    25See Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Public Law 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376 (2010). Certain activities involving derivatives may be exempt from CFTC oversight, but CFTC has the statutory authority to eliminate many of those exemptions and to provide comprehensive oversight of derivatives in permit markets. Schwartz, supra note 1, at 76.

    Agencies with authority to oversee permit markets have various tools to combat fraud, manipulation, and price volatility, all of which can undermine economic efficiency and erode confidence in permit markets. Fraud and manipulation can be addressed through various mechanisms, such as position limits, accountability triggers, market surveillance, and reporting requirements. Position limits can be used to ensure that no single party or combination of parties can control the supply of permits to the point of dictating prices. Position accountability triggers, which require permit holders wishing to exceed a certain threshold of permits to submit to additional reporting and oversight, can likewise be used to prevent hoarding of permits. Effective surveillance of markets and robust reporting requirements also discourage fraudulent activity.

    Price volatility can occur in marketable permitting programs even without fraudulent activity, particularly in smaller, less robust markets with fewer participants, due to unexpected increases in demand or the costs of compliance. Volatility increases the risk of noncompliance and decreases confidence in the market system. Tools to address volatility include circuit breakers, which limit how much prices can rise or fall in a given period, and safety valves, which can set maximum or minimum prices or release reserve credits into the market in case of emergencies or demand spikes. Another way to reduce volatility is to issue permits with different durations. Finally, by defining a broader program that covers more entities under a single market, agencies can diversify the portfolio of permit seekers, reducing the risk of unexpectedly high cost in an isolated sector. Any individual regulated sector can experience unexpected compliance costs as economic conditions change; a broader market offers more flexibility, better absorbs price volatility, and so increases certainty for regulated parties and investors.

    Because permit markets rely heavily on the decisions of both the agency and permit buyers, facilitating the flow of information is an extremely important part of a marketable permitting program. Making data on permit transactions, prices, and holdings publicly available can help the agency and the public assess the efficacy of the program. It also enables smooth operation of the permit markets by enabling permit buyers to better evaluate the value of the permits. Having clear communication policies for announcing policy changes or enforcement actions that could influence the market prevents pre-publication leaks and information asymmetries that could unjustly benefit some parties and undermine the permit market.

    This Recommendation does not address whether agencies should increase or reduce their usage of marketable permitting programs or speak to the substantive areas in which such programs may be desirable. Rather, the Administrative Conference acknowledges that agencies have been directed to consider marketable permits, consistent with statutory authorization and any applicable statutory requirements, as one possible mode of regulation and seeks to identify the key considerations in assessing marketable permits as a potential alternative.26 This Recommendation highlights best practices that agencies should consider in designing a marketable permitting program.

    26 Exec. Order No. 12,866, 58 FR 51,735 (Oct. 4, 1993). Other examples of regulatory tools drawing on economic incentives include fees, penalties, subsidies, changes in liability rules or property rights, required bonds, insurance, and warranties. Office of Mgmt. & Budget, Exec. Office of the President, OMB Circular A-4, Regulatory Analysis (2003).

    Recommendation Establishing a Marketable Permitting Program

    1. When designing a marketable permitting program, agencies should carefully consider whether such a program will best achieve their policy objectives, and, if so, whether the agency's goals would be better served by using a cap-and-trade, rate-based, or credit trading system or a combination of the above.

    2. Agencies should establish and publish clear guidelines containing all of the features of marketable permit programs, including expectations as to the longevity of marketable permits and the precise obligations or authorizations that they convey.

    3. Agencies should generally consider using notice-and-comment rulemaking when creating a marketable permitting regime, both in order to reduce uncertainty as to the permanence of the program and to gather public input that may prove beneficial in shaping the program.

    4. Agencies should consider whether to allow non-regulated parties to buy and sell permits. Allowing a broader range of parties to trade permits can promote market liquidity and facilitate efficient price discovery but may increase opportunities for manipulation in thin markets.

    5. Agencies should explore agreements with other appropriate agencies and authorities to allocate responsibilities for developing standards or policies, where appropriate. These actions may include addressing compliance enforcement and market manipulation.

    Overseeing a Marketable Permitting Program

    6. As with other types of permitting programs, when designing a marketable permitting program, agencies should include mechanisms to ensure compliance with the program. Agencies should monitor performance by tracking ownership of permits, tracking regulated activity, and verifying that credits represent real offsets from regulated activity. Depending on feasibility and efficiency, agencies should consider verifying compliance directly, making use of self-verification, or engaging third parties to verify compliance. Self-verification tends to be a useful option when verification procedures can be standardized or when legal remedies are available to aid in enforcement. If an agency chooses to use third-party credit verifiers, it should set standards to ensure that they are qualified, insured, and free from conflicts of interest.

    7. As with other types of permitting programs, in designing a marketable permitting program, agencies should require noncompliant parties to come into compliance and should include sanctions with sufficient deterrent effect to discourage noncompliance.

    8. Agencies should coordinate with other appropriate agencies and authorities to identify which oversight tools are appropriate to prevent fraud and manipulation.

    9. Agencies should address extreme price volatility by creating broad markets, issuing permits with different durations, or using circuit breakers, safety valves, or reserve pools, as necessary. Agencies should also consider using reserve pools to facilitate new parties entering the market.

    Information Management

    10. Subject to other agency priorities and applicable legal requirements, including the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) and e-Government Act, agencies should collect data on the operation of marketable permitting programs and consider periodically assessing both the policy effectiveness and economic efficiency of existing marketable permitting programs. Agencies should be cognizant that some of the data collected may be confidential and protected against disclosure by law.

    11. To the extent practicable, agencies should release data on permit transactions, prices, holdings, compliance rates, and other data to help the public gauge a market's policy effectiveness and to help parties make efficient decisions in the market.

    12. Agencies that manage marketable permitting programs should coordinate with other agencies and authorities that have expertise to improve marketable permitting programs.

    13. In order to minimize information asymmetries, agencies should develop communication policies for announcing policy changes or enforcement actions that could influence the market.

    Administrative Conference Recommendation 2017-5 Agency Guidance Through Policy Statements Adopted December 14, 2017

    General statements of policy under the Administrative Procedure Act (hereinafter policy statements) are agency statements of general applicability, not binding on members of the public, “issued . . . to advise the public prospectively of the manner in which the agency proposes to exercise a discretionary power.” 1 Interpretive rules are defined as rules or “statements issued by an agency to advise the public of the agency's construction of the statutes and rules which it administers.” 2 Both policy statements and interpretive rules are exempt from the APA's requirements for the issuance of legislative rules (including notice and comment) 3 and are often referred to as “guidance” or “guidance documents” (although usage varies). This Recommendation, however, covers only policy statements, not interpretive rules; nevertheless, many of the recommendations herein regarding flexible use of policy statements may also be helpful with respect to agencies' use of interpretive rules.

    1 Attorney General's Manual on the Administrative Procedure Act 30 n.3 (1947).

    2Id.

    3 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(A).

    Over the years, the Conference has issued several recommendations pertaining to policy statements. Recommendation 76-5 states that agencies should provide for public participation in the formulation of policy statements (and of interpretive rules) depending on the impact of the statement in question and the practicability of participation.4 Recommendation 92-2 recognizes the value of policy statements but expresses concern about policy statements “that are intended to impose binding substantive standards or obligations upon affected persons” notwithstanding the legal requirement that they be nonbinding on the public, and it advises agencies to establish flexible procedures that allow members of the public a fair opportunity to argue for approaches different from those set forth in a policy statement.5 The Conference has now decided, twenty-five years after Recommendation 92-2, to update its recommendations on the formulation and use of policy statements in light of current administrative experience.6

    4 Admin. Conf. of the U.S., Recommendation 76-5, Interpretive Rules of General Applicability and Statements of General Policy, 41 FR 56,769 (Dec. 30, 1976). Additional prior Conference recommendations pertaining to policy statements and agency guidance more broadly, apart from others referenced specifically in this preamble, include Recommendation 2015-3, Declaratory Orders, 80 FR 78,163 (Dec. 16, 2015); and Recommendation 2014-3, Guidance in the Rulemaking Process, 79 FR 35,992 (June 25, 2014).

    5 Admin. Conf. of the U.S., Recommendation 92-2, Agency Policy Statements, 57 FR 30,103 (July 8, 1992).

    6 The Conference commissioned a study that resulted in interviews with 135 individuals across agencies, industry, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which are the basis for this Recommendation. See Nicholas R. Parrillo, Federal Agency Guidance: An Institutional Perspective (Oct. 12, 2017) (report to the Admin. Conf. of the U.S.), https://www.acus.gov/report/agency-guidance-final-report.

    Policy statements are important instruments of administration across numerous agencies, and are of great value to agencies and the public alike. Compared with adjudication or enforcement, policy statements can make agency decisionmaking faster and less costly, saving time and resources for the agency and the regulated public. They can also make agency decisionmaking more predictable and uniform and shield regulated parties from unequal treatment, unnecessary costs, and unnecessary risk, while promoting compliance with the law.7 Compared with legislative rules, policy statements are generally better for dealing with conditions of uncertainty and often for making agency policy accessible, especially to regulated parties who lack counsel. Further, the provision of policy statements often takes less time and resources than legislative rulemaking, freeing up the agency to, for instance, take other action within its statutory mission. In pursuit of benefits such as these, agencies may use policy statements to bind some agency employees to the approach of the policy statement,8 so long as such employees are not bound in a manner that forecloses a fair opportunity for the public or employee to argue for approaches different from those in the policy statement or seek modification of the policy statement.9

    7See id. at 28-30; see also Admin. Conf. of the U.S., Recommendation 71-3, Articulation of Agency Policies, 38 FR 19,788 (July 23, 1973) (“Agency policies which affect the public should be articulated and made known to the public to the greatest extent feasible. To this end, each agency which takes actions affecting substantial public or private interests, whether after hearing or through informal action, should, as far as is feasible in the circumstances, state the standards that will guide its determination in various types of agency action, either through published decisions, general rules or policy statements other than rules.”).

    8See Recommendation 92-2, supra note 5; Office of Mgmt. & Budget, Exec. Office of the President, Final Bulletin for Agency Good Guidance Practices, 72 FR 3432, 3436 (Jan. 25, 2007) (“[A]gency employees should not depart from significant agency guidance documents without appropriate justification and supervisory concurrence.”); id. at 3437 (“[W]hile a guidance document cannot legally bind, agencies can appropriately bind their employees to abide by agency policy as a matter of their supervisory powers over such employees without undertaking pre-adoption notice and comment rulemaking.”).

    9See Final Bulletin for Agency Good Guidance Practices, supra note 8, 72 FR at 3440.

    Despite their usefulness to both agencies and the public, policy statements are sometimes criticized for coercing members of the public as if they were legislative rules, notwithstanding their legally nonbinding status. Recommendation 92-2 defined this problem in terms of an agency's intent to use policy statements to bind the public, which may imply that the problem is one of agency bad faith. While agency intent to make a policy statement binding, if shown, would deserve criticism and correction, a focus on intent is often inadequate for understanding and addressing the phenomenon of binding policy statements. This Recommendation supplements Recommendation 92-2 by addressing other reasons why members of the public may feel bound by what they perceive as coercive guidance.

    There are several kinds of reasons why members of the public sometimes find they have no practical escape from the terms of a policy statement. First are those that are not of the making of an agency or its officials. Specifically, modern regulatory schemes often have structural features that tend to lead regulated parties to follow the policy statement's approach even if in theory they might be legally free to choose a different course, because the costs and risks associated with doing so are simply too high. This is often the case if statutes or regulations (a) require a regulated party to obtain prior approval from an agency to obtain essential permissions or benefits; (b) subject a regulated party to repeated agency evaluation under a legal regime with which perfect compliance is practically unachievable, incentivizing the party to cultivate a reputation with the agency as a good-faith actor by following even non-binding guidance; or (c) subject the regulated party to the possibility of enforcement proceedings that entail prohibitively high costs regardless of outcome, or can lead to sanctions so severe that the party will not risk forcing an adjudication of the accusation. Meanwhile, a policy statement can operate on beneficiaries of a statute or legislative rule as if it were a legislative rule by effectively depriving them of the statute or legislative rule's protection. This can occur if the policy statement promises to treat regulated parties less stringently than the statute or legislative rule requires, effectively freeing those parties to shift their behavior in a direction that harms beneficiaries. Similarly, in its focus on regulatory beneficiaries and regulated parties, an agency policy statement may induce conduct harmful to other interested parties.

    Second, there are a number of reasons why agencies themselves may naturally tend to be somewhat inflexible with respect to their own policy statements. Even though these reasons are more within an agency's or its officials' control than those discussed above, this lack of flexibility may often stem from causes other than agency intent. Officials who behave inflexibly may be seeking to balance the importance of being flexible against stakeholder demands to honor other, competing values that officials would be remiss to ignore. For example, if one regulated firm argues for a different approach from that in a policy statement and the agency approves, this may prompt other firms to criticize the agency for not keeping a level playing field among competitors; may cause other firms to lose faith in the agency's consistency and predictability, which may render them less likely to trust and cooperate with the agency; and may open the agency to accusations of favoritism from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the media, and congressional overseers.

    In principle, one way an agency might reconcile these understandable pressures would be to prepare and disseminate written reasons when it approves an approach different from that in a policy statement, thereby making the same reasoning available to all similarly situated parties going forward. This transparency helps level the playing field, makes agency behavior more predictable, and diminishes concerns about favoritism. But agencies might still find inflexibility the easier course and adopt it by default, because reason-giving requires agency resources.10 Besides this, there are additional organizational reasons for inflexibility: Some agency offices, by reason of their usual day-to-day business, are socialized to be less receptive to stakeholder requests than others; higher-level officials have institutional reasons to back the decisions of their subordinates; and the distinction between binding and nonbinding policies is counter-intuitive for many officials, at least without substantial training.

    10 Another difficulty with giving reasons is a potential tension with agency policies on the protection of confidential business or personal information. This Recommendation is not intended to alter existing agency policies on such protection.

    These various pressures tend to give at least some policy statements a quasi-binding character in fact regardless of their legal status. That said, there are important steps that agency officials can take to mitigate these legislative-rule-like effects of policy statements by stating that they are not binding 11 and by remaining flexible in their use of such statements by offering members of the public a fair opportunity to argue for other approaches. What steps to take and when is the focus of paragraphs 4 through 8 of this Recommendation. Agencies should also, in appropriate circumstances, use appropriate tools to enable public participation in the formulation of policy statements before these statements are adopted. This is the focus of paragraphs 9 through 11 of this Recommendation.

    11See, e.g., About Guidance Documents, U.S. Food & Drug Admin., https://www.fda.gov/RegulatoryInformation/Guidances/default.htm#about (“Guidance documents represent FDA's current thinking on a topic. They do not create or confer any rights for or on any person and do not operate to bind FDA or the public. You can use an alternative approach if the approach satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations.”).

    First, flexibility often requires managerial initiative and resources to foster and maintain. This Recommendation identifies concrete organizational measures that agencies may take to foster flexibility: Low-cost measures that agencies should take at a minimum and additional measures with higher cost that agencies should consider in light of resource limitations and competing priorities.

    In addition, public participation at the time of a policy statement's adoption may be of value to the agency, regulated parties, regulatory beneficiaries, and other interested parties. Such public participation may be especially valuable to parties that lack the opportunity and resources to participate in the individual adjudicatory or enforcement proceedings to which a policy may apply.

    Choosing a level and means of public participation that is appropriate to a policy statement's likely impact and is practicable requires consideration of several factors. Given the complexity of these factors and their tendency to vary with context, it is appropriate to make decisions about whether or how to seek public participation on policy statements on a document-by-document or agency-by-agency basis.12 A government-wide requirement for inviting written input from the public on policy statements is not recommended, unless confined to the most extraordinary documents.13 This is a function both of the complex cost-benefit considerations noted above and the fact that broad mandates for written public input on policy statements can result in two additional unintended consequences. First, a broad mandate applied to a resource-strapped agency may cause the agency to fail to process and incorporate comments and instead leave many policy statements in published “draft” form indefinitely, which may at least partly defeat the purpose of participation and cause stakeholder confusion. Second, a broad mandate may so legitimize policy statements in the eyes of the agency that such statements could end up largely supplanting legislative rulemaking.

    12 Some agencies have adopted procedural rules requiring solicitation of written input from the public for large and well-defined categories of their policy statements, whereas others have undertaken such solicitations on a decentralized, ad hoc basis. Parrillo, supra note 6, at 167-68.

    13 The Office of Management and Budget's Good Guidance Practices calls for pre-adoption public comment on “economically significant” guidance documents, but this appears to cover only a very small number of documents. See id. at 167-71 (citing Final Bulletin for Agency Good Guidance Practices, supra note 8, 72 FR at 3439-40).

    Recommendation Policy Statements Should Not Bind the Public

    1. An agency should not use a policy statement to create a standard binding on the public, that is, as a standard with which noncompliance may form an independent basis for action in matters that determine the rights and obligations of any member of the public.

    2. An agency should afford members of the public a fair opportunity to argue for lawful approaches other than those put forward by a policy statement or for modification or rescission of the policy statement.

    3. Although a policy statement should not bind an agency as a whole, it is sometimes appropriate for an agency, as an internal agency management matter, and particularly when guidance is used in connection with regulatory enforcement, to direct some of its employees to act in conformity with a policy statement. But the agency should ensure that this does not interfere with the fair opportunity called for in Recommendation 2. For example, a policy statement could bind officials at one level of the agency hierarchy, with the caveat that officials at a higher level can authorize action that varies from the policy statement. Agency review should be available in cases in which frontline officials fail to follow policy statements in conformity with which they are properly directed to act.

    Minimum Measures To Avoid Binding the Public

    4. A policy statement should prominently state that it is not binding on members of the public and explain that a member of the public may take a lawful approach different from the one set forth in the policy statement or request that the agency take such a lawful approach. The policy statement should also include the identity and contact information of officials to whom such a request should be made.

    5. A policy statement should not include mandatory language unless the agency is using that language to describe an existing statutory or regulatory requirement, or the language is addressed to agency employees and will not interfere with the fair opportunity called for in Recommendation 2.

    6. The agency should instruct all employees engaged in an activity to which a policy statement pertains to refrain from making any statements suggesting that a policy statement is binding on the public. Insofar as any employee is directed, as an internal agency management matter, to act in conformity with a policy statement, that employee should be instructed as to the difference between such an internal agency management requirement and law that is binding on the public.

    Additional Measures To Avoid Binding the Public

    7. In order to avoid using policy statements to bind the public and in order to provide a fair opportunity for other lawful approaches, an agency should, subject to considerations of practicability and resource limitations and the priorities described in Recommendation 8, consider additional measures, including the following:

    a. Promoting the flexible use of policy statements in a manner that still takes due account of needs for consistency and predictability. In particular, when the agency accepts a proposal for a lawful approach other than that put forward in a policy statement and the approach seems likely to be applicable to other situations, the agency should disseminate its decision and the reasons for it to other persons who might make the argument, to other affected stakeholders, to officials likely to hear the argument, and to members of the public, subject to existing protections for confidential business or personal information.

    b. Assigning the task of considering arguments for approaches other than that in a policy statement to a component of the agency that is likely to engage in open and productive dialogue with persons who make such arguments, such as a program office that is accustomed to dealing cooperatively with regulated parties and regulatory beneficiaries.

    c. In cases where frontline officials are authorized to take an approach different from that in a policy statement but decline to do so, directing appeals of such a refusal to a higher-level official who is not the direct superior of those frontline officials.

    d. Investing in training and monitoring of frontline personnel to ensure that they (i) understand the difference between legislative rules and policy statements; (ii) treat parties' ideas for lawful approaches different from those in a policy statement in an open and welcoming manner; and (iii) understand that approaches other than that in a policy statement, if undertaken according to the proper internal agency procedures for approval and justification, are appropriate and will not have adverse employment consequences for them.

    e. Facilitating opportunities for members of the public, including through intermediaries such as ombudspersons or associations, to propose or support approaches different from those in a policy statement and to provide feedback to the agency on whether its officials are giving reasonable consideration to such proposals.

    Priorities in Deciding When To Invest in Promoting Flexibility

    8. Because measures to promote flexibility (including those listed in Recommendation 7) may take up agency resources, it will be necessary to set priorities for which policy statements are most in need of such measures. In deciding when to take such measures the agency should consider the following, bearing in mind that these considerations will not always point in the same direction:

    a. An agency should assign a higher priority to a policy statement the greater the statement's impact is likely to be on the interests of regulated parties, regulatory beneficiaries, and other interested parties, either because regulated parties have strong incentives to comply with the statement or because the statement practically reduces the stringency of the regulatory scheme compared to the status quo.

    b. An agency should assign a lower priority to promoting flexibility in the use of a policy statement insofar as the statement's value to the agency and to stakeholders lies primarily in the fact that it is helpful to have consistency independent of the statement's substantive content.

    Public Participation in Adoption or Modification of Policy Statements

    9. When an agency is contemplating adopting or modifying a policy statement, it should consider whether to solicit public participation, and, if so, what kind, before adopting the statement. Options for public participation include outreach to selected stakeholder representatives, stakeholder meetings or webinars, advisory committee proceedings, and invitation for written input from the public with or without a response. In deciding how to proceed, the agency should consider:

    a. Existing agency procedures for the adoption of policy statements, including any procedures adopted in response to the Office of Management and Budget's Final Bulletin for Agency Good Guidance Practices (2007).

    b. The factors listed in Recommendation 8.

    c. The likely increase in useful information available to the agency from broadening participation, keeping in mind that non-regulated parties (regulatory beneficiaries and other interested parties) may offer different information than regulated parties and that non-regulated parties will often have no opportunity to provide input regarding policy statements other than at the time of adoption.

    d. The likely increase in policy acceptance from broadening participation, keeping in mind that non-regulated parties will often have no opportunity to provide input regarding policy statements other than at the time of adoption, and that policy acceptance may be less likely if the agency is not responsive to stakeholder input.

    e. Whether the agency is likely to learn more useful information by having a specific agency proposal as a focal point for discussion, or instead having a more free-ranging and less formal discussion.

    f. The practicability of broader forms of participation, including invitation for written input from the public, keeping in mind that broader participation may slow the adoption of policy statements and may diminish resources for other agency tasks, including the provision of policy statements on other matters.

    10. If an agency does not provide for public participation before adopting or modifying a policy statement, it should consider offering an opportunity for public participation after adoption. As with Recommendation 9, options for public participation include outreach to selected stakeholder representatives, stakeholder meetings or webinars, advisory committee proceedings, and invitation for written input from the public with or without a response.

    11. An agency may make decisions about the appropriate level of public participation document-by-document or by assigning certain procedures for public participation to general categories of documents. If an agency opts for the latter, it should consider whether resource limitations may cause some documents, if subject to pre-adoption procedures for public participation, to remain in draft for substantial periods of time. If that is the case, agencies should either (a) make clear to stakeholders which draft policy statements, if any, should be understood to reflect current agency thinking; or (b) provide in each draft policy statement that, at a certain time after publication, the document will automatically either be adopted or withdrawn.

    12. All written policy statements affecting the interests of regulated parties, regulatory beneficiaries, or other interested parties should be promptly made available electronically and indexed, in a manner in which they may readily be found. Written policy statements should also indicate the nature of the reliance that may be placed on them and the opportunities for reconsideration or modification of them or the taking of different approaches.

    Separate Statement for Administrative Conference Recommendation 2017-5 by Senior Fellow Ronald M. Levin Filed December 20, 2017

    The accompanying Recommendation observes that “[t]his Recommendation . . . concerns only policy statements, not interpretive rules; nevertheless, many of the recommendations herein regarding flexible use of policy statements may also be helpful with respect to agencies' use of interpretive rules.” This remark is well taken as far as it goes, but in another respect it is notably cautious. Other governmental bodies that have adopted procedures or guidelines regarding the same general subject during the past two decades have each used only one framework to address all guidance—that is, both policy statements and interpretive rules.1

    1See, e.g., Prohibition on Improper Guidance Documents, (DOJ, Nov. 16, 2017), https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1012271/download; Final Bulletin for Agency Good Guidance Practices, 72 FR 3432 (OMB, Jan. 25, 2007); FDA Good Guidance Practices, 21 CFR 10.115 (2017) (issued Sept. 19, 2000).

    In adopting the Recommendation, the Assembly of the Administrative Conference was generally sympathetic to the stance taken by the groups just mentioned, but it concluded that it did not have enough information to take a firm stand. The research for its project had focused primarily on policy statements. Thus, the Assembly opted for a relatively narrow recommendation for the present, but it also adopted a “sense of the Conference” resolution envisioning a follow-up study that would lay the groundwork for a subsequent recommendation on interpretive rules. The Assembly's caution is understandable, but I will use this separate statement to emphasize that its ancillary resolution has pointed in the right direction.

    The basic problem that Recommendation 2017-5 seeks to redress is that regulated persons sometimes feel that they have no choice other than to comply with a policy statement's position, even if they disagree with it. The Recommendation seeks to mitigate that problem by suggesting ways in which an agency can give those persons a fair opportunity to ask the agency to reconsider and perhaps change its position. At the same time, the Recommendation's solutions are made “subject to considerations of practicability and resource limitations,” so as to avoid deterring agencies from giving advice that the public desires.

    Essentially the same analysis can also be applied to interpretive rules: The relative proportion of law and policy in the document has little or nothing to do with either the agency's interest in giving advice or the private party's interest in being able to induce the agency to reconsider it. Moreover, in practice, law and policy blend together in many guidance document; thus, procedures that speak to one and not the other are bound to prove somewhat artificial.

    Why, then, wouldn't one urge agencies to apply the same principles to interpretive rules? It may be thought that, in contrast to its handling of policy statements, an agency will naturally treat an interpretive rule as binding, because it concerns binding law. But that is a non-sequitur. An agency should, of course, be free to state and act on its position that a statute or regulation, as construed in an interpretive rule, is binding. However, the very purpose of issuing such a rule is to specify which of various imaginable readings of the statute or regulation the agency considers correct. Persons who may believe that a different interpretation is correct should have what Recommendation 2017-5 calls a “fair opportunity” to try to persuade the agency to adopt their preferred view—just as the Recommendation contemplates with respect to policy statements. For an agency to assert that, because the underlying text is binding, the interpretation that the agency happens to have chosen must also be binding is to beg the question that ought to be the subject of that dialogue.

    The Assembly was mindful that opinions have differed on the question of whether, for procedural purposes, interpretive rules can be binding in a sense that policy statements cannot be. As just suggested, I myself believe the answer is no, but some agency lawyers think otherwise. Ultimately, however, that divergence in opinion should not prevent the Conference from moving forward with a recommendation in the next phase of its inquiry. As with most Conference pronouncements, the principal goal should be to articulate recommended practices, not to opine about the law.

    I hope that a project of the kind contemplated by the sense of the Conference resolution will be pursued in the near future. I trust that it will culminate in broad recognition that most, if not all, of the advice in the present Recommendation can and should be applied to interpretive rules as well.

    Administrative Conference Recommendation 2017-6 Learning From Regulatory Experience Adopted December 15, 2017

    Making sound regulatory decisions demands information and analysis. Several Administrative Conference recommendations encourage agencies to gather data when making new rules and when reviewing existing rules.1 These recommendations reinforce analytic demands imposed on agencies by legislation,2 executive orders,3 and judicial decisions.4

    1See, e.g., Admin. Conf. of the U.S., Recommendation 2014-5, Retrospective Review of Agency Rules, 79 FR 75,114 (Dec. 17, 2014); Admin. Conf. of the U.S., Recommendation 85-2, Agency Procedures for Performing Regulatory Analysis of Rules, 50 FR 28,364 (July 12, 1985); Admin. Conf. of the U.S., Recommendation 79-4, Public Disclosure Concerning the Use of Cost-Benefit and Similar Analyses in Regulation, 44 FR 38,826 (June 8, 1979).

    2See, e.g., Data Quality Act, Public Law 106-554, 515, 114 Stat. 2763A-153 (2001).

    3See, e.g., Exec. Order No. 12,866, § 5, 58 FR 51,735, 51,739 (Oct. 4, 1993) (“[T]o . . . improve the effectiveness of existing regulations . . . each . . . agency will periodically review its existing significant regulations to determine whether any such regulations should be modified or eliminated so as to make the agency's regulatory program more effective in achieving the regulatory objectives.”); Exec. Order No. 13,563, § 6, 58 FR 3821, 3822 (Jan. 21, 2011) (requiring agencies to “consider how best to promote retrospective analysis of rules that may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome, and to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal them in accordance with what has been learned”); Exec. Order No. 13,771, § 2, 82 FR 9339 (Feb. 3, 2017) (requiring the repeal of two existing regulations for each new regulation proposed, and leaving in place prior analytical requirements); Exec. Order No. 13,777, § 3, 82 FR 12,285, 12,286 (Mar. 1, 2017) (requiring the establishment of regulatory reform task forces that “shall evaluate existing regulations . . . and make recommendations to the agency head regarding their repeal, replacement, or modification, consistent with applicable law”).

    4See, e.g., Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Ass'n v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 463 U.S. 29, 43, 52 (1983) (explaining that the agency must show that its action was the result of “reasoned decisionmaking” consistent with “the evidence before the agency”).

    Agencies need information about the problems that new rules will address, such as the risks involved and their causes. But agencies also need information about potential solutions to these problems. What possible alternative rules or rule designs might help solve the problems? How effective are these alternatives likely to be in addressing the underlying problems? Are there constraints, barriers, or unanticipated consequences that arise in the use of these different alternatives? In terms of understanding possible alternatives and how well they might work in practice, agencies benefit from having information from experience with different solutions. Learning from experience is the focus of this recommendation.

    Learning From Regulatory Experience

    No uniform or tidy formula exists as to how agencies should generate, gather, and analyze the data necessary to support sound regulatory decisions. A variety of well-accepted and widely-used methods exist from which agencies may choose, with the appropriate choices often varying agency by agency and even from situation to situation. Practical considerations such as resource and data availability will affect the choices agencies make about the methods of learning used to support regulatory decisionmaking.5 Still, it is possible to identify some of the main methods for learning that agencies should consider using at different stages of the rulemaking lifecycle. These methods, which are not necessarily mutually exclusive, can be used before or after a rule is adopted, and they may be considered on occasion as part of the final rule itself, which might be structured to facilitate future learning by agency officials.

    5 A general discussion of factors to consider in choosing methods and measurements in regulatory learning can be found in Cary Coglianese, Measuring Regulatory Excellence, in Achieving Regulatory Excellence 291-305 (Cary Coglianese ed., 2017) [hereinafter Coglianese, Measuring Regulatory Excellence].

    Variation is the key to agency learning. In this context, “variation” can refer to differences among jurisdictions 6 or across time,7 with some jurisdictions or time periods having in place a version of a rule and others having in place a different version of the rule (or no applicable rule at all). It can also refer to differences among regulated entities or people within the same jurisdiction, with some entities or people subject to a version of a rule and others subject to a different version of the rule (or no applicable rule at all).

    6 Cross-sectional analysis means analysis of data collected across at least two groups or jurisdictions, with one that is subject to the intervention (such as regulation) and one that is not. See Cary Coglianese, Empirical Analysis and Administrative Law, 2002 U. Ill. L. Rev. 1111, 1117-19.

    7 Longitudinal analysis is a research design that involves repeated observations of the same subjects over a period, where variation in the intervention occurs over time (i.e., data before and after an intervention is introduced). See Cary Coglianese, Measuring Regulatory Performance: Evaluating the Impact of Regulation and Regulatory Policy, Organization for Econ. Co-Operation and Dev. [OECD] Expert Paper No. 1 39 (Aug. 2012) [hereinafter Coglianese, Measuring Regulatory Performance].

    An agency can learn from all of these kinds of variation. For example, a regulation that goes into effect in 2017 leaves the agency with two distinct time periods to compare: The years before 2017, and 2017 and beyond. A rule that applies in jurisdictions X and Y but not in jurisdictions A and B leaves the agency with the ability to compare outcomes in X and Y with those in A and B, assuming the jurisdictions are comparable or that differences can be statistically controlled. The agency can then learn whether outcomes are improved in those time periods or jurisdictions with the regulatory obligation. However, agencies must be careful not to assume automatically that any differences in outcomes that they observe have been caused by the intervention of the regulation. Other factors that correlate with the observed outcomes might also vary across the same time periods or jurisdictions.

    Using Observational or Randomized Methods To Learn From Experience

    To learn from experience, agencies should seek methods that allow them to draw valid inferences about whether a particular regulatory intervention causes (or will cause) improvements in the desired outcomes. Concern about the validity of such causal inferences generally takes two forms. The first of these—external validity—refers to the extent to which the inferences from a study situated within a particular time period or setting can apply to other time periods or settings. In other words, an agency should consider to what extent the results of a study focused on entities or individuals in one period or setting are generalizable to entities or individuals in other times or settings. The second type of validity—internal validity—refers to the extent to which the outcomes observed in a study can be said to have been caused by the intervention rather than by potential confounders.8 In other words, an agency should consider whether what might appear to be a relationship between a regulation and changes in outcomes truly derives from the regulation. For example, if a study shows that accidents from a particular industrial process have declined following the adoption of a regulation intended to reduce those accidents, concern about internal validity would lead agency officials to consider the possibility that the observed decline might have arisen from market or technological factors that led to changes in the relevant industrial processes around the same time as the regulation but which came about for reasons entirely unrelated to the regulation. An agency may wish to learn whether the observed decline came from the regulation or from other factors so as to know whether to redesign the regulation if further improvements are warranted.

    8 In this context, “confounders” refer to changes in outcomes that may appear to have been caused by the regulation but are actually caused by other factors. See Coglianese, Measuring Regulatory Performance, supra note 7 and accompanying text.

    To isolate the true effects of a regulation on relevant outcomes, such as risk reduction, agencies can use randomized approaches or observational approaches. Both of these approaches have advantages and disadvantages, and choosing between them will depend on a variety of contextual factors.

    Randomized approaches promise to generate results with a high level of internal validity because, by making a random assignment of individuals or entities subject to a regulatory intervention, any other factors that might lead to changes in the relevant outcomes should be distributed randomly between the group subject to the regulatory intervention and the comparison group. Of course, randomized methods can also have their limitations. There is always a question as to whether the results of a randomized experiment are externally valid. For example, a perfectly designed randomized experiment may indicate that exposure to an intervention generates particular outcomes in a laboratory setting but may not mean that those same outcomes will occur outside of the laboratory. In addition, the results of randomized methods may lack validity if individuals, knowing that their behaviors are part of a randomized experiment, behave differently from how they would otherwise act. Researchers try to limit this particular threat to validity by using double-blind, or even just single-blind, study designs.9 However, it is possible that, in many regulatory contexts, regulated parties will know they are subject to a randomized study and may engage in strategic behavior that may skew the results of the study.

    9 “Blindness” in this context means subjects are not aware of whether they are in the treatment or comparison group. “Double blindness” means neither the subjects nor the researchers know which subjects received the treatment, and which received the placebo. See Michael Abramowicz et al., Randomizing Law, 159 U. Pa. L. Rev. 929, 948-50 (2011).

    In addition to these methodological challenges, randomized study methods may present legal, policy, and ethical concerns. From a legal standpoint, subjecting similar parties to different rules may be thought to raise concerns under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution or the arbitrary-and-capricious standard of the Administrative Procedure Act.10 Of course, an agency might present a legally valid argument that the rational basis, or non-arbitrary reason, for its action is to generate information necessary to make an informed decision.11 From a policy standpoint, if some entities are subject to regulation and others are not, an agency may well risk artificially distorting a market, depending on what a rule requires or how the study is designed. From an ethical standpoint, if a rule specifically sets up an experiment with the idea that, after the experiment, the agency may change the rule, a concern may exist if some regulated entities will by then have invested heavily in capital-intensive equipment required by the rule. Another concern might be with varying levels of health or safety protection to different members of the public. In the absence of countervailing considerations, legal, policy, and ethical challenges such as these may mean that regulatory agencies should use randomized study methods only under limited circumstances.

    10See 5 U.S.C. 706(2)(A).

    11See Abramowicz et al., supra note 9, at 968.

    If randomized study methods are either unavailable or inadvisable, agencies can use a broad range of opportunities to learn from observational studies. Sometimes these studies are called “natural experiments,” as they seek to draw inferences based on variation that naturally arises over time or across settings in the absence of randomization. For this reason, observational studies lack some of the methodological advantages of randomization. Internal validity is generally a more present concern with observational studies, as other factors may confound a study's results. In other words, other factors may also vary naturally with the intervention under study and affect the observed outcomes. An example of a potential confounding factor is when an intervention is accepted voluntarily; those individuals or entities who voluntarily choose to adopt a new practice may be different from the individuals or entities to whom a mandatory requirement would apply.

    The possibility of such confounding factors should be accounted for when conducting observational studies and can be effectively addressed by using various methods that attempt to mimic statistically what occurs with randomization.12 Assuming the potential threats to internal validity can be addressed, observational studies may in some circumstances lead to results with stronger external validity than randomization. As a general matter, observational studies will also not raise the same legal, policy, or ethical concerns as randomization. With observational studies, the agency is either exploiting natural variation that would have arisen from the rule anyway or allowing for learning from other existing variation, such as state-by-state variation.

    12 Examples of such statistical methods include: difference-in-differences, propensity score matching, instrumental variables, and regression discontinuity. See Coglianese, Measuring Regulatory Performance, supra note 7, at 39-42.

    Opportunities for Learning From Experience Throughout the Rulemaking Lifecycle

    Agencies have opportunities to learn from experience throughout the rulemaking lifecycle. For example, one stage of this cycle occurs before a rule is adopted, as agencies are focused on a problem to be addressed and are considering potential regulatory solutions. Learning from experience at this early stage can help inform an agency of how a rule should be designed. Another stage of the cycle lies with the design of the rule itself. At this stage, as an agency writes a rule, it may design it in a way that can facilitate the type of variation needed to promote learning. Finally, yet another stage arises after the agency has promulgated the rule. At this stage, agencies can consider actions, such as waivers, that can facilitate learning from experience.

    Learning Before Adopting a Rule

    Prior to adopting a rule, an agency should gather information using appropriate methods to help inform the regulatory action it plans to take. An agency may wish to consider randomized or observational methods.

    Randomized Methods. Agencies can analyze existing peer-reviewed studies that incorporate a randomized design. They can also initiate or support new pilot programs that produce randomized study data. For example, if an agency were trying to determine whether a certain default rule related to saving for retirement should be required of all employers offering 401(k) plans, it might, if consistent with applicable law, seek the cooperation of some large employers to see whether they would assign randomly some of their employees to a company policy that requires them to opt into a retirement savings plan and other employees to a company policy that defaults employees into the plan but then allows them to opt out. Such action would be voluntary by the company but random (and effectively involuntary) by the individual. The agency might be able to learn better which default rule will yield greater savings and then use these results to inform a decision about a regulation that would apply to all companies.

    Observational Methods. Agencies can also undertake observational studies prior to creating new rules. An agency might, for example, employ a cross-sectional research design by looking at variation in existing policies at the state level (or perhaps in other countries), taking to heart Justice Louis Brandeis's observation that “a . . . state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.” 13 In fact, Congress has, on numerous occasions, directed agencies to analyze state-by-state variation to help determine optimal policies.14

    13 New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, 285 U.S. 262, 311 (1932) (Brandeis, J., dissenting).

    14See, e.g., Energy Policy Act of 2005, Public Law 109-58, 139, 119 Stat. 594, 647 (2005) (“[T]he Secretary . . . shall conduct a study of State and regional policies that promote cost-effective programs to reduce energy consumption (including energy efficiency programs) that are carried out by utilities that are subject to State regulation.”).

    Designing a Rule To Facilitate Learning

    An agency can write a rule to facilitate future learning or to enable it later to take advantage of variation that stems naturally from the rule.15 Again, an agency may wish to consider randomized or observational methods.

    15 These features can facilitate retrospective review. See Admin. Conf. of the U.S., Recommendation 2014-5, Retrospective Review of Agency Rules, 79 FR 75,114 (Dec. 17, 2014).

    Randomized Methods. When appropriate, an agency might consider structuring a rule to allow for learning through a randomized method.16 This could entail writing a rule in such a way that some entities or people that fall within the agency's regulatory scope are subject to one version of the rule and some are subject to another version of the rule or not subject to the rule at all. The agency's decision as to who falls within each category could be made on a random basis. For example, Michael Abramowicz, Ian Ayres, and Yair Listokin use as an example a test of speed limits in which the posted limits on different roads are randomly increased or decreased.17 Drivers on these roads are informed of the regulatory intervention (i.e., the speed limit on that road) without necessarily knowing that they are participating in a randomized experiment. Although this example falls outside the realm of federal rulemaking, agencies at the federal level may have similar ways to structure the timing or application of a rule using randomization. Assuming any potential methodological, legal, ethical, and policy concerns about randomization can be addressed, there may be some circumstances in which randomization will be an appropriate way for an agency to generate variation that will facilitate learning from experience.

    16See generally Abramowicz et al., supra note 9.

    17See id. at 951.

    Observational Methods. For the reasons discussed above, agencies will generally find it more feasible to use observational approaches than randomized ones. In any rulemaking, there will be variation from observing the world before the rule went into effect and comparing it to the world after the rule has taken effect. Further, in the case of a rule that an agency has rescinded, there will be variation in three conditions: the world before the rule went into effect; The world in which the rule was in effect; and the world after the rule was rescinded. Such variation can present rich opportunities for observational studies, especially when a satisfactory baseline or control group can be identified. Agencies may well decide, at the outset when promulgating a new rule, to commit to setting up a longitudinal study. In doing so, they would need to collect data from regulated parties before the rule goes into effect and then collect data once the rule has taken effect, keeping in mind potential confounders and using statistical techniques to control for them.18

    18See Admin. Conf. of the U.S., Recommendation 2014-5, ¶ 7, Retrospective Review of Agency Rules, 79 FR 75,114, 75,116-17 (Dec. 17, 2014).

    Additionally, agencies may consider deliberately introducing or allowing for some non-random variation in response to a rule by allowing for flexibility by states in the implementation of the rule. For example, variation can occur if the agency sets a federal minimum standard and permits states to exceed that standard. Agencies then can commit to using the resulting state-by-state variation to compare firms separated by a very short distance in neighboring states that have adopted different rules. Using the statistical technique known as regression discontinuity, the agency may be able to approximate randomization (i.e., the “assignment” of firms to a state with one rule versus another would be effectively random).19

    19See Jonah B. Gelbach & Jonathan Klick, Empirical Law and Economics, in The Oxford Handbook of Law and Economics (Francisco Parisi ed., 2017).

    Learning After Promulgating a Rule

    An agency can also use either randomized or observational methods to take advantage of variation once a rule has been put into place.

    Randomized Methods. An agency might choose, only if appropriate, after taking into account all legal, ethical, practical, and fairness considerations, to vary the application of a rule on a randomized basis to learn from variation.20

    20 In 2004, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) varied the application of its “Uptick Rule.” See Order Suspending the Operation of Short Sale Price Provisions for Designated Securities and Time Periods, Exchange Act Release No. 50,104, 69 FR 48,032 (Aug. 6, 2004). Market observers characterized the SEC's conclusion to be that the rule did not substantially increase market efficiency. The SEC rescinded the rule. See Zachary Gubler, Regulatory Experimentation 42 (Nov. 17, 2017) (report to the Admin. Conf. of the U.S.), https://www.acus.gov/report/regulatory-experimentation-final-report.

    Observational Methods. In addition to varying the application of a rule on a randomized basis, agencies can achieve variation once the rule is in place by considering conditional waivers and exemptions. For example, if a regulated entity can present some evidence to suggest that it can meet the purpose of the regulation using an alternative approach, the agency might grant a waiver to that entity with the condition that the entity uses that alternative approach.21 After granting a certain number of waivers, the agency could then test the effectiveness of its rule by comparing entities that have selected different approaches. The agency would likely find it necessary to use statistical techniques to control for potential confounders. Over time, these kinds of studies may provide the agency with retrospective information that justifies amending an existing rule. Fairness, legal, and ethical concerns might be minimized when using conditional waivers if the agency permits all regulated entities to seek a waiver based on presentation of evidence and the agency widely publicizes its waiver availability.22

    21See Admin. Conf. of the U.S., Recommendation 2017-7, Regulatory Waivers and Exemptions, 82 FR ___(approved Dec. 15, 2017); see also Aaron Nielson, Waivers, Exemptions, and Prosecutorial Discretion: An Examination of Agency Non-Enforcement Practices 30 (Nov. 1, 2017) (report to the Admin. Conf. of the U.S.), https://www.acus.gov/report/regulatory-waivers-and-exemptions-final-report.

    22See Admin. Conf. of the U.S., Recommendation 2017-7, Regulatory Waivers and Exemptions, 82 FR ___(approved Dec. 15, 2017).

    Table 1 summarizes the main methods of learning discussed in the preceding sections.

    Table 1—Examples of Methods for Regulatory Learning Randomized Observational Learning before adopting a rule • Randomized voluntary pilot programs • Pilot programs where intervention is not assigned randomly (such as with voluntary programs). • Studies that rely on randomization • Analysis of regulatory approaches in different jurisdictions, including countries. Designing a rule to facilitate learning • Randomized assignment of different regulatory obligations • Rules that allow for state implementation and variation (e.g., cooperative federalism). • Analysis of temporal differences (i.e., “before and after” comparisons). • Creation of regulatory thresholds that will facilitate later comparisons of entities above/below a threshold. Learning after promulgating a rule • Randomized application of rules in appropriate circumstances • Granting of waivers or exemptions that allow for the adoption of alternative approaches that can be studied. Common Issues in Learning From Experience

    As noted, each stage of the rulemaking lifecycle allows agencies to learn from variation. Agencies can learn from both randomized and observational methods, keeping in mind the virtues and challenges of each. Whichever method an agency chooses, at least two additional issues should be considered: Data collection and public input.

    Data Collection

    Collecting data is essential. Only with information can agencies hope to learn from analyzing regulations. When collecting data, though, agencies must be mindful of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), which can constrain their ability to send a survey instrument to ten or more parties.23 As part of agencies' data collection efforts, it may be helpful for agencies to work closely with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to ensure proper use of available flexibility in accordance with the PRA and the Office of Management and Budget's implementing regulations.

    23See 44 U.S.C. 3502(3)(A)(i).

    Public Input

    Best practices generally call for some opportunity for the public to learn about and comment on the design and results of studies an agency undertakes. For pre-rule learning, the notice-and-comment process provides the required minimum process by which agencies should engage the public, but there are other methods of public input that might be useful, even at the pre-rule stage, for public input beyond just notice and comment.24 If an agency is planning to revise a rule, a subsequent notice-and-comment rulemaking will provide an additional opportunity for public input. If an initial rule provides for its expiration on a certain date, that may also help ensure that the public has the opportunity to offer input on a future notice-and-comment rulemaking to keep or modify the rule. Even rules not subject to notice-and-comment procedures can benefit from subsequent opportunities for public comment.25

    24See, e.g., Admin. Conf. of the U.S., Recommendation 2017-2, Negotiated Rulemaking and Other Options for Public Engagement, 82 FR 31,039 (July 5, 2017); Admin. Conf. of the U.S., Recommendation 2013-5, Social Media in Rulemaking, 78 FR 76,269 (Dec. 17, 2013).

    25 Admin. Conf. of the U.S., Recommendation 95-4, Procedures for Noncontroversial and Expedited Rulemaking, 60 FR 43,110 (Nov. 8, 1995).

    But even in situations in which the agency does not undertake a new notice-and-comment rulemaking or otherwise leaves a rule “as is,” the agency may benefit from outside input on the systematic learning effort it has undertaken, whether through a peer review process, advisory committees, public hearings or meetings, or just a supplemental solicitation of comments. The decision as to which approach to use to solicit public input will turn on numerous factors, including resource constraints.26

    26See Gubler, supra note 20, at 54.

    Recommendation

    1. Agencies should seek opportunities to collect data to learn the most effective way to design their rules and analyze the effects of their rules. They can learn from experience at one or more stages of the rulemaking process, from pre-rule analysis to retrospective review. Before adopting a rule, agencies can learn from pilot projects, demonstrations, and flexibility among states or regulated entities. After promulgating a rule, agencies may, where legally permissible, use waivers and exemptions to learn. As agencies seek out such learning opportunities, they should give due regard for legal, ethical, practical, and fairness considerations.

    2. When agencies analyze variation to learn more about the effectiveness of policy options, they should make every effort to collect data and conduct reliable analysis. Only where appropriate, agencies should consider creating variation through a randomized control trial.

    3. To inform the learning process, agencies should consider soliciting public input at various points in the rulemaking lifecycle. This can include input on the design and results of any learning process. In addition to the public input required under 5 U.S.C. 553(c), agencies should consider, as time and resources permit, the use of supplemental requests for public comment, peer review, advisory committee deliberation, or public hearings or meetings.

    4. When gathering data, agencies and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) should seek to use flexibilities within the Paperwork Reduction Act and OMB's implementing regulations (e.g., a streamlined comment period for collections associated with proposed rules) when permissible and appropriate.

    5. Agencies, as appropriate, should seek legal authority from Congress to take advantage of this recommendation.

    Administrative Conference Recommendation 2017-7 Regulatory Waivers and Exemptions Adopted December 15, 2017

    Individuals and entities regulated by federal agencies must adhere to program-specific requirements prescribed by statute or regulation. Sometimes, however, agencies prospectively excuse individuals or entities from statutory or regulatory requirements through waivers or exemptions.1 The authority to waive or exempt regulated parties from specific legal requirements affords agencies much-needed flexibility to respond to situations in which generally applicable laws are a poor fit for a given situation.2 Emergencies or other unforeseen circumstances may also render compliance with statutory or regulatory requirements impossible or impracticable.3 In such instances, requiring strict adherence to legal requirements may not be desirable.4 This is particularly true when the recipient of a waiver or exemption demonstrates that it intends to engage in conduct that will otherwise further the agency's legitimate goals.

    1 Agencies may also retrospectively decline to bring an enforcement action once a legal violation has already occurred. This recommendation, however, is confined to the agency practice of prospectively waiving or exempting regulated parties from legal requirements.

    2 The terms “waiver” and “exemption” carry various meanings in agency practice. For the purposes of this recommendation, when Congress has expressly authorized an agency to excuse a regulated party from a legal requirement, the term “waiver” is used. If an agency is implicitly authorized by Congress to excuse a regulated party from a legal requirement, “exemption” is used. These definitions stem from the report underlying this recommendation. See Aaron L. Nielson, Waivers, Exemptions, and Prosecutorial Discretion: An Examination of Agency Nonenforcement Practices (Nov. 1, 2017) (report to the Admin. Conf. of the U.S.), https://acus.gov/report/regulatory-waivers-and-exemptions-final-report. Some agencies may also derive authority to grant waivers or exemptions from presidential delegations under Article II of the Constitution. That category of waivers and exemptions is outside the scope of this recommendation.

    3 See, for example, the Stafford Act, 42 U.S.C. 5141, authorizing any federal agency charged with the administration of a federal assistance program in a presidentially declared major disaster to modify or waive administrative conditions for assistance if requested to do so by state or local authorities.

    4 Of course, agencies cannot issue waivers or exemptions unless authorized by law, and even when authorized by law, agencies must not issue them in an arbitrary fashion.

    Yet, waiving or exempting a regulated party from a statutory or regulatory requirement also raises important questions about predictability, fairness, and protection of the public. For instance, when an agency decides to waive legal requirements for some but not all regulated parties, the decision to grant a waiver or exemption may create the appearance—or perhaps even reality—of irregularity, bias, or unfairness. Waiving or exempting a regulated party from a legal requirement, therefore, demands that agencies simultaneously consider regulatory flexibility, on the one hand, and consistent, non-arbitrary administration of the law, on the other.

    Agencies' authority to waive or exempt regulated parties from legal requirements may also intersect with other principles of administrative law. When agencies frequently issue waivers or exemptions because a regulation is outdated or ineffective, for example, amending or rescinding the regulation may be more appropriate in some circumstances, despite the necessary resource costs.5 Such revisions can enhance efficiency and transparency. The requisite notice-and-comment procedures can also foster public participation and informed decisionmaking.

    5See Admin. Conf. of the U.S., Recommendation 2014-5, Retrospective Review of Agency Rules, ¶ 5, 79 FR 75,114, 75,116 (Dec. 17, 2014) (identifying petitions from stakeholder groups and members of the public and poor compliance rates as factors to consider in identifying regulations that may benefit from amendment or rescission).

    The following recommendations offer best practices and factors for agencies to consider regarding their waiver and exemption practices and procedures. They are not intended to disturb or otherwise limit agencies' broad discretion to elect how to best use their limited resources.

    Recommendation Scope of Waiver and Exemption Authority

    1. When permitted by law, agencies should consider creating mechanisms that would allow regulated parties to apply for waivers or exemptions by demonstrating conduct that will achieve the same purpose as full compliance with the relevant statutory or regulatory requirement.

    2. When consistent with the statutory scheme, agencies should endeavor to draft regulations so that waivers and exemptions will not be routinely necessary. When an agency has approved a large number of similar waivers or exemptions, the agency should consider revising the regulation accordingly. If eliminating the need for waivers or exemptions requires statutory reform, Congress should consider appropriate legislation.

    Exercising Waiver or Exemption Authority

    3. Agencies should endeavor, to the extent practicable, to establish standards and procedures for seeking and approving waivers and exemptions.

    4. Agencies should apply the same treatment to similarly situated parties when approving waivers and exemptions, absent extenuating circumstances.

    5. Agencies should clearly announce the duration, even if indefinite, over which a waiver or exemption extends.

    Transparency and Public Input in Seeking and Approving Waivers and Exemptions

    6. Agencies should consider soliciting public comments before establishing standards and procedures for seeking and approving waivers and exemptions.

    7. Agencies should endeavor, to the extent practicable, to make standards and procedures for seeking and approving waivers and exemptions available to the public.

    8. Agencies should consider soliciting public comments before approving waivers or exemptions.

    9. Agencies should provide written explanations for individual waiver or exemption decisions and make them publicly available to the extent practicable and consistent with legal or policy concerns, such as privacy. Further, agencies should consider providing written explanations of representative instances to help illustrate the types of activities likely to qualify for a waiver or exemption.

    [FR Doc. 2017-28124 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6110-01-P
    AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT Notice of January 18, 2018 Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid Meeting AGENCY:

    United States Agency for International Development.

    ACTION:

    Notice of meeting.

    Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, notice is hereby given of a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA).

    Date: Thursday, January 18, 2018.

    Time: 2:00-4:00 p.m.

    Location: Horizon Ballroom, The Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington DC 20004.

    Purpose

    The Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA) brings together USAID and private voluntary organization officials, representatives from universities, international nongovernment organizations, U.S. businesses, and government, multilateral, and private organizations to foster understanding, communication, and cooperation in the area of foreign aid.

    Agenda

    USAID leadership will make opening remarks, followed by a presentation and discussion on the principles, benchmarks, and programs that the Agency is considering to support countries along their development journey to self-reliance and long-term prosperity. The full meeting agenda will be forthcoming on the ACVFA website at http://www.usaid.gov/who-we-are/organization/advisory-committee.

    Stakeholders

    The meeting is free and open to the public. Persons wishing to attend should register online at http://www.usaid.gov/who-we-are/organization/advisory-committee.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jessica Klein, [email protected] or 202-712-5856.

    Dated: December 18, 2017. Jessica Klein, Acting Executive Director, U.S. Agency for International Development.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28152 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Notice of Request for Extension or Renewal of a Currently Approved Information Collection AGENCY:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the intention of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (OASCR) to request a renewal of a currently approved information collection. OASCR will use the information collected to collect the race, ethnicity, and gender (REG) of all program applicants and participants by county and State.

    DATES:

    Comments on this notice must be received by February 27, 2018 to be assured of consideration.

    ADDRESSES:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights/Office of Compliance, Policy, and Training invites interested persons to submit comments on this notice. Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:

    ☐ Federal eRulemaking Portal: This website provides the ability to type short comments directly into the comment field on this web page or attach a file for lengthier comments. Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions at that site for submitting comments.

    ☐ Mail, including CD-ROMs, etc.: Send to Docket Clerk, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-3700, Mailstop 9401.

    ☐ Hand- or courier-delivered submittals: Deliver to 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-3700, Mailstop 9401.

    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights/Office of Compliance, Policy, and Training, Docket No. 0503-0022, Comments received in response to this docket will be made available for public inspection and posted without change, including any personal information, to http://www.regulations.gov.

    Docket: For access to background documents or comments received, go to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights/Office of Compliance, Policy, and Training, Docket Room at 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-3700, Mailstop 9401, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Contact Anna G. Stroman, Deputy Director, Office of Compliance, Policy, and Training, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250, (202) 205-5953 or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: 7 CFR part 15 subpart D—Data Collection Requirement.

    OMB Number: OMB No. 0503-0022.

    Expiration Date of Approval: January 31, 2018.

    Type of Request: Extension or renewal of the USDA 7 CFR part 15 subpart D—Data Collection Requirement Form.

    Abstract: Currently, Section 14006 of the 2008 Farm Bill requires the Secretary of Agriculture to annually compile for each county and State in the United States program application and participation rate data regarding socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers for each program of USDA that serves agricultural producers or landowners. This requirement only applies to FSA, NRCS, RD, and RMA. These four agencies use the voluntary data collection form approved by OMB that is attached as a cover page to the application forms for programs that provide services to agriculture producers, farmers and ranchers. In addition, all remaining USDA agencies with conducted programs (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and Foreign Agricultural Service) were required to develop a strategy for collecting voluntary REG data from individuals for their respective federally conducted programs by utilizing the same OMB approved form. Applicants and program participants of these programs and activities provide this data on a voluntary basis. These strategies will be reviewed and approved by OASCR, who will also provide oversight and monitoring of the collection of this data through its compliance activities.

    If the REG data is not collected on applicants and participants in USDA federally conducted programs, USDA will not be able to collect and report demographic data on its applicants and program participants. In addition, USDA would not be able to determine if programs and services are reaching and meeting the needs of the public, beneficiaries, partners, and other stakeholders based on demographic data.

    Failure to collect this information will also have a negative impact on USDA's outreach and compliance activities. This could result in an inability to equitably deliver programs and services to applicants and producers, and ultimately an inability to hold the agencies accountable.

    Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average one hour per response.

    Respondents: Producers, applicants, and USDA customers.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 1,190.

    Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 1.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 68 hours.

    Comments are invited on: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments may be sent to Anna G. Stroman, Deputy Director, Office of Compliance, Policy, and Training, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights. All comments received will be available for public inspection during regular business hours at the same address.

    All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval. All comments will become a matter of public record.

    Winona Lake Scott, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.
    [FR Doc. 2017-27448 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Amendment of the Land Management Plan for Santa Fe National Forest AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of the opportunity to object to the Forest Plan Amendment for Geothermal Leasing on the Santa Fe National Forest prior to approval of Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Santa Fe National Forest Geothermal Leasing Project.

    SUMMARY:

    The Santa Fe National Forest, located in New Mexico, prepared a significant, programmatic forest plan amendment to allow geothermal leasing to accompany its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and a Draft Record of Decision (ROD) for Geothermal Leasing. This notice is to inform the public that a 60-day period is being initiated where individuals or entities with specific concerns on the Santa Fe's Forest Plan Amendment for Geothermal Leasing may file an objection for a Forest Service review prior to the approval of the Record of Decision for Geothermal Leasing.

    DATES:

    The Santa Fe's Forest Plan Amendment for Geothermal Leasing, FEIS, Draft ROD, and other supporting information, will be available for review at http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/santafe/landmanagement/projects starting December 29, 2017.

    A legal notice of the initiation of the 60-day objection period is also being published in the Santa Fe National Forest's newspaper of record, which is the Albuquerque Journal. The date of the publication of the legal notice in the Albuquerque Journal will determine the actual date of initiation of the 60-day objection period. A copy of the legal notice that is published in the Albuquerque Journal will be posted on the website listed above.

    ADDRESSES:

    Copies of the Santa Fe's Forest Plan Amendment for Geothermal Leasing on Santa Fe National Forest, the FEIS, and the Draft ROD can be obtained online at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/santafe/landmanagement/projects; or by visiting or mailing a request to the Forest Supervisor's Office at the following location:

    • 11 Forest Lane, Santa Fe, NM 87508 (Telephone: 505-438-5443).

    Objections must be submitted to the Reviewing Officer:

    • Regional Forester, USDA-Forest Service, ATTN: Objection Reviewing Officer, 333 Broadway Blvd. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87102 (Fax: 505-842-3173).

    Objections may be submitted electronically at [email protected]

    Note that the office hours for submitting a hand-delivered objection are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays. Electronic objections must be submitted in a commonly used format such as an email message, plain text (.txt), rich text format (.rtf) or Microsoft Word® (.doc or .docx).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Larry Gore, Geologist, Santa Fe National Forest at 575-289-3264, ext. 2149. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Forest Service, Southwestern Region, Santa Fe National Forest, prepared a Forest Plan Amendment for Geothermal Leasing. This notice is to inform the public that a 60-day period is being initiated where individuals or entities with specific concerns on the Santa Fe's Forest Plan Amendment for Geothermal Leasing may file an objection for a Forest Service review prior to the approval of the ROD for the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Geothermal Leasing Project.

    The publication date of the legal notice in the Santa Fe National Forest's newspaper of record, the Albuquerque Journal, will initiate the 60-day objection period and is the exclusive means for calculating the time to file an objection (36 CFR 219.16 and 219.52). An electronic scan of the notice with the publication date will be posted on the Santa Fe National Forest's website at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/santafe/landmanagement/projects.

    The objection process under 36 CFR 219 subpart B, provides an opportunity for members of the public who have participated in the planning process for the Forest Plan Amendment for Geothermal Leasing on Santa Fe National Forest to have any unresolved concerns reviewed by the Forest Service prior to a final decision by the Responsible Official. Only those who provided substantive formal comments during opportunities for public comment during the planning process are eligible to file an objection. Regulations at 36 CFR 219.62 define substantive formal comments as:

    “Written comments submitted to, or oral comments recorded by, the responsible official or his designee during an opportunity for public participation provided during the planning process, and attributed to the individual or entity providing them. Comments are considered substantive when they are within the scope of the proposal, are specific to the proposal, have a direct relationship to the proposal, and include supporting reasons for the responsible official to consider.”

    How To File an Objection

    The Forest Service will accept mailed, emailed, faxed, and hand-delivered objections concerning the Santa Fe's Forest Plan Amendment for Geothermal Leasing for 60 calendar days following the date of the publication of the legal notice of this objection period in the newspaper of record, the Albuquerque Journal. It is the responsibility of the objector to ensure that the Reviewing Officer receives the objection in a timely manner. The regulations prohibit extending the length of the objection filing period.

    Objections must be submitted to the Reviewing Officer, who will be the Regional Forester for the Southwestern Region, at the address shown in the ADDRESSES section of this notice.

    An objection must include the following (36 CFR 219.54(c)):

    (1) The objector's name and address along with a telephone number or email address if available—in cases where no identifiable name is attached to an objection, the Forest Service will attempt to verify the identity of the objector to confirm objection eligibility;

    (2) Signature or other verification of authorship upon request (a scanned signature for electronic mail may be filed with the objection);

    (3) Identification of the lead objector, when multiple names are listed on an objection. The Forest Service will communicate to all parties to an objection through the lead objector. Verification of the identity of the lead objector must also be provided if requested;

    (4) The name of the forest plan amendment being objected to, and the name and title of the Responsible Official;

    (5) A statement of the issues and/or parts of the forest plan amendment to which the objection applies;

    (6) A concise statement explaining the objection and suggesting how the proposed plan decision may be improved. If the objector believes that the forest plan amendment is inconsistent with law, regulation, or policy, an explanation should be included;

    (7) A statement that demonstrates the link between the objector's prior substantive formal comments and the content of the objection, unless the objection concerns an issue that arose after the opportunities for formal comment; and

    (8) All documents referenced in the objection (a bibliography is not sufficient), except that the following need not be provided:

    a. All or any part of a Federal law or regulation,

    b. Forest Service Directive System documents and land management plans or other published Forest Service documents,

    c. Documents referenced by the Forest Service in the planning documentation related to the proposal subject to objection, and

    d. Formal comments previously provided to the Forest Service by the objector during the plan amendment comment period.

    Responsible Official

    The responsible official for the Santa Fe's Forest Plan Amendment for Geothermal Leasing on the Santa Fe National Forest is James Melonas, Forest Supervisor, Santa Fe National Forest, 11 Forest Lane, Santa Fe, NM, 87508.

    Dated: December 15, 2017. Glenn P. Casamassa, Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28134 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of Industry and Security Order Renewing Order Temporarily Denying Export Privileges Mahan Airways, Mahan Tower, No. 21, Azadegan St., M.A. Jenah Exp. Way, Tehran, Iran; Pejman Mahmood Kosarayanifard, a/k/a Kosarian Fard, P.O. Box 52404, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Mahmoud Amini, G#22 Dubai Airport Free Zone, P.O. Box 393754, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and P.O. Box 52404, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Mohamed Abdulla Alqaz Building, Al Maktoum Street, Al Rigga, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Kerman Aviation, a/k/a GIE Kerman Aviation, 42 Avenue Montaigne 75008, Paris, France; Sirjanco Trading LLC, P.O. Box 8709, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Mahan Air General Trading LLC, 19th Floor Al Moosa Tower One, Sheik Zayed Road, Dubai 40594, United Arab Emirates; Mehdi Bahrami, Mahan Airways—Istanbul Office, Cumhuriye Cad. Sibil Apt No: 101 D:6, 34374 Emadad, Sisli Istanbul, Turkey; Al Naser Airlines, a/k/a al-Naser Airlines, a/k/a Al Naser Wings Airline, a/k/a Alnaser Airlines and Air Freight Ltd., Home 46, Al-Karrada, Babil Region, District 929, St 21 Beside Al Jadirya Private Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq; and Al Amirat Street, Section 309, St. 3/H.20 Al Mansour, Baghdad, Iraq; and P.O. Box 28360, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and P.O. Box 911399, Amman 11191, Jordan; Ali Abdullah Alhay, a/k/a Ali Alhay, a/k/a Ali Abdullah Ahmed Alhay, Home 46, Al-Karrada, Babil Region, District 929, St 21, Beside Al Jadirya Private Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq; and Anak Street, Qatif, Saudi Arabia 61177; Bahar Safwa General Trading, PO Box 113212 Citadel Tower, Floor-5, Office #504, Business Bay, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and PO Box 8709, Citadel Tower, Business Bay, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Sky Blue Bird Group, a/k/a Sky Blue Bird Aviation, a/k/a Sky Blue Bird Ltd, a/k/a Sky Blue Bird FZC, P.O. Box 16111, Ras Al Khaimah Trade Zone, United Arab Emirates; Issam Shammout, a/k/a Muhammad Isam Muhammad Anwar Nur Shammout, a/k/a Issam Anwar, Philips Building, 4th Floor, Al Fardous Street, Damascus, Syria; and Al Kolaa, Beirut, Lebanon 151515; and 17-18 Margaret Street, 4th Floor, London, W1W 8RP, United Kingdom; and Cumhuriyet Mah. Kavakli San St. Fulya, Cad. Hazar Sok. No.14/A Silivri, Istanbul, Turkey Order Renewing Order Temporarily Denying Export Privileges

    Pursuant to Section 766.24 of the Export Administration Regulations, 15 CFR parts 730-774 (2016) (“EAR” or “the Regulations”),1 I hereby grant the request of the Office of Export Enforcement (“OEE”) to renew the temporary denial order issued in this matter on June 27, 2017, as recently modified on November 16, 2017. I find that renewal of this order, as recently modified, is necessary in the public interest to prevent an imminent violation of the EAR. I also find it necessary in connection with this renewal to add “Al Naser Wings Airline” as an alias being used by respondent Al Naser Airlines.

    1 The Regulations, currently codified at 15 CFR parts 730-774 (2017), originally issued pursuant to the Export Administration Act of 1979 (“EAA” or “the Act”). Since August 21, 2001, the Act has been in lapse and the President, through Executive Order 13222 of August 17, 2001 (3 CFR, 2001 Comp. 783 (2002)), which has been extended by successive Presidential Notices, the most recent being that of August 15, 2017 (82 FR 39,005 (Aug. 16, 2017)) has continued the Regulations in effect under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701, et seq. (2012)).

    I. Procedural History

    On March 17, 2008, Darryl W. Jackson, the then-Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement (“Assistant Secretary”), signed an order denying Mahan Airways' export privileges for a period of 180 days on the ground that issuance of the order was necessary in the public interest to prevent an imminent violation of the Regulations. The order also named as denied persons Blue Airways, of Yerevan, Armenia (“Blue Airways of Armenia”), as well as the “Balli Group Respondents,” namely, Balli Group PLC, Balli Aviation, Balli Holdings, Vahid Alaghband, Hassan Alaghband, Blue Sky One Ltd., Blue Sky Two Ltd., Blue Sky Three Ltd., Blue Sky Four Ltd., Blue Sky Five Ltd., and Blue Sky Six Ltd., all of the United Kingdom. The order was issued ex parte pursuant to Section 766.24(a) of the Regulations, and went into effect on March 21, 2008, the date it was published in the Federal Register.

    This temporary denial order (“TDO”) was renewed in accordance with Section 766.24(d) of the Regulations. 2 Subsequent renewals also have issued pursuant to Section 766.24(d), including most recently on June 27, 2017.3 Some of the renewal orders and the modification orders that have issued between renewals have added certain parties as respondents or as related persons, or effected the removal of certain parties.4

    2 Section 766.24(d) provides that BIS may seek renewal of a temporary denial order for additional 180-day renewal periods, if it believes that renewal is necessary in the public interest to prevent an imminent violation. Renewal requests are to be made in writing no later than 20 days before the scheduled expiration date of a temporary denial order. Renewal requests may include discussion of any additional or changed circumstances, and may seek appropriate modifications to the order, including the addition of parties as respondents or related persons, or the removal of parties previously added as respondents or related persons. BIS is not required to seek renewal as to all parties, and a removal of a party can be effected if, without more, BIS does not seek renewal as to that party. Any party included or added to a temporary denial order as a respondent may oppose a renewal request as set forth in Section 766.24(d). Parties included or added as related persons can at any time appeal their inclusion as a related person, but cannot challenge the underlying temporary denial order, either as initially issued or subsequently renewed, and cannot oppose a renewal request. See also note 4, infra.

    3 The June 27, 2017 renewal order was effective upon issuance and published in the Federal Register on July 3, 2017 (82 FR 30,823). Prior renewal orders issued on September 17, 2008, March 16, 2009, September 11, 2009, March 9, 2010, September 3, 2010, February 25, 2011, August 24, 2011, February 15, 2012, August 9, 2012, February 4, 2013, July 31, 2013, January 24, 2014, July 22, 2014, January 16, 2015, July 13, 2015, January 7, 2016, July 7, 2016, and December 30, 2016, respectively. The August 24, 2011 renewal followed the issuance of a modification order that issued on July 1, 2011, to add Zarand Aviation as a respondent. The July 13, 2015 renewal followed a modification order that issued May 21, 2015, and added Al Naser Airlines, Ali Abdullah Alhay, and Bahar Safwa General Trading as respondents. Each of the renewal orders and each of the modification orders referenced in this footnote or elsewhere in this order has been published in the Federal Register.

    4 Pursuant to Sections 766.23 and 766.24(c) of the Regulations, any person, firm, corporation, or business organization related to a denied person by affiliation, ownership, control, or position of responsibility in the conduct of trade or related services may be added as a “related person” to a temporary denial order to prevent evasion of the order.

    The September 11, 2009 renewal order continued the denial order as to Mahan Airways, but not as to the Balli Group Respondents or Blue Airways of Armenia.5 As part of the February 25, 2011 renewal order, Pejman Mahmood Kosarayanifard (a/k/a Kosarian Fard), Mahmoud Amini, and Gatewick LLC (a/k/a Gatewick Freight and Cargo Services, a/k/a Gatewick Aviation Services) were added as related persons to prevent evasion of the TDO.6 A modification order issued on July 1, 2011, adding Zarand Aviation as a respondent in order to prevent an imminent violation.7

    5 Balli Group PLC and Balli Aviation settled proposed BIS administrative charges as part of a settlement agreement that was approved by a settlement order issued on February 5, 2010. The sanctions imposed pursuant to that settlement and order included, inter alia, a $15 million civil penalty and a requirement to conduct five external audits and submit related audit reports. The Balli Group Respondents also settled related charges with the Department of Justice and the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

    6See note 4, supra, concerning the addition of related persons to a temporary denial order. Kosarian Fard and Mahmoud Amini remain parties to the TDO. On August 13, 2014, BIS and Gatewick resolved administrative charges against Gatewick, including a charge for acting contrary to the terms of a BIS denial order (15 CFR 764.2(k)). In addition to the payment of a civil penalty, the settlement includes a seven-year denial order. The first two years of the denial period were active, with the remaining five years suspended conditioned upon Gatewick's full and timely payment of the civil penalty and its compliance with the Regulations during the seven-year denial order period. This denial order, in effect, superseded the TDO as to Gatewick, which was not included as part of the January 16, 2015 renewal order. The Gatewick LLC Final Order was published in the Federal Register on August 20, 2014. See 79 FR 49283 (Aug. 20, 2014).

    7 Zarand Aviation's export privileges remained denied until July 22, 2014, when it was not included as part of the renewal order issued on that date.

    As part of the August 24, 2011 renewal, Kerman Aviation, Sirjanco Trading LLC, and Ali Eslamian were added as related persons. Mahan Air General Trading LLC, Equipco (UK) Ltd., and Skyco (UK) Ltd. were added as related persons by a modification order issued on April 9, 2012. Mehdi Bahrami was added as a related person as part of the February 4, 2013 renewal order.

    On May 21, 2015, a modification order issued adding Al Naser Airlines, Ali Abdullah Alhay, and Bahar Safwa General Trading as respondents. As detailed in that order and discussed further infra, these respondents were added to the TDO based upon evidence that they were acting together to, inter alia, obtain aircraft subject to the Regulations for export or reexport to Mahan in violation of the Regulations and the TDO. Sky Blue Bird Group and its chief executive officer, Issam Shammout, were added as related persons as part of the July 13, 2015 renewal order.8

    8 The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) designated Sky Blue Bird and Issam Shammout as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (“SDGTs”) on May 21, 2015, pursuant to Executive Order 13324, for “providing support to Iran's Mahan Air.” See 80 FR 30762 (May 29, 2015).

    The June 27, 2017 renewal order continued the denial of the export privileges of Mahan Airways, Pejman Mahmood Kosarayanifard, Mahmoud Amini, Kerman Aviation, Sirjanco Trading LLC, Mahan Air General Trading LLC, Mehdi Bahrami, Al Naser Airlines, Ali Abdullah Alhay, Bahar Safwa General Trading, Sky Blue Bird Group, and Issam Shammout, as well as Ali Eslamian, Equipco (UK) Ltd., and Skyco (UK) Ltd. On November 16, 2017, a modification order issued to remove Eslamian, Equipco, and Skyco following a request by OEE for their removal.9

    9 The November 16, 2017 modification was published in the Federal Register on December 4, 2017. See 82 FR 57,203 (Dec. 4, 2017). On September 28, 2017, BIS and Ali Eslamian resolved an administrative charge for acting contrary to the terms of the denial order (15 CFR 764.2(k)) that was based upon Eslamian's violation of the TDO after his addition to the TDO on August 24, 2011. Equipco (UK) Ltd. and Skyco (UK) Ltd., two companies owned and operated by Eslamian, also were parties to settlement agreement and were added to the settlement order as related persons. In addition to other sanctions, the settlement provides that Eslamian, Equipco, and Skyco shall be subject to a conditionally-suspended denial order for a period of four years from the date of the settlement order.

    On November 28, 2017, BIS, through OEE, submitted a written request for renewal of the TDO that issued on June 27, 2017, as modified on November 16, 2017. The written request was made more than 20 days before the TDO's scheduled expiration. Notice of the renewal request was provided to Mahan Airways, Al Naser Airlines, Ali Abdullah Alhay, and Bahar Safwa General Trading in accordance with Sections 766.5 and 766.24(d) of the Regulations. No opposition to the renewal of the TDO has been received. Furthermore, no appeal of the related person determinations made as part of the September 3, 2010, February 25, 2011, August 24, 2011, April 9, 2012, February 4, 2013, and July 13, 2015 renewal or modification orders has been made by Kosarian Fard, Mahmoud Amini, Kerman Aviation, Sirjanco Trading LLC, Mahan Air General Trading LLC, Mehdi Bahrami, Sky Blue Bird Group, or Issam Shammout.10

    10 A party named or added as a related person may not oppose the issuance or renewal of the underlying temporary denial order, but may file an appeal of the related person determination in accordance with Section 766.23(c). See also note 2, supra.

    II. Renewal of the TDO A. Legal Standard

    Pursuant to Section 766.24, BIS may issue or renew an order temporarily denying a respondent's export privileges upon a showing that the order is necessary in the public interest to prevent an “imminent violation” of the Regulations. 15 CFR 766.24(b)(1) and 766.24(d). “A violation may be `imminent' either in time or degree of likelihood.” 15 CFR 766.24(b)(3). BIS may show “either that a violation is about to occur, or that the general circumstances of the matter under investigation or case under criminal or administrative charges demonstrate a likelihood of future violations.” Id. As to the likelihood of future violations, BIS may show that the violation under investigation or charge “is significant, deliberate, covert and/or likely to occur again, rather than technical or negligent [.]” Id. A “lack of information establishing the precise time a violation may occur does not preclude a finding that a violation is imminent, so long as there is sufficient reason to believe the likelihood of a violation.” Id.

    B. The TDO and BIS's Request for Renewal

    OEE's request for renewal is based upon the facts underlying the issuance of the initial TDO, and the renewal and modification orders subsequently issued in this matter, including the May 21, 2015 modification order and the renewal order issued on June 27, 2017, and the evidence developed over the course of this investigation, which indicate a blatant disregard of U.S. export controls and the TDO. The initial TDO was issued as a result of evidence that showed that Mahan Airways and other parties engaged in conduct prohibited by the EAR by knowingly re-exporting to Iran three U.S.-origin aircraft, specifically Boeing 747s (“Aircraft 1-3”), items subject to the EAR and classified under Export Control Classification Number (“ECCN”) 9A991.b, without the required U.S. Government authorization. Further evidence submitted by BIS indicated that Mahan Airways was involved in the attempted re-export of three additional U.S.-origin Boeing 747s (“Aircraft 4-6”) to Iran.

    As discussed in the September 17, 2008 renewal order, evidence presented by BIS indicated that Aircraft 1-3 continued to be flown on Mahan Airways' routes after issuance of the TDO, in violation of the Regulations and the TDO itself.11 It also showed that Aircraft 1-3 had been flown in further violation of the Regulations and the TDO on the routes of Iran Air, an Iranian Government airline. Moreover, as discussed in the March 16, 2009, September 11, 2009 and March 9, 2010 renewal orders, Mahan Airways registered Aircraft 1-3 in Iran, obtained Iranian tail numbers for them (EP-MNA, EP-MNB, and EP-MNE, respectively), and continued to operate at least two of them in violation of the Regulations and the TDO,12 while also committing an additional knowing and willful violation when it negotiated for and acquired an additional U.S.-origin aircraft. The additional acquired aircraft was an MD-82 aircraft, which subsequently was painted in Mahan Airways' livery and flown on multiple Mahan Airways' routes under tail number TC-TUA.

    11 Engaging in conduct prohibited by a denial order violates the Regulations. 15 CFR 764.2(a) and (k).

    12 The third Boeing 747 appeared to have undergone significant service maintenance and may not have been operational at the time of the March 9, 2010 renewal order.

    The March 9, 2010 renewal order also noted that a court in the United Kingdom (“U.K.”) had found Mahan Airways in contempt of court on February 1, 2010, for failing to comply with that court's December 21, 2009 and January 12, 2010 orders compelling Mahan Airways to remove the Boeing 747s from Iran and ground them in the Netherlands. Mahan Airways and the Balli Group Respondents had been litigating before the U.K. court concerning ownership and control of Aircraft 1-3. In a letter to the U.K. court dated January 12, 2010, Mahan Airways' Chairman indicated, inter alia, that Mahan Airways opposes U.S. Government actions against Iran, that it continued to operate the aircraft on its routes in and out of Tehran (and had 158,000 “forward bookings” for these aircraft), and that it wished to continue to do so and would pay damages if required by that court, rather than ground the aircraft.

    The September 3, 2010 renewal order discussed the fact that Mahan Airways' violations of the TDO extended beyond operating U.S.-origin aircraft and attempting to acquire additional U.S.-origin aircraft. In February 2009, while subject to the TDO, Mahan Airways participated in the export of computer motherboards, items subject to the Regulations and designated as EAR99, from the United States to Iran, via the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”), in violation of both the TDO and the Regulations, by transporting and/or forwarding the computer motherboards from the UAE to Iran. Mahan Airways' violations were facilitated by Gatewick LLC, which not only participated in the transaction, but also has stated to BIS that it acted as Mahan Airways' sole booking agent for cargo and freight forwarding services in the UAE.

    Moreover, in a January 24, 2011 filing in the U.K. court, Mahan Airways asserted that Aircraft 1-3 were not being used, but stated in pertinent part that the aircraft were being maintained in Iran especially “in an airworthy condition” and that, depending on the outcome of its U.K. court appeal, the aircraft “could immediately go back into service . . . on international routes into and out of Iran.” Mahan Airways' January 24, 2011 submission to U.K. Court of Appeal, at p. 25, ¶¶ 108, 110. This clearly stated intent, both on its own and in conjunction with Mahan Airways' prior misconduct and statements, demonstrated the need to renew the TDO in order to prevent imminent future violations. Two of these three 747s subsequently were removed from Iran and are no longer in Mahan Airways' possession. The third of these 747s, with Manufacturer's Serial Number (“MSN”) 23480 and Iranian tail number EP-MNE, remained in Iran under Mahan's control. Pursuant to Executive Order 13324, it was designated a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (“SDGT”) by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) on September 19, 2012.13 Furthermore, as discussed in the February 4, 2013 Order, open source information indicated that this 747, painted in the livery and logo of Mahan Airways, had been flown between Iran and Syria, and was suspected of ferrying weapons and/or other equipment to the Syrian Government from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Open source information showed that this aircraft had flown from Iran to Syria as recently as June 30, 2013, and continues to show that it remains in active operation in Mahan Airways' fleet.

    13 See http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/pages/20120919.aspx.

    In addition, as first detailed in the July 1, 2011 and August 24, 2011 orders, and discussed in subsequent renewal orders in this matter, Mahan Airways also continued to evade U.S. export control laws by operating two Airbus A310 aircraft, bearing Mahan Airways' livery and logo, on flights into and out of Iran.14 At the time of the July 1, 2011 and August 24, 2011 orders, these Airbus A310s were registered in France, with tail numbers F-OJHH and F-OJHI, respectively.15

    14 The Airbus A310s are powered with U.S.-origin engines. The engines are subject to the EAR and classified under Export Control Classification (“ECCN”) 9A991.d. The Airbus A310s contain controlled U.S.-origin items valued at more than 10 percent of the total value of the aircraft and as a result are subject to the EAR. They are classified under ECCN 9A991.b. The export or reexport of these aircraft to Iran requires U.S. Government authorization pursuant to Sections 742.8 and 746.7 of the Regulations.

    15 OEE subsequently presented evidence that after the August 24, 2011 renewal, Mahan Airways worked along with Kerman Aviation and others to de-register the two Airbus A310 aircraft in France and to register both aircraft in Iran (with, respectively, Iranian tail numbers EP-MHH and EP-MHI). It was determined subsequent to the February 15, 2012 renewal order that the registration switch for these A310s was cancelled and that Mahan Airways then continued to fly the aircraft under the original French tail numbers (F-OJHH and F-OJHI, respectively). Both aircraft apparently remain in Mahan Airways' possession.

    The August 2012 renewal order also found that Mahan Airways had acquired another Airbus A310 aircraft subject to the Regulations, with MSN 499 and Iranian tail number EP-VIP, in violation of the TDO and the Regulations.16 On September 19, 2012, all three Airbus A310 aircraft (tail numbers F-OJHH, F-OJHI, and EP-VIP) were designated as SDGTs.17

    16 See note 14, supra.

    17 See http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/pages/20120919.aspx. Mahan Airways was previously designated by OFAC as a SDGT on October 18, 2011. 77 FR 64,427 (October 18, 2011).

    The February 4, 2013 renewal order laid out further evidence of continued and additional efforts by Mahan Airways and other persons acting in concert with Mahan, including Kral Aviation and another Turkish company, to procure U.S.-origin engines—two GE CF6-50C2 engines, with MSNs 517621 and 517738, respectively—and other aircraft parts in violation of the TDO and the Regulations.18 The February 4, 2013 order also added Mehdi Bahrami as a related person in accordance with Section 766.23 of the Regulations. Bahrami, a Mahan Vice-President and the head of Mahan's Istanbul Office, also was involved in Mahan's acquisition of the original three Boeing 747s (Aircraft 1-3) that resulted in the original TDO, and has had a business relationship with Mahan dating back to 1997.

    18 Kral Aviation was referenced in the February 4, 2013 renewal order as “Turkish Company No. 1.” Kral Aviation purchased a GE CF6-50C2 aircraft engine (MSN 517621) from the United States in July 2012, on behalf of Mahan Airways. OEE was able to prevent this engine from reaching Mahan by issuing a redelivery order to the freight forwarder in accordance with Section 758.8 of the Regulations. OEE also issued Kral Aviation a redelivery order for the second CF6-50C2 engine (MSN 517738) on July 30, 2012. The owner of the second engine subsequently cancelled the item's sale to Kral Aviation. In September 2012, OEE was alerted by a U.S. exporter that another Turkish company (“Turkish Company No. 2”) was attempting to purchase aircraft spare parts intended for re-export by Turkish Company No. 2 to Mahan Airways. See February 4, 2013 renewal order.

    On December 31, 2013, Kral Aviation was added to BIS's Entity List, Supplement No. 4 to Part 744 of the Regulations. See 78 FR75458 (Dec. 12, 2013). Companies and individuals are added to the Entity List for engaging in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. See 15 CFR 744.11.

    The July 31, 2013 renewal order detailed additional evidence obtained by OEE showing efforts by Mahan Airways to obtain another GE CF6-50C2 aircraft engine (MSN 528350) from the United States via Turkey. Multiple Mahan employees, including Mehdi Bahrami, were involved in or aware of matters related to the engine's arrival in Turkey from the United States, plans to visually inspect the engine, and prepare it for shipment from Turkey.

    Mahan Airways sought to obtain this U.S.-origin engine through Pioneer Logistics Havacilik Turizm Yonetim Danismanlik (“Pioneer Logistics”), an aircraft parts supplier located in Turkey, and its director/operator, Gulnihal Yegane, a Turkish national who previously had conducted Mahan related business with Mehdi Bahrami and Ali Eslamian. Moreover, as referenced in the July 31, 2013 renewal order, a sworn affidavit by Kosol Surinanda, also known as Kosol Surinandha, Managing Director of Mahan's General Sales Agent in Thailand, stated that the shares of Pioneer Logistics for which he was the listed owner were “actually the property of and owned by Mahan.” He further stated that he held “legal title to the shares until otherwise required by Mahan” but would “exercise the rights granted to [him] exactly and only as instructed by Mahan and [his] vote and/or decisions [would] only and exclusively reflect the wills and demands of Mahan[.]” 19

    19 Pioneer Logistics, Gulnihal Yegane, and Kosol Surinanda also were added to the Entity List on December 12, 2013. See 78 FR 75458 (Dec. 12, 2013).

    The January 24, 2014 renewal order outlined OEE's continued investigation of Mahan Airways' activities and detailed an attempt by Mahan, which OEE thwarted, to obtain, via an Indonesian aircraft parts supplier, two U.S.-origin Honeywell ALF-502R-5 aircraft engines (MSNs LF5660 and LF5325), items subject to the Regulations, from a U.S. company located in Texas. An invoice of the Indonesian aircraft parts supplier dated March 27, 2013, listed Mahan Airways as the purchaser of the engines and included a Mahan ship-to address. OEE also obtained a Mahan air waybill dated March 12, 2013, listing numerous U.S.-origin aircraft parts subject to the Regulations—including, among other items, a vertical navigation gyroscope, a transmitter, and a power control unit—being transported by Mahan from Turkey to Iran in violation of the TDO.

    The July 22, 2014 renewal order discussed open source evidence from the March-June 2014 time period regarding two BAE regional jets, items subject to the Regulations, that were painted in the livery and logo of Mahan Airways and operating under Iranian tail numbers EP-MOK and EP-MOI, respectively.20 In addition, aviation industry resources indicated that these aircraft were obtained by Mahan Airways in late November 2013 and June 2014, from Ukrainian Mediterranean Airline, a Ukrainian airline that was added to BIS's Entity List (Supplement No. 4 to Part 744 of the Regulations) on August 15, 2011, for acting contrary to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.21 Open source information indicates that at least EP-MOI remains active in Mahan's fleet, and that the aircraft was being operated on multiple flights within the last week.

    20 The BAE regional jets are powered with U.S.-origin engines. The engines are subject to the EAR and classified under ECCN 9A991.d. These aircraft contain controlled U.S.-origin items valued at more than 10 percent of the total value of the aircraft and as a result are subject to the EAR. They are classified under ECCN 9A991.b. The export or reexport of these aircraft to Iran requires U.S. Government authorization pursuant to Sections 742.8 and 746.7 of the Regulations.

    21See 76 FR 50407 (Aug. 15, 2011). The July 22, 2014 renewal order also referenced two Airbus A320 aircraft painted in the livery and logo of Mahan Airways and operating under Iranian tail numbers EP-MMK and EP-MML, respectively. OEE's investigation also showed that Mahan obtained these aircraft in November 2013, from Khors Air Company, another Ukrainian airline that, like Ukrainian Mediterranean Airlines, was added to BIS's Entity List on August 15, 2011. Open source evidence indicates the two Airbus A320 aircraft may be been transferred by Mahan Airways to another Iranian airline in October 2014, and issued Iranian tail numbers EP-APE and EP-APF, respectively.

    The January 16, 2015 renewal order detailed evidence of additional attempts by Mahan Airways to acquire items subject the Regulations in further violation of the TDO. Specifically, in March 2014, OEE became aware of an inertial reference unit bearing serial number 1231 (“the IRU”) that had been sent to the United States for repair. The IRU is subject to the Regulations, classified under ECCN 7A103, and controlled for missile technology reasons. Upon closer inspection, it was determined that IRU came from or had been installed on an Airbus A340 aircraft bearing MSN 056. Further investigation revealed that as of approximately February 2014, this aircraft was registered under Iranian tail number EP-MMB and had been painted in the livery and logo of Mahan Airways.

    The January 16, 2015 renewal order also described related efforts by the Departments of Justice and Treasury to further thwart Mahan's illicit procurement efforts. Specifically, on August 14, 2014, the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland filed a civil forfeiture complaint for the IRU pursuant to 22 U.S.C. 401(b) that resulted in the court issuing an Order of Forfeiture on December 2, 2014. EP-MMB remains listed as active in Mahan Airways' fleet and has been used on flights into and out of Iran as recently as December 19, 2017.

    Additionally, on August 29, 2014, OFAC blocked the property and interests in property of Asian Aviation Logistics of Thailand, a Mahan Airways affiliate or front company, pursuant to Executive Order 13224. In doing so, OFAC described Mahan Airways' use of Asian Aviation Logistics to evade sanctions by making payments on behalf of Mahan for the purchase of engines and other equipment.22

    22 See http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20140829.aspx. See 79 FR 55073 (Sep. 15, 2014). OFAC also blocked the property and property interests of Pioneer Logistics of Turkey on August 29, 2014. Id. Mahan Airways' use of Pioneer Logistics in an effort to evade the TDO and the Regulations was discussed in a prior renewal order, as summarized, supra, at 13-14. BIS added both Asian Aviation Logistics and Pioneer Logistics to the Entity List on December 12, 2013. See 78 FR 75458 (Dec. 12, 2013).

    The May 21, 2015 modification order detailed the acquisition of two aircraft, specifically an Airbus A340 bearing MSN 164 and an Airbus A321 bearing MSN 550, that were purchased by Al Naser Airlines in late 2014/early 2015 and are currently located in Iran under the possession, control, and/or ownership of Mahan Airways.23 The sales agreements for these two aircraft were signed by Ali Abdullah Alhay for Al Naser Airlines.24 Payment information reveals that multiple electronic funds transfers (“EFT”) were made by Ali Abdullah Alhay and Bahar Safwa General Trading in order to acquire MSNs 164 and 550. The May 21, 2015 modification order also laid out evidence showing the respondents' attempts to obtain other controlled aircraft, including aircraft physically located in the United States in similarly-patterned transactions during the same recent time period. Transactional documents involving two Airbus A320s bearing MSNs 82 and 99, respectively, again showed Ali Abdullah Alhay signing sales agreements for Al Naser Airlines.25 A review of the payment information for these aircraft similarly revealed EFTs from Ali Abdullah Alhay and Bahar Safwa General Trading that follow the pattern described for MSNs 164 and 550, supra. MSNs 82 and 99 were detained by OEE Special Agents prior to their planned export from the United States.

    23 Both of these aircraft are powered by U.S.-origin engines that are subject to the Regulations and classified under ECCN 9A991.d. Both aircraft contain controlled U.S.-origin items valued at more than 10 percent of the total value of the aircraft and as a result are subject to the EAR regardless of their location. The aircraft are classified under ECCN 9A991.b. The export or re-export of these aircraft to Iran requires U.S. Government authorization pursuant to Sections 742.8 and 746.7 of the Regulations.

    24 The evidence obtained by OEE showed Ali Abdullah Alhay as a 25% owner of Al Naser Airlines.

    25 Both aircraft were physically located in the United States and therefore are subject to the Regulations pursuant to Section 734.3(a)(1). Moreover, these Airbus A320s are powered by U.S.-origin engines that are subject to the Regulations and classified under Export Control Classification Number ECCN 9A991.d. The Airbus A320s contain controlled U.S.-origin items valued at more than 10 percent of the total value of the aircraft and as a result are subject to the EAR regardless of their location. The aircraft are classified under ECCN 9A991.b. The export or re-export of these aircraft to Iran requires U.S. Government authorization pursuant to Sections 742.8 and 746.7 of the Regulations.

    The July 13, 2015 renewal order outlined evidence showing that Al Naser Airlines' attempts to acquire aircraft on behalf of Mahan Airways extended beyond MSNs 164 and 550 to include a total of nine aircraft.26 Four of the aircraft, all of which are subject to the Regulations and were obtained by Mahan from Al Naser Airlines, had been issued the following Iranian tail numbers: EP-MMD (MSN 164), EP-MMG (MSN 383), EP-MMH (MSN 391) and EP-MMR (MSN 416), respectively.27 Publicly available flight tracking information provided evidence that at the time of the July 13, 2015 renewal, both EP-MMH and EP-MMR were being actively flown on routes into and out of Iran in violation of the TDO and Regulations.28 The January 7, 2016 renewal order discussed evidence that Mahan Airways had begun actively flying EP-MMD on international routes into and out of Iran, including from/to Bangkok, Thailand. Additionally, the January 7, 2016 order described publicly available aviation database and flight tracking information indicating that Mahan Airways continued efforts to acquire Iranian tail numbers and press into active service under Mahan's livery and logo at least two more of the Airbus A340 aircraft it had obtained from or through Al Naser Airlines: EP-MME (MSN 371) and EP-MMF (MSN 376), respectively. Since January 2016, EP-MME has logged flights to and from Tehran, Iran involving various destinations, including Guangzhou, China and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in further violation of the TDO and the Regulations.

    26 This evidence included a press release dated May 9, 2015, that appeared on Mahan Airways' website and stated that Mahan “added 9 modern aircraft to its air fleet [,]” and that the newly acquired aircraft included eight Airbus A340s and one Airbus A321. See http://www.mahan.aero/en/mahan-air/press-room/44. The press release was subsequently removed from Mahan Airways' website. Publicly available aviation databases similarly showed that Mahan had obtained nine additional aircraft from Al Naser Airlines in May 2015, including MSNs 164 and 550. As also discussed in the July 13, 2015 renewal order, Sky Blue Bird Group, via Issam Shammout, was actively involved in Al Naser Airlines' acquisition of MSNs 164 and 550, and the attempted acquisition of MSNs 82 and 99 (which were detained by OEE).

    27 The Airbus A340s are powered by U.S.-origin engines that are subject to the Regulations and classified under ECCN 9A991.d. The Airbus A340s contain controlled U.S.-origin items valued at more than 10 percent of the total value of the aircraft and as a result are subject to the EAR regardless of their location. The aircraft are classified under ECCN 9A991.b. The export or re-export of these aircraft to Iran requires U.S. Government authorization pursuant to Sections 742.8 and 746.7 of the Regulations.

    28 There is some publicly available information indicating that the aircraft Mahan Airways is flying under Iranian tail number EP-MMR is now MSN 615, rather than MSN 416. Both aircraft are Airbus A340 aircraft that Mahan acquired from Al Naser Airlines in violation of the TDO and the Regulations. Moreover, both aircraft were designated as SDGTs by OFAC on May 21, 2015, pursuant to Executive Order 13324. See 80 FR 30762 (May 29, 2015).

    The July 7, 2016 renewal order described Mahan Airways' acquisition of a BAE Avro RJ-85 aircraft (MSN E2392) in violation of the TDO and its subsequent registration under Iranian tail number EP-MOR.29 This information was corroborated by publicly available information on the website of Iran's civil aviation authority. The July 7, 2016 order also outlined Mahan's continued operation of EP-MMF in violation of the TDO on routes from Tehran, Iran to Beijing, China and Shanghai, China, respectively.

    29 The BAE Avro RJ-85 is powered by U.S.-origin engines that are subject to the Regulations and classified under ECCN 9A991.d. The BAE Avro RJ-85 contains controlled U.S.-origin items valued at more than 10 percent of the total value of the aircraft and as a result is subject to the EAR regardless of its location. The aircraft is classified under ECCN 9A991.b, and its export or re-export to Iran requires U.S. Government authorization pursuant to Sections 742.8 and 746.7 of the Regulations.

    The December 30, 2016 renewal order outlined Mahan's continued operation of multiple Airbus aircraft, including EP-MMD (MSN 164), EP-MMF (MSN 376), and EP-MMH (MSN 391), which were acquired from or through Al Naser Airlines in violation of the TDO, as previously detailed in pertinent part in the July 13, 2015 and January 7, 2016 renewal orders. Publicly available flight tracking information showed that the aircraft were operated on flights into and out of Iran, including from/to Beijing, China, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Istanbul, Turkey.30

    30 Specifically, on December 22, 2016, EP-MMD (MSN 164) flew from Dubai, UAE to Tehran, Iran. Between December 20 and December 22, 2016, EP-MMF (MSN 376) flew on routes from Tehran, Iran to Beijing, China and Istanbul, Turkey, respectively. Between December 26 and December 28, 2016, EP-MMH (MSN 391) flew on routes from Tehran, Iran to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    The June 27, 2017 renewal order included similar evidence regarding Mahan Airways' violation of the TDO by operating multiple Airbus aircraft subject to the Regulations, including, but not limited to, aircraft procured from or through Al Naser Airlines, on flights into and out of Iran, including from/to Moscow, Russia, Shanghai, China and Kabul, Afghanistan.31 The June 27, 2017 order also detailed evidence concerning a suspected planned or attempted diversion to Mahan of an Airbus A340 subject to the Regulations that had first been mentioned in OEE's December 13, 2016 renewal request.

    31 Publicly available flight tracking information shows that on June 22, 2017, EP-MME (MSN 371) flew from Moscow, Russia to Tehran, Iran. Additionally, between June 19, 2017, and June 20, 2017, EP-MMQ (MSN 449), an Airbus A430 also obtained from or through Al Naser Airlines, flew on routes between Shanghai, China and Tehran, Iran. Similar flight tracking information shows that on June 20, 2017, EP-MNK (MSN 618), an Airbus A300 originally acquired by Mahan via a Ukrainian company, flew between Kabul, Afghanistan and Mashhad, Iran.

    OEE's November 28, 2017 renewal request presented evidence that a Mahan employee attempted to initiate negotiations with a U.S. company for the purchase of an aircraft subject to the Regulations and classified under ECCN 9A610. The request also includes evidence indicating that Mahan Airways continues to operate a number of aircraft subject to the Regulations, including aircraft originally procured from or through Al Naser Airlines, on flights into and out of Iran from/to Lahore, Pakistan, Shanghai, China, Ankara, Turkey, Kabul, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq, in violation of the TDO.32

    32 For example, publicly available flight tracking information shows that on December 17, 2017, EP-MNV (MSN 567) flew from Lahore, Pakistan to Tehran, Iran. On December 18-19, 2017, EP-MMQ (MSN 449) flew on routes between Istanbul, Turkey and Tehran, Iran. Additionally, on December 17, 2017, EP-MNK (MSN 618), an Airbus A300 originally acquired by Mahan via a Ukrainian company, flew on routes between Baghdad, Iraq and Mashhad, Iran.

    Additionally, multiple open sources indicate that Al Naser Airlines recently acquired, via lease, at least possession and/or control of a Boeing 737 (MSN 25361), bearing tail number YR-SEB, and an Airbus A320 (MSN 357), bearing tail number YR-SEA, from a Romanian company.33 Publicly available flight tracking data shows, furthermore, that in November 2017, YR-SEA was operated on international flights between Baghdad and destinations including Beirut, Lebanon and Istanbul, Turkey under the International Air Transport Association (“IATA”) designator for Al Naser Airlines. These transactions thus violate the TDO.

    OEE's investigation also shows that Al Naser Airlines is using the additional alias “Al Naser Wings Airline.”

    33 The Airbus A320 is powered with U.S.-origin engines, which are subject to the EAR and classified under Export Control Classification (“ECCN”) 9A991.d. The engines are valued at more than 10 percent of the total value of the aircraft, which consequently is subject to the EAR. The aircraft is classified under ECCN 9A991.b., and its export or reexport to Iran would require U.S. Government authorization pursuant to Sections 742.8 and 746.7 of the Regulations.

    C. Findings

    Under the applicable standard set forth in Section 766.24 of the Regulations and my review of the entire record, I find that the evidence presented by BIS convincingly demonstrates that the denied persons have acted in violation of the Regulations and the TDO; that such violations have been significant, deliberate and covert; and that given the foregoing and the nature of the matters under investigation, there is a likelihood of future violations. Therefore, renewal of the TDO is necessary in the public interest to prevent imminent violation of the Regulations and to give notice to companies and individuals in the United States and abroad that they should continue to cease dealing with Mahan Airways and Al Naser Airlines and the other denied persons in connection with export and reexport transactions involving items subject to the Regulations and in connection with any other activity subject to the Regulations. I also find it necessary to add “Al Naser Wings Airline” as an alias for Al Naser Airlines.

    IV. Order

    It is therefore ordered:

    First, that MAHAN AIRWAYS, Mahan Tower, No. 21, Azadegan St., M.A. Jenah Exp. Way, Tehran, Iran; PEJMAN MAHMOOD KOSARAYANIFARD A/K/A KOSARIAN FARD, P.O. Box 52404, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; MAHMOUD AMINI, G#22 Dubai Airport Free Zone, P.O. Box 393754, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and P.O. Box 52404, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Mohamed Abdulla Alqaz Building, Al Maktoum Street, Al Rigga, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; KERMAN AVIATION A/K/A GIE KERMAN AVIATION, 42 Avenue Montaigne 75008, Paris, France; SIRJANCO TRADING LLC, P.O. Box 8709, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; MAHAN AIR GENERAL TRADING LLC, 19th Floor Al Moosa Tower One, Sheik Zayed Road, Dubai 40594, United Arab Emirates; MEHDI BAHRAMI, Mahan Airways- Istanbul Office, Cumhuriye Cad. Sibil Apt No: 101 D:6, 34374 Emadad, Sisli Istanbul, Turkey; AL NASER AIRLINES A/K/A AL-NASER AIRLINES A/K/A AL NASER WINGS AIRLINE A/K/A ALNASER AIRLINES AND AIR FREIGHT LTD., Home 46, Al-Karrada, Babil Region, District 929, St 21, Beside Al Jadirya Private Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq, and Al Amirat Street, Section 309, St. 3/H.20, Al Mansour, Baghdad, Iraq, and P.O. Box 28360, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and P.O. Box 911399, Amman 11191, Jordan; ALI ABDULLAH ALHAY A/K/A ALI ALHAY A/K/A ALI ABDULLAH AHMED ALHAY, Home 46, Al-Karrada, Babil Region, District 929, St 21, Beside Al Jadirya Private Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq, and Anak Street, Qatif, Saudi Arabia 61177; BAHAR SAFWA GENERAL TRADING, P.O. Box 113212, Citadel Tower, Floor-5, Office #504, Business Bay, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and P.O. Box 8709, Citadel Tower, Business Bay, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; SKY BLUE BIRD GROUP A/K/A SKY BLUE BIRD AVIATION A/K/A SKY BLUE BIRD LTD A/K/A SKY BLUE BIRD FZC, P.O. Box 16111, Ras Al Khaimah Trade Zone, United Arab Emirates; and ISSAM SHAMMOUT A/K/A MUHAMMAD ISAM MUHAMMAD ANWAR NUR SHAMMOUT A/K/A ISSAM ANWAR, Philips Building, 4th Floor, Al Fardous Street, Damascus, Syria, and Al Kolaa, Beirut, Lebanon 151515, and 17-18 Margaret Street, 4th Floor, London, W1W 8RP, United Kingdom, and Cumhuriyet Mah. Kavakli San St. Fulya, Cad. Hazar Sok. No.14/A Silivri, Istanbul, Turkey, and when acting for or on their behalf, any successors or assigns, agents, or employees (each a “Denied Person” and collectively the “Denied Persons”) may not, directly or indirectly, participate in any way in any transaction involving any commodity, software or technology (hereinafter collectively referred to as “item”) exported or to be exported from the United States that is subject to the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”), or in any other activity subject to the EAR including, but not limited to:

    A. Applying for, obtaining, or using any license, License Exception, or export control document;

    B. Carrying on negotiations concerning, or ordering, buying, receiving, using, selling, delivering, storing, disposing of, forwarding, transporting, financing, or otherwise servicing in any way, any transaction involving any item exported or to be exported from the United States that is subject to the EAR, or in any other activity subject to the EAR; or

    C. Benefitting in any way from any transaction involving any item exported or to be exported from the United States that is subject to the EAR, or in any other activity subject to the EAR.

    Second, that no person may, directly or indirectly, do any of the following:

    A. Export or reexport to or on behalf of a Denied Person any item subject to the EAR;

    B. Take any action that facilitates the acquisition or attempted acquisition by a Denied Person of the ownership, possession, or control of any item subject to the EAR that has been or will be exported from the United States, including financing or other support activities related to a transaction whereby a Denied Person acquires or attempts to acquire such ownership, possession or control;

    C. Take any action to acquire from or to facilitate the acquisition or attempted acquisition from a Denied Person of any item subject to the EAR that has been exported from the United States;

    D. Obtain from a Denied Person in the United States any item subject to the EAR with knowledge or reason to know that the item will be, or is intended to be, exported from the United States; or

    E. Engage in any transaction to service any item subject to the EAR that has been or will be exported from the United States and which is owned, possessed or controlled by a Denied Person, or service any item, of whatever origin, that is owned, possessed or controlled by a Denied Person if such service involves the use of any item subject to the EAR that has been or will be exported from the United States. For purposes of this paragraph, servicing means installation, maintenance, repair, modification or testing.

    Third, that, after notice and opportunity for comment as provided in section 766.23 of the EAR, any other person, firm, corporation, or business organization related to a Denied Person by affiliation, ownership, control, or position of responsibility in the conduct of trade or related services may also be made subject to the provisions of this Order.

    Fourth, that this Order does not prohibit any export, reexport, or other transaction subject to the EAR where the only items involved that are subject to the EAR are the foreign-produced direct product of U.S.-origin technology.

    In accordance with the provisions of Sections 766.24(e) of the EAR, Mahan Airways, Al Naser Airlines, Ali Abdullah Alhay, and/or Bahar Safwa General Trading may, at any time, appeal this Order by filing a full written statement in support of the appeal with the Office of the Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Coast Guard ALJ Docketing Center, 40 South Gay Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202-4022. In accordance with the provisions of Sections 766.23(c)(2) and 766.24(e)(3) of the EAR, Pejman Mahmood Kosarayanifard, Mahmoud Amini, Kerman Aviation, Sirjanco Trading LLC, Mahan Air General Trading LLC, Mehdi Bahrami, Sky Blue Bird Group, and/or Issam Shammout may, at any time, appeal their inclusion as a related person by filing a full written statement in support of the appeal with the Office of the Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Coast Guard ALJ Docketing Center, 40 South Gay Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202-4022.

    In accordance with the provisions of Section 766.24(d) of the EAR, BIS may seek renewal of this Order by filing a written request not later than 20 days before the expiration date. A renewal request may be opposed by Mahan Airways, Al Naser Airlines, Ali Abdullah Alhay, and/or Bahar Safwa General Trading as provided in Section 766.24(d), by filing a written submission with the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement, which must be received not later than seven days before the expiration date of the Order.

    A copy of this Order shall be provided to Mahan Airways, Al Naser Airlines, Ali Abdullah Alhay, and Bahar Safwa General Trading and each related person, and shall be published in the Federal Register. This Order is effective immediately and shall remain in effect for 180 days.

    Dated: December 20, 2017. Richard R. Majauskas, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement performing the non-exclusive duties and functions of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28113 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-475-828, A-557-809, A-565-801] Stainless Steel Butt-Weld Pipe Fittings From Italy, Malaysia, and the Philippines: Continuation of Antidumping Duty Orders AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (Commerce) and the International Trade Commission (the ITC) have determined that revocation of the antidumping duty orders on stainless steel butt-weld pipe fittings (butt-weld fittings) from Italy, Malaysia, and the Philippines would likely lead to a continuation or recurrence of dumping and material injury to an industry in the United States. Therefore, Commerce is publishing a notice of continuation of these orders.

    DATES:

    Effective December 29, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Madeline Heeren, AD/CVD Operations, Office VI, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230; telephone (202) 482-9179.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    On June 2, 2017, the Department initiated five-year (sunset) reviews of the Orders1 on butt-weld fittings pursuant to section 751(c) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act).2 On June 1, 2017, the ITC instituted its review of the Orders. 3 Commerce conducted an expedited sunset review of the Orders. As a result of these sunset reviews, Commerce determined that revocation of the Orders would likely lead to a continuation or recurrence of dumping and, therefore, notified the ITC of the magnitude of the dumping margins likely to prevail should the orders be revoked, pursuant to sections 751(c)(1) and 752(c)(3) of the Act.4

    1See Antidumping Duty Orders: Stainless Steel Butt-Weld Pipe Fittings from Italy, Malaysia, and the Philippines, 66 FR 11257 (February 23, 2001) (Orders).

    2See Initiation of Five-Year (“Sunset”) Review, 82 FR 25599 (June 2, 2017) (Sunset Initiation).

    3See Stainless Steel Butt-Weld Pipe Fittings from Italy, Malaysia, and the Philippines; Institution of Five-Year Reviews, 82 FR 25324 (June 1, 2017).

    4Certain Stainless Steel Butt-Weld Pipe Fittings from Italy, Malaysia, and the Philippines: Final Results of the Expedited Sunset Review of the Antidumping Duty Orders, 82 FR 46763 (October 6, 2017), and accompanying Issues and Decision Memorandum.

    On December 20, 2017, the ITC published its determination, pursuant to section 751(c) and 752(a) of the Act, that revocation of the Orders would likely lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury to an industry in the United Sates within a reasonably foreseeable time.5

    5See Investigation No. 731-TA-865-867 (Third Review), 82 FR 60419 (December 20, 2017), and USITC Publication 4751 (January 2018), entitled Stainless Steel Butt-Weld Pipe Fittings from Italy, Malaysia, and the Philippines: Investigation Nos. 731-TA-865-867 (Third Review).

    Scope of the Orders

    For purposes of these Orders, the product covered is certain stainless steel butt-weld pipe fittings (butt-weld fittings). Butt-weld fittings are under 14 inches in outside diameter (based on nominal pipe size), whether finished or unfinished. The product encompasses all grades of stainless steel and “commodity” and “specialty” fittings. Specifically excluded from the definition are threaded, grooved, and bolted fittings, and fittings made from any material other than stainless steel.

    The butt-weld fittings subject to these Orders are generally designated under specification ASTM A403/A403M, the standard specification for Wrought Austenitic Stainless Steel Piping Fittings, or its foreign equivalents (e.g., DIN or JIS specifications). This specification covers two general classes of fittings, WP and CR, of wrought austenitic stainless steel fittings of seamless and welded construction covered by the latest revision of ANSI B16.9, ANSI B16.11, and ANSI B16.28. Butt-weld fittings manufactured to specification ASTM A774, or its foreign equivalents, are also covered by the Orders.

    These Orders do not apply to cast fittings. Cast austenitic stainless steel pipe fittings are covered by specifications A351/A351M, A743/743M, and A744/A744M.

    The butt-weld fittings subject to these Orders are currently classifiable under subheading 7307.23.0000 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope of these Orders is dispositive.

    Continuation of the Orders

    As a result of the determinations by Commerce and the ITC that revocation of the Orders would likely lead to a continuation or recurrence of dumping and material injury to an industry in the United States, pursuant to section 751(d)(2) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.218(a), Commerce hereby orders the continuation of the Orders. U.S. Customs and Border Protection will continue to collect cash deposits at the rates in effect at the time of entry for all imports of subject merchandise.

    The effective date of the continuation of the Orders will be the date of publication in the Federal Register of this notice of continuation. Pursuant to section 751(c)(2) of the Act, the Department intends to initiate the next five-year reviews of the Orders not later than 30 days prior to the fifth anniversary of the effective date of continuation.

    These five-year (sunset) reviews and this notice are in accordance with sections 751(c) of the Act and published pursuant to section 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.218(f)(4).

    Dated: December 21, 2017. Gary Taverman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, performing the non-exclusive functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28196 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XF910 Marine Mammals; File No. 21295 AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; receipt of application.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given that Eye of the Whale (Olga von Ziegesar, Responsible Party and Principal Investigator), P.O. Box 15191, Fritz Creek, AK 99603, has applied in due form for a permit to conduct research on humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae).

    DATES:

    Written, telefaxed, or email comments must be received on or before January 29, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    The application and related documents are available for review by selecting “Records Open for Public Comment” from the “Features” box on the Applications and Permits for Protected Species (APPS) home page, https://apps.nmfs.noaa.gov, and then selecting File No. 21295 from the list of available applications.

    These documents are also available upon written request or by appointment in the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705, Silver Spring, MD 20910; phone (301) 427-8401; fax (301) 713-0376.

    Written comments on this application should be submitted to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, at the address listed above. Comments may also be submitted by facsimile to (301) 713-0376, or by email to [email protected] Please include the File No. in the subject line of the email comment.

    Those individuals requesting a public hearing should submit a written request to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division at the address listed above. The request should set forth the specific reasons why a hearing on this application would be appropriate.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Amy Hapeman or Carrie Hubard, (301) 427-8401.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The subject permit is requested under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), the regulations governing the taking and importing of marine mammals (50 CFR part 216), the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), and the regulations governing the taking, importing, and exporting of endangered and threatened species (50 CFR parts 222-226).

    The applicant requests a five-year scientific research permit to continue long-term monitoring of humpback whales in Prince William Sound and adjacent waters of Alaska. Up to 300 takes for close vessel approach, photo-identification and behavioral observation of whales are requested annually to better define abundance, distribution, reoccurrence of old individuals vs. new individuals, feeding habits, associations between animals, and sex of individual whales.

    In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), an initial determination has been made that the activity proposed is categorically excluded from the requirement to prepare an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.

    Concurrent with the publication of this notice in the Federal Register, NMFS is forwarding copies of the application to the Marine Mammal Commission and its Committee of Scientific Advisors.

    Dated: December 26, 2017. Julia Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28179 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XF888 Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Trawl Rationalization Program; 2018 Cost Recovery AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice, 2018 cost recovery fee percentages and mothership cooperative (MS) sector pricing.

    SUMMARY:

    This action provides participants in the Pacific coast groundfish trawl rationalization program with the 2018 fee percentages and “MS pricing” needed to calculate the required payments for trawl rationalization program cost recovery fees due in 2018. For calendar year 2018, NMFS announces the following fee percentages by sector: 3.0 percent for the Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Sector; 0 percent for the MS sector; and 0 percent for the Catcher/Processer Cooperative (C/P) sector. For 2018, the MS pricing to be used as a proxy by the C/P sector is $0.09/lb for Pacific whiting.

    DATES:

    Applicable January 1, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Christopher Biegel, Cost Recovery Program Coordinator, (503) 231-6291, fax (503) 872-2737, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Magnuson‐Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) requires NMFS to collect fees to recover the costs directly related to the management, data collection, and enforcement of a limited access privilege program (LAPP) (16 U.S.C. 1854(d)(2)), also called “cost recovery.” The Pacific coast groundfish trawl rationalization program is a LAPP, implemented in 2011, and consists of three sectors: The Shorebased IFQ sector; the MS Coop sector; and the C/P Coop sector. In accordance with the MSA, and based on a recommended structure and methodology developed in coordination with the Pacific Fishery Management Council, NMFS began collecting mandatory fees of up to three percent of the ex‐vessel value of groundfish from each sector in 2014. NMFS collects the fees to recover the incremental costs of management, data collection, and enforcement of the trawl rationalization program. Additional background can be found in the cost recovery proposed and final rules, 78 FR 7371 (February 1, 2013) and 78 FR 75268 (December 11, 2013), respectively. The details of cost recovery for the groundfish trawl rationalization program are in regulation at 50 CFR 660.115 (trawl fishery cost recovery program), § 660.140 (Shorebased IFQ Program), § 660.150 (MS Coop Program), and § 660.160 (C/P Coop Program).

    By December 31 of each year, NMFS must announce the next year's fee percentages, and the applicable MS pricing for the C/P sector. NMFS calculated the 2018 fee percentages by sector using the best available information. For 2018, the fee percentages by sector, taking into account direct program costs (DPCs) and any adjustments, are:

    • 3.0 percent for the Shorebased IFQ sector;

    • 0 percent for the MS sector; and

    • 0 percent for the C/P sector.

    To calculate the fee percentages, NMFS used the formula specified in regulation at § 660.115(b)(1), where the fee percentage by sector equals the lower of three percent or DPC for that sector divided by total ex-vessel value (V) for that sector multiplied by 100 (Fee percentage = the lower of 3 percent or (DPC/V) x 100).

    As defined in the regulations at § 660.115(b)(1)(i), DCP are the actual incremental costs for the previous fiscal year directly related to the management, data collection, and enforcement of each sector. Actual incremental costs means those net costs that would not have been incurred but for the implementation of the trawl rationalization program, including both increased costs for new requirements of the program and reduced costs resulting from any program efficiencies. NMFS only included the cost of employees' time (salary and benefits) spent working on the program in calculating DPC rather than all incremental costs of management, data collection, and enforcement.

    As specified at § 660.115(b)(1)(ii), V is the total ex-vessel value, as defined at § 660.111, for each sector from the previous calendar year. To calculate V for use in determining 2018 fee percentages, NMFS used the ex-vessel value for 2016 as reported in Pacific Fisheries Information Network (PacFIN) from electronic fish tickets. The electronic fish ticket data in PacFIN is for the Shorebased IFQ sector. Therefore, the ex-vessel value for both the MS sector and the C/P sector is a proxy based on the Shorebased IFQ sector ex-vessel price and on the retained catch estimates (weight) from the observer data for the MS and C/P sectors.

    Ex-vessel values and amounts landed each year fluctuate, and the amount NMFS collects each year in cost recovery fees also fluctuate accordingly. When the cost recovery fees collected by NMFS are greater or less than the actual net incremental costs incurred for a given year, the fee percentage for the following year will be adjusted as specified at § 660.115(b)(1)(i).

    NMFS' internal process for categorizing and tracking employee time in the trawl rationalization program has been refined over the years. For example, the use of the “general” time coding option was phased out by the West Coast Region and was no longer used as of fiscal year 2015. NMFS has continued its efforts to ensure that employee time is only tracked for time spent on tasks that that would not have been incurred but for the implementation of the trawl rationalization program, taking into account reduced costs resulting from any program efficiencies.

    The DPC values used to determine the 2018 fee percentages reflect any adjustments for past over or under payment. The 2018 fee is consistent with the decision in Glacier Fish Co. LLC v. Pritzker, 832 F.3d 1113 (9th Cir. 2016). Based on estimated fees received in 2017, the adjusted DPCs for 2018 are:

    Shorebased IFQ Program: $2,179,402.10 MS Coop Program: −$132,607.08 C/P Coop Program: −$132,607.08

    And the fee calculations using the adjusted 2017 DPCs are:

    Shorebased IFQ sector: 3.0 percent = the lower of 3 percent or ($2,179,402.10/$46,206,889.00) × 100 MS sector: −1.1 percent = the lower of 3 percent or (−$132,607.08/$12,214,290.70) × 100 C/P sector: −0.5 percent = the lower of 3 percent or (−$132,607.08/$21,314,877.96) × 100.

    As a fee cannot be set using a negative percentage, the 2018 fee percentages for the MS sector and the C/P sector will be set at 0.0 percent.

    MS pricing is the average price per pound that the C/P sector will use to determine their fee amount due (MS pricing multiplied by the value of the aggregate pounds of all groundfish species harvested by the vessel registered to a C/P-endorsed limited entry trawl permit, multiplied by the C/P fee percentage, equals the fee amount due). In past years, MS pricing was based on the average price per pound of Pacific whiting as reported in PacFIN from the Shorebased IFQ Program. In other words, data from the IFQ fishery was used as a proxy for the MS average price per pound to determine the MS pricing used in the calculation for the C/P sector's fee amount due. For 2018 MS pricing, NMFS used values derived from those reported on the MS sector cost recovery form from calendar year 2016 as this was determined to be the best information available. NMFS has calculated the 2018 MS pricing to be used as a proxy by the C/P sector as: $0.09/lb for Pacific whiting.

    Cost recovery fees are submitted to NMFS by Fish buyers via Pay.gov (https://www.pay.gov/paygov/). Fish buyers registered with Pay.gov can login in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Fish buyers not registered with Pay.gov can go to the cost recovery forms directly from the website below. The links to the pay.gov forms for each sector (IFQ, MS, or C/P) are listed below:

    IFQ: https://www.pay.gov/public/form/start/58062865; MS: https://www.pay.gov/public/form/start/58378422; CP: https://www.pay.gov/public/form/start/58102817.

    As stated in the preamble to the cost recovery proposed and final rules, in the spring of each year, NMFS will release an annual report documenting the details and data used for the above calculations. The report will include information such as the fee percentage calculation, program costs, and ex-vessel value by sector. Annual reports are available at http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/groundfish_catch_shares/rules_regulations/costrecovery.html.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: December 26, 2017. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28185 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    BUREAU OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION [Docket No. CFPB-2017-0041] Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment Request AGENCY:

    Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Bureau) is requesting to renew the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval for an existing information collection, titled, “Generic Information Collection Plan for Studies of Consumers using Controlled Trials in Field and Economic Laboratory Settings.”

    DATES:

    Written comments are encouraged and must be received on or before January 29, 2018 to be assured of consideration.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by the title of the information collection, OMB Control Number (see below), and docket number (see above), by any of the following methods:

    Electronic: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    OMB: Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, Room 10235, Washington, DC 20503 or fax to (202) 395-5806. Mailed or faxed comments to OMB should be to the attention of the OMB Desk Officer for the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

    Please note that comments submitted after the comment period will not be accepted. In general, all comments received will become public records, including any personal information provided. Sensitive personal information, such as account numbers or Social Security numbers, should not be included.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Documentation prepared in support of this information collection request is available at www.reginfo.gov (this link becomes active on the day following publication of this notice). Select “Information Collection Review,” under “Currently under review,” use the dropdown menu “Select Agency” and select “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau” (recent submissions to OMB will be at the top of the list). The same documentation is also available at http://www.regulations.gov. Requests for additional information should be directed to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, (Attention: PRA Office), 1700 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20552, (202) 435-9575, or email: [email protected] Please do not submit comments to this email box.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title of Collection: Generic Information Collection Plan for Studies of Consumers using Controlled Trials in Field and Economic Laboratory Settings.

    OMB Control Number: 3170-0048.

    Type of Review: Extension without change of a currently approved information collection.

    Affected Public: Individuals and Households.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 42,600.

    Estimated Total Burden Hours: 38,400.

    Abstract: Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Bureau is tasked with researching, analyzing, and reporting on topics relating to the Bureau's mission, including developments in markets for consumer financial products and services, consumer awareness, and consumer behavior. The Bureau seeks to renew the OMB approval for a generic information collection plan to collect data from purposive samples through controlled trials in field and economic laboratory settings. This research will be used for developmental and informative purposes in order to increase the Bureau's understanding of consumer credit markets and household financial decision-making. Basic research projects will be submitted under this clearance. This is a routine request for OMB to renew its approval of the collections of information currently approved under this OMB control number. The Bureau is not proposing any new or revised collections of information pursuant to this request.

    Request for Comments: The Bureau issued a 60-day Federal Register notice on October 3, 2017, 82 FR 46042, Docket Number: CFPB-2017-0033. Comments were solicited and continue to be invited on: (a) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Bureau, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) The accuracy of the Bureau's estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methods and the assumptions used; (c) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments submitted in response to this notice will be reviewed by OMB as part of its review of this request. All comments will become a matter of public record.

    Dated: December 22, 2017. Linda F. Powell, Chief Data Officer, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28204 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810-AM-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 Number: PR18-13-000.

    Applicants: Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.

    Description: Tariff filing per 284.123(b),(e)+(g): Revisions to SOC and Statement of Effective Rates to be effective 11/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/7/17.

    Accession Number: 201712075093.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/28/17.

    284.123(g) Protests Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/5/18.

    Docket Number: PR17-57-002.

    Applicants: Houston Pipe Line Company LP.

    Description: Tariff filing per 284.123(b)(2),(: 2nd Amended Rate Election of Houston Pipe Line Company LP Effective 11/01/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/8/17.

    Accession Number: 201712085066.

    Comments/Protests Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/29/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-252-000.

    Applicants: Iroquois Gas Transmission System, L.P.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: 121517 Negotiated Rates—Mercuria Energy America, Inc. H-7540-89 to be effective 12/14/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/15/17.

    Accession Number: 20171215-5063.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/27/17.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-253-000.

    Applicants: Texas Eastern Transmission, LP.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Bayway Lateral Project—Negotiated Rates eff 1-1-2018 to be effective 1/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 12/15/17.

    Accession Number: 20171215-5200.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/27/17.

    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 date(s). 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 18, 2017. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28200 Filed 12-28-17; 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: EC18-34-000.

    Applicants: MDU Resources Group, Inc.

    Description: Application of MDU Resources Group, Inc. for Authorization under FPA Section 203 and Request for Confidential Treatment.

    Filed Date: 12/15/17.

    Accession Number: 20171215-5228.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/5/18.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER10-2126-004.

    Applicants: Idaho Power Company.

    Description: Compliance filing: Compliance Filing—Revision MBR Tariff Reflect Authorized Transact in CAISO EIM to be effective 4/4/2018.

    Filed Date: 12/18/17.

    Accession Number: 20171218-5000.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER14-693-006.

    Applicants: Entergy Services, Inc.

    Description: Entergy Services, Inc. submits tariff filing per 35: LBA Compliance Errata ER14-693 12-1-2017 to be effective 12/19/2013 under ER14-693. (Replaces 20171201-5399).

    Filed Date: 12/18/17.

    Accession Number: 20171218-5077.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER14-694-006.

    Applicants: Entergy Services, Inc.

    Description: Entergy Services, Inc. submits tariff filing per 35: LBA Compliance Errata ER14-694 12-1-2017 to be effective 12/19/2013 under ER14-694. (Replaces 20171201-5397).

    Filed Date: 12/18/17.

    Accession Number: 20171218-5079.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-1014-001.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc., Otter Tail Power Company.

    Description: Compliance filing: 2017-12-18_Compliance filing re OTP Att O and 30.9 Credits to include Basin to be effective 5/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/18/17.

    Accession Number: 20171218-5112.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-1394-001.

    Applicants: 83WI 8me, LLC.

    Description: Notice of Non-Material Change in Status of 83WI 8me, LLC.

    Filed Date: 12/14/17.

    Accession Number: 20171214-5184.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/4/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-459-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., Ohio Valley Electric Corporation.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Revisions to PJM OATT, OA and RAA re: OVEC Integration to be effective 3/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 12/15/17.

    Accession Number: 20171215-5205.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/5/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-460-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., Ohio Valley Electric Corporation.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Revisions to CTOA re: OVEC Integration to be effective 3/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 12/15/17.

    Accession Number: 20171215-5209.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/5/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-461-000.

    Applicants: California Independent System Operator Corporation.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 2017-12-15 Consolidated EIM Initiatives and Resource Modeling Enhancements to be effective 2/15/2018.

    Filed Date: 12/15/17.

    Accession Number: 20171215-5190.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/5/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-462-000.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 2017-12-15_Resource Adequacy Construct Refiling to be effective 3/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 12/15/17.

    Accession Number: 20171215-5199.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/5/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-463-000.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc., Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 2017-12-15_ATXI Attachment O & MM Revisions for Transmission Rate Incentives to be effective 2/14/2018.

    Filed Date: 12/15/17.

    Accession Number: 20171215-5201.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/5/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-464-000.

    Applicants: Public Service Company of New Mexico.

    Description: Initial rate filing: Transmission Service Agreement between PNM and El Cabo Wind, LLC to be effective 11/29/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/18/17.

    Accession Number: 20171218-5057.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-465-000.

    Applicants: Public Service Company of New Hampshire.

    Description: Request for Limited Waiver of Public Service Company of New Hampshire.

    Filed Date: 12/15/17.

    Accession Number: 20171215-5227.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/5/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-466-000.

    Applicants: NextEra Energy Marketing, LLC.

    Description: Petition for Limited Waiver of NextEra Energy Marketing, LLC.

    Filed Date: 12/15/17.

    Accession Number: 20171215-5232.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/5/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-467-000.

    Applicants: Southern California Edison Company.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Notice of Cancellation of 5 FTSAs to be effective 1/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 12/18/17.

    Accession Number: 20171218-5121.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-468-000.

    Applicants: Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: PG&E Llagas Energy Storage SGIA to be effective 12/19/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/18/17.

    Accession Number: 20171218-5166.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/18.

    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 18, 2017. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28199 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [FRL-9972-60-Region 6] Underground Injection Control Program; Hazardous Waste Injection Restrictions; Petition for Exemption Reissuance—Class I Hazardous Waste Injection; TM Deer Park Services (TMDPS) Limited Partnership, Deer Park, Texas AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of a final decision on a UIC no migration petition reissuance.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given that a reissuance of an exemption to the Land Disposal Restrictions, under the 1984 Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, has been granted to TMDPS for two Class I hazardous waste injection wells located at their Deer Park, Texas facility. The company has adequately demonstrated to the satisfaction of the EPA by the petition reissuance application and supporting documentation that, to a reasonable degree of certainty, there will be no migration of hazardous constituents from the injection zone for as long as the waste remains hazardous. This final decision allows the underground injection by TMDPS of the specific restricted hazardous wastes identified in this exemption reissuance, into Class I hazardous waste injection wells WDW-169 and WDW-249 until December 31, 2030, unless the EPA moves to terminate this exemption or other petition condition limitations are reached. Additional conditions included in this final decision may be reviewed by contacting the EPA Region 6 Ground Water/UIC Section. A public notice was issued October 11, 2017, and the public comment period closed on November 27, 2017, and no comments were received. This decision constitutes final Agency action and there is no Administrative appeal. This decision may be reviewed/appealed in compliance with the Administrative Procedure Act.

    DATES:

    This action is applicable as of December 13, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Copies of the petition reissuance and all pertinent information relating thereto are on file at the following location: Environmental Protection Agency, Region 6, Water Division, Safe Drinking Water Branch (6WQ-S), 1445 Ross Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75202-2733.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Philip Dellinger, Chief, Ground Water/UIC Section, EPA—Region 6, telephone (214) 665-8324.

    Dated: December 13, 2017. James R. Brown, Associate Director, Safe Drinking Water Branch.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28133 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OW-2016-0404; FRL-9972-71-OEI] Submission to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Information Collection Request for the National Study of Nutrient Removal and Secondary Technologies: Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) Screener Questionnaire AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), this document announces that an Information Collection Request (ICR) for a voluntary survey—Information Collection Request for the National Study of Nutrient Removal and Secondary Technologies: Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) Screener Questionnaire, EPA ICR No. 2553.01, OMB Control No. 2040 NEW—has been forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. This is a request for a new collection. The ICR, which is abstracted below, describes the nature of the information collection and its estimated burden and cost. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    DATES:

    Additional comments may be submitted on or before January 29, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, referencing Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2016-0404 to (1) EPA online using www.regulations.gov (our preferred method), by email to [email protected], or by mail to: EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460, and (2) OMB by mail to: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Attention: Desk Officer for EPA, 725 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20503.

    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2016-0404. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through http://www.regulations.gov or email. For additional information about EPA's public docket, visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Paul Shriner, Engineering and Analysis Division (4303T), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 202-566-1076; email address: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    EPA has established a public docket for this ICR under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2016-0404, which is available at https://www.regulations.gov, or for in-person viewing at the EPA Docket Center, William J. Clinton West Building, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the Water Docket is (202) 566-2426.

    Use https://www.regulations.gov to submit or view public comments, obtain a copy of the collection of information supporting statement, including the screener survey, and to access those documents in the public docket that are available electronically. Once in the system, select “search,” then key in the docket ID number identified in this document.

    Abstract: Nutrient pollution (e.g. nitrogen and phosphorus) presents a growing threat to public health and local economies—contributing to toxic harmful algal blooms, contamination of drinking water sources, and costly impacts on recreation, tourism and fisheries. The EPA is collaborating with states to make greater progress in reducing nutrient loadings discharged into the nation's waters from all sources. With this goal in mind, EPA's Office of Water is planning to collect data to evaluate the nutrient removals and related technology performance of publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) with conventional secondary treatment. Currently, there are no comprehensive, nationwide data on nutrient discharges and removals at POTWs. This study will attempt to obtain nationwide data on nutrient removal to help set more realistic and achievable nutrient reduction targets than may be the case absent such data; help POTWs understand the range of opportunities to optimize nutrient removals based on data from their peers, and; encourage improved nutrient removal POTW performance with less expense. This study will not only be useful to POTWs, but will also be useful to all stakeholders involved in managing nutrients at the watershed level.

    The full study is designed with multiple phases over the course of four to five years, allowing for interactions with stakeholders and experts in each phase. The first phase of the study is a screener questionnaire, which is the focus of this ICR. The goal of this first phase is to identify and characterize the full population of POTWs in the U.S. that discharge to a water of the U.S. This information will be used to help establish a baseline of nutrient performance at the national level for all POTWs. The second phase of the study will collect data from a subset of POTWs designed for secondary treatment, yet accomplishing significant nutrient removals. The study will document the capability of different types of POTWs to reduce nutrient discharges by implementing changes to operations and maintenance, but without retrofitting to biological nutrient removal (BNR), making chemical additions, or committing to extensive capital investments.

    EPA is limiting the information requested by this census to that which is necessary to create a complete population of POTWs and to identify basic information about that population. Questions include those necessary to identify and stratify the universe of POTWs and, within that population, the secondary treatment POTWs not designed specifically to remove nitrogen and phosphorus.

    Respondents/affected entities: Approximately 17,000 POTWs that meet the definition under 40 CFR 403.3(q), as well as up to 100 state and/or small municipal association contacts and 47 state and/or territory requests for POTW population data.

    Estimated total number of respondents: 13,600 POTWs, 40 POTWs for site visits, 100 state or small municipal association contacts, and 47 states/territories for POTW population data.

    Frequency of response: One-time data collection.

    Estimated total respondent burden hours: 46,925.

    Estimated total respondent costs: $1,606,960. This estimate reflects unit costs for labor.

    Change in the estimates: This is a new collection and thus represents a one-time increase to the Agency's overall burden.

    Courtney Kerwin, Director, Regulatory Support Division.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28104 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [ER-FRL-9036-8] Environmental Impact Statements; Notice of Availability

    Responsible Agency: Office of Federal Activities, General Information (202) 564-7146 or http://www2.epa.gov/nepa/.

    Weekly receipt of Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) Filed 12/18/2017 Through 12/22/2017 Pursuant to 40 CFR 1506.9. Notice

    Section 309(a) of the Clean Air Act requires that EPA make public its comments on EISs issued by other Federal agencies. EPA's comment letters on EISs are available at: https://cdxnodengn.epa.gov/cdx-nepa-public/action/eis/search.

    EIS No. 20170244, Draft, USFS, OR, Trout Creek, Comment Period Ends: 02/12/2018, Contact: Joan Schmidgall (541) 367-3809. EIS No. 20170245, Draft, USFS, WI, Townsend Project, Comment Period Ends: 02/12/2018, Contact: Marilee Houtler (715) 276-6333. EIS No. 20170246, Draft, BR, CA, Yolo Bypass Salmonid Habitat Restoration & Fish Passage, Comment Period Ends: 02/15/2018, Contact: Ben Nelson (916) 414-2424. EIS No. 20170247, Final, FHWA, NC, Complete 540—Triangle Expressway Southeast Extension, Review Period Ends: 02/01/2018, Contact: Jennifer Harris (919) 707-2704. EIS No. 20170248, Draft, DC, AK, Mertarvik Infrastructure Development Nelson Island, Alaska Comment Period Ends: 02/13/2018, Contact: Don Antrobus, (907) 271-3500. Dated: December 22, 2017. Kelly Knight, Director, NEPA Compliance Division, Office of Federal Activities.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28116 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION Notice to All Interested Parties of Intent To Terminate the Receivership of 10191, Bank of Illinois, Normal, Illinois

    Notice is hereby given that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC or Receiver) as Receiver for Bank of Illinois, Normal, Illinois, intends to terminate its receivership for said institution. The FDIC was appointed Receiver of Bank of Illinois on March 5, 2010. The liquidation of the receivership assets has been completed. To the extent permitted by available funds and in accordance with law, the receiver will be making a final dividend payment to proven creditors.

    Based upon the foregoing, the Receiver has determined that the continued existence of the receivership will serve no useful purpose. Consequently, notice is given that the receivership shall be terminated, to be effective no sooner than thirty days after the date of this notice. If any person wishes to comment concerning the termination of the receivership, such comment must be made in writing and sent within thirty days of the date of this notice to: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Division of Resolutions and Receiverships, Attention: Receivership Oversight Department 34.6, 1601 Bryan Street, Dallas, TX 75201.

    No comments concerning the termination of this receivership will be considered which are not sent within this time frame.

    Dated: December 26, 2017. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28142 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6714-01-P
    FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION [OMB Nos. 3064-0115 and 3064-0197] Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection Renewals; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    The FDIC, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the renewal of the existing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA). Currently, the FDIC is soliciting comment on renewal of the information collections described below.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before February 27, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested parties are invited to submit written comments to the FDIC by any of the following methods:

    http://www.FDIC.gov/regulations/laws/federal/notices.html.

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

    Mail: Jennifer Jones (202-898-6768), Counsel, MB-3105, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 550 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20429.

    Hand Delivery: Comments may be hand-delivered to the guard station at the rear of the 17th Street Building (located on F Street), on business days between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

    All comments should refer to the relevant OMB control number. A copy of the comments may also be submitted to the OMB desk officer for the FDIC: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503.
    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jennifer Jones (202-898-6768), at the FDIC address above.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Proposal to renew the following currently approved collections of information:

    1. Title: Prompt Corrective Action.

    OMB Number: 3064-0115.

    Form Number: None.

    Affected Public: State non-member banks and savings associations.

    Burden Estimate:

    Summary of Annual Burden Type of burden Obligation to
  • respond
  • Estimated number of
  • respondents
  • Estimated
  • frequency of
  • responses
  • Estimated time per response Frequency of
  • response
  • Total annual estimated
  • burden
  • Prompt Corrective Action (12 CFR parts 303, 324, and 390) Reporting Voluntary 17 1 4 On Occasion 68 Total Hourly Burden 68

    General Description of Collection: Sec. 38 of the FDI Act requires or permits the FDIC to take certain supervisory actions when institutions fall within certain categories. The collection consists of applications to engage in otherwise restricted activities. The Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) provisions of section 38 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act require or permit the FDIC and other federal banking agencies to take certain supervisory actions when FDIC-insured institutions fall within certain capital categories. They also restrict or prohibit certain activities and require the submission of a capital restoration plan when an insured institution becomes undercapitalized. Various provisions of the statute and the FDIC's implementing regulations require the prior approval of the FDIC before an FDIC-supervised institution, or certain insured depository institutions, can engage in certain activities, or allow the FDIC to make exceptions to restrictions that would otherwise be imposed. This collection of information consists of the applications that are required to obtain the FDIC's prior approval.

    There is no change in the method or substance of the collection. The overall reduction in burden hours is the result of economic fluctuation. In particular, the number of respondents has decreased while the hours per response and frequency of responses have remained the same.

    2. Title: Liquidity Coverage Ratio: Liquidity Risk Measurement, Standards, and Monitoring (LCR).

    OMB Number: 3064-0197.

    Form Number: None.

    Affected Public: State savings associations and State nonmember banks that (i) have total consolidated assets equal to $250 billion or more; (ii) have total consolidated on-balance sheet foreign exposure equal to $10 billion or more; or (iii) have total consolidated assets equal to $10 billion or more and are a consolidated subsidiary of one of the following: (A) a covered depository institution holding company or depository institution that has total assets equal to $250 billion or more; (B) a covered depository institution holding company or depository institution that has total consolidated on-balance sheet foreign exposure equal to $10 billion or more; or (C) a company that has been designated by the Financial Stability Oversight Council for supervision by the Federal Reserve Board.

    Burden Estimate:

    Summary of Annual Burden Type of burden Obligation to
  • respond
  • Estimated number of
  • respondents
  • Estimated
  • frequency of
  • responses
  • Estimated time per response Frequency of
  • response
  • Total annual estimated
  • burden
  • Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR)—12 CFR 329.40(a), (b) Reporting Mandatory § 329.40(a) Notification that liquidity coverage ratio is less than minimum in § 329.10 Reporting Mandatory 2 12 0.25 On Occasion 6.00 § 329.40(b) Notification that liquidity coverage ratio is less than minimum in § 329.10 for 3 consecutive days or otherwise noncompliant Reporting Mandatory 2 1 0.25 On Occasion 0.50 § 329.40(b) Plan for achieving compliance Recordkeeping Mandatory 2 1 100.00 On Occasion 200.00 § 329.40(b)(4) Weekly report of progress toward achieving compliance Reporting Mandatory 2 4 0.25 On Occasion 2.00 Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR)—12 CFR 329.22(a)(2), (5) Recordkeeping Mandatory § 329.22(a)(2) Policies that require eligible HQLA to be under control of liquidity risk management function Recordkeeping Mandatory 2 1 10.00 On Occasion 20.00 § 329.22(a)(5) Documented methodology providing consistent treatment for determining whether eligible HQLA meets operational requirements Recordkeeping Mandatory 2 1 10.00 On Occasion 20.00 Total Hourly Burden 248.50

    General Description of Collection: The LCR rule implements a quantitative liquidity requirement and contains requirements subject to the PRA. The reporting and recordkeeping requirements are found in Sections 329.22 and 329.40. The requirement is designed to promote the short-term resilience of the liquidity risk profile of large and internationally active banking organizations, thereby improving the banking sector's ability to absorb shocks arising from financial and economic stress, and to further improve the measurement and management of liquidity risk. The LCR rule establishes a quantitative minimum liquidity coverage ratio that requires a company subject to the rule to maintain an amount of high-quality liquid assets (the numerator of the ratio) that is no less than 100 percent of its total net cash outflows over a prospective 30 calendar-day period (the denominator of the ratio).

    The FDIC has reviewed its previous PRA submission and has updated its methodology for calculating the burden in order to be consistent with the Office of the Controller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Board. The overall increase in burden hours is the result of these changes.

    Request for Comment

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the collections of information are necessary for the proper performance of the FDIC's functions, including whether the information has practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the estimates of the burden of the information 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; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collections of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. All comments will become a matter of public record.

    Dated at Washington, DC, on December 22, 2017. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Valerie J. Best, Assistant Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28138 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6714-01-P
    FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION [File No. 171 0140] Becton, Dickinson and Company and C. R. Bard; Analysis To Aid Public Comment AGENCY:

    Federal Trade Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed Consent Agreement.

    SUMMARY:

    The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of federal law prohibiting unfair methods of competition. The attached Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the complaint and the terms of the consent orders—embodied in the consent agreement—that would settle these allegations.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before January 23, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested parties may file a comment online or on paper, by following the instructions in the Request for Comment part of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. Write: “In the Matter of Becton Dickinson and Co./Bard, Inc., File No. 171 0140” on your comment, and file your comment online at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/bectondickinsonconsent by following the instructions on the web-based form. If you prefer to file your comment on paper, write “In the Matter of Becton Dickinson and Co./Bard, Inc., File No. 171 0140” on your comment and on the envelope, and mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite CC-5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20580, or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street SW, 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20024.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jared Nagley, Attorney, (212-607-2813) and Geralyn Trujillo, Attorney, (212-607-2806), Northeast Region, One Bowling Green, Suite 318, New York, New York 10004.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Pursuant to Section 6(f) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 2.34, 16 CFR 2.34, notice is hereby given that the above-captioned consent agreement containing a consent order to cease and desist, having been filed with and accepted, subject to final approval, by the Commission, has been placed on the public record for a period of thirty (30) days. The following Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes the terms of the consent agreement, and the allegations in the complaint. An electronic copy of the full text of the consent agreement package can be obtained from the FTC Home Page (for December 22, 2017), on the World Wide Web, at https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/commission-actions.

    You can file a comment online or on paper. For the Commission to consider your comment, we must receive it on or before January 23, 2018. Write “In the Matter of Becton Dickinson and Co./Bard, Inc., File No. 171 0140” on your comment. Your comment—including your name and your state—will be placed on the public record of this proceeding, including, to the extent practicable, on the public Commission website, at https://www.ftc.gov/policy/public-comments.

    Postal mail addressed to the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security screening. As a result, we encourage you to submit your comments online. To make sure that the Commission considers your online comment, you must file it at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/bectondickinsonconsent by following the instructions on the web-based form. If this Notice appears at http://www.regulations.gov/#!home, you also may file a comment through that website.

    If you prefer to file your comment on paper, write “In the Matter of Becton Dickinson and Co./Bard, Inc., File No. 171 0140” on your comment and on the envelope, and mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite CC-5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20580, or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street SW, 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20024. If possible, submit your paper comment to the Commission by courier or overnight service.

    Because your comment will be placed on the publicly accessible FTC website at https://www.ftc.gov, you are solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include any sensitive or confidential information. In particular, your comment should not include any sensitive personal information, such as your or anyone else's Social Security number; date of birth; driver's license number or other state identification number, or foreign country equivalent; passport number; financial account number; or credit or debit card number. You are also solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include any sensitive health information, such as medical records or other individually identifiable health information. In addition, your comment should not include any “trade secret or any commercial or financial information which . . . is privileged or confidential”—as provided by Section 6(f) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 4.10(a)(2), 16 CFR 4.10(a)(2)—including in particular competitively sensitive information such as costs, sales statistics, inventories, formulas, patterns, devices, manufacturing processes, or customer names.

    Comments containing material for which confidential treatment is requested must be filed in paper form, must be clearly labeled “Confidential,” and must comply with FTC Rule 4.9(c). In particular, the written request for confidential treatment that accompanies the comment must include the factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from the public record. See FTC Rule 4.9(c). Your comment will be kept confidential only if the General Counsel grants your request in accordance with the law and the public interest. Once your comment has been posted on the public FTC website—as legally required by FTC Rule 4.9(b)—we cannot redact or remove your comment from the FTC website, unless you submit a confidentiality request that meets the requirements for such treatment under FTC Rule 4.9(c), and the General Counsel grants that request.

    Visit the FTC website at http://www.ftc.gov to read this Notice and the news release describing it. The FTC Act and other laws that the Commission administers permit the collection of public comments to consider and use in this proceeding, as appropriate. The Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments that it receives on or before January 23, 2018. For information on the Commission's privacy policy, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, see https://www.ftc.gov/site-information/privacy-policy.

    Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Orders To Aid Public Comment I. Introduction

    The Federal Trade Commission (“Commission”) has accepted, subject to final approval, an Agreement Containing Consent Orders (“Consent Agreement”) from Becton, Dickinson and Company (“BD”) and C. R. Bard, Inc. (“Bard”) (collectively, the “Respondents”) that is designed to remedy the anticompetitive effects that would likely result from BD's proposed acquisition of Bard. The proposed Decision and Order (“Order”) requires the Respondents to divest all rights and assets related to Bard's tunneled home drainage catheter business and BD's soft tissue core needle biopsy device business to Merit Medical Systems, Inc. (“Merit”). The Order To Maintain Assets requires Respondents to maintain the viability and competitiveness of the businesses pending divestiture.

    Pursuant to an Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated as of April 23, 2017, BD and Lambda Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of BD, will acquire the issued and outstanding shares of Bard by means of a merger in exchange for cash and stock valued at approximately $24 billion (the “Acquisition”). The Commission's Complaint alleges that the proposed Acquisition, if consummated, would violate Section 7 of the Clayton Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C. 18, and Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C. 45, by substantially lessening competition in the U.S. markets for tunneled home drainage catheter systems and soft tissue core needle biopsy devices. The Consent Agreement is designed to remedy the alleged violations by preserving the competition that otherwise would be lost in these markets as a result of the proposed Acquisition.

    The Commission has placed the Consent Agreement on the public record for 30 days to solicit comments from interested persons. Comments received during this period will become part of the public record. After 30 days, the Commission will again review the Consent Agreement, along with any comments received, and decide whether it should withdraw from the Consent Agreement, modify the Consent Agreement or Order, or make the Order final.

    II. The Respondents

    BD, headquartered in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, is a medical technology company that manufactures and sells a broad range of medical supplies, devices, laboratory equipment, and diagnostic products throughout the world. Its operations consist of two business segments: BD Medical and BD Life Sciences. BD Medical provides a broad array of medical technologies and devices to hospitals, clinics, physicians' office practices, pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies, and healthcare workers.

    Bard, headquartered in Murray Hill, New Jersey, is a medical technology company that manufactures medical, surgical, diagnostic, and patient care devices sold to hospitals, healthcare professionals, extended care facilities, and other medical facilities throughout the world. Its operations consist of four principal divisions: Bard Access Systems, Inc., Bard Medical Division, Bard Peripheral Vascular, Inc., and Bard Biopsy Systems.

    III. The Relevant Markets and Structure of the Markets A. Tunneled Home Drainage Catheter Systems

    Tunneled home drainage catheter systems are medical devices used to treat recurrent fluid buildup in the lungs and abdomen, conditions known as pleural effusions and malignant ascites, respectively. Patients suffering from these conditions, often due to cancer or other serious illnesses, commonly require frequent fluid drainage. Tunneled home drainage catheter systems drain fluid from the lungs (pleural drainage) or abdomen (peritoneal drainage) through a tunneled, indwelling catheter connected to a disposable receptacle. After a medical doctor places the indwelling catheter, the device allows fluid drainage to take place conveniently in a patient's home or in a hospice setting where the patient or a caregiver can attach, remove, replace, and dispose of the drainage receptacle as frequently as needed. Although patients requiring pleural or peritoneal drainage can undergo an outpatient medical procedure when fluid build-up becomes severe, such procedures are not suitable alternatives to tunneled home drainage catheter systems, because they require a patient to make repeated trips to a healthcare facility to see a doctor. Customers likely would not substitute outpatient medical procedures in response to a small but significant increase in the price of tunneled home drainage catheter systems.

    BD and Bard are the two largest manufacturers of tunneled home drainage catheter systems in the United States, with a combined market share of approximately 98%. The remaining market share is divided between Rocket Medical plc (“Rocket Medical”) and B. Braun Medical Inc. (“B. Braun”). Rocket Medical is a new entrant to the U.S. market, and both Rocket Medical and B. Braun, in addition to having a much smaller share of the market than BD and Bard, have far less recognition among U.S. customers.

    B. Soft Tissue Core Needle Biopsy Devices

    Soft tissue core needle biopsy devices are used by medical clinicians, typically interventional radiologists or oncologists, to remove small samples of tissue from soft tissue organs for examination and diagnosis. There are no practical alternatives to soft tissue core needle biopsy devices for clinicians seeking to perform a soft tissue biopsy. Other biopsy devices, such as bone or bone marrow biopsy devices, are not approved or intended to be used for soft tissue biopsies. Soft tissue core needle biopsy devices do not include, and are distinguished from, vacuum-assisted biopsy (“VAB”) devices which employ a vacuum to remove larger tissue samples. VAB devices are used for breast biopsies involving lesions that are difficult to locate and are not used to perform biopsies of other soft tissues and organs. VAB devices are more complex devices that are sold at a significantly higher price than soft tissue core needle biopsy devices. Accordingly, customers likely would not switch to VAB devices in response to a small but significant increase in the price of soft tissue core needle biopsy devices.

    Bard and BD are the two largest manufacturers of soft tissue core needle biopsy devices in the United States, with a combined market share of 60% or greater. Other participants in the market include Cook Medical, Argon Medical Devices, Inc., and Hologic, Inc., but each of these manufacturers has a smaller market share than either Bard or BD. In addition, there is a fringe of other manufacturers with very small market shares.

    C. The Relevant Geographic Market

    The relevant geographic market for both tunneled home drainage catheter systems and soft tissue core needle biopsy devices is the United States. These relevant products are medical devices regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”). Medical devices sold outside of the United States, but not approved for sale in the United States, are not viable competitive alternatives for U.S. consumers.

    IV. Competitive Effects of the Transaction

    The proposed Acquisition would likely substantially lessen competition in the U.S. markets for tunneled home drainage catheter systems and soft tissue core needle biopsy devices. The Acquisition would combine the largest and second-largest suppliers of both products in the United States and would substantially increase concentration in already highly concentrated markets. Under the Horizontal Merger Guidelines, the Acquisition would presumptively create or enhance market power. By eliminating direct and substantial competition between Respondents, the proposed Acquisition likely would allow the combined firm to exercise market power unilaterally, resulting in higher prices and/or reduced innovation.

    V. Entry

    Entry in the relevant markets would not be timely, likely, or sufficient in magnitude, character, and scope to deter or counteract the anticompetitive effects of the proposed Acquisition. New entry into the markets for each of these devices is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive, requiring a significant investment of time and money for product research and development, regulatory approval by the FDA, and the establishment of a sales and marketing infrastructure sufficient to develop customer awareness and acceptance of the products.

    VI. The Proposed Consent Agreement

    The Consent Agreement remedies the competitive concerns raised by the proposed Acquisition by requiring the Respondents to divest all of the assets, facilities, and resources relating to Bard's tunneled home drainage catheter systems business and BD's soft tissue core needle biopsy devices business to Merit. The provisions of the Consent Agreement will enable Merit to become an independent, viable, and effective competitor in the respective relevant markets and maintain the competition that currently exists.

    Merit, headquartered in South Jordan, Utah, is a global company with 30 years of experience in the development, manufacture, and distribution of medical devices used in interventional, diagnostic, and therapeutic procedures. Merit offers a portfolio of products that is highly complementary to the tunneled home drainage catheter systems being acquired. Merit also recently introduced its first soft tissue core needle biopsy device product. Merit possesses substantial industry expertise in these product areas and sells its products to similar customers as BD and Bard. For these reasons, Merit is well positioned to restore the benefits of competition that would be lost due to the Acquisition.

    Pursuant to the Order, Merit will receive all rights and assets related to Bard's tunneled home drainage catheter system business and BD's soft tissue core needle biopsy device business, including all of the confidential business information used in those businesses. Merit will own or receive a license to all intellectual property necessary to run the businesses. It will also acquire the equipment used in the manufacturing of the products and all documentation and other information related to the products. Respondents will also contract manufacture products for Merit until it is able to manufacture them itself, and Respondents will provide transitional services to Merit to assist the company in establishing manufacturing capabilities for the divested products.

    The Respondents must accomplish the divestitures no later than 10 days after the consummation of the proposed Acquisition. If the Commission determines that Merit is not an acceptable acquirer, or that the manner of the divestitures is not acceptable, the proposed Order requires the Respondents to unwind the sale of assets to Merit and then divest the assets to a Commission-approved acquirer(s) within 180 days of the date the Order becomes final. Pursuant to the Order To Maintain Assets, Respondents must maintain the businesses pending divestiture.

    The Commission has agreed to appoint a Monitor to ensure that the Respondents comply with all of their obligations pursuant to the Consent Agreement and to keep the Commission informed about the status of the transfer of assets to Merit. The Commission has appointed Mazars LLP as the Monitor in this matter. The proposed Order further allows the Commission to appoint a trustee in the event the parties fail to divest the products as required.

    VII. Opportunity for Public Comment

    The purpose of this analysis is to facilitate public comment on the Consent Agreement to aid the Commission in determining whether it should make the Order final. This analysis is not intended to constitute an official interpretation of the proposed Consent Agreement and does not modify its terms in any way.

    By direction of the Commission.

    April J. Tabor, Acting Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28213 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6750-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [Document Identifier: CMS-R-262] Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is announcing an opportunity for the public to comment on CMS' intention to collect information from the public. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), federal agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension or reinstatement of an existing collection of information, and to allow a second opportunity for public comment on the notice. Interested persons are invited to send comments regarding the burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including the necessity and utility of the proposed information collection for the proper performance of the agency's functions, the accuracy of the estimated burden, ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology to minimize the information collection burden.

    DATES:

    Comments on the collection(s) of information must be received by the OMB desk officer by January 29, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    When commenting on the proposed information collections, please reference the document identifier or OMB control number. To be assured consideration, comments and recommendations must be received by the OMB desk officer via one of the following transmissions: OMB, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attention: CMS Desk Officer, Fax Number: (202) 395-5806 OR, Email: [email protected].

    To obtain copies of a supporting statement and any related forms for the proposed collection(s) summarized in this notice, you may make your request using one of following:

    1. Access CMS' website address at https://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/PaperworkReductionActof1995/PRA-Listing.html.

    2. Email your request, including your address, phone number, OMB number, and CMS document identifier, to [email protected].

    3. Call the Reports Clearance Office at (410) 786-1326.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    William Parham at (410) 786-4669.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. The term “collection of information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c) and includes agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)) requires federal agencies to publish a 30-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension or reinstatement of an existing collection of information, before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, CMS is publishing this notice that summarizes the following proposed collection(s) of information for public comment:

    1. Type of Information Collection Request: Revision of a currently approved collection; Title of Information Collection: Contract Year 2019 Plan Benefit Package (PBP) Software and Formulary Submission; Use: We require that Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan organizations submit a completed PBP and formulary as part of the annual bidding process. During this process, organizations prepare their proposed plan benefit packages for the upcoming contract year and submit them to us for review and approval. We publish beneficiary education information using a variety of formats. The specific education initiatives that utilize PBP and formulary data include web application tools on www.medicare.gov and the plan benefit insert in the Medicare & You handbook. In addition, organizations utilize the PBP data to generate their Summary of Benefits marketing information.

    This notice replaces the 30-day Federal Register notice that published on December 13, 2017 (82 FR 58613) which was subsequently withdrawn on December 22, 2017 (82 FR 60744).

    Form Number: CMS-R-262 (OMB control number 0938-0763); Frequency: Yearly; Affected Public: Private sector (Business or other for-profits and Not-for-profit institutions); Number of Respondents: 520; Total Annual Responses: 5,675; Total Annual Hours: 56,450. (For policy questions regarding this collection contact Kristy Holtje at 410-786-2209.)

    Dated: December 26, 2017. William N. Parham, III, Director, Paperwork Reduction Staff, Office of Strategic Operations and Regulatory Affairs.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28159 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4120-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2017-D-6530] Formal Meetings Between the Food and Drug Administration and Sponsors or Applicants of Prescription Drug User Fee Act Products; Draft Guidance for Industry; Availability AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) is announcing the availability of a draft guidance for industry entitled “Formal Meetings Between the FDA and Sponsors or Applicants of PDUFA Products.” This draft guidance provides recommendations to industry on formal meetings between FDA and sponsors or applicants relating to the development and review of drug or biological products (hereafter referred to as products). The previous guidance for industry “Formal Meetings Between the FDA and Sponsors or Applicants” published May 19, 2009, and the draft guidance for industry “Formal Meetings Between the FDA and Sponsors or Applicants of PDUFA Products” published March 11, 2015, have been withdrawn.

    DATES:

    Submit either electronic or written comments on the draft guidance by March 29, 2018 to ensure that the Agency considers your comment on this draft guidance before it begins work on the final version of the guidance.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on any guidance at any time as follows:

    Electronic Submissions

    Submit electronic comments in the following way:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Comments submitted electronically, including attachments, to https://www.regulations.gov will be posted to the docket unchanged. Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for ensuring that your comment does not include any confidential information that you or a third party may not wish to be posted, such as medical information, your or anyone else's Social Security number, or confidential business information, such as a manufacturing process. Please note that if you include your name, contact information, or other information that identifies you in the body of your comments, that information will be posted on https://www.regulations.gov.

    • If you want to submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made available to the public, submit the comment as a written/paper submission and in the manner detailed (see “Written/Paper Submissions” and “Instructions”).

    Written/Paper Submissions

    Submit written/paper submissions as follows:

    Mail/Hand delivery/Courier (for written/paper submissions): Dockets Management Staff (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    • For written/paper comments submitted to the Dockets Management Staff, FDA will post your comment, as well as any attachments, except for information submitted, marked and identified, as confidential, if submitted as detailed in “Instructions.”

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the Docket No. FDA-2017-D-6530 for “Formal Meetings Between the Food and Drug Administration and Sponsors or Applicants of Prescription Drug User Fee Act Products; Draft Guidance for Industry; Availability.” Received comments will be placed in the docket and, except for those submitted as “Confidential Submissions,” publicly viewable at https://www.regulations.gov or at the Dockets Management Staff between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    • Confidential Submissions—To submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made publicly available, submit your comments only as a written/paper submission. You should submit two copies total. One copy will include the information you claim to be confidential with a heading or cover note that states “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.” The Agency will review this copy, including the claimed confidential information, in its consideration of comments. The second copy, which will have the claimed confidential information redacted/blacked out, will be available for public viewing and posted on https://www.regulations.gov. Submit both copies to the Dockets Management Staff. If you do not wish your name and contact information to be made publicly available, you can provide this information on the cover sheet and not in the body of your comments and you must identify this information as “confidential.” Any information marked as “confidential” will not be disclosed except in accordance with 21 CFR 10.20 and other applicable disclosure law. For more information about FDA's posting of comments to public dockets, see 80 FR 56469, September 18, 2015, or access the information at: https://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-09-18/pdf/2015-23389.pdf.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or the electronic and written/paper comments received, go to https://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the “Search” box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Dockets Management Staff, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    You may submit comments on any guidance at any time (see 21 CFR 10.115(g)(5)).

    Submit written requests for single copies of the draft guidance to the Division of Drug Information, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10001 New Hampshire Ave., Hillandale Building, 4th Floor, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, or Office of Communication, Outreach, and Development, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 71, Rm. 3128, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002. Send one self-addressed adhesive label to assist that office in processing your requests. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for electronic access to the draft guidance document.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rachel B. Kichline, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 22, Rm. 6312, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 301-796-0319; or Stephen Ripley, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 71, Rm. 7301, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 240-402-7911.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    FDA is announcing the availability of a draft guidance for industry entitled “Formal Meetings Between the FDA and Sponsors or Applicants of PDUFA Products.” This draft guidance provides recommendations to industry on formal meetings between FDA and sponsors or applicants relating to the development and review of products regulated by the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research and the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. This draft guidance does not apply to abbreviated new drug applications, applications for biosimilar biological products, or submissions for medical devices. For the purposes of this guidance, formal meeting includes any meeting that is requested by a sponsor or applicant following the request procedures provided in this guidance and includes meetings conducted in any format (i.e., face to face, teleconference/videoconference, or written response only).

    This guidance discusses the principles of good meeting management practices and describes standardized procedures for requesting, preparing for, scheduling, conducting, and documenting such formal meetings. The general principles in this guidance may be extended to other nonapplication-related meetings with external constituents, insofar as this is possible.

    The previous guidance for industry “Formal Meetings Between the FDA and Sponsors or Applicants” published May 19, 2009, and the draft guidance for industry “Formal Meetings Between the FDA and Sponsors or Applicants of PDUFA Products” published March 11, 2015, have been withdrawn.

    This draft guidance is being issued consistent with FDA's good guidance practices regulation (21 CFR 10.115). The draft guidance, when finalized, will represent the current thinking of FDA on formal meetings between FDA and sponsors or applicants of PDUFA products. It does not establish any rights for any person and is not binding on FDA or the public. You can use an alternative approach if it satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations. This guidance is not subject to Executive Order 12866.

    II. The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This draft guidance refers to previously approved collections of information that are subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). The collections of information referred to in the guidance entitled “Formal Meetings Between the FDA and Sponsors or Applicants” have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0429. The collections of information for Form FDA 1571 and end-of-phase 2 meetings have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0014 and collections of information for Form FDA 356h have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0338.

    III. Electronic Access

    Persons with access to the internet may obtain the draft guidance at https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/default.htm, https://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/default.htm, or https://www.regulations.gov.

    Dated: December 19, 2017. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28140 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2017-D-6564] Best Practices for Communication Between Investigational New Drug Application Sponsors and the Food and Drug Administration; Guidance for Industry and Review Staff; Availability AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) is announcing the availability of a guidance for industry and review staff entitled “Best Practices for Communication Between IND Sponsors and FDA During Drug Development.” Timely, transparent, and effective communications between investigational new drug application (IND) sponsors and FDA at critical junctures in drug development facilitate earlier availability of safe and effective drugs to the American public. This guidance describes FDA's philosophy regarding timely interactive communication with IND sponsors as a core activity; describes the scope of appropriate interactions between FDA review teams and IND sponsors; outlines the types of advice appropriate for sponsors to seek from FDA in pursuing their drug development programs; describes the general expectations for the timing of FDA responses to IND sponsor inquiries; describes best practices and communication methods to facilitate interactions between FDA review teams and IND sponsors during drug development; and includes expectations on appropriate methods and frequency of such communications. This guidance does not apply to communications or inquiries from industry trade organizations, consumer or patient advocacy organizations, other government agencies, or other stakeholders not pursuing a development program under an IND. This guidance finalizes the draft guidance issued on December 9, 2015.

    DATES:

    The announcement of the guidance is published in the Federal Register on December 29, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit either electronic or written comments on Agency guidances at any time as follows:

    Electronic Submissions

    Submit electronic comments in the following way:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Comments submitted electronically, including attachments, to https://www.regulations.gov will be posted to the docket unchanged. Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for ensuring that your comment does not include any confidential information that you or a third party may not wish to be posted, such as medical information, your or anyone else's Social Security number, or confidential business information, such as a manufacturing process. Please note that if you include your name, contact information, or other information that identifies you in the body of your comments, that information will be posted on https://www.regulations.gov.

    • If you want to submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made available to the public, submit the comment as a written/paper submission and in the manner detailed (see “Written/Paper Submissions” and “Instructions”).

    Written/Paper Submissions

    Submit written/paper submissions as follows:

    Mail/Hand delivery/Courier (for written/paper submissions): Dockets Management Staff (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    • For written/paper comments submitted to the Dockets Management Staff, FDA will post your comment, as well as any attachments, except for information submitted, marked and identified, as confidential, if submitted as detailed in “Instructions.”

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the Docket No. FDA-2017-D-6564 for “Best Practices for Communication Between Investigational New Drug Application Sponsors and the Food and Drug Administration; Guidance for Industry and Review Staff; Availability.” Received comments will be placed in the docket and, except for those submitted as “Confidential Submissions,” publicly viewable at https://www.regulations.gov or at the Dockets Management Staff between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    • Confidential Submissions—To submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made publicly available, submit your comments only as a written/paper submission. You should submit two copies total. One copy will include the information you claim to be confidential with a heading or cover note that states “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.” The Agency will review this copy, including the claimed confidential information, in its consideration of comments. The second copy, which will have the claimed confidential information redacted/blacked out, will be available for public viewing and posted on https://www.regulations.gov. Submit both copies to the Dockets Management Staff. If you do not wish your name and contact information to be made publicly available, you can provide this information on the cover sheet and not in the body of your comments and you must identify this information as “confidential.” Any information marked as “confidential” will not be disclosed except in accordance with 21 CFR 10.20 and other applicable disclosure law. For more information about FDA's posting of comments to public dockets, see 80 FR 56469, September 18, 2015, or access the information at: https://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-09-18/pdf/2015-23389.pdf.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or the electronic and written/paper comments received, go to https://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the “Search” box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Dockets Management Staff, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    You may submit comments on any guidance at any time (see 21 CFR 10.115(g)(5)).

    Submit written requests for single copies of the draft guidance to the Division of Drug Information, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10001 New Hampshire Ave., Hillandale Building., 4th Floor, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, or Office of Communication, Outreach, and Development, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 71, Rm. 3128, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002. Send one self-addressed adhesive label to assist that office in processing your requests. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for electronic access to the draft guidance document.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rachel B. Kichline, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 22, Rm. 6312, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 301-796-0319; or Stephen Ripley, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 71, Rm. 7301, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 240-402-7911.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    FDA is announcing the availability of a guidance for industry and review staff entitled “Best Practices for Communication Between IND Sponsors and FDA During Drug Development.” As part of the Prescription Drug User Fee Amendments of 2012 (PDUFA V), described in PDUFA Reauthorization Performance Goals and Procedures Fiscal Years 2013 through 2017, the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) and the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) agreed to publish a joint guidance for industry and review staff on best practices for communication between IND sponsors and FDA during drug development.

    To establish the best practices described in this guidance, CDER and CBER gathered the experiences of review staff and incorporated input from interested parties who responded to a notice published in the Federal Register of October 29, 2014 (79 FR 64397), or who provided input directly to CDER's Enhanced Communication Team. This guidance was published as a draft guidance on December 9, 2015. The following changes were made to the guidance:

    • Biosimilar biological product development information was expanded and Biosimilar User Fee Act (BsUFA) meeting types were added.

    • Roles and responsibilities for regulatory project managers were clarified.

    • Language describing the formal communication plan for applications in PDUFA Program for Enhanced Review Transparency and Communication for NME NDAs 1 and Original BLAs 2 (also known as the Program) and for biologic biosimilar applications reviewed under BsUFA was added.

    1 New Molecular Entity New Drug Applications

    2 Biologics License Applications

    • Meeting request parameters were revised in alignment with PDUFA VI.

    • Additional information was added to the Resources for Sponsors and Additional Contacts sections.

    This guidance is being issued consistent with FDA's good guidance practices regulation (21 CFR 10.115). The guidance represents the current thinking of FDA on best practices for communication between IND sponsors and FDA during drug development. It does not establish any rights for any person and is not binding on FDA or the public. You can use an alternative approach if it satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations. This guidance is not subject to Executive Order 12866.

    II. The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This guidance refers to previously approved collections of information that are subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). The information collection described in 21 CFR part 312 from IND sponsors is approved by OMB under control number 0910-0014. The information collection described in the guidance for industry entitled “Formal Meetings Between the FDA and Sponsors or Applicants of PDUFA Products” is approved by OMB under control number 0910-0429. The information collection described in the guidance for industry entitled “Formal Dispute Resolution: Sponsor Appeals Above the Division Level” (available at https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/UCM343101.pdf) is approved by OMB under control number 0910-0430. The information collection described in the “Evaluation of the Program for Enhanced Review Transparency and Communication for New Molecular Entity New Drug Applications and Original Biologics License Applications in Prescription Drug User Fee Acts” is approved by OMB under control number 0910-0746. The information collection described in the guidance for industry entitled “Expedited Programs for Serious Conditions—Drugs and Biologics” (available at https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/UCM358301.pdf) is approved by OMB under control number 0910-0765. The information collection described in the guidance for industry entitled “Formal Meetings Between the FDA and Biosimilar Biological Product Sponsors or Applicants” (available at https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/UCM345649.pdf) is approved by OMB under control number 0910-0802.

    III. Electronic Access

    Persons with access to the internet may obtain the guidance at https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/default.htm, https://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/default.htm, or https://www.regulations.gov.

    Dated: December 19, 2017. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28139 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Minority Health AGENCY:

    Office of Minority Health, Office of the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services.

    ACTION:

    Notice of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    As stipulated by the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is hereby giving notice that the Advisory Committee on Minority Health (ACMH) will hold a meeting. This meeting will be open to the public. Preregistration is required for both public attendance and comment. Any individual who wishes to attend the meetings and/or participate in the public comment session should email [email protected]. Information about the meeting is available from the designated contact and will be posted on the website for the Office of Minority Health (OMH), www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov. Information about ACMH activities can be found on the OMH website under the heading About OMH.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Monday, March 26, 2018, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Tuesday, March 27, 2018, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the 5600 Fishers Lane Building, Room 05E29, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, Maryland 20857.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Minh Wendt, Designated Federal Officer, Advisory Committee on Minority Health, Office of Minority Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Tower Building, 1101 Wootton Parkway, Suite 600, Rockville, Maryland 20852. Phone: 240-453-8222; fax: 240-453-8223; email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In accordance with Public Law 105-392, the ACMH was established to provide advice to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health on improving the health of each racial and ethnic minority group and on the development of goals and specific program activities of the OMH.

    The topics to be discussed during this meeting will include strategies to improve the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will help eliminate health disparities with an emphasis on serious mental illness. The recommendations will be given to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health.

    Public attendance at this meeting is limited to space available. Individuals who plan to attend and need special assistance, such as sign language interpretation or other reasonable accommodations, should notify the designated contact person at least fourteen (14) business days prior to the meeting. Members of the public will have an opportunity to provide comments at the meeting. Public comments will be limited to three minutes per speaker. Individuals who would like to submit written statements should mail or fax their comments to the Office of Minority Health at least seven (7) business days prior to the meeting. Any members of the public who wish to have printed material distributed to ACMH committee members should submit their materials to the Designated Federal Officer, ACMH, Tower Building, 1101 Wootton Parkway, Suite 600, Rockville, Maryland 20852, prior to close of business on Monday, March 19, 2018.

    Dated: December 22, 2017. Minh Wendt, Designated Federal Officer, Advisory Committee on Minority Health.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28161 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4150-29-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Special Emphasis Panel; AIDS Research Review Committee (AIDSRRC) Independent SEP.

    Date: January 18, 2018.

    Time: 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 5601 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20892 (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Robert C. Unfer, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Program, DEA/NIAID/NIH/DHHS, 5601 Fishers Lane, Room 3F40 MSC 9823, Rockville, MD 20892-9823, 240-669-5035, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Special Emphasis Panel; PHS 2018-1 Topic 54 & 55: Adjuvant Discovery & Development for Autoimmune Diseases.

    Date: January 31, 2018.

    Time: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate contract proposals.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 5601 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20892 (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Dharmendar Rathore, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Program, Division of Extramural Activities, Room 3G30, National Institutes of Health/NIAID, 5601 Fishers Lane, Drive, MSC 9823, Bethesda, MD 20892-9823, 240-669-5058, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.855, Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation Research; 93.856, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Research, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: December 22, 2017. Sylvia L. Neal, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28155 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Initial Review Group, Neurological Sciences and Disorders B.

    Date: February 22, 2018.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: JW Marriott New Orleans, 614 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130.

    Contact Person: Birgit Neuhuber, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Branch, NINDS/NIH/DHHS, Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Blvd., Suite 3204, MSC 9529, Bethesda, MD 20892-9529, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Special Emphasis Panel, NSD Member Conflict SEP.

    Date: February 22, 2018.

    Time: 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: JW Marriott New Orleans, 614 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130.

    Contact Person: Birgit Neuhuber, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Branch, NINDS/NIH/DHHS, Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Blvd., Suite 3204, MSC 9529, Bethesda, MD 20892-9529, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.853, Clinical Research Related to Neurological Disorders; 93.854, Biological Basis Research in the Neurosciences, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: December 22, 2017. Sylvia L. Neal, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28157 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute on Aging; Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, notice is hereby given of the following meeting.

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute on Aging Initial Review Group; Behavior and Social Science of Aging Review Committee NIA-S.

    Date: February 1-2, 2018.

    Time: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road, Bethesda, MD 20852.

    Contact Person: Kimberly Firth, Ph.D., National Institute on Aging, Gateway Building, 7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 2C212, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-402-7702, [email protected].

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.866, Aging Research, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: December 26, 2017. David Clary, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28154 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, notice is hereby given of the following meeting.

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The contract proposals and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the contract proposals, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Special Emphasis Panel; PHS 2018-1 Topic 55: Adjuvant Development for Viral Diseases Vaccines.

    Date: January 26, 2018.

    Time: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate contract proposals.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 5601 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20892 (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Dharmendar Rathore, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Program, Division of Extramural Activities, Room 3G30, National Institutes of Health/NIAID, 5601 Fishers Lane, Drive, MSC 9823, Bethesda, MD 20892-9823, 240-669-5058, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.855, Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation Research; 93.856, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Research, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: December 22, 2017. Sylvia L. Neal, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28156 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute on Aging; Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, notice is hereby given of the following meeting.

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute on Aging Special Emphasis Panel; Evaluation of NIA Clinical Trials.

    Date: January 25, 2018.

    Time: 12:01 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institute on Aging, Gateway Building, Suite 2W200, 7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20892 (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Maurizio Grimaldi, MD, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, 7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Room 2C218, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-496-9374, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.866, Aging Research, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: December 26, 2017. David Clary, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28153 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Substance Abuse Treatment; Notice of Meeting

    Pursuant to Public Law 92-463, notice is hereby given that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) National Advisory Council (NAC) will meet on February 14, 2018, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (EDT).

    The meeting is open and will include consideration of minutes from the SAMHSA CSAT NAC meeting of August 10, 2017, the Director's Report, a budget update, discussion on substance use disorder spending estimates, discussions with SAMHSA leadership, and discussions on the opioid epidemic.

    The meeting will be held at the SAMHSA, 5600 Fishers Lane, Pavilion C, Rockville, MD 20857. Attendance by the public will be limited to space available. Interested persons may present data, information, or views, orally or in writing, on issues pending before the Council. Written submissions should be forwarded to the contact person on or before February 5, 2018. Oral presentations from the public will be scheduled at the conclusion of the meeting. Individuals interested in making oral presentations must notify the contact person on or before February 5, 2018. Five minutes will be allotted for each presentation as time permits.

    The meeting may be accessed via telephone. To attend on site, obtain the call-in number and access code, submit written or brief oral comments, or request special accommodations for persons with disabilities, please register on-line at http://nac.samhsa.gov/Registration/meetingsRegistration.aspx, or communicate with the CSAT National Advisory Council Designated Federal Officer; Tracy Goss (see contact information below).

    Meeting information and a roster of Council members may be obtained by accessing the SAMHSA Committee website at http://www.samhsa.gov/about-us/advisory-councils/csat-national-advisory-council or by contacting the CSAT National Advisory Council Designated Federal Officer; Tracy Goss (see contact information below).

    Council Name: SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment National Advisory Council.

    Date/Time/Type: February 14, 2018, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. EDT, OPEN.

    Place: SAMHSA, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, Maryland 20857.

    Contact: Tracy Goss, Designated Federal Officer, CSAT National Advisory Council, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, Maryland 20857 (mail), Telephone: (240) 276-0759, Fax: (240) 276-2252, Email: [email protected].

    Dated: December 22, 2017. Carlos Castillo, Committee Management Officer, SAMHSA.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28107 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4162-20-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-3391-EM; Docket ID FEMA-2017-0001] Puerto Rico; Amendment No. 2 to Notice of an Emergency Declaration AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice amends the notice of an emergency declaration for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (FEMA-3391-EM), dated September 18, 2017, and related determinations.

    DATES:

    This amendment was issued December 6, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dean Webster, Office of Response and Recovery, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-2833.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is hereby given that the incident period for this emergency is closed effective November 15, 2017.

    The following Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers (CFDA) are to be used for reporting and drawing funds: 97.030, Community Disaster Loans; 97.031, Cora Brown Fund; 97.032, Crisis Counseling; 97.033, Disaster Legal Services; 97.034, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA); 97.046, Fire Management Assistance Grant; 97.048, Disaster Housing Assistance to Individuals and Households In Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas; 97.049, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance—Disaster Housing Operations for Individuals and Households; 97.050 Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance to Individuals and Households—Other Needs; 97.036, Disaster Grants—Public Assistance (Presidentially Declared Disasters); 97.039, Hazard Mitigation Grant.

    Brock Long, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28191 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-23-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Docket ID FEMA-2017-0002; Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-B-1771] Proposed Flood Hazard Determinations AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    Comments are requested on proposed flood hazard determinations, which may include additions or modifications of any Base Flood Elevation (BFE), base flood depth, Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) boundary or zone designation, or regulatory floodway on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), and where applicable, in the supporting Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports for the communities listed in the table below. The purpose of this notice is to seek general information and comment regarding the preliminary FIRM, and where applicable, the FIS report that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has provided to the affected communities. The FIRM and FIS report are the basis of the floodplain management measures that the community is required either to adopt or to show evidence of having in effect in order to qualify or remain qualified for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). In addition, the FIRM and FIS report, once effective, will be used by insurance agents and others to calculate appropriate flood insurance premium rates for new buildings and the contents of those buildings.

    DATES:

    Comments are to be submitted on or before March 29, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    The Preliminary FIRM, and where applicable, the FIS report for each community are available for inspection at both the online location https://www.fema.gov/preliminaryfloodhazarddata and the respective Community Map Repository address listed in the tables below. Additionally, the current effective FIRM and FIS report for each community are accessible online through the FEMA Map Service Center at https://msc.fema.gov for comparison.

    You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. FEMA-B-1771, to Rick Sacbibit, Chief, Engineering Services Branch, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, FEMA, 400 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-7659, or (email) [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rick Sacbibit, Chief, Engineering Services Branch, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, FEMA, 400 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-7659, or (email) [email protected]; or visit the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) online at https://www.floodmaps.fema.gov/fhm/fmx_main.html.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    FEMA proposes to make flood hazard determinations for each community listed below, in accordance with section 110 of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, 42 U.S.C. 4104, and 44 CFR 67.4(a).

    These proposed flood hazard determinations, together with the floodplain management criteria required by 44 CFR 60.3, are the minimum that are required. They should not be construed to mean that the community must change any existing ordinances that are more stringent in their floodplain management requirements. The community may at any time enact stricter requirements of its own or pursuant to policies established by other Federal, State, or regional entities. These flood hazard determinations are used to meet the floodplain management requirements of the NFIP and also are used to calculate the appropriate flood insurance premium rates for new buildings built after the FIRM and FIS report become effective.

    The communities affected by the flood hazard determinations are provided in the tables below. Any request for reconsideration of the revised flood hazard information shown on the Preliminary FIRM and FIS report that satisfies the data requirements outlined in 44 CFR 67.6(b) is considered an appeal. Comments unrelated to the flood hazard determinations also will be considered before the FIRM and FIS report become effective.

    Use of a Scientific Resolution Panel (SRP) is available to communities in support of the appeal resolution process. SRPs are independent panels of experts in hydrology, hydraulics, and other pertinent sciences established to review conflicting scientific and technical data and provide recommendations for resolution. Use of the SRP only may be exercised after FEMA and local communities have been engaged in a collaborative consultation process for at least 60 days without a mutually acceptable resolution of an appeal. Additional information regarding the SRP process can be found online at https://www.floodsrp.org/pdfs/srp_overview.pdf.

    The watersheds and/or communities affected are listed in the tables below. The Preliminary FIRM, and where applicable, FIS report for each community are available for inspection at both the online location https://www.fema.gov/preliminaryfloodhazarddata and the respective Community Map Repository address listed in the tables. For communities with multiple ongoing Preliminary studies, the studies can be identified by the unique project number and Preliminary FIRM date listed in the tables. Additionally, the current effective FIRM and FIS report for each community are accessible online through the FEMA Map Service Center at https://msc.fema.gov for comparison.

    (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 97.022, “Flood Insurance.”) Dated: December 13, 2017. Roy E. Wright, Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency. Community Community map repository address Baldwin County, Alabama and Incorporated Areas Project: 09-04-8085S Preliminary Date: July 31, 2017 City of Bay Minette City Hall, 301 D'Olive Street, Bay Minette, AL 36507. City of Daphne City Hall, 1705 Main Street, Daphne, AL 36526. City of Fairhope Building Department, 555 South Section Street, Fairhope, AL 36533. City of Foley Community Development Building, 200 North Alston Street, Foley, AL 36535. City of Gulf Shores Building Department, 205 Clubhouse Drive, Suite B, Gulf Shores, AL 36542. City of Orange Beach Floodplain Administrator's Office, 4101 Orange Beach Boulevard, Orange Beach, AL 36561. City of Robertsdale City Hall, 22647 Racine Street, Robertsdale, AL 36567. City of Spanish Fort Building Department, 7361 Spanish Fort Boulevard, Spanish Fort, AL 36527. Town of Elberta Civic Center, 25070 Pine Street, Elberta, AL 36530. Town of Loxley Town Hall, 1089 South Hickory Street, Loxley, AL 36551. Town of Magnolia Springs Town Hall, 12191 Magnolia Springs Highway, Magnolia Spings, AL 36555. Town of Perdido Beach Town Hall, 9212 County Road 97, Perdido Beach, AL 36530. Town of Silverhill Town Hall, 15965 Silverhill Avenue, Silverhill, AL 36576. Town of Summerdale Baldwin County Building Inspection Department, 201 East Section Avenue, Foley, AL 36535. Unincorporated Areas of Baldwin County Baldwin County Building Inspection Department, 201 East Section Avenue, Foley, AL 36535. New London County, Connecticut (All Jurisdictions) Project: 13-01-0378S Preliminary Date: August 9, 2017 Town of North Stonington Old Town Hall, 40 Main Street, North Stonington, CT 06359. Town of Stonington Town Hall, 152 Elm Street, Stonington, CT 06378. Town of Voluntown Town Hall, 115 Main Street, Voluntown, CT 06384. Canadian County, Oklahoma and Incorporated Areas Project: 13-06-0690S Preliminary Date: February 15, 2017 City of Piedmont City Hall, 314 Edmond Road Northwest, Piedmont, OK 73078. Garfield County, Oklahoma and Incorporated Areas Project: 13-06-0690S Preliminary Date: February 15, 2017 City of Enid City Hall, 401 West Owen K. Garriott Road, Enid, OK 73701. Unincorporated Areas of Garfield County Garfield County Courthouse, 114 West Broadway, Room 105, Enid, OK 73701. Kingfisher County, Oklahoma and Incorporated Areas Project: 13-06-0690S Preliminary Date: August 10, 2017 City of Kingfisher City Hall, 301 North Main Street, Kingfisher, OK 73750. Unincorporated Areas of Kingfisher County Kingfisher County Courthouse, 101 South Main Street, Kingfisher, OK 73750. Logan County, Oklahoma and Incorporated Areas Project: 13-06-0690S Preliminary Date: February 15, 2017 Unincorporated Areas of Logan County Logan County Courthouse Annex, 312 East Harrison Street, Guthrie, OK 73044. Kent County, Rhode Island (All Jurisdictions) Project: 13-01-0378S Preliminary Date: August 9, 2017 Town of Coventry Planning Department, 1675 Flat River Road, Coventry, RI 02816. Town of West Greenwich Town Hall Annex South, Building Official's Office, 302 Victory Highway, West Greenwich, RI 02817. Washington County, Rhode Island (All Jurisdictions) Project: 13-01-0378S Preliminary Date: August 9, 2017 Narragansett Indian Tribe Administration Building, 4533 South County Trail, Charlestown, RI 02813. Town of Charlestown Town Hall, Building Department, 4540 South County Trail, Charlestown, RI 02813. Town of Exeter Town Hall, Town Clerk's Office, 675 Ten Rod Road, Exeter, RI 02822. Town of Hopkinton Town Hall, 1 Town House Road, Hopkinton, RI 02833. Town of North Kingstown Department of Public Works, Engineering Department, 2050 Davisville Road, North Kingstown, RI 02852. Town of Richmond Richmond Town Hall, 5 Richmond Townhouse Road, Wyoming, RI 02898. Town of South Kingstown South Kingstown Town Hall, 180 High Street, Wakefield, RI 02879. Town of Westerly Town Hall, 45 Broad Street, Westerly, RI 02891.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28186 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-12-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Docket ID FEMA-2017-0002; Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-B-1772] Changes in Flood Hazard Determinations AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice lists communities where the addition or modification of Base Flood Elevations (BFEs), base flood depths, Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) boundaries or zone designations, or the regulatory floodway (hereinafter referred to as flood hazard determinations), as shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), and where applicable, in the supporting Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports, prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for each community, is appropriate because of new scientific or technical data. The FIRM, and where applicable, portions of the FIS report, have been revised to reflect these flood hazard determinations through issuance of a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR), in accordance with Title 44, Part 65 of the Code of Federal Regulations (44 CFR part 65). The LOMR will be used by insurance agents and others to calculate appropriate flood insurance premium rates for new buildings and the contents of those buildings. For rating purposes, the currently effective community number is shown in the table below and must be used for all new policies and renewals.

    DATES:

    These flood hazard determinations will be finalized on the dates listed in the table below and revise the FIRM panels and FIS report in effect prior to this determination for the listed communities.

    From the date of the second publication of notification of these changes in a newspaper of local circulation, any person has 90 days in which to request through the community that the Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation reconsider the changes. The flood hazard determination information may be changed during the 90-day period.

    ADDRESSES:

    The affected communities are listed in the table below. Revised flood hazard information for each community is available for inspection at both the online location and the respective community map repository address listed in the table below. Additionally, the current effective FIRM and FIS report for each community are accessible online through the FEMA Map Service Center at https://msc.fema.gov for comparison.

    Submit comments and/or appeals to the Chief Executive Officer of the community as listed in the table below.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rick Sacbibit, Chief, Engineering Services Branch, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, FEMA, 400 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-7659, or (email) [email protected]; or visit the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) online at https://www.floodmaps.fema.gov/fhm/fmx_main.html.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The specific flood hazard determinations are not described for each community in this notice. However, the online location and local community map repository address where the flood hazard determination information is available for inspection is provided.

    Any request for reconsideration of flood hazard determinations must be submitted to the Chief Executive Officer of the community as listed in the table below.

    The modifications are made pursuant to section 201 of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, 42 U.S.C. 4105, and are in accordance with the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq., and with 44 CFR part 65.

    The FIRM and FIS report are the basis of the floodplain management measures that the community is required either to adopt or to show evidence of having in effect in order to qualify or remain qualified for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

    These flood hazard determinations, together with the floodplain management criteria required by 44 CFR 60.3, are the minimum that are required. They should not be construed to mean that the community must change any existing ordinances that are more stringent in their floodplain management requirements. The community may at any time enact stricter requirements of its own or pursuant to policies established by other Federal, State, or regional entities. The flood hazard determinations are in accordance with 44 CFR 65.4.

    The affected communities are listed in the following table. Flood hazard determination information for each community is available for inspection at both the online location and the respective community map repository address listed in the table below. Additionally, the current effective FIRM and FIS report for each community are accessible online through the FEMA Map Service Center at https://msc.fema.gov for comparison.

    (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 97.022, “Flood Insurance.”) Dated: December 13, 2017. Roy E. Wright, Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency. State and county Location and case No. Chief executive officer
  • of community
  • Community map
  • repository
  • Online location of letter of
  • map revision
  • Date of
  • modification
  • Community
  • No.
  • Arizona: Pima City of Tucson (17-09-0333P) The Honorable Jonathan Rothschild, Mayor, City of Tucson, 255 West Alameda Street, 10th Floor, Tucson, AZ 85701 Planning and Development Services, 201 North Stone Avenue, 1st Floor, Tucson, AZ 85701 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 26, 2018 040076 Pima Unincorporated Areas of Pima County (17-09-0333P) The Honorable Sharon Bronson, Chair, Board of Supervisors Pima County, 130 West Congress Street, 11th Floor, Tucson, AZ 85701 Pima County Flood Control District, 201 North Stone Avenue, 9th Floor, Tucson, AZ 85701 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 26, 2018 040073 California: Riverside City of Banning (16-09-1555P) The Honorable George Moyer, Mayor, City of Banning, 99 East Ramsey Street, Banning, CA 92220 Public Works Department, 99 East Ramsey Street, Banning, CA 92220 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 22, 2018 060246 Riverside City of Menifee (17-09-1814P) The Honorable Neil R. Winter, Mayor, City of Menifee, 29714 Haun Road, Menifee, CA 92586 Public Works and Engineering Departments, 29714 Haun Road, Menifee, CA 92586 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 19, 2018 060176 Riverside City of Perris (17-09-1814P) The Honorable Michael M. Vargas, Mayor, City of Perris, 101 North D Street, Perris, CA 92570 Engineering Department, 170 Wilkerson Avenue, Perris, CA 92570 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 19, 2018 060258 Riverside Unincorporated Areas of Riverside County (17-09-1800P) The Honorable John F. Tavaglione, Chairman, Board of Supervisors, Riverside County, 4080 Lemon Street, 5th Floor, Riverside, CA 92501 Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, 1995 Market Street, Riverside, CA 92501 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 15, 2018 060245 Riverside Unincorporated Areas of Riverside County (17-09-1814P) The Honorable John F. Tavaglione, Chairman, Board of Supervisors, Riverside County, 4080 Lemon Street, 5th Floor, Riverside, CA 92501 Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, 1995 Market Street, Riverside, CA 92501 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 19, 2018 060245 San Diego City of Carlsbad (17-09-0723P) The Honorable Matt Hall, Mayor, City of Carlsbad, 1200 Carlsbad Village Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008 City Hall, 1200 Carlsbad Village Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 19, 2018 060285 San Diego City of Oceanside (17-09-0723P) The Honorable Jim Wood, Mayor, City of Oceanside, 300 North Coast Highway, Oceanside, CA 92054 City Hall, 300 North Coast Highway, Oceanside, CA 92054 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 19, 2018 060294 San Diego City of San Diego (17-09-1759P) The Honorable Kevin L. Faulconer, Mayor, City of San Diego, 202 C Street, 11th Floor, San Diego, CA 92101 Development Services Department, 1222 1st Avenue, 3rd Floor, MS 301, San Diego, CA 92101 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 26, 2018 060295 Florida: Duval City of Jacksonville (17-04-5002P) The Honorable Lenny Curry, Mayor, City of Jacksonville, 117 West Duval Street, Suite 400, Jacksonville, FL 32202 City Hall, 117 West Duval St, Jacksonville, FL 32202 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 1, 2018 120077 St. Johns Unincorporated Areas of St. Johns County (17-04-5830P) The Honorable James K. Johns, Chairman, St. Johns County Board of Commissioners, 500 San Sebastian View, St. Augustine, FL 32084 St. Johns County Permit Center, 4040 Lewis Speedway, St. Augustine, FL 32084 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 14, 2018 125147 St. Johns Unincorporated Areas of St. Johns County (17-04-5919P) The Honorable James K. Johns, Chairman, St. Johns County Board of Commissioners, 500 San Sebastian View, St. Augustine, FL 32084 St. Johns County Permit Center, 4040 Lewis Speedway, St. Augustine, FL 32084 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 15, 2018 125147 St. Johns Unincorporated Areas of St. Johns County (17-04-6842P) The Honorable James K. Johns, Chairman, St. Johns County Board of Commissioners, 500 San Sebastian View, St. Augustine, FL 32084 St. Johns County Permit Center, 4040 Lewis Speedway, St. Augustine, FL 32084 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 15, 2018 125147 Illinois: Will City of Crest Hill (17-05-5208P) The Honorable Ray Soliman, Mayor, City of Crest Hill, 1610 Plainfield Road, Crest Hill, IL 60403 City Hall, 1610 Plainfield Road, Crest Hill, IL 60403 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 16, 2018 170699 Missouri: McDonald Unincorporated Areas of McDonald County, (17-07-2074P) Mr. Keith Lindquist, McDonald County Commissioner, 602 Main Street, Pineville, MO 64856 County Courthouse, 602 Main Street, Pineville, MO 64854 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 16, 2018 290817 Nevada: Clark City of Henderson, (17-09-2174P) The Honorable Debra March, Mayor, City of Henderson, 240 South Water Street, Henderson, NV 89015 City Hall, 240 South Water Street, Henderson, NV 89015 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 15, 2018 320005 Texas: Dallas City of Mesquite, (17-06-3127P) The Honorable John Monaco, Mayor, City of Mesquite, 757 North Galloway Avenue, Mesquite, TX 75149 City Engineering Services, 1515 North Galloway Avenue, Mesquite, TX 75185 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 27, 2018 485490
    [FR Doc. 2017-28174 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-12-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Docket ID FEMA-2017-0002; Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-B-1770] Changes in Flood Hazard Determinations AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice lists communities where the addition or modification of Base Flood Elevations (BFEs), base flood depths, Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) boundaries or zone designations, or the regulatory floodway (hereinafter referred to as flood hazard determinations), as shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), and where applicable, in the supporting Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports, prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for each community, is appropriate because of new scientific or technical data. The FIRM, and where applicable, portions of the FIS report, have been revised to reflect these flood hazard determinations through issuance of a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR), in accordance with Title 44, Part 65 of the Code of Federal Regulations (44 CFR part 65). The LOMR will be used by insurance agents and others to calculate appropriate flood insurance premium rates for new buildings and the contents of those buildings. For rating purposes, the currently effective community number is shown in the table below and must be used for all new policies and renewals.

    DATES:

    These flood hazard determinations will be finalized on the dates listed the table below and revise the FIRM panels and FIS report in effect prior to this determination for the listed communities.

    From the date of the second publication of notification of these changes in a newspaper of local circulation, any person has 90 days in which to request through the community that the Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation reconsider the changes. The flood hazard determination information may be changed during the 90-day period.

    ADDRESSES:

    The affected communities are listed in the table below. Revised flood hazard information for each community is available for inspection at both the online location and the respective community map repository address listed in the table below. Additionally, the current effective FIRM and FIS report for each community are accessible online through the FEMA Map Service Center at https://msc.fema.gov for comparison.

    Submit comments and/or appeals to the Chief Executive Officer of the community as listed in the table below.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rick Sacbibit, Chief, Engineering Services Branch, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, FEMA, 400 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-7659, or (email) [email protected]; or visit the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) online at https://www.floodmaps.fema.gov/fhm/fmx_main.html.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The specific flood hazard determinations are not described for each community in this notice. However, the online location and local community map repository address where the flood hazard determination information is available for inspection is provided.

    Any request for reconsideration of flood hazard determinations must be submitted to the Chief Executive Officer of the community as listed in the table below.

    The modifications are made pursuant to section 201 of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, 42 U.S.C. 4105, and are in accordance with the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq., and with 44 CFR part 65.

    The FIRM and FIS report are the basis of the floodplain management measures that the community is required either to adopt or to show evidence of having in effect in order to qualify or remain qualified for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

    These flood hazard determinations, together with the floodplain management criteria required by 44 CFR 60.3, are the minimum that are required. They should not be construed to mean that the community must change any existing ordinances that are more stringent in their floodplain management requirements. The community may at any time enact stricter requirements of its own or pursuant to policies established by other Federal, State, or regional entities. The flood hazard determinations are in accordance with 44 CFR 65.4.

    The affected communities are listed in the following table. Flood hazard determination information for each community is available for inspection at both the online location and the respective community map repository address listed in the table below. Additionally, the current effective FIRM and FIS report for each community are accessible online through the FEMA Map Service Center at https://msc.fema.gov for comparison.

    (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 97.022, “Flood Insurance.”) Dated: December 5, 2017. Roy E. Wright, Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency. State and county Location and
  • case No.
  • Chief executive officer
  • of community
  • Community map
  • repository
  • Online location of letter
  • of map revision
  • Date of
  • modification
  • Community
  • No.
  • Alabama: Houston City of Dothan (17-04-1523P) The Honorable Mike Schmitz, Mayor, City of Dothan, 126 North Saint Andrews Street, Suite 201, Dothan, AL 36303 City Hall, 126 North Saint Andrews Street, Suite 201, Dothan, AL 36303 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 9, 2018 010104 Shelby City of Helena (17-04-6802P) The Honorable Mark R. Hall, Mayor, City of Helena, 816 Highway 52E, Helena, AL 35080 City Hall, 816 Highway 52E, Helena, AL 35080 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 8, 2018 010294 Shelby City of Hoover (17-04-6802P) The Honorable Frank Brocato, Mayor, City of Hoover, 100 Municipal Lane, Hoover, AL 35216 City Hall, 100 Municipal Lane, Hoover, AL 35216 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 8, 2018 010123 Shelby City of Pelham (17-04-7130P) The Honorable Gary W. Waters, Mayor, City of Pelham, 3162 Pelham Parkway, Pelham, AL 35124 City Hall, 3162 Pelham Parkway, Pelham, AL 35124 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 1, 2018 010193 Shelby Unincorporated areas of Shelby County (17-04-6802P) The Honorable Jon Parker, Chairman, Shelby County Commission, P.O. Box 467, Columbiana, AL 35051 Shelby County Engineering Department, 506 Highway 70, Columbiana, AL 35051 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 8, 2018 010191 Arkansas: Benton City of Rogers (17-06-3502P) The Honorable Greg Hines, Mayor, City of Rogers, 301 West Chestnut Street, Rogers, AR 72756 City Hall, 301 West Chestnut Street, Rogers, AR 72756 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 2, 2018 050013 Colorado: Arapahoe City of Centennial (17-08-0785P) The Honorable Cathy Noon, Mayor, City of Centennial, 13133 East Arapahoe Road, Centennial, CO 80112 Southeast Metro Stormwater Authority, 7437 South Fairplay Street, Centennial, CO 80112 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 23, 2018 080315 Boulder City of Lafayette (17-08-0625P) The Honorable Christine Berg, Mayor, City of Lafayette, 1290 South Public Road, Lafayette, CO 80026 City Hall, 1290 South Public Road, Lafayette, CO 80026 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 8, 2018 080026 Boulder City of Louisville (17-08-0625P) The Honorable Bob Muckle, Mayor, City of Louisville, 749 Main Street, Louisville, CO 80027 City Hall, 749 Main Street, Louisville, CO 80027 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 8, 2018 085076 Boulder Unincorporated areas of Boulder County (17-08-0625P) The Honorable Deb Gardner, Chair, Boulder County Board of Commissioners, P.O. Box 471, Boulder, CO 80306 Boulder County Transportation Department, 2525 13th Street, Suite 203, Boulder, CO 80304 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 8, 2018 080026 Florida: Broward Town of Hillsboro Beach (17-04-4804P) The Honorable Deborah Tarrant, Mayor, Town of Hillsboro Beach, 1210 Hillsboro Mile, Hillsboro Beach, FL 33062 Building Department, 1210 Hillsboro Mile, Hillsboro Beach, FL 33062 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 19, 2018 120040 Broward Unincorporated areas of Broward County (17-04-4804P) The Honorable Barbara Sharief, Mayor, Broward County Board of Commissioners, 115 South Andrews Avenue, Room 520, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301 Broward County Environmental Engineering and Permitting Division, 1 North University Drive, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33324 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 19, 2018 125093 Collier City of Marco Island (17-04-6180P) The Honorable Larry Honig, Chairman, City of Marco Island Council, 50 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island, FL 34145 Building Department, 50 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island, FL 34145 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 21, 2018 120426 Duval City of Jacksonville (17-04-1426P) The Honorable Lenny Curry, Mayor, City of Jacksonville, 117 West Duval Street, Suite 400, Jacksonville, FL 32202 Development Services Department, 214 North Hogan Street, Room 2100, Jacksonville, FL 32202 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 12, 2018 120077 Hillsborough City of Tampa (17-04-5729P) The Honorable Bob Buckhorn, Mayor, City of Tampa, 306 East Jackson Street, Tampa, FL 33602 Development Services Department, 1400 North Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33607 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 7, 2018 120114 Lee Town of Fort Myers Beach (17-04-5026P) The Honorable Dennis C. Boback, Mayor, Town of Fort Myers Beach, 2523 Estero Boulevard, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931 Community Development Department, 2523 Estero Boulevard, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 8, 2018 120673 Manatee City of Bradenton (17-04-8018X) The Honorable Wayne H. Poston, Mayor, City of Bradenton, 101 Old Main Street West, Bradenton, FL 34205 City Hall, 101 Old Main Street West, Bradenton, FL 34205 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 20, 2018 120155 Manatee Unincorporated areas of Manatee County (17-04-8018X) The Honorable Betsy Benac, Chair, Manatee County Board of Commissioners, P.O. Box 1000, Bradenton, FL 34206 Manatee County Building and Development Services Department, 1112 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34205 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 20, 2018 120153 Monroe City of Key West (17-04-6775P) The Honorable Craig Cates, Mayor, City of Key West, P.O. Box 1409, Key West, FL 33041 Building Department, 1300 White Street, Key West, FL 33041 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 5, 2018 120168 Monroe City of Key West (17-04-6810X) The Honorable Craig Cates, Mayor, City of Key West, P.O. Box 1409, Key West, FL 33041 Building Department, 1300 White Street, Key West, FL 33041 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 5, 2018 120168 Pinellas City of Madeira Beach (17-04-5429P) The Honorable Maggi Black, Mayor, City of Madeira Beach, 300 Municipal Drive, Madeira Beach, FL 33708 Community Development Center, 300 Municipal Drive, Madeira Beach, FL 33708 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 19, 2018 125127 Georgia: Bulloch Unincorporated areas of Bulloch County (16-04-5191P) The Honorable Roy Thompson, Chairman, Bulloch County Board of Commissioners, 115 North Main Street, Statesboro, GA 30459 Bulloch County Development Services Department, 115 North Main Street, Statesboro, GA 30459 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Feb. 22, 2018 130019 Effingham City of Guyton (16-04-5191P) The Honorable Jeff Lariscy, Mayor, City of Guyton, 310 Central Boulevard, Guyton, GA 31312 City Hall, 310 Central Boulevard, Guyton, GA 31312 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Feb. 22, 2018 130456 Effingham Unincorporated areas of Effingham County (16-04-5191P) The Honorable Wesley Corbitt, Chairman, Effingham County Board of Commissioners, 601 North Laurel Street, Springfield, GA 31329 Effingham County Development Services Department, 601 North Laurel Street, Springfield, GA 31329 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Feb. 22, 2018 130076 Maryland: Montgomery Unincorporated areas of Montgomery County (17-03-0816P) The Honorable Isiah Leggett, Montgomery County Executive, 101 Monroe Street, 2nd Floor, Rockville, MD 20850 Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services, 255 Rockville Pike, 2nd Floor, Rockville, MD 20850 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 23, 2018 240049 North Carolina: Alamance Unincorporated areas of Alamance County (16-04-8173P) The Honorable Eddie Boswell, Chairman, Alamance County Board of Commissioners, 124 West Elm Street, Graham, NC 27253 Alamance County Planning Department, 215 North Graham-Hopedale Road, Burlington, NC 27217 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Nov. 20, 2017 370001 Wake City of Raleigh (16-04-2666P) The Honorable Nancy McFarlane, Mayor, City of Raleigh, P.O. Box 590, Raleigh, NC 27602 Stormwater Management Division, 1 Exchange Plaza, Suite 304, Raleigh, NC 27601 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Feb. 14, 2018 370243 Wake Town of Wake Forest (16-04-2666P) The Honorable Vivian A. Jones, Mayor, Town of Wake Forest, 301 South Brooks Street, Wake Forest, NC 27587 Town Hall, 301 South Brooks Street, Wake Forest, NC 27587 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Feb. 14, 2018 370244 Wake Unincorporated areas of Wake County (16-04-2666P) The Honorable Sig Hutchinson, Chairman, Board of Commissioners, P.O. Box 550, Raleigh, NC 27602 Wake County, Environmental Services Department, 336 Fayetteville Street, Raleigh, NC 27601 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Feb. 14, 2018 370368 Oklahoma: Pottawatomie City of Shawnee (17-06-3304P) Mr. Justin Erickson, Manager, City of Shawnee, P.O. Box 1448, Shawnee, OK 74801 City Hall, 16 West 9th Street, Shawnee, OK 74801 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 12, 2018 400178 South Carolina: Charleston City of Charleston (17-04-6788P) The Honorable John J. Tecklenburg, Mayor, City of Charleston, P.O. Box 652, Charleston, SC 29401 Engineering Division, 2 George Street, Charleston, SC 29401 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 9, 2018 455412 Texas: Bexar City of San Antonio (17-06-0477P) The Honorable Ron Nirenberg, Mayor, City of San Antonio, P.O. Box 839966, San Antonio, TX 78283 Transportation and Capital Improvements Department, Storm Water Division, 1901 South Alamo Street, 2nd Floor, San Antonio, TX 78204 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 6, 2018 480045 Bexar City of San Antonio (17-06-1913P) The Honorable Ron Nirenberg, Mayor, City of San Antonio, P.O. Box 839966, San Antonio, TX 78283 Transportation and Capital Improvements Department, Storm Water Division, 1901 South Alamo Street, 2nd Floor, San Antonio, TX 78204 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 14, 2018 480045 Bexar City of San Antonio (17-06-2951P) The Honorable Ron Nirenberg, Mayor, City of San Antonio, P.O. Box 839966, San Antonio, TX 78283 Transportation and Capital Improvements Department, Storm Water Division, 1901 South Alamo Street, 2nd Floor, San Antonio, TX 78204 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 20, 2018 480045 Denton City of Frisco (17-06-3544P) The Honorable Jeff Cheney, Mayor, City of Frisco, 6101 Frisco Square Boulevard, Frisco, TX 75034 Engineering Services Department, 6101 Frisco Square Boulevard, 3rd Floor, Frisco, TX 75034 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 12, 2018 480134 Denton Town of Flower Mound (17-06-3619P) The Honorable Thomas Hayden, Mayor, Town of Flower Mound, 2121 Cross Timbers Road, Flower Mound, TX 75028 Engineering Department, 2121 Cross Timbers Road, Flower Mound, TX 75028 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 14, 2018 480777 Tarrant City of Fort Worth (17-06-2291P) The Honorable Betsy Price, Mayor, City of Fort Worth, 200 Texas Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102 Transportation and Public Works Department, 200 Texas Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 8, 2018 480596 Tarrant Unincorporated areas of Tarrant County (17-06-3156P) The Honorable B. Glen Whitley, Tarrant County Judge, 100 East Weatherford Street, Suite 501, Fort Worth, TX 76196 Tarrant County Transportation Department, 100 East Weatherford Street, Suite 401, Fort Worth, TX 76196 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 12, 2018 480582 Travis Unincorporated areas of Travis County (17-06-1733P) The Honorable Sarah Eckhardt, Travis County Judge, P.O. Box 1748, Austin, TX 78767 Travis County Planning Department, 700 Lavaca Street, 5th Floor, Austin, TX 78767 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 19, 2018 481026 Virginia: Fauquier Unincorporated areas of Fauquier County (17-03-2312P) The Honorable Richard R. Gerhardt, Chairman, Fauquier County Board of Supervisors, 10 Hotel Street, Suite 208, Warrenton, VA 20186 Fauquier County Circuit Court, 29 Ashby Street, 3rd Floor, Warrenton, VA 20186 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 22, 2018 510055 Wyoming: Teton Town of Jackson (17-08-1603P) The Honorable Pete Muldoon, Mayor, Town of Jackson, 150 East Pearl Street, Jackson, WY 83001 Engineering Department, 450 West Snow King Avenue, Jackson, WY 83001 https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch Mar. 8, 2018 560052
    [FR Doc. 2017-28175 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-12-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-3396-EM; Docket ID FEMA-2017-0001] California; Emergency and Related Determinations AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This is a notice of the Presidential declaration of an emergency for the State of California (FEMA-3396-EM), dated December 8, 2017, and related determinations.

    DATES:

    The declaration was issued December 8, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dean Webster, Office of Response and Recovery, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-2833.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is hereby given that, in a letter dated December 8, 2017, the President issued an emergency declaration under the authority of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121-5207 (the Stafford Act), as follows:

    I have determined that the emergency conditions in certain areas of the State of California resulting from wildfires beginning on December 4, 2017, and continuing, are of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant an emergency declaration under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq. (“the Stafford Act”). Therefore, I declare that such an emergency exists in the State of California.

    You are authorized to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the designated areas. Specifically, you are authorized to provide assistance for emergency protective measures (Category B), limited to direct Federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program.

    Consistent with the requirement that Federal assistance be supplemental, any Federal funds provided under the Stafford Act for Public Assistance will be limited to 75 percent of the total eligible costs. In order to provide Federal assistance, you are hereby authorized to allocate from funds available for these purposes such amounts as you find necessary for Federal emergency assistance and administrative expenses.

    Further, you are authorized to make changes to this declaration for the approved assistance to the extent allowable under the Stafford Act.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hereby gives notice that pursuant to the authority vested in the Administrator, Department of Homeland Security, under Executive Order 12148, as amended, Mark Armstrong, of FEMA is appointed to act as the Federal Coordinating Officer for this declared emergency.

    The following areas of the State of California have been designated as adversely affected by this declared emergency:

    Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties for emergency protective measures (Category B), limited to direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program.

    The following Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers (CFDA) are to be used for reporting and drawing funds: 97.030, Community Disaster Loans; 97.031, Cora Brown Fund; 97.032, Crisis Counseling; 97.033, Disaster Legal Services; 97.034, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA); 97.046, Fire Management Assistance Grant; 97.048, Disaster Housing Assistance to Individuals and Households In Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas; 97.049, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance—Disaster Housing Operations for Individuals and Households; 97.050, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance to Individuals and Households—Other Needs; 97.036, Disaster Grants—Public Assistance (Presidentially Declared Disasters); 97.039, Hazard Mitigation Grant.

    Brock Long, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28194 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-23-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-4350-DR; Docket ID FEMA-2017-0001] Mississippi; Major Disaster and Related Determinations AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This is a notice of the Presidential declaration of a major disaster for the State of Mississippi (FEMA-4350-DR), dated November 22, 2017, and related determinations.

    DATES:

    The declaration was issued November 22, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dean Webster, Office of Response and Recovery, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-2833.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is hereby given that, in a letter dated November 22, 2017, the President issued a major disaster declaration under the authority of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq. (the “Stafford Act”), as follows:

    I have determined that the damage in certain areas of the State of Mississippi resulting from Hurricane Nate during the period of October 6-10, 2017, is of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant a major disaster declaration under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq. (the “Stafford Act”). Therefore, I declare that such a major disaster exists in the State of Mississippi.

    In order to provide Federal assistance, you are hereby authorized to allocate from funds available for these purposes such amounts as you find necessary for Federal disaster assistance and administrative expenses.

    You are authorized to provide Public Assistance in the designated areas and Hazard Mitigation throughout the State. Consistent with the requirement that Federal assistance be supplemental, any Federal funds provided under the Stafford Act for Hazard Mitigation will be limited to 75 percent of the total eligible costs. Federal funds provided under the Stafford Act for Public Assistance also will be limited to 75 percent of the total eligible costs, with the exception of projects that meet the eligibility criteria for a higher Federal cost-sharing percentage under the Public Assistance Alternative Procedures Pilot Program for Debris Removal implemented pursuant to section 428 of the Stafford Act.

    Further, you are authorized to make changes to this declaration for the approved assistance to the extent allowable under the Stafford Act.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hereby gives notice that pursuant to the authority vested in the Administrator, under Executive Order 12148, as amended, Manny J. Toro, of FEMA is appointed to act as the Federal Coordinating Officer for this major disaster.

    The following areas of the State of Mississippi have been designated as adversely affected by this major disaster:

    George, Greene, Harrison, and Jackson Counties for Public Assistance.

    All areas within the State of Mississippi are eligible for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

    The following Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers (CFDA) are to be used for reporting and drawing funds: 97.030, Community Disaster Loans; 97.031, Cora Brown Fund; 97.032, Crisis Counseling; 97.033, Disaster Legal Services; 97.034, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA); 97.046, Fire Management Assistance Grant; 97.048, Disaster Housing Assistance to Individuals and Households In Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas; 97.049, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance—Disaster Housing Operations for Individuals and Households; 97.050, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance to Individuals and Households—Other Needs; 97.036, Disaster Grants—Public Assistance (Presidentially Declared Disasters); 97.039, Hazard Mitigation Grant.

    Brock Long, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28195 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-23-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Docket ID FEMA-2017-0002] Changes in Flood Hazard Determinations AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    New or modified Base (1-percent annual chance) Flood Elevations (BFEs), base flood depths, Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) boundaries or zone designations, and/or regulatory floodways (hereinafter referred to as flood hazard determinations) as shown on the indicated Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) for each of the communities listed in the table below are finalized. Each LOMR revises the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), and in some cases the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports, currently in effect for the listed communities. The flood hazard determinations modified by each LOMR will be used to calculate flood insurance premium rates for new buildings and their contents.

    DATES:

    Each LOMR was finalized as in the table below.

    ADDRESSES:

    Each LOMR is available for inspection at both the respective Community Map Repository address listed in the table below and online through the FEMA Map Service Center at https://msc.fema.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rick Sacbibit, Chief, Engineering Services Branch, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, FEMA, 400 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-7659, or (email) [email protected]; or visit the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) online at https://www.floodmaps.fema.gov/fhm/fmx_main.html.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) makes the final flood hazard determinations as shown in the LOMRs for each community listed in the table below. Notice of these modified flood hazard determinations has been published in newspapers of local circulation and 90 days have elapsed since that publication. The Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation has resolved any appeals resulting from this notification.

    The modified flood hazard determinations are made pursuant to section 206 of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, 42 U.S.C. 4105, and are in accordance with the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq., and with 44 CFR part 65.

    For rating purposes, the currently effective community number is shown and must be used for all new policies and renewals.

    The new or modified flood hazard information is the basis for the floodplain management measures that the community is required either to adopt or to show evidence of being already in effect in order to remain qualified for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

    This new or modified flood hazard information, together with the floodplain management criteria required by 44 CFR 60.3, are the minimum that are required. They should not be construed to mean that the community must change any existing ordinances that are more stringent in their floodplain management requirements. The community may at any time enact stricter requirements of its own or pursuant to policies established by other Federal, State, or regional entities.

    This new or modified flood hazard determinations are used to meet the floodplain management requirements of the NFIP and also are used to calculate the appropriate flood insurance premium rates for new buildings, and for the contents in those buildings. The changes in flood hazard determinations are in accordance with 44 CFR 65.4.

    Interested lessees and owners of real property are encouraged to review the final flood hazard information available at the address cited below for each community or online through the FEMA Map Service Center at https://msc.fema.gov.

    (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 97.022, “Flood Insurance.”) Dated: December 13, 2017. Roy E. Wright, Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency. State and county Location and case
  • No.
  • Chief executive officer of community Community map repository Date of modification Community No.
    Alabama: Calhoun (FEMA Docket No.: B-1758) City of Anniston (17-04-2695P) The Honorable Jack Draper, Mayor, City of Anniston, P.O. Box 2168, Anniston, AL 36202 City Hall, 1128 Gurnee Avenue, Anniston, AL 36202 Oct. 18, 2017 010020 Tuscaloosa (FEMA Docket No.: B-1758) City of Northport (16-04-8221P) The Honorable Donna Aaron, Mayor, City of Northport, 3500 McFarland Boulevard, Northport, AL 35476 City Hall, 3500 McFarland Boulevard, Northport, AL 35476 Oct. 24, 2017 010202 Tuscaloosa (FEMA Docket No.: B-1758) City of Tuscaloosa (16-04-7839P) The Honorable Walter Maddox, Mayor, City of Tuscaloosa, 2201 University Boulevard, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 Engineering Department, 2201 University Boulevard, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 Nov. 20, 2017 010203 Tuscaloosa (FEMA Docket No.: B-1758) City of Tuscaloosa (16-04-7840P) The Honorable Walter Maddox, Mayor, City of Tuscaloosa, 2201 University Boulevard, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 Engineering Department, 2201 University Boulevard, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 Nov. 20, 2017 010203 Tuscaloosa (FEMA Docket No.: B-1758) City of Tuscaloosa (16-04-8217P) The Honorable Walter Maddox, Mayor, City of Tuscaloosa, 2201 University Boulevard, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 Engineering Department, 2201 University Boulevard, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 Oct. 24, 2017 010203 Tuscaloosa (FEMA Docket No.: B-1758) City of Tuscaloosa (16-04-8221P) The Honorable Walter Maddox, Mayor, City of Tuscaloosa, 2201 University Boulevard, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 Engineering Department, 2201 University Boulevard, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 Oct. 24, 2017 010203 Tuscaloosa (FEMA Docket No.: B-1758) Unincorporated areas of Tuscaloosa County (16-04-7839P) The Honorable W. Hardy McCollum, Chairman, Tuscaloosa County Board of Commissioners, 714 Greensboro Avenue, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 Tuscaloosa County Public Works Department, 2810 35th Street, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 Nov. 20, 2017 010201 Tuscaloosa (FEMA Docket No.: B-1758) Unincorporated areas of Tuscaloosa County (16-04-7840P) The Honorable W. Hardy McCollum, Chairman, Tuscaloosa County Board of Commissioners, 714 Greensboro Avenue, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 Tuscaloosa County Public Works Department, 2810 35th Street, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 Nov. 20, 2017 010201 Tuscaloosa (FEMA Docket No.: B-1758) Unincorporated areas of Tuscaloosa County (16-04-8217P) The Honorable W. Hardy McCollum, Chairman, Tuscaloosa County Board of Commissioners, 714 Greensboro Avenue, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 Tuscaloosa County Public Works Department, 2810 35th Street, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 Oct. 24, 2017 010201 Tuscaloosa (FEMA Docket No.: B-1758) Unincorporated areas of Tuscaloosa County (16-04-8221P) The Honorable W. Hardy McCollum, Chairman, Tuscaloosa County Board of Commissioners, 714 Greensboro Avenue, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 Tuscaloosa County Public Works Department, 2810 35th Street, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 Oct. 24, 2017 010201 Colorado: Boulder (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) City of Louisville (17-08-0455P) The Honorable Bob Muckle, Mayor, City of Louisville, 749 Main Street, Louisville, CO 80027 City Hall, 749 Main Street, Louisville, CO 80027 Nov. 16, 2017 085076 Boulder (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Town of Superior (17-08-0455P) The Honorable Clint Folsom, Mayor, Town of Superior, 124 East Coal Creek Drive, Superior, CO 80027 Town Hall, 124 East Coal Creek Drive, Superior, CO 80027 Nov. 16, 2017 085203 Boulder (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Unincorporated areas of Boulder County (17-08-0455P) The Honorable Deb Gardner, Chair, Boulder County Board of Commissioners, P.O. Box 471, Boulder, CO 80306 Boulder County Transportation Department, 2525 13th Street, Suite 203, Boulder, CO 80304 Nov. 16, 2017 080023 Eagle (FEMA Docket No.: B-1740) Town of Eagle (17-08-0450P) Mr. John Schneiger, Manager, Town of Eagle, P.O. Box 609, Eagle, CO 81631 Town Hall, 200 Broadway Street, Eagle, CO 81631 Nov. 3, 2017 080238 Eagle (FEMA Docket No.: B-1740) Unincorporated areas of Eagle County (17-08-0450P) The Honorable Jillian H. Ryan, Chair, Eagle County Board of Commissioners, P.O. Box 850, Eagle, CO 81631 Eagle County Engineering Department, 500 Broadway Street, Eagle, CO 81631 Nov. 3, 2017 080238 Jefferson (FEMA Docket No.: B-1740) Unincorporated areas of Jefferson County (17-08-0687P) The Honorable Libby Szabo, Chair, Jefferson County Board of Commissioners, 100 Jefferson County Parkway, Golden, CO 80419 Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Department, 100 Jefferson County Parkway, Golden, CO 80419 Nov. 3, 2017 080087 Larimer (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) City of Fort Collins (17-08-0075P) The Honorable Wade Troxell, Mayor, City of Fort Collins, P.O. Box 580, Fort Collins, CO 80522 Utilities Department, 700 Wood Street, Fort Collins, CO 80521 Nov. 24, 2017 080102 Larimer (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) City of Loveland (16-08-1159P) The Honorable Cecil Gutierrez, Mayor, City of Loveland, 500 East 3rd Street, Suite 330, Loveland, CO 80537 Public Works Department, 2525 West 1st Street, Loveland, CO 80537 Nov. 16, 2017 080103 Larimer (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Town of Johnstown (16-08-1159P) The Honorable Scott James, Mayor, Town of Johnstown, 450 South Parish Avenue, Johnstown, CO 80534 Town Hall, 450 South Parish Avenue, Johnstown, CO 80534 Nov. 16, 2017 080250 Larimer (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Unincorporated areas of Larimer County (16-08-1159P) The Honorable Lew Gaiter III, Chairman, Larimer County Board of Commissioners, P.O. Box 1190, Fort Collins, CO 80522 Larimer County Courthouse, 200 West Oak Street, Suite 3000, Fort Collins, CO 80521 Nov. 16, 2017 080101 Larimer (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Unincorporated areas of Larimer County (17-08-0075P) The Honorable Lew Gaiter III, Chairman, Larimer County Board of Commissioners, P.O. Box 1190, Fort Collins, CO 80522 Larimer County Courthouse, 200 West Oak Street, Suite 3000, Fort Collins, CO 80521 Nov. 24, 2017 Florida: Broward (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) City of Plantation (17-04-1665P) The Honorable Diane Veltri Bendekovic, Mayor, City of Plantation, 400 Northwest 73rd Avenue, Plantation, FL 33317 Engineering Department, 401 Northwest 70th Terrace, Plantation, FL 33317 Dec. 1, 2017 120054 Broward (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Unincorporated areas of Broward County (17-04-1665P) The Honorable Barbara Sharief, Mayor, Broward County Board of Commissioners, 115 South Andrews Avenue, Room 437C, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 Broward County Environmental Engineering and Permitting Division, 1 North University Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33324 Dec. 1, 2017 125093 Collier (FEMA Docket No.: B-1740) Unincorporated areas of Collier County (17-04-4803P) The Honorable Penny Taylor, Chair, Collier County Board of Commissioners, 3299 Tamiami Trail East, Suite 303, Naples, FL 34112 Collier County Engineering Services Section Growth Management Department, 3301 Tamiami Trail East Building F, 1st Floor, Naples, FL 34112 Oct. 31, 2017 120067 Dixie (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Town of Horseshoe Beach (17-04-5093P) The Honorable Talmadge Bennett, Mayor, Town of Horseshoe Beach, P.O. Box 86, Horseshoe Beach, FL 32648 Town Hall, 18 5th Avenue East, Horseshoe Beach, FL 32648 Dec. 1, 2017 120329 Dixie (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Unincorporated areas of Dixie County (17-04-5093P) The Honorable Jason Holifield, Chairman, Dixie County Board of Commissioners, 214 Northeast Highway 351, Cross City, FL 32628 Dixie County Building and Zoning Department, 405 Southeast 22nd Avenue, Cross City, FL 32628 Dec. 1, 2017 120336 Duval (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) City of Jacksonville (17-04-4095P) The Honorable Lenny Curry, Mayor, City of Jacksonville, 117 West Duval Street, Suite 400, Jacksonville, FL 32202 Development Services Division, 214 North Hogan Street, Suite 2100, Jacksonville, FL 32202 Nov. 21, 2017 120077 Escambia (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Unincorporated areas of Escambia County (17-04-5219P) The Honorable Doug Underhill, Chairman, Escambia County Board of Commissioners, 221 Palafox Place, Suite 400, Pensacola, FL 32502 Escambia County Planning and Zoning Department, 3363 West Park Place, Pensacola, FL 32505 Dec. 1, 2017 120080 Flagler (FEMA Docket No.: B-1740) City of Palm Coast (17-04-2665P) The Honorable Melissa Holland, Mayor, City of Palm Coast, 160 Lake Avenue, Palm Coast, FL 32164 City Hall, 160 Lake Avenue, Palm Coast, FL 32164 Nov. 2, 2017 120684 Lee (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) City of Sanibel (17-04-4540P) The Honorable Kevin Ruane, Mayor, City of Sanibel, 800 Dunlop Road, Sanibel, FL 33957 Planning and Code Enforcement Department, 800 Dunlop Road, Sanibel, FL 33957 Nov. 24, 2017 120402 Lee (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Town of Fort Myers Beach (17-04-3444P) The Honorable Dennis C. Boback, Mayor, Town of Fort Myers Beach, 2525 Estero Boulevard, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931 Community Development Department, 2525 Estero Boulevard, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931 Dec. 4, 2017 120673 Monroe (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Village of Islamorada (17-04-4163P) The Honorable Jim Mooney, Mayor, Village of Islamorada, 86800 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, FL 33036 Planning and Development Department, 86800 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, FL 33036 Dec. 1, 2017 120424 Georgia: Columbia (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Unincorporated areas of Columbia County (17-04-2730P) The Honorable Ron C. Cross, Chairman, Columbia County Board of Commissioners, P.O. Box 498, Evans, GA 30809 Columbia County Engineering Services Division, 630 Ronald Reagan Drive, Building A, East Wing, Evans, GA 30809 Nov. 2, 2017 130059 Maryland: Worcester (FEMA Docket No.: B-1740) Town of Ocean City (17-03-0551P) Mr. Douglas R. Miller, Manager, Town of Ocean City, 301 Baltimore Avenue, Ocean City, MD 21842 Department of Planning and Community Development, 301 Baltimore Avenue, Ocean City, MD 21842 Nov. 3, 2017 245207 Mississippi: Lamar (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Unincorporated areas of Lamar County (17-04-3862P) The Honorable Joe Bounds, President, Lamar County Board of Supervisors, P.O. Box 1240, Purvis, MS 39475 Lamar County Planning Department, 144 Shelby Speights Drive, Purvis, MS 39475 Nov. 10, 2017 280304 Panola (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) City of Batesville (17-04-0231P) The Honorable Jerry Autrey, Mayor, City of Batesville, P.O. Box 689, Batesville, MS 38606 City Hall, 103 College Street, Batesville, MS 38606 Nov. 6, 2017 280126 Panola (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Unincorporated areas of Panola County (17-04-0231P) The Honorable Cole Flint, President, Panola County Board of Supervisors, 151 Public Square, Batesville, MS 38606 Panola County Building Department, 245 Eureka Street, Batesville, MS 38606 Nov. 6, 2017 280125 Montana: Gallatin (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Unincorporated areas of Gallatin County (17-08-0448P) The Honorable Don Seifert, Chairman, Gallatin County Board of Commissioners, 311 West Main Street, Room 306, Bozeman, MT 59715 Gallatin County Planning Department, 311 West Main Street, Room 108, Bozeman, MT 59715 Dec. 1, 2017 300027 New Hampshire: Rockingham (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Town of Plaistow (16-01-2739P) The Honorable Mark Pearson, Manager, Town of Plaistow, 145 Main Street, Plaistow, NH 03865 Planning Department, 145 Main Street, Plaistow, NH 03865 Nov. 29, 2017 330138 New Mexico: Bernalillo (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County (17-06-0728P) The Honorable Debbie O'Malley, Chair, Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners, 1 Civic Plaza Northwest, Albuquerque, NM 87102 Bernalillo County Public Works Division, 2400 Broadway Boulevard Southeast, Albuquerque, NM 87102 Nov. 30, 2017 350001 South Carolina: Berkeley (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Unincorporated areas of Berkeley County (17-04-1961P) The Honorable William W. Peagler, III, Chairman, Berkeley County Council, P.O. Box 6122, Moncks Corner, SC 29461 Berkeley County Planning and Zoning Department, 1003 Highway 52, Moncks Corner, SC 29461 Nov. 24, 2017 450029 Charleston (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Town of Mount Pleasant (17-04-2666P) The Honorable Linda Page, Mayor, Town of Mount Pleasant, 100 Ann Edwards Lane, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464 Planning and Development Department, 100 Ann Edwards Lane, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464 Nov. 20, 2017 455417 Charleston (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Unincorporated areas of Charleston County (17-04-2666P) The Honorable J. Elliott Summey, Chairman, Charleston County Council, 4045 Bridgeview Drive, Suite B254, North Charleston, SC 29405 Charleston County Building Inspection Services Department, 4045 Bridgeview Drive, North Charleston, SC 29405 Nov. 20, 2017 455413 South Dakota: Grant (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) City of Milbank (16-08-1274P) The Honorable Pat Raffety, Mayor, City of Milbank, 1001 East 4th Avenue Suite 301, Milbank, SD 57252 City Hall, 1001 East 4th Avenue, Milbank, SD 57252 Nov. 16, 2017 460200 Grant (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Unincorporated areas of Grant County (16-08-1274P) The Honorable Michael J. Mach, Chairman, Grant County, Board of Commissioners, 1001 South 2nd Street, Milbank, SD 57252 Grant County Courthouse, 210 East 5th Avenue, Milbank, SD 57252 Nov. 16, 2017 460266 Texas: Bandera (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Unincorporated areas of Bandera County (17-06-0498P) The Honorable Richard Evans, Bandera County Judge, P.O. Box 877, Bandera, TX 78003 Bandera County Engineering Department, 502 11th Street, Bandera, TX 78003 Nov. 9, 2017 480020 Bexar (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) City of San Antonio (16-06-3842P) The Honorable Ron Nirenberg, Mayor, City of San Antonio, P.O. Box 839966, San Antonio, TX 78283 Transportation and Capital Improvements Department, Storm Water Division, 1901 South Alamo Street, 2nd Floor, San Antonio, TX 78204 Nov. 22, 2017 480045 Bexar (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) City of San Antonio (17-06-0569P) The Honorable Ron Nirenberg, Mayor, City of San Antonio, P.O. Box 839966, San Antonio, TX 78283 Transportation and Capital Improvements Department, Stormwater Division, 1901 South Alamo Street, 2nd Floor, San Antonio, TX 78204 Nov. 22, 2017 480045 Bexar (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Unincorporated areas of Bexar County (17-06-2326P) The Honorable Nelson W. Wolff, Bexar County Judge, 101 West Nueva Street, 10th Floor, San Antonio, TX 78205 Bexar County Public Works Department, 233 North Pecos-La Trinidad Street, Suite 420, San Antonio, TX 78204 Nov. 27, 2017 480035 Brazos (FEMA Docket No.: B-1740) Unincorporated areas of Brazos County (17-06-1259P) The Honorable Duane Peters, Brazos County Judge, 200 South Texas Avenue, Suite 332, Bryan, TX 77803 Brazos County Road and Bridge Department, Highway 21 West, Bryan, TX 77803 Nov. 7, 2017 481195 Collin (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Unincorporated areas of Collin County (17-06-0646P) The Honorable Keith Self, Collin County Judge, 2300 Bloomdale Road, Suite 4192, McKinney, TX 75071 Collin County Engineering Department, 4690 Community Avenue, Suite 200, McKinney, TX 75071 Nov. 20, 2017 480130 El Paso (FEMA Docket No.: B-1740) City of El Paso (17-06-1734P) The Honorable Oscar Leeser, Mayor, City of El Paso, 300 North Campbell Street, El Paso, TX 79901 City Hall, 801 Texas Avenue, El Paso, TX 79901 Oct. 31, 2017 480214 Fort Bend (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Unincorporated areas of Fort Bend County (17-06-0120P) The Honorable Robert Hebert, Fort Bend County Judge, 401 Jackson Street, Richmond, TX 77469 Fort Bend County Engineering Department, 401 Jackson Street, Richmond, TX 77469 Nov. 24, 2017 480228 Harris (FEMA Docket No.: B-1733) Unincorporated areas of Harris County (16-06-3930P) The Honorable Edward M. Emmett, Harris County Judge, 1001 Preston Street, Suite 911, Houston, TX 77002 Harris County Permit Office, 10555 Northwest Freeway, Suite 120, Houston, TX 77092 Sep. 25, 2017 480287 Harris (FEMA Docket No.: B-1735) Unincorporated areas of Harris County (16-06-4008P) The Honorable Edward M. Emmett, Harris County Judge, 1001 Preston Street, Suite 911, Houston, TX 77002 Harris County Permit Office, 10555 Northwest Freeway, Suite 120, Houston, TX 77092 Oct. 16, 2017 480287 Kendall (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Unincorporated areas of Kendall County (17-06-0696P) The Honorable Darrel L. Lux, Kendall County Judge, 201 East San Antonio Avenue, Suite 122, Boerne, TX 78006 Kendall County Development and Floodplain Management Department, 201 East San Antonio Avenue, Suite 101, Boerne, TX 78006 Nov. 13, 2017 480417 Montgomery (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) Unincorporated areas of Montgomery County (17-06-0033P) The Honorable Craig B. Doyal, Montgomery County Judge, 501 North Thompson, Suite 401, Conroe, TX 77301 Montgomery County Engineering Department, 501 North Thompson, Suite 103, Conroe, TX 77301 Nov. 10, 2017 480483 Tarrant (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) City of Fort Worth (17-06-0459P) The Honorable Betsy Price, Mayor, City of Fort Worth, 200 Texas Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102 Transportation and Public Works Department, 200 Texas Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102 Nov. 17, 2017 480596 Tarrant (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) City of Fort Worth (17-06-0497P) The Honorable Betsy Price, Mayor, City of Fort Worth, 200 Texas Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102 Transportation and Public Works Department, 200 Texas Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102 Dec. 1, 2017 480596 Tarrant (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) City of Fort Worth (17-06-0575P) The Honorable Betsy Price, Mayor, City of Fort, Worth, 200 Texas Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102 Transportation and Public Works Department, 200 Texas Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102 Nov. 10, 2017 480596 Utah: Davis (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) City of Farmington (17-08-0203P) The Honorable Jim Talbot, Mayor, City of Farmington, 160 South Main Street, Farmington, UT 84025 City Hall, 160 South Main Street, Farmington, UT 84025 Nov. 24, 2017 490044 Washington (FEMA Docket No.: B-1748) City of Hurricane (17-08-0479P) The Honorable John W. Bramall, Mayor, City of Hurricane, 147 North 870 West, Hurricane, UT 84737 Planning and Zoning Department, 147 North 870 West, Hurricane, UT 84737 Nov. 30, 2017 490172
    [FR Doc. 2017-28181 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-12-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Docket ID FEMA-2017-0002; Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-B-1773] Proposed Flood Hazard Determinations AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    Comments are requested on proposed flood hazard determinations, which may include additions or modifications of any Base Flood Elevation (BFE), base flood depth, Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) boundary or zone designation, or regulatory floodway on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), and where applicable, in the supporting Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports for the communities listed in the table below. The purpose of this notice is to seek general information and comment regarding the preliminary FIRM, and where applicable, the FIS report that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has provided to the affected communities. The FIRM and FIS report are the basis of the floodplain management measures that the community is required either to adopt or to show evidence of having in effect in order to qualify or remain qualified for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). In addition, the FIRM and FIS report, once effective, will be used by insurance agents and others to calculate appropriate flood insurance premium rates for new buildings and the contents of those buildings.

    DATES:

    Comments are to be submitted on or before March 29, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    The Preliminary FIRM, and where applicable, the FIS report for each community are available for inspection at both the online location https://www.fema.gov/preliminaryfloodhazarddata and the respective Community Map Repository address listed in the tables below. Additionally, the current effective FIRM and FIS report for each community are accessible online through the FEMA Map Service Center at https://msc.fema.gov for comparison.

    You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. FEMA-B-1773, to Rick Sacbibit, Chief, Engineering Services Branch, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, FEMA, 400 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-7659, or (email) [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rick Sacbibit, Chief, Engineering Services Branch, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, FEMA, 400 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-7659, or (email) [email protected]; or visit the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) online at https://www.floodmaps.fema.gov/fhm/fmx_main.html.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    FEMA proposes to make flood hazard determinations for each community listed below, in accordance with section 110 of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, 42 U.S.C. 4104, and 44 CFR 67.4(a).

    These proposed flood hazard determinations, together with the floodplain management criteria required by 44 CFR 60.3, are the minimum that are required. They should not be construed to mean that the community must change any existing ordinances that are more stringent in their floodplain management requirements. The community may at any time enact stricter requirements of its own or pursuant to policies established by other Federal, State, or regional entities. These flood hazard determinations are used to meet the floodplain management requirements of the NFIP and also are used to calculate the appropriate flood insurance premium rates for new buildings built after the FIRM and FIS report become effective.

    The communities affected by the flood hazard determinations are provided in the tables below. Any request for reconsideration of the revised flood hazard information shown on the Preliminary FIRM and FIS report that satisfies the data requirements outlined in 44 CFR 67.6(b) is considered an appeal. Comments unrelated to the flood hazard determinations also will be considered before the FIRM and FIS report become effective.

    Use of a Scientific Resolution Panel (SRP) is available to communities in support of the appeal resolution process. SRPs are independent panels of experts in hydrology, hydraulics, and other pertinent sciences established to review conflicting scientific and technical data and provide recommendations for resolution. Use of the SRP only may be exercised after FEMA and local communities have been engaged in a collaborative consultation process for at least 60 days without a mutually acceptable resolution of an appeal. Additional information regarding the SRP process can be found online at https://www.floodsrp.org/pdfs/srp_overview.pdf.

    The watersheds and/or communities affected are listed in the tables below. The Preliminary FIRM, and where applicable, FIS report for each community are available for inspection at both the online location https://www.fema.gov/preliminaryfloodhazarddata and the respective Community Map Repository address listed in the tables. For communities with multiple ongoing Preliminary studies, the studies can be identified by the unique project number and Preliminary FIRM date listed in the tables. Additionally, the current effective FIRM and FIS report for each community are accessible online through the FEMA Map Service Center at https://msc.fema.gov for comparison.

    (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 97.022, “Flood Insurance.”) Dated: December 13, 2017. Roy E. Wright, Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency. Community Community map repository address DuPage County, Illinois and Incorporated Areas Project: 07-05-5715S Preliminary Date: June 1, 2017 City of Aurora City Hall, Engineering Department, 44 East Downer Place, Aurora, IL 60507. City of Chicago Department of Buildings, Stormwater Management, 121 North LaSalle Street, Room 906, Chicago, IL 60602. City of Darien City Hall, 1702 Plainfield Road, Darien, IL 60561. City of Elmhurst City Hall, 209 North York Street, Elmhurst, IL 60126. City of Naperville City Hall, 400 South Eagle Street, Naperville, IL 60540. City of Oak Brook Terrace City Hall, 17W275 Butterfield Road, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181. City of Warrenville City Hall, 28W701 Stafford Place, Warrenville, IL 60555. City of West Chicago City Hall, 475 Main Street, West Chicago, IL 60185. City of Wheaton City Hall, 303 West Wesley Street, Wheaton, IL 60187. City of Wood Dale City Hall, 404 North Wood Dale Road, Wood Dale, IL 60191. Unincorporated Areas of DuPage County County Administration Building, Stormwater Management, 421 North County Farm Road, Wheaton, IL 60187. Village of Addison Village Hall, 1 Friendship Plaza, Addison, IL 60101. Village of Bartlett Village Hall, 228 South Main Street, Bartlett, IL 60103. Village of Bensenville Village Hall, 12 South Center Street, Bensenville, IL 60106. Village of Bloomingdale Village Hall, 201 South Bloomingdale Road, Bloomingdale, IL 60108. Village of Bolingbrook Village Hall, 375 West Briarcliff Road, Bolingbrook, IL 60440. Village of Burr Ridge Village Hall, 7660 County Line Road, Burr Ridge, IL 60527. Village of Carol Stream Village Hall, 505 East North Avenue, Carol Stream, IL 60188. Village of Clarendon Hills Village Hall, 1 North Prospect Avenue, Clarendon Hills, IL 60514. Village of Downers Grove Village Hall, 801 Burlington Avenue, Downers Grove, IL 60515. Village of Elk Grove Village Village Hall, 901 Wellington Avenue, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007. Village of Glendale Heights Village Hall, 300 Civic Center Plaza, Glendale Heights, IL 60139. Village of Glen Ellyn Village Hall, 535 Duane Street, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137. Village of Hanover Park Village Hall, 2121 Lake Street, Hanover Park, IL 60133. Village of Hinsdale Village Hall, 19 East Chicago Avenue, Hinsdale, IL 60521. Village of Itasca Village Hall, 550 West Irving Park Road, Itasca, IL 60143. Village of Lemont Village Hall, 418 Main Street, Lemont, IL 60439. Village of Lisle Village Hall, 925 Burlington Avenue, Lisle, IL 60532. Village of Lombard Village Hall, 255 East Wilson Avenue, Lombard, IL 60148. Village of Oak Brook Village Hall, 1200 Oak Brook Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523. Village of Roselle Village Hall, 31 South Prospect Street, Roselle, IL 60172. Village of Schaumburg Village Hall, 101 Schaumburg Court, Schaumburg, IL 60193. Village of Villa Park Village Hall, 20 South Ardmore Avenue, Villa Park, IL 60181. Village of Wayne Village Hall, 5N430 Railroad Street, Wayne, IL 60184. Village of Westmont Village Hall, 31 West Quincy Street, Westmont, IL 60559. Village of Willowbrook Village Hall, 835 Midway Drive, Willowbrook, IL 60527. Village of Winfield Village Hall, 27W465 Jewell Road, Winfield, IL 60190. Village of Woodridge Village Hall, 5 Plaza Drive, Woodridge, IL 60517. Charlevoix County, Michigan (All Jurisdictions) Project: 16-05-4378S Revised Preliminary Date: August 19, 2016 Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Government Center, 7500 Odawa Circle, Harbor Springs, MI 49740. Snohomish County, Washington and Incorporated Areas Project: 12-10-0359S Preliminary Dates: July 22, 2016, January 31, 2017 and July 31, 2017 City of Arlington City Hall, 238 North Olympic Avenue, Arlington, WA 98223. City of Bothell City Hall, 18415 101st Avenue Northeast, Bothell, WA 98011. City of Brier City Hall, 2901 228th Street Southwest, Brier, WA 98036. City of Edmonds City Hall, 121 5th Avenue North, Edmonds, WA 98020. City of Everett City Hall, 2930 Wetmore Avenue, Suite 10-A, Everett, WA 98201. City of Gold Bar City Hall, 107 5th Street, Gold Bar, WA 98251. City of Granite Falls City Hall, 206 South Granite Avenue, Granite Falls, WA 98252. City of Lake Stevens City Hall, 1812 Main Street, Permit Center, Lake Stevens, WA 98258. City of Lynnwood City Hall, 19100 44th Avenue West, Lynnwood, WA 98036. City of Marysville City Hall, 1049 State Avenue, Marysville, WA 98270. City of Mill Creek City Hall, 15728 Main Street, Mill Creek, WA 98012. City of Monroe City Hall, 806 West Main Street, Engineering Department, Monroe, WA 98272. City of Mountlake Terrace City Hall, 6100 219th Street Southwest, Suite 200, Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043. City of Mukilteo City Hall, 11930 Cyrus Way, Mukilteo, WA 98275. City of Snohomish City Hall, 116 Union Avenue, Snohomish, WA 98290. City of Stanwood City Hall, 10220 270th Street Northwest, Stanwood, WA 98292. City of Sultan City Hall, 319 Main Street, Suite 200, Sultan, WA 98294. Stillaguamish Tribe 3322 236th Street Northeast, Arlington, WA 98223. Town of Darrington Town Hall, 1005 Cascade Street, Darrington, WA 98241. Town of Index Town Hall, 511 Avenue A, Index, WA 98256. Town of Woodway Town Hall, 23920 113th Place West, Woodway, WA 98020. Tulalip Tribe Natural Resources Department, 6406 Marine Drive, Tulalip, WA 98271. Unincorporated Areas of Snohomish County County Emergency Management Services, 3000 Rockefeller Avenue, Everett, WA 98201.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28173 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-12-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-4342-DR; Docket ID FEMA-2017-0001] Idaho; Amendment No. 2 to Notice of a Major Disaster Declaration AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice amends the notice of a major disaster declaration for the State of Idaho (FEMA-4342-DR), dated October 7, 2017, and related determinations.

    DATES:

    The change occurred on November 29, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dean Webster, Office of Response and Recovery, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-2833.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hereby gives notice that pursuant to the authority vested in the Administrator, under Executive Order 12148, as amended, Thomas J. Dargan, of FEMA is appointed to act as the Federal Coordinating Officer for this emergency.

    This action terminates the appointment of Sharon Loper as Federal Coordinating Officer for this disaster.

    The following Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers (CFDA) are to be used for reporting and drawing funds: 97.030, Community Disaster Loans; 97.031, Cora Brown Fund; 97.032, Crisis Counseling; 97.033, Disaster Legal Services; 97.034, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA); 97.046, Fire Management Assistance Grant; 97.048, Disaster Housing Assistance to Individuals and Households In Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas; 97.049, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance—Disaster Housing Operations for Individuals and Households; 97.050, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance to Individuals and Households—Other Needs; 97.036, Disaster Grants—Public Assistance (Presidentially Declared Disasters); 97.039, Hazard Mitigation Grant.

    Brock Long, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28193 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-23-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Docket ID FEMA-2017-0002] Changes in Flood Hazard Determinations AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    New or modified Base (1-percent annual chance) Flood Elevations (BFEs), base flood depths, Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) boundaries or zone designations, and/or regulatory floodways (hereinafter referred to as flood hazard determinations) as shown on the indicated Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) for each of the communities listed in the table below are finalized. Each LOMR revises the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), and in some cases the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports, currently in effect for the listed communities. The flood hazard determinations modified by each LOMR will be used to calculate flood insurance premium rates for new buildings and their contents.

    DATES:

    Each LOMR was finalized as in the table below.

    ADDRESSES:

    Each LOMR is available for inspection at both the respective Community Map Repository address listed in the table below and online through the FEMA Map Service Center at https://msc.fema.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rick Sacbibit, Chief, Engineering Services Branch, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, FEMA, 400 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-7659, or (email) [email protected]; or visit the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) online at https://www.floodmaps.fema.gov/fhm/fmx_main.html.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) makes the final flood hazard determinations as shown in the LOMRs for each community listed in the table below. Notice of these modified flood hazard determinations has been published in newspapers of local circulation and 90 days have elapsed since that publication. The Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation has resolved any appeals resulting from this notification.

    The modified flood hazard determinations are made pursuant to section 206 of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, 42 U.S.C. 4105, and are in accordance with the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq., and with 44 CFR part 65.

    For rating purposes, the currently effective community number is shown and must be used for all new policies and renewals.

    The new or modified flood hazard information is the basis for the floodplain management measures that the community is required either to adopt or to show evidence of being already in effect in order to remain qualified for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

    This new or modified flood hazard information, together with the floodplain management criteria required by 44 CFR 60.3, are the minimum that are required. They should not be construed to mean that the community must change any existing ordinances that are more stringent in their floodplain management requirements. The community may at any time enact stricter requirements of its own or pursuant to policies established by other Federal, State, or regional entities.

    This new or modified flood hazard determinations are used to meet the floodplain management requirements of the NFIP and also are used to calculate the appropriate flood insurance premium rates for new buildings, and for the contents in those buildings. The changes in flood hazard determinations are in accordance with 44 CFR 65.4.

    Interested lessees and owners of real property are encouraged to review the final flood hazard information available at the address cited below for each community or online through the FEMA Map Service Center at https://msc.fema.gov.

    (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 97.022, “Flood Insurance.”) Dated: December 13, 2017. Roy E. Wright, Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency. State and county Location and
  • case No.
  • Chief executive officer of
  • community
  • Community map repository Date of
  • modification
  • Community
  • No.
  • Arizona: Maricopa (FEMA Docket No.: B-1739) City of Phoenix (17-09-1054P) The Honorable Greg Stanton, Mayor, City of Phoenix, 200 West Washington Street, 11th Floor, Phoenix, AZ 85003 Street Transportation Department, 200 West Washington Street, 5th Floor, Phoenix, AZ 85003 Nov. 10, 2017 040051 Maricopa (FEMA Docket No.: B-1734) City of Tempe (17-09-0156P) The Honorable Mark Mitchell, Mayor, City of Tempe, P.O. Box 5002, Tempe, AZ 85280 City Hall Engineering Department, 31 East 5th Street, Tempe, AZ 85281 Sep. 29, 2017 040054 Maricopa (FEMA Docket No.: B-1743) Town of Fountain Hills (17-09-0546P) The Honorable Linda M. Kavanagh, Mayor, Town of Fountain Hills, 16705 East Avenue of the Fountains, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268 Town Hall, 16836 East Palisades Boulevard, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268 Nov. 24, 2017 040135 Mohave (FEMA Docket No.: B-1743) Unincorporated Areas of Mohave County (17-09-0550P) The Honorable Gary Watson, Chairman, Board of Supervisors Mohave County, 700 West Beale Street, Kingman, AZ 86401 Mohave County Administration Building, 700 West Beale Street, Kingman, AZ 86401 Nov. 24, 2017 040058 Pima (FEMA Docket No.: B-1737) Town of Marana (17-09-0328P) The Honorable Ed Honea, Mayor, Town of Marana, 11555 West Civic Center Drive, Marana, AZ 85653 Engineering Department, 11555 West Civic Center Drive, Marana, AZ 85653 Oct. 20, 2017 040118 Pima (FEMA Docket No.: B-1737) Unincorporated Areas of Pima County (17-09-0328P) The Honorable Sharon Bronson, Chair, Board of Supervisors Pima County, 130 West Congress Street, 11th Floor, Tucson, AZ 85701 Pima County Flood Control District, 201 North Stone Avenue, 9th Floor, Tucson, AZ 85701 Oct. 20, 2017 040073 Pinal (FEMA Docket No.: B-1734) Unincorporated Areas of Pinal County (16-09-0931P) The Honorable Stephen Miller, Chairman, Board of Supervisors Pinal County, 135 North Pinal Street, Florence, AZ 85132 Pinal County Engineering Department, 31 North Pinal Street, Building F, Florence, AZ 85132 Sep. 22, 2017 040077 California: Fresno (FEMA Docket No.: B-1734) City of Clovis (17-09-0445P) The Honorable Bob Whalen, Mayor, City of Clovis, 1033 5th Street, Clovis, CA 93612 Building Division, 1033 5th Street, Clovis, CA 93612 Oct. 2, 2017 060044 Los Angeles (FEMA Docket No.: B-1734) City of Santa Clarita (17-09-0916P) The Honorable Cameron Smyth, Mayor, City of Santa Clarita, 23920 Valencia Boulevard, Suite 300, Santa Clarita, CA 91355 City Hall Planning Department, 23920 Valencia Boulevard, Suite 300, Santa Clarita, CA 91355 Oct. 6, 2017 060729 Riverside (FEMA Docket No.: B-1737) Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indian Reservation (16-09-1551P) The Honorable Jeff L. Grubbe, Chairman, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, 5401 Dinah Shore Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92264 Planning and Natural Resources, 5401 Dinah Shore Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92264 Oct. 20, 2017 060763 Riverside (FEMA Docket No.: B-1737) City of Cathedral City (16-09-1551P) The Honorable Stanley E. Henry, Mayor, City of Cathedral City, 68700 Avenida Lalo Guerrero, Cathedral City, CA 92234 Engineering Department, 68700 Avenida Lalo Guerrero, Cathedral City, CA 92234 Oct. 20, 2017 060704 Riverside (FEMA Docket No.: B-1737) City of Palm Springs (16-09-1551P) The Honorable Robert Moon, Mayor, City of Palm Springs, 3200 East Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262 City Hall, 3200 East Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262 Oct. 20, 2017 060257 San Joaquin (FEMA Docket No.: B-1737) City of Lathrop (17-09-0203P). The Honorable Sonny Dhaliwal, Mayor, City of Lathrop, 390 Towne Centre Drive, Lathrop, CA 95330 City Hall, 390 Towne Centre Drive, Lathrop, CA 95330 Oct. 23, 2017 060738 Florida: Duval (FEMA Docket No.: B-1743) City of Jacksonville (17-04-3389P) The Honorable Lenny Curry, Mayor, City of Jacksonville City Hall at St. James Building, 117 West Duval Street, Suite 400, Jacksonville, FL 32202 City Hall, 117 West Duval Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202 Nov. 2, 2017 120077 Idaho: Ada (FEMA Docket No.: B-1737) City of Boise (17-10-0875P) The Honorable David H. Bieter, Mayor, City of Boise, P.O. Box 500, Boise, ID 83701 Planning and Development Services, City Hall, 150 North Capital Boulevard, Boise, ID 83701 Oct. 13, 2017 160002 Kootenai (FEMA Docket No.: B-1737) City of Coeur d'Alene (17-10-0479P) The Honorable Steve Widmyer, Mayor, City of Coeur d'Alene, Coeur d'Alene City Hall, 710 East Mullan Avenue, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814 City Hall Planning Department, 710 East Mullan Avenue, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814 Oct. 17, 2017 160078 Kootenai (FEMA Docket No.: B-1737) Unincorporated Areas of Kootenai County (17-10-0479P) Mr. Marc Eberlein, Chairman, Board of Commissioners Kootenai County, 451 Government Way, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814 Assessors Department Kootenai County Court House, 451 Government Way, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83816 Oct. 17, 2017 160076 Illinois: Kane (FEMA Docket No.: B-1734) Village of Carpentersville (17-05-1258P) The Honorable John Skillman, Village President, Village of Carpentersville, 1200 L.W. Besinger Drive, Carpentersville, IL 60110 Village Hall, 1200 L.W. Besinger Drive, Carpentersville, IL 60110 Oct. 5, 2017 170322 Indiana: Marion (FEMA Docket No.: B-1739) City of Indianapolis (17-05-3161P) The Honorable Joe Hogsett, Mayor, City of Indianapolis, 2501 City-County Building, 200 East Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204 City Hall, 1200 Madison Avenue, Suite 100, Indianapolis, IN 46225 Oct. 26, 2017 180159 Kansas: Johnson (FEMA Docket No.: B-1734) City of Overland Park (16-07-1770P) The Honorable Carl Gerlach, Mayor, City of Overland Park, 8500 Santa Fe Drive, Overland Park, KS 66212 City Hall, 8500 Santa Fe Drive, Overland Park, KS 66212 Sep. 14, 2017 200174 Minnesota: Anoka (FEMA Docket No.: B-1737) City of Coon Rapids (17-05-2891P) The Honorable Jerry Koch, Mayor, City of Coon Rapids, Coon Rapids City Hall, 11155 Robinson Drive, Coon Rapids, MN 55433 City Hall, 11155 Robinson Drive, Coon Rapids, MN 55433 Oct. 6, 2017 270011 Norman (FEMA Docket No.: B-1737) City of Ada (17-05-1647P) The Honorable Jim Ellefson, Mayor, City of Ada, Ada City Hall, 15 4th Avenue East, Ada, MN 56510 City Hall, 15 4th Avenue East, Ada, MN 56510 Sep. 20, 2017 270323 Norman (FEMA Docket No.: B-1737) Unincorporated Areas of Norman County (17-05-1647P) Mr. Marvin Gunderson, Chairman, Norman County Commissioners, Norman County Courthouse, 16 3rd Avenue East, Ada, MN 56510 Norman County Courthouse, 16 3rd Avenue East, Ada, MN 56510 Sep. 20, 2017 270322 Missouri: St. Louis (FEMA Docket No.: B-1739) City of Chesterfield (17-07-0810P) The Honorable Bob Nation, Mayor, City of Chesterfield, 690 Chesterfield Parkway West, Chesterfield, MO 63017 Chesterfield Municipal Court, 690 Chesterfield Parkway West, Chesterfield, MO 63017 Oct. 17, 2017 290896 Nebraska: Buffalo (FEMA Docket No.: B-1739) City of Kearney (17-07-1116P) The Honorable Stanley Clouse, Mayor, City of Kearney, 18 East 22nd Street, Kearney, NE 68847 City Hall, 18 East 22nd Street, Kearney, NE 68847 Oct. 25, 2017 310016 Nevada: Nye (FEMA Docket No.: B-1737) Unincorporated Areas of Nye County (17-09-1129P) The Honorable Dan Schinhofen, Chairman, Board of Commissioners, Nye County, 2100 East Walt Williams Drive, Suite 100, Pahrump, NV 89048 Nye County Department of Planning, 250 North Highway 160, Suite 1, Pahrump, NV 89060 Oct. 26, 2017 320018 New Jersey: Ocean (FEMA Docket No.: B-1743) Borough of Mantoloking (17-02-1077P) The Honorable George C. Nebel, Mayor, Borough of Mantoloking, 340 Drum Point Road, Second Floor, Brick, NJ 08723 Mantoloking Borough Municipal Building, 202 Downer Avenue, Mantoloking, NJ 08738 Nov. 10, 2017 340383 Ohio: Stark (FEMA Docket No.: B-1737) Unincorporated Areas of Stark County (17-05-1880P) The Honorable Janet Weir Creighton, President, Board of Stark County Commissioners, 110 Central Plaza South, Suite 240, Canton, OH 44702 Stark County Office Building, 110 Central Plaza South, Canton, OH 44702 Oct. 11, 2017 390780 Oregon: Lane (FEMA Docket No.: B-1737) City of Springfield (16-10-1640P) The Honorable Christine Lundberg, Mayor, City of Springfield, Springfield City Hall, 225 5th Street, Springfield, OR 97477 Planning Department, 225 5th Street, Springfield, OR 97477 Oct. 17, 2017 415592 Lane (FEMA Docket No.: B-1737) Unincorporated Areas of Lane County (16-10-1640P) Mr. Sid Leiken, Commissioner, Lane County, Lane County Public Service Building, 125 East 8th Avenue, Eugene, OR 97401 Lane County Planning Department Public Service Building, 125 East 8th Avenue, Eugene, OR 97401 Oct. 17, 2017 415591 Tennessee: Hamilton (FEMA Docket No.: B-1739) City of Chattanooga (17-04-1553P) The Honorable Andy Berke, Mayor, City of Chattanooga, 101 East 11th Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402 Planning Department, 1250 Market Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402 Oct. 31, 2017 470072 Smith (FEMA Docket No.: B-1734) Unincorporated Areas of Smith County (16-04-7918P) The Honorable Michael Nesbitt, Mayor, Smith County, 122 Turner High Circle, Carthage, TN 37030 Smith County Turner Building, 122 Turner High Circle, Carthage, TN 37030 Sep. 22, 2017 470283 Trousdale (FEMA Docket No.: B-1734) Unincorporated Areas of Trousdale County (16-04-7918P) The Honorable Carroll Carman, Mayor, Trousdale County, 328 Broadway, Room 6-10, Hartsville, TN 37074 Trousdale County Sheriff Department, 210 Broadway, Hartsville, TN 37074 Sep. 22, 2017 470192 Williamson (FEMA Docket No.: B-1743) City of Franklin (17-04-2518P) The Honorable Ken Moore, Mayor, City of Franklin, 109 3rd Avenue South, Franklin, TN 37064 City Hall Code Department, 109 3rd Avenue South, Franklin, TN 37064 Oct. 27, 2017 470206 Texas: Collin (FEMA Docket No.: B-1743) City of Garland (17-06-2211P) The Honorable Douglas Athas, Mayor, City of Garland, 200 North 5th Street, Garland, TX 75040 City Hall, 800 Main Street, Garland, TX 75040 Nov. 9, 2017 485471 Collin (FEMA Docket No.: B-1743) City of Plano (17-06-2211P) The Honorable Harry LaRosiliere, Mayor, City of Plano, 1520 K Avenue, Plano, TX 75074 City Hall Engineering Department, 1520 K Avenue, Plano, TX 75074 Nov. 9, 2017 480140 Collin (FEMA Docket No.: B-1743) City of Richardson (17-06-2211P) The Honorable Paul Voelker, Mayor, City of Richardson, 411 West Arapaho Road, Richardson, TX 75080 Civic Center/City Hall, 411 West Arapaho Road, Room 204, Richardson, TX 75080 Nov. 9, 2017 480184 Dallas (FEMA Docket No.: B-1737) City of Dallas (17-06-1494P) The Honorable Michael S. Rawlings, Mayor, City of Dallas, 1500 Marilla Street, Suite 5en, Dallas, TX 75201 City Hall, 320 East Jefferson Boulevard, Room 321, Dallas, TX 75203 Oct. 12, 2017 480171 Washington: King (FEMA Docket No.: B-1737) City of Lake Forest Park (17-10-0060P) The Honorable Jeff Johnson, Mayor, City of Lake Forest Park City Hall, 17425 Ballinger Way Northeast, Lake Forest Park, WA 98155 City Hall, 17425 Ballinger Way Northeast, Lake Forest Park, WA 98155 Oct. 10, 2017 530082 Whatcom (FEMA Docket No.: B-1737) City of Bellingham (17-10-0520P) The Honorable Kellie Linville, Mayor, City of Bellingham, 210 Lottie Street, Bellingham, WA 98225 Public Works/Engineering Department City Hall, 210 Lottie Street, Bellingham, WA 98225 Oct. 18, 2017 530199 Wisconsin: Brown (FEMA Docket No.: B-1739) Village of Bellevue (17-05-2419P) Mr. Steve Soukup, President, Bellevue Village Board, Village of Bellevue, 2828 Allouez Avenue, Bellevue, WI 54311 Village Hall, 2828 Allouez Avenue, Bellevue, WI 54311 Oct. 20, 2017 550627 Outagamie (FEMA Docket No.: B-1734) City of Appleton (17-05-1963P) The Honorable Timothy Hanna, Mayor, City of Appleton, 100 North Appleton Street, Appleton, WI 54911 City Hall, 100 North Appleton Street, Appleton, WI 54911 Sep. 29, 2017 555542 Waukesha (FEMA Docket No.: B-1734) Village of Sussex (17-05-0632P) The Honorable Gregory L. Goetz, President, Village of Sussex, N64W23760 Main Street, Sussex, WI 53089 Village Hall, N64W23760 Main Street, Sussex, WI 53089 Sep. 15, 2017 550490
    [FR Doc. 2017-28183 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-12-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-4339-DR; Docket ID FEMA-2017-0001] Puerto Rico; Amendment No. 6 to Notice of a Major Disaster Declaration AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice amends the notice of a major disaster declaration for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (FEMA-4339-DR), dated September 20, 2017, and related determinations.

    DATES:

    This amendment was issued December 6, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dean Webster, Office of Response and Recovery, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-2833.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is hereby given that the incident period for this disaster is closed effective November 15, 2017.

    The following Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers (CFDA) are to be used for reporting and drawing funds: 97.030, Community Disaster Loans; 97.031, Cora Brown Fund; 97.032, Crisis Counseling; 97.033, Disaster Legal Services; 97.034, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA); 97.046, Fire Management Assistance Grant; 97.048, Disaster Housing Assistance to Individuals and Households In Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas; 97.049, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance—Disaster Housing Operations for Individuals and Households; 97.050 Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance to Individuals and Households—Other Needs; 97.036, Disaster Grants—Public Assistance (Presidentially Declared Disasters); 97.039, Hazard Mitigation Grant.

    Brock Long, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28192 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-23-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Docket ID: FEMA-2017-0014; OMB No. 1660-0016] Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Revision to National Flood Insurance Program Maps: Application Forms and Instructions for LOMRs and CLOMRs AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public to take this opportunity to comment on a reinstatement, with change, of a previously approved information collection for which approval has expired. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice seeks comments concerning information required by FEMA to revise National Flood Insurance Program Maps.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before February 27, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    To avoid duplicate submissions to the docket, please use only one of the following means to submit comments:

    (1) Online. Submit comments at www.regulations.gov under Docket ID FEMA-2017-0014. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    (2) Mail. Submit written comments to Docket Manager, Office of Chief Counsel, DHS/FEMA, 500 C Street SW, 8NE, Washington, DC 20472-3100.

    All submissions received must include the agency name and Docket ID. Regardless of the method used for submitting comments or material, all submissions will be posted, without change, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov, and will include any personal information you provide. Therefore, submitting this information makes it public. You may wish to read the Privacy Act notice that is available via the link in the footer of www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Brian Koper, Emergency Management Specialist, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, DHS/FEMA, 202-646-3085. You may contact the Records Management Division for copies of the proposed collection of information at email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is authorized by the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administers the NFIP and maintains the maps that depict flood hazard information. In 44 CFR 65.3, communities are required to submit technical information concerning flood hazards and plans to avoid potential flood hazards when physical changes occur. In 44 CFR 65.4, communities are provided the right to submit technical information when inconsistencies on maps are identified. In order to revise the Base (l-percent annual chance) Flood Elevations (BFEs), Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), and floodways presented on the NFIP maps, a community must submit scientific or technical data demonstrating the need for a revision. The NFIP regulations cited in 44 CFR part 65 outline the data that must be submitted for these requests. This collection serves to provide a standard format for the general information requirements outlined in the NFIP regulations, and helps establish an organized package of the data needed to revise NFIP maps.

    This information collection expired on May 31, 2017. FEMA is requesting a reinstatement, with change, of a previously approved information collection for which approval has expired.

    Collection of Information

    Title: Revision to National Flood Insurance Program Maps: Application Forms and Instructions for LOMRs and CLOMRs.

    Type of information collection: Reinstatement, with change, of a previously approved information collection for which approval has expired.

    OMB Number: 1660-0016.

    Form Titles and Numbers: FEMA Form 086-0-27, Overview and Concurrence Form; FEMA Form 086-0-27A, Riverine Hydrology and Hydraulics Form; FEMA Form 086-0-27B, Riverine Structures Form; FEMA Form 086-0-27C, Coastal Analysis Form; FEMA Form 086-0-27D, Coastal Structures Form; FEMA Form 086-0-27E, Alluvial Fan Flooding Form.

    Abstract: The forms in this information collection are used to determine if the collected data will result in the modification of a BFE, a SFHA, or a floodway. Once the information is collected, it is submitted to FEMA for review and is subsequently included on the NFIP maps. Using these maps, lenders will determine the application of the mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements, and insurance agents will determine actuarial flood insurance rates. The maps are also used by communities participating in the NFIP to establish floodplain management requirements.

    Affected Public: State, Local and Tribal Government and Business or Other for-Profit Institutes.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 5,291.

    Estimated Number of Responses: 5,291.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 16,107.

    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Cost: $1,084,308.

    Estimated Respondents' Operation and Maintenance Costs: $22,010,000.

    Estimated Respondents' Capital and Start-Up Costs: None.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to the Federal Government: $24,559.06.

    Comments

    Comments may be submitted as indicated in the ADDRESSES caption above. Comments are solicited to (a) evaluate whether the proposed data collection is necessary for the proper performance of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

    William Holzerland, Director, Information Management Division, Mission Support, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28188 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-52-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLAZC03000.17X.L12200000.EA0000; AZ-SRP-030-15-01] Notice of Temporary Closures: Selected Public Lands in La Paz County, AZ AGENCY:

    Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of temporary closures.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given that temporary closures will be in effect on public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Lake Havasu Field Office, during the Best in the Desert (BITD) Racing Association GMZ Utility Terrain Vehicle Winter Nationals Parker “250” and BlueWater Resort Parker “425” official permitted off-highway-vehicle (OHV) events.

    DATES:

    These temporary closures will be in effect from 2 p.m., January 5, 2018, through 10 p.m., January 6; and from 2 p.m., February 2, 2018, through 2 a.m., February 4, Mountain Standard Time.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Carrie Wostal, Acting Colorado River District Chief Ranger, email: [email protected]; or Caroline Kilbane, Outdoor Recreation Planner, email: [email protected]; BLM Lake Havasu Field Office, 1785 Kiowa Avenue, Lake Havasu City, Arizona 86403; telephone 928-505-1200. 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 individuals during normal business hours. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question. You will receive a reply during normal business hours.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The temporary closures affect public lands that are under the administration of the Lake Havasu Field Office in La Paz County, Arizona. This action is being taken to help ensure public safety, prevent unnecessary environmental degradation, and to protect natural and cultural resources adjacent to the event site during the BITD Racing Association GMZ Utility Terrain Vehicle Winter Nationals Parker “250” and BlueWater Resort Parker “425” official permitted OHV events.

    The temporary closure order is issued under the authority of 43 CFR subpart 8364.1; which allows the BLM to establish temporary closures for the protection of persons, property, and public lands and resources. Violation of any of the terms, conditions, or restrictions contained within this temporary closure order may subject the violator to citation or arrest with a penalty or fine or imprisonment or both as specified by law.

    Description of Race Course Closed Area: With the exception of access to designated spectator areas, areas subject to this temporary closure include all BLM designated roads and trails on public lands situated within the interior of the race course and located within 2 miles of the designated course's perimeter. Beginning at the eastern boundary of the Colorado River Indian Tribe (CRIT) Reservation, the temporary closed area runs east along Shea Road, then east into Osborne Wash on the Parker-Swansea Road to the Central Arizona Project (CAP) Canal, then north on the west side of the CAP Canal, crossing the canal on the county-maintained road, running northeast into Mineral Wash Canyon, then southeast on the county-maintained road, through the four-corners intersection to the Midway (Pit) intersection, then east on Transmission Pass Road, through State Trust Land located in Butler Valley, turning north into Cunningham Wash to North Tank; continuing south to Transmission Pass Road and east (reentering public land) within 2 miles of Alamo Dam Road. The course turns south and west onto the Wooden Power Line Road, onto the State Trust Land in Butler Valley, turning southwest into Cunningham Wash to the Graham Well, intersecting Butler Valley Road, then north and west on the county-maintained road to the “Bouse Y” intersection, 2 miles north of Bouse, Arizona. The course proceeds north, paralleling the Bouse-Swansea Road to the Midway (Pit) intersection, then west along the North Boundary (power line) Road of the East Cactus Plain Wilderness Area to Parker-Swansea Road. The course turns west into Osborne Wash crossing the CAP Canal, along the north boundary of the Cactus Plain Wilderness Study Area; it continues west staying in Osborne Wash and crossing Shea Road along the southern boundary of Gibraltar Wilderness, rejoining Osborne Wash at the CRIT Reservation boundary.

    Closure Restrictions: The following acts are prohibited during the temporary land closures in order to provide for public and race participant safety:

    1. Being present on or driving on the designated race course or the adjacent lands described above. All spectators must stay within the designated spectator areas. The spectator areas have protective fencing and barriers. This does not apply to race participants, race officials, or emergency vehicles authorized or operated by local, State, or Federal government agencies. Emergency medical response shall only be conducted by personnel and vehicles operating under the guidance of the La Paz County Emergency Medical Services and Fire, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, or the BLM.

    2. Vehicle parking or stopping in areas affected by the closures, except where such is specifically allowed (designated spectator areas).

    3. Camping in the closed area described above, except in the designated spectator areas.

    4. Discharge of firearms.

    5. Possession or use of any fireworks.

    6. Cutting or collecting firewood of any kind, including dead and down wood or other vegetative material.

    7. Operating any off-road vehicle (as defined by 43 CFR 8340.0-7(a)).

    8. Operating any vehicle in the area of the temporary closure or on roads within the event area at a speed of more than 35 miles per hour. This does not apply to registered race vehicles during the race, while on the designated race course.

    9. Failing to obey any official sign posted by the BLM, La Paz County, or the race promoter.

    10. Parking any vehicle in violation of posted restrictions, or in such a manner as to obstruct or impede normal or emergency traffic movement or the parking of other vehicles, create a safety hazard, or endanger any person, property, or feature. Vehicles parked in violation are subject to citation, removal, and/or impoundment at the owner's expense.

    11. Failing to obey any person authorized to direct traffic or control access to event area including law enforcement officers, BLM officials, and designated race officials.

    12. Failing to observe spectator area quiet hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

    13. Failing to keep campsite or race viewing site free of trash and litter.

    14. Allowing any pet or other animal to be unrestrained. All pets must be restrained by a leash of not more than 6 feet in length.

    15. Reserving sites within the spectator area. Spectators are prohibited from denying other visitors or parties the use of unoccupied portions of the spectator area.

    Exceptions to Closure: The restrictions do not apply to emergency or law enforcement vehicles owned by the United States, the State of Arizona, or La Paz County, and designated race officials, participants, pit crews, or persons operating on their behalf. All BITD registered media personnel are permitted access to existing routes 50 feet from the race course per BITD standards. Outside of the race corridor, other lands in the Field Office will remain open and available for off-highway vehicle access and all other recreation activities.

    Penalties: Any person who violates these temporary closures may be tried before a United States Magistrate and fined in accordance with 18 U.S.C. 3571, imprisoned no more than 12 months under 43 U.S.C. 1733(a) and 43 CFR 8360.0-7, or both. In accordance with 43 CFR 8365.1-7, State or local officials may also impose penalties for violations of Arizona law.

    Effect of Closure: The entire area encompassed by the designated course and all areas outside the course as described above and in the time period as described above are closed to all vehicles. The authorized applicant or their representatives are required to post warning signs, control access to, and clearly mark the event route and areas, common access roads, and road crossings during the closure period. Support vehicles under permit for operation by event participants must follow the race permit stipulations.

    Authority:

    43 CFR 8364.1.

    Jason West, Field Manager.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28217 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-32-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Reclamation [RR02800000, 18XR0680A1, RX.17868949.0000000] Notice of Intent To Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Revisions to the Coordinated Long-Term Operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project, and Related Facilities AGENCY:

    Bureau of Reclamation, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of intent; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) intends to prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement (EIS) for analyzing potential modifications to the continued long-term operation of the federal Central Valley Project (CVP), for its authorized purposes, in a coordinated manner with the State Water Project (SWP), for its authorized purposes. Reclamation proposes to evaluate alternatives that maximize water deliveries and optimize marketable power generation consistent with applicable laws, contractual obligations, and agreements; and to augment operational flexibility by addressing the status of listed species. Reclamation is seeking suggestions and information on the alternatives and topics to be addressed and any other important issues related to the proposed action.

    DATES:

    Submit written comments on the scope of the EIS by February 1, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send written comments to Katrina Harrison, Project Manager, Bureau of Reclamation, Bay-Delta Office, 801 I Street, Suite 140, Sacramento, CA 95814-2536; fax to (916) 414-2425; or email at [email protected].

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Katrina Harrison at (916) 414-2425; or email at [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Agencies Involved

    Reclamation will request the following agencies participate as cooperating agencies for preparation of the EIS in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as amended: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Western Area Power Administration, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    Reclamation has also identified Indian tribes and other Federal, State, and local agencies (e.g., public water agencies, power marketing agencies, power customers, etc.) as potential cooperating agencies, and Reclamation will invite them to participate as cooperating agencies.

    II. Why We Are Taking This Action

    The CVP is a major water source for agricultural, municipal and industrial (M&I), and fish and wildlife demands in California. State and Federal regulatory actions, federal trust responsibilities, and other agreements, have significantly reduced the water available for delivery south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, in order, among other things, to protect water quality within the delta and prevent jeopardy and adverse modification of critical habitat of threatened and endangered species. This project will evaluate alternatives to restore, at least in part, water supply, in consideration of all of the authorized purposes of the CVP.

    In this programmatic EIS, Reclamation will analyze potential modifications to the continued long-term operation of the CVP (proposed action), in a coordinated manner with the SWP, to achieve the following:

    • Maximize water supply delivery, consistent with applicable law, contracts and agreements, considering new and/or modified storage and export facilities.

    • Review and consider modifications to regulatory requirements, including existing Reasonable and Prudent Alternative actions identified in the Biological Opinions issued by the USFWS and NMFS in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

    • Evaluate stressors on fish other than CVP and SWP operations, beneficial non-flow measures to decrease stressors, and habitat restoration and other beneficial measures for improving targeted fish populations.

    • Evaluate potential changes in laws, regulations and infrastructure that may benefit power marketability.

    Reclamation has decided to prepare an EIS. As an example for why NEPA is required related to CVP operation, in 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the current, coordinated operation of the CVP and SWP under biological opinions issued by the USFWS and NMFS in 2008 and 2009, respectively, was a major Federal action that affected the quality of the human environment that required the preparation of an EIS. San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority (SLDMWA) v. Jewell, 747 F.3d 581 (9th Cir. 2014); SLDMWA v. Locke, 776 F.3d 971 (9th Cir. 2014). This EIS is expected to be primarily programmatic in nature. It is anticipated that this current programmatic effort will be followed by tiered project-level NEPA analyses to implement various site specific projects or detailed programs that were generally described in the programmatic EIS.

    III. Purpose and Need for Action

    The need for the action is to increase operational flexibility, as further described in Section II above. The purpose of the action considered in this EIS is to continue the operation of the CVP in a coordinated manner with the SWP, for its authorized purposes, in a manner that enables Reclamation and California Department of Water Resources to maximize water deliveries and optimize marketable power generation consistent with applicable laws, contractual obligations, and agreements; and to augment operational flexibility by addressing the status of listed species.

    IV. Project Area (Area of Analysis)

    The project area includes the existing CVP and SWP Service Areas, proposed CVP Service Areas, and storage and export facilities (including potential modifications), within the Sacramento and San Joaquin watersheds (including external watersheds connected through facilities). The project area also includes potential improvements and developments of other water supply or power generation programs.

    The CVP is Reclamation's largest federal reclamation project. Reclamation operates the CVP in coordination with the SWP, under the Coordinated Operation Agreement between the federal government and the State of California (authorized by Pub. L. 99-546). The CVP and SWP operate pursuant to water rights permits and licenses issued by the State Water Resources Control Board. The CVP and SWP water rights allow appropriation of water by directly using and/or diverting water to storage for later withdrawal and use, or use and re-diversion to storage further downstream for later consumptive use. Among the conditions of their water rights, are requirements of the projects to either bypass or withdraw water from storage and to help satisfy specific water quality, quantity and operations criteria in source rivers and within the Delta. The CVP and SWP are currently operated in accordance with the 2008 USFWS Biological Opinion and the 2009 NMFS Biological Opinion, both of which concluded that the coordinated long-term operation of the CVP and SWP, as proposed in Reclamation's 2008 Biological Assessment, was likely to jeopardize the continued existence of listed species and destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat. Both Biological Opinions included Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives designed to allow the CVP and SWP to continue operating without causing jeopardy to listed species or destruction or adverse modification to designated critical habitat. Reclamation accepted and then began Project operations consistent with the USFWS and NMFS Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives.

    V. Alternatives To Be Considered

    As required by NEPA, the EIS will include and consider a proposed action and a reasonable range of alternatives, including a No Action Alternative. Reasonable alternatives to the proposed action may include a combination of:

    • Operations in coordination with new or proposed facilities to increase water supply deliveries and marketable power generation:

    ○ Actions that increase storage capacity upstream of the Delta for the CVP

    ○ Actions that increase storage capacity south of the Delta

    ○ Actions that increase export capabilities through the Delta

    ○ Actions to generate additional water or that improve and optimize the utilization of water such as desalinization, water conservation, or water reuse

    • Modified operations of the CVP and SWP with and without new or proposed facilities including possible requests to modify environmental and regulatory requirements, and sharing of water and responsibilities in the Delta

    • Habitat restoration and ecosystem improvement projects intended to increase fish populations which would be factored into the regulatory process

    • Modification to existing state and federal facilities to reduce impacts to listed species

    The Final EIS will identify an agency-preferred alternative.

    Alternatives could affect all or various facilities and/or operations of the CVP, and may also include actions that affect SWP and local project operations. Reclamation will engage with California Department of Water Resources and local stakeholders in developing the proposed action and reasonable alternatives. Reclamation will also consider reasonable alternatives identified through the scoping process.

    The proposed EIS will address operations of the CVP and SWP, operations in coordination with new or proposed projects, and habitat restoration in the Project area, designed to increase operational flexibility, increase water supply for CVP authorized purposes, and/or increase power marketability.

    VI. Indian Trust Assets and Environmental Justice

    There are Indian Trust Asset issues and there may be environmental justice issues related to the Trinity River, as well as potential impacts within other areas.

    VII. Statutory Authority

    NEPA [42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.] requires that Federal agencies conduct an environmental analysis of their proposed actions to determine if the actions may significantly affect the human environment. As required by NEPA, Reclamation will develop an EIS which will analyze the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental effects that may result from the implementation of the proposed action and alternatives.

    The Rivers and Harbors Act of August 26, 1937 (50 Stat. 844, as amended and supplemented) provides for operation of the CVP.

    VIII. Request for Comments

    The purposes of this notice are:

    • To advise other agencies, CVP and SWP water users and power customers, affected tribes, and the public of our intention to gather information to support the preparation of an EIS;

    • To obtain suggestions and information from other agencies, interested parties, and the public on the scope of alternatives and issues to be addressed in the EIS; and

    • To identify important issues raised by the public related to the development and implementation of the proposed action.

    Reclamation invites written comments from interested parties to ensure that the full range of alternatives and issues related to the development of the proposed action are identified. Comments during this stage of the scoping process will only be accepted in written form. Written comments may be submitted by mail, electronic mail, facsimile transmission or in person to the contact listed in the ADDRESSES section of this notice. Comments and participation in the scoping process are encouraged.

    IX. Public Disclosure

    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.

    X. How To Request Reasonable Accommodation

    If special assistance is required, please contact Katrina Harrison at the address provided above or TDD 916-978-5608. Information regarding this proposed action is available in alternative formats upon request.

    Dated: December 20, 2017. David Murillo, Regional Director, Mid-Pacific Region.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28215 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4332-90-P
    INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION Notice of Receipt of Complaint; Solicitation of Comments Relating to the Public Interest AGENCY:

    U.S. International Trade Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given that the U.S. International Trade Commission has received a complaint entitled Certain Subsea Telecommunications Systems and Components Thereof, DN 3283; the Commission is soliciting comments on any public interest issues raised by the complaint or complainant's filing pursuant to the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Lisa R. Barton, Secretary to the Commission, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436, telephone (202) 205-2000. The public version of the complaint can be accessed on the Commission's Electronic Document Information System (EDIS) at https://edis.usitc.gov, and will be available for inspection during official business hours (8:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.) in the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436, telephone (202) 205-2000.

    General information concerning the Commission may also be obtained by accessing its internet server at United States International Trade Commission (USITC) at https://www.usitc.gov. The public record for this investigation may be viewed on the Commission's Electronic Document Information System (EDIS) at https://edis.usitc.gov. Hearing-impaired persons are advised that information on this matter can be obtained by contacting the Commission's TDD terminal on (202) 205-1810.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Commission has received a complaint and a submission pursuant to § 210.8(b) of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure filed on behalf of Neptune Subsea LP Ltd.; Neptune Subsea Acquisitions Ltd.; and Xtera, Inc. on December 22, 2017. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1337) in the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, and the sale within the United States after importation of certain subsea telecommunications systems and components thereof. The complaint names as respondents Nokia Corporation, Finland; Nokia Solutions and Networks B.V., the Netherlands; Nokia Solutions and Networks Oy, Finland; Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks SAS, France; Nokia Solutions and Networks US LLC, Phoenix, AZ; NEC Corporation, Japan; NEC Networks & System Integration Corporation, Japan; and NEC Corporation of America, Irving, TX. The complainant requests that the Commission issue a limited exclusion order, cease and desist orders, and impose a bond upon respondents' alleged infringing articles during the 60-day Presidential review period pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1337(j).

    Proposed respondents, other interested parties, and members of the public are invited to file comments, not to exceed five (5) pages in length, inclusive of attachments, on any public interest issues raised by the complaint or § 210.8(b) filing. Comments should address whether issuance of the relief specifically requested by the complainant in this investigation would affect the public health and welfare in the United States, competitive conditions in the United States economy, the production of like or directly competitive articles in the United States, or United States consumers.

    In particular, the Commission is interested in comments that:

    (i) Explain how the articles potentially subject to the requested remedial orders are used in the United States;

    (ii) identify any public health, safety, or welfare concerns in the United States relating to the requested remedial orders;

    (iii) identify like or directly competitive articles that complainant, its licensees, or third parties make in the United States which could replace the subject articles if they were to be excluded;

    (iv) indicate whether complainant, complainant's licensees, and/or third party suppliers have the capacity to replace the volume of articles potentially subject to the requested exclusion order and/or a cease and desist order within a commercially reasonable time; and

    (v) explain how the requested remedial orders would impact United States consumers.

    Written submissions must be filed no later than by close of business, eight calendar days after the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. There will be further opportunities for comment on the public interest after the issuance of any final initial determination in this investigation.

    Persons filing written submissions must file the original document electronically on or before the deadlines stated above and submit 8 true paper copies to the Office of the Secretary by noon the next day pursuant to § 210.4(f) of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (19 CFR 210.4(f)). Submissions should refer to the docket number (“Docket No. 3283”) in a prominent place on the cover page and/or the first page. (See Handbook for Electonic Filing Procedures, Electronic Filing Procedures 1 ). Persons with questions regarding filing should contact the Secretary (202-205-2000).

    1 Handbook for Electronic Filing Procedures: https://www.usitc.gov/documents/handbook_on_filing_procedures.pdf.

    Any person desiring to submit a document to the Commission in confidence must request confidential treatment. All such requests should be directed to the Secretary to the Commission and must include a full statement of the reasons why the Commission should grant such treatment. See 19 CFR 201.6. Documents for which confidential treatment by the Commission is properly sought will be treated accordingly. All such requests should be directed to the Secretary to the Commission and must include a full statement of the reasons why the Commission should grant such treatment. See 19 CFR 201.6. Documents for which confidential treatment by the Commission is properly sought will be treated accordingly. All information, including confidential business information and documents for which confidential treatment is properly sought, submitted to the Commission for purposes of this Investigation may be disclosed to and used: (i) By the Commission, its employees and Offices, and contract personnel (a) for developing or maintaining the records of this or a related proceeding, or (b) in internal investigations, audits, reviews, and evaluations relating to the programs, personnel, and operations of the Commission including under 5 U.S.C. Appendix 3; or (ii) by U.S. government employees and contract personnel,2 solely for cybersecurity purposes. All nonconfidential written submissions will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Secretary and on EDIS.3

    2 All contract personnel will sign appropriate nondisclosure agreements.

    3 Electronic Document Information System (EDIS): https://edis.usitc.gov.

    This action is taken under the authority of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1337), and of §§ 201.10 and 210.8(c) of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (19 CFR 201.10, 210.8(c)).

    By order of the Commission.

    Issued: December 26, 2017. Katherine M. Hiner, Supervisory Attorney.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28197 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7020-02-P
    INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION [Investigation No. 337-TA-1016] Certain Access Control Systems and Components Thereof Notice of Commission Determination To Review in Part a Final Initial Determination; Schedule for Filing Written Submissions; Extension of Target Date AGENCY:

    U.S. International Trade Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given that the U.S. International Trade Commission has determined to review in part the final initial determination (“ID”) issued by the presiding administrative law judge (“ALJ”) on October 23, 2017, finding a violation of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, as to claims 1-4, 7-12, 15, and 16 of U.S. Patent No. 7,161,319 (“the '319 patent”) and no violation of section 337 as to claim 34 of U.S. Patent No. 7,339,336 (“the '336 patent”). The Commission has also determined to extend the target date to March 2, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Panyin A. Hughes, Office of the General Counsel, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436, telephone 202-205-3042. Copies of non-confidential documents filed in connection with this investigation are or will be available for inspection during official business hours (8:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.) in the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436, telephone 202-205-2000. General information concerning the Commission may also be obtained by accessing its internet server (https://www.usitc.gov.) The public record for this investigation may be viewed on the Commission's electronic docket (EDIS) at https://edis.usitc.gov. Hearing-impaired persons are advised that information on this matter can be obtained by contacting the Commission's TDD terminal on 202-205-1810.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Commission instituted this investigation on August 9, 2016, based on a complaint filed by The Chamberlain Group, Inc. of Elmhurst, Illinois (“Chamberlain” or “CGI”). 81 FR 52713 (Aug. 9, 2016). The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1337), in the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, and the sale within the United States after importation of certain access control systems and components thereof by reason of infringement of one or more of claims 1, 10-12, and 18-25 of U.S. Patent No. 7,196,611 (“the '611 patent”); claims 1-4, 7-12, 15, and 16 of the '319 patent; and claims 7, 11-13,15-23, and 34-36 of the '336 patent. Id. The notice of investigation named the following respondents: Techtronic Industries Company Ltd. of Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong; Techtronic Industries North America Inc. of Hunt Valley, Maryland; One World Technologies, Inc. of Anderson, South Carolina; OWT Industries, Inc. of Pickens, South Carolina; ET Technology (Wuxi). Co., Ltd. of Zhejiang, China (collectively, “Respondents”); and Ryobi Technologies Inc. of Anderson, South Carolina (“Ryobi”). Id. The Office of Unfair Import Investigations is not a party to the investigation.

    On October 27, 2016, the Commission determined not to review the ALJ's order (Order No. 4) granting a motion to amend the Notice of Investigation to include the following two additional respondents: Techtronic Trading Limited of Kwai Chung, Hong Kong; and Techtronic Industries Factory Outlets Inc., d/b/a Direct Tools Factory Outlet of Anderson, South Carolina (collectively, “Techtronic”). See Order No. 4, Comm'n Notice of Non-Review (Oct. 27, 2016).

    On November 7, 2016, the Commission determined not to review the ALJ's order (Order No. 6) terminating the investigation as to Ryobi. See Order No. 6, Comm'n Notice of Non-Review (Nov. 7, 2016).

    On March 15, 2017, the Commission determined not to review the ALJ's order (Order No. 15) granting a motion to terminate the investigation as to Techtronic. Order No. 15, Comm'n Notice of Non-Review (Mar. 15, 2017).

    On March 20, 2017, the Commission determined not to review the ALJ's order (Order No. 28) granting a motion to terminate the investigation as to the '611 patent. Order No. 28; Comm'n Notice of Non-Review (Mar. 20, 2017).

    On March 27, 2017, the ALJ issued Order No. 23 granting Respondents' motion for summary determination of non-infringement of the asserted claims of the '319 patent, stemming from the ALJ's construction of the claim term “wall console” to mean “a wall-mounted control unit including a passive infrared detector.” See Order No. 13 (Markman Order at 80).

    The ALJ held an evidentiary hearing from May 1, 2017 through May 3, 2017, on issues solely relating to the '336 patent.

    On May 3, the Commission determined to review Order No. 23 that granted Respondents' motion for summary determination of non-infringement of the '319 patent. On review, the Commission determined to construe “wall console” as a “wall-mounted control unit,” vacated Order No. 23, and remanded the investigation as to the '319 patent to the ALJ for further proceedings. See Comm'n Op. (May 5, 2017) at 1-2.

    The ALJ held a second evidentiary hearing from July 12, 2017, through July 13, 2017, on issues relating to the '319 patent.

    On November 9, 2017, the Commission determined not to review the ALJ's order (Order No. 36) granting a motion to terminate the investigation as to certain accused products and claims 19-23 of the '336 patent. Order No. 36; Comm'n Notice of Non-Review (Nov. 9, 2017).

    On October 23, 2017, the ALJ issued his final ID, finding a violation of section 337 by Respondents in connection with claims 1-4, 7-12, 15, and 16 of the '319 patent. Specifically, the ALJ found that the Commission has subject matter jurisdiction, in rem jurisdiction over the accused products, and in personam jurisdiction over Respondents. ID at 24-26. The ALJ also found that Chamberlain satisfied the importation requirement of section 337 (19 U.S.C. 1337(a)(1)(B)). Id. The ALJ further found that the accused products directly infringe asserted claims 1-4, 7-12, 15, and 16 of the '319 patent, and that Respondents induce infringement of those claims. See ID at 130-141, 144. The ALJ also found that Respondents failed to establish that the asserted claims of the '319 patent are invalid for obviousness. ID at 151-212. With respect to the '336 patent, the ALJ found that Respondents do not directly or indirectly infringe asserted claim 34 and that clam 34 is not invalid as obvious. ID at 72-74, 105-119. The ALJ further found that claims 15, 19, and 34 of the '336 patent are invalid under 35 U.S.C. 101 for reciting unpatentable subject matter and that claim 15 is invalid for anticipation but that claims 12, 14, and 19 have not been shown invalid for anticipation. ID at 74-103. Finally, the ALJ found that Chamberlain established the existence of a domestic industry that practices the asserted patents under 19 U.S.C. 1337(a)(2). See ID at 257-261, 288-294.

    Also on October 23, 2017, the ALJ issued his recommended determination on remedy and bonding. Recommended Determination on Remedy and Bonding (“RD”). The ALJ recommends that in the event the Commission finds a violation of section 337, the Commission should issue a limited exclusion order prohibiting the importation of Respondents' accused products and components thereof that infringe the asserted claims of the '319 patent. RD at 2. The ALJ also recommends issuance of cease and desist orders against respondents Techtronic Industries Company Ltd., Techtronic Industries North America Inc., One World Technologies, Inc., and OWT Industries, Inc. based on the presence of commercially significant inventory in the United States. RD at 5. With respect to the amount of bond that should be posted during the period of Presidential review, the ALJ recommends that the Commission set a bond in the amount of zero (i.e., no bond) during the period of Presidential review. RD at 6-7.

    On November 6, 2017, Respondents filed a petition for review as to the '319 patent and a contingent petition for review as to the '336 patent. See Respondents' Petition for Review. Also on November 6, 2017, Chamberlain filed a petition for review of the ID, primarily challenging the ALJ's findings of no violation of section 337 as it pertains to the '336 patent. See Complainant's Petition for Review of Initial Determination on Violation of Section 337.

    On November 14, 2017, Chamberlain and Respondents filed their respective responses to the petitions for review. See Complainant's Response to Respondents' Petition for Review of Initial Determination on Violation of Section 337; Respondents' Response to Complainant's Petition for Review.

    Having examined the record of this investigation, including the ALJ's final ID, the petition for review, and the response thereto, for the '319 patent the Commission has determined to review (1) the ID's finding that a combination of prior art references Doppelt, Jacobs, and Gilbert fail to render the asserted claims obvious; and (2) the ID's finding that a combination of prior art references Matsuoka, Doppelt, and Eckel fail to render the asserted claims obvious. For the '336 patent the Commission has determined to review (1) the ID's finding that claim 34 recites ineligible patent subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101; and (2) the ID's finding that Pruessel, either alone or in combination with Koestler, fails to render claim 34 obvious.

    In connection with its review, the Commission is interested in responses to the following question:

    1. Given the ALJ's finding that Matsuoka, Doppelt, and Eckel are analogous references to the '319 patent, please discuss whether they disclose all elements of the asserted claims of the '319 patent. In particular please discuss motivations to combine them, if any.

    2. Discuss whether Pruessel, either alone or in combination with Koestler, renders claim 34 of the '336 patent obvious.

    The parties are requested to brief only the discrete issues above, with reference to the applicable law and evidentiary record. The parties are not to brief other issues on review, which are adequately presented in the parties' existing filings.

    In connection with the final disposition of this investigation, the Commission may (1) issue an order that could result in the exclusion of the subject articles from entry into the United States, and/or (2) issue one or more cease and desist orders that could result in the respondent being required to cease and desist from engaging in unfair acts in the importation and sale of such articles. Accordingly, the Commission is interested in receiving written submissions that address the form of remedy, if any, that should be ordered. If a party seeks exclusion of an article from entry into the United States for purposes other than entry for consumption, the party should so indicate and provide information establishing that activities involving other types of entry either are adversely affecting it or likely to do so. For background, see Certain Devices for Connecting Computers via Telephone Lines, Inv. No. 337-TA-360, USITC Pub. No. 2843 (December 1994) (Commission Opinion).

    If the Commission contemplates some form of remedy, it must consider the effects of that remedy upon the public interest. The factors the Commission will consider include the effect that an exclusion order and/or cease and desist orders would have on (1) the public health and welfare, (2) competitive conditions in the U.S. economy, (3) U.S. production of articles that are like or directly competitive with those that are subject to investigation, and (4) U.S. consumers. The Commission is therefore interested in receiving written submissions that address the aforementioned public interest factors in the context of this investigation.

    If the Commission orders some form of remedy, the U.S. Trade Representative, as delegated by the President, has 60 days to approve or disapprove the Commission's action. See Presidential Memorandum of July 21, 2005. 70 FR 43251 (July 26, 2005). During this period, the subject articles would be entitled to enter the United States under bond, in an amount determined by the Commission and prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury. The Commission is therefore interested in receiving submissions concerning the amount of the bond that should be imposed if a remedy is ordered.

    Written Submissions: The parties to the investigation are requested to file written submissions on the issues identified in this notice. Parties to the investigation, interested government agencies, and any other interested parties are encouraged to file written submissions on the issues of remedy, the public interest, and bonding. Such submissions should address the recommended determination by the ALJ on remedy and bonding. Complainants are requested to submit proposed remedial orders for the Commission's consideration. Complainants are also requested to state the date that the patent expires and the HTSUS numbers under which the accused products are imported. Complainants are further requested to supply the names of known importers of the Respondents' products at issue in this investigation. The written submissions and proposed remedial orders must be filed no later than close of business on January 5, 2018. Reply submissions must be filed no later than the close of business on January 12, 2018. Opening submissions are limited to 50 pages. Reply submissions are limited to 25 pages. Such submissions should address the ALJ's recommended determinations on remedy and bonding. No further submissions on any of these issues will be permitted unless otherwise ordered by the Commission.

    Persons filing written submissions must file the original document electronically on or before the deadlines stated above and submit eight true paper copies to the Office of the Secretary by noon the next day pursuant to section 210.4(f) of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (19 CFR 210.4(f)). Submissions should refer to the investigation number (“Inv. No. 337-TA-1016”) in a prominent place on the cover page and/or the first page. (See Handbook for Electronic Filing Procedures, https://www.usitc.gov/documents/handbook_on_filing_procedures.pdf). Persons with questions regarding filing should contact the Secretary (202-205-2000).

    Any person desiring to submit a document to the Commission in confidence must request confidential treatment. All such requests should be directed to the Secretary to the Commission and must include a full statement of the reasons why the Commission should grant such treatment. See 19 CFR 201.6. Documents for which confidential treatment by the Commission is properly sought will be treated accordingly. All information, including confidential business information and documents for which confidential treatment is properly sought, submitted to the Commission for purposes of this Investigation may be disclosed to and used: (i) By the Commission, its employees and Offices, and contract personnel (a) for developing or maintaining the records of this or a related proceeding, or (b) in internal investigations, audits, reviews, and evaluations relating to the programs, personnel, and operations of the Commission including under 5 U.S.C. Appendix 3; or (ii) by U.S. government employees and contract personnel,1 solely for cybersecurity purposes. All nonconfidential written submissions will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Secretary and on EDIS.

    1 All contract personnel will sign appropriate nondisclosure agreements.

    The Commission has also determined to extend the target date for completion of the above-captioned investigation to March 2, 2018.

    The authority for the Commission's determination is contained in section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1337), and in part 210 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (19 CFR part 210).

    By order of the Commission.

    Issued: December 22, 2017. Katherine M. Hiner, Supervisory Attorney.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28135 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7020-02-P
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Antitrust Division Notice Pursuant to the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993—Cooperative Research Group on ROS-Industrial Consortium-Americas

    Notice is hereby given that, on November 30, 2017, pursuant to Section 6(a) of the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993, 15 U.S.C. 4301 et seq. (“the Act”), Southwest Research Institute—Cooperative Research Group on ROS-Industrial Consortium-Americas (“RIC-Americas”) has filed written notifications simultaneously with the Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission disclosing changes in its Membership. The notifications were filed for the purpose of extending the Act's provisions limiting the recovery of antitrust plaintiffs to actual damages under specified circumstances. Specifically, Deere & Company, Moline, IL; Siemens Corporation, Berkeley, CA; Modbot Inc., San Francisco, CA; and Rethink Robotics, Inc., Boston, MA, have withdrawn as parties to this venture.

    No other changes have been made in either the membership or planned activity of the group research project. Membership in this group research project remains open and RIC-Americas intends to file additional written notifications disclosing all changes in membership or planned activities.

    On April 30, 2014, RIC-Americas filed its original notification pursuant to Section 6(a) of the Act. The Department of Justice published a notice in the Federal Register pursuant to Section 6(b) of the Act on June 9, 2014 (79 FR 32999).

    The last notification was filed with the Department on October 18, 2017. A notice was published in the Federal Register pursuant to Section 6(b) of the Act on November 13, 2017 (82 FR 52319).

    Patricia A. Brink, Director of Civil Enforcement, Antitrust Division.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28130 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Antitrust Division Notice Pursuant to the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993—Network Centric Operations Industry Consortium, Inc.

    Notice is hereby given that, on December 5, 2017, pursuant to Section 6(a) of the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993, 15 U.S.C. 4301 et seq. (“the Act”), Network Centric Operations Industry Consortium, Inc. (“NCOIC”) has filed written notifications simultaneously with the Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission disclosing changes in its membership. The notifications were filed for the purpose of extending the Act's provisions limiting the recovery of antitrust plaintiffs to actual damages under specified circumstances. Specifically, Marc Fiammante (individual member), Alpes Maritimes, FRANCE, has been added as a party to this venture.

    No other changes have been made in either the membership or planned activity of the group research project. Membership in this group research project remains open, and NCOIC intends to file additional written notifications disclosing all changes in membership.

    On November 19, 2004, NCOIC filed its original notification pursuant to Section 6(a) of the Act. The Department of Justice published a notice in the Federal Register pursuant to Section 6(b) of the Act on February 2, 2005 (70 FR 5486).

    The last notification was filed with the Department on July 11, 2017. A notice was published in the Federal Register pursuant to Section 6(b) of the Act on August 15, 2017 (82 FR 38711).

    Patricia A. Brink, Director of Civil Enforcement, Antitrust Division.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28129 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Drug Enforcement Administration [Docket No. DEA-392] Bulk Manufacturer of Controlled Substances Application: AMPAC Fine Chemicals LLC ACTION:

    Notice of application.

    DATES:

    Registered bulk manufacturers of the affected basic classes, and applicants therefore, may file written comments on or objections to the issuance of the proposed registration on or before February 27, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments should be sent to: Drug Enforcement Administration, Attention: DEA Federal Register Representative/DRW, 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Attorney General has delegated his authority under the Controlled Substances Act to the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), 28 CFR 0.100(b). Authority to exercise all necessary functions with respect to the promulgation and implementation of 21 CFR part 1301, incident to the registration of manufacturers, distributors, dispensers, importers, and exporters of controlled substances (other than final orders in connection with suspension, denial, or revocation of registration) has been redelegated to the Assistant Administrator of the DEA Diversion Control Division (“Assistant Administrator”) pursuant to section 7 of 28 CFR part 0, appendix to subpart R.

    In accordance with 21 CFR 1301.33(a), this is notice that on October 28, 2016, AMPAC Fine Chemicals Virginia, LLC, 2820 North Normandy Drive, Petersburg, Virginia 23805-2380 applied to be registered as a bulk manufacturer of the following basic classes of controlled substances:

    Controlled
  • substance
  • Drug code Schedule
    Methylphenidate 1724 II Levomethorphan 9210 II Levorphanol 9220 II

    The company plans to manufacture the listed controlled substances in bulk for distribution to its customers.

    Dated: December 15, 2017. Demetra Ashley, Acting Assistant Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28178 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-09-P
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Drug Enforcement Administration [Docket No. DEA-392] Importer of Controlled Substances Application: ABBVIE LTD; Correction ACTION:

    Notice; correction.

    SUMMARY:

    The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) published a document in the Federal Register of December 1, 2017, concerning a notice of application that inadvertently misstated what the firm plans to do with imported tapentadol.

    Correction

    In the Federal Register of December 1, 2017, in FR Doc. 2017-25921 (82 FR 230), on page 230, in the second column, the last paragraph, correct the first sentence to read: The company plans to import bulk tapentadol (9780) to manufacture dosage form tapentadol (9780) for distribution to its customers.

    Demetra Ashley, Acting Assistant Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28176 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-09-P
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Drug Enforcement Administration [Docket No. DEA-392] Bulk Manufacturer of Controlled Substances Application: Cambrex High Point, Inc. ACTION:

    Notice of application.

    DATES:

    Registered bulk manufacturers of the affected basic classes, and applicants therefore, may file written comments on or objections to the issuance of the proposed registration on or before February 27, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments should be sent to: Drug Enforcement Administration, Attention: DEA Federal Register Representative/DRW, 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Attorney General has delegated his authority under the Controlled Substances Act to the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), 28 CFR 0.100(b). Authority to exercise all necessary functions with respect to the promulgation and implementation of 21 CFR part 1301, incident to the registration of manufacturers, distributors, dispensers, importers, and exporters of controlled substances (other than final orders in connection with suspension, denial, or revocation of registration) has been redelegated to the Assistant Administrator of the DEA Diversion Control Division (“Assistant Administrator”) pursuant to section 7 of 28 CFR part 0, appendix to subpart R.

    In accordance with 21 CFR 1301.33(a), this is notice that on November 22, 2016, Cambrex High Point, Inc., 4180 Mendenhall Oaks Parkway, High Point, North Carolina 27265 applied to be registered as a bulk manufacturer of the following basic classes of controlled substances:

    Controlled
  • substance
  • Drug code Schedule
    Oxymorphone 9652 II Noroxymorphone 9668 II

    The company plans to manufacture the above-listed controlled substances in bulk for distribution to its customers.

    Dated: December 15, 2017. Demetra Ashley, Acting Assistant Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28177 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-09-P
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Clean Air Act

    On December 22, 2017, the Department of Justice lodged a proposed Consent Decree with the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana in the lawsuit entitled United States et al. v. Sid Richardson Carbon, LTD., (M.D. La.), Civil Case. No. 3:17-cv-01792-SDD-RLB.

    In this civil enforcement action under the federal Clean Air Act (“Act”), the United States, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, and the State of Texas allege that Sid Richardson Carbon, LTD. (“Defendant”), failed to comply with certain requirements of the Act intended to protect air quality at three carbon black manufacturing facilities in Addis, Louisiana and Borger and Big Spring, Texas. The complaint seeks injunctive relief and civil penalties for violations of the Clean Air Act's Prevention of Significant Deterioration (“PSD”) provisions, 42 U.S.C. 7470-92; the Act's Nonattainment New Source Review provisions, 42 U.S.C. 7501-7515; the Act's National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, 42 U.S.C. 7412; and various Clean Air Act implementing regulations. The complaint alleges that Defendant failed to obtain appropriate permits and failed to install and operate required pollution control devices to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide (“SO2”), nitrogen oxides (“NOX”), and/or particulate matter (“PM”) at the Addis, Borger, and Big Spring facilities.

    The proposed Consent Decree would resolve violations for certain provisions of the Act at the three facilities, and would require the Defendant to reduce harmful SO2, NOX, and PM emissions through the installation and operation of pollution controls. The Defendant will also spend $490,000 to fund environmental mitigation projects that will further reduce emissions and benefit communities adversely affected by the pollution from the facilities, and pay a civil penalty of $999,000.

    The publication of this notice opens a period for public comment on the proposed Consent Decree. Comments should be addressed to the Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, and should refer to United States et al. v. Sid Richardson Carbon, LTD., (M.D. La.), D.J. Ref. No. 90-5-2-1-10663. All comments must be submitted no later than thirty (30) days after the publication date of this notice. Comments may be submitted either by email or by mail:

    To submit comments: Send them to: By email [email protected] By mail Assistant Attorney General, U.S. DOJ—ENRD, P.O. Box 7611, Washington, D.C. 20044-7611.

    During the public comment period, the proposed Consent Decree may be examined and downloaded at this Justice Department website: http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/consent-decrees. The Justice Department will provide a paper copy of the proposed Consent Decree upon written request and payment of reproduction costs. Please mail your request and payment to: Consent Decree Library, U.S. DOJ—ENRD, P.O. Box 7611, Washington, DC 20044-7611.

    Please enclose a check or money order for $26.75 (25 cents per page reproduction cost) payable to the United States Treasury.

    Thomas P. Carroll, Assistant Section Chief, Environmental Enforcement Section, Environment and Natural Resources Division.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28164 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”)

    On December 21, 2017, the Department of Justice lodged a proposed Consent Decree with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California in the lawsuit entitled United States et al. v. Valley Wood Preserving, Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 1:94-cv-05984.

    This case involves claims under CERCLA relating to the costs of remediating soil and groundwater contamination at the Valley Wood Preserving Site in Turlock, California (the “Site”). Under the proposed Consent Decree, Valley Wood Preserving, Inc. agrees to conduct the remaining cleanup work at the Site and to pay EPA's future response costs incurred in connection with the Site. In exchange, Valley Wood Preserving, Inc. receives a covenant not to sue under Sections 106 and 107 of CERCLA and Section 7003 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”). A group of current and former shareholders and employees of Valley Wood Preserving, Inc.—Lynn Shurtliff, Edgar J. Langley, Cordes J. Langley, Catherine E.L. Elawadly, Edith E.. Langley, Joyce Logsdon, the Estate of Michael H. Logsdon, the Marie J. Langley Revocable Trust, and Robert Schmidt—are also parties to the proposed Consent Decree, and also receive covenants not to sue under CERCLA and RCRA.

    The publication of this notice opens a period for public comment on the proposed Consent Decree. Comments should be addressed to the Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, and should refer to United States, et al. v. Valley Wood Preserving, Inc., et al., D.J. Ref. No. 90-11-3-835. All comments must be submitted no later than thirty (30) days after the publication date of this notice. Comments may be submitted either by email or by mail:

    To submit comments: Send them to: By email [email protected] By mail Assistant Attorney General, U.S. DOJ—ENRD, P.O. Box 7611, Washington, DC 20044-7611.

    Under section 7003(d) of RCRA, a commenter may request an opportunity for a public meeting in the affected area.

    During the public comment period, the proposed Consent Decree may be examined and downloaded at this Justice Department website: https://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees. We will provide a paper copy of the proposed Consent Decree upon written request and payment of reproduction costs. Please mail your request and payment to: Consent Decree Library, U.S. DOJ—ENRD, P.O. Box 7611, Washington, DC 20044-7611.

    Please enclose a check or money order for $60.25 (25 cents per page reproduction cost) payable to the United States Treasury. For a paper copy without the exhibits and signature pages, the cost is $27.50.

    Henry S. Friedman, Assistant Section Chief, Environmental Enforcement Section, Environment and Natural Resources Division.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28141 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”)

    On December 21, 2017, the Department of Justice lodged a proposed Consent Decree with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California that would resolve the lawsuit entitled United States v. Coast Wood Preserving, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:17-cv-01720. The proposed Consent Decree was lodged in the related case State of California Department of Toxic Substances Control and Toxic Substances Control Account v. Coast Wood Preserving, et al., Civil Action No. CV-F-96-6055, which would also be resolved by the proposed Consent Decree. The Department of Justice has filed a motion requesting that these two cases be considered together by the court for purposes of settlement.

    This case involves claims under CERCLA relating to the costs of remediating soil and groundwater contamination at the Coast Wood Preserving Site in Ukiah, California (the “Site”). Under the proposed Consent Decree, Coast Wood Preserving, Inc. agrees to conduct the remaining cleanup work at the Site, to pay $57,450 for EPA's past response costs incurred in connection with the Site, and to pay any such costs EPA incurs in the future. In exchange, Coast Wood Preserving, Inc. receives a covenant not to sue under Sections 106 and 107 of CERCLA and Section 7003 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”). A group of current and former shareholders and employees of Coast Wood Preserving, Inc.—the Michael Logsdon Wood Trust, the Schmidt Wood Trust, Joyce Logsdon, Eugene E. Pietila, and Robert Schmidt—are also parties to the proposed Consent Decree, and also receive covenants not to sue under CERCLA and RCRA.

    The publication of this notice opens a period for public comment on the proposed Consent Decree. Comments should be addressed to the Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, and should refer to United States v. Coast Wood Preserving, Inc., D.J. Ref. No. 90-11-3-835/3. All comments must be submitted no later than thirty (30) days after the publication date of this notice. Comments may be submitted either by email or by mail:

    To submit comments: Send them to: By email [email protected] By mail Assistant Attorney General, U.S. DOJ—ENRD, P.O. Box 7611, Washington, DC 20044-7611.

    Under section 7003(d) of RCRA, a commenter may request an opportunity for a public meeting in the affected area.

    During the public comment period, the proposed Consent Decree may be examined and downloaded at this Justice Department website: https://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees. We will provide a paper copy of the proposed Consent Decree upon written request and payment of reproduction costs. Please mail your request and payment to: Consent Decree Library, U.S. DOJ—ENRD, P.O. Box 7611, Washington, DC 20044-7611.

    Please enclose a check or money order for $177.00 (25 cents per page reproduction cost) payable to the United States Treasury. For a paper copy without the exhibits and signature pages, the cost is $28.25.

    Henry S. Friedman, Assistant Section Chief, Environmental Enforcement Section, Environment and Natural Resources Division.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28143 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Notice of Lodging of Proposed Modification of Consent Decree Under the Clean Air Act

    On December 22, 2017, the Department of Justice lodged a proposed modification to a Consent Decree with the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana in United States and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality v. Cabot Corporation, Civil Case No. 13-3095 (W.D. La.).

    The original Consent Decree was entered on March 13, 2014, and resolved civil claims under the Clean Air Act at the Defendant's three carbon black manufacturing facilities located in Louisiana and Texas. The Consent Decree imposed various pollution control requirements on Defendant's facilities, including requirements related to sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter emissions. At the Canal and Ville Platte facilities in Louisiana, these pollution control requirements included, among other requirements, installation of Wet Gas Scrubber (“WGS”) systems designed to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions, and Selective Catalytic Reduction (“SCR”) systems to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. The WGS systems are also expected to result in an ancillary reduction in particulate matter emissions. On May 5, 2017, the Court entered a First Modification of Consent Decree extending certain compliance deadlines in the Consent Decree.

    The parties have now agreed to further modify certain Consent Decree deadlines. The modification resolves issues regarding the feasibility of the affected deadlines and resolves a potential dispute between the parties concerning them. The modification does not change Defendant's ultimate obligation to install and operate pollution controls at its facilities.

    The publication of this notice opens a period for public comment on the proposed further modification to the Consent Decree. Comments should be addressed to the Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, and should refer to United States and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality v. Cabot Corporation, Civil Case No. 13-3095 (W.D. La.), D.J. Ref. No. 90-5-2-1-10355. All comments must be submitted no later than thirty (30) days after the publication date of this notice. Comments may be submitted either by email or by mail:

    To submit comments: Send them to: By email [email protected] By mail Assistant Attorney General,
  • U.S. DOJ-ENRD,
  • P.O. Box 7611,
  • Washington, DC 20044-7611
  • During the public comment period, the proposed modifications to the Consent Decree may be examined and downloaded at this Justice Department website: https://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees. We will provide a paper copy of the proposed modifications upon written request and payment of reproduction costs. Please mail your request and payment to: Consent Decree Library, U.S. DOJ-ENRD, P.O. Box 7611, Washington, DC 20044-7611.

    Please enclose a check or money order for $3.00 (25 cents per page reproduction cost) payable to the United States Treasury.

    Thomas P. Carroll, Assistant Section Chief, Environmental Enforcement Section, Environment and Natural.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28105 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-15-P
    NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION [NARA-2018-014] Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of a request for comments regarding a new information collection.

    SUMMARY:

    We are proposing a new generic information collection request (generic ICR) entitled Generic Clearance for NARA Public and Education Program Registration. This notice announces that we plan to submit this generic ICR plan to OMB for approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act and solicits comments on specific aspects of the collection plan. We will use this to collect information from individuals registering for an education or other program at NARA.

    DATES:

    We must receive written comments on or before February 27, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send comments to Paperwork Reduction Act Comments (MP), Room 4100, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001, by fax to 301-837-0319, or by email to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Contact Tamee Fechhelm by telephone at 301-837-1694 or fax at 301-837-0319 with requests for additional information or copies of the proposed information collection and supporting statement.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13), we invite comments on: (a) Whether collecting this information is necessary for proper performance of the agency's functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of our estimate of the information collection's burden on respondents; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information we propose to collect; (d) ways to minimize the burden on respondents of collecting the information, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and (e) estimates of capital or start-up costs and costs of operation, maintenance, and purchase of services to provide information. Burden means the total time, effort, or financial resources people need to provide the information, including time to review instructions, process and maintain the information, search data sources, and respond.

    Explanation of Generic ICRs

    A generic ICR is a request for OMB to approve a plan for conducting more than one information collection using very similar methods when (1) we can evaluate the need for and the overall practical utility of the data in advance, as part of the review of the proposed plan, but (2) we cannot determine the details of the specific individual collections until a later time. Most generic clearances cover collections that are voluntary, low-burden (based on a consideration of total burden, total respondents, or burden per respondent), and uncontroversial. This notice, for example, describes a general plan to gather registration information from members of the public who wish to participate in programs at NARA, through a series of registration forms used for a variety of current and future education programs at different facilities. As part of this plan, we construct, distribute, and use the registration forms in a similar manner, but customize each one for the type and location of the program involved.

    Because we seek public comment on the plan, we do not need to seek public comment on each specific information collection that falls within the plan when we later develop the individual information collection. This saves the Government time and burden, and it streamlines our ability to gather registration information so we can provide more responsive programs. However, we still submit each specific information collection (e.g., each form) to OMB for review, in accordance with the terms of clearance set upon approval of the plan. OMB assesses the individual forms for PRA requirements, ensures that they fit within the scope of this generic ICR plan, and includes the specific forms in the PRA public docket prior to our use of them.

    Specifics on This Information Collection

    Title: Generic Clearance for NARA Public and Education Program Registration.

    Description: This generic information collection request allows us to gather information from those members of the public who wish to register for public events, education programs, tours, and training sponsored by NARA. We will not use these forms for quantitative information collections designed to yield reliably actionable results, such as monitoring trends over time or documenting program performance.

    Purpose: Collecting this information allows us to register participants for NARA's public, education, and training programs throughout the agency's locations, and to collect and process credit card payments. The information is also used to develop mailing lists for distribution of education-related information and special NARA training events, based on the request or expressed interest of the person registering. Advance registration allows NARA offices to schedule the tours, training, and events to maximize the participants' time and to accommodate the participants in the space. The information collected from registrants will help ensure that users have an effective, efficient, and satisfying experience with our programs, in compliance with E.O. 12862. Without the ability to collect this information, NARA would not be able to effectively organize events, resulting in possibly turning away members of the public from events that might be overbooked.

    Conditions: We will submit a specific information collection for approval under this generic clearance only if it meets the following conditions:

    • The collection is voluntary;

    • The collection is low-burden for respondents (based on considerations of total burden hours, total number of respondents, or burden-hours per respondent) and is low-cost for both the respondents and the Federal Government;

    • The collection is non-controversial and does not raise issues of concern to other Federal agencies;

    • Personally identifiable information (PII) is collected only to the extent necessary and is retained only for the period of time required by NARA records schedules;

    • Information gathered will be used only internally for program management purposes and is not intended for release outside of the agency;

    • Information gathered will not be used for the purpose of substantially informing influential policy decisions; and

    • Information gathered will yield qualitative information; the collections will not be designed or expected to yield statistically reliable results or used as though the results are generalizable to the population of study.

    As a general matter, information collections under this generic collection request will not result in any new system of records containing privacy information and will not ask questions of a sensitive nature, such as sexual behavior and attitudes, religious beliefs, and other matters that are commonly considered private. In this notice, NARA solicits comments concerning the following information collection:

    Title: Generic Clearance for NARA Public and Education Program Registration.

    OMB number: 3095-00XX.

    Agency form numbers: N/A.

    Type of review: Regular.

    Projected affected public: Individuals or households, business or other for-profit, not-for-profit institutions, schools, Federal, state, local, or tribal government organizations.

    Projected average estimates for the next three years:

    Average expected annual number of forms: 6.

    Average projected number of respondents per form: 1.

    Estimated number of respondents in total: 1,500.

    Estimated time per response: 10 minutes.

    Frequency of response: On occasion.

    Estimated total annual burden hours: 250 hours.

    Abstract: We offer a variety of education programs, public programs, tours, training, and events throughout the country. In order to register participants, we use various online and paper registration forms. Advance registration allows NARA offices to schedule the tours, training, and events to maximize the participants' time and to accommodate the participants in the space.

    Kimberly Keravuori, NARA Regulatory Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28137 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7515-01-P
    NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION [NARA-2018-013] Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed extension request.

    SUMMARY:

    NARA proposes to request an extension from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) of a currently approved information collection used when veterans or other authorized individuals request information from or copies of documents in military service records. We invite you to comment on this proposed information collection.

    DATES:

    We must receive written comments on or before February 27, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send comments to Paperwork Reduction Act Comments (MP), Room 4100, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001, fax them to 301-837-0319, or email them to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Contact Tamee Fechhelm by telephone at 301-837-1694 or fax at 301-837-0319 with requests for additional information or copies of the proposed information collection and supporting statement.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13), NARA invites the public and other Federal agencies to comment on proposed information collections. The comments and suggestions should address one or more of the following points: (a) Whether the proposed information collections are necessary for NARA to properly perform its functions; (b) NARA's estimate of the burden of the proposed information collections and its accuracy; (c) ways NARA could enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information it collects; (d) ways NARA could minimize the burden on respondents of collecting the information, including through information technology; and (e) whether these collections affects small businesses. We will summarize any comments you submit and include the summary in our request for OMB approval. All comments will become a matter of public record. In this notice, NARA solicits comments concerning the following information collection:

    Title: Request Pertaining to Military Records.

    OMB number: 3095-0029.

    Agency form number: SF 180 & NA Form 13176.

    Type of review: Regular.

    Affected public: Veterans, their authorized representatives, state and local governments, and businesses.

    Estimated number of respondents: 1,028,769.

    Estimated time per response: 5 minutes.

    Frequency of response: On occasion (when respondent wishes to request information from a military personnel record).

    Estimated total annual burden hours: 85,731 hours.

    Abstract: The authority for this information collection is contained in 36 CFR 1233.18(d). In accordance with rules issued by the Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS, US Coast Guard), NARA's National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) administers military service records of veterans after discharge, retirement, and death. When veterans and other authorized individuals request information from or copies of documents in military service records, they must provide in forms or in letters certain information about the veteran and the nature of the request. Federal agencies, military departments, veterans, veterans' organizations, and the general public use Standard Form (SF) 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records, in order to obtain information from military service records stored at NPRC. Veterans and next-of-kin of deceased veterans can also use eVetRecs (http://www.archives.gov/research_room/vetrecs/) to order copies. A new form, NA Form 13176, Status Update to Request for Military Service Records, was added to allow the veteran or other authorized individuals to follow-up on their request.

    Kimberly Keravuori, NARA Regulatory Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28136 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7515-01-P
    NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket Nos. 50-313, 50-368, 72-13, 50-458, 72-49, 50-382, 72-75, 50-416, and 72-50; NRC-2017-0239] Arkansas Nuclear One, Units 1 and 2; Grand Gulf Nuclear Station, Unit 1; River Bend Station, Unit 1; and Waterford Steam Electric Station, Unit 3 Consideration of Approval of Transfer of Licenses and Conforming Amendments AGENCY:

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    Application for direct and indirect transfer of licenses; opportunity to comment, request a hearing, and petition for leave to intervene.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) received and is considering approval of an application filed by Entergy Operations, Inc. (EOI, the licensee), acting on behalf of the subject licensees, as well as their parent companies and itself on September 21, 2017. The application seeks NRC approval of a direct and indirect transfer of licenses for Arkansas Nuclear One, Units 1 and 2 (ANO), possible indirect transfer regarding River Bend Station, Unit 1 (RBS), and Waterford Steam Electric Station, Unit 3 (Waterford), and direct transfer of antitrust responsibilities for Grand Gulf Nuclear Station, Unit 1 (GGNS). The NRC is also considering amending the facility operating licenses for administrative purposes to reflect the proposed transfers.

    DATES:

    Comments must be filed by January 29, 2018. A request for a hearing must be filed by January 18, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by any of the following methods (unless this document describes a different method for submitting comments on a specific subject):

    Federal Rulemaking website: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2017-0239. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-3463; email: [email protected] For technical questions contact the individuals listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document.

    Email comments to: [email protected] If you do not receive an automatic email reply confirming receipt, then contact us at 301-415-1677.

    Fax comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at 301-415-1101.

    Mail comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, ATTN: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff.

    Hand deliver comments to: 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. (Eastern Time) Federal workdays; telephone: 301-415-1677.

    For additional direction on obtaining information and submitting comments, see “Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments” in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Margaret W. O'Banion, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, telephone: 301-415-1233, email: Margaret.O'[email protected]; or L. John Klos, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, telephone: 301-415-5136, email: [email protected]; U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments A. Obtaining Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2017-0239 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information for this action. You may obtain publicly-available information related to this action by any of the following methods:

    Federal Rulemaking website: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2017-0239.

    NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select “ADAMS Public Documents” and then select “Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.” For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by email to [email protected] The application for direct and indirect transfer of the licenses dated September 21, 2017 is available in ADAMS under Accession No. ML17268A213.

    NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

    B. Submitting Comments

    Please include Docket ID NRC-2017-0239 in your comment submission.

    The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact information that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your comment submission. The NRC will post all comment submissions at http://www.regulations.gov as well as enter the comment submissions into ADAMS. The NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove identifying or contact information.

    If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be publicly disclosed in their comment submission. Your request should state that the NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove such information before making the comment submissions available to the public or entering the comment into ADAMS.

    II. Introduction

    The NRC is considering the issuance of an order under § 50.80 of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), approving the direct transfer of Renewed Facility Operating License Nos. DPR-51 and NPF-6 and the general license for the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) facility for ANO, from the current owner, Entergy Arkansas, Inc. to a new limited liability company, Entergy Arkansas, LLC (EAL), and the indirect transfer of membership interests of EAL to an intermediate company, Entergy Utility Holding Company, LLC (EUHC), which will be the direct parent company of the licensees of ANO. Following approval of the proposed direct transfer of control of the license for ANO, EAL would acquire ownership of the facility and EOI would remain responsible for the operation and maintenance of ANO.

    In addition, Entergy Mississippi, Inc. (EMI) is expected to undertake a similar asset transfer to a newly-formed subsidiary, the membership interests of which will be contributed to EUHC. EUHC is currently the sole member of Entergy Louisiana, LLC, the owner of RBS and Waterford. The above-described actions will result in additional members of EUHC, which may require NRC approval of the transfer of Facility Operating License Nos. NPF-47 and NPF-38 and the general license for the ISFSI facility for RBS and Waterford, if the NRC deems it necessary.

    Lastly, the application seeks NRC approval of the direct transfer of antitrust responsibilities for GGNS from EMI to a newly-formed subsidiary named Entergy Mississippi, LLC.

    The NRC is also considering amending the facility operating licenses for administrative purposes to reflect the proposed transfers.

    No physical changes to ANO, RBS, Waterford, or GGNS, or operational changes are being proposed in the application.

    The NRC's regulations at 10 CFR 50.80 state that no license, or any right thereunder, shall be transferred, directly or indirectly, through transfer of control of the license, unless the Commission gives its consent in writing. The Commission will approve an application for the direct transfer of a license if the Commission determines that the proposed transferee is qualified to hold the license, and that the transfer is otherwise consistent with applicable provisions of law, regulations, and orders issued by the Commission. The Commission will approve an application for the indirect transfer of a license, if the Commission determines that the new parent company will not affect the qualifications of the licensee to hold the license, and that the transfer is otherwise consistent with applicable provisions of law, regulations, and orders issued by the Commission.

    Before issuance of the proposed conforming license amendments, the Commission will have made findings required by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (the Act), and the Commission's regulations.

    As provided in 10 CFR 2.1315, unless otherwise determined by the Commission with regard to a specific application, the Commission has determined that any amendment to the license of a utilization facility, which does no more than conform the license to reflect the transfer action, involves no significant hazards consideration. No contrary determination has been made with respect to this specific license amendment application. In light of the generic determination reflected in 10 CFR 2.1315, no public comments with respect to significant hazards considerations are being solicited, notwithstanding the general comment procedures contained in 10 CFR 50.91.

    III. Opportunity To Comment

    Within 30 days from the date of publication of this notice, persons may submit written comments regarding the license transfer application, as provided for in 10 CFR 2.1305. The Commission will consider and, if appropriate, respond to these comments, but such comments will not otherwise constitute part of the decisional record. Comments should be submitted as described in the ADDRESSES section of this document.

    IV. Opportunity To Request a Hearing and Petition for Leave To Intervene

    Within 20 days after the date of publication of this notice, any persons (petitioner) whose interest may be affected by this action may file a request for a hearing and petition for leave to intervene (petition) with respect to the action. Petitions shall be filed in accordance with the Commission's “Agency Rules of Practice and Procedure” in 10 CFR part 2. Interested persons should consult a current copy of 10 CFR 2.309. The NRC's regulations are accessible electronically from the NRC Library on the NRC's website at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/cfr/. Alternatively, a copy of the regulations is available at the NRC's Public Document Room, located at One White Flint North, Room O1-F21, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland 20852. If a petition is filed, the Commission or a presiding officer will rule on the petition and, if appropriate, a notice of a hearing will be issued.

    As required by 10 CFR 2.309(d) the petition should specifically explain the reasons why intervention should be permitted with particular reference to the following general requirements for standing: (1) The name, address, and telephone number of the petitioner; (2) the nature of the petitioner's right under the Act to be made a party to the proceeding; (3) the nature and extent of the petitioner's property, financial, or other interest in the proceeding; and (4) the possible effect of any decision or order which may be entered in the proceeding on the petitioner's interest.

    In accordance with 10 CFR 2.309(f), the petition must also set forth the specific contentions which the petitioner seeks to have litigated in the proceeding. Each contention must consist of a specific statement of the issue of law or fact to be raised or controverted. In addition, the petitioner must provide a brief explanation of the bases for the contention and a concise statement of the alleged facts or expert opinion which support the contention and on which the petitioner intends to rely in proving the contention at the hearing. The petitioner must also provide references to the specific sources and documents on which the petitioner intends to rely to support its position on the issue. The petition must include sufficient information to show that a genuine dispute exists with the applicant or licensee on a material issue of law or fact. Contentions must be limited to matters within the scope of the proceeding. The contention must be one which, if proven, would entitle the petitioner to relief. A petitioner who fails to satisfy the requirements at 10 CFR 2.309(f) with respect to at least one contention will not be permitted to participate as a party.

    Those permitted to intervene become parties to the proceeding, subject to any limitations in the order granting leave to intervene. Parties have the opportunity to participate fully in the conduct of the hearing with respect to resolution of that party's admitted contentions, including the opportunity to present evidence, consistent with the NRC's regulations, policies, and procedures.

    Petitions must be filed no later than 20 days from the date of publication of this notice. Petitions and motions for leave to file new or amended contentions that are filed after the deadline will not be entertained absent a determination by the presiding officer that the filing demonstrates good cause by satisfying the three factors in 10 CFR 2.309(c)(1)(i) through (iii). The petition must be filed in accordance with the filing instructions in the “Electronic Submissions (E-Filing)” section of this document.

    If a hearing is requested, and the Commission has not made a final determination on the issue of no significant hazards consideration, the Commission will make a final determination on the issue of no significant hazards consideration. The final determination will serve to establish when the hearing is held. If the final determination is that the amendment request involves no significant hazards consideration, the Commission may issue the amendment and make it immediately effective, notwithstanding the request for a hearing. Any hearing would take place after issuance of the amendment. If the final determination is that the amendment request involves a significant hazards consideration, then any hearing held would take place before the issuance of the amendment unless the Commission finds an imminent danger to the health or safety of the public, in which case it will issue an appropriate order or rule under 10 CFR part 2.

    A State, local governmental body, Federally-recognized Indian Tribe, or agency thereof, may submit a petition to the Commission to participate as a party under 10 CFR 2.309(h)(1). The petition should state the nature and extent of the petitioner's interest in the proceeding. The petition should be submitted to the Commission no later than 20 days from the date of publication of this notice. The petition must be filed in accordance with the filing instructions in the “Electronic Submissions (E-Filing)” section of this document, and should meet the requirements for petitions set forth in this section, except that under 10 CFR 2.309(h)(2) a State, local governmental body, or Federally-recognized Indian Tribe, or agency thereof does not need to address the standing requirements in 10 CFR 2.309(d) if the facility is located within its boundaries. Alternatively, a State, local governmental body, Federally-recognized Indian Tribe, or agency thereof may participate as a non-party under 10 CFR 2.315(c).

    If a hearing is granted, any person who is not a party to the proceeding and is not affiliated with or represented by a party may, at the discretion of the presiding officer, be permitted to make a limited appearance pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.315(a). A person making a limited appearance may make an oral or written statement of his or her position on the issues but may not otherwise participate in the proceeding. A limited appearance may be made at any session of the hearing or at any prehearing conference, subject to the limits and conditions as may be imposed by the presiding officer. Details regarding the opportunity to make a limited appearance will be provided by the presiding officer if such sessions are scheduled.

    V. Electronic Submissions (E-Filing)

    All documents filed in NRC adjudicatory proceedings, including a request for hearing and petition for leave to intervene (petition), any motion or other document filed in the proceeding prior to the submission of a request for hearing or petition to intervene, and documents filed by interested governmental entities that request to participate under 10 CFR 2.315(c), must be filed in accordance with the NRC's E-Filing rule (72 FR 49139; August 28, 2007, as amended at 77 FR 46562, August 3, 2012). The E-Filing process requires participants to submit and serve all adjudicatory documents over the internet, or in some cases to mail copies on electronic storage media. Detailed guidance on making electronic submissions may be found in the Guidance for Electronic Submissions to the NRC and on the NRC website at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html. Participants may not submit paper copies of their filings unless they seek an exemption in accordance with the procedures described below.

    To comply with the procedural requirements of E-Filing, at least 10 days prior to the filing deadline, the participant should contact the Office of the Secretary by email at [email protected], or by telephone at 301-415-1677, to (1) request a digital identification (ID) certificate, which allows the participant (or its counsel or representative) to digitally sign submissions and access the E-Filing system for any proceeding in which it is participating; and (2) advise the Secretary that the participant will be submitting a petition or other adjudicatory document (even in instances in which the participant, or its counsel or representative, already holds an NRC-issued digital ID certificate). Based upon this information, the Secretary will establish an electronic docket for the hearing in this proceeding if the Secretary has not already established an electronic docket.

    Information about applying for a digital ID certificate is available on the NRC's public website at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals/getting-started.html. Once a participant has obtained a digital ID certificate and a docket has been created, the participant can then submit adjudicatory documents. Submissions must be in Portable Document Format (PDF). Additional guidance on PDF submissions is available on the NRC's public website at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/electronic-sub-ref-mat.html. A filing is considered complete at the time the document is submitted through the NRC's E-Filing system. To be timely, an electronic filing must be submitted to the E-Filing system no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the due date. Upon receipt of a transmission, the E Filing system time-stamps the document and sends the submitter an email notice confirming receipt of the document. The E-Filing system also distributes an email notice that provides access to the document to the NRC's Office of the General Counsel and any others who have advised the Office of the Secretary that they wish to participate in the proceeding, so that the filer need not serve the document on those participants separately. Therefore, applicants and other participants (or their counsel or representative) must apply for and receive a digital ID certificate before adjudicatory documents are filed so that they can obtain access to the documents via the E-Filing system.

    A person filing electronically using the NRC's adjudicatory E-Filing system may seek assistance by contacting the NRC's Electronic Filing Help Desk through the “Contact Us” link located on the NRC's public website at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html, by email to [email protected], or by a toll-free call at 1-866-672-7640. The NRC Electronic Filing Help Desk is available between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, excluding government holidays.

    Participants who believe that they have a good cause for not submitting documents electronically must file an exemption request, in accordance with 10 CFR 2.302(g), with their initial paper filing stating why there is good cause for not filing electronically and requesting authorization to continue to submit documents in paper format. Such filings must be submitted by: (1) First class mail addressed to the Office of the Secretary of the Commission, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff; or (2) courier, express mail, or expedited delivery service to the Office of the Secretary, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland, 20852, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff. Participants filing adjudicatory documents in this manner are responsible for serving the document on all other participants. Filing is considered complete by first-class mail as of the time of deposit in the mail, or by courier, express mail, or expedited delivery service upon depositing the document with the provider of the service. A presiding officer, having granted an exemption request from using E-Filing, may require a participant or party to use E-Filing if the presiding officer subsequently determines that the reason for granting the exemption from use of E-Filing no longer exists.

    Documents submitted in adjudicatory proceedings will appear in the NRC's electronic hearing docket which is available to the public at https://adams.nrc.gov/ehd, unless excluded pursuant to an order of the Commission or the presiding officer. If you do not have an NRC-issued digital ID certificate as described above, click cancel when the link requests certificates and you will be automatically directed to the NRC's electronic hearing dockets where you will be able to access any publicly available documents in a particular hearing docket. Participants are requested not to include personal privacy information, such as social security numbers, home addresses, or personal phone numbers in their filings, unless an NRC regulation or other law requires submission of such information. For example, in some instances, individuals provide home addresses in order to demonstrate proximity to a facility or site. With respect to copyrighted works, except for limited excerpts that serve the purpose of the adjudicatory filings and would constitute a Fair Use application, participants are requested not to include copyrighted materials in their submission.

    The Commission will issue a notice or order granting or denying a hearing request or intervention petition, designating the issues for any hearing that will be held and designating the Presiding Officer. A notice granting a hearing will be published in the Federal Register and served on the parties to the hearing.

    For further details with respect to this application, see the application dated September 21, 2017.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 26th day of December 2017.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    Lee J. Klos, Project Manager, Plant Licensing Branch IV, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28165 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590-01-P
    PEACE CORPS Information Collection Request; Submission for OMB Review AGENCY:

    Peace Corps.

    ACTION:

    30-Day notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Peace Corps will be submitting the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. The purpose of this notice is to allow 30 days for public comment in the Federal Register preceding submission to OMB. We are conducting this process in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before January 29, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments should be addressed to Denora Miller, FOIA/Privacy Act Officer. Denora Miller can be contacted by telephone at 202-692-1236 or email at [email protected] Email comments must be made in text and not in attachments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Denora Miller at Peace Corps address above.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Interview Rating Tool.

    OMB Control Number: 0420-0555.

    Type of Request: Review/Re-Approve.

    Affected Public: Individuals.

    Respondents Obligation to Reply: Voluntary.

    Burden to the Public:

    Estimated burden (hours) of the collection of information:

    a. Number of respondents: 10,000.

    b. Frequency of response: One time.

    c. Completion time: 90 minutes.

    d. Annual burden hours: 15,000 hours.

    General description of collection: The Peace Corps will use the information as an integral part of the selection process to learn whether an applicant possesses the necessary characteristics and skills to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer. The information will be used to determine if an invitation to serve will be issued.

    Request for comment: Peace Corps invites comments on whether the proposed collections of information are necessary for proper performance of the functions of the Peace Corps, including whether the information will have practical use; the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the information to be collected; and, ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of automated collection techniques, when appropriate, and other forms of information technology.

    This notice is issued in Washington, DC, on December 21, 2017. Denora Miller, FOIA/Privacy Act Officer, Management.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28118 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6051-01-P
    PEACE CORPS Information Collection Request; Submission for OMB Review AGENCY:

    Peace Corps.

    ACTION:

    30-Day notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Peace Corps will be submitting the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. The purpose of this notice is to allow 30 days for public comment in the Federal Register preceding submission to OMB. We are conducting this process in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before January 29, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments should be addressed to Denora Miller, FOIA/Privacy Act Officer. Denora Miller can be contacted by telephone at 202-692-1236 or email at [email protected] Email comments must be made in text and not in attachments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Denora Miller at Peace Corps address above.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: 2018-19 Campus Ambassadors Application.

    OMB Control Number: 0420-xxxx.

    Type of Request: New.

    Affected Public: Individuals.

    Respondents Obligation to Reply: Voluntary.

    Burden to the Public:

    Estimated burden (hours) of the collection of information:

    a. Number of respondents: 1000.

    b. Frequency of response: One time.

    c. Completion time: 20 minutes.

    d. Annual burden hours: 333 hours.

    General description of collection: The information will be used by Peace Corps Recruitment and the Office of University Programs to select student campus ambassadors. The application includes questions related to relevant experience as well as requests students upload a resume. The information requested—general information, questions related to the position and a student's resume—is a standard practice to determine the best candidates for the program.

    Request for comment: Peace Corps invites comments on whether the proposed collections of information are necessary for proper performance of the functions of the Peace Corps, including whether the information will have practical use; the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the information to be collected; and, ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of automated collection techniques, when appropriate, and other forms of information technology.

    This notice is issued in Washington, DC, on December 21, 2017. Denora Miller, FOIA/Privacy Act Officer, Management.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28119 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6051-01-P
    PEACE CORPS Information Collection Request; Submission for OMB Review AGENCY:

    Peace Corps.

    ACTION:

    30-Day notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Peace Corps will be submitting the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. The purpose of this notice is to allow 30 days for public comment in the Federal Register preceding submission to OMB. We are conducting this process in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before January 29, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments should be addressed to Denora Miller, FOIA/Privacy Act Officer. Denora Miller can be contacted by telephone at 202-692-1236 or email at [email protected] Email comments must be made in text and not in attachments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Denora Miller at Peace Corps address above.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: 2018-19 Campus Ambassadors Onboarding form.

    OMB Control Number: 0420-xxxx.

    Type of Request: New.

    Affected Public: Individuals.

    Respondents Obligation to Reply: Voluntary.

    Burden to the Public:

    Estimated burden (hours) of the collection of information:

    a. Number of respondents: 1000.

    b. Frequency of response: One time.

    c. Completion time: 10 minutes.

    d. Annual burden hours: 167 hours.

    General description of collection: The information will be used by the Office of University Programs to collect name, mailing address, school and t-shirt sizes to send out a promotional kit to students that have accepted our offer to become a campus ambassador.

    Request for comment: Peace Corps invites comments on whether the proposed collections of information are necessary for proper performance of the functions of the Peace Corps, including whether the information will have practical use; the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the information to be collected; and, ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of automated collection techniques, when appropriate, and other forms of information technology.

    This notice is issued in Washington, DC, on December 21, 2017. Denora Miller, FOIA/Privacy Act Officer, Management.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28120 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6051-01-P
    PEACE CORPS Information Collection Request; Submission for OMB Review AGENCY:

    Peace Corps.

    ACTION:

    30-Day notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Peace Corps will be submitting the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. The purpose of this notice is to allow 30 days for public comment in the Federal Register preceding submission to OMB. We are conducting this process in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before January 29, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments should be addressed to Denora Miller, FOIA/Privacy Act Officer. Denora Miller can be contacted by telephone at 202-692-1236 or email at [email protected] Email comments must be made in text and not in attachments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Denora Miller at Peace Corps address above.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Feedback on Agency Service Delivery.

    OMB Control Number: 0420-0545.

    Type of Request: Extension without change of a currently approved collection.

    Affected Public: Individuals.

    Respondents Obligation to Reply: Voluntary.

    Burden to the Public:

    Estimated burden (hours) of the collection of information:

    Average Expected Annual Number of Activities: 13.

    Annual Number of Respondents: 85,917.

    Annual Responses: 85,917.

    Frequency of Response: Once per request.

    Average Minutes per Response: 26.

    Annual Burden Hours: 28,197.

    General Description of Collection: The proposed information collection activity provides a means to garner qualitative customer and stakeholder feedback in an efficient, timely manner, in accordance with the Administration's commitment to improving service delivery. By qualitative feedback we mean information that provides useful insights on perceptions and opinions, but are not statistical surveys that yield quantitative results that can be generalized to the population of study. This feedback will provide insights into customer or stakeholder perceptions, experiences and expectations, provide an early warning of issues with service, or focus attention on areas where communication, training or changes in operations might improve delivery of products or services. These collections will allow for ongoing, collaborative and actionable communications between the Agency and its customers and stakeholders. It will also allow feedback to contribute directly to the improvement of program management.

    The solicitation of feedback will target areas such as: Timeliness, appropriateness, accuracy of information, courtesy, efficiency of service delivery, and resolution of issues with service delivery. Responses will be assessed to plan and inform efforts to improve or maintain the quality of service offered to the public. If this information is not collected, vital feedback from customers and stakeholders on Peace Corps' services will be unavailable.

    Peace Corps will only submit a collection for approval under this generic clearance if it meets the following conditions:

    • The collections are voluntary;

    • The collections are low-burden for respondents (based on considerations of total burden hours, total number of respondents, or burden-hours per respondent) and are low-cost for both the respondents and the Federal Government;

    • The collections are non-controversial and do not raise issues of concern to other Federal agencies;

    • Any collection is targeted to the solicitation of opinions from respondents who have experience with the program or may have experience with the program in the near future;

    • Personally identifiable information (PII) is collected only to the extent necessary and is not retained;

    • Information gathered will be used only internally for general service improvement and program management purposes and is not intended for release outside of the agency;

    • Information gathered will not be used for the purpose of substantially informing influential policy decisions; and

    • Information gathered will yield qualitative information; the collections will not be designed or expected to yield statistically reliable results or used as though the results are generalizable to the population of study.

    Feedback collected under this generic clearance provides useful information, but it does not yield data that can be generalized to the overall population. This type of generic clearance for qualitative information will not be used for quantitative information collections that are designed to yield reliably actionable results, such as monitoring trends over time or documenting program performance. Such data uses require more rigorous designs that address: The target population to which generalizations will be made, the sampling frame, the sample design (including stratification and clustering), the precision requirements or power calculations that justify the proposed sample size, the expected response rate, methods for assessing potential non-response bias, the protocols for data collection, and any testing procedures that were or will be undertaken prior to fielding the study. Depending on the degree of influence the results are likely to have, such collections may still be eligible for submission for other generic mechanisms that are designed to yield quantitative results.

    As a general matter, information collections will not result in any new system of records containing privacy information and will not ask questions of a sensitive nature, such as sexual behavior and attitudes, religious beliefs, and other matters that are commonly considered private.

    Request for comment: Peace Corps invites comments on whether the proposed collections of information are necessary for proper performance of the functions of the Peace Corps, including whether the information will have practical use; the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the information to be collected; and, ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of automated collection techniques, when appropriate, and other forms of information technology.

    This notice is issued in Washington, DC, on December 21, 2017. Denora Miller, FOIA/Privacy Act Officer, Management.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28117 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6051-01-P
    U.S. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT Notice of Submission for Approval: Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions (SF 85) AGENCY:

    U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

    ACTION:

    30-Day notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Background Investigation Bureau (NBIB), U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is notifying the general public and other Federal agencies that OPM is seeking Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval of a revised information collection, Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions (SF 85).

    DATES:

    Comments are encouraged and will be accepted until January 29, 2018. This process is conducted in accordance with 5 CFR 1320.10.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit written comments on the proposed information collection to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, 725 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20503, Attention: Desk Officer for the Office of Personnel Management or sent via electronic mail to [email protected] or faxed to (202) 395-6974.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    A copy of this information collection, with applicable supporting documentation, may be obtained by contacting U.S. Office of Personnel Management, NBIB, 1900 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20415, Attention: Donna McLeod or by electronic mail at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3507(a)(1), OPM is providing an additional 30 days for public comments. OPM previously solicited comments for this collection, with a 60-day public comment period, at 82 FR 29948 (June 30, 2017).

    This notice announces that OPM has submitted to OMB a request for review and clearance of a revised information collection, OMB number 3206-0261, Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions (SF 85). The public has an additional 30-day opportunity to comment.

    The SF 85 is completed by applicants for, or incumbents of, Federal Government civilian positions, or positions in private entities performing work for the Federal Government under contract. For applicants, the SF 85 is to be used only after a conditional offer of employment has been made, unless OPM has granted an exception to the agency to permit questioning for certain positions earlier. e-QIP (Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing) is a web-based system application that houses the SF 85. A variable in assessing burden hours is the nature of the electronic application. The electronic application includes branching questions and instructions which provide for a tailored collection from the respondent based on varying factors in the respondent's personal history. The burden on the respondent is reduced when the respondent's personal history is not relevant to particular question, since the question branches, or expands for additional details, only for those persons who have pertinent information to provide regarding that line of questioning. Accordingly, the burden on the respondent will vary depending on whether the information collection relates to the respondent's personal history.

    The 60-day Federal Register Notice published on June 30, 2017 (82 FR 29948). Comments were received from the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), an individual at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and an individual from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS). Comments were also provided on behalf of the Security, Suitability, and Credentialing Performance Accountability Council Program Management Office (PAC PMO).

    From the PAC PMO a recommendation was submitted to modify the explanation provided in the `Purpose of this Form' section to explain that responses provided on the SF 85P and the SF 86 may be compared with responses to previous SF 85 questionnaires. OPM accepted this comment and will update instructions to inform individuals completing the form that responses provided may be compared with responses provided on previous investigative questionnaires.

    An individual from USPIS commented that Section 6, Your Identifying Information should include marital status/history, and the Sex/Gender question should be expanded to include transgender options. OPM did not accept these comments. Marital/Relationship section will remain in a separate section. Completion of the gender information on the questionnaire is based on the gender the applicant identifies with at the time when completing the application, which includes transgender individuals.

    An individual from FAA commented to include in Section 9, Citizenship, a field to request the CIS number (A#) in the Naturalization Certificate. OPM did not accept this comment as a field currently exists to provide the CIS number.

    An individual from FAA suggested to clarify instructions in Section 11, Where You Have Lived, to require the applicant to enter a full address (House #, Street name, and identifier (Lane, Avenue, etc.)). OPM did not accept this comment as the current instructions already request this information.

    An individual from USPIS commented that in Section 12, Where You Went to School, degree and diploma information should remain as part of the collection to comply with the Federal Investigative Standards (FIS). No changes were needed in response to this comment because the recommended change was included in the 60 day Federal Register Notice of proposed changes to the SF 85.

    An individual from USPIS commented that separating Section 13b, Employment Activities—Former Federal Service, from the collection of other employment information could produce a duplication of information. OPM accepted this comment, will remove Section 13b, and will require reporting of former federal service employment in Section 13a, Employment Activities.

    An individual from USPIS recommends removing Section 16, “People Who Know You Well”, because the information is not required for the background investigation at this level. OPM accepted this comment and will remove Section 16.

    NTEU commented that they do not object to the addition of Section 17, Police Record, but believes that OPM requests information in this proposed section without sufficient justification. Individuals would be required to report convictions that were expunged under federal or state law or otherwise stricken from court records. It would also, in direct contrast to the current OF-306, require individuals to report charges that were dismissed. The information that the section would require, moreover, includes information about charges and proceedings (regardless of the outcome) that occurred when an individual was a minor, even if the record in the matter is under seal. OPM did not accept this comment because the questions are designed to elicit information regarding criminal history record information, to permit the individual to explain the circumstances of offenses or charges, and to obtain details to assist in locating and obtaining records for the background investigation. Collecting criminal record information from the individual provides efficiency and affords the individual the opportunity to provide contextual details about conduct. Such details are needed by agencies in applying suitability criteria and/or assessing whether granting a PIV will present an unacceptable risk to people, property, and/or information systems.

    An individual from USPIS commented that in the section regarding Police Record, an applicant should be asked whether they have ever been arrested or used drugs, or that information should be collected specifically regarding the past 5 or 10 years. OPM did not accept this comment because information relating to drug related arrests is already collected in the Police Record section and information regarding drug use for a specific period is collected in Section 17, Illegal Use of Drugs and Drug Activity.

    A recommendation was received from the PAC PMO to require collection of information regarding alcohol abuse based on the suitability factor identified in 5 CFR 731. OPM did not accept this change at this time, but will consider the modification as part of an additional review to occur later.

    Analysis

    Agency: NBIB, U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

    Title: Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions (SF 85).

    OMB Number: 3206-0261.

    Affected Public: The SF 85 is an information collections completed by applicants for, or incumbents of, Federal Government civilian positions, or positions in private entities performing work for the Federal Government under contract. The SF 85 will be used by the Federal Government in conducting background investigations and reinvestigations of persons under consideration for, or retention of, non-sensitive positions. The form may also be used by agencies in determining whether a subject performing work for, or on behalf of, the Government under a contract, should be deemed eligible for logical or physical access. For applicants, the SF 85 is to be used only after a conditional offer of employment has been made, unless OPM has granted an exception.

    Number of Respondents: 55,040.

    Estimated Time per Respondent: 120 minutes.

    Total Burden Hours: 110,080.

    U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Kathleen M. McGettigan, Acting Director.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28203 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6326-53-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: December 29, 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 22, 2017, it filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission a USPS Request to Add Priority Mail Express & Priority Mail Contract 56 to Competitive Product List. Documents are available at www.prc.gov, Docket Nos. MC2018-86, CP2018-128.

    Elizabeth A. Reed, Attorney, Corporate and Postal Business Law.
    [FR Doc. 2017-28109 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-12-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Investment Company Act Release No. 32952; 812-14805] Validea Capital Management, LLC, et al.; Notice of Application December 26, 2017. AGENCY:

    Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”).

    ACTION:

    Notice of an application for an order under section 6(c) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “Act”) for an exemption from sections 2(a)(32), 5(a)(1), 22(d), and 22(e) of the Act and rule 22c-1 under the Act, under sections 6(c) and 17(b) of the Act for an exemption from sections 17(a)(1) and 17(a)(2) of the Act, and under section 12(d)(1)(J) for an exemption from sections 12(d)(1)(A) and 12(d)(1)(B) of the Act. The requested order would permit (a) index-based series of certain open-end management investment companies (“Funds”) to issue shares redeemable in large aggregations only (“Creation Units”); (b) secondary market transactions in Fund shares to occur at negotiated market prices rather than at net asset value (“NAV”); (c) certain Funds to pay redemption proceeds, under certain circumstances, more than seven days after the tender of shares for redemption; (d) certain affiliated persons of a Fund to deposit securities into, and receive securities from, the Fund in connection with the purchase and redemption of Creation Units; and (e) certain registered management investment companies and unit investment trusts outside of the same group of investment companies as the Funds (“Funds of Funds”) to acquire shares of the Funds.

    Applicants:

    Validea Capital Management, LLC (the “Initial Adviser”), a Connecticut limited liability company registered as an investment adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940; ETF Series Solutions (the “Trust”), a Delaware statutory trust registered under the Act as an open-end management investment company with multiple series; and Quasar Distributors, LLC (the “Distributor”), a Delaware limited liability company and broker-dealer registered under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”).

    Filing Date:

    The application was filed on July 27, 2017.

    Hearing or Notification of Hearing:

    An order granting the requested relief will be issued unless the Commission orders a hearing. Interested persons may request a hearing by writing to the Commission's Secretary and serving applicants with a copy of the request, personally or by mail. Hearing requests should be received by the Commission by 5:30 p.m. on January 19, 2018 and should be accompanied by proof of service on applicants, in the form of an affidavit, or for lawyers, a certificate of service. Pursuant to rule 0-5 under the Act, hearing requests should state the nature of the writer's interest, any facts bearing upon the desirability of a hearing on the matter, the reason for the request, and the issues contested. Persons who wish to be notified of a hearing may request notification by writing to the Commission's Secretary.

    ADDRESSES:

    Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549-1090; Applicants: the Initial Adviser, 363 Ridgewood Road West Hartford, Connecticut 06107; the Trust, 615 East Michigan Street Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202; the Distributor, 777 East Wisconsin Avenue, 6th Floor, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Benjamin Kalish, Attorney-Advisor, at (202) 551-7361; or Parisa Haghshenas, Branch Chief, at (202) 551-6723 (Division of Investment Management, Chief Counsel's Office).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The following is a summary of the application. The complete application may be obtained via the Commission's website by searching for the file number, or for an applicant using the Company name box, at http://www.sec.gov/search/search.htm or by calling (202) 551-8090.

    Summary of the Application

    1. Applicants request an order that would allow Funds to operate as index exchange traded funds (“ETFs”).1 Fund shares will be purchased and redeemed at their NAV in Creation Units only. All orders to purchase Creation Units and all redemption requests will be placed by or through an “Authorized Participant”, which will have signed a participant agreement with the Distributor. Shares will be listed and traded individually on a national securities exchange, where share prices will be based on the current bid/offer market. Any order granting the requested relief would be subject to the terms and conditions stated in the application.

    1 Applicants request that the order apply to the new series of the Trust and any additional series of the Trust, and any other open-end management investment company or series thereof (each, included in the term “Fund”), each of which will operate as an ETF and will track a specified index comprised of domestic or foreign equity and/or fixed income securities (each, an “Underlying Index”). Any Fund will (a) be advised by the Initial Adviser or an entity controlling, controlled by, or under common control with the Initial Adviser (each, an “Adviser”) and (b) comply with the terms and conditions of the application.

    2. Each Fund will hold investment positions selected to correspond closely to the performance of an Underlying Index. In the case of Self-Indexing Funds, an affiliated person, as defined in section 2(a)(3) of the Act (“Affiliated Person”), or an affiliated person of an Affiliated Person (“Second-Tier Affiliate”), of the Trust or a Fund, of an Adviser, of any sub-adviser to or promoter of a Fund, or of the Distributor will compile, create, sponsor or maintain the Underlying Index.2

    2 Each Self-Indexing Fund will post on its website the identities and quantities of the investment positions that will form the basis for the Fund's calculation of its NAV at the end of the day. Applicants believe that requiring Self-Indexing Funds to maintain full portfolio transparency will help address, together with other protections, conflicts of interest with resp