Federal Register Vol. 83, No.153,

Federal Register Volume 83, Issue 153 (August 8, 2018)

Page Range38951-39322
FR Document

83_FR_153
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
83 FR 38964 - Interstate and Intrastate Natural Gas Pipelines; Rate Changes Relating to Federal Income Tax Rate; American Forest & Paper AssociationPDF
83 FR 39087 - FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel; Notice of Public Meeting and Request for Nomination of Ad Hoc Expert MembersPDF
83 FR 38976 - Spinetoram; Pesticide TolerancesPDF
83 FR 39085 - Registration Review Proposed Interim Decisions for Several Pesticides; Notice of AvailabilityPDF
83 FR 39077 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; International Fisheries Trade To Include Shrimp and AbalonePDF
83 FR 39115 - Agency Information Collection Activities; National Land Remote Sensing Education, Outreach and Research ActivityPDF
83 FR 39102 - Fougera Pharmaceuticals, Inc., et al.; Withdrawal of Approval of 27 Abbreviated New Drug ApplicationsPDF
83 FR 39103 - Elemental Impurities in Drug Products; Guidance for Industry; AvailabilityPDF
83 FR 39105 - [Docket No. FDA-2011-N-0776] HEADAgency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review; Comment Request; Reclassification Petitions for Medical DevicesPDF
83 FR 39103 - Merck Sharp & Dohme Corporation, et al.; Withdrawal of Approval of Four New Drug ApplicationsPDF
83 FR 39091 - Notice of Agreement FiledPDF
83 FR 39148 - Commission MeetingPDF
83 FR 39107 - NIH Clinical Center Research Hospital Board; Notice of Charter RenewalPDF
83 FR 39106 - National Institute of Nursing Research; Notice of MeetingPDF
83 FR 39108 - National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
83 FR 39107 - National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities; Notice of MeetingPDF
83 FR 39108 - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases; Notice of MeetingPDF
83 FR 39107 - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
83 FR 39148 - Notice of Release From Federal Surplus Property and Grant Assurance Obligations at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Honolulu, HawaiiPDF
83 FR 39106 - Meeting of the President's Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition; CorrectionPDF
83 FR 39117 - Notice of Public Meeting, Boise District Resource Advisory Council, IdahoPDF
83 FR 39131 - NASA Advisory Council; Human Exploration and Operations Committee; Meeting.PDF
83 FR 39132 - NASA Advisory Council; Aeronautics Committee; Meeting.PDF
83 FR 39132 - NASA Advisory Council; Science Committee; MeetingPDF
83 FR 39132 - NASA Advisory Council; Technology, Innovation and Engineering Committee; MeetingPDF
83 FR 39133 - NASA Advisory Council; Ad Hoc Task Force on STEM Education; MeetingPDF
83 FR 39149 - Notice of Meetings; A Notice by the Federal Aviation AdministrationPDF
83 FR 39150 - Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee; MeetingPDF
83 FR 39158 - Notice of OFAC Sanctions ActionsPDF
83 FR 39135 - Solicitation of Nominations for Appointment to the Advisory Committee of the Pension Benefit Guaranty CorporationPDF
83 FR 39116 - Notice of Intent for Potential Amendment to the Resource Management Plan for the Bakersfield Field Office, California, and To Prepare an Associated Supplemental Environmental Impact StatementPDF
83 FR 39078 - Nominations for Advisory Committee and Species Working Group Technical Advisor Appointments to the U.S. Section to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic TunasPDF
83 FR 39075 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Northeast Multispecies Amendment 16PDF
83 FR 39109 - Termination of U.S. Coast Guard Rebroadcast of HYDROLANT and HYDROPAC InformationPDF
83 FR 39155 - Drugs That Impair Safe Driving; Request for Comments; CorrectionPDF
83 FR 39154 - Reports, Forms, and Record Keeping Requirements Agency Information Collection Activity Under OMB ReviewPDF
83 FR 39155 - Reports, Forms, and Record Keeping Requirements Agency Information Collection Activity Under OMB ReviewPDF
83 FR 39150 - Commercial Driver's License: Application for Exemption; Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR)PDF
83 FR 39109 - Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory CommitteePDF
83 FR 39100 - Agency Forms Undergoing Paperwork Reduction Act ReviewPDF
83 FR 39039 - Pacific Island Fisheries; Ecosystem Component SpeciesPDF
83 FR 39147 - Notice of Senior Executive Service Performance Review Board MembershipPDF
83 FR 39041 - Trade and Foreign Agriculture Affairs; Codex Alimentarius Commission: International Standard-Setting ActivitiesPDF
83 FR 39129 - Bulk Manufacturer of Controlled Substances Application: Euticals Inc.PDF
83 FR 39128 - Importer of Controlled Substances RegistrationPDF
83 FR 39129 - Importer of Controlled Substances Application: Chattem Chemicals, Inc.PDF
83 FR 39127 - Importer of Controlled Substances Application: Clinical Supplies Management Holdings, Inc.PDF
83 FR 39130 - Importer of Controlled Substances Application: MyodermPDF
83 FR 39128 - Importer of Controlled Substances Application: AndersonBrecon Inc.PDF
83 FR 39096 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 39095 - Privacy Act of 1974; System of RecordsPDF
83 FR 39079 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 39078 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 39113 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Initiation of 5-Year Reviews of 19 Northeastern SpeciesPDF
83 FR 39130 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; State Apprenticeship Expansion (SAE) Grants Research StudyPDF
83 FR 39147 - Notice of Determinations; Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition-Determinations: Exhibition of Two Roman-Era ObjectsPDF
83 FR 39148 - Notice of Determinations; Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition-Determinations: “Animal-Shaped Vessels From the Ancient World: Feasting With Gods, Heroes, and Kings” ExhibitionPDF
83 FR 39135 - Excepted ServicePDF
83 FR 39121 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, NMPDF
83 FR 39120 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Binghamton University, State University of New York, Binghamton, NYPDF
83 FR 39118 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Binghamton University, State University of New York, Binghamton, NYPDF
83 FR 39123 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Binghamton University, State University of New York, Binghamton, NYPDF
83 FR 39117 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Binghamton University, State University of New York, Binghamton, NYPDF
83 FR 39124 - Notice of Inventory Completion: San Diego Museum of Man, San Diego, CAPDF
83 FR 39126 - Notice of Inventory Completion: New York University College of Dentistry, New York City, NYPDF
83 FR 39093 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Announcement of Board Approval Under Delegated Authority and Submission to OMBPDF
83 FR 39093 - Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 39091 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Announcement of Board Approval Under Delegated Authority and Submission to OMBPDF
83 FR 39052 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 39061 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; NIST SURF Program Student Applicant InformationPDF
83 FR 39133 - Records Schedules; Availability and Request for CommentsPDF
83 FR 39053 - First Responder Network Authority Combined Committee and Board MeetingPDF
83 FR 39084 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
83 FR 39083 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
83 FR 39081 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
83 FR 39082 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
83 FR 39160 - Notice of OFAC Sanctions Actions; Sanctions Actions Pursuant to Directive One of Executive Order 13662PDF
83 FR 39157 - Notice of OFAC Sanctions ActionsPDF
83 FR 39035 - Air Plan Approval; ArkansasPDF
83 FR 38964 - Air Plan Approval; ArkansasPDF
83 FR 39111 - Changes in Flood Hazard DeterminationsPDF
83 FR 39143 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Fixed Income Clearing Corporation; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change To Codify the Processing of Conditional Prepayment Rate Claims in the MBSD Rules and Make Other ChangesPDF
83 FR 39058 - Certain Plastic Decorative Ribbon From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair ValuePDF
83 FR 39061 - Quarterly Update to Annual Listing of Foreign Government Subsidies on Articles of Cheese Subject to an In-Quota Rate of DutyPDF
83 FR 39054 - Certain Corrosion-Resistant Steel Products From the Republic of Korea: Notice of Court Decision Not in Harmony With Final Determination of Investigation and Notice of Amended Final ResultsPDF
83 FR 39056 - Common Alloy Aluminum Sheet From the People's Republic of China: Amended Preliminary Affirmative Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair ValuePDF
83 FR 39090 - Information Collection Approved by the Office of the Management and Budget (OMB)PDF
83 FR 39054 - Emerging Technology Technical Advisory Committee (ETTAC); Notice of Recruitment of Private-Sector MembersPDF
83 FR 39052 - Notice of Petitions by Firms for Determination of Eligibility To Apply for Trade Adjustment AssistancePDF
83 FR 39156 - Open Meeting: Community Development Advisory BoardPDF
83 FR 39138 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change To List and Trade Shares of the GraniteShares Gold MiniBAR TrustPDF
83 FR 39143 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Withdrawal of a Proposed Rule Change To Adopt the Route QCT Cross Routing OptionPDF
83 FR 38997 - Risk-Based Capital-Supplemental RulePDF
83 FR 39084 - Independent Power Producers of New York, Inc. v. New York Independent System Operator, Inc.; Notice of ComplaintPDF
83 FR 39080 - Military Aviation and Installation Assurance Siting Clearinghouse; Notice and Request for Public Comment on Boardman, Oregon, and NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, Geographic Areas of ConcernPDF
83 FR 39062 - Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Unexploded Ordnance Investigation Survey off the Coast of VirginiaPDF
83 FR 39050 - Tongass National Forest; Ketchikan Misty Fjords Ranger District; Alaska; South Revillagigedo Integrated Resource Project Environmental Impact StatementPDF
83 FR 39037 - Pacific Island Pelagic Fisheries; 2018 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch LimitsPDF
83 FR 39019 - Air Plan Approval; District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia; Maryland and Virginia Redesignation Requests and District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia Maintenance Plan for the Washington, DC-MD-VA 2008 Ozone Standard Nonattainment AreaPDF
83 FR 39152 - Approved Agency Information Collection ActivitiesPDF
83 FR 39152 - Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 38968 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Delaware; Interstate Transport Requirements for the 2012 Fine Particulate Matter Standard; CorrectionPDF
83 FR 39012 - Revisions to California State Implementation Plan; South Coast Air Quality Management District; Stationary Source PermitsPDF
83 FR 38982 - Nuclear Safety ManagementPDF
83 FR 39035 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Delaware; Interstate Transport Requirements for the 2010 1-Hour Sulfur Dioxide StandardPDF
83 FR 39017 - Approval of California Air Plan Revision, South Coast Air Quality Management DistrictPDF
83 FR 39014 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Maryland; NOXPDF
83 FR 39009 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Maryland; Amendment to Control of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds From Consumer ProductsPDF
83 FR 38969 - Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Revision to References for Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Sector To Incorporate Latest Edition of Certain Industry, Consensus-Based StandardsPDF
83 FR 38959 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus AirplanesPDF
83 FR 39292 - Additional First Year Depreciation DeductionPDF
83 FR 38951 - Airworthiness Directives; Safran Helicopter Engines, S.A., Turboshaft EnginesPDF
83 FR 39004 - Airworthiness Directives; Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited HelicoptersPDF
83 FR 38953 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus SAS AirplanesPDF
83 FR 39162 - Medicare Program; Prospective Payment System and Consolidated Billing for Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) Final Rule for FY 2019, SNF Value-Based Purchasing Program, and SNF Quality Reporting ProgramPDF
83 FR 38957 - Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company AirplanesPDF
83 FR 39007 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters (Previously Eurocopter France)PDF

Issue

83 153 Wednesday, August 8, 2018 Contents Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Food Safety and Inspection Service

See

Forest Service

Centers Disease Centers for Disease Control and Prevention NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 39100-39102 2018-16947 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services RULES Medicare Program: Prospective Payment System and Consolidated Billing for Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) Final Rule for FY 2019, SNF Value-Based Purchasing Program, and SNF Quality Reporting Program, 39162-39290 2018-16570 Coast Guard Coast Guard NOTICES Meetings: Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee, 39109-39111 2018-16948 Rebroadcast Terminations: HYDROLANT and HYDROPAC Information, 39109 2018-16954 Commerce Commerce Department See

Economic Development Administration

See

First Responder Network Authority

See

Industry and Security Bureau

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Institute of Standards and Technology

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 39052 2018-16915
Community Development Community Development Financial Institutions Fund NOTICES Meetings: Community Development Advisory Board, 39156-39157 2018-16891 Defense Department Defense Department NOTICES Military Aviation and Installation Assurance Siting Clearinghouse: Boardman, Oregon, and NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, Geographic Areas of Concern, 39080-39081 2018-16886 Drug Drug Enforcement Administration NOTICES Importer of Controlled Substances; Applications: AndersonBrecon, Inc., 39128 2018-16937 Chattem Chemicals, Inc., 39129-39130 2018-16940 Clinical Supplies Management Holdings, Inc., 39127-39128 2018-16939 Myoderm, 39130 2018-16938 Importers of Controlled Substances; Registrations, 39128-39129 2018-16941 Manufacturers of Controlled Substances; Applications: Euticals, Inc., 39129 2018-16942 Economic Development Economic Development Administration NOTICES Trade Adjustment Assistance; Petitions, 39052-39053 2018-16892 Employment and Training Employment and Training Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: State Apprenticeship Expansion (SAE) Grants Research Study, 39130-39131 2018-16930 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

PROPOSED RULES Nuclear Safety Management, 38982-38997 2018-16863
Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Arkansas, 38964-38968 2018-16904 Delaware; Interstate Transport Requirements for 2012 Fine Particulate Matter Standard; Correction, 38968 2018-16878 Pesticide Tolerances: Spinetoram, 38976-38981 2018-16989 Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Latest Edition of Certain Industry, Consensus-based Standards for Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Sector, 38969-38976 2018-16773 PROPOSED RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Arkansas, 39035 2018-16905 California Air Plan Revision, South Coast Air Quality Management District; Approval, 39017-39019 2018-16795 Delaware; Interstate Transport Requirements for 2010 1-Hour Sulfur Dioxide Standard, 39035-39037 2018-16796 District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia; Maryland and Virginia Redesignation Requests and District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia Maintenance Plan for Washington, DC-MD-VA 2008 Ozone Standard Nonattainment Area, 39019-39035 2018-16882 Maryland; Control of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Consumer Products, 39009-39012 2018-16776 Maryland; NOx Ozone Season Emissions Caps for Non-Trading Large NOx Units, etc., 39014-39017 2018-16778 South Coast Air Quality Management, 39012-39014 2018-16877 NOTICES Meetings: Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel; Request for Nomination of Ad Hoc Expert Members, 39087-39090 2018-16990 Registration Review Proposed Interim Decisions for Several Pesticides, 39085-39087 2018-16988 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: Airbus Airplanes, 38959-38964 2018-16736 Airbus SAS Airplanes, 38953-38957 2018-16576 Safran Helicopter Engines, S.A., Turboshaft Engines, 38951-38953 2018-16652 The Boeing Company Airplanes, 38957-38959 2018-16509 PROPOSED RULES Airworthiness Directives: Airbus Helicopters (Previously Eurocopter France), 39007-39009 2018-16494 Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited Helicopters, 39004-39007 2018-16637 NOTICES Airport Property Releases: Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, Honolulu, HI, 39148-39149 2018-16971 Meetings: Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee, 39150 2018-16961 International Aircraft Materials Fire Test Forum, International Aircraft Systems Fire Protection Forum, 39149-39150 2018-16962 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 39090-39091 2018-16895 Federal Emergency Federal Emergency Management Agency NOTICES Flood Hazard Determinations; Changes, 39111-39113 2018-16902 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission RULES Interstate and Intrastate Natural Gas Pipelines; Rate Changes Relating to Federal Income Tax Rate: American Forest and Paper Assn., 38964 C1--2018--15786 NOTICES Combined Filings, 39081-39085 2018-16908 2018-16909 2018-16910 2018-16911 Complaints: Independent Power Producers of New York, Inc. v. New York Independent System Operator, Inc., 39084 2018-16887 Federal Maritime Federal Maritime Commission NOTICES Agreements Filed, 39091 2018-16981 Federal Motor Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration NOTICES Commercial Driver's Licenses; Exemption Applications: Missouri Department of Revenue, 39150-39152 2018-16949 Federal Railroad Federal Railroad Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 39152-39154 2018-16880 2018-16881 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 39091-39095 2018-16916 2018-16917 2018-16918 Federal Trade Federal Trade Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 39096-39100 2018-16936 Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 39095-39096 2018-16935 FIRSTNET First Responder Network Authority NOTICES Meetings: Combined Committee and Board, 39053-39054 2018-16912 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service NOTICES Endangered and Threatened Species: Initiation of 5-Year Reviews of 19 Northeastern Species, 39113-39115 2018-16931 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration NOTICES Abbreviated New Drug Applications; Withdrawals of Approvals: Fougera Pharmaceuticals, Inc., et al., 39102-39103 2018-16985 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Reclassification Petitions for Medical Devices, 39105-39106 2018-16983 Guidance: Elemental Impurities in Drug Products, 39103-39105 2018-16984 New Drug Applications; Withdrawals of Approvals: Merck Sharp and Dohme Corp., et al., 39103 2018-16982 Food Safety Food Safety and Inspection Service NOTICES Trade and Foreign Agriculture Affairs: Codex Alimentarius Commission: International Standard-Setting Activities, 39041-39050 2018-16944 Foreign Assets Foreign Assets Control Office NOTICES Blocking or Unblocking of Persons and Properties, 39157-39160 2018-16906 2018-16907 2018-16960 Forest Forest Service NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Tongass National Forest, Ketchikan Misty Fjords Ranger District, Alaska; South Revillagigedo Integrated Resource Project, 39050-39052 2018-16884 Geological Geological Survey NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: National Land Remote Sensing Education, Outreach and Research Activity, 39115-39116 2018-16986 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

NOTICES Meetings: President's Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition; Correction, 39106 2018-16969 2018-16970
Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Industry Industry and Security Bureau NOTICES Recruitment of Private-Sector Members: Emerging Technology Technical Advisory Committee, 39054 2018-16893 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Geological Survey

See

Land Management Bureau

See

National Park Service

Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service PROPOSED RULES Additional First Year Depreciation Deduction, 39292-39322 2018-16716 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Annual Listing of Foreign Government Subsidies; Quarterly Update: Articles of Cheese Subject to In-Quota Rate of Duty, 39061 2018-16899 Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Certain Corrosion-Resistant Steel Products from Republic of Korea, 39054-39055 2018-16898 Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value: Certain Plastic Decorative Ribbon from the People's Republic of China, 39058-39060 2018-16900 Common Alloy Aluminum Sheet from the People's Republic of China, 39056-39058 2018-16897 Justice Department Justice Department See

Drug Enforcement Administration

Labor Department Labor Department See

Employment and Training Administration

Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Bakersfield Field Office, California; Resource Management Plan, 39116-39117 2018-16957 Meetings: Boise District Resource Advisory Council, Idaho, 39117 2018-16968 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Council Ad Hoc Task Force on STEM Education, 39133 2018-16963 Advisory Council Technology, Innovation and Engineering Committee, 39132 2018-16964 Advisory Council; Aeronautics Committee, 39132 2018-16966 Advisory Council; Human Exploration and Operations Committee, 39131-39132 2018-16967 Advisory Council; Science Committee, 39132-39133 2018-16965 National Archives National Archives and Records Administration NOTICES Records Schedules, 39133-39135 2018-16913 National Credit National Credit Union Administration PROPOSED RULES Risk-Based Capital: Supplemental Rule, 38997-39004 2018-16888 National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 39154-39156 2018-16950 2018-16951 2018-16952 National Institute National Institute of Standards and Technology NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: NIST SURF Program Student Applicant Information, 39061-39062 2018-16914 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Charter Renewals: Clinical Center Research Hospital Board, 39107 2018-16979 Meetings: National Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, 39108 2018-16975 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 39107 2018-16974 National Institute of Nursing Research, 39106-39107 2018-16978 National Institute on Minority Health and Heath Disparities, 39107-39109 2018-16976 2018-16977 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration PROPOSED RULES Pacific Island Fisheries: Ecosystem Component Species, 39039-39040 2018-16946 Pacific Island Pelagic Fisheries: 2018 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits, 39037-39039 2018-16883 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 39078-39080 2018-16932 2018-16933 2018-16934 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: International Fisheries Trade to Include Shrimp and Abalone, 39077-39078 2018-16987 Northeast Multispecies Amendment 16, 39075-39076 2018-16955 Requests for Nominations: Advisory Committee and Species Working Group Technical Advisor Appointments to U.S. Section to International Commission for Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, 39078 2018-16956 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities: Unexploded Ordnance Investigation Survey off Coast of Virginia, 39062-39075 2018-16885 National Park National Park Service NOTICES Inventory Completions: Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, NM, 39121-39123 2018-16926 Binghamton University, State University of New York, Binghamton, NY, 39117-39121, 39123-39124 2018-16922 2018-16923 2018-16924 2018-16925 New York University College of Dentistry, New York City, NY, 39126-39127 2018-16920 San Diego Museum of Man, San Diego, CA, 39124-39126 2018-16921 Pension Benefit Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation NOTICES Requests for Nominations: Advisory Committee, 39135 2018-16958 Personnel Personnel Management Office NOTICES Excepted Service, 39135-39138 2018-16927 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc., 39143 2018-16889 Fixed Income Clearing Corp., 39143-39147 2018-16901 NYSE Arca, Inc., 39138-39143 2018-16890 Social Social Security Administration NOTICES Senior Executive Service Performance Review Board Membership, 39147 2018-16945 State Department State Department NOTICES Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition: Animal-Shaped Vessels from the Ancient World: Feasting with Gods, Heroes, and Kings, 39148 2018-16928 Two Roman-era Objects, 39147-39148 2018-16929 Susquehanna Susquehanna River Basin Commission NOTICES Meetings: Commission, 39148 2018-16980 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

See

Federal Railroad Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Treasury Treasury Department See

Community Development Financial Institutions Fund

See

Foreign Assets Control Office

See

Internal Revenue Service

Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Health and Human Services Department, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 39162-39290 2018-16570 Part III Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service, 39292-39322 2018-16716 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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83 153 Wednesday, August 8, 2018 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2009-0889; Product Identifier 2009-NE-35-AD; Amendment 39-19305; AD 2018-12-01] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Safran Helicopter Engines, S.A., Turboshaft Engines AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2012-03-11 for all Safran Helicopter Engines, S.A., Arriel 2B and 2B1 turboshaft engines. AD 2012-03-11 required checking the transmissible torque between the low-pressure (LP) pump impeller and the high-pressure (HP) pump shaft on the HP/LP pump and metering valve assembly, hereafter referred to as the hydro-mechanical metering unit (HMU). Since we issued AD 2012-03-11, the manufacturer determined that incorporating Modification TU 178 is a more effective method to reduce the risk of uncoupling between the LP fuel pump impeller and the HP fuel pump shaft than the prior Modification TU 147. This AD requires inspection and possible replacement of the HMU. This AD was prompted by three cases of uncoupling of the HMU LP fuel pump impeller and the HP fuel pump shaft since AD 2012-03-11 was issued. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

This AD is effective September 12, 2018.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of March 11, 2010 (75 FR 5689, February 4, 2010).

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of March 20, 2012 (77 FR 8092, February 14, 2012).

ADDRESSES:

For service information identified in this final rule, contact Safran Helicopter Engines, S.A., 40220 Tarnos, France; phone: (33) 05 59 74 40 00; fax: (33) 05 59 74 45 15. You may view this service information at the FAA, Engine and Propeller Standards Branch, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA 01803. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 781-238-7759. It is also available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2009-0889.

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-2009-0889; or in person at Docket Operations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this final rule, the mandatory continuing airworthiness information, regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for Docket Operations (phone: 800-647-5527) is Document Operations, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

John Frost, Aerospace Engineer, ECO Branch, FAA, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA 01803; phone: 781-238-7756; fax: 781-238-7199; email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 to supersede AD 2012-03-11, Amendment 39-16953 (77 FR 8092, February 14, 2012), (“AD 2012-03-11”). AD 2012-03-11 applied to all Safran Helicopter Engines, S.A., Arriel 2B and 2B1 turboshaft engines. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on October 6, 2017 (82 FR 46727). The NPRM was prompted by instances of uncoupling between the LP fuel pump impeller and the HP fuel pump shaft. The NPRM proposed to require inspection and, depending on the results of the inspection, possible replacement of the HMU. The NPRM also proposed to require replacement of pre-Modification TU 178 HMUs with an HMU incorporating Modification TU 178 within 2,200 engine flight hours or 72 months, whichever occurs first, after the effective date of this AD. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

Comments

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

Request To Clarify Reason for AD

An individual commenter questioned how the new modification in this AD is better and different from the actions required by the previous AD 2012-03-11.

AD 2012-03-11 required a check of the transmissible torque between the LP fuel pump impeller and the HP fuel pump shaft and replacement of the HMU if it does not pass the torque check. Since we issued AD 2012-03-11, Safran Service Bulletin (SB) 292 73 2178, Version A, dated April 1, 2015 introduced Modification TU 178. This AD accepts Modification TU 178 as a more robust drive link between the LP fuel pump impeller and the HP fuel pump shaft that ensures the LP impeller pump is driven even if the link with the drive shaft loosens. This AD requires installation of a Modification TU 178 HMU for any HMU that fails the torque sensor check and as a mandatory terminating action for the inspections required by this AD, as well as purging the fleet of the pre- and post-TU 147 configuration parts. We did not change this AD.

Clarification to Service Information for Torque Check

We updated paragraphs (g)(1)(i) and (ii) of this AD to clarify that only paragraph 2.A, rather than paragraph 2, in Turbomeca Alert Mandatory SB (MSB) A292 73 2830, Version B, dated July 10, 2009, and Turbomeca Alert MSB A292 73 2836, Version A, dated August 17, 2010, is used to perform the torque check.

Conclusion

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

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

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

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed Turbomeca, S.A., Alert MSB A292 73 2830, Version B, dated July 10, 2009, and Alert MSB A292 73 2836, Version A, dated August 17, 2010. Turbomeca Alert MSB A292 73 2830, Version B, describes procedures for inspecting pre-Modification TU 147 HMUs. Turbomeca Alert MSB A292 73 2836, Version A, dated August 17, 2010, describes procedures for inspecting HMUs that have incorporated Modification TU 147. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

Other Related Service Information

We reviewed Safran Helicopter Engines MSB 292 73 2178, Version B, dated March 23, 2017. Safran Helicopter Engines MSB 292 73 2178, Version B, describes HMU improvements that includes a reinforced drive link between the LP impeller and HP fuel pump shaft (Modification TU 178). Safran Helicopter Engines has also issued MSB A292 73 2830, Version C; and A292 73 2836, Version B, both dated April 5, 2017, which exempt HMUs incorporating Modification TU 178 from the inspections previously recommended by Safran Helicopter Engines.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 417 engines installed on helicopters 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
  • Remove and replace the HP/LP fuel pump metering unit 2 work-hours × $85 per hour = $170 $17,400 $17,570 $7,326,690
    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 engines, propellers, and associated appliances to the Manager, Engine and Propeller Standards Branch, Policy and Innovation 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) 2012-03-11, Amendment 39-16953 (77 FR 8092, February 14, 2012), and adding the following new AD: 2018-12-01 Safran Helicopter Engines (Type Certificate previously held by Turbomeca, S.A.): Amendment 39-19305; Docket No. FAA-2009-0889; Product Identifier 2009-NE-35-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective September 12, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 2012-03-11, Amendment 39-16953 (77 FR 8092, February 14, 2012).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Safran Helicopter Engines, S.A., Arriel 2B and 2B1 turboshaft engines, except those incorporating Modification TU 178.

    (d) Subject

    Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC) Code 7300, Engine Fuel and Control.

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by analysis that indicated the modification of an engine to incorporate Modification TU 178 provides a more effective method than Modification TU 147 to reduce the risk of uncoupling between the low-pressure (LP) fuel pump impeller and the high-pressure (HP) fuel pump shaft of the HP/LP pump and hydro-mechanical metering unit (HMU). We are issuing this AD to prevent failure of the HMU. The unsafe condition, if not corrected, could result in failure of the engine, in-flight shutdown, and loss of the helicopter.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Required Actions

    (1) Check the transmissible torque between the LP fuel pump impeller and the HP fuel pump shaft as follows:

    (i) For pre-Modification TU 147 HMUs, check the torque before accumulating 500 engine flight hours (FHs) since March 11, 2010 or before the next flight after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later. Use Paragraph 2.A. of Turbomeca Alert Mandatory Service Bulletin (MSB) A292 73 2830, Version B, dated July 10, 2009 to do the check.

    (ii) For HMUs that incorporated Modification TU 147 on or before March 31, 2010, and those HMUs not listed in Figure 2 or 3 of Turbomeca Alert MSB A292 73 2836, Version A, dated August 17, 2010, check the torque before the next flight after the effective date of this AD. Use Paragraph 2.A. of Turbomeca Alert MSB A292 73 2836, Version A, dated August 17, 2010, to do the check.

    (2) If the HMU does not pass the torque check, replace the HMU with a post-Modification TU 178 HMU before the next flight after the effective date of this AD.

    (h) Mandatory Terminating Action

    Within 2,200 engine FHs or 72 months after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs first, replace any pre-Modification TU 178 HMU with a post-Modification TU 178 configuration HMU.

    (i) Installation Prohibition

    After the effective date of this AD, do not install a pre-Modification TU 178 HMU on engines incorporating a post-Modification TU 178 HMU.

    (j) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, ECO 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 (k)(1) of this AD. You may email your request 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.

    (k) Related Information

    (1) For more information about this AD, contact John Frost, Aerospace Engineer, ECO Branch, FAA, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA 01803; phone: 781-238-7756; fax: 781-238-7199; email: [email protected]

    (2) Refer to European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2017-0102, dated June 13, 2017, for more information. You may examine the EASA AD on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2009-0889.

    (l) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (3) The following service information was approved for IBR on March 11, 2010 (75 FR 5689, February 4, 2010).

    (i) Turbomeca Alert Mandatory Service Bulletin (MSB) No. A292 73 2830, Version B, dated July 10, 2009.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (4) The following service information was approved for IBR on March 20, 2012 (77 FR 8092, February 14, 2012).

    (i) Turbomeca Alert MSB No. A292 73 2836, Version A, dated August 17, 2010.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (5) For Safran Helicopter Engines, S.A, service information identified in this AD, contact Safran Helicopter Engines, S.A., 40220 Tarnos, France; phone: (33) 05 59 74 40 00; fax: (33) 05 59 74 45 15.

    (6) You may view this service information at FAA, Engine and Propeller Standards Branch, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA 01803. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 781-238-7759.

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

    Issued in Burlington, Massachusetts, on July 31, 2018. Robert J. Ganley, Manager, Engine and Propeller Standards Branch, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16652 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2018-0640; Product Identifier 2018-NM-075-AD; Amendment 39-19343; AD 2018-16-03] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus SAS Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Airbus SAS Model A319-133 airplanes and Model A321-232 airplanes. This AD requires modification and re-identification, or replacement, of certain engine fan cowl doors (FCDs) and installation of a placard in the flight deck. This AD was prompted by reports of in-service engine FCD losses, and the development of a new FCD front latch and keeper assembly that addresses this unsafe condition. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    This AD becomes effective August 23, 2018.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of August 3, 2017 (82 FR 29371, June 29, 2017).

    We must receive comments on this AD by September 24, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:

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

    Fax: 202-493-2251.

    Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.

    Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    For service information identified in this final rule, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EIAS, Rond-Point Emile Dewoitine No: 2, 31700 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 44 51; email [email protected]; internet http://www.airbus.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Standards Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 206-231-3195. It is also available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0640.

    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-2018-0640; or in person at the Docket Operations office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations office (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; telephone and fax 206-231-3223.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD 2016-0053, dated March 14, 2016 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for all Airbus Model A319-131, -132, and -133 airplanes, Model A320-231, -232, and -233 airplanes, and Model A321-131, -231, and -232 airplanes. The MCAI states:

    Fan Cowl Door (FCD) losses during take-off were reported on aeroplanes equipped with IAE V2500 engines. Prompted by these occurrences, DGAC [Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile] France issued AD 2000-444-156(B), mandating FCD latch improvements. This [DGAC] AD was later superseded by [DGAC] AD 2001-381(B) [which corresponds to FAA AD 2003-18-06, Amendment 39-13297 (68 FR 53501, September 11, 2003)], requiring installation of additional fan cowl latch improvement by installing a hold open device.

    Since that [DGAC] AD was issued, further FCD in flight losses were experienced in service. Investigations confirmed that in all cases, the fan cowls were opened prior to the flight and were not correctly re-secured. During the pre-flight inspection, it was then not detected that the FCD were not properly latched.

    This condition, if not corrected, could lead to in-flight loss of a FCD, possibly resulting in damage to the aeroplane and/or injury to persons on the ground.

    Prompted by these recent events, new FCD front latch and keeper assembly were developed, having a specific key necessary to un-latch the FCD. This key cannot be removed unless the FCD front latch is safely closed. The key, after removal, must be stowed in the flight deck at a specific location, as instructed in the applicable Aircraft Maintenance Manual. Applicable Flight Crew Operating Manual has been amended accordingly. After modification, the FCD is identified with a different Part Number (P/N).

    For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD retains the requirements of DGAC AD 2001-381(B), which is superseded, and requires modification and re-identification of FCD.

    You may examine the MCAI on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0640.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    Airbus has issued Service Bulletin A320-71-1069, Revision 01, including Appendix 01, dated April 28, 2016. This service information describes procedures for modifying the engine FCDs, installing placards, and re-identifying the FCDs with new part numbers. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

    FAA's Determination and Requirements of This AD

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

    Differences Between This AD and the MCAI or Service Information

    The MCAI applies to Airbus SAS Model A319-131 and -132 airplanes; Model A320-231, -232, and -233 airplanes; and Model A321-131 and -231 airplanes, in addition to Model A319-133 airplanes and Model A321-232 airplanes. The unsafe condition on Model A319-131 and -132 airplanes; Model A320-231, -232, and -233 airplanes; and Model A321-131 and -231 airplanes is already addressed in AD 2017-13-10, Amendment 39-18940 (82 FR 29371, June 29, 2017); therefore this AD only applies to Model A319-133 airplanes and Model A321-232 airplanes.

    FAA's Determination of the Effective Date

    There are currently no domestic operators of this product. Therefore, we find that notice and opportunity for prior public comment are unnecessary and that good cause exists for making this amendment effective in less than 30 days.

    Comments Invited

    This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight safety, and we did not precede it by notice and opportunity for public comment. We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2018-0640; Product Identifier 2018-NM-075-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this AD based on those comments.

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

    Costs of Compliance

    Currently, there are no affected U.S.-registered airplanes. If an affected airplane is imported and placed on the U.S. Register in the future, we provide the following cost estimates to comply with this AD:

    Estimated Costs for Required Actions Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • 6 work-hours × $85 per hour = $510 $4,813 $5,323
    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2018-16-03 Airbus SAS: Amendment 39-19343; Docket No. FAA-2018-0640; Product Identifier 2018-NM-075-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD becomes effective August 23, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Airbus SAS Model A319-133 airplanes and Model A321-232 airplanes, certificated in any category, all manufacturer serial numbers.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 71, Powerplant.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by reports of in-service engine fan cowl door (FCD) losses, and the development of a new FCD front latch and keeper assembly that addresses this unsafe condition. We are issuing this AD to address in-flight loss of an engine FCD and possible consequent damage to the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Modification

    Within 36 months after the effective date of this AD, do the actions specified in paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), and (g)(3) of this AD, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-71-1069, Revision 01, including Appendix 01, dated April 28, 2016.

    (1) Modify the left-hand and right-hand engine FCDs on engines 1 and 2.

    (2) Install a placard that specifies the FCD keys stowage location in the flight deck on the box located at the bottom of panel 120VU or at the bottom of the coat stowage, as applicable to airplane configuration.

    (3) Re-identify both engine FCDs with the new part numbers, as specified in figure 1 to paragraphs (g), (j), and (k) of this AD.

    ER08AU18.002 (h) Missing FCD Keys or Placard

    Flights with one or both FCD keys missing from the stowage location in the fight deck, or with the placard (that specifies the FCD keys stowage location) missing or damaged, are permitted for a period not to exceed 10 calendar days from the date of discovery.

    (i) Alternative Location of FCD Keys and Placard

    As an option to paragraph (g)(2) of this AD, an alternative location for the key stowage in the flight deck and installation of a placard for identification of that stowage location are permitted as specified in the operator's FAA-accepted maintenance or inspection program, provided the keys can be retrieved from that flight deck location when needed and the placard installation is done within 36 months after the effective date of this AD.

    (j) Optional Compliance by Replacement or Installation

    (1) Replacing an engine FCD having a part number listed as “Old Part Number” in figure 1 to paragraphs (g), (j), and (k) of this AD with an FCD having the corresponding part number listed as “New Part Number” in figure 1 to paragraphs (g), (j), and (k) of this AD is an acceptable method of compliance with the requirements of paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(3) of this AD for that engine FCD only.

    (2) An airplane on which Airbus Modification 157516 has been embodied in production is compliant with the requirements of paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(3) of this AD, provided no engine FCD having a part number identified as “Old Part Number” in figure 1 to paragraphs (g), (j), and (k) of this AD is installed on that airplane.

    (3) An airplane on which Airbus Modification 157718 has been embodied in production is compliant with the requirements of paragraph (g)(2) of this AD.

    (4) Installation on an engine of a right-hand and left-hand engine FCD having a part number approved after the effective date of this AD is a method of compliance with the requirements of paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(3) of this AD for that engine only, provided the part number is approved, and the installation is accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA; or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA); or Airbus's EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA). If approved by the DOA, the approval must include the DOA-authorized signature.

    (k) Parts Installation Limitations

    (1) For an airplane with an engine FCD installed having a part number identified as “Old Part Number” in figure 1 to paragraphs (g), (j), and (k) of this AD: After modification of that airplane as required by paragraph (g) of this AD, do not install an engine FCD, having a part number identified as “Old Part Number” in figure 1 to paragraphs (g), (j), and (k) of this AD.

    (2) For an airplane that does not have an engine FCD installed having a part number identified as “Old Part Number” in figure 1 to paragraphs (g), (j), and (k) of this AD: On or after the effective date of this AD, do not install an engine FCD having a part number identified as “Old Part Number” in figure 1 to paragraphs (g), (j), and (k) of this AD.

    (l) Credit for Previous Actions

    This paragraph provides credit for actions required by paragraph (g) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Airbus Service Bulletin A320-71-1069, dated December 18, 2015.

    (m) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

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

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

    (n) Related Information

    (1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA AD 2016-0053, dated March 14, 2016, for related information. You may examine the MCAI on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0640.

    (2) For more information about this AD, contact Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; telephone and fax 206-231-3223.

    (3) Service information identified in this AD that is not incorporated by reference is available at the addresses specified in paragraphs (o)(4) and (o)(5) of this AD.

    (o) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (3) The following service information was approved for IBR on August 3, 2017 (82 FR 29371, June 29, 2017).

    (i) Airbus Service Bulletin A320-71-1069, Revision 01, including Appendix 01, dated April 28, 2016.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (4) For service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EIAS, Rond-Point Emile Dewoitine No: 2, 31700 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 44 51; email [email protected]; internet http://www.airbus.com.

    (5) You may view this service information at the FAA, Transport Standards Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 206-231-3195.

    (6) 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 Des Moines, Washington, on July 23, 2018. James Cashdollar, Acting Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16576 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2018-0276; Product Identifier 2017-NM-079-AD; Amendment 39-19346; AD 2018-16-06] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain The Boeing Company Model 747-100, -100B, -100B SUD, -200B, -200C, -200F, -300, -400, -400D, 747SP, and 747SR, and 747-8 series airplanes. This AD was prompted by reports indicating that additional areas of Boeing Material Specification (BMS) 8-39 flexible urethane foam were found during an inspection required by a related AD. This AD requires inspecting for BMS 8-39 flexible urethane foam insulation in the floor panel assemblies and the power drive unit (PDU) cover assemblies, doing applicable on-condition actions, modifying certain dripshields, and replacing BMS 8-39 foam strips on certain dripshields with BMS 8-371 foam strips. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    This AD is effective September 12, 2018.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of September 12, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    For service information identified in this final rule, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Contractual & Data Services (C&DS), 2600 Westminster Blvd., MC 110-SK57, Seal Beach, CA 90740-5600; telephone 562-797-1717; internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com. You may view this service information at the FAA, Transport Standards Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 206-231-3195. It is also available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0276.

    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-2018-0276; or in person at Docket Operations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this final rule, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for Docket Operations (phone: 800-647-5527) is Docket Operations, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Scott Craig, Aerospace Engineer, Cabin Safety and Environmental Systems Section, FAA, Seattle ACO Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; phone and fax: 206-231-3566; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Discussion

    We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to certain The Boeing Company Model 747-100, -100B, -100B SUD, -200B, -200C, -200F, -300, -400, -400D, 747SP, and 747SR, and 747-8 series airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on April 17, 2018 (83 FR 16796). The NPRM was prompted by reports indicating that additional areas of BMS 8-39 flexible urethane foam were found during an inspection required by a related AD. The NPRM proposed to require inspecting for BMS 8-39 flexible urethane foam insulation in the floor panel assemblies and the PDU cover assemblies, doing applicable on-condition actions, modifying certain dripshields, and replacing BMS 8-39 foam strips on certain dripshields with BMS 8-371 foam strips.

    We are issuing this AD to address BMS 8-39 flexible urethane foam in certain areas, which, if exposed to an ignition source, could cause an uncontrolled fire leading to loss of control of the airplane.

    Comments

    We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this final rule. We have considered the comment received. Boeing stated that it had no objection to the NPRM.

    Conclusion

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

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

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

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    We reviewed the following Boeing service information.

    • Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 747-53-2877, dated August 5, 2014, which describes procedures for performing a general visual inspection for BMS 8-39 flexible urethane foam insulation in the floor panel assemblies and the PDU cover assemblies, and applicable on-condition actions.

    • Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 747-25-3646, Revision 1, dated August 2, 2017, which describes procedures for replacing BMS 8-39 foam strips with BMS 8-371 foam strips on certain dripshields.

    • Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 747-25-3692, dated June 22, 2016, which describes procedures for modifying and replacing BMS 8-39 foam strips with BMS 8-371 foam strips on certain dripshields.

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

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects 87 airplanes of U.S. registry. We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

    Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Cost on U.S.
  • operators
  • Inspection and replacement 25 work-hour × $85 per hour = $2,125 Up to $184,460 Up to $186,585 Up to $6,157,305 (33 airplanes affected). Modification and installation of the dripshields 10 work-hours × $85 per hour = $850 Unavailable 1 $850 $44,200 (52 airplanes affected). Replacement of the foam on the dripshields 8 work-hours × $85 per hour = $680 Unavailable 1 $680 $4,760 (7 airplanes affected). 1 We have received no definitive data that would enable us to provide parts cost estimates as the parts and materials are to be supplied by the operator for the actions specified in this AD.

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

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

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2018-16-06 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-19346; Docket No. FAA-2018-0276; Product Identifier 2017-NM-079-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective September 12, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to The Boeing Company airplanes, certificated in any category, as identified in paragraphs (c)(1), (c)(2), and (c)(3) of this AD.

    (1) Model 747-100, -100B, -100B SUD, -200B, -200C, -200F, -300, -400, -400D, 747SP, and 747SR series airplanes, as identified in Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 747-53-2877, dated August 5, 2014.

    (2) Model 747-400, -400D, and 747-8 series airplanes, as identified in Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 747-25-3646, Revision 1, dated August 2, 2017.

    (3) Model 747-100, -100B, -100B SUD, -200B, -300, 747SP, and 747SR series airplanes, as identified in Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 747-25-3692, dated June 22, 2016.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 25, Equipment/furnishings; 53, Fuselage.

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by reports indicating that additional areas of Boeing Material Specification (BMS) 8-39 flexible urethane foam were found during an inspection required by a related AD. The degradation of the foam increases the potential for an uncontrolled fire below the passenger compartment floor and other locations outside the areas covered by smoke detection and fire protection systems. We are issuing this AD to detect and replace BMS 8-39 flexible urethane foam in certain areas, which, if exposed to an ignition source, could cause an uncontrolled fire leading to loss of control of the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Required Actions

    Within 72 months after the effective date of this AD, do all actions identified as “RC” (required for compliance) in, and in accordance with, the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable service information identified in paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), and (g)(3) of this AD.

    (1) For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(1) of this AD: Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 747-53-2877, dated August 5, 2014.

    (2) For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(2) of this AD: Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 747-25-3646, Revision 1, dated August 2, 2017.

    (3) For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(3) of this AD: Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 747-25-3692, dated June 22, 2016.

    (h) Credit for Previous Actions

    This paragraph provides credit for the actions specified in paragraph (g)(2) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 747-25-3646, dated June 19, 2015.

    (i) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

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

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

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

    (4) For service information that contains steps that are labeled as Required for Compliance (RC), the provisions of paragraphs (i)(4)(i) and (i)(4)(ii) of this AD apply.

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

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

    (j) Related Information

    (1) For more information about this AD, contact Scott Craig, Aerospace Engineer, Cabin Safety and Environmental Systems Section, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; phone and fax: 206-231-3566; email: [email protected]

    (2) Service information identified in this AD that is not incorporated by reference is available at the addresses specified in paragraphs (k)(3) and (k)(4) of this AD.

    (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 Special Attention Service Bulletin 747-25-3646, Revision 1, dated August 2, 2017.

    (ii) Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 747-25-3692, dated June 22, 2016.

    (iii) Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 747-53-2877, dated August 5, 2014.

    (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, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 206-231-3195.

    (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 Des Moines, Washington, on July 23, 2018. James Cashdollar, Acting Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16509 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2018-0077; Product Identifier 2017-NM-126-AD; Amendment 39-19352; AD 2018-16-12] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Airbus Model A319 and A320 series airplanes; and A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, and -232 airplanes. This AD was prompted by reports of battery retaining rod failures due to quality defects of the material used during parts manufacturing. This AD requires a detailed inspection of the battery support assemblies to identify the battery retaining rod manufacturer, replacement of the battery retaining rods with serviceable battery retaining rods if necessary, and the addition of the applicable service information label on each battery retaining rod if necessary. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    This AD is effective September 12, 2018.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of September 12, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    For service information identified in this final rule, contact Airbus, Airworthiness Office—EIAS, 2 Rond Point Emile Dewoitine, 31700 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 44 51; email [email protected]; internet http://www.airbus.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Standards Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 206-231-3195. It is also available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0077.

    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-2018-0077; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (telephone 800-647-5527) is Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; telephone and fax 206-231-3223.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Discussion

    We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to certain Airbus Model A319 and A320 series airplanes; and Model A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, and -232 airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on February 12, 2018 (83 FR 5960) (“the NPRM”).

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD 2017-0161R1, dated September 19, 2017; corrected September 20, 2017 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for certain Airbus Model A319 and A320 series airplanes; and Model A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, and -232 airplanes. The MCAI states:

    Several occurrences have been reported of battery rod failures on certain Airbus aeroplanes. Subsequent examination of broken rod parts determined that these failures were due to quality defects of the material used during parts manufacturing. Each battery is secured on an aeroplane by two rods. Failure of one rod, in case of severe turbulence during flight or hard landing, could lead to battery displacement, or roll on the remaining rod side, up to a point where the remaining rod could be disengaged. The battery could ultimately detach from its housing and damage relays, connectors, contactor boxes, air ducts and surrounding structure.

    This condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to the loss of the normal electrical generation not followed by an automatic recovery of essential network.

    To address this potential unsafe condition, Airbus issued Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) A92N001-16 (later revised) and EASA issued AD 2016-0204 [which corresponds to FAA AD 2016-25-24 (81 FR 90958, December 16, 2016) (“AD 2016-25-24”)] requiring repetitive general visual inspections (GVI) of the four battery rods (two per battery), and, in case of findings, replacement of battery rods.

    Since that [EASA] AD was issued, the manufacturer of the broken battery retaining rods has been identified, which allows proper identification of the affected parts and their withdrawal from service. Consequently, Airbus issued [service bulletin] SB A320-92-1116 and SB A320-92-1118 to provide the necessary instructions to the affected operators. No rods delivered as spare parts are affected by the manufacturing issue.

    For the reason described above, this [EASA] AD retains the requirements of EASA AD 2016-0204, which is superseded, and requires replacement of battery retaining rods depending on manufacturer identification. This [EASA] AD also provides a terminating action for the repetitive inspections.

    You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0077. Comments

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

    Request To Revise the Compliance Time

    Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) requested that we revise the compliance time. ALPA stated that the proposed AD specifies a compliance time of within 24 months after the AD effective date. ALPA commented that because the proposed AD is related to quality, it believes this compliance time is insufficient. ALPA also commented that since the issuance of the manufacturer's service information, operators have had over 12 months to comply with the required corrective actions. ALPA stated that, additionally, the time estimated to complete the inspections and replacement of the affected parts is minimal. ALPA recommended that we consider a compliance time of within 12 months after the AD effective date.

    We disagree with the commenter. While some U.S. operators have had time to plan and schedule the work contained in the Airbus service information, there is no obligation for any U.S. operator to perform those actions without a regulatory requirement. Therefore, we agree with EASA's decision to allow a 24-month compliance time to plan, schedule, and accomplish the actions necessary to remove the unsafe condition. If additional data are presented that would justify a shorter compliance time, we may consider further rulemaking on this issue. We have not changed this AD in this regard.

    Request To Revise the Definition of Serviceable Rod

    Delta Airlines (DAL) requested that we revise the definition of a serviceable rod in paragraph (g) of the proposed AD. DAL stated to add an additional paragraph that specifies:

    A battery retaining rod with an ISB [inspection service bulletin] label installed in accordance with the accomplishment instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-92-1116, Revision 00, dated January 31, 2017 (for Airbus Model A319 and A320 series airplanes; and A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, and -232 airplanes); or Airbus Service Bulletin A320-92-1118, Revision 00, dated January 31, 2017 (for Airbus Model A320-251N and -271N airplanes).

    We partially agree with revising the definition of a serviceable rod in paragraph (g) of this AD. We have determined that the installation of the ISB label does not affect the unsafe condition and have removed the requirement from this AD. We have coordinated this changed with EASA. Furthermore, we have revised paragraph (g) of this AD to clarify that the battery retaining rod used for replacement must be positively identified as a serviceable battery retaining rod.

    Request for Clarification Regarding Manufacturer Serial Numbers

    United Airlines (UAL) requested clarification regarding manufacturer serial numbers in the proposed AD. UAL stated that the manufacturer serial numbers are not applicable to the proposed AD as identified in Airbus Service Bulletin A320-92-1116, Revision 00, dated January 31, 2017, and Airbus Service Bulletin A320-92-1118, Revision 00, dated January 31, 2017. UAL stated that, although the machining that caused the failure mode is identified in the service information, the same battery retaining rod part number used in pre- and post-service information remains unchanged. UAL commented that it is unclear whether a serial number, batch number, or date exists for those battery retaining rods. UAL also asked how were the battery retaining rod spares deemed to be serviceable in paragraph (g)(1) of the proposed AD?

    We agree to provide clarification for the commenter. According to EASA AD 2017-0161R1, dated September 19, 2017; corrected September 20, 2017; no spares with manufacturing defects were delivered by Airbus. Only a certain batch of defective parts were installed in production on certain manufacturer serial numbers as specified in Airbus Service Bulletin A320-92-1116, Revision 00, dated January 31, 2017; and Airbus Service Bulletin A320-92-1118, Revision 00, dated January 31, 2017. If an operator does not have an airplane affected as specified in the service information, then there is no concern relative to defective spare parts. We have not changed this AD in this regard.

    Request To Clarify the Identification of Affected Parts

    DAL requested that we clarify the identification of the affected parts in paragraph (h) of the proposed AD. DAL stated that the detailed inspection to identify the battery retaining rod manufacturer should be of the battery support assemblies and not the battery retaining rods.

    We agree with the commenter's request. We have revised paragraph (h) of this AD to require a detailed inspection of the battery support assemblies to identify the manufacturer of the battery retaining rods.

    Request To Include an Additional Method of Compliance to the AD Requirements

    DAL requested that we add an additional method of compliance for paragraphs (h), (i), and (j) of the proposed AD. DAL stated that the language, “or using a method approved by the Manager, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA; or EASA; or Airbus's EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA),” should be included as an option to using the service information. DAL also stated that this language should be considered standard wording for future ADs as applicable.

    We disagree with the commenter's request. We have already provided a method of compliance (MOC) for paragraphs (h), (i), and (j) of this AD in accordance with the applicable service information. Any deviations from the required MOC would need an evaluation in form of an AMOC. DAL's proposed option is generally utilized in cases where no MOC has been established or we have known information that the MOC may not be applicable for all airplanes in the U.S fleet. We have not changed the AD in this regard.

    Request To Not Require Certain Service Information Labels on the Battery Rod

    DAL and American Airlines (AA) requested that we not mandate that a service information label be attached to each battery retaining rod as required by the Airbus service information specified in paragraphs (j) and (l) of the proposed AD. AA also requested that we not mandate attachments of a service information label as part of the replacement required by paragraph (i) of the proposed AD. DAL stated that it has 7 affected airplanes that would have a different final configuration than the current and future fleet of 348 airplanes in its A320FAM fleet.

    AA stated that all battery retaining rods provided by Airbus post August 2016 are marked and stamped with manufactures part number (MPN) D8241023700000. AA commented that this marking of the new battery retaining rods can be used in lieu of the information service bulletin (ISB) label. AA also commented that it plans to replace all existing battery retaining rods with the new battery retaining rods that are marked with MPN D8241023700000.

    In addition, AA stated that installing the ISB label on the battery retaining rods on 128 of its A319/A320 airplanes does not add a safety value, but will put a burden on AA to maintain two different configurations of battery retaining rod installation between 128 airplanes that are effected by the service information in the proposed AD and 265 airplanes that are not affected by the service information in the proposed AD.

    We agree with the commenters' request. We agree that the ISB label is not necessary to mitigate the risk addressed in this AD. Therefore, we have determined that the installation of ISB label should be optional and not a required for compliance (RC) step.

    However, 14 CFR 39.9, specifies that operators have a continuing obligation to maintain compliance with an AD, and the installation of the ISB label or an equivalent method to identify a serviceable battery retaining rod provides the operators with a simplified way to demonstrate compliance with the AD requirements. We have removed paragraph (j) of the proposed AD and revised paragraph (l) of this AD to revise the terminating action requirements. We have also added paragraph (j) of this AD to provide an exception to paragraph (i) of this AD, which specifies that installing the ISB label is not a requirement in this AD.

    Request To Revise the Terminating Action Paragraph

    DAL requested that paragraph (l) of the proposed AD, “Terminating Action,” be revised to read, “Replacement of all battery retaining rods,” and not, “Replacement of all battery retaining rods marked `SA. . . .' ” DAL stated that the battery retaining rods are not marked with “SA,” only the battery support assemblies.

    We agree with the commenter's request and have revised the AD accordingly.

    Request To Use Alternate Part Numbers

    Spirit Airlines requested that either the service information or the proposed AD be revised to provide the use of alternate materials to label part number (P/N) ASNE0248A1-4H9. Spirit Airlines stated that P/N ASNE0248A1-4H9 is no longer available, and that alternate P/N E0248A1-4H9P and P/N ASNE0248A1-4H9T may be obtained from Airbus. Spirit Airlines believes that use of these alternate part numbers would provide an equivalent level of safety as referenced in Airbus Dossier Reference 80403684/003, dated January 8, 2018, and Airbus Retrofit Information Letter SA92M16012714 R00, dated February 1, 2017.

    DAL requested that a previously approved AMOC be used in the proposed AD. DAL stated that in paragraph (h) and (j) of the proposed AD, Airbus Service Bulletin A320-92-1116, Revision 00, dated January 31, 2017, calls out a non-procurable part number for the identification label. Therefore, DAL proposed that recognition of AMOC AIR-676-18-152, issued against AD 2016-25-24, which allows an alternate label part number, be added to paragraph (m) of the proposed AD as an acceptable method of compliance to the proposed AD.

    We partially agree with the commenters request. As we stated previously, we have determined that installation of an ISB label is not an RC step. Therefore, a previously issued AMOC for allowing alternate label part numbers is unnecessary. However, we would like to remind operators that 14 CFR 39.9 specifies an operator's continuing obligation to maintain compliance with an AD, and installation of an ISB label or an equivalent method provides operators with a method to demonstrate the affected battery retaining rods have been removed and replaced with serviceable retaining rods in compliance with the AD requirements.

    Differences Between This AD and the MCAI

    The MCAI includes a requirement to install an ISB label. This AD does not include that requirement. We have determined that the ISB label is not necessary to mitigate the risk addressed in this AD. However, 14 CFR 39.9, specifies that operators have a continuing obligation to maintain compliance with an AD, and the installation of the ISB label or an equivalent method to identify a serviceable battery retaining rod provides the operators with a simplified way to demonstrate compliance with the AD requirements.

    Conclusion

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

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

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

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

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    Airbus has issued Service Bulletin A320-92-1116, Revision 00, dated January 31, 2017; and Service Bulletin A320-92-1118, Revision 00, dated January 31, 2017. This service information describes a detailed inspection of the battery support assemblies to identify the battery retaining rod manufacturer, replacement of the battery retaining rods with serviceable battery retaining rods if necessary, and adding the applicable service information label on each battery retaining rod if necessary. These documents are distinct since they apply to different airplane models. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects 330 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

    Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Cost on U.S.
  • operators
  • Inspection 1 work-hour × $85 per hour = $85 $0 $85 $28,050

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

    On-Condition Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Replacement 1 work-hour × $85 per hour = $85 $0 $85
    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2018-16-12 Airbus: Amendment 39-19352; Docket No. FAA-2018-0077; Product Identifier 2017-NM-126-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective September 12, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD affects AD 2016-25-24, Amendment 39-18750 (81 FR 90958, December 16, 2016) (“AD 2016-25-24”).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Airbus Model A319-111, -112, -113, -114, -115, -131, -132, and -133 airplanes; Model A320-211, -212, -214, -216, -231, -232, -233, -251N, and -271N airplanes; and Model A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, and -232 airplanes, certificated in any category, as identified in Airbus Service Bulletin A320-92-1116, Revision 00, dated January 31, 2017; or Airbus Service Bulletin A320-92-1118, Revision 00, dated January 31, 2017.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 92, Electrical system installation.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by reports of battery retaining rod failures due to quality defects of the material used during parts manufacturing. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct broken battery retaining rods, which, in the event of a hard landing or severe turbulence, could cause the battery to detach from its housing, resulting in damage to other electrical equipment and surrounding structure. This condition could lead to loss of normal electrical power generation and subsequent inability to restore electrical power to essential airplane systems.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Definition of a Serviceable Rod

    For the purpose of this AD, a serviceable battery retaining rod is defined in paragraphs (g)(1) or (g)(2) of this AD.

    (1) A battery retaining rod provided as a spare part by Airbus.

    (2) A battery retaining rod previously fitted on a battery support assembly installed on an airplane manufacturer serial number that is not specified in Airbus Service Bulletin A320-92-1116, Revision 00, dated January 31, 2017 (for Airbus Model A319 and A320 series airplanes; and Model A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, and -232 airplanes); or Airbus Service Bulletin A320-92-1118, Revision 00, dated January 31, 2017 (for Airbus Model A320-251N and -271N airplanes), provided the battery retaining rod used for replacement can be positively identified as a serviceable battery retaining rod.

    (h) Identification of Affected Parts

    Within 24 months after the effective date of this AD: Accomplish a detailed inspection of the battery support assemblies to identify the battery retaining rod manufacturer, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the Airbus Service Bulletin A320-92-1116, Revision 00, dated January 31, 2017 (for Airbus Model A319 and A320 series airplanes, and Model A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, and -232 airplanes); or Airbus Service Bulletin A320-92-1118, Revision 00, dated January 31, 2017 (for Airbus Model A320-251N and -271N airplanes).

    (i) Replacement of Affected Parts if Marking Is Found on Battery Support Assembly

    If, during the inspection specified in paragraph (h) of this AD, the quality stamp on any battery support assemblies are found marked with an “SA” manufacturer identification, before further flight, replace the battery retaining rods with serviceable battery retaining rods, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the Airbus Service Bulletin A320-92-1116, Revision 00, dated January 31, 2017 (for Airbus Model A319 and A320 series airplanes; and Model A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, and -232 airplanes); or Airbus Service Bulletin A320-92-1118, Revision 00, dated January 31, 2017 (for Airbus Model A320-251N and -271N airplanes); except as provided by paragraph (j) of this AD.

    (j) Exception to the Service Information

    Although Airbus Service Bulletin A320-92-1116, Revision 00, dated January 31, 2017; and Airbus Service Bulletin A320-92-1118, Revision 00, dated January 31, 2017; specify to install inspection service bulletin (ISB) labels, this AD does not include that requirement.

    (k) Parts Installation Prohibition

    As of the effective date of this AD, no person may install, on any airplane, a non-serviceable battery retaining rod.

    (l) Terminating Action

    Replacement of all battery retaining rods with a serviceable battery retaining rod as required by paragraph (i) of this AD constitutes terminating action for all requirements of AD 2016-25-24 for that airplane.

    (m) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

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

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

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

    (n) Related Information

    (1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA AD 2017-0161R1, dated September 19, 2017; corrected September 20, 2017; for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0077.

    (2) For more information about this AD, contact Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; telephone and fax 206-231-3223.

    (o) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (i) Airbus Service Bulletin A320-92-1116, Revision 00, dated January 31, 2017.

    (ii) Airbus Service Bulletin A320-92-1118, Revision 00, dated January 31, 2017.

    (3) For service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus, Airworthiness Office—EIAS, 2 Rond Point Emile Dewoitine, 31700 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 44 51; email [email protected]; internet http://www.airbus.com.

    (4) You may view this service information at the FAA, Transport Standards Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 206-231-3195.

    (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 Des Moines, Washington, on July 27, 2018. James Cashdollar, Acting Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16736 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 18 CFR Parts 154, 260, and 284 [Docket Nos. RM18-11-000, RP18-415-000; Order No. 849] Interstate and Intrastate Natural Gas Pipelines; Rate Changes Relating to Federal Income Tax Rate; American Forest & Paper Association Correction

    In rule document 2018-15786 appearing on pages 36672-36717 in the issue of July 30, 2018, make the following correction:

    § 260.402 [Corrected]
    On page 36715, in § 260.402, in the second column, under Amendatory Instruction 4, in the first line, “§ 60.402” should read “§ 260.402”.
    [FR Doc. C1-2018-15786 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1301-00-D
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R06-OAR-2017-0699; FRL-9981-41—Region 6] Air Plan Approval; Arkansas AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Direct final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    Pursuant to the Federal Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving portions of the revisions to the Arkansas State Implementation Plan (SIP) submitted by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) on March 24, 2017. Most of the revisions are administrative in nature and make the SIP current with Federal rules. The EPA is also making ministerial changes to the Code of Federal Register (CFR) to reflect SIP actions pertaining to the Arkansas Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective on November 6, 2018 without further notice, unless the EPA receives relevant adverse comment by September 7, 2018. If the EPA receives such comment, the EPA will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register informing the public that this rule will not take effect.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket No. EPA-R06-OAR-2017-0699, at http://www.regulations.gov or via email to [email protected] Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. The EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. The EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e. on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, please contact Carrie Paige, 214-665-6521, [email protected] For the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    Docket: The index to the docket for this action is available electronically at www.regulations.gov and in hard copy at EPA Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 700, Dallas, Texas. While all documents in the docket are listed in the index, some information may be publicly available only at the hard copy location (e.g., copyrighted material), and some may not be publicly available at either location (e.g., CBI).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Carrie Paige, 214-665-6521, [email protected] To inspect the hard copy materials, please schedule an appointment with Ms. Paige or Mr. Bill Deese at 214-665-7253.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document “we,” “us,” and “our” means the EPA.

    I. Background

    The SIP is a set of air pollution regulations, control strategies, and technical analyses developed by the state to ensure that the state meets the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). These ambient standards are established under section 109 of the Act and they currently address six criteria pollutants: Carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide. The SIP is required by Section 110 of the Act and can be extensive, containing state regulations or other enforceable documents and supporting information such as emission inventories, monitoring networks, and modeling demonstrations.

    On March 24, 2017, the Governor of Arkansas submitted to the EPA revisions to the Arkansas SIP. The submittal includes revisions to the Regulations of the Arkansas Plan of Implementation for Air Pollution Control enacted at Arkansas Annotated Code (“Ark. Code Ann.”) Regulation 19 (“Reg. 19”), Chapters 1-5, 7, 9, 11, 13-15, Appendix A, and Appendix B, and the Infrastructure and NAAQS SIPs. EPA has taken separate action on the following portions of this submittal: (1) On December 21, 2017, EPA approved the revisions to Reg. 19, Chapter 2, that address the definition of “Volatile Organic Compounds” (see 82 FR 60517); (2) On February 14, 2018, EPA approved the Infrastructure portion (see 83 FR 6470); (3) On June 29, 2018, EPA approved the revisions to Reg. 19, Chapter 4, that address Minor New Source Review (see 83 FR 30553); And, (4) on June 29, 2018, EPA proposed to approve the revisions that address interstate transport requirements for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS and the revisions to Reg. 19, Chapter 2 and Appendix B, that address the definition of 2012 PM2.5 in the definition of “NAAQS” and the table for “Particle Pollution, PM2.5” (see 83 FR 30622). Because these prior EPA actions did not address all the submitted revisions to Reg. 19, Chapter 2 and Appendix B, today's action addresses the remaining submitted revisions to Reg. 19, Chapter 2 and Appendix B, and the submitted revisions to Reg. 19, Chapters 1, 3, 5, 13, 14, and 15. For a detailed list of each revision with our evaluation, please see our Technical Support Document (TSD) in the docket for this rulemaking.

    II. Summary of Revisions to the Arkansas SIP and EPA Evaluation A. Non-Substantive Changes

    Non-substantive changes were made to Regulation 19, Chapter 1, Sections 101 and 103; Chapter 2 definitions; Chapter 3, Sections 301 and 304; Chapter 5, Sections 502-504; Chapter 13, Sections 1303 and 1308; Chapter 14, Section 1401; and Chapter 15, Sections 1502 and 1504 such as edits to acronyms, punctuation and section symbols. A complete listing of the non-substantive changes is in the TSD for this action. These changes are being approved here to maintain consistency between State rules and the approved SIP.

    B. Regulation 19, Chapter 2—Definitions

    Two definitions, “NAAQS state implementation plan or NAAQS SIP” and “State implementation plan or SIP” are new—these definitions are applicable to revised provisions in this SIP submittal. Several other revisions provide current references and publication dates for the specified Federal regulations within the definition. These revisions are necessary because Arkansas does not incorporate changes to the Federal regulations by reference prospectively and thus, must update its rules as Federal regulations are revised. For example, when the EPA revises test methods to allow the use of newly approved alternative procedures, the State must revise their state rules to incorporate the date of that Federal action. We find these revisions approvable.

    In addition, the revisions to the definition for “CO2 equivalent emissions” delete a sentence commonly referred to as EPA's Biomass Deferral language, which EPA disapproved as a revision to the Arkansas SIP on May 23, 2016 (see 81 FR 32239 and 40 CFR 52.172). Because of our disapproval (see 81 FR 32239), the Biomass Deferral language was never in the Arkansas approved SIP and thus, the State's removal of this language from its State rules is a non-substantive change. Because the submitted revisions delete previously disapproved language, we are removing the prior disapproval listed in 40 CFR 52.172(c) as described in paragraph D of this action.

    C. Regulation 19, Appendix B—National Ambient Air Quality Standards List

    The revisions to the tables for Lead, PM2.5, and PM10 are non-substantive because the revisions remove unnecessary punctuation. The revisions to the tables for Nitrogen Dioxide, Ozone, and Sulfur Dioxide expand the applicability of these NAAQS from Chapter 9, which addresses Administrative Permit Amendments, to include all chapters in Reg. 19. We find these revisions approvable.

    D. Ministerial Changes to the CFR

    We are making ministerial changes to the CFR to reflect that (1) our March 4, 2015 approval of revisions to the Arkansas PSD regulations for the PM2.5 NAAQS (80 FR 11573) addressed our August 20, 2012 disapproval of Arkansas infrastructure SIP elements pertaining to these NAAQS (77 FR 50033) and (2) our approval of the revised definition for “CO2 equivalent emissions” submitted on March 24, 2017 addresses our May 23, 2016 disapproval of the definition (81 FR 32239), as described in paragraph B of this action and the TSD.

    E. Section 110(l) Analysis

    Section 110(l) of the Act precludes EPA from approving a revision of a plan if the revision would interfere with any applicable requirement concerning attainment and reasonable further progress (as defined in section 171 of the CAA), or any other applicable requirement of the Act. The submitted revisions in this action expand the applicability of the NAAQS in Appendix B to all chapters in Reg. 19. In addition, the submitted revisions evaluated in this action do not relax or otherwise weaken existing rules in the Arkansas SIP. Therefore, these revisions would not contribute to future violations of the NAAQS or interfere with reasonable further progress or any applicable CAA requirements. The non-substantive revisions also would not contribute to future violations of the NAAQS or interfere with reasonable further progress or any applicable CAA requirements.

    III. Final Action

    Pursuant to section 110 of the CAA, EPA is approving revisions to the Arkansas SIP submitted on March 24, 2017. Specifically, we are approving revisions to Regulation 19, Chapter 1, Sections 101 and 103; Chapter 2 definitions; Chapter 3, Sections 301 and 304; Chapter 5, Sections 502-504; Chapter 13, Sections 1303 and 1308; Chapter 14, Section 1401; Chapter 15, Sections 1502 and 1504; and Appendix B tables addressing Lead, Nitrogen Dioxide, Ozone, PM10, and Sulfur Dioxide. The EPA is also removing the disapproval of the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Biomass Deferral listed at 40 CFR 52.172(c).

    The EPA is publishing this rule without prior proposal because we view this as a non-controversial amendment and anticipate no adverse comments. However, in the proposed rules section of this Federal Register publication, we are publishing a separate document that will serve as the proposal to approve the SIP revision if relevant adverse comments are received. This rule will be effective on November 6, 2018 without further notice unless we receive relevant adverse comment by September 7, 2018. If we receive relevant adverse comments, we will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register informing the public that the rule will not take effect. We will address all public comments in a subsequent final rule based on the proposed rule. We will not institute a second comment period on this action. Any parties interested in commenting must do so now. Please note that if we receive relevant adverse comment on an amendment, paragraph, or section of this rule and if that provision may be severed from the remainder of the rule, we may adopt as final those provisions of the rule that are not the subject of an adverse comment.

    IV. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rule, the EPA is finalizing regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, the EPA is finalizing the incorporation by reference of the revisions to the Arkansas regulations as described in the Final Action section above. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these materials generally available through www.regulations.gov and at the EPA Region 6 Office (please contact Carrie Paige, 214-665-6521, [email protected] for more information). Therefore, these materials have been approved by EPA for inclusion in the SIP, have been incorporated by reference by EPA into that plan, are fully federally enforceable under sections 110 and 113 of the CAA as of the effective date of the final rulemaking of EPA's approval, and will be incorporated by reference in the next update to the SIP compilation.

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Under section 307(b)(1) of the CAA, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by October 9, 2018. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this rule for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. This action may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. (See section 307(b)(2).)

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Lead, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Particulate matter, Sulfur oxides.

    Dated: July 31, 2018. Anne Idsal, Regional Administrator, Region 6.

    40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows:

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

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart E—Arkansas 2. In § 52.170: a. In paragraph (c), the table titled “EPA-Approved Regulations in the Arkansas SIP” is amended by revising the entries under Regulation 19 for “Reg. 19.101”, “Reg. 19.103”, “Chapter 2”, “Reg. 19.301”, “Reg. 19.304”, “Reg. 19.502-504”, “Reg. 19.1303”, “Reg. 19.1308”, “Reg. 19.1401”, “Reg. 19.1502”, “Reg. 19.1504”, and “Appendix B”; and b. In paragraph (e), the third table titled “EPA-Approved Non-Regulatory Provisions and Quasi-Regulatory Measures in the Arkansas SIP” is amended by revising the entry for “Infrastructure for the 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS”.

    The revisions read as follows:

    § 52.170 Identification of plan.

    (c) * * *

    EPA-Approved Regulations in the Arkansas SIP State citation Title/subject State
  • submittal/
  • effective date
  • EPA approval date Explanation
    Regulation No. 19: Regulations of the Arkansas Plan of Implementation for Air Pollution Control Chapter 1: Title, Intent and Purpose Reg. 19.101 Title 3/24/2017 8/8/2018, [Insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         * Reg. 19.103 Intent and Construction 3/24/2017 8/8/2018, [Insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         * Chapter 2: Definitions Chapter 2 Definitions 3/24/2017 8/8/2018, [Insert Federal Register citation] The definition of VOC submitted on 3/24/2017 was approved on 12/21/2017 (82 FR 60517). Revisions to the definition of National Ambient Air Quality Standard submitted on 3/24/2017 are addressed in a separate action. Chapter 3: Protection of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards Reg. 19.301 Purpose 3/24/2017 8/8/2018, [Insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         * Reg. 19.304 Delegated Federal Programs 3/24/2017 8/8/2018, [Insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         * Chapter 5: General Emission Limitations Applicability to Equipment *         *         *         *         *         *         * Reg. 19.502 General Regulations 3/24/2017 8/8/2018, [Insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         * Reg. 19.504 Stack Height/Dispersion Regulations 3/24/2017 8/8/2018, [Insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         * Chapter 13: Stage I Vapor Recovery *         *         *         *         *         *         * Reg. 19.1303 Definitions 3/24/2017 8/8/2018, [Insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         * Reg. 19.1308 Vapor Recovery Systems 3/24/2017 8/8/2018, [Insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         * Chapter 14: CAIR NO X Ozone Season Trading Program General Provisions Reg. 19.1401 Adoption of Regulations 3/24/2017 8/8/2018, [Insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         * Chapter 15: Regional Haze *         *         *         *         *         *         * Reg. 19.1502 Definitions 3/24/2017 8/8/2018, [Insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         * Reg. 19.1504 Facilities Subject-to-BART 3/24/2017 8/8/2018, [Insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         * Appendix B: National Ambient Air Quality Standards List Appendix B National Ambient Air Quality Standards List 3/24/2017 8/8/2018, [Insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         *

    (e) * * *

    EPA-Approved Nonregulatory Provisions and Quasi-Regulatory Measures in the Arkansas SIP Name of SIP provision Applicable
  • geographic or
  • nonattainment
  • area
  • State
  • submittal/
  • effective
  • date
  • EPA
  • approval
  • date
  • Explanation
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * Infrastructure for the 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS Statewide 3/28/2008, 9/16/2009, 12/1/2014 3/4/2015 (80 FR 11573) Approval for CAA elements 110(a)(2)(A), (B), (E), (F), (G), (H), (K), (L), and (M) on 8/20/2012 (77 FR 50033). Approval for PSD elements (C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality), D(ii) and (J) on March 4, 2015 (80 FR 11573). *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    § 52.172 [Amended]
    3. Section 52.172 is amended by removing paragraphs (a), (b), and (c).
    [FR Doc. 2018-16904 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R03-OAR-2017-0152; FRL-9981-05—Region 3] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Delaware; Interstate Transport Requirements for the 2012 Fine Particulate Matter Standard; Correction AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule; correction.

    SUMMARY:

    This document corrects an error in the amendatory language of a final rule pertaining to EPA's approval of a state implementation plan (SIP) revision submitted by Delaware to address the infrastructure requirements for interstate transport of pollution with respect to the 2012 fine particulate (PM2.5) national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS).

    DATES:

    Effective August 13, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On July 12, 2018 (83 FR 32209), EPA published a final rulemaking action approving Delaware's December 14, 2015 SIP revision addressing the interstate transport requirements for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. In the published document appearing on page 32211, EPA inadvertently directed amendments to be published to 40 CFR 52.470. The correct section for the state of Delaware is 40 CFR 52.420.

    EPA does not expect adverse comments on this action.

    In FR Doc. 2018-14838 appearing on page 32209 in the Federal Register of Thursday, July 12, 2018, the following correction is made:

    § 52.420 [Corrected]
    On page 32211, third column, under the heading “Subpart I—Delaware”, the section heading “§ 52.470 Identification of plan.” is corrected to read “§ 52.420 Identification of plan.”. Dated: July 26, 2018. Cecil Rodrigues, Acting Regional Administrator, Region III.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16878 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 82 [EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0472; FRL-9981-89-OAR] RIN 2060-AT53 Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Revision to References for Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Sector To Incorporate Latest Edition of Certain Industry, Consensus-Based Standards AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    On December 11, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a direct final rule and an accompanying notice of proposed rulemaking entitled “Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Revision to References for Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Sector To Incorporate Latest Edition of Certain Industry, Consensus-based Standards.” EPA proposed to modify the use conditions required for use of three flammable refrigerants—isobutane (R-600a), propane (R-290), and R-441A—in new household refrigerators, freezers, and combination refrigerators and freezers under the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program to reflect an updated standard from Underwriters Laboratories. Because EPA received adverse comment, EPA withdrew the direct final rule through a separate notice. In this action, EPA is addressing relevant comments and finalizing the proposed use conditions with no changes.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective on September 7, 2018. The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the rule is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of September 7, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0472. All documents in the docket are listed on the https://www.regulations.gov website. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., confidential business information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available electronically through https://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Air and Radiation Docket, EPA/DC, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue 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 Air and Radiation Docket is (202) 566-1742.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Chenise Farquharson, Stratospheric Protection Division, Office of Atmospheric Programs (Mail Code 6205T), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 202-564-7768; email address: [email protected] Notices and rulemakings under EPA's SNAP program are available on EPA's Stratospheric Ozone website at https://www.epa.gov/snap/snap-regulations.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents I. General Information A. What action is EPA taking? B. Does this action apply to me? II. Background A. What is the affected end-use? B. Use Conditions C. 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24 III. What is EPA finalizing in this action? A. Use Conditions B. Rationale for Changed Use Conditions C. Incorporation by Reference D. Equipment Manufactured Prior to Effective Date of This Rule IV. Response to Comments A. Compliance With 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24 B. Flammability C. Venting Prohibition V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review B. Executive Order 13771: Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs C. Paperwork Reduction Act D. Regulatory Flexibility Act E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act F. Executive Order 13132: Federalism G. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments H. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental Health and Safety Risks I. Executive Order 13211: Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use J. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) and 1 CFR part 51 K. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations L. Congressional Review Act VI. References I. General Information A. What action is EPA taking?

    On December 11, 2017, EPA published a direct final rule (82 FR 58122) to modify the use conditions for three flammable hydrocarbon refrigerants—isobutane (R-600a), propane (R-290), and R-441A—used in new household refrigerators, freezers, and combination refrigerators and freezers (hereafter “household refrigerators and freezers”) by replacing four of the five use conditions in previous hydrocarbon refrigerants rules under EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program (76 FR 78832, December 20, 2011; 80 FR 19454, April 10, 2015) with the revised Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Standard 60335-2-24, “Household and Similar Electrical Appliances—Safety—Part 2-24: Particular Requirements for Refrigerating Appliances, Ice-Cream Appliances and Ice-Makers” (2nd edition, April 28, 2017). We stated in that direct final rule that if we received adverse comment by January 25, 2018, we would publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register so that the direct final rule would not take effect. EPA received adverse comment on the direct final rule and published a separate notice withdrawing the direct final rule on March 7, 2018 (83 FR 9703).

    EPA also published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on December 11, 2017 accompanying the direct final rule, entitled “Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Revision to References for Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Sector To Incorporate Latest Edition of Certain Industry, Consensus-based Standards” (82 FR 58154). That notice proposed to make the same changes to the relevant listing decisions as in the direct final rule. This action addresses the comments received and finalizes the revisions to the relevant listing decisions, as proposed.

    B. Does this action apply to me?

    This action regulates the use of three flammable hydrocarbon refrigerants—isobutane, propane, and the hydrocarbon blend R-441A—in new household refrigerators and freezers. Table 1 identifies entities potentially affected by this action. Regulated entities may include:

    Table 1—Potentially Regulated Entities by North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) Code Category NAICS code Description of regulated entities Industry 333415 Manufacturers of Refrigerators, Freezers, and Other Refrigerating or Freezing Equipment, Electric or Other (NESOI); Heat Pumps Not Elsewhere Specified or Included; and Parts Thereof. Industry 335222 Household Refrigerator and Home Freezer Manufacturing. Industry 811412 Appliance Repair and Maintenance.

    This table is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides a guide for readers regarding entities likely to be regulated by this action. This table lists the types of entities that EPA is currently aware could potentially be regulated by this action. Other types of entities not listed in the table could also be regulated. To determine whether your entity is regulated by this action, you should carefully examine the applicability criteria found in 40 CFR part 82. If you have questions regarding the applicability of this action to a particular entity, consult the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

    II. Background A. What is the affected end-use?

    Household refrigerators and freezers are intended primarily for residential use, although they may be used outside the home (e.g., workplace kitchen pantries). The designs and refrigeration capacities of equipment vary widely. This equipment is composed of three main categories: Household freezers only offer storage space at freezing temperatures, household refrigerators only offer storage space at non-freezing temperatures, and products with both a refrigerator and freezer in a single unit are referred to as combination refrigerators and freezers. The combination products are the most common. Certain small refrigerated household appliances (e.g., chilled kitchen drawers, wine coolers, and mini-fridges) are also within this end-use. Household refrigerators and freezers have all refrigeration components integrated, and for the smallest types, the refrigeration circuit is entirely brazed or welded. These systems are charged with refrigerant at the factory and typically require only an electricity supply to begin operation.

    The 2014 American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Handbook of Refrigeration provides an overview of food preservation in regard to household refrigerators and freezers. Generally, a storage temperature between 32 and 39 °F (0 to 3.9 °C) is desirable for preserving fresh food. Humidity and higher or lower temperatures are more suitable for certain foods and beverages. Wine chillers, for example, are frequently used for storing wine, and have slightly higher optimal temperatures from 45 to 65 °F (7.2 to 18.3 °C). In single-door refrigerators, the optimum conditions for food preservation are also slightly higher since food storage is not intended for long-term storage. Freezers and combination refrigerators and freezers that are designed to store food for long durations are generally designed to hold temperatures near 0 to 5 °F (−17.7 to −15 °C).

    Refrigerant Flammability

    American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/ASHRAE Standard 34—2016 assigns a safety group classification for each refrigerant which consists of two alphanumeric characters (e.g., A2 or B1). The capital letter indicates the toxicity and the numeral denotes the flammability. ASHRAE classifies Class A refrigerants as refrigerants for which toxicity has not been identified at concentrations less than or equal to 400 parts per million (ppm) by volume, based on data used to determine threshold limit values (TLV)-time weighted average (TWA) or consistent indices. Class B signifies refrigerants for which there is evidence of toxicity at concentrations below 400 ppm by volume, based on data used to determine TLV-TWA or consistent indices.

    The refrigerants are also assigned a flammability classification of 1, 2, or 3. Tests are conducted in accordance with American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) E681 using a spark ignition source at 60 °C and 101.3 kPa.1 The flammability classification “1” is given to refrigerants that, when tested, show no flame propagation. The flammability classification “2” is given to refrigerants that, when tested, exhibit flame propagation, have a heat of combustion less than 19,000 kJ/kg (8,174 British thermal units (BTU)/lb), and have a lower flammability limit (LFL) greater than 0.10 kg/m3. Refrigerants within flammability classification “2” may optionally be designated in the subclass “2L” if they have a maximum burning velocity of 10 cm/s or lower when tested at 23.0 °C and 101.3 kPa. The flammability classification “3” is given to refrigerants that, when tested, exhibit flame propagation and that either have a heat of combustion of 19,000 kJ/kg (8,174 BTU/lb) or greater or an LFL of 0.10 kg/m3 or lower. Thus, refrigerants with flammability classification “3” are highly flammable while those with flammability classification “2” are less flammable and those with flammability classification “2L” are mildly flammable.

    1 ASHRAE, 2016. ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 34—2016: Designation and Safety Classification of Refrigerants.

    For both toxicity and flammability classifications, refrigerant blends are designated based on the worst-case estimate of fractionation determined for the blend. Figure 1 illustrates these safety group classifications.

    ER08AU18.005 B. Use Conditions

    EPA previously found isobutane, propane, and R-441A acceptable, subject to use conditions, in new household refrigerators and freezers (76 FR 78832, December 20, 2011; 80 FR 19454, April 10, 2015). In the proposed and final rules, EPA provided information on the environmental and health properties of the three refrigerants and the various other substitutes available for use in household refrigerators and freezers. EPA's risk screens for the three refrigerants are available in the docket for these rulemakings (EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0286 and EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0748).2 3

    2 Isobutane and R-441A: 75 FR 25799, May 10, 2010 (proposed rule); 76 FR 78832, December 20, 2011 (final rule).

    3 Propane: 79 FR 38811, July 9, 2014 (proposed rule); 80 FR 19454, April 10, 2015 (final rule).

    Isobutane, propane, and R-441A have an ASHRAE classification of A3, indicating that they have low toxicity and high flammability. The flammability risks are of concern because household refrigerators and freezers have traditionally used refrigerants that are not flammable. In the presence of an ignition source (e.g., static electricity, a spark resulting from a closing door, or a cigarette), an explosion or a fire could occur if the concentration of isobutane, propane, and R-441A were to exceed the LFL of 18,000 ppm, 21,000 ppm, and 20,500 ppm, respectively.

    To address the flammability risk, which is not posed by other available refrigerants in this end-use, EPA listed the refrigerants as acceptable, subject to use conditions, in new household refrigerators and freezers. The use conditions ensure minimization of flammability risk by incorporating by reference Supplement SA to the 10th edition of UL Standard 250, and by including refrigerant charge size limits and requirements for markings on equipment using the refrigerants to inform consumers and technicians of potential flammability hazards. Without appropriate use conditions, the flammability risk posed by the refrigerants could be higher than non-flammable refrigerants because individuals may not be aware that their actions could potentially cause a fire, and because the refrigerants could be used in existing equipment that has not been designed specifically to minimize flammability risks. Our assessment and listing decisions (76 FR 78832; December 20, 2011 and 80 FR 19454; April 10, 2015) found that with the use conditions, the overall risk of these substitutes, including the risk due to flammability, does not present significantly greater risk in the end-use than other substitutes that are currently or potentially available for that same end-use.

    The use conditions required the following:

    1. New equipment only; not intended for use as a retrofit alternative: “These refrigerants may be used only in new equipment designed specifically and clearly identified for the refrigerant (i.e., none of these substitutes may be used as a conversion or `retrofit' 4 refrigerant for existing equipment designed for a different refrigerant);”

    4 Sometimes conversion refrigerant substitutes are inaccurately referred to as “drop in” replacements.

    2. UL standard: “These refrigerants may be used only in a refrigerator or freezer, or combination refrigerator and freezer, that meets all requirements listed in Supplement SA to the 10th edition of the UL Standard for Household Refrigerators and Freezers, UL 250, dated August 25, 2000). In cases where the final rule includes requirements more stringent than those of the 10th edition of UL Standard 250, the appliance must meet the requirements of the final rule in place of the requirements in the UL standard;”

    3. Charge size: “The charge size must not exceed 57 grams (2.01 ounces) in any refrigerator, freezer, or combination refrigerator and freezer in each circuit;”

    4. Labeling: “As provided in clauses SA6.1.1 and SA6.1.2 of UL Standard 250, 10th edition, the following markings must be attached at the locations provided and must be permanent:

    a. On or near any evaporators that can be contacted by the consumer: `DANGER—Risk of Fire or Explosion. Flammable Refrigerant Used. Do Not Use Mechanical Devices To Defrost Refrigerator. Do Not Puncture Refrigerant Tubing.'

    b. Near the machine compartment: `DANGER—Risk of Fire or Explosion. Flammable Refrigerant Used. To Be Repaired Only By Trained Service Personnel. Do Not Puncture Refrigerant Tubing.'

    c. Near the machine compartment: `CAUTION—Risk of Fire or Explosion. Flammable Refrigerant Used. Consult Repair Manual/Owner's Guide Before Attempting To Service This Product. All Safety Precautions Must be Followed.'

    d. On the exterior of the refrigerator: `CAUTION—Risk of Fire or Explosion. Dispose of Properly In Accordance With Federal Or Local Regulations. Flammable Refrigerant Used.'

    e. Near any and all exposed refrigerant tubing: `CAUTION—Risk of Fire or Explosion Due To Puncture Of Refrigerant Tubing; Follow Handling Instructions Carefully. Flammable Refrigerant Used.'

    All of these markings must be in letters no less than 6.4 mm (1/4 inch) high.”

    5. Color-coded hoses and piping: “The refrigerator, freezer, or combination refrigerator and freezer must have red Pantone Matching System (PMS) #185 marked pipes, hoses, or other devices through which the refrigerant is serviced (typically known as the service port), to indicate the use of a flammable refrigerant. This color must be present at all service ports and where service puncturing or otherwise creating an opening from the refrigerant circuit to the atmosphere might be expected (e.g., process tubes). The color mark must extend at least 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) from the compressor and must be replaced if removed.”

    C. UL Standard 60335-2-24

    In 2011, UL formed a Joint Task Group (JTG) comprised of members of its Standards Technical Panel (STP) to develop recommendations for addressing the use and safety of refrigerants classified as A2, A2L, and A3 in refrigeration and air conditioning (AC) equipment. One of the outcomes is the 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24, which is based on International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Standard 60335-2-24 “Household and Similar Electrical Appliances—Safety—Part 2-24: Particular Requirements for Refrigerating Appliances, Ice-Cream Appliances and Ice-Makers” (edition 7.1, May 2012). The 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24 was developed in an open and consensus-based approach, with the assistance of experts in the refrigeration and AC industry as well as experts involved in assessing the safety of products. The revision cycle, including final recirculation, concluded on February 6, 2017, and UL published the standard on April 28, 2017. The 2017 UL Standard replaces the previously published version of this same standard as well as UL Standard 250 Supplement SA, “Requirements for Refrigerators and Freezers Employing a Flammable Refrigerant in the Refrigerating System” (Edition 10, August 25, 2000).

    The 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24 limits the charge size for each separate refrigerant circuit (i.e., compressor, condenser, evaporator, and refrigerant piping) to 150 grams (5.3 ounces). Additionally, the 2017 standard requires testing of refrigeration appliances containing flammable refrigerants, including leakage tests, temperature and scratch tests, and heat testing requirements to address the hazards due to ignition of leaked refrigerant by potential ignition sources associated with the appliance (see sections 22.107-22.110 and the relevant annexes of the standard for specific testing requirements). These tests are intended, among other things, to ensure that any leaks will result in concentrations well below the LFL, and that potential ignition sources will not be able to create temperatures high enough to start a fire. Appliances that are in compliance with the 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24 have passed appropriate ignition or leakage tests as stipulated in the standard. Passing the leakage test ensures that refrigerant concentrations in the event of a leak do not reach or exceed 75 percent of the LFL inside any internal or external electrical component compartments.

    III. What is EPA finalizing in this action?

    As proposed, EPA is revising the use conditions for propane, isobutane and R-441 in the household refrigerators and freezers end-use. We are finalizing the use conditions for each substitute as follows:

    A. Use Conditions

    EPA is replacing the reference to Supplement SA to the 10th edition of UL Standard 250 in use condition “2” with “UL Standard 60335-2-24, Safety Requirements for Household and Similar Electrical Appliances, Part 2: Particular Requirements for Refrigerating Appliances, Ice-Cream Appliances and Ice-Makers (2nd Edition, April 28, 2017).” In addition, EPA is removing use conditions “3,” “4,” and “5” because the conditions specified in those use conditions are specified in 2017 UL standard 60335-2-24; the incorporation of 2017 UL standard 60335-2-24 in condition 2 includes the requirements in previous conditions 3, 4, and 5. The use conditions provide the same level of assurance that the three substitutes can be used as safely as other available alternatives. The revised use conditions apply to new household refrigerators and freezers manufactured after the effective date of this regulation. The new use conditions are as follows:

    1. New equipment only; not intended for use as a retrofit alternative: Propane, isobutane, and R-441A may be used only in new equipment designed specifically and clearly identified for the refrigerant (i.e., none of these substitutes may be used as a conversion or “retrofit” 5 refrigerant for existing equipment designed for a different refrigerant); and

    5 Sometimes conversion refrigerant substitutes are inaccurately referred to as “drop in” replacements.

    2. UL standard: These refrigerants may be used only in equipment that meets all requirements in the 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24.

    B. Rationale for Changed Use Conditions 1. Charge Size

    EPA previously required a charge size limit of 57 grams (2.01 ounces) for each separate refrigerant circuit in a refrigerator or freezer. The 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24 specifies that the maximum charge size for each separate refrigerant circuit in a refrigerator or freezer must be no greater than 150 grams (5.29 ounces).

    As discussed in the December 2017 direct final rule, EPA evaluated reasonable worst-case and more typical, yet conservative, scenarios to model the effects of the sudden release of each refrigerant from a household refrigerator or freezer containing the maximum charge size of 150 grams (5.29 ounces). This was done to determine whether the refrigerants would present flammability or toxicity concerns for consumers or workers, including those servicing or disposing of appliances. To represent a reasonable worst-case scenario, it was assumed that a catastrophic leak of each refrigerant would occur while the refrigerator or freezer unit is in a residential kitchen with a height of approximately 2.4 meters (i.e., a standard 8-foot ceiling) and a minimum effective volume of 18 m3 (640 ft3) or an effective volume of 53 m3 (1,870 ft3) (i.e., excluding the space filled by cabinets, other kitchen equipment) (Murray 1997; NKBA 2016). The minimum kitchen volume of 18 m3 (640 ft3) does not consider residential kitchen spaces that are often connected to breakfast nooks or other rooms (e.g., living room, dining room) through open pathways or swinging doors, which would also increase the effective volume of the space into which a refrigerant would be released, thereby reducing the likelihood that the instantaneous concentration of the refrigerants would exceed the LFL. Conversely, the larger kitchen volume used in the analysis (i.e., 53 m3) considers air-mixing that is likely to occur within the spaces that are adjacent to the kitchen (Murray 1997; NKBA 2016). The minimum effective kitchen volume modeled in this analysis is conservative, as it is approximately half the size of the average kitchen in a new single-family home in the United States (i.e., 36 m3) (NKBA 2016). The larger kitchen volume of 53 m3 includes adjacent areas to the kitchen, such as a breakfast nook, and is more conservative than the average estimated volume of a kitchen with a breakfast nook in a U.S. household (i.e., 65 m3) (NKBA 2016).

    EPA's analysis for each of the refrigerants revealed that even if the unit's full charge were emitted within one minute, the concentration would not reach the LFL for that refrigerant in the less conservative 53 m3 (1,870 ft3) kitchen, showing a lack of flammability risk. The threshold analyses demonstrated that a flammability concern could exist in the minimum modeled kitchen volume (i.e., 18 m3 (640 ft3)) if the charge size of the household refrigerator or freezer exceeded 120 grams, which is slightly smaller than the maximum modeled charge size (i.e., 150 grams). However, the estimated exposures were derived using conservative assumptions (e.g., small room size, no ventilation). A 150-gram household refrigeration unit would have to be installed in a kitchen at least 2.3 times smaller than the less conservative kitchen size modeled, in the worst-case conditions at end-use, for flammability to be of concern. As a result, EPA determined that a release of a 150-gram unit does not present a significant flammability risk in the reasonable worst-case scenario for the three refrigerants in household refrigerators and freezers.

    Concerning toxicity of the refrigerants, our risk screens found that the 30-minute acute exposure guideline level (AEGL) (i.e., 6,900 ppm) is exceeded only in the worst-case scenario for the minimum kitchen volume (i.e., 18 m3). Based upon our analysis, the minimum room sizes in which installed equipment could cause a toxicity concern would have to be approximately 0.8 times smaller than the larger modeled room size of 53 m3 (1,870 ft3), which is a conservative kitchen volume in the United States (Murray 1997; NKBA 2016). Thus, we have determined that isobutane, propane, and R-441A do not pose significantly greater flammability and toxicity risks than other acceptable refrigerants in the household refrigerators and freezers end-use. The higher charge size included in the revised use condition will provide greater flexibility to appliance manufacturers in the design of equipment while also ensuring that such equipment will not pose greater risk than similar equipment using other acceptable alternatives. For more information about EPA's risk assessments, see the docket for this rulemaking (EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0472).

    EPA is not retaining a separate charge size limit as a use condition because it would be redundant of the updated UL standard. Therefore, we are replacing the use condition in “3” with the 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24.

    2. Color-Coded Hoses and Piping, and Labeling

    The 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24 includes requirements for red PMS #185 marked pipes, hoses, and other devices through which the refrigerant passes, and requirements for markings in letters no less than 6.4 mm (1/4 inch) high to inform consumers and technicians of potential flammability hazards are addressed in (see sections 7.1 and 22.106 of the standard for additional information on the required marking and warning labels). Retaining the use conditions in “4” and “5” in EPA's previous hydrocarbon refrigerants rules would be redundant of the updated standard. Therefore, we are replacing the use conditions in “4” and “5” with the 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24.

    C. Incorporation by Reference

    Through this action EPA is incorporating by reference the 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24, which establishes requirements for the evaluation of household and similar electrical appliances, and safe use of flammable refrigerants. The standard is discussed in greater detail elsewhere in this preamble. This approach is the same as that used to incorporate Supplement SA to the 10th edition of UL Standard 250 in our previous rules on flammable refrigerants (76 FR 78832, December 20, 2011; 80 FR 19454, April 10, 2015).

    The 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24 is available for purchase by mail at: COMM 2000, 151 Eastern Avenue, Bensenville, IL 60106; Email: [email protected]; Telephone: 1-888-853-3503 in the U.S. or Canada (other countries dial 1-415-352-2178); internet address: http://www.shopulstandards.com/ProductDetail.aspx?productId=UL60335-2-24_2_B_20170428(ULStandards2). The cost of the 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24 is $454 for an electronic copy and $567 for hardcopy. UL also offers a subscription service to the Standards Certification Customer Library (SCCL) that allows unlimited access to their standards and related documents. The cost of obtaining this standard is not a significant financial burden for equipment manufacturers and purchase is not required for those selling, installing, and servicing the equipment. Therefore, EPA concludes that the UL standard being incorporated by reference is reasonably available.

    D. Equipment Manufactured Prior to Effective Date of This Rule

    The use conditions in this action apply to new household refrigerators and freezers manufactured after the effective date of this regulation. This final rule does not apply to or affect equipment manufactured before the effective date of this action and manufactured in compliance with the SNAP requirements applicable at the time of manufacture.

    IV. Response to Comments

    EPA received 17 comments on the December 11, 2017, notice of proposed rulemaking. Below EPA is responding to six of those comments, which were either relevant to this rulemaking or raised issues that were addressed in related rulemakings. The other eleven comments raised issues that are outside the scope of this rulemaking or are not relevant to any related rulemaking, so EPA is not providing a specific response to those comments.

    A. Compliance With the 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24

    Comment: Three commenters expressed support for the proposed changes to the use conditions to reflect the 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24. The commenters noted that the revised use conditions would not place any significant burden on the regulated community, would ensure consistency with consensus-based standards, and would encourage manufacturers of home refrigeration appliances and suppliers of refrigerants to transition to more environmentally friendly refrigerants.

    Response: EPA acknowledges the support and is finalizing the revised use conditions for use of isobutane, propane, and R-441A in household refrigerators and freezers as proposed.

    B. Flammability

    Comment: Three commenters raised concerns about flammability risks and firefighter safety in homes and other buildings due to the 150-gram maximum allowable charge size. The commenters asserted that there would be negative impacts and implications related to the higher charge size, particularly for propane, and encouraged EPA to consult with firefighter organizations, such as the National Volunteer Fire Council or the Fire Department Safety Officers of America.

    Response: EPA recognizes that flammability is an important consideration with regard to the 150-gram charge size. As discussed above in section III.2.a, EPA evaluated flammability and toxicity risks for isobutane, propane, and R-441A at the maximum charge size as provided in the risk screens included in the docket for this rulemaking (Docket ID EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0472-0006, -0007, and -0008). EPA evaluated toxicity risk by considering exposure to workers (including those servicing or disposing of appliances), consumers, and the general public. EPA evaluated flammability risk by evaluating reasonable worst-case and more typical, yet conservative, scenarios to model the effects of the sudden release of each refrigerant from a household refrigerator or freezer containing the maximum charge. Our risk screens found that equipment that met the 150-gram charge limit did not exceed the LFL for each of the three refrigerants in household refrigerators and freezers in a conservatively sized 53 m3 (1,870 ft3) kitchen (see section III.B.1 above for the minimum and average kitchen zone volumes). The commenters did not provide any technical support for their statements or information demonstrating that use of any of the three refrigerants in household refrigerators and freezers at a charge of 150 grams (5.3 ounces) would pose significantly greater risk than other available alternatives in this end-use. We note that the use conditions required by this final rule include specific safety testing requirements in the 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24, which are intended, among other things, to ensure that any leaks will result in concentrations well below the LFL, and that potential ignition sources will not be able to create temperatures high enough to start a fire. The use conditions also provide additional safety measures and labeling requirements (e.g., visible warning statement and red coloring on the pipes, hoses, and devices which contain refrigerant) that make equipment owners, consumers, fire marshals, and emergency first responders aware of the presence of a flammability risk. Moreover, EPA is aware of the longstanding widespread use on a global basis of household refrigerators and freezers using this charge limit. EPA agrees that greater awareness of the presence, risks, and benefits of flammable refrigerants among fire marshals and first responders would be beneficial.

    C. Recovery and Recycling Equipment

    Comment: One commenter voiced concerns that isobutane, propane, and R-441A were exempted from the venting prohibition because machines for the recovery of flammable refrigerants are not currently available in the United States. The commenter stated that hydrocarbon refrigerants are odorless, require a procedure for proper handling and storing, and “undermine our whole premise of not knowingly venting an ODS refrigerant or its alternate.” In contrast, two commenters provided supporting information regarding the safe servicing of household appliances with flammable refrigerants and the availability of equipment and technologies to safely recover and reclaim flammable refrigerants.

    Response: These comments are outside the scope of this rulemaking. EPA did not propose and is not today finalizing any changes to its previous determinations that venting, releasing, or disposing of these refrigerants used in this end-use does not pose a threat to the environment under CAA section 608(c)(2). EPA made these determinations under section 608(c)(2) in final rules issued in 2014 and 2015 (79 FR 29682, May 23, 2014; 80 FR 19454, April 10, 2015) and did not reopen those determinations in this rulemaking. EPA directs the commenters to those rules for additional information. EPA appreciates the information provided by commenters with regard to the availability of recovery and recycling equipment.

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Additional information about these statutes and Executive Orders can be found at https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/laws-and-executive-orders.

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

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

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

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

    C. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

    This action does not impose any new information collection burden under the PRA. OMB has previously approved the information collection requirements contained in the existing regulations and has assigned OMB control number 2060-0226. This rule contains no new requirements for reporting or recordkeeping.

    D. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    I certify that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the RFA. In making this determination, the impact of concern is any significant adverse economic impact on small entities. An agency may certify that a rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities if the rule relieves regulatory burden, has no net burden or otherwise has a positive economic effect on the small entities subject to the rule.

    The use conditions of this rule apply to manufacturers of new household refrigerators and freezers that choose to use flammable refrigerants. Today's action allows equipment manufacturers to use flammable refrigerants at a higher charge size than previously allowed in new household refrigerators and freezers but does not mandate such use; the change to the use conditions allows more flexibility for manufacturers in the design of equipment and thus reduces the regulatory burden to the regulated community. In some cases, it may reduce costs by allowing manufacturers to design equipment with a single, larger refrigerant circuit instead of multiple, smaller refrigerant circuits for the same piece of equipment.

    E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA)

    This action does not contain any unfunded mandate as described in UMRA, 2 U.S.C. 1531-1538, and does not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. The action imposes no enforceable duty on any state, local or tribal governments or the private sector.

    F. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

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

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

    This action does not have tribal implications as specified in Executive Order 13175. It will not have substantial direct effects on tribal governments, on the relationship between the Federal government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal government and Indian tribes, as specified in Executive Order 13175. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this action.

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

    This action is not subject to Executive Order 13045 because it is not economically significant as defined in Executive Order 12866, and because EPA does not believe the environmental health or safety risks addressed by this action present a disproportionate risk to children. This action's health and risk assessments are contained in risk screens for the various substitutes.6 7 8 The risk screens are available in the docket for this rulemaking.

    6 ICF, 2018a. Risk Screen on Substitutes in Household Refrigerators and Freezers; Substitute: Propane (R-290).

    7 ICF, 2018b. Risk Screen on Substitutes in Household Refrigerators and Freezers; Substitute: Isobutane (R-600a).

    8 ICF, 2018c. Risk Screen on Substitutes in Household Refrigerators and Freezers; Substitute: R-441A.

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

    This action is not a “significant energy action” because it is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution or use of energy.

    J. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) and 1 CFR Part 51

    This action involves a technical standard. EPA is revising the use conditions for the household refrigerators and freezers end-use by incorporating by reference UL Standard 60335-2-24, “Safety Requirements for Household and Similar Electrical Appliances, Part 2: Particular Requirements for Refrigerating Appliances, Ice-Cream Appliances and Ice-Makers” (2nd edition, April 2017), which establishes requirements for the evaluation of household and similar electrical appliances, and safe use of flammable refrigerants. The 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24 supersedes the current edition of Supplement SA the 10th edition of UL Standard 250, “Requirements for Refrigerators and Freezers Employing a Flammable Refrigerant in the Refrigerating System” (August 2000). EPA's revision to the use conditions will replace Supplement SA to the 10th edition of UL Standard 250 with the 2017 UL standard 60335-2-24. This standard is available at https://standardscatalog.ul.com/standards/en/standard_60335-2-24_2, and may be purchased by mail at: COMM 2000, 151 Eastern Avenue, Bensenville, IL 60106; Email: [email protected]; Telephone: 1-888-853-3503 in the U.S. or Canada (other countries dial 1-415-352-2178); internet address: http://www.shopulstandards.com/ProductDetail.aspx?productId=UL60335-2-24_2_B_20170428(ULStandards2). The cost of UL 60335-2-24 is $454 for an electronic copy and $567 for hardcopy. UL also offers a subscription service to the Standards Certification Customer Library (SCCL) that allows unlimited access to their standards and related documents. The cost of obtaining this standard is not a significant financial burden for equipment manufacturers and purchase is not required for those selling, installing and servicing the equipment. Therefore, EPA concludes that the UL standard being incorporated by reference is reasonably available.

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

    The human health or environmental risk addressed by this action will not have potential disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority, low-income or indigenous populations. This action's health and environmental risk assessments are contained in the risk screens for the various substitutes. The risk screens are available in the docket for this rulemaking.

    L. Congressional Review Act (CRA)

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

    VI. References

    Unless specified otherwise, all documents are available electronically through the Federal Docket Management System, Docket #EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0472.

    ASHRAE, 2016. ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 34-2016: Designation and Safety Classification of Refrigerants. ICF, 2018a. Risk Screen on Substitutes in Household Refrigerators and Freezers; Substitute: Propane (R-290). ICF, 2018b. Risk Screen on Substitutes in Household Refrigerators and Freezers; Substitute: Isobutane (R-600a). ICF, 2018c. Risk Screen on Substitutes in Household Refrigerators and Freezers; Substitute: R-441A. Murray, D.M., 1997. Residential house and zone volumes in the United States: Empirical and Estimated Parametric Distributions. Risk Anal 17: 439-446. Available online at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1539-6924.1997.tb00884.x/full. National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), 2016. Size of Kitchens in New U.S. Single Family Homes. August 2016. Available online at: https://nkba.myshopify.com/collections/research/products/size-of-kitchens-in-new-u-s-single-family-homes. UL 250. Household Refrigerators and Freezers. 10th edition. Supplement SA: Requirements for Refrigerators and Freezers Employing a Flammable Refrigerant in the Refrigerating System. August 2000. UL 60335-2-24. Safety Requirements for Household and Similar Electrical Appliances, Part 2: Particular Requirements for Refrigerating Appliances, Ice-Cream Appliances and Ice-Makers. 2nd edition. April 2017. List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 82

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Recycling, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Stratospheric ozone layer.

    Dated: July 30, 2018. Andrew R. Wheeler, Acting Administrator.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 40 CFR part 82 is amended as follows:

    PART 82—PROTECTION OF STRATOSPHERIC OZONE 1. The authority citation for part 82 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7414, 7601, 7671-7671q.

    Subpart G—Significant New Alternatives Policy Program 2. Amend Appendix R to subpart G of part 82 by: a. Revising the appendix heading. b. Removing the two entries for “Household refrigerators, freezers, and combination refrigerators and freezers (New equipment only)” and adding a new entry in their place; and c. Revising the NOTE to Appendix R.

    The revisions and additions to read as follows:

    Appendix R to Subpart G of Part 82—Substitutes Subject to Use Restrictions Listed in the December 20, 2011, Final Rule, Effective February 21, 2012, in the April 10, 2015 Final Rule, Effective May 11, 2015, and in the August 8, 2018 Final Rule, Effective September 7, 2018 Substitutes That Are Acceptable Subject to Use Conditions End-use Substitute Decision Use conditions Further information Household refrigerators, freezers, and combination refrigerators and freezers (New equipment only) Isobutane (R-600a)
  • Propane (R-290)
  • R-441A
  • Acceptable subject to use conditions As of September 7, 2018:
  • These refrigerants may be used only in new equipment designed specifically and clearly identified for the refrigerant (i.e., none of these substitutes may be used as a conversion or “retrofit” refrigerant for existing equipment designed for a different refrigerant)
  • These refrigerants may be used only in a refrigerator or freezer, or combination refrigerator and freezer, that meets all requirements listed in the 2nd edition of the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Standard for Safety: Household and Similar Electrical Appliances—Safety—Part 2-24: Particular Requirements for Refrigerating Appliances, Ice-Cream Appliances and Ice-Makers, UL 60335-2-24, dated April 28, 2017
  • Applicable OSHA requirements at 29 CFR part 1910 must be followed, including those at 29 CFR 1910.106 (flammable and combustible liquids), 1910.110 (storage and handling of liquefied petroleum gases), 1910.157 (portable fire extinguishers), and 1910.1000 (toxic and hazardous substances).
  • Proper ventilation should be maintained at all times during the manufacture and storage of equipment containing hydrocarbon refrigerants through adherence to good manufacturing practices as per 29 CFR 1910.106. If refrigerant levels in the air surrounding the equipment rise above one-fourth of the lower flammability limit, the space should be evacuated and re-entry should occur only after the space has been properly ventilated.
  • Technicians and equipment manufacturers should wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including chemical goggles and protective gloves, when handling these refrigerants. Special care should be taken to avoid contact with the skin since these refrigerants, like many refrigerants, can cause freeze burns on the skin.
  • A Class B dry powder type fire extinguisher should be kept nearby.
  • Technicians should only use spark-proof tools when working on refrigerators and freezers with these refrigerants.
  • Any recovery equipment used should be designed for flammable refrigerants.
  • Any refrigerant releases should be in a well-ventilated area, such as outside of a building.
  • Only technicians specifically trained in handling flammable refrigerants should service refrigerators and freezers containing these refrigerants. Technicians should gain an understanding of minimizing the risk of fire and the steps to use flammable refrigerants safely. *         *         *         *         *         *         * Note: The use conditions in this appendix contain references to certain standards from Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL). The standards are incorporated by reference, and the referenced sections are made part of the regulations in part 82: 1. UL 471. Commercial Refrigerators and Freezers. 10th edition. Supplement SB: Requirements for Refrigerators and Freezers Employing a Flammable Refrigerant in the Refrigerating System. Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. November 24, 2010. 2. UL 484. Room Air Conditioners. 8th edition. Supplement SA: Requirements for Room Air Conditioners Employing a Flammable Refrigerant in the Refrigerating System and Appendices B through F. December 21, 2007, with changes through August 3, 2012. 3. UL 541. Refrigerated Vending Machines. 7th edition. Supplement SA: Requirements for Refrigerated Venders Employing a Flammable Refrigerant in the Refrigerating System. December 30, 2011. 4. UL Standard 60335-2-24. Standard for Safety: Requirements for Household and Similar Electrical Appliances,—Safety—Part 2-24: Particular Requirements for Refrigerating Appliances, Ice-Cream Appliances and Ice-Makers, Second edition, dated April 28, 2017.

    The Director of the Federal Register approves the incorporation by reference of the material under “Use Conditions” in the table “SUBSTITUTES THAT ARE ACCEPTABLE SUBJECT TO USE CONDITIONS” (5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51). Copies of UL Standards 471, 484, 541, and 60335-2-24, may be purchased by mail at: COMM 2000, 151 Eastern Avenue, Bensenville, IL 60106; Email: [email protected]; Telephone: 1-888-853-3503 in the U.S. or Canada (other countries dial 1-415-352-2178); internet address: http://www.shopulstandards.com/Catalog.aspx.

    You may inspect a copy at U.S. EPA's Air Docket; EPA West Building, Room 3334; 1301 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC or at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For questions regarding access to these standards, the telephone number of EPA'S Air Docket is 202-566-1742. For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html.

    [FR Doc. 2018-16773 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 180 [EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0352; FRL-9978-83] Spinetoram; Pesticide Tolerances AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This regulation establishes tolerances for residues of spinetoram in or on tea, dried and tea, instant. Dow AgroSciences, LLC., requested these tolerances under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA).

    DATES:

    This regulation is effective August 8, 2018. Objections and requests for hearings must be received on or before October 9, 2018, and must be filed in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178 (see also Unit I.C. of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION).

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this action, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0352, is available at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Office of Pesticide Programs Regulatory Public Docket (OPP Docket) in the Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), West William Jefferson Clinton Bldg., Rm. 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460-0001. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the OPP Docket is (703) 305-5805. Please review the visitor instructions and additional information about the docket available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michael Goodis, Registration Division (7505P), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460-0001; main telephone number: (703) 305-7090; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

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

    • Crop production (NAICS code 111).

    • Animal production (NAICS code 112).

    • Food manufacturing (NAICS code 311).

    • Pesticide manufacturing (NAICS code 32532).

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

    You may access a frequently updated electronic version of EPA's tolerance regulations at 40 CFR part 180 through the Government Printing Office's e-CFR site at http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?&c=ecfr&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title40/40tab_02.tpl.

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

    Under FFDCA section 408(g), 21 U.S.C. 346a, any person may file an objection to any aspect of this regulation and may also request a hearing on those objections. You must file your objection or request a hearing on this regulation in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, you must identify docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0352 in the subject line on the first page of your submission. All objections and requests for a hearing must be in writing, and must be received by the Hearing Clerk on or before October 9, 2018. Addresses for mail and hand delivery of objections and hearing requests are provided in 40 CFR 178.25(b).

    In addition to filing an objection or hearing request with the Hearing Clerk as described in 40 CFR part 178, please submit a copy of the filing (excluding any Confidential Business Information (CBI)) for inclusion in the public docket. Information not marked confidential pursuant to 40 CFR part 2 may be disclosed publicly by EPA without prior notice. Submit the non-CBI copy of your objection or hearing request, identified by docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0352, by one of the following methods:

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

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

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

    Additional instructions on commenting or visiting the docket, along with more information about dockets generally, is available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    II. Summary of Petitioned-For Tolerance

    In the Federal Register of October 23, 2017 (82 FR 49020) (FRL-9967-37), EPA issued a document pursuant to FFDCA section 408(d)(3), 21 U.S.C. 346a(d)(3), announcing the filing of a pesticide petition (PP 7E8554) by Dow AgroSciences LLC, 9330 Zionsville Road, Indianapolis, Indiana 46268-1054. The petition requested that 40 CFR 180.635 be amended by establishing tolerances for residues of the insecticide spinetoram, in or on tea, dried at 70 parts per million (ppm) and tea, instant at 70 ppm. That document referenced a summary of the petition prepared by Dow AgroSciences, the registrant, which is available in the docket, http://www.regulations.gov. There were no comments received in response to the notice of filing.

    III. Aggregate Risk Assessment and Determination of Safety

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

    Consistent with FFDCA section 408(b)(2)(D), and the factors specified in FFDCA section 408(b)(2)(D), EPA has reviewed the available scientific data and other relevant information in support of this action. EPA has sufficient data to assess the hazards of and to make a determination on aggregate exposure for spinetoram including exposure resulting from the tolerances established by this action. EPA's assessment of exposures and risks associated with spinetoram follows.

    A. Toxicological Profile

    EPA has evaluated the available toxicity data and considered its validity, completeness, and reliability as well as the relationship of the results of the studies to human risk. EPA has also considered available information concerning the variability of the sensitivities of major identifiable subgroups of consumers, including infants and children. Spinetoram and spinosad are considered by EPA to be toxicologically identical for human health risk assessment based on their very similar chemical structures and similarity of the toxicological databases for currently available studies, therefore, the Agency has assessed and summarized the toxicological profile for both together. The primary toxic effect observed from exposure to spinetoram and spinosad was histopathological changes in multiple organs (specific target organs were not identified). Vacuolization of cells and/or macrophages was the most common histopathological finding noted across the toxicological database with the dog being the most sensitive species. In addition to the numerous organs observed with histopathological changes, anemia was noted in several studies. There was no evidence of increased quantitative or qualitative susceptibility from spinetoram or spinosad exposure. In developmental studies, no maternal or developmental effects were seen in rats or rabbits. In the rat reproduction toxicity studies, offspring toxicity (decreased litter size, survival, and body weights with spinosad; increased incidence of late resorptions and post-implantation loss with spinetoram) was seen in the presence of parental toxicity (increased organ weights, mortality, and histopathological findings) at approximately the same dose for both chemicals. Dystocia and/or other parturition abnormalities were observed with both spinetoram and spinosad in the reproduction toxicity studies. There was no evidence of neurotoxicity, immunotoxicity, or carcinogenicity from spinetoram exposure.

    Specific information on the studies received and the nature of the adverse effects caused by spinetoram as well as the no-observed-adverse-effect-level (NOAEL) and the lowest-observed-adverse-effect-level (LOAEL) from the toxicity studies can be found at http://www.regulations.gov in document “Spinosad/Spinetoram. Human Health Risk Assessment in Support of Proposed Spinetoram Tolerance for Residues in/on Imported Tea” at page 8 in docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0352 and in document “Spinosad/Spinetoram. Draft Human Health Risk Assessment for Registration Review,” at pages 12-17 in docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0666.

    B. Toxicological Points of Departure/Levels of Concern

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

    Spinetoram and spinosad should be considered toxicologically identical in the same manner that metabolites are generally considered toxicologically identical to the parent. As a result, studies from both toxicological databases were considered for endpoint selection.

    A summary of the toxicological endpoints for spinetoram used for human risk assessment is shown in Table 1 of this unit.

    Table 1—Summary of Toxicological Doses and Endpoints for Spinetoram/Spinosad for Use in Human Health Risk Assessment Exposure/scenario Point of departure
  • and uncertainty/
  • safety factors
  • RfD, PAD, LOC for
  • risk assessment
  • Study and toxicological effects
    Acute dietary (All populations) A dose and endpoint of concern attributable to a single dose was not observed. Chronic dietary (All populations) NOAEL = 2.49 mg/kg/day
  • UFA = 10x
  • UFH = 10x
  • FQPA SF = 1x
  • Chronic RfD = 0.0249 mg/kg/day
  • cPAD = 0.0249 mg/kg/day
  • Chronic Toxicity—Dog (Spinetoram).
  • LOAEL = 5.36/5.83 mg/kg/day (males/females) based on arteritis and necrosis of the arterial walls of the epididymides in males and of the thymus, thyroid, larynx, and urinary bladder in females.
  • Incidental oral short-term (1 to 30 days) and intermediate-term (1 to 6 months) NOAEL = 4.9 mg/kg/day
  • UFA = 10x
  • UFH = 10x
  • FQPA SF = 1x
  • Residential LOC for MOE <100 Subchronic Oral Toxicity—Dog Study (with spinosad).
  • LOAEL = 9.73 mg/kg/day based on microscopic changes in multiple organs, clinical signs of toxicity, decreases in body weights and food consumption, and biochemical evidence of anemia and liver damage.
  • Dermal (All durations) No hazard was identified for dermal exposure; therefore, a quantitative dermal assessment is not needed. Inhalation short-term (1 to 30 days) and Intermediate-Term (1-6 months) Inhalation (or oral) study NOAEL = 4.9 mg/kg/day (inhalation assumed equivalent to oral)
  • UFA = 10x
  • UFH = 10x
  • FQPA SF = 1x
  • Residential LOC for MOE <100 Subchronic Oral Toxicity—Dog Study (with spinosad).
  • LOAEL = 9.73 mg/kg/day based on microscopic changes in multiple organs, clinical signs of toxicity, decreases in body weights and food consumption, and biochemical evidence of anemia and liver damage.
  • Cancer (Oral, dermal, inhalation) Classified as “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” FQPA SF = Food Quality Protection Act Safety Factor. LOAEL = lowest-observed-adverse-effect-level. LOC = level of concern. mg/kg/day = milligram/kilogram/day. MOE = margin of exposure. NOAEL = no-observed-adverse-effect-level. PAD = population-adjusted dose (a = acute, c = chronic). RfD = reference dose. UF = uncertainty factor. UFA = extrapolation from animal to human (interspecies). UFDB = to account for the absence of data or other data deficiency. UFH = potential variation in sensitivity among members of the human population (intraspecies).
    C. Exposure Assessment

    1. Dietary exposure from food and feed uses. In evaluating dietary exposure to spinetoram and spinosad, EPA considered exposure under the petitioned-for tolerances as well as all existing spinetoram tolerances in 40 CFR 180.635 as well as existing spinosad tolerances. With the exception of tea, spinosad is registered for application to all of the same crops as spinetoram, with similar pre-harvest and retreatment intervals, and application rates greater than or equal to spinetoram. Further, both active ingredients control the same pest species. For this reason, EPA has concluded it would overstate exposure to assume that residues of both spinosad and spinetoram would appear on the same food. The risk assessment included commodities that have tolerances for both spinosad and spinetoram as well as commodities where only spinosad tolerances are established. EPA aggregated exposure by assuming that all commodities, with the exception of tea, contain spinosad (because side-by-side spinetoram and spinosad residue data indicated that spinetoram residues were less than or equal to spinosad residues); for tea, EPA assumed spinetoram residues were present. EPA assessed dietary exposures from spinetoram in food as follows:

    i. Acute exposure. Quantitative acute dietary exposure and risk assessments are performed for a food-use pesticide, if a toxicological study has indicated the possibility of an effect of concern occurring as a result of a 1-day or single exposure. No such effects were identified in the toxicological studies for spinetoram or spinosad; therefore, a quantitative acute dietary exposure assessment is unnecessary.

    ii. Chronic exposure. In conducting the chronic dietary exposure assessment EPA used the food consumption data from the USDA NHANES/WWEIA (2003-2008). As to residue levels in food, EPA assumed 100 percent crop treated (PCT), average field-trial residues or tolerance-level residues for crop commodities, average residues from the livestock feeding studies, spinosad residue estimates for fish/shellfish (residues of spinetoram in fish/shellfish are expected to be insignificant), and experimental or default processing factors.

    iii. Cancer. Based on the data summarized in Unit III.A., EPA has concluded that spinetoram does not pose a cancer risk to humans. Therefore, a dietary exposure assessment for the purpose of assessing cancer risk is unnecessary.

    iv. Anticipated residue and percent crop treated (PCT) information. EPA did not use PCT information in the dietary assessment for spinetoram. Section 408(b)(2)(E) of FFDCA authorizes EPA to use available data and information on the anticipated residue levels of pesticide residues in food and the actual levels of pesticide residues that have been measured in food. If EPA relies on such information, EPA must require pursuant to FFDCA section 408(f)(1) that data be provided 5 years after the tolerance is established, modified, or left in effect, demonstrating that the levels in food are not above the levels anticipated. For the present action, EPA will issue such Data Call-Ins as are required by FFDCA section 408(b)(2)(E) and authorized under FFDCA section 408(f)(1). Data will be required to be submitted no later than 5 years from the date of issuance of these tolerances.

    2. Dietary exposure from drinking water. The Agency used screening-level water exposure models in the dietary exposure analysis and risk assessment for spinetoram and spinosad in drinking water. These simulation models take into account data on the physical, chemical, and fate/transport characteristics of spinetoram and spinosad. Further information regarding EPA drinking water models used in pesticide exposure assessment can be found at http://www2.epa.gov/pesticide-science-and-assessing-pesticide-risks/about-water-exposure-models-used-pesticide.

    Based on the surface water concentration calculator (SWCC) and Pesticide Root Zone Model Ground Water (PRZM GW), the estimated drinking water concentrations (EDWCs) of spinetoram for acute exposures are estimated to be 25.9 parts per billion (ppb) for surface water and below the levels of detection for ground water. For chronic exposures for non-cancer assessments, the spinetoram EDWCs are estimated to be 19.3 ppb for surface water and well below the levels of detection for ground water. EDWCs of spinosad for acute exposures are estimated to be 30.6 ppb for surface water and below the levels of detection for ground water. For chronic exposures for noncancer assessments, the spinetoram EDWCs are estimated to be 22.8 ppb for surface water and below the levels of detection for ground water.

    Modeled estimates of drinking water concentration were directly entered into the dietary exposure model. For chronic dietary risk assessment, the water concentration of value 22.8 ppb was used to assess the contribution to drinking water.

    3. From non-dietary exposure. The term “residential exposure” is used in this document to refer to non-occupational, non-dietary exposure (e.g., for lawn and garden pest control, indoor pest control, termiticides, and flea and tick control on pets).

    EPA assessed residential exposure using the following assumptions: The use on tea will not result in residential exposure; however, spinetoram and spinosad are currently registered for uses that could result in residential exposures including home lawns and pet (cats/kittens) spot-on applications; therefore, there is potential for residential handler and post-application exposures to both spinetoram and spinosad. Since spinosad and spinetoram control the same pests, EPA concludes that these products will not be used for the same uses in combination with each other and thus combining spinosad and spinetoram residential exposures would overstate exposure. EPA assessed residential exposure for both spinosad and spinetoram using the most conservative residential exposure scenarios for either chemical.

    EPA assessed the following “worst-case” residential exposure scenarios as: (1) Adult residential handler (inhalation exposure from applications to lawns and turf) and (2) child (1-<2 years) (hand-to-mouth exposures from post-application exposure to turf). Because EPA's level of concern for spinetoram is a MOE below 100, the MOEs for both of these residential exposure scenarios are not of concern. In addition, the short-term assessment is protective of intermediate-term exposure as the short- and intermediate-term PODs are identical. Further information regarding EPA standard assumptions and generic inputs for residential exposures may be found at http://www2.epa.gov/pesticide-science-and-assessing-pesticide-risks/standard-operating-procedures-residential-pesticide.

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

    EPA has not found spinetoram to share a common mechanism of toxicity with any other substances, and spinetoram does not appear to produce a toxic metabolite produced by other substances. For the purposes of this tolerance action, therefore, EPA has assumed that spinetoram does not have a common mechanism of toxicity with other substances. For information regarding EPA's efforts to determine which chemicals have a common mechanism of toxicity and to evaluate the cumulative effects of such chemicals, see EPA's website at http://www2.epa.gov/pesticide-science-and-assessing-pesticide-risks/cumulative-assessment-risk-pesticides.

    D. Safety Factor for Infants and Children

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

    2. Prenatal and postnatal sensitivity. There is no evidence of increased prenatal or postnatal susceptibility.

    3. Conclusion. EPA has determined that reliable data show the safety of infants and children would be adequately protected if the FQPA SF were reduced to 1X. That decision is based on the following findings:

    i. The toxicity database for spinetoram is adequate for FQPA SF consideration.

    ii. There is no evidence of neurotoxicity from spinetoram exposure.

    iii. There is no evidence that spinetoram results in increased pre- or post-natal susceptibility in rats or rabbits.

    iv. There are no residual uncertainties identified in the exposure databases. EPA made conservative (protective) assumptions in assessing exposures and these assessments will not underestimate the exposure and risks posed by spinetoram.

    E. Aggregate Risks and Determination of Safety

    EPA determines whether acute and chronic dietary pesticide exposures are safe by comparing aggregate exposure estimates to the acute PAD (aPAD) and chronic PAD (cPAD). For linear cancer risks, EPA calculates the lifetime probability of acquiring cancer given the estimated aggregate exposure. Short-, intermediate-, and chronic-term risks are evaluated by comparing the estimated aggregate food, water, and residential exposure to the appropriate PODs to ensure that an adequate MOE exists.

    1. Acute risk. An acute aggregate risk assessment takes into account acute exposure estimates from dietary consumption of food and drinking water. No adverse effect resulting from a single oral exposure was identified and no acute dietary endpoint was selected. Therefore, spinetoram is not expected to pose an acute risk.

    2. Chronic risk. Using the exposure assumptions described in this unit for chronic exposure, EPA has concluded that chronic exposure to spinetoram from food and water will utilize 72% of the cPAD for children 1-2 years old, the population group receiving the greatest exposure. Based on the explanation in Unit III.C.3., regarding residential use patterns, chronic residential exposure to residues of spinetoram is not expected; therefore, the chronic dietary estimate represents the chronic aggregate estimate.

    3. Short- and Intermediate-term risk. Short- and Intermediate-term aggregate exposures takes into account short-term and intermediated-term residential exposures plus chronic exposure to food and water (considered to be a background exposure level). Spinetoram is currently registered for uses that could result in short- and intermediate-term residential exposure, and the Agency has determined that it is appropriate to aggregate chronic exposure through food and water with short- and intermediate-term residential exposures to spinetoram.

    Using the exposure assumptions described in this unit for short-term exposures, EPA has concluded the combined short-term food, water, and residential exposures result in aggregate MOEs of 780 for adults (handler) and 200 for children (post-application). Because EPA's level of concern for spinetoram is a MOE below 100, these MOEs are not of concern. In addition, the short-term assessment is protective of intermediate-term exposure as the short- and intermediate-term PODs are identical.

    4. Aggregate cancer risk for U.S. population. Based on the lack of evidence of carcinogenicity in two adequate rodent carcinogenicity studies, spinetoram is not expected to pose a cancer risk to humans.

    5. Determination of safety. Based on these risk assessments, EPA concludes that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to the general population, or to infants and children from aggregate exposure to spinetoram residues.

    IV. Other Considerations A. Analytical Enforcement Methodology

    Adequate enforcement methodology is available for both plant and livestock commodities. Method GRM 05.03 (HPLC/MS/MS) is an acceptable method for the determination of spinetoram residues in a variety of crops. Methods GRM 05.15 and GRM 06.08 (HPLC/MS) are acceptable methods for determination of spinetoram residues in bovine and poultry tissues, milk, cream, and eggs. Both methods are available to enforce the tolerance expression.

    The methods may be requested from: Chief, Analytical Chemistry Branch, Environmental Science Center, 701 Mapes Rd., Ft. Meade, MD 20755-5350; telephone number: (410) 305-2905; email address: [email protected]

    B. International Residue Limits

    In making its tolerance decisions, EPA seeks to harmonize U.S. tolerances with international standards whenever possible, consistent with U.S. food safety standards and agricultural practices. EPA considers the international maximum residue limits (MRLs) established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), as required by FFDCA section 408(b)(4). The Codex Alimentarius is a joint United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization food standards program, and it is recognized as an international food safety standards-setting organization in trade agreements to which the United States is a party. EPA may establish a tolerance that is different from a Codex MRL; however, FFDCA section 408(b)(4) requires that EPA explain the reasons for departing from the Codex level.

    The Codex has not established a MRL for spinetoram.

    V. Conclusion

    Therefore, tolerances are established for residues of spinetoram, expressed as the combined residues of XDE-175-J: 1-H-as-indaceno[3,2-d]oxacyclododecin-7,15-dione, 2-[(6-deoxy-3-O-ethyl-2,4-di-O-methyl-α-L-mannopyranosyl)oxy]-13-[[(2R,5S,6R)-5-(dimethylamino)tetrahydro-6-methyl-2H-pyran-2-yl] oxy]-9-ethyl-2,3,3a,4,5,5a,5b,6,9,10,11,12,13,14,16a,16b-hexadecahydro 14-methyl-, (2R,3aR,5aR,5bS,9S,13S, 14R,16aS,16bR); XDE-175-L: 1H-as-indaceno[3,2-d]oxacyclododecin-7,15-dione, 2-[(6-deoxy-3-O-ethyl-2,4-di-O-methyl-α-L-mannopyranosyl)oxy]-13-[[(2R,5S,6R)-5-(dimethylamino)tetrahydro-6-methyl-2H-pyran-2-yl]oxy]-9-ethyl-2,3,3a,5a,5b,6,9,10,11,12,13,14,16a,16b-tetradecahydro-4,14-dimethyl- (2S,3aR,5aS,5bS,9S,13S,14R,16aS,16bS); ND-J: (2R,3aR,5aR,5bS,9S,13S,14R,16aS,16bR)-9-ethyl-14-methyl-13 [[(2S,5S,6R)-6-methyl-5-(methylamino)tetrahydro-2H-pyran-2-yl]oxy]-7,15-dioxo-2,3,3a,4,5,5a,5b,6,7,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16a,16b-octadecahydro-1H-as-indaceno[3,2-d]oxacyclododecin-2-yl 6-deoxy-3-O-ethyl-2,4-di-O-methyl-α-L-mannopyranoside; and NF-J: (2R,3S,6S)-6-([(2R,3aR,5aR,5bS,9S,13S,14R,16aS,16bR)-2-[(6-deoxy-3-O-ethyl-2,4-di-O-methyl-α-L-mannopyranosyl) oxy]-9-ethyl-14-methyl-7,15-dioxo-2,3,3a,4,5,5a,5b,6,7,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16a,16b-octadecahydro-1H-as-indaceno[3,2-d]oxacyclododecin-13-yl]oxy)-2-methyltetrahydro-2H-pyran-3-yl(methyl)formamide, in or on tea, dried at 70 parts per million (ppm) and tea, instant at 70 ppm.

    VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    This action establishes tolerances under FFDCA section 408(d) in response to a petition submitted to the Agency. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has exempted these types of actions from review under Executive Order 12866, entitled “Regulatory Planning and Review” (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993). Because this action has been exempted from review under Executive Order 12866, this action is not subject to Executive Order 13211, entitled “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use” (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001) or Executive Order 13045, entitled “Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks” (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997); or Executive Order 13771, entitled “Reducing Regulations and Controlling Regulatory Costs” (82 FR 9339, February 3, 2017). This action does not contain any information collections subject to OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), nor does it require any special considerations under Executive Order 12898, entitled “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations” (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994).

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

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

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

    VII. Congressional Review Act

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

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 180

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

    Dated: July 24, 2018. Michael Goodis, Director, Registration Division, Office of Pesticide Programs.

    Therefore, 40 CFR chapter I is amended as follows:

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

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

    2. In § 180.635 add alphabetically the entries for “Tea, dried”; and “Tea, instant”; and footnote 1 to the table in paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 180.635 Spinetoram; tolerances for residues.

    (a) * * *

    Commodity Parts per
  • million
  • *    *    *    *    * Tea, dried 1 70 Tea, instant 1 70 *    *    *    *    * 1 There are no U.S. registrations as of August 8, 2018 for use on tea.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16989 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    83 153 Wednesday, August 8, 2018 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 10 CFR Part 830 RIN 1992-AA57 Nuclear Safety Management AGENCY:

    Office of Environment, Health, Safety and Security, U.S. Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking and notice of public meetings.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Energy (DOE or the Department) publishes a proposed rule to amend regulations concerning nuclear safety management. These regulations govern the conduct of DOE contractors, DOE personnel, and other persons conducting activities (including providing items and services) that affect, or may affect, the safety of DOE nuclear facilities. The proposed revisions reflect the experience gained in the implementation of the regulations over the past seventeen years, with specific improvements to the process for facility hazard categorization, the unreviewed safety question process, and the review and approval of safety documentation. The proposed revisions are intended to enhance operational efficiency while maintaining robust safety performance.

    DATES:

    Public comment on this proposed rule will be accepted until October 9, 2018. For dates and more information on the public meetings for this proposed rulemaking, see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by RIN 1992-AA57, by any of the following methods:

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

    2. Email: [email protected] Include RIN 1992-AA57 in the subject line of the email. Please include the full body of your comments in the text of the message or as an attachment.

    3. Mail: U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Safety, AU-30, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585.

    Due to potential delays in DOE's receipt and processing of mail sent through the U.S. Postal Service, we encourage respondents to submit comments electronically to ensure timely receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Garrett Smith, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Safety, AU-30, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585; (301) 903-2996 or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Public meetings for this proposed rulemaking will be held in:

    1. Richland, WA at the HAMMER Federal Training Facility, Building 6091, Room 10, 2890 Horn Rapids Road, Richland, WA, on August 16th, 2018.

    2. Albuquerque, NM at the Albuquerque Marriott, Sandia Room, 2101 Louisiana Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM, on September 6th, 2018.

    3. Oak Ridge, TN at the Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Pollard Technology Conference Center Auditorium, 210 Badger Avenue, Oak Ridge, TN, on September 25th, 2018.

    4. Aiken, SC at the University of South Carolina—Aiken, Business and Education Building, Room 124, 471 University Parkway, Aiken, SC, on September 27th, 2018.

    All public meetings will be held from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. local time. Interested persons who wish to speak at the public meeting should telephone the Office of Nuclear Safety, (301) 903-2996, by 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time on August 13th, 2018 for Richland, WA, on August 31st, 2018 for Albuquerque, NM, on September 18th, 2018 for Oak Ridge, TN, and on September 20th, 2018 for Aiken, SC. Each presentation is limited to 20 minutes.

    I. Introduction and Background A. Introduction B. Procedural History of the Rule II. Discussion of Proposed Rule A. Discussion of Key Proposed Changes B. Proposed Changes in Order of Appearance III. Public Comment Procedures A. Written Comments B. Public Meetings IV. Regulatory Review A. Review Under Executive Order 12866 B. Review Under Executive Orders 13771 and 13777 C. Regulatory Flexibility Act D. Paperwork Reduction Act E. National Environmental Policy Act F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 G. Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999 H. Executive Order 13132 I. Executive Order 12988 J. Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 2001 K. Executive Order 13211 V. Approval of the Office of the Secretary I. Introduction and Background A. Introduction

    Pursuant to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (the AEA), the Department of Energy (DOE or the Department) owns and leases nuclear and non-nuclear facilities at various locations in the United States. These facilities are operated either by DOE or by contractors with DOE oversight. Activities at these facilities include, but are not limited to: Research, testing, production, disassembly, or transporting nuclear materials. DOE regulations governing nuclear safety at these facilities are set forth in the Nuclear Safety Management rule (10 CFR part 830). The regulations were issued in response to external assessments from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the enactment of the Price-Anderson Amendments Act of 1988 (PAAA), and DOE efforts to improve safety at DOE nuclear facilities. Aspects of 10 CFR part 830 were finalized and issued from 1994 to 2001, covering core safety requirements for quality assurance and facility safety basis. Over the past 17 years, DOE has gained considerable experience in the implementation of 10 CFR part 830, and is proposing to modify the requirements to incorporate that experience and help ensure more effective safety performance.

    B. Procedural History of the Rule

    On December 9, 1991, DOE published Procedural Rules for DOE Nuclear Activities (56 FR 64290) and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Public Hearing (1991 Notice, 56 FR 64316) to add Parts 820 and 830 to Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR).1 Title 10 CFR part 830 was proposed to establish safety management requirements for DOE nuclear facilities. DOE issued, as final, the sections of 10 CFR part 830 related to the initial provisions (§§ 830.1-830.7) and Subpart A—General Provisions, (§§ 830.100-830.120) on April 5, 1994 (1994 Notice, 59 FR 15843).

    1 The Department proposed 10 CFR part 820 (Part 820), Procedural Rules for DOE Nuclear Activities, to establish the procedural requirements for enforcement activities in accordance with PAAA. On August 17, 1993, the Department issued the Procedural Regulations for DOE Nuclear Activities in final form as 10 CFR part 820 (58 FR 43680). Part 820 establishes the procedures for DOE enforcement actions and for issuing civil and criminal penalties for contractor, subcontractor, and supplier violations of DOE nuclear safety requirements.

    The Department issued a Notice of Limited Reopening of the Comment Periods for the remaining topics to be addressed in 10 CFR part 830 on August 31, 1995, and for a second, unrelated, rule (Reopening Notice, 60 FR 45381).

    On October 10, 2000, the Department published an Interim Final Rule and Opportunity for Public Comment (65 FR 60291) which amended the nuclear safety regulations to (1) establish and maintain safety bases for Hazard Category 1, 2, and 3 DOE nuclear facilities and perform work in accordance with safety bases, and (2) clarify that the quality assurance work process requirements apply to standards and controls adopted to meet regulatory or contract requirements that may affect nuclear safety (Interim Final Rule). The Interim Final Rule was also issued to provide further opportunity for public comment on the rule.

    Following the public comment period, the Department issued a Final Rule on January 10, 2001 (66 FR 1810).

    II. Discussion of Proposed Rule A. Discussion of Key Proposed Changes

    1. DOE Standard 1027—Section 830.202 of the regulations requires that DOE nuclear facilities be categorized consistent with DOE-STD-1027-92 (“Hazard Categorization and Accident Analysis Techniques for compliance with DOE Order 5480.23, Nuclear Safety Analysis Reports,” Change Notice 1, September 1997). The Department continues to believe that the methodology in DOE-STD-1027-92 Ch 1 is sufficient and supports the categorization of DOE nuclear facilities. In 2001, when Subpart B of 10 CFR part 830 was issued, not every Hazard Category 1, 2, and 3 DOE nuclear facility was categorized using a standardized methodology, and therefore consistent application of the cited reference, without change, was appropriate.

    DOE now proposes, after two decades of experience in facility categorization using DOE-STD-1027-92, Ch 1, to amend § 830.202(b)(3) by adding “or successor document”. This change would allow the Department to revise the standard to include up-to-date research, data, and DOE experience with implementation. This would be consistent with DOE's practice to periodically evaluate and revise DOE Technical Standards and would follow the development, review, and approval process described in DOE Order 252.1A, Technical Standards Program. The Technical Standards Program process requires concurrence from all affected Departmental elements prior to issuance of any standard.

    DOE also proposes to amend Section C, Scope, of Appendix A to remove the reference to the specific version of DOE-STD-1027, for consistency with the revision in § 830.202. DOE would also remove Table 1 of Appendix A and replace that table with a definition for Hazard Category 1, 2, and 3 DOE nuclear facilities in § 830.3 that references DOE-STD-1027-92 or successor document. The removal of Table 1 would allow successor revisions to more clearly link the determination of Hazard Category 1, 2, 3, and below hazard category 3 to the methodology in the Standard. The concept that Hazard Category 1 will have higher potential consequences and Hazard Category 3 will have lower potential consequences will be maintained throughout all successor documents of DOE-STD-1027.

    2. Unreviewed Safety Question (USQ) Process—A situation or potential situation outside the bounds of the current safety analysis for a Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 nuclear facility (as documented in its approved safety analysis) constitutes an Unreviewed Safety Question under the current regulations. Section 830.203 allows contractors to make changes to the facility, to change site or facility procedures, and to conduct tests and/or experiments without prior DOE approval when these activities do not involve an Unreviewed Safety Question and do not require any change to Technical Safety Requirements.

    The proposed change to Appendix A to Subpart B of 10 CFR part 830—General Statement of Safety Basis Policy, H, Unreviewed Safety Questions, would add the sentence, “The contractor is allowed to make editorial and format changes to its USQ procedure while maintaining DOE approval.” This proposal would focus the requirement to obtain DOE's approval on changes with the potential to impact on the safety basis of the facility.

    DOE also proposes to modify § 830.3, Definitions, by changing the definition for Unreviewed Safety Question (USQ). The current definition includes four situations that define a USQ: (1) The probability of the occurrence or the consequences of an accident or the malfunction of equipment important to safety previously evaluated in the documented safety analysis (DSA) could be increased; (2) The possibility of an accident or malfunction of a different type than any evaluated previously in the documented safety analysis could be created; or (3) A margin of safety could be reduced; or (4) The documented safety analysis may not be bounding or may be otherwise inadequate. As explained in the following paragraphs, the proposed definition would remove the third situation: “A margin of safety could be reduced”.

    The current set of four situations that define an USQ in 10 CFR 830.3 reflected standard nuclear industry practice and was an adaptation of 10 CFR 50.59, changes, tests and experiments, used by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The NRC, in 1968, added to § 50.59 the concept of “margin of safety as defined in the basis for any technical specification is reduced.” In issuing 10 CFR part 830, DOE modified this question to simply read “A margin of safety could be reduced”. In addition to adapting the NRC process, DOE included the situation of “(4) The documented safety analysis may not be bounding or may otherwise be inadequate.”

    The NRC, after 30 years of experience implementing § 50.59, issued an October 21, 1998, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to change the criteria associated with margin of safety, explaining that “the phrases `margin of safety' and `as defined in the basis for any technical specification' in the third criterion have been the subject of differing interpretations because the rule does not define what constitutes a margin of safety or a basis for any technical specification in the context of §§ 50.59 and 72.48. In addition, some have questioned the need for the third criterion on `margin of safety.' ” The third criterion refers to the existence of two prior questions associated with creation, consequences, and likelihood of accidents and equipment malfunction. The revision to 10 CFR part 50 removing the term “margin of safety” from 10 CFR 50.59 was issued as a final rule on October 4, 1999.

    DOE's experience with the margin of safety criteria is similar to that expressed by the NRC in its rulemaking, specifically, that the other existing criteria provide sufficient guidance to identify facility and safety basis changes that warrant DOE approval. Feedback from periodic surveys considering a broad-range of USQ determinations indicated that the “margin of safety” criterion has not provided benefit independent of the criteria DOE is retaining in the definition of the USQ process. In addition, stakeholder feedback noted that the “margin of safety” criterion was subjectively interpreted and often diverted safety resources without a corresponding safety benefit. Therefore, the proposed removal of the criterion related to “margin of safety” would enhance DOE and contractor operational effectiveness, without reducing the level of safety provided by the current practice. The current practice allows contractors to conduct certain specified activities without prior DOE approval, when these activities do not cause an Unreviewed Safety Question (and when they do not require Technical Safety Requirements changes).2

    2 DOE's implementation guidance associated with these criteria is DOE G 424.1-1B Chg 2, Implementation Guide for Use in Addressing Unreviewed Safety Question Requirements. Based on the four criteria defining a situation involving a USQ in 10 CFR part 830, DOE G 424.1-1B Chg 2 contains seven questions. The last question related to the concept of the margin of safety. If DOE adopts this proposal in a final rule, DOE would also conduct a process to consider removal of the question from the DOE Guide.

    3. DOE Approval of Annual DSA Updates—As stated above, DOE currently requires the contractor, in § 830.203, Unreviewed Safety Question process, to obtain DOE approval prior to taking any action determined to involve a USQ. Additionally, in § 830.202 Safety basis, DOE requires the contractor to annually submit to DOE either the updated DSA for approval or a letter stating that there have been no changes in the DSA since the prior submission. This effectively requires the contractor to submit changes to the DSA for DOE approval twice. Currently, DOE provides implementation guidance for this approval process in DOE-STD-1104-2016, Review and Approval of Nuclear Facility Safety Basis and Safety Design Basis Documents, Section 7.1.2, Review of Safety Basis Changes and DSA Annual Updates. The guidance states that “Review and approval of revisions and annual updates are a matter of endorsing the incorporation of changes in the safety basis since the last approval rather than performing a new assessment of the previously approved safety basis documents.” While the guidance is clear in the intent to drive focus of DOE's approval to the change identified in the USQ process, the regulations' additional requirement for a second approval has led to considerable implementation challenges, and unnecessary review iterations without providing additional safety benefit.

    Therefore, DOE is proposing to change the requirement in § 830.202, Safety basis, to require the current DSA be provided to DOE annually, but not to require DOE approval at that time. Additional guidance would also be included in Appendix A to Subpart B of 10 CFR part 830—General Statement of Safety Basis Policy, F, Documented Safety Analysis, to make clear that DOE's review and approval of the safety analysis is intended to be focused on changes submitted through the USQ process, but may require DOE approval if DOE has reason to believe a portion of the safety basis has substantially changed. DOE would continue to have the authority to review the safety basis at any time. DOE would maintain the ability to direct the contractor to incorporate in the safety basis any changes, conditions, or hazard controls.

    4. Definition and Application of New Facilities, Major Modification, Preliminary Documented Safety Analysis, and Existing Facilities—The current definitions of a New DOE nuclear facility, Major Modification, Preliminary documented safety analysis, and Existing DOE nuclear facility (and applications of those definitions within the rule) reference specific dates related to the issuance of the rule and the need to bring DOE nuclear facilities into the regulatory framework. DOE is proposing to change the definitions to clearly recognize that all current DOE nuclear facilities are already within this regulatory framework and that new DOE nuclear facilities would be those that are in design or under construction that do not yet have a DOE approved safety basis. Additionally, the specific definition of an existing DOE nuclear facility is being proposed to be deleted. DOE proposes instead to rely upon a new definition of Hazard Category 1, 2, and 3 DOE nuclear facilities and the specific endpoint of a DOE approved safety basis to delineate between a new facility and an existing facility.

    DOE also proposes to change the definition of a Major modification to remove the completion date of the facility. The definition would rely upon a criteria of a substantial change to the existing safety basis for the facility. This would link the meaning of “Major modification” to changes to existing Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 nuclear facilities via the existence of a safety basis for the facility. Furthermore, additional clarity is proposed within 10 CFR part 830, subpart B, to highlight that the concept of “Major modification” would only apply to existing Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facilities (i.e., nuclear facilities with an approved safety basis).

    DOE proposes to change the definition of Preliminary documented safety analysis to maintain consistency with other proposed changes to the definitions related to nuclear facilities.

    B. Proposed Changes in Order of Appearance

    The specific proposed changes to 10 CFR part 830 are summarized below in the order in which they appear:

    1. In proposed § 830.3 “Definitions,” the current definition for Existing DOE nuclear facility would be deleted, a definition for Hazard Category 1, 2, and 3 DOE nuclear facilities has been proposed, and there would be a modification of the current definition of New Hazard Category 1, 2, and 3 DOE nuclear facility. These changes are designed to improve the delineation between new and existing facilities. The definition for Major modification would be changed to remove the effective date associated with the original issuance of the rule. The definition for Preliminary documented safety analysis would be changed to better reflect the intent of preliminary documented safety analysis being associated with Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facilities rather than all DOE nuclear facilities. The definition for Safety management system would be changed to include the specific title of 48 CFR 970.5223-1, Integration of environment, safety, and health into work planning and execution. The definition for Unreviewed Safety Question (USQ) would be changed by adding “or” to the end of (2), deleting “(3) A margin of safety could be reduced; or”, and renumbering (4) as (3).

    2. In proposed § 830.201 “Performance of Work,” current § 830.201 would be changed by adding “DOE-approved” to modify safety basis to maintain consistency with § 830.207, DOE approval of safety basis.

    3. Proposed § 830.202(b)(3) would be changed to add “or successor document” to modify DOE-STD-1027-92 (“Hazard Categorization and Accident Analysis Techniques for compliance with DOE Order 5480.23, Nuclear Safety Analysis Reports,” Change Notice 1, September 1997). This proposed change would allow DOE to modify the methodology used to perform hazard categorization consistent with DOE's policy of maintaining technical standards to reflect updated knowledge and methods. Current § 830.202(c)(2) would be changed to read, “(2) Annually provide DOE the current documented safety analysis or a letter stating that there have been no changes in the documented safety analysis since the prior submittal; and”. These proposed changes reflect the removal of the requirement for DOE to annually approve the documented safety analysis, and are intended to focus DOE's approval on the existing requirement to approve changes through the USQ process.

    4. In proposed § 830.203 “Unreviewed safety question process,” current § 830.203(a) would be changed by adding “DOE-approved” as a modifier to USQ, and by changing the word “process” to “procedure”. These proposed changes are to clarify the connection between references to the DOE-approved procedure in proposed § 830.203(a), § 830.203(b), and § 830.203(c). Current § 830.203(b) would be deleted, since DOE no longer has existing facilities operating outside of 10 CFR part 830. In the current § 830.203(c), which is proposed to be redesignated as § 830.203(b), the word “new” has been proposed to be moved to match a proposed change in the definition of New Hazard Category 1, 2, and 3 nuclear facility, and “207(d)” would be changed to “207(a)” to reflect changes to § 830.207. Current § 830.203(d) would be redesignated as § 830.203(c). Current § 830.203(e) would be redesignated as § 830.203(d). Current § 830.203(f) would be redesignated as § 830.203(e), “submit” would be replaced by “provide”, and “submissions” would be replaced by “submittal” to better reflect that the document is being given to DOE for review, but not for approval. Current § 830.203(g) would be redesignated as § 830.203(f), and the text would be changed to read “initiated to meet paragraph (f)(1) of this section” consistent with citation changes in this section.

    5. In proposed § 830.204 “Documented safety analysis,” current § 830.204(a) would be updated by changing “Table 2” to “Table 1” to reflect the deletion of Table 1 and re-numbering of subsequent tables.

    6. In proposed § 830.206 “Preliminary documented safety analysis,” current § 830.206 would be changed to read “Prior to construction of a new Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility or a major modification to an existing Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility, the contractor responsible for the design and construction of the new facility or major modification must:” To reflect changes to the definitions in § 830.3. Current § 830.206(b)(1) would be changed to add, “, or successor document” as a modifier to “DOE Order 420.1, Facility Safety” to reflect the ongoing updates to the current version of the DOE order.

    7. In proposed § 830.207 “DOE approval of safety basis,” current § 830.207(a) would be deleted, as DOE no longer has existing Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 facilities operated outside of 10 CFR part 830. Current § 830.207(b) would be changed by adding “updated or amended” to modify “safety basis”, moving the word “existing” to before the phrase “Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility” to better match the revised definition, and by deleting “in effect on October 10, 2000, or as approved by DOE at a later date” to reflect that all Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facilities already operate within 10 CFR part 830. Current § 830.207(c) would be deleted, as DOE no longer has existing Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 facilities operated outside of 10 CFR part 830. Current § 830.207(d) would be redesignated as § 830.207(a) and updated to reflect the changes in definitions in § 830.3. As a result, the proposed § 830.207(a) would now read as: “With respect to a new Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility or a major modification to an existing Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility, a contractor may not begin operation of the facility or modification prior to the issuance of a safety evaluation report in which DOE approves the safety basis for the facility or modification.”

    8. In proposed Appendix A to Subpart B to 10 CFR part 830—General Statement of Safety Basis Policy current “A. Introduction” would be modified by replacing a reference to an outdated DOE Policy with a specific statement that reflects current DOE policy and would now read as follows, “This Appendix does not create any new requirements and should be used consistently with DOE's policy that work be conducted safely and efficiently and in a manner that ensures protection of workers, the public, and the environment.”

    9. In proposed Appendix A to Subpart B to 10 CFR part 830—General Statement of Safety Basis Policy current “C. Scope, 1.” would be changed by replacing the reference to “DOE-STD-1027-92 Change Notice 1, September 1997” with a general reference to DOE-STD-1027 to reflect the proposed change to allow successor versions of DOE-STD-1027 to be used, the reference to “Table 1” would be deleted to reflect the proposed deletion of Table 1. The proposed sentences now would read, “A contractor must establish and maintain a safety basis for a Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility because these facilities have the potential for significant radiological consequences. DOE-STD-1027 sets forth the methodology for categorizing a DOE nuclear facility based on the inventory of radioactive materials.” Current “C. Scope, 2.” Would be changed to delete the parenthetical reference to “including radiological facilities”, and by adding “DOE” to the reference to Hazard Category 1, 2, and 3 nuclear facilities to match changes to definitions within § 830.3. Current “C. Scope” Table 1 is proposed for deletion for consistency with the proposal to allow use of subsequent versions of DOE-STD-1027, since Table 1 references the specific content of DOE-STD-1027-92, Change Notice 1, September 1997.

    10. In proposed Appendix A to Subpart B to 10 CFR part 830—General Statement of Safety Basis Policy, current “E. Enforcement of Safety Basis Requirements, 4.” would be changed by deleting the word “however” to improve clarity.

    11. In proposed Appendix A to Subpart B to 10 CFR part 830—General Statement of Safety Basis Policy current “F. Documented Safety Analysis, 3.” would be changed by adding “as: (1) part of the initial submittal; (2) when revisions are submitted as part of a positive USQ or major modification; (3) if DOE has reason to believe a portion of the safety basis to be inadequate, or; (4) if DOE has reason to believe a portion of the safety basis has substantially changed. DOE will review the DSA” to better define when and why DOE would review a DSA. This change is proposed to be consistent with proposed changes to DOE's requirement to annually approve the DSA. Current “F. Documented Safety Analysis, 3.” would also be changed by adding “in the Safety Evaluation Report” to the end of the last sentence in that section, which currently reads, “A documented safety analysis must contain any conditions or changes required by DOE.” This change is proposed to clarify how DOE directs conditions and changes required by DOE. Additionally, Current “F. Documented Safety Analysis, 3.” would be changed by adding the following sentences, “Generally, DOE's review of the annual submittal may be limited to ensuring that the results of USQs have been adequately incorporated into the DSA. If additional changes are proposed by the contractor and included in the annual update that have not been previously approved by DOE or have not been evaluated as a part of the USQ process, DOE must review and approve these changes. DOE has the authority to review the safety basis at any time.” This proposed change is in support of focusing DOE's approval of changes in the DSA to the incorporation of USQ's or as DOE determines are necessary to maintain safe operations, rather than the previous annual process. Current “F. Documented Safety Analysis, 4.” would be changed by renumbering the reference to “Table 2” to “Table 1” to reflect the deletion of Table 1. Current “F. Documented Safety Analysis” would be changed by changing the title of “Table 2” to “Table 1” to reflect the deletion of Table 1. Current “F. Documented Safety Analysis, 5.” would be changed by renumbering the reference to “Table 2” to “Table 1” to reflect the deletion of Table 1, by changing the reference to the definition of nuclear facility to re-state the existing definition within § 830.3 instead of paraphrasing the definition, by renumbering the reference to “Table 3” to “Table 2” to reflect the deletion of Table 1, and by replacing “specific nuclear facilities” with “terms” in reference to the content within Table 1. Current “F. Documented Safety Analysis” would be changed by renumbering the title of “Table 3” to “Table 2” to reflect the proposed deletion of Table 1 and changing the reference to “Table 2” to “Table 1” to reflect the proposed deletion of Table 1. Current “F. Documented Safety Analysis, 6.” would be changed to delete the phrase “If construction begins after December 11, 2000” and by adding “or successor document” as a modifier to “DOE Order 420.1, Facility Safety” to reflect the ongoing updates to the current version of the DOE order.

    12. In proposed Appendix A to Subpart B to 10 CFR part 830—General Statement of Safety Basis Policy current “G. Hazard Controls, 2.” would be changed to add “or successor document” as a modifier to “DOE Order 420.1, Facility Safety” to reflect the ongoing updates to the current version of the DOE order. Current “G. Hazard Controls, 4.” would be changed to update the reference to DOE Guide 423.1-1B and by adding, “or successor document” to reflect the ongoing updates to the current version of the DOE guide. Current “G. Hazard Controls, 4.” would be changed by changing the reference to “Table 4” to “Table 3” to reflect the proposed deletion of Table 1. Current “G. Hazard Controls” would be changed by changing the title of the table from “Table 4” to “Table 3” to reflect the proposed deletion of Table 1.

    13. In proposed Appendix A to Subpart B to 10 CFR part 830—General Statement of Safety Basis Policy current “H. Unreviewed Safety Questions, 3.” Would be changed to update the reference to DOE Guide 424.1-1B Chg 2, to update the title of the referenced guide to “Implementation Guide for Use in Addressing Unreviewed Safety Question Requirements,” to add “or successor document” to reflect the ongoing updates to the current version of the DOE guide, and by adding the sentence, “The contractor is allowed to make editorial and format changes to its USQ procedure while maintaining DOE approval.” The additional sentence wold be provided to better delineate those aspects of the USQ process on which DOE approval focuses.

    14. Throughout 10 CFR part 830, the term “Hazard Category” would be capitalized to improve consistency with the usage within the DOE regulatory structure.

    III. Public Comment Procedures A. Written Comments

    Interested persons are invited to participate in this proceeding by submitting data, views, or arguments. Written comments should be submitted to the address, and in the form, indicated in the ADDRESSES section of this notice of proposed rulemaking. To help DOE review the comments, interested persons are asked to refer to specific proposed rule provisions, if possible.

    If you submit information that you believe to be exempt by law from public disclosure, you should submit one complete copy, as well as one copy from which the information claimed to be exempt by law from public disclosure has been deleted. DOE is responsible for the final determination with regard to disclosure or nondisclosure of the information and for treating it accordingly under the DOE Freedom of Information regulations at 10 CFR 1004.11.

    B. Public Meetings

    Public meetings will be held at the times, dates, and places indicated at the start of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice of proposed rulemaking. Any person who is interested in making an oral presentation should make a phone request to the person and telephone number in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section by 4:30 p.m. on the date specified for making such requests. The person should provide a daytime phone number where he or she can be reached. Each oral presentation will be limited to 20 minutes. Persons making an oral presentation are requested to bring 3 copies of their prepared statement to the meeting and submit them to the registration desk prior to the meeting.

    IV. Regulatory Review A. Review Under Executive Order 12866

    This notice of proposed rulemaking has been determined not to be a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review,” 58 FR 51735 (Oct. 4, 1993). Accordingly, this notice of proposed rulemaking was not subject to review by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of the Office of Management and Budget.

    B. Review Under Executive Orders 13771 and 13777

    On January 30, 2017, the President issued Executive Order 13771, “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs.” That Order stated the policy of the executive branch is to be prudent and financially responsible in the expenditure of funds, from both public and private sources. The Order stated it is essential to manage the costs associated with the governmental imposition of private expenditures required to comply with Federal regulations. This proposed rule is expected to be an E.O. 13771 deregulatory action.

    Additionally, on February 24, 2017, the President issued Executive Order 13777, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda.” The Order required the head of each agency designate an agency official as its Regulatory Reform Officer (RRO). Each RRO oversees the implementation of regulatory reform initiatives and policies to ensure that agencies effectively carry out regulatory reforms, consistent with applicable law. Further, E.O. 13777 requires the establishment of a regulatory task force at each agency. The regulatory task force is required to make recommendations to the agency head regarding the repeal, replacement, or modification of existing regulations, consistent with applicable law. At a minimum, each regulatory reform task force must attempt to identify regulations that:

    (i) Eliminate jobs, or inhibit job creation;

    (ii) Are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective;

    (iii) Impose costs that exceed benefits;

    (iv) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies;

    (v) Are inconsistent with the requirements of Information Quality Act, or the guidance issued pursuant to that Act, in particular those regulations that rely in whole or in part on data, information, or methods that are not publicly available or that are insufficiently transparent to meet the standard for reproducibility; or

    (vi) Derive from or implement Executive Orders or other Presidential directives that have been subsequently rescinded or substantially modified.

    DOE concludes that this final rule is consistent with the directives set forth in these executive orders. This provisions in this proposed rule are intended, as described in section II, to enhance operational efficiency while maintaining robust safety performance at DOE nuclear facilities.

    C. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires preparation of an initial regulatory flexibility analysis for any rule that by law must be proposed for public comment, unless the agency certifies that the rule, if promulgated, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. As required by Executive Order 13272, “Proper Consideration of Small Entities in Agency Rulemaking,” 67 FR 53461 (Aug. 16, 2002), DOE published procedures and policies on February 19, 2003, to ensure that the potential impacts of its rules on small entities are properly considered during the rulemaking process. 68 FR 7990. DOE has made its procedures and policies available on the Office of the General Counsel's website (http://energy.gov/gc/office-general-counsel).

    DOE has reviewed this proposed rule under the provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act and the procedures and policies published on February 19, 2003. The proposed rule would incorporate the experience of more than a decade of implementation to improve the effectiveness of the DOE nuclear safety regulatory framework while maintaining safety performance. Requirements that are considered duplicative or of little value have been proposed to be removed. DOE is proposing four key changes in this proposed rule, as described in II. Discussion of Proposed Rule, A. Discussion of Key Proposed Changes.

    The changes in this proposed rule are all expected to reduce burden on affected DOE contractors. On this basis, DOE certifies that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Accordingly, DOE has not prepared a regulatory flexibility analysis for this rulemaking. DOE's certification and supporting statement of factual basis will be provided to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 605(b).

    D. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The information collection necessary to administer DOE's nuclear safety program under 10 CFR part 830 is subject to OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. The information collection provisions of this rule are not substantially different from those contained in DOE contracts with DOE prime contractors covered by this rule and were previously approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and under OMB Control No. 1910-0300. Public reporting burden for the certification is estimated to average 1.91 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information.

    Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB Control Number.

    E. National Environmental Policy Act

    DOE has determined that this proposed rule is covered under the Categorical Exclusion in DOE's National Environmental Policy Act regulations at paragraph A.5 of Appendix A to Subpart D, 10 CFR part 1021, which applies to rulemaking that interprets or amends an existing rule or regulation without changing the environmental effect of the rule or regulation that is being amended. The proposed rule would amend DOE's regulations by removing duplicative approval requirements, updating definitions, and increasing the efficiency of internal processes. These proposed amendments are primarily procedural and would not change the environmental effect of 10 CFR part 830. Accordingly, neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement is required.

    F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) requires each Federal agency to assess the effects of Federal regulatory actions on State, local, and Tribal governments and the private sector. Public Law 104-4, sec. 201 (codified at 2 U.S.C. 1531). For regulatory actions likely to result in a rule that may cause the expenditure by State, local, and Tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100 million or more in any one year (adjusted annually for inflation), section 202 of UMRA requires a Federal agency to publish a written statement that estimates the resulting costs, benefits, and other effects on the national economy. (2 U.S.C. 1532(a), (b)) UMRA also requires a Federal agency to develop an effective process to permit timely input by elected officers of State, local, and Tribal governments on a “significant intergovernmental mandate,” and requires an agency plan for giving notice and opportunity for timely input to potentially affected small governments before establishing any requirements that might significantly or uniquely affect them. On March 18, 1997, DOE published a statement of policy on its process for intergovernmental consultation under UMRA. 62 FR 12820. (This policy is also available at http://energy.gov/gc/office-general-counsel.) DOE examined this proposed rule according to UMRA and its statement of policy and has tentatively determined that the rule contains neither an intergovernmental mandate, nor a mandate that may result in the expenditure by State, local, and Tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any year. Accordingly, no further assessment or analysis is required under UMRA.

    G. Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999

    Section 654 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999, 5 U.S.C. 601 note, requires Federal agencies to issue a Family Policymaking Assessment for any proposed rule that may affect family wellbeing. While this proposed rule would apply to individuals who may be members of a family, the rule would not have any impact on the autonomy or integrity of the family as an institution. Accordingly, DOE has concluded that it is not necessary to prepare a Family Policymaking Assessment.

    H. Executive Order 13132

    Executive Order 13132, “Federalism,” 64 FR 43255 (Aug. 4, 1999), imposes certain requirements on agencies formulating and implementing policies or regulations that preempt State law or that have federalism implications. Agencies are required to examine the constitutional and statutory authority supporting any action that would limit the policymaking discretion of the States and carefully assess the necessity for such actions. DOE has examined this proposed rule and has determined that it would not preempt State law and would not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. No further action is required by Executive Order 13132.

    I. Executive Order 12988

    With respect to the review of existing regulations and the promulgation of new regulations, section 3(a) of Executive Order 12988, “Civil Justice Reform,” 61 FR 4729 (Feb. 7, 1996), imposes on Executive agencies the general duty to adhere to the following requirements: (1) Eliminate drafting errors and ambiguity; (2) write regulations to minimize litigation; and (3) provide a clear legal standard for affected conduct rather than a general standard and promote simplification and burden reduction. With regard to the review required by section 3(a), section 3(b) of Executive Order 12988 specifically requires that Executive agencies make every reasonable effort to ensure that the regulation: (1) Clearly specifies the preemptive effect, if any; (2) clearly specifies any effect on existing Federal law or regulation; (3) provides a clear legal standard for affected conduct while promoting simplification and burden reduction; (4) specifies the retroactive effect, if any; (5) adequately defines key terms; and (6) addresses other important issues affecting clarity and general draftsmanship under any guidelines issued by the Attorney General. Section 3(c) of Executive Order 12988 requires Executive agencies to review regulations in light of applicable standards in section 3(a) and section 3(b) to determine whether they are met or it is unreasonable to meet one or more of them. DOE has completed the required review and determined that, to the extent permitted by law, this proposed rule meets the relevant standards of Executive Order 12988.

    J. Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 2001

    The Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 2001, 44 U.S.C. 3516 note, provides for agencies to review most disseminations of information to the public under guidelines established by each agency pursuant to general guidelines issued by OMB. OMB's guidelines were published at 67 FR 8452 (Feb. 22, 2002), and DOE's guidelines were published at 67 FR 62446 (Oct. 7, 2002). DOE has reviewed this proposed rule under the OMB and DOE guidelines and has concluded that it is consistent with applicable policies in those guidelines.

    K. Executive Order 13211

    Executive Order 13211, “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use,” 66 FR 28355 (May 22, 2001), requires Federal agencies to prepare and submit to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) a Statement of Energy Effects for any proposed significant energy action. A “significant energy action” is defined as any action by an agency that promulgated or is expected to lead to promulgation of a final rule, and that: (1) Is a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, or any successor order; and (2) is likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy, or (3) is designated by the Administrator of OIRA as a significant energy action. For any proposed significant energy action, the agency must give a detailed statement of any adverse effects on energy supply, distribution, or use should the proposal be implemented, and of reasonable alternatives to the action and their expected benefits on energy supply, distribution, and use. This regulatory action has been determined to not be a significant regulatory action, and it would not have an adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. Thus, this action is not a significant energy action. Accordingly, DOE has not prepared a Statement of Energy Effects.

    V. Approval of the Office of the Secretary

    The Secretary of Energy has approved the publication of this proposed rule.

    List of Subjects in 10 CFR Part 830

    Administrative practice and procedure, DOE contracts, Environment, Federal buildings and facilities, Government contracts, Nuclear materials, Nuclear power plants and reactors, Nuclear safety, Penalties, Public health, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, and Safety.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on August 1, 2018. Dan Brouillette, Deputy Secretary of Energy.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, DOE proposes to revise 10 CFR part 830 to read as follows:

    PART 830—NUCLEAR SAFETY MANAGEMENT Sec. 830.1 Scope. 830.2 Exclusions. 830.3 Definitions. 830.4 General requirements. 830.5 Enforcement. 830.6 Recordkeeping. 830.7 Graded approach. Subpart A—Quality Assurance Requirements 830.120 Scope. 830.121 Quality Assurance Program (QAP). 830.122 Quality assurance criteria. Subpart B—Safety Basis Requirements 830.200 Scope. 830.201 Performance of work. 830.202 Safety basis. 830.203 Unreviewed safety question process. 830.204 Documented safety analysis. 830.205 Technical safety requirements. 830.206 Preliminary documented safety analysis. 830.207 DOE approval of safety basis. Appendix A to Subpart B to Part 830—General Statement of Safety Basis Policy Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 2201; 42 U.S.C. 7101 et seq.; and 50 U.S.C. 2401 et seq.

    § 830.1 Scope.

    This part governs the conduct of DOE contractors, DOE personnel, and other persons conducting activities (including providing items and services) that affect, or may affect, the safety of DOE nuclear facilities.

    § 830.2 Exclusions.

    This part does not apply to:

    (a) Activities that are regulated through a license by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) or a State under an Agreement with the NRC, including activities certified by the NRC under section 1701 of the Atomic Energy Act (Act);

    (b) Activities conducted under the authority of the Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion, pursuant to Executive Order 12344, as set forth in Public Law 106-65;

    (c) Transportation activities which are regulated by the Department of Transportation;

    (d) Activities conducted under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended, and any facility identified under section 202(5) of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, as amended; and

    (e) Activities related to the launch approval and actual launch of nuclear energy systems into space.

    § 830.3 Definitions.

    (a) The following definitions apply to this part:

    Administrative controls means the provisions relating to organization and management, procedures, recordkeeping, assessment, and reporting necessary to ensure safe operation of a facility.

    Bases appendix means an appendix that describes the basis of the limits and other requirements in technical safety requirements.

    Critical assembly means special nuclear devices designed and used to sustain nuclear reactions, which may be subject to frequent core and lattice configuration change and which frequently may be used as mockups of reactor configurations.

    Criticality means the condition in which a nuclear fission chain reaction becomes self-sustaining.

    Design features means the design features of a nuclear facility specified in the technical safety requirements that, if altered or modified, would have a significant effect on safe operation.

    Document means recorded information that describes, specifies, reports, certifies, requires, or provides data or results.

    Documented safety analysis means a documented analysis of the extent to which a nuclear facility can be operated safely with respect to workers, the public, and the environment, including a description of the conditions, safe boundaries, and hazard controls that provide the basis for ensuring safety.

    Environmental restoration activities means the process(es) by which contaminated sites and facilities are identified and characterized and by which contamination is contained, treated, or removed and disposed.

    Fissionable materials means a nuclide capable of sustaining a neutron-induced chain reaction (e.g., uranium-233, uranium-235, plutonium-238, plutonium-239, plutonium-241, neptunium-237, americium-241, and curium-244).

    Graded approach means the process of ensuring that the level of analysis, documentation, and actions used to comply with a requirement in this part are commensurate with:

    (i) The relative importance to safety, safeguards, and security;

    (ii) The magnitude of any hazard involved;

    (iii) The life cycle stage of a facility;

    (iv) The programmatic mission of a facility;

    (v) The particular characteristics of a facility;

    (vi) The relative importance of radiological and nonradiological hazards; and

    (vii) Any other relevant factor.

    Hazard means a source of danger (i.e., material, energy source, or operation) with the potential to cause illness, injury, or death to a person or damage to a facility or to the environment (without regard to the likelihood or credibility of accident scenarios or consequence mitigation).

    Hazard Category 1, 2, and 3 DOE nuclear facilities means nuclear facilities that meet the criteria for their respective hazard category consistent with the provisions of DOE-STD-1027-92, Change Notice 1, or successor document. Hazard Category 1, 2, and 3 DOE nuclear facilities are required to have safety bases established in accordance with Subpart B of this part. Hazard categories are based on their radioactive material inventories and the potential consequences to the public, workers, and the environment. Hazard Category 1 represents the highest potential consequence and Hazard Category 3 represents the lowest potential consequence of the facilities required to establish safety bases.

    Hazard controls means measures to eliminate, limit, or mitigate hazards to workers, the public, or the environment, including

    (i) Physical, design, structural, and engineering features;

    (ii) Safety structures, systems, and components;

    (iii) Safety management programs;

    (iv) Technical safety requirements; and

    (v) Other controls necessary to provide adequate protection from hazards.

    Item is an all-inclusive term used in place of any of the following: Appurtenance, assembly, component, equipment, material, module, part, product, structure, subassembly, subsystem, system, unit, or support systems.

    Limiting conditions for operation means the limits that represent the lowest functional capability or performance level of safety structures, systems, and components required for safe operations.

    Limiting control settings means the settings on safety systems that control process variables to prevent exceeding a safety limit.

    Low-level residual fixed radioactivity means the remaining radioactivity following reasonable efforts to remove radioactive systems, components, and stored materials. The remaining radioactivity is composed of surface contamination that is fixed following chemical cleaning or some similar process; a component of surface contamination that can be picked up by smears; or activated materials within structures. The radioactivity can be characterized as low-level if the smearable radioactivity is less than the values defined for removable contamination by 10 CFR part 835, Appendix D, Surface Contamination Values, and the hazard analysis results show that no credible accident scenario or work practices would release the remaining fixed radioactivity or activation components at levels that would prudently require the use of active safety systems, structures, or components to prevent or mitigate a release of radioactive materials.

    Major modification means a modification to a DOE nuclear facility that substantially changes the existing safety basis for the facility.

    New Hazard Category 1, 2, and 3 DOE nuclear facility means a Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility that is in design or under construction that does not yet have a DOE approved safety basis.

    Nonreactor nuclear facility means those facilities, activities or operations that involve, or will involve, radioactive and/or fissionable materials in such form and quantity that a nuclear or a nuclear explosive hazard potentially exists to workers, the public, or the environment, but does not include accelerators and their operations and does not include activities involving only incidental use and generation of radioactive materials or radiation such as check and calibration sources, use of radioactive sources in research and experimental and analytical laboratory activities, electron microscopes, and X- ray machines.

    Nuclear facility means a reactor or a nonreactor nuclear facility where an activity is conducted for or on behalf of DOE and includes any related area, structure, facility, or activity to the extent necessary to ensure proper implementation of the requirements established by this Part.

    Operating limits means those limits required to ensure the safe operation of a nuclear facility, including limiting control settings and limiting conditions for operation.

    Preliminary documented safety analysis means documentation prepared in connection with the design and construction of a new Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility or a major modification to an existing Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility that provides a reasonable basis for the preliminary conclusion that the nuclear facility can be operated safely through the consideration of factors such as:

    (i) The nuclear safety design criteria to be satisfied;

    (ii) A safety analysis that derives aspects of design that are necessary to satisfy the nuclear safety design criteria; and

    (iii) An initial listing of the safety management programs that must be developed to address operational safety considerations.

    Process means a series of actions that achieves an end or result.

    Quality means the condition achieved when an item, service, or process meets or exceeds the user's requirements and expectations.

    Quality assurance means all those actions that provide confidence that quality is achieved.

    Quality Assurance Program (QAP) means the overall program or management system established to assign responsibilities and authorities, define policies and requirements, and provide for the performance and assessment of work.

    Reactor means any apparatus that is designed or used to sustain nuclear chain reactions in a controlled manner such as research, test, and power reactors, and critical and pulsed assemblies and any assembly that is designed to perform subcritical experiments that could potentially reach criticality; and, unless modified by words such as containment, vessel, or core, refers to the entire facility, including the housing, equipment and associated areas devoted to the operation and maintenance of one or more reactor cores.

    Record means a completed document or other media that provides objective evidence of an item, service, or process.

    Safety basis means the documented safety analysis and hazard controls that provide reasonable assurance that a DOE nuclear facility can be operated safely in a manner that adequately protects workers, the public, and the environment.

    Safety class structures, systems, and components means the structures, systems, or components, including portions of process systems, whose preventive or mitigative function is necessary to limit radioactive hazardous material exposure to the public, as determined from safety analyses.

    Safety evaluation report means the report prepared by DOE to document:

    (i) The sufficiency of the documented safety analysis for a Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility;

    (ii) The extent to which a contractor has satisfied the requirements of Subpart B of this part; and

    (iii) The basis for approval by DOE of the safety basis for the facility, including any conditions for approval.

    Safety limits means the limits on process variables associated with those safety class physical barriers, generally passive, that are necessary for the intended facility function and that are required to guard against the uncontrolled release of radioactive materials.

    Safety management program means a program designed to ensure a facility is operated in a manner that adequately protects workers, the public, and the environment by covering a topic such as: Quality assurance; maintenance of safety systems; personnel training; conduct of operations; inadvertent criticality protection; emergency preparedness; fire protection; waste management; or radiological protection of workers, the public, and the environment.

    Safety management system means an integrated safety management system established consistent with 48 CFR 970.5223-1, Integration of environment, safety, and health into work planning and execution.

    Safety significant structures, systems, and components means the structures, systems, and components which are not designated as safety class structures, systems, and components, but whose preventive or mitigative function is a major contributor to defense in depth and/or worker safety as determined from safety analyses.

    Safety structures, systems, and components means both safety class structures, systems, and components and safety significant structures, systems, and components.

    Service means the performance of work, such as design, manufacturing, construction, fabrication, assembly, decontamination, environmental restoration, waste management, laboratory sample analyses, inspection, nondestructive examination/testing, environmental qualification, equipment qualification, repair, installation, or the like.

    Surveillance requirements means requirements relating to test, calibration, or inspection to ensure that the necessary operability and quality of safety structures, systems, and components and their support systems required for safe operations are maintained, that facility operation is within safety limits, and that limiting control settings and limiting conditions for operation are met.

    Technical safety requirements (TSRs) means the limits, controls, and related actions that establish the specific parameters and requisite actions for the safe operation of a nuclear facility and include, as appropriate for the work and the hazards identified in the documented safety analysis for the facility: Safety limits, operating limits, surveillance requirements, administrative and management controls, use and application provisions, and design features, as well as a bases appendix.

    Unreviewed Safety Question (USQ) means a situation where:

    (i) The probability of the occurrence or the consequences of an accident or the malfunction of equipment important to safety previously evaluated in the documented safety analysis could be increased;

    (ii) The possibility of an accident or malfunction of a different type than any evaluated previously in the documented safety analysis could be created; or

    (iii) The documented safety analysis may not be bounding or may be otherwise inadequate.

    Unreviewed Safety Question process means the mechanism for keeping a safety basis current by reviewing potential unreviewed safety questions, reporting unreviewed safety questions to DOE, and obtaining approval from DOE prior to taking any action that involves an unreviewed safety question.

    Use and application provisions means the basic instructions for applying technical safety requirements.

    (b) Terms defined in the Act or in 10 CFR part 820 and not defined in this section of the rule are to be used consistent with the meanings given in the Act or in 10 CFR part 820.

    § 830.4 General requirements.

    (a) No person may take or cause to be taken any action inconsistent with the requirements of this part.

    (b) A contractor responsible for a nuclear facility must ensure implementation of, and compliance with, the requirements of this part.

    (c) The requirements of this part must be implemented in a manner that provides reasonable assurance of adequate protection of workers, the public, and the environment from adverse consequences, taking into account the work to be performed and the associated hazards.

    (d) If there is no contractor for a DOE nuclear facility, DOE must ensure implementation of, and compliance with, the requirements of this part.

    § 830.5 Enforcement.

    The requirements in this part are DOE Nuclear Safety Requirements and are subject to enforcement by all appropriate means, including the imposition of civil and criminal penalties in accordance with the provisions of 10 CFR part 820.

    § 830.6 Recordkeeping.

    A contractor must maintain complete and accurate records as necessary to substantiate compliance with the requirements of this part.

    § 830.7 Graded approach.

    Where appropriate, a contractor must use a graded approach to implement the requirements of this part, document the basis of the graded approach used, and submit that documentation to DOE. The graded approach may not be used in implementing the unreviewed safety question (USQ) process or in implementing technical safety requirements.

    Subpart A—Quality Assurance Requirements
    § 830.120 Scope.

    This subpart establishes quality assurance requirements for contractors conducting activities, including providing items or services that affect, or may affect, nuclear safety of DOE nuclear facilities.

    § 830.121 Quality Assurance Program (QAP).

    (a) Contractors conducting activities, including providing items or services, that affect, or may affect, the nuclear safety of DOE nuclear facilities must conduct work in accordance with the Quality Assurance criteria in § 830.122.

    (b) The contractor responsible for a DOE nuclear facility must:

    (1) Submit a QAP to DOE for approval and regard the QAP as approved 90 days after submittal, unless it is approved or rejected by DOE at an earlier date.

    (2) Modify the QAP as directed by DOE.

    (3) Annually submit any changes to the DOE-approved QAP to DOE for approval. Justify in the submittal why the changes continue to satisfy the quality assurance requirements.

    (4) Conduct work in accordance with the QAP.

    (c) The QAP must:

    (1) Describe how the quality assurance criteria of § 830.122 are satisfied.

    (2) Integrate the quality assurance criteria with the Safety Management System, or describe how the quality assurance criteria apply to the Safety Management System.

    (3) Use voluntary consensus standards in its development and implementation, where practicable and consistent with contractual and regulatory requirements, and identify the standards used.

    (4) Describe how the contractor responsible for the nuclear facility ensures that subcontractors and suppliers satisfy the criteria of § 830.122.

    § 830.122 Quality assurance criteria.

    The QAP must address the following management, performance, and assessment criteria:

    (a) Criterion 1—Management/Program. (1) Establish an organizational structure, functional responsibilities, levels of authority, and interfaces for those managing, performing, and assessing the work.

    (2) Establish management processes, including planning, scheduling, and providing resources for the work.

    (b) Criterion 2—Management/Personnel Training and Qualification. (1) Train and qualify personnel to be capable of performing their assigned work.

    (2) Provide continuing training to personnel to maintain their job proficiency.

    (c) Criterion 3—Management/Quality Improvement. (1) Establish and implement processes to detect and prevent quality problems.

    (2) Identify, control, and correct items, services, and processes that do not meet established requirements.

    (3) Identify the causes of problems and work to prevent recurrence as a part of correcting the problem.

    (4) Review item characteristics, process implementation, and other quality-related information to identify items, services, and processes needing improvement.

    (d) Criterion 4—Management/Documents and Records. (1) Prepare, review, approve, issue, use, and revise documents to prescribe processes, specify requirements, or establish design.

    (2) Specify, prepare, review, approve, and maintain records.

    (e) Criterion 5—Performance/Work Processes. (1) Perform work consistent with technical standards, administrative controls, and other hazard controls adopted to meet regulatory or contract requirements, using approved instructions, procedures, or other appropriate means.

    (2) Identify and control items to ensure their proper use.

    (3) Maintain items to prevent their damage, loss, or deterioration.

    (4) Calibrate and maintain equipment used for process monitoring or data collection.

    (f) Criterion 6—Performance/Design. (1) Design items and processes using sound engineering/scientific principles and appropriate standards.

    (2) Incorporate applicable requirements and design bases in design work and design changes.

    (3) Identify and control design interfaces.

    (4) Verify or validate the adequacy of design products using individuals or groups other than those who performed the work.

    (5) Verify or validate work before approval and implementation of the design.

    (g) Criterion 7—Performance/Procurement. (1) Procure items and services that meet established requirements and perform as specified.

    (2) Evaluate and select prospective suppliers on the basis of specified criteria.

    (3) Establish and implement processes to ensure that approved suppliers continue to provide acceptable items and services.

    (h) Criterion 8—Performance/Inspection and Acceptance Testing. (1) Inspect and test specified items, services, and processes using established acceptance and performance criteria.

    (2) Calibrate and maintain equipment used for inspections and tests.

    (i) Criterion 9—Assessment/Management Assessment. Ensure managers assess their management processes and identify and correct problems that hinder the organization from achieving its objectives.

    (j) Criterion 10—Assessment/Independent Assessment. (1) Plan and conduct independent assessments to measure item and service quality, to measure the adequacy of work performance, and to promote improvement.

    (2) Establish sufficient authority, and freedom from line management, for the group performing independent assessments.

    (3) Ensure persons who perform independent assessments are technically qualified and knowledgeable in the areas to be assessed.

    Subpart B—Safety Basis Requirements
    § 830.200 Scope.

    This Subpart establishes safety basis requirements for Hazard Category 1, 2, and 3 DOE nuclear facilities.

    § 830.201 Performance of work.

    A contractor must perform work in accordance with the DOE-approved safety basis for a Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility and, in particular, with the hazard controls that ensure adequate protection of workers, the public, and the environment.

    § 830.202 Safety basis.

    (a) The contractor responsible for a Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility must establish and maintain the safety basis for the facility.

    (b) In establishing the safety basis for a Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility, the contractor responsible for the facility must:

    (1) Define the scope of the work to be performed;

    (2) Identify and analyze the hazards associated with the work;

    (3) Categorize the facility consistent with DOE-STD-1027-92 (“Hazard Categorization and Accident Analysis Techniques for compliance with DOE Order 5480.23, Nuclear Safety Analysis Reports,” Change Notice 1, September 1997), or successor document;

    (4) Prepare a documented safety analysis for the facility; and

    (5) Establish the hazard controls upon which the contractor will rely to ensure adequate protection of workers, the public, and the environment.

    (c) In maintaining the safety basis for a Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility, the contractor responsible for the facility must:

    (1) Update the safety basis to keep it current and to reflect changes in the facility, the work and the hazards as they are analyzed in the documented safety analysis;

    (2) Annually provide DOE the current documented safety analysis or a letter stating that there have been no changes in the documented safety analysis since the prior submittal; and

    (3) Incorporate in the safety basis any changes, conditions, or hazard controls directed by DOE.

    § 830.203 Unreviewed safety question process.

    (a) The contractor responsible for a Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility must establish, implement, and take actions consistent with a DOE-approved USQ procedure that meets the requirements of this section.

    (b) The contractor responsible for a new Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility must submit for DOE approval a procedure for its USQ process on a schedule that allows DOE approval in a safety evaluation report issued pursuant to section 207(a) of this Part.

    (c) The contractor responsible for a Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility must implement the DOE- approved USQ procedure in situations where there is a:

    (1) Temporary or permanent change in the facility as described in the existing documented safety analysis;

    (2) Temporary or permanent change in the procedures as described in the existing documented safety analysis;

    (3) Test or experiment not described in the existing documented safety analysis; or

    (4) Potential inadequacy of the documented safety analysis because the analysis potentially may not be bounding or may be otherwise inadequate.

    (d) A contractor responsible for a Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility must obtain DOE approval prior to taking any action determined to involve a USQ.

    (e) The contractor responsible for a Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility must annually provide to DOE a summary of the USQ determinations performed since the prior submittal.

    (f) If a contractor responsible for a Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility discovers or is made aware of a potential inadequacy of the documented safety analysis, it must:

    (1) Take action, as appropriate, to place or maintain the facility in a safe condition until an evaluation of the safety of the situation is completed;

    (2) Notify DOE of the situation;

    (3) Perform a USQ determination and notify DOE promptly of the results; and

    (4) Submit the evaluation of the safety of the situation to DOE prior to removing any operational restrictions initiated to meet paragraph (f)(1) of this section.

    § 830.204 Documented safety analysis.

    (a) The contractor responsible for a Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility must obtain approval from DOE for the methodology used to prepare the documented safety analysis for the facility unless the contractor uses a methodology set forth in Table 1 of Appendix A to this Part.

    (b) The documented safety analysis for a Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility must, as appropriate for the complexities and hazards associated with the facility:

    (1) Describe the facility (including the design of safety structures, systems and components) and the work to be performed;

    (2) Provide a systematic identification of both natural and man-made hazards associated with the facility;

    (3) Evaluate normal, abnormal, and accident conditions, including consideration of natural and man-made external events, identification of energy sources or processes that might contribute to the generation or uncontrolled release of radioactive and other hazardous materials, and consideration of the need for analysis of accidents which may be beyond the design basis of the facility;

    (4) Derive the hazard controls necessary to ensure adequate protection of workers, the public, and the environment, demonstrate the adequacy of these controls to eliminate, limit, or mitigate identified hazards, and define the process for maintaining the hazard controls current at all times and controlling their use;

    (5) Define the characteristics of the safety management programs necessary to ensure the safe operation of the facility, including (where applicable) quality assurance, procedures, maintenance, personnel training, conduct of operations, emergency preparedness, fire protection, waste management, and radiation protection; and

    (6) With respect to a nonreactor nuclear facility with fissionable material in a form and amount sufficient to pose a potential for criticality, define a criticality safety program that:

    (i) Ensures that operations with fissionable material remain subcritical under all normal and credible abnormal conditions;

    (ii) Identifies applicable nuclear criticality safety standards; and

    (iii) Describes how the program meets applicable nuclear criticality safety standards.

    § 830.205 Technical safety requirements.

    (a) A contractor responsible for a Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility must:

    (1) Develop technical safety requirements that are derived from the documented safety analysis;

    (2) Prior to use, obtain DOE approval of technical safety requirements and any change to technical safety requirements; and

    (3) Notify DOE of any violation of a technical safety requirement.

    (b) A contractor may take emergency actions that depart from an approved technical safety requirement when no actions consistent with the technical safety requirement are immediately apparent, and when these actions are needed to protect workers, the public or the environment from imminent and significant harm. Such actions must be approved by a certified operator for a reactor or by a person in authority as designated in the technical safety requirements for nonreactor nuclear facilities. The contractor must report the emergency actions to DOE as soon as practicable.

    (c) A contractor for an environmental restoration activity may follow the provisions of 29 CFR 1910.120 or 1926.65 to develop the appropriate hazard controls (rather than the provisions for technical safety requirements in paragraph (a) of this section), provided the activity involves either:

    (1) Work not done within a permanent structure, or

    (2) The decommissioning of a facility with only low-level residual fixed radioactivity.

    § 830.206 Preliminary documented safety analysis.

    Prior to construction of a new Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility or a major modification to an existing Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility, the contractor responsible for the design and construction of the new facility or major modification must:

    (a) Prepare a preliminary documented safety analysis for the facility, and

    (b) Obtain DOE approval of:

    (1) The nuclear safety design criteria to be used in preparing the preliminary documented safety analysis unless the contractor uses the design criteria in DOE Order 420.1, Facility Safety, or successor document; and

    (2) The preliminary documented safety analysis before the contractor can procure materials or components or begin construction; provided that DOE may authorize the contractor to perform limited procurement and construction activities without approval of a preliminary documented safety analysis if DOE determines that the activities are not detrimental to public health and safety and are in the best interests of DOE.

    § 830.207 DOE approval of safety basis.

    (a) With respect to a new Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility or a major modification to an existing Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility, a contractor may not begin operation of the facility or modification prior to the issuance of a safety evaluation report in which DOE approves the safety basis for the facility or modification.

    (b) Pending issuance of a safety evaluation report in which DOE approves an updated or amended safety basis for an existing Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility, the contractor responsible for the facility must continue to perform work in accordance with the DOE-approved safety basis for the facility and maintain the existing safety basis consistent with the requirements of this Subpart.

    Appendix A to Subpart B to Part 830—General Statement of Safety Basis Policy A. Introduction

    This appendix describes DOE's expectations for the safety basis requirements of 10 CFR part 830, acceptable methods for implementing these requirements, and criteria DOE will use to evaluate compliance with these requirements. This Appendix does not create any new requirements and should be used consistently with DOE's policy that work be conducted safely and efficiently and in a manner that ensures protection of workers, the public, and the environment.

    B. Purpose

    1. The safety basis requirements of part 830 require the contractor responsible for a DOE nuclear facility to analyze the facility, the work to be performed, and the associated hazards and to identify the conditions, safe boundaries, and hazard controls necessary to protect workers, the public and the environment from adverse consequences. These analyses and hazard controls constitute the safety basis upon which the contractor and DOE rely to conclude that the facility can be operated safely. Performing work consistent with the safety basis provides reasonable assurance of adequate protection of workers, the public, and the environment.

    2. The safety basis requirements are intended to further the objective of making safety an integral part of how work is performed throughout the DOE complex. Developing a thorough understanding of a nuclear facility, the work to be performed, the associated hazards and the needed hazard controls is essential to integrating safety into management and work at all levels. Performing work in accordance with the safety basis for a nuclear facility is the realization of that objective.

    C. Scope

    1. A contractor must establish and maintain a safety basis for a Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility because these facilities have the potential for significant radiological consequences. DOE-STD-1027 sets forth the methodology for categorizing a DOE nuclear facility based on the inventory of radioactive materials.

    2. Unlike the quality assurance requirements of part 830 that apply to all DOE nuclear facilities the safety basis requirements only apply to Hazard Category 1, 2, and 3 DOE nuclear facilities and do not apply to nuclear facilities below Hazard Category 3.

    D. Integrated Safety Management

    1. The safety basis requirements are consistent with integrated safety management. DOE expects that, if a contractor complies with the Department of Energy Acquisition Regulation (DEAR) clause on integration of environment, safety, and health into work planning and execution (48 CFR 970.5223-1, Integration of Environment, Safety and Health into Work Planning and Execution) and the DEAR clause on laws, regulations, and DOE directives (48 CFR 970.5204-2, Laws, Regulations and DOE Directives), the contractor will have established the foundation to meet the safety basis requirements.

    2. The processes embedded in a safety management system should lead to a contractor establishing adequate safety bases and safety management programs that will meet the safety basis requirements of this Subpart. Consequently, the DOE expects if a contractor has adequately implemented integrated safety management, few additional requirements will stem from this Subpart and, in such cases, the existing safety basis prepared in accordance with integrated safety management provisions, including existing DOE safety requirements in contracts, should meet the requirements of this Subpart.

    3. DOE does not expect there to be any conflict between contractual requirements and regulatory requirements. In fact, DOE expects that contract provisions will be used to provide more detail on implementation of safety basis requirements such as preparing a documented safety analysis, developing technical safety requirements, and implementing a USQ process.

    E. Enforcement of Safety Basis Requirements

    1. Enforcement of the safety basis requirements will be performance oriented. That is, DOE will focus its enforcement efforts on whether a contractor operates a nuclear facility consistent with the safety basis for the facility and, in particular, whether work is performed in accordance with the safety basis.

    2. As part of the approval process, DOE will review the content and quality of the safety basis documentation. DOE intends to use the approval process to assess the adequacy of a safety basis developed by a contractor to ensure that workers, the public, and the environment are provided reasonable assurance of adequate protection from identified hazards. Once approved by DOE, the safety basis documentation will not be subject to regulatory enforcement actions unless DOE determines that the information which supports the documentation is not complete and accurate in all material respects, as required by 10 CFR 820.11. This is consistent with the DOE enforcement provisions and policy in 10 CFR part 820.

    3. DOE does not intend the adoption of the safety basis requirements to affect the existing quality assurance requirements or the existing obligation of contractors to comply with the quality assurance requirements. In particular, in conjunction with the adoption of the safety basis requirements, DOE revised the language in 10 CFR 830.122(e)(1) to make clear that hazard controls are part of the work processes to which a contractor and other persons must adhere when performing work. This obligation to perform work consistent with hazard controls adopted to meet regulatory or contract requirements existed prior to the adoption of the safety basis requirements and is both consistent with and independent of the safety basis requirements.

    4. A documented safety analysis must address all hazards (that is, both radiological and nonradiological hazards) and the controls necessary to provide adequate protection to the public, workers, and the environment from these hazards. Section 234A of the Atomic Energy Act only authorizes DOE to issue civil penalties for violations of requirements related to nuclear safety. Therefore, DOE will impose civil penalties for violations of the safety basis requirements (including hazard controls) only if they are related to nuclear safety.

    F. Documented Safety Analysis

    1. A documented safety analysis must demonstrate the extent to which a nuclear facility can be operated safely with respect to workers, the public, and the environment.

    2. DOE expects a contractor to use a graded approach to develop a documented safety analysis and describe how the graded approach was applied. The level of detail, analysis, and documentation will reflect the complexity and hazards associated with a particular facility. Thus, the documented safety analysis for a simple, low hazard facility may be relatively short and qualitative in nature, while the documented safety analysis for a complex, high hazard facility may be quite elaborate and more quantitative. DOE will work with its contractors to ensure a documented safety analysis is appropriate for the facility for which it is being developed.

    3. Because DOE has ultimate responsibility for the safety of its facilities, DOE will review each documented safety analysis as: (1) Part of the initial submittal; (2) when revisions are submitted as part of a positive USQ or major modification; (3) if DOE has reason to believe a portion of the safety basis to be inadequate, or; (4) if DOE has reason to believe a portion of the safety basis has substantially changed. DOE will review the DSA to determine whether the rigor and detail of the documented safety analysis are appropriate for the complexity and hazards expected at the nuclear facility. In particular, DOE will evaluate the documented safety analysis by considering the extent to which the documented safety analysis (1) satisfies the provisions of the methodology used to prepare the documented safety analysis and (2) adequately addresses the criteria set forth in 10 CFR 830.204(b). DOE will prepare a Safety Evaluation Report to document the results of its review of the documented safety analysis. A documented safety analysis must contain any conditions or changes required by DOE in the Safety Evaluation Report. Generally, DOE's review of the annual submittal may be limited to ensuring that the results of USQs have been adequately incorporated into the DSA. If additional changes are proposed by the contractor and included in the annual update that have not been previously approved by DOE or have not been evaluated as a part of the USQ process, DOE must review and approve these changes. DOE has the authority to review the safety basis at any time.

    4. In most cases, the contract will provide the framework for specifying the methodology and schedule for developing a documented safety analysis. Table 1 sets forth acceptable methodologies for preparing a documented safety analysis.

    Table 1 The contractor responsible for: May prepare its document safety analysis by: (1) A DOE reactor Using the method in U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Regulatory Guide 1.70, Standard Format and Content of Safety Analysis Reports for Nuclear Power Plants, or successor document. (2) A DOE nonreactor nuclear facility Using the method in DOE-STD-3009, Change Notice No. 1, January 2000, Preparation Guide for U.S. Department of Energy Nonreactor Nuclear Facility Safety Analysis Reports, July 1994, or successor document. (3) A DOE nuclear facility with a limited operational life Using the method in either:
  • (1) DOE-STD-3009-, Change Notice No. 1, January 2000, or successor document, or
  • (2) DOE-STD-3011-94, Guidance for Preparation of DOE 5480.22 (TSR) and DOE 5480.23 (SAR) Implementation Plans, November 1994, or successor document. (4) The deactivation or the transition surveillance and maintenance of a DOE nuclear facility Using the method in either:
  • (1) DOE-STD-3009, Change Notice No. 1, January 2000, or successor document, or
  • (2) DOE-STD-3011-94 or successor document.
  • (5) The decommissioning of a DOE nuclear facility (1) Using the method in DOE-STD-1120-98, Integration of Environment, Safety, and Health into Facility Disposition Activities, May 1998, or successor document; (2) Using the provisions in 29 CFR 1910.120 (or 29 CFR 1926.65 for construction activities) for developing Safety and Health Programs, Work Plans, Health and Safety Plans, and Emergency Response Plans to address public safety, as well as worker safety; and (3) Deriving hazard controls based on the Safety and Health Programs, the Work Plans, the Health and Safety Plans, and the Emergency Response Plans. (6) A DOE environmental restoration activity that involves either work not done within a permanent structure or the decommissioning of a facility with only low-level residual fixed radioactivity (1) Using the method in DOE-STD-1120-98 or successor document, and
  • (2) Using the provisions in 29 CFR 1910.120 (or 29 CFR 1926.65 for construction activities) for developing a Safety and Health Program and a site-specific Health and Safety Plan (including elements for Emergency Response Plans, conduct of operations, training and qualifications, and maintenance management).
  • (7) A DOE nuclear explosive facility and the nuclear explosive operations conducted therein. Developing its documented safety analysis in two pieces:
  • (1) A Safety Analysis Report for the nuclear facility that considers the generic nuclear explosive operations and is prepared in accordance with DOE-STD-3009, Change Notice No. 1, January 2000, or successor document, and
  • (2) A Hazard Analysis Report for the specific nuclear explosive operations prepared in accordance with DOE-STD-3016-99, Hazards Analysis Reports for Nuclear Explosive Operations, February 1999, or successor document. (8) A DOE Hazard Category 3 nonreactor nuclear facility Using the methods in Chapters 2, 3, 4, and 5 of DOE-STD-3009, Change Notice No. 1, January 2000, or successor document to ad- dress in a simplified fashion: (1) The basic description of the facility/activity and its operations, including safety structures, systems, and components; (2) A qualitative hazards analysis; and (3) The hazard controls (consisting primarily of inventory limits and safety management programs) and their bases. (9) Transportation activities (1) Preparing a Safety Analysis Report for Packaging in accordance with DOE-O-460.1A, Packaging and Transportation Safety, October 2, 1996, or successor document and (2) Preparing a Transportation Safety Document in accordance with DOE-G-460.1-1, Implementation Guide for Use with DOE O 460.1A, Packaging and Transportation Safety, June 5, 1997, or successor document. (10) Transportation and onsite transfer of nuclear explosives, nuclear components, Navel nuclear fuel elements, Category I and Category II special nuclear materials, special assemblies, and other materials of national security (1) Preparing a Safety Analysis Report for Packaging in accordance with DOE-O-461.1, Packaging and Transportation of Materials of National Security Interest, September 29, 2000, or successor document and
  • (2) Preparing a Transportation Safety Document in accordance with DOE-M-461.1-1, Packaging and Transfer of Materials of National Security Interest Manual, September 29, 2000, or successor document.
  • 5. Table 1 refers to specific types of nuclear facilities. These references are not intended to constitute an exhaustive list of the specific types of nuclear facilities. Part 830 defines nuclear facility broadly to include reactor or a nonreactor nuclear facilities where an activity is conducted for or on behalf of DOE and includes any related area, structure, facility, or activity to the extent necessary to ensure proper implementation of the requirements established by this Part. The only exceptions are those facilities specifically excluded such as accelerators. Table 2 defines the terms referenced in Table 1 that are not defined in 10 CFR 830.3.

    Table 2 For purposes of Table 1: Means: (1) Deactivation The process of placing a facility in a stable and known condition, including the removal of hazardous and radioactive materials. (2) Decontamination The removal or reduction of residual radioactive and hazardous materials by mechanical, chemical, or other techniques to achieve a stated objective or end condition. (3) Decommissioning Those actions taking place after deactivation of a nuclear facility to retire it from service and includes surveillance and maintenance, decontamination, and/or dismantlement. (4) Environmental restoration activities The process by which contaminated sites and facilities are identified and characterized and by which existing contamination is contained, or removed and disposed. (5) Generic nuclear explosive operation A characterization that considers the collective attributes (such as special facility system requirements, physical weapon characteristics, or quantities and chemical/physical forms of hazardous materials) for all projected nuclear explosive operations to be conducted at a facility. (6) Nuclear explosive facility A nuclear facility at which nuclear operations and activities involving a nuclear explosive may be conducted. (7) Nuclear explosive operation Any activity involving a nuclear explosive, including activities in which main-charge, high-explosive parts and pits are collocated. (8) Nuclear facility with a limited operational life A nuclear facility for which there is a short remaining operational period before ending the facility's mission and initiating deactivation and decommissioning and for which there are no intended additional missions other than cleanup. (9) Specific nuclear explosive operation A specific nuclear explosive subjected to the stipulated steps of an individual operation, such as assembly or disassembly. (10) Transition surveillance and maintenance activities Activities conducted when a facility is not operating or during deactivation, decontamination, and decommissioning operations when surveillance and maintenance are the predominant activities being conducted at the facility. These activities are necessary for satisfactory containment of hazardous materials and protection of workers, the public, and the environment. These activities include providing periodic inspections, maintenance of structures, systems, and components, and actions to prevent the alteration of hazardous materials to an unsafe state.

    6. The contractor responsible for the design and construction of a new Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility or a major modification to an existing Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility must prepare a preliminary documented safety analysis. A preliminary documented safety analysis can ensure that substantial costs and time are not wasted in constructing a nuclear facility that will not be acceptable to DOE. If a contractor is required to prepare a preliminary documented safety analysis, the contractor must obtain DOE approval of the preliminary documented safety analysis prior to procuring materials or components or beginning construction. DOE, however, may authorize the contractor to perform limited procurement and construction activities without approval of a preliminary documented safety analysis if DOE determines that the activities are not detrimental to public health and safety and are in the best interests of DOE. DOE Order 420.1, or successor document, sets forth acceptable nuclear safety design criteria for use in preparing a preliminary documented safety analysis. As a general matter, DOE does not expect preliminary documented safety analyses to be needed for activities that do not involve significant construction such as environmental restoration activities, decontamination and decommissioning activities, specific nuclear explosive operations, or transition surveillance and maintenance activities.

    G. Hazard Controls

    1. Hazard controls are measures to eliminate, limit, or mitigate hazards to workers, the public, or the environment. They include: (1) Physical, design, structural, and engineering features; (2) safety structures, systems, and components; (3) safety management programs; (4) technical safety requirements; and (5) other controls necessary to provide adequate protection from hazards.

    2. The types and specific characteristics of the safety management programs necessary for a DOE nuclear facility will be dependent on the complexity and hazards associated with the nuclear facility and the work being performed. In most cases, however, a contractor should consider safety management programs covering topics such as quality assurance, procedures, maintenance, personnel training, conduct of operations, criticality safety, emergency preparedness, fire protection, waste management, and radiation protection. In general, DOE Orders set forth DOE's expectations concerning specific topics. For example, DOE Order 420.1, or successor document provides DOE's expectations with respect to fire protection and criticality safety.

    3. Safety structures, systems, and components require formal definition of minimum acceptable performance in the documented safety analysis. This is accomplished by first defining a safety function, then describing the structure, systems, and components, placing functional requirements on those portions of the structures, systems, and components required for the safety function, and identifying performance criteria that will ensure functional requirements are met. Technical safety requirements are developed to ensure the operability of the safety structures, systems, and components and define actions to be taken if a safety structure, system, or component is not operable.

    4. Technical safety requirements establish limits, controls, and related actions necessary for the safe operation of a nuclear facility. The exact form and contents of technical safety requirements will depend on the circumstances of a particular nuclear facility as defined in the documented safety analysis for the nuclear facility. As appropriate, technical safety requirements may have sections on: (1) Safety limits; (2) operating limits; (3) surveillance requirements; (4) administrative controls; (5) use and application; and (6) design features. It may also have an appendix on the bases for the limits and requirements. DOE Guide 423.1-1B, Implementation Guide for Use in Developing Technical Safety Requirements, or successor document, provides a complete description of what technical safety requirements should contain and how they should be developed and maintained.

    5. DOE will examine and approve the technical safety requirements as part of preparing the safety evaluation report and reviewing updates to the safety basis. As with all hazard controls, technical safety requirements must be kept current and reflect changes in the facility, the work and the hazards as they are analyzed in the documented safety analysis. In addition, DOE expects a contractor to maintain technical safety requirements, and other hazard controls as appropriate, as controlled documents with an authorized users list.

    6. Table 3 sets forth DOE's expectations concerning acceptable technical safety requirements.

    Table 3 As appropriate for a particular DOE nuclear
  • facility, the section of the technical safety
  • requirements on:
  • Will provide information on:
    (1) Safety limits The limits on process variables associated with those safety class physical barriers, generally passive, that are necessary for the intended facility function and that are required to guard against the uncontrolled release of radioactive materials. The safety limit section describes, as precisely as possible, the parameters being limited, states the limit in measurable units (pressure, temperature, flow, etc.), and indicates the applicability of the limit. The safety limit section also describes the actions to be taken in the event that the safety limit is exceeded. These actions should first place the facility in the safe, stable condition attainable, including total shutdown (except where such action might reduce the margin of safety) or should verify that the facility already is safe and stable and will remain so. The technical safety requirement should state that the contractor must obtain DOE authorization to restart the nuclear facility following a violation of a safety limit. The safety limit section also establishes the steps and time limits to correct the out-of-specification condition. (2) Operating limits Those limits which are required to ensure the safe operation of a nuclear facility. The operating limits section may include subsections on limiting control settings and limiting conditions for operation. (3) Limiting control settings The settings on safety systems that control process variables to prevent exceeding a safety limit. The limited control settings section normally contains the settings for automatic alarms and for the automatic or non-automatic initiation of protective actions related to those variables associated with the function of safety class structures, systems, or components if the safety analysis shows that they are relied upon to mitigate or prevent an accident. The limited control settings section also identifies the protective actions to be taken at the specific settings chosen in order to correct a situation automatically or manually such that the related safety limit is not exceeded. Protective actions may include maintaining the variables within the requirements and repairing the automatic device promptly or shutting down the affected part of the process and, if required, the entire facility. (4) Limiting conditions for operations The limits that represent the lowest functional capability or performance level of safety structures, systems, and components required to perform an activity safely. The limiting conditions for operation section describes, as precisely as possible, the lowest functional capability or performance level of equipment required for continued safe operation of the facility. The limiting conditions for operation section also states the action to be taken to address a condition not meeting the limiting conditions for operation section. Normally this simply provides for the adverse condition being corrected in a certain time frame and for further action if this is impossible. (5) Surveillance requirements Requirements relating to test, calibration, or inspection to assure that the necessary operability and quality of safety structures, systems, and components is maintained; that facility operation is within safety limits; and that limiting control settings and limiting conditions for operation are met. If a required surveillance is not successfully completed, the contractor is expected to assume the systems or components involved are inoperable and take the actions defined by the technical safety requirement until the systems or components can be shown to be operable. If, however, a required surveillance is not performed within its required frequency, the contractor is allowed to perform the surveillance within 24 hours or the original frequency, whichever is smaller, and confirm operability. (6) Administrative controls Organization and management, procedures, recordkeeping, assessment, and reporting necessary to ensure safe operation of a facility consistent with the technical safety requirement. In general, the administrative controls section addresses (1) the requirements associated with administrative controls, (including those for reporting violations of the technical safety requirement); (2) the staffing requirements for facility positions important to safe conduct of the facility; and (3) the commitments to the safety management programs identified in the documented safety analysis as necessary components of the safety basis for the facility. (7) Use and application provisions The basic instructions for applying the safety restrictions contained in a technical safety requirement. The use and application section includes definitions of terms, operating modes, logical connectors, completion times, and frequency notations. (8) Design features Design features of the facility that, if altered or modified, would have a significant effect on safe operation. (9) Bases appendix The reasons for the safety limits, operating limits, and associated surveillance requirements in the technical safety requirements. The statements for each limit or requirement shows how the numeric value, the condition, or the surveillance fulfills the purpose derived from the safety documentation. The primary purpose for describing the basis of each limit or requirement is to ensure that any future changes to the limit or requirement is done with full knowledge of the original intent or purpose of the limit or requirement.
    H. Unreviewed Safety Questions

    1. The USQ process is an important tool to evaluate whether changes affect the safety basis. A contractor must use the USQ process to ensure that the safety basis for a DOE nuclear facility is not undermined by changes in the facility, the work performed, the associated hazards, or other factors that support the adequacy of the safety basis.

    2. The USQ process permits a contractor to make physical and procedural changes to a nuclear facility and to conduct tests and experiments without prior approval, provided these changes do not cause a USQ. The USQ process provides a contractor with the flexibility needed to conduct day-to-day operations by requiring only those changes and tests with a potential to impact the safety basis (and therefore the safety of the nuclear facility) be approved by DOE. This allows DOE to focus its review on those changes significant to safety. The USQ process helps keep the safety basis current by ensuring appropriate review of and response to situations that might adversely affect the safety basis.

    3. DOE Guide 424.1-1B Chg 2, Implementation Guide for Use in Addressing Unreviewed Safety Question Requirements, or successor document provides DOE's expectations for a USQ process. The contractor must obtain DOE approval of its procedure used to implement the USQ process. The contractor is allowed to make editorial and format changes to its USQ procedure while maintaining DOE approval.

    I. Functions and Responsibilities

    1. The DOE Management Official for a DOE nuclear facility (that is, the Assistant Secretary, the Assistant Administrator, or the Office Director who is primarily responsible for the management of the facility) has primary responsibility within DOE for ensuring that the safety basis for the facility is adequate and complies with the safety basis requirements of Part 830. The DOE Management Official is responsible for ensuring the timely and proper (1) review of all safety basis documents submitted to DOE and (2) preparation of a safety evaluation report concerning the safety basis for a facility.

    2. DOE will maintain a public list on the internet that provides the status of the safety basis for each Hazard Category 1, 2, or 3 DOE nuclear facility and, to the extent practicable, provides information on how to obtain a copy of the safety basis and related documents for a facility.

    [FR Doc. 2018-16863 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    NATIONAL CREDIT UNION ADMINISTRATION 12 CFR Part 702 RIN 3133-AE90 Risk-Based Capital—Supplemental Rule AGENCY:

    National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The NCUA Board (Board) is seeking comment on a proposed rule that would amend the NCUA's previously revised regulations regarding prompt corrective action (PCA). The proposal would delay the effective date of the NCUA's October 29, 2015 final rule regarding risk-based capital (2015 Final Rule) for one year, moving the effective date from January 1, 2019 to January 1, 2020. During the extended delay period, the NCUA's current PCA requirements would remain in effect. The proposal would also amend the definition of a “complex” credit union adopted in the 2015 Final Rule for risk-based capital purposes by increasing the threshold level for coverage from $100 million to $500 million. These proposed changes would provide covered credit unions and the NCUA with additional time to prepare for the rule's implementation, and would exempt an additional 1,026 credit unions from the rule without subjecting the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) to undue risk.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by September 7, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit written comments, identified by RIN 3133-AE90, by any of the following methods (Please send comments by one method only):

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

    NCUA website: http://www.ncua.gov/Legal/Regs/Pages/PropRegs.aspx. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Email: Address to [email protected] Include “[Your name]—Comments on Proposed Rule: Risk-Based Capital—Supplemental Proposal” in the email subject line.

    Fax: (703) 518-6319. Use the subject line described above for email.

    Mail: Address to Gerard Poliquin, Secretary of the Board, National Credit Union Administration, 1775 Duke Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314-3428.

    Hand Delivery/Courier: Same as mail address.

    You can view all public comments on the NCUA's website at http://www.ncua.gov/Legal/Regs/Pages/PropRegs.aspx as submitted, except for those we cannot post for technical reasons. The NCUA will not edit or remove any identifying or contact information from the public comments submitted. You may inspect paper copies of comments in the NCUA's law library at 1775 Duke Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, by appointment weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. To make an appointment, call (703) 518-6546, or send an email to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Policy and Analysis: Julie Cayse, Director, Division of Risk Management, Office of Examination and Insurance, at (703) 518-6360; Kathryn Metzker, Loss/Risk Analyst, Division of Risk Management, Office of Examination and Insurance, at (703) 548-2456; Julie Decker, Loss/Risk Analyst, Division of Risk Management, Office of Examination and Insurance, at (703) 518-3684; Aaron Langley, Risk Management Officer, Division of Analytics and Surveillance, Office of Examination and Insurance, at (703) 518-6387; Legal: John Brolin, Staff Attorney, Office of General Counsel, at (703) 518-6540; or by mail at National Credit Union Administration, 1775 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Introduction

    The NCUA's primary mission is to ensure the safety and soundness of federally insured credit unions. The agency performs this function by examining and supervising all federal credit unions, participating in the examination and supervision of federally insured, state-chartered credit unions in coordination with state regulators, and insuring members' accounts at federally insured credit unions.1 In its role as administrator of the NCUSIF, the NCUA insures and regulates approximately 5,573 federally insured credit unions, holding total assets exceeding $1.4 trillion and representing approximately 111 million members.2

    1 As of December 31, 2017, within the nine states that allow privately insured credit unions, approximately 116 state-chartered credit unions are privately insured and are not subject to the NCUA's regulation and oversight.

    2 Based on December 31, 2017 Call Report Data.

    At its October 2015 meeting, the Board issued the 2015 Final Rule to amend Part 702 of the NCUA's PCA regulations to require that credit unions taking certain risks hold capital commensurate with those risks.3 The risk-based capital provisions of the 2015 Final Rule apply only to federally insured, natural-person credit unions with quarter-end total assets exceeding $100 million. The overarching intent of the 2015 Final Rule is to reduce the likelihood that a relatively small number of high-risk outlier credit unions would exhaust their capital and cause large losses to the NCUSIF. Under the Federal Credit Union Act (FCUA), federally insured credit unions are collectively responsible for replenishing losses to the NCUSIF.4

    3 80 FR 66625 (Oct. 29, 2015).

    4See 12 U.S.C. 1782(c)(2)(A) (The FCUA requires that each federally insured credit unions to pay a federal share insurance premium equal to a percentage of the credit union's insured shares to ensure that the NCUSIF has sufficient reserves to pay potential share insurance claims by credit union members, and to provide assistance in connection with the liquidation or threatened liquidation of federally insured credit unions in troubled condition.).

    The 2015 Final Rule restructures the NCUA's PCA regulations and makes various revisions, including amending the agency's current risk-based net worth requirement by replacing the risk based net worth ratio with a new risk-based capital ratio for federally insured, natural-person credit unions (credit unions). The risk-based capital requirements set forth in the 2015 Final Rule are more consistent with the NCUA's risk-based capital ratio measure for corporate credit unions and, as the law requires, are more comparable to the regulatory risk-based capital measures used by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and Office of the Comptroller of Currency (Other Banking Agencies). The 2015 Final Rule also eliminates several provisions in the NCUA's current PCA regulations, including provisions related to the regular reserve account, risk-mitigation credits, and alternative risk weights.

    The 2015 Final Rule is currently set to become effective on January 1, 2019. The NCUA delayed the effective date until January 1, 2019 to provide credit unions and the NCUA sufficient time to make the necessary adjustments, such as systems, processes, and procedures; to reduce the burden on affected credit unions.

    II. Legal Authority

    In 1998, Congress enacted the Credit Union Membership Access Act (CUMAA).5 Section 301 of CUMAA added section 216 to the FCUA,6 which required the Board to adopt by regulation a system of PCA to restore the net worth of credit unions that become inadequately capitalized.7 Section 216(b)(1)(A) requires the Board to adopt by regulation a system of PCA for federally insured credit unions “consistent with” section 216 of the FCUA and “comparable to” section 38 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (FDI Act).8 Section 216(b)(1)(B) requires that the Board, in designing the PCA system, also take into account the “cooperative character of credit unions” (i.e., credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives that do not issue capital stock, must rely on retained earnings to build net worth, and have boards of directors that consist primarily of volunteers).9 The Board initially implemented the required system of PCA in 2000,10 primarily in Part 702 of the NCUA's Regulations, and most recently made substantial updates to the regulation in October 2015.11

    5 Public Law 105-219, 112 Stat. 913 (1998).

    6 12 U.S.C. 1790d.

    7 The risk-based net worth requirement for credit unions meeting the definition of “complex” was first applied on the basis of data in the Call Report reflecting activity in the first quarter of 2001. 65 FR 44950 (July 20, 2000). The NCUA's risk-based net worth requirement has been largely unchanged since its implementation, with the following limited exceptions: revisions were made to the rule in 2003 to amend the risk-based net worth requirement for MBLs, 68 FR 56537 (Oct. 1, 2003); revisions were made to the rule in 2008 to incorporate a change in the statutory definition of “net worth,” 73 FR 72688 (Dec. 1, 2008); revisions were made to the rule in 2011 to expand the definition of “low-risk assets” to include debt instruments on which the payment of principal and interest is unconditionally guaranteed by NCUA, 76 FR 16234 (Mar. 23, 2011); and revisions were made in 2013 to exclude credit unions with total assets of $50 million or less from the definition of “complex” credit union, 78 FR 4033 (Jan. 18, 2013).

    8 12 U.S.C. 1790d(b)(1)(A); see also 12 U.S.C. 1831o (Section 38 of the FDI Act setting forth the PCA requirements for banks).

    9 12 U.S.C. 1790d(b)(1)(B).

    10 12 CFR part 702; see also 65 FR 8584 (Feb. 18, 2000) and 65 FR 44950 (July 20, 2000).

    11 80 FR 66625 (Oct. 29, 2015).

    The purpose of section 216 of the FCUA is to “resolve the problems of [federally] insured credit unions at the least possible long-term loss to the [NCUSIF].” 12 To carry out that purpose, Congress set forth a basic structure for PCA in section 216 that consists of three principal components: (1) A framework combining mandatory actions prescribed by statute with discretionary actions developed by the NCUA; (2) an alternative system of PCA to be developed by the NCUA for credit unions defined as “new;” and (3) a risk-based net worth requirement to apply to credit unions the NCUA defines as “complex.”

    12 12 U.S.C. 1790d(a)(1).

    Among other things, section 216(c) of the FCUA requires the NCUA to use a credit union's net worth ratio to determine its classification among five “net worth categories” set forth in the FCUA.13 Section 216(o) generally defines a credit union's “net worth” as its retained earnings balance,14 and a credit union's “net worth ratio,” as the ratio of its net worth to its total assets.15 As a credit union's net worth ratio declines, so does its classification among the five net worth categories, thus subjecting it to an expanding range of mandatory and discretionary supervisory actions.16

    13 12 U.S.C. 1790d(c).

    14 12 U.S.C. 1790d(o)(2).

    15 12 U.S.C. 1790d(o)(3).

    16 12 U.S.C. 1790d(c)-(g); 12 CFR 702.204(a)-(b).

    Section 216(d)(1) of the FCUA requires that the NCUA's system of PCA include, in addition to the statutorily defined net worth ratio requirement applicable to federally insured natural-person credit unions, “a risk-based net worth 17 requirement for insured credit unions that are complex, as defined by the Board. . . .” 18 The FCUA directs the NCUA to base its definition of “complex” credit unions “on the portfolios of assets and liabilities of credit unions.” 19 It also requires the NCUA to design a risk-based net worth requirement to apply to such “complex” credit unions.20

    17 For purposes of this rulemaking, the term “risk-based net worth requirement” is used in reference to the statutory requirement for the Board to design a capital standard that accounts for variations in the risk profile of complex credit unions. The term “risk-based capital ratio” is used to refer to the specific standards established in the 2015 Final Rule to function as criteria for the statutory risk-based net worth requirement. The term “risk-based capital ratio” is also used by the Other Banking Agencies and the international banking community when referring to the types of risk-based requirements that are addressed in the 2015 Final Rule. This change in terminology throughout the proposal would have no substantive effect on the requirements of the FCUA, and is intended only to reduce confusion for the reader.

    18 12 U.S.C. 1790d(d)(1).

    19 12 U.S.C. 1790d(d).

    20Id.

    III. Proposed Rule

    Under § 702.103 of the NCUA's 2015 Final Rule, a credit union is defined as “complex” and the NCUA's risk-based capital ratio measure is applicable only if the credit union's quarter-end total assets exceed $100 million, as reflected in its most recent Call Report. Consistent with the spirit and intent of Executive Order 13777, the NCUA further analyzed the impact of the NCUA's risk-based capital requirements and the portfolios of assets and liabilities of credit unions to identify potential ways to reduce regulatory burden on credit unions.21

    21 The Board has always intended to periodically review the threshold of a complex credit union, as noted in the preamble to the 2015 proposed Risk Based Capital Rule. 80 FR 4339, 4378 (January 27, 2015).

    Based on the NCUA's analysis, which is discussed in more detail below, the Board believes that $500 million in total assets would be a more appropriate threshold level for defining a complex credit union, and therefore subjecting it to the risk-based capital requirement. Increasing the threshold level to $500 million in assets would reduce regulatory burden on credit unions by more closely tailoring the applicability of the NCUA's risk-based capital requirement to cover only those credit unions that, if they failed, individually could present an undue risk of loss to the NCUSIF. This amendment would exempt an additional 1,026 credit unions—a total of 90 percent 22 of all credit unions—from the 2015 Final Rule's risk-based capital requirements. However, approximately 85 percent of the complex assets and liabilities and 76 percent of the total assets in the credit union system would still be subject to the risk-based capital requirement.23 Accordingly, consistent with requirements of section 216(d)(1) of the FCUA, proposed § 702.103 would provide that, for purposes of § 702.102, a credit union is defined as “complex,” and a risk-based capital ratio requirement is applicable, only if the credit union's quarter-end total assets exceed $500 million, as reflected in its most recent Call Report.

    22 Based on December 31, 2017 Call Report data. For comparison, if the threshold were to remain at $100 million about 72 percent of all credit unions would be exempt.

    23 For comparison, if the threshold were to remain at $100 million about 98 percent of the complex assets and liabilities and 93 percent of the total assets in the credit union system would be subject to the risk based capital requirement.

    Under the 2015 Final Rule, the NCUA determined that credit unions exceeding the $100 million asset-size threshold had portfolios of assets and liabilities that were complex based on the products and services in which such credit unions engaged. As explained further below, the $100 million asset-size threshold was developed as a proxy measure based on a detailed analysis performed by the NCUA. The threshold set forth a clear demarcation line, above which the NCUA determined all credit unions engaged in complex activities, and where almost all such credit unions (99 percent) were involved in multiple complex activities.24 The NCUA continues to believe that using a single asset-size threshold is appropriate, as it is clear, logical, and easy to administer. Moreover, using a single asset-size threshold provides regulatory relief for smaller institutions, and eliminates the potential unintended consequences of having a checklist of activities that would determine complexity on an institution-by-institution basis.

    24 80 FR 66625, 66663 (Oct. 29, 2015).

    The $100 million asset threshold adopted in the 2015 Final Rule for determining whether a credit union is complex was based on a complexity index (original complexity index or OCI). The OCI counted the number of complex products and services provided by credit unions based on the following indicators:

    • Member Business Loans • Participation Loans • Interest-Only Loans • Indirect Loans • Real Estate Loans • Non-Federally Guaranteed Student Loans • Investments with Maturities of Greater than Five Years (where the investments are greater than one percent of total assets) • Non-Agency Mortgage-Backed Securities • Non-Mortgage Related Securities With Embedded Options • Collateralized Mortgage Obligations/Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits • Commercial Mortgage-Related Securities • Borrowings (Draws Against Lines of Credit, Borrowing Repurchase Transactions, Other Notes, Promissory Notes, and Interest Payable) • Repurchase Transactions • Derivatives • Internet Banking

    As discussed in more detail in the 2015 Final Rule, these products and services were determined by the NCUA to be good indicators of complexity.25

    25 80 FR 66625, 66663 (Oct. 29, 2015). The 2015 Final Rule states “For the purpose of defining a complex credit union, assets include tangible and intangible items that are economic resources (products and services) that are expected to produce economic benefit (income), and liabilities are obligations (expenses) the credit union has to outside parties. The Board recognizes there are products and services—which under GAAP are reflected as the credit unions' portfolio of assets and liabilities—in which credit unions are engaged that are inherently complex based on the nature of their risk and the expertise and operational demands necessary to manage and administer such activities effectively. Thus, credit unions offering such products and services have complex portfolios of assets and liabilities for purposes of NCUA's risk-based net worth requirement.”

    To define “complex” credit unions for the 2015 Final Rule, the NCUA used the original complexity index to analyze June 30, 2014 and March 31, 2015 Call Report data. Based on the OCI, for credit unions with more than $100 million in assets, 100 percent engaged in offering at least one complex activity; 99 percent engaged in two or more complex activities; and 87 percent engaged in four or more complex activities. Accordingly, the Board determined it was appropriate to set the asset size threshold for “complex” credit unions at $100 million in total assets, subjecting credit unions with more than $100 million in assets to the NCUA's risk-based capital requirements.

    As discussed in more detail below, the OCI did not take into account the volume of the complex activity engaged in by such credit unions.

    Following a careful review of the 2015 Final Rule by the NCUA's regulatory reform task force,26 the Board is now proposing to revise the original complexity index (revised complexity index or RCI), and to apply a new complexity ratio (complexity ratio or CR) for analyzing the portfolios of assets and liabilities of credit unions to determine which are “complex.” The RCI would amend 6 of the indicators in the original complexity index so the index will more accurately reflect “complexity” in credit unions and take into account certain regulatory changes that were made after the 2015 Final Rule was approved. The revised complexity index would be the same as the original complexity index, with the following six changes:

    26See 82 FR 39702, 39706 (Aug. 22, 2017).

    • Replace the indicator for “member business loans” with an indicator for “commercial loans” to reflect changes to the NCUA's member business lending rule,27 and current Call Report data collection requirements.

    27See 12 CFR 723.2; and 81 FR 13529, 13538 (March 14, 2016).

    • Replace the indicator for “participation loans” (which included participation loans sold and participation loans held) with an indicator for “participation loans sold” to restrict the indicator to the most complex component of participation loans.

    • Replace the indicator for “interest-only loans” to exclude first-lien mortgages. The remaining interest only loans include complex payment options. For example, only requiring monthly payments of interest during draw periods.

    • Remove the indicator for “internet banking” because it has become a typical mechanism for members to transact business with most credit unions, with 78 percent of credit unions engaging in some type of internet banking. Also, it is not an asset or liability—therefore there is no suitable way to translate the volume into a financial measure for purposes of defining complex.

    • Remove the indicator for “investments with maturities greater than five years (where the investments are greater than one percent of total assets)” because the indicator is adequately captured in the other index components.

    • Replace the indicator for “real estate loans (where the loans are greater than five percent of assets and/or sold mortgages)” with an indicator for “sold mortgages” to account for the most complex component of real estate loans.

    The NCUA believes the revised complexity index would provide a more accurate methodology, based on the assets and liabilities of credit unions, for identifying when credit unions engage in complex activities and defining credit unions as “complex.” Table 1 shows that, among credit unions with $500 million or more in total assets, 100 percent engage in at least one complex activity, and 96 percent engage in three or more complex activities.

    Table 1—Revised Complexity Index by Asset Category, 2017Q4 Call Report Data Asset category Number of credit
  • unions
  • Average
  • index
  • value
  • Median
  • index
  • value
  • Index >=1
  • (%)
  • Index >=2
  • (%)
  • Index >=3
  • (%)
  • Index >=5
  • (%)
  • Index >=6
  • (%)
  • <$100M 4,016 0.8 0.0 41 21 10 2 1 $100M-$250M 692 3.7 4.0 98 89 73 32 16 $250M-$500M 334 4.9 5.0 99 96 88 57 40 $500M-$750M 149 5.7 6.0 100 98 96 73 53 $750M-$1B 95 6.1 7.0 100 100 97 79 64 $1B+ 287 7.0 7.0 100 98 96 88 77

    In addition to the revised complexity index, the NCUA is also proposing to use a ratio of complex assets and liabilities to total assets (complexity ratio or CR) to evaluate the extent to which credit unions are involved in complex activities. The CR, when used in conjunction with the revised complexity index, takes into account the volume of the complex activity engaged in by complex credit unions and provides a more accurate measure of credit union complexity.28 The numerator of the CR would be the dollar value sum of the complex assets and the liabilities held by a credit union, where complex assets and liabilities are determined using the same complexity indicators as used in the RCI. The denominator of the CR would be the total assets of the credit union.

    28See 80 FR 66625, 66661 (Oct. 29, 2015) (As pointed out by at least one commenter, credit unions should not be considered complex unless complex activities are undertaken in significant volumes. The commenter provided the following example: A credit union that lends a member $60,000 to purchase new equipment for his bakery is engaged in member business lending, but that credit union should not be designated as complex by virtue of that single loan—assuming it is not a significant share of the credit union's assets.).

    As shown in Table 2 below, credit unions with greater than $500 million in total assets hold complex assets and liabilities as a larger share of their total assets than smaller credit unions. The complexity ratio increases from 23 percent among credit unions with less than $500 million in assets to 40 percent among credit unions with more than $500 million in assets. Of the $497 billion in complex assets and liabilities in the credit union system, $423 billion (85 percent)—the majority of complex assets and liabilities in the credit union system—are held among credit unions with more than $500 million in assets.29

    29 Credit unions with assets between $250 million and $500 million hold a higher share of their portfolio in complex assets (32 percent) than the entire group of credit unions below $500 million in assets (23 percent), but it remains below the share of complex assets in credit unions above $500 million in assets (40 percent).

    Table 2—Complexity Ratio by Asset Categories, 2017Q4 Call Report Data Asset category Number of credit unions Complex
  • assets and
  • liabilities
  • Total assests Complex ratio
  • (%)
  • Share of
  • complex A & L
  • in the credit union system
  • (%)
  • Cumulative share of
  • complex A & L
  • in the credit union system
  • (%)
  • <$500M 5,042 74,600 330,545 23 15 15 >$500M 531 422,553 1,048,289 40 85 100

    Table 3 below shows the share of credit unions in each asset category above various complex ratio thresholds. Larger credit unions are much more likely to have a significant share of their balance sheet in complex assets and liabilities. Nearly all credit unions (95 percent) with more than $500 million in assets have complex assets and liabilities greater than 10 percent of their total assets, and 66 percent have complex assets and liabilities greater than 30 percent of their total assets.

    Table 3—Complexity Ratio Above Various Thresholds by Asset Categories, 2017Q4 Asset category Complex ratio >10% Complex ratio >20% Complex ratio >30% <$500M 29 18 11 >$500M 95 84 66

    In general, two-thirds of credit unions with more than $500 million in total assets have complex assets and liabilities ratios above 30 percent. Only 11 percent of credit unions with less than $500 million have complexity ratios above 30 percent.30

    Using both the revised complexity index and the complexity ratio to determine the appropriate threshold for defining complex credit unions would exclude approximately 90 percent of credit unions from the risk-based capital requirement, while still covering approximately 76 percent of the assets held by federally insured credit unions.31 Moreover, the revised definition of a complex credit union would not represent undue risk to the NCUSIF, nor significantly decrease the level of complex assets and liabilities covered by the risk-based capital requirement. Even though the percent of total assets covered by the rule would fall from 93 percent 32 to 76 percent when compared to the $100 million threshold adopted in the 2015 Final Rule,33 85 percent of complex assets and liabilities would still be covered.

    30 Credit unions with assets between $250 million and $500 million are more likely to have a CR greater than 10 percent (88 percent) than the entire group of credit unions below $500 million in assets (29 percent), but it remains below the share of complex assets in credit unions above $500 million in assets (95 percent). Further, the difference widens significantly for CRs above 10 percent. Less than half (47 percent) of credit unions with assets between $250 million and $500 million have a CR greater than 30 percent, whereas over two-thirds of credit unions with more than $500 million in assets have a CR greater than 30 percent.

    31 Based on December 31, 2017 Call Report data.

    32 Based on December 31, 2017 Call Report data, 93 percent of credit union assets would be covered based on the $100 million threshold established by the 2015 Final Rule.

    33 Based on December 31, 2017 Call Report data.

    In addition, if the historical trends in changes to the composition of the credit union community continue, the share of total assets covered by the rule will rise in the future, potentially reaching 90 percent of total assets within the next 10 years. Also, the higher asset threshold still captures those credit unions that, if they failed, individually could present an undue risk of loss to the NCUSIF. In addition, if the historical trends in changes to the composition of the credit union community continue and historical probability of failure and loss given failure rates (excluding fraud related failures) for credit unions with total assets between $100 and $500 million and those with total assets over $500 million remain the same, total losses to the NCUSIF over the next 10 years would likely be significantly larger for credit unions with more than $500 million in assets than for those with assets between $100 million and $500 million.

    Table 4—Credit Unions Bound by Risk-Based Capital, 2017Q4 Call Report Data Asset category Number of
  • complex credit unions bound by risk-based capital
  • Capital required
  • over the net
  • worth ratio
  • (million)
  • Total assets
  • (billion)
  • Assets $100M-$500M 284 $165 $69 Assets >$500M 221 635 370 Total 505 800 439

    Under the 2015 Final Rule, an estimated 505 credit unions would face higher required capital levels as a result of risk-based capital requirements. These 505 credit unions have total assets of $439 billion and the 2015 Final Rule would raise their required capital levels by approximately $800 million above what is required by the net worth ratio.34 Under this proposal, the 284 credit unions with assets between $100 and $500 million would no longer have higher required capital levels as a result of risk-based capital requirements. However, as reflected in Table 4, this proposal would maintain most of the credit union assets subject to higher capital requirements, and incremental capital required by risk-based capital, under the 2015 Final Rule.

    34 Based on December 31, 2017 Call Report data. It is important to note that almost all of these credit unions already hold enough capital to meet either the risk-based capital requirements or the net-worth-based capital requirements.

    Exempting credit unions with assets between $100 million and $500 million represents approximately 16 percent of the total assets of credit unions with required capital levels above what is required by the net worth ratio, and about 21 percent of the incremental capital the system is required to hold under the 2015 Final Rule. However, this proposal still encompasses approximately 84 percent of the total assets of credit unions with required capital levels above what is required by the net worth ratio, and almost 80 percent of the incremental capital the system is required to hold under the 2015 Final Rule.

    Under the 2015 Final Rule, a net of 20 credit unions with total assets of $11.5 billion would have a lower PCA classification with a capital shortfall of $84 million.35 Under this proposal, 6 credit unions (net) with total assets of $8.8 billion would have a lower PCA classification and a capital deficiency of $71 million. Therefore, this proposal encompasses approximately 80 percent of the downgraded credit union assets and approximately 85 percent of the capital shortfall for these institutions.

    35 Based on December 31, 2017 Call Report Data.

    The Board also notes the NCUSIF is much stronger today than it was in 2015 when the agency passed the 2015 Final Rule. The equity ratio of the NCUSIF was 1.29 percent in 2015. In 2018, the NCUSIF equity ratio will be 1.39 percent even after an equity distribution of $736 million is paid to credit unions. The total funds held in the NCUSIF will be approximately $16 billion after the equity distribution this year, about $3.5 billion more than the $12.4 billion held in the fund in 2015.

    The NCUA will continue to address any deficiencies in the capital levels of credit unions with $500 million or less in assets through the examination process.36 Sound capital levels are vital to the long-term health of all credit unions. Credit unions need to hold capital commensurate with their risk. Balancing proper capital accumulation with product offering and pricing strategies helps ensure credit unions are able to provide affordable member services over time. Credit unions are already expected to incorporate into their business models and strategic plans provisions for maintaining prudent levels of capital.

    36See, e.g., § 702.102(b) (Authorizes the NCUA Board to reclassify a well-capitalized credit union as adequately capitalized and may require an adequately capitalized or undercapitalized credit union to comply with certain mandatory or discretionary supervisory actions as if it were classified in the next lower capital category.).

    Also, the Board wants to clarify for commenters that the standard under the Regulatory Flexibility Act for how the NCUA defines a “small credit union” 37 is different from the standard under the FCUA for how the agency defines “complex credit union” for purposes of the risk-based net worth requirement.38 While both definitions currently use an asset threshold of greater than $100 million in total assets, the thresholds were arrived at using different methodologies. The methodologies necessarily vary to address the different applicable statutory provisions.39 This proposal addresses and amends only the NCUA's definition of “complex” credit unions as that term is defined under the 2015 Final Rule. It does not address or propose to amend the NCUA's current definition of “small credit unions” for purposes of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.40

    37 NCUA Interpretative Ruling and Policy Statement 15-1, available at https://www.ncua.gov/regulation-supervision/Pages/rules/interpretive-rulings-policy-statements.aspx.

    38 80 FR 66625, 66663-66664 (October 29, 2015).

    39Compare 80 FR 66663-66664, with 80 FR 57512, 57514-57516 (Sept. 24, 2015).

    40 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.

    V. Effective Date of the 2015 Final Rule

    The Board initially established the effective date of the 2015 Final Rule as January 1, 2019 to provide credit unions and the NCUA with an extended period to make necessary adjustments to systems, processes, and procedures, and to reduce the burden on affected credit unions in meeting the new requirements. Based on feedback from the credit union community and agency staff, and that the agency is proposing to change the definition of complex credit union, the Board believes it is necessary and beneficial to delay the effective date of the 2015 Final Rule as amended by this proposal by one year. Extending the effective date would provide covered credit unions additional time to adjust systems, processes, and procedures; and would help smooth the transition for complex credit unions affected by the requirements of the 2015 Final Rule.

    Until the 2015 Final Rule's effective date, the NCUA's current PCA regulation will remain in effect. The NCUA will continue to enforce the capital standards currently in place and address any supervisory concerns through existing regulatory and supervisory mechanisms. The Board believes that, given the facts above, extending the implementation period of the 2015 Final Rule for an additional year would be reasonable and would not pose undue risk to the NCUSIF. Accordingly, the Board proposes to change the effective date for the 2015 Final Rule, and any changes to that rule finalized as part of this rulemaking, from January 1, 2019 to January 1, 2020.

    VI. Impact of the Proposed Regulation

    The proposed rule will lower the overall impact of the 2015 Final Rule by reducing the number of credit unions subject to the risk-based capital requirements of the rule. By increasing the threshold for defining a complex credit union from more than $100 million to more than $500 million in assets, an additional 1,026 credit unions would be exempt from the 2015 Final Rule's risk-based capital requirements. This represents significant burden relief for these relatively small credit unions, as half of them have assets of $190 million or less. The proposed new definition of complex credit union would exempt a total of 90 percent (5,042) of all credit unions as of December 31, 2017.41 For comparison, if the threshold were to remain at $100 million only about 72 percent of all credit unions would be exempt.

    41 This proposal would limit risk-based capital requirements to only credit unions with assets of more than $500 million compared to the Other Banking Agencies' risk-based capital standards that apply to banks of all sizes. As of December 31, 2017, there were 1,450 and 4,294 FDIC-insured banks with assets of $100 million and $500 million or less, respectively.

    While under this proposal 9 out of 10 credit unions would be exempt, these institutions only hold 24 percent of total assets in the credit union system and 15 percent of complex assets and liabilities.42 Thus, approximately 85 percent of the complex assets and liabilities and 76 percent of the total assets in the credit union system would still be subject to the risk based capital requirement.43

    42 Credit unions with assets between $100 million and $500 million make up 17 percent of assets in the credit union system, and only hold 13 percent of complex assets and liabilities.

    43 For comparison, if the threshold were to remain at $100 million about 98 percent of the complex assets and liabilities and 93 percent of the total assets in the credit union system would still be subject to the risk-based capital requirement.

    The credit unions that would be defined as complex under this proposal have estimated aggregate and average risk-based capital ratios of 16.8 and 17.2 percent, respectively. The aggregate risk-weighted assets to total assets ratio is 63 percent for complex credit unions under this proposal.44 Table 5 shows the distribution of estimated risk-based capital ratios for all complex credit unions based on this proposed rule.

    44 By way of comparison, the bank aggregate total risk-weighted assets to total assets ratio is 72.4 percent as of December 31, 2017. Further, complex credit unions maintain a median risk-based capital ratio of 15.8 percent compared to a bank median risk-based capital ratio of 15.9 percent. Bank comparisons exclude banks with less than $50 million in total assets and more than $60 billion in total assets to arrive at a more comparable asset profile to credit unions.

    Table 5—Distribution of Estimated Risk Based Capital Ratios for Complex Credit Unions RBC Ratio <10% 10-13% 13-16% 16-20% 20-30% 30-50% >50% Number of CUs 7 110 153 144 101 14 2

    As shown in Table 5 above, most complex credit unions will have a risk-based capital ratio well in excess of the 10 percent level required to be well capitalized. Under this proposal, six complex credit unions with total assets of $8.8 billion would have a lower capital classification, with a capital shortfall of approximately $71 million.45 Overall, 98.7 percent of all complex credit unions are well capitalized under this proposed rule.

    Credit unions often hold some margin above regulatory capital requirements. Table 6 below provides a comparison of the margins complex credit unions currently hold in excess of both the net worth ratio requirement and the risk-based capital requirement.

    45 Of the 531 impacted credit unions, only 7, or 1.3 percent, would have less than the 10 percent risk-based capital requirement to be well capitalized. Of these, one has a net worth ratio less than 7 percent and is therefore not a new downgrade in capital classification, but already categorized as less than well capitalized. If the asset threshold for the definition of complex credit union remained at $100 million, a net of 20 credit unions with total assets of $11.5 billion would have a lower capital classification, with a capital shortfall of approximately $84 million.

    Table 6—Distribution of Net Worth Ratio and Risk-Based Capital Ratio for Complex Credit Unions Under This Proposal Number of CUs Less than
  • well
  • capitalized
  • Well
  • capitalized to
  • well + 2%
  • Well
  • capitalized
  • +2% to + 3.5%
  • Well
  • capitalized
  • +3.5% to + 5%
  • Greater than
  • well capitalized
  • + 5%
  • Net Worth Ratio <7% 7%-9% 9%-10.5% 10.5%-12% >12% RBC Ratio <10% 10%-12% 12%-13.5% 13.5%-15% >15% Net Worth Ratio 2 90 166 141 132 RBC Ratio 7 54 82 88 300

    Both measures indicate the large majority of complex credit unions hold margins well above the levels required to be well-capitalized.

    The NCUA also analyzed complex credit unions to determine whether the net worth or risk-based capital requirement would require a credit union to hold more dollars of capital. Table 7 below summarizes the distribution of credit unions by the ratio of risk-weighted assets to total assets for credit unions bound by each capital requirement.

    Table 7—Distribution of Risk-Weighted Assets to Total Assets Ratios for Complex Credit Unions by Governing Capital Requirement Total
  • number
  • Average
  • (%)
  • Risk weighted assets/total assets <50% 50-60% 60-70% 70-80% 80-90% >90%
    Number Bound by Net Worth Ratio 310 58.9 49 101 147 10 2 1 Number Bound by Risk Based Capital 221 71.9 0 3 81 128 6 3

    Forty-two percent of complex credit unions (221 complex credit unions with $370.3 billion in total assets) are estimated to have a higher minimum capital requirement in terms of dollars under the risk-based capital ratio than the net worth ratio.46 These 221 complex credit unions have a notably higher risk profile than the other 310 complex credit unions. The ratio of average risk weighted assets to total assets for the 221 complex credit unions is 72 percent, compared with 59 percent for the remaining 310 complex credit unions. Therefore, relative to what qualifies as capital for risk-based capital purposes, these institutions must hold more net worth in dollars to achieve a well-capitalized designation over what the net worth ratio requires.

    46 The required dollar amount for risk based capital is calculated as [(risk-weighted assets times 10 percent) − allowance for loan losses − equity acquired in merger + total adjusted retained earnings acquired through business combinations + NCUA share insurance capitalization deposit + goodwill + identifiable intangible assets] − (total assets × 7 percent). Complex credit unions in Table 7 are categorized by whichever calculation results in a higher dollar volume.

    In addition, despite holding a greater share of risk-weighted assets, the risk-based capital-bound group of 221 complex credit unions also has, on average, a net worth ratio that is 100 basis point below the net worth ratio of the other 310 complex credit unions.47 Table 7 highlights the distribution of credit unions by risk weighted assets to total assets depending on whether the risk-based capital requirement necessitates more capital than the net worth ratio. The risk-based capital-bound group of 221 complex credit unions would have to retain more net worth in dollars than what is currently required due to the net worth ratio to satisfy the well-capitalized threshold. However, over 97 percent (215) of these institutions already hold more than enough capital to meet the risk-based capital requirement.

    47 The average net worth ratio is 10.3 percent for the 212 complex credit unions bound by risk-based capital while the average net worth ratio for the 310 complex credit unions bound by the net worth ratio is 11.4 percent.

    VI. Request for Comment

    The Board is requesting comment on all aspects of the changes proposed in this proposed rule. In particular, the agency requests comments on:

    1. Whether the definition of a complex credit union, as defined under § 701.103 of the 2015 Final Rule, should be amended to increase the threshold level for coverage from more than $100 million in total assets to more than $500 million in total assets?

    2. Whether the implementation date for the 2015 Final Rule should be amended to extend the effective date of the rule until January 1, 2020?

    VII. Regulatory Procedures Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) generally requires that, in connection with a notice of proposed rulemaking, an agency prepare and make available for public comment an initial regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the impact of a proposed rule on small entities. A regulatory flexibility analysis is not required, however, if the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities (defined for purposes of the RFA to include credit unions with assets less than $100 million) 48 and publishes its certification and a short, explanatory statement in the Federal Register together with the rule.

    48See 80 FR 57512 (Sept. 24, 2015).

    The proposed amendments to the 2015 Final Rule and part 702 would only affect complex credit unions, which are those with greater than $100 million in assets under the 2015 Final Rule and would be amended to cover only those with greater than $500 million in assets under this proposal. As a result, credit unions with $100 million or less in total assets would not be affected by this proposal. Accordingly, the NCUA certifies that this proposal will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small credit unions.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) applies to rulemakings in which an agency by rule creates a new paperwork burden on regulated entities or modifies an existing burden.49 For purposes of the PRA, a paperwork burden may take the form of a reporting, disclosure, or recordkeeping requirement, each referred to as an information collection. The NCUA may not conduct or sponsor, and the respondent is not required to respond to, an information collection unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number.

    49 44 U.S.C. 3507(d).

    The proposed changes to part 702 would increase the asset size of credit unions identified as complex from greater than $100 million to greater than $500 million. This change would reduce the number of credit unions who must comply with recordkeeping requirements prescribed by § 702.101(b). Therefore, the burden cleared under OMB number 3133-0191 will be revised to reflect the reduction in the number of respondents.50

    50 Proposed revisions to OMB control number 3133-0191 have been submitted to OMB for approval in accordance with 5 CFR 1320.11.

    Title of Information Collection: Prompt Corrective Action—Risk-Based Capital.

    OMB Control Number: 3133-0191.

    Affected Public: Private Sector: Not-for-profit institutions—Complex Credit Unions.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 531.

    Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 1.

    Estimated Hours per Response: 40.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 21,240.

    By exempting credit unions with assets between $100 million and $500 million, the NCUA estimates that the burden under this proposed rule would be 41,040 fewer hours.

    The Board invites comment on (a) whether the collections of information are necessary for the proper performance of the agency's function, including practical utility; (b) the accuracy of 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 being collected, and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the information collection on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    All comments are a matter of public record. Comments regarding the information collection requirements of this rule should be sent to (1) Dawn Wolfgang, NCUA PRA Clearance Officer, National Credit Union Administration, 1775 Duke Street, Suite 5080, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, or Fax No. 703-519-8572, or Email at [email protected] and the (2) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Attention: Desk Officer for NCUA, New Executive Office Building, Room 10235, Washington, DC 20503, or email at OIRA_Submission,@OMB.EOP.gov.

    Submission of comments. The NCUA considers comments by the public on this proposed collection of information in:

    • Evaluating whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the NCUA, including whether the information will have a practical use;

    • Evaluating the accuracy of the NCUA's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • Enhancing the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Minimizing the burden of collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology; e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

    Executive Order 13132

    Executive Order 13132 encourages independent regulatory agencies to consider the impact of their actions on state and local interests. The NCUA, an independent regulatory agency as defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(5), voluntarily complies with the principles of the executive order to adhere to fundamental federalism principles. This proposed rule reduces the number of federally insured natural-person credit unions, including federally insured, state-chartered natural-person credit unions that would be subject to the 2015 Final Rule. It may have, to some degree, a 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. It does not, however, rise to the level of material impact for purposed of Executive Order 13132.

    Assessment of Federal Regulations and Policies on Families

    The NCUA has determined that this proposed rule will not affect family well-being within the meaning of section 654 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999, Public Law 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681 (1998).

    List of Subjects in 12 CFR Part 702

    Credit unions, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    By the National Credit Union Administration Board on August 2, 2018. Gerard Poliquin, Secretary of the Board.

    For the reasons discussed above, the Board proposes to further amend 12 CFR part 702, as amended in a final rule at 80 FR 66625 (Oct. 29, 2015), effective January 1, 2019, as follows:

    PART 702—CAPITAL ADEQUACY 1. The authority citation for part 702 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    12 U.S.C. 1766(a), 1790d.

    § 702.103 [Amended]
    2. Amend § 702.103 by removing the words “one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000)” and add in their place “five hundred million dollars ($500,000,000).”
    [FR Doc. 2018-16888 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7535-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2018-0722; Product Identifier 2017-SW-104-AD RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited Helicopters AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to supersede airworthiness directive (AD) 2015-22-02 for Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited (Bell) Model 429 helicopters. AD 2015-22-02 requires inspecting the tail rotor (TR) pitch link assemblies. This proposed AD would retain the inspections of AD 2015-22-02 and would require replacing certain pitch link bearings. Since we issued AD 2015-22-02, Bell has introduced a new design bearing. The actions of this proposed AD are intended to prevent an unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by October 9, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments by any of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically.

    Fax: 202-493-2251.

    Mail: Send comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

    Hand Delivery: Deliver to the “Mail” address between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0722; or in person at Docket Operations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the Transport Canada AD, the economic evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for Docket Operations (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    For service information identified in this final rule, contact Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited, 12,800 Rue de l'Avenir, Mirabel, Quebec J7J1R4; telephone (450) 437-2862 or (800) 363-8023; fax (450) 433-0272; or at http://www.bellcustomer.com/files/. You may review the referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    David Hatfield, Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited

    We invite you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. We also invite comments relating to the economic, environmental, energy, or federalism impacts that might result from adopting the proposals in this document. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. To ensure the docket does not contain duplicate comments, commenters should send only one copy of written comments, or if comments are filed electronically, commenters should submit only one time.

    We will file in the docket all comments that we receive, as well as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. Before acting on this proposal, we will consider all comments we receive on or before the closing date for comments. We will consider comments filed after the comment period has closed if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay. We may change this proposal in light of the comments we receive.

    Discussion

    We issued AD 2015-22-02, Amendment 39-18306 (80 FR 65618, October 27, 2015) (AD 2015-22-02), for Bell Model 429 helicopters with a TR pitch link assembly part number (P/N) 429-112-101 or 429-112-103 installed. AD 2015-22-02 requires repetitively inspecting each inboard and outboard TR pitch link assembly for axial or radial bearing play every 50 hours time-in-service (TIS), performing a dimensional inspection of the TR pitch link if there is axial or radial bearing play, and replacing the TR pitch link before further flight if there is any wear beyond allowable limits. AD 2015-22-02 was prompted by Emergency AD No. CF-2015-16, dated July 2, 2015, and Emergency AD No. CF-2015-16R1, dated August 6, 2015, issued by Transport Canada, to correct an unsafe condition for Bell Model 429 helicopters. Transport Canada advised of several occasions where the TR pitch link spherical bearings experienced early and accelerated wear.

    Actions Since AD 2015-22-02 Was Issued

    Since we issued AD 2015-22-02, Transport Canada has issued AD No. CF-2015-16R2, dated April 17, 2017, which supersedes AD CF-2015-16R1. According to Transport Canada, Bell has reported that the TR pitch link assembly can be rotated during the 50-hour inspections to extend the serviceability life of the bearings. Transport Canada AD No. CF-2015-16R2 requires modified inspection procedures for the spherical bearings and requires replacing the TR pitch link bearings (or the TR pitch link assembly) with spherical bearings manufactured after January 12, 2015. Transport Canada AD No. CF-2015-16R2 also requires re-identifying TR pitch link assemblies with a different P/N after installing the new bearings. We propose to issue this AD to make similar changes.

    FAA's Determination

    These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of Canada and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with Canada, Transport Canada, its technical representative, has notified us of the unsafe condition described in the Transport Canada AD. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all information provided by Transport Canada and determined the unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design.

    Related Service Information

    Bell has issued Alert Service Bulletin No. 429-15-16, Revision B, dated June 15, 2016. This service information contains procedures for repetitively inspecting the TR pitch link assembly until it is upgraded by replacing the TR pitch link bearings.

    AD Requirements

    This proposed AD would require performing a dimensional inspection of the spherical bearings for axial and radial play and inspecting the TR pitch link assembly sealant for pin holes, voids, and excessive thickness. These inspections would be required within 50 hours TIS and thereafter at intervals not exceeding 50 hours TIS.

    This proposed AD would also require replacing any spherical bearing manufactured before January 13, 2015, that has exceeded 250 hours TIS or that has an unknown number of hours TIS, and re-identifying the P/N of the TR pitch link assembly.

    Differences Between This Proposed AD and the Transport Canada AD

    The Transport Canada AD requires the bearing inspection within 10 hours TIS or before exceeding 60 hours TIS since new, whichever occurs later. This proposed AD would require the bearing inspection within 50 hours TIS. The Transport Canada AD also requires replacing certain bearings within 200 hours TIS after the initial bearing inspection or within 250 hours TIS since new, whichever occurs first. This proposed AD would require replacing the bearing within 200 hours of the initial inspection or at the next 50 hour TIS inspection if the hours TIS of a pitch link assembly exceed 250 hours TIS or are unknown.

    Interim Action

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

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 85 helicopters of U.S. Registry. We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in order to comply with this proposed AD. At an average labor rate of $85 per hour, inspecting the TR pitch link assemblies would require 2 work-hours for a cost of $170 per helicopter and $14,450 for the U.S. fleet per inspection cycle. Replacing both spherical bearings in each TR pitch link assembly would require 3 work-hours, and required parts would cost $3,088, for a cost of $3,343 per helicopter and $284,155 for the U.S. fleet.

    According to Bell's service information some of the costs of this proposed AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost impact on affected individuals. We do not control warranty coverage by Bell. Accordingly, we have included all costs in our cost estimate.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

    We determined that this proposed AD will not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed 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, I certify that this proposed regulation:

    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 to the extent that it justifies making a regulatory distinction; and

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

    We prepared an economic evaluation of the estimated costs to comply with this proposed AD and placed it in the AD docket.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2015-22-02, Amendment 39-18306 (80 FR 65618, October 27, 2015), and adding the following new AD: Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited: Docket No. FAA-2018-0722; Product Identifier 2017-SW-104-AD. (a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Model 429 helicopters with a pitch link assembly part number (P/N) 429-012-112-101, 429-012-112-103, 429-012-112-101FM, or 429-012-112-103FM installed, certificated in any category.

    (b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as a worn pitch link. This condition, if not corrected, could result in pitch link failure and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

    (c) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 2015-22-02, Amendment 39-18306 (80 FR 65618, October 27, 2015).

    (d) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by October 9, 2018.

    (e) Compliance

    You are responsible for performing each action required by this AD within the specified compliance time unless it has already been accomplished prior to that time.

    (f) Required Actions

    (1) Within 50 hours time-in-service (TIS) and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 50 hours TIS:

    (i) Perform a dimensional inspection of each inboard and outboard pitch link assembly for axial and radial bearing play. With a 10X or higher power magnifying glass, inspect the bearing liner for a crack, deterioration of the liner, and extrusion of the liner from the plane. If there is axial or radial play that exceeds allowable limits, or if there is a crack, deterioration of the liner, or extrusion of the liner, before further flight, replace the bearing.

    (ii) Inspect the pitch link assembly sealant for pin holes and voids and to determine if the sealant thickness is 0.025 inch (0.64 mm) or less, extends over the roll staked lip by 0.030 inch (0.76 mm) or more, and is clear of the bearing ball. If there is a pin hole or void, or if the sealant exceeds 0.026 inch (0.66 mm), does not extend over the roll staked lip by 0.030 inch (0.76 mm) or more, or is not clear of the bearing ball, before further flight, replace the bearing.

    (2) For pitch link assembly part number (P/N) 429-012-112-101, 429-012-112-103, 429-012-112-101FM, and 429-012-112-103FM, within 200 hours TIS following the initial inspection required by paragraph (f)(1) of this AD, or if the hours TIS of a pitch link assembly exceed 250 hours TIS or are unknown, at the next 50 hour TIS inspection required by paragraph (f)(1) of this AD:

    (i) Replace each bearing P/N 429-312-107-103 with a date of manufacture before January 13, 2015, with a bearing P/N 429-312-107-103 that was manufactured on or after January 13, 2015.

    (ii) Using a white permanent fine point marker or equivalent, re-identify the pitch link assembly:

    (A) Re-identify P/N 429-012-112-101 and 429-012-112-101FM as 429-012-112-111FM.

    (B) Re-identify P/N 429-012-112-103 and 429-012-112-103FM as 429-012-112-113FM.

    (iii) Apply a coating of DEVCON 2-TON (C-298) or equivalent over the new P/N.

    (g) Special Flight Permits

    Special flight permits are prohibited.

    (h) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: David Hatfield, Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email [email protected].

    (2) For operations conducted under a 14 CFR part 119 operating certificate or under 14 CFR part 91, subpart K, we suggest that you notify your principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office or certificate holding district office, before operating any aircraft complying with this AD through an AMOC.

    (i) Additional Information

    (1) Bell Alert Service Bulletin No. 429-15-16, Revision B, dated June 15, 2016, which is not incorporated by reference, contains additional information about the subject of this AD. For service information identified in this AD, contact Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited, 12,800 Rue de l'Avenir, Mirabel, Quebec J7J1R4; telephone (450) 437-2862 or (800) 363-8023; fax (450) 433-0272; or at http://www.bellcustomer.com/files/. You may review a copy of the service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177.

    (2) The subject of this AD is addressed in Transport Canada AD No. CF-2015-16R2, dated April 17, 2017. You may view the Transport Canada AD on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov in the AD Docket.

    (j) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 6720 Tail Rotor Control System.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on July 23, 2018. Scott A. Horn, Deputy Director for Regulatory Operations, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16637 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2018-0669; Product Identifier 2017-SW-041-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters (Previously Eurocopter France) AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2016-25-19 for Airbus Helicopters (previously Eurocopter France) Model AS350B3 and EC130B4 helicopters. AD 2016-25-19 requires inspecting the pilot's and co-pilot's throttle twist for proper operation. This proposed AD would retain the requirements of AD 2016-25-19 and add certain model helicopters to the applicability. The actions of this proposed AD are intended to address the unsafe condition on these helicopters.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by October 9, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments by any of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically.

    Fax: 202-493-2251.

    Mail: Send comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

    Hand Delivery: Deliver to the “Mail” address between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0669; or in person at Docket Operations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, the economic evaluation, any comments received and other information. The street address for Docket Operations (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    For service information identified in this proposed rule, contact Airbus Helicopters, 2701 N. Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 75052; telephone (972) 641-0000 or (800) 232-0323; fax (972) 641-3775; or at http://www.helicopters.airbus.com/website/en/ref/Technical-Support_73.html. You may review service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy, Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    George Schwab, Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited

    We invite you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. We also invite comments relating to the economic, environmental, energy, or federalism impacts that might result from adopting the proposals in this document. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. To ensure the docket does not contain duplicate comments, commenters should send only one copy of written comments, or if comments are filed electronically, commenters should submit only one time.

    We will file in the docket all comments that we receive, as well as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. Before acting on this proposal, we will consider all comments we receive on or before the closing date for comments. We will consider comments filed after the comment period has closed if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay. We may change this proposal in light of the comments we receive.

    Discussion

    We issued AD 2016-25-19, Amendment 39-18745 (81 FR 95854, December 29, 2016) (AD 2016-25-19), for Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B3 and EC130B4 helicopters with the ARRIEL 2B1 engine with the two-channel Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) and with new twist grip modification (MOD) 073254 (for the Model AS350B3 helicopter) or MOD 073773 (for the Model EC130B4 helicopter). AD 2016-25-19 requires repetitively inspecting the wiring, performing an insulation test, inspecting the pilot and copilot throttle twist grip controls, and testing the pilot and copilot throttle twist grip controls for proper functioning. AD 2016-25-19 was prompted by AD No. 2013-0191-E, dated August 22, 2013 (EASA AD 2013-0191-E), issued by EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union. EASA advised that the switches in the engine “IDLE” or “FLIGHT” control system could be affected by the corrosive effects of a salt-laden atmosphere, which could lead to engine power loss. EASA AD 2013-0191-E required repetitive inspections for corrosion, application of corrosion protection on the switches, and testing of the insulation and switches of the engine idle and flight control system. The actions required in AD 2016-25-19 are intended to prevent unintended touchdown to the ground at a flight-idle power setting during a practice autorotation, damage to the helicopter, and injury to occupants.

    Actions Since AD 2016-25-19 Was Issued

    Since we issued AD 2016-25-19, EASA issued AD No. 2017-0052, dated March 24, 2017, which superseded EASA AD No. 2013-0191-E, dated August 22, 2013. EASA advised that Airbus Helicopters had added clarifications to the operational procedure, introduced a modification to apply water-tight protection to the microswitch connectors, and extended the applicability to helicopters with a Turbomecca ARRIEL 2D engine installed.

    EASA subsequently issued AD No. 2017-0059, dated April 6, 2017, which superseded EASA AD No. 2017-0052 to correct the applicability by including Model EC130T2 helicopters.

    FAA's Determination

    These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of France and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with France, EASA, its technical representative, has notified us of the unsafe condition described in its AD. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all known relevant information and determined that an unsafe condition is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    We reviewed one document that co-publishes three Emergency Alert Service Bulletin (EASB) identification numbers: No. 05.00.61, Revision 3, dated June 15, 2015, for Model AS350B3 helicopters; No. 05.00.41, Revision 2, dated June 15, 2015, for the non-FAA type certificated Model AS550C3 helicopter; and No. 05A009, Revision 3, dated June 15, 2015, for Model EC130B4 helicopters. EASB Nos. 05.00.61 and 05A009 are incorporated by reference in AD 2016-25-19 and will be retained for the requirements of this proposed AD. EASB No. 05.00.41 is not incorporated by reference in AD 2016-25-19 and will not be incorporated by reference in this proposed AD. This service information applies to helicopters with an Arriel 2B1 engine installed and describes procedures for a functional check and installation of protection for micro-contacts (microswitches) 53Ka, 53Kb, and 65K (IDLE/FLIGHT mode).

    We also reviewed one document that co-publishes three EASB identification numbers: No. 05.00.77, Revision 1, dated June 15, 2015, for Model AS350B3 helicopters; No. 05.00.52, Revision 1, dated June 15, 2015, for the non-FAA type certificated Model AS550C3 helicopter; and No. 05A014, Revision 1, dated June 15, 2015, for Model EC130T2 helicopters. EASB Nos. 05.00.77 and 05A014 will be incorporated by reference in this proposed AD. EASB No. 05.00.52 will not be incorporated by reference in this proposed AD. This service information applies to helicopters with an Arriel 2D engine installed and describes procedures for a check of the protection for micro-contacts (microswitches) 53Ka, 53Kb, and 65K (IDLE/FLIGHT mode).

    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.

    Proposed AD Requirements

    This proposed AD would retain the inspection requirements of AD 2016-25-19 but would add Model AS350B3 helicopters with an Arriel 2D engine installed and Model EC130T2 helicopters.

    Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD

    The EASA AD requires the initial inspections within 10 flight hours or 7 days; this proposed AD requires compliance before the next autorotation training flight or before 100 hours time-in-service, whichever occurs earlier, as the unsafe condition only occurs when transitioning the throttle in flight from flight to idle and back to flight, such as during a practice autorotation.

    Additionally, the EASA AD requires installing Airbus Helicopters modification 074263; this proposed AD does not as it does not correct the unsafe condition.

    Interim Action

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

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 692 helicopters of U.S. Registry.

    We estimate that operators will incur the following costs in order to comply with this proposed AD. At an average labor rate of $85 per work hour, it would take about 4 work hours for the inspections and any necessary maintenance, for a total cost of $340 per helicopter and $235,280 for the U.S. fleet per inspection cycle.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

    For the reasons discussed, I certify this proposed regulation:

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

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

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska to the extent that it justifies making a regulatory distinction; and

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

    We prepared an economic evaluation of the estimated costs to comply with this proposed AD and placed it in the AD docket.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2016-25-19, Amendment 39-18745 (81 FR 95854, December 29, 2016), and adding the following new AD: Airbus Helicopters (Previously Eurocopter France): Docket No. FAA-2018-0669; Product Identifier 2017-SW-041-AD. (a) Applicability

    This AD applies to the following helicopters, certificated in any category:

    (1) Model AS350B3 helicopters with an ARRIEL 2B1 engine with the two-channel Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) and with new twist grip modification (MOD) 073254 or with an ARRIEL 2D engine installed;

    (2) Model EC130B4 helicopters with an ARRIEL 2B1 engine with the two-channel FADEC and with new twist grip MOD 073773 installed; and

    (3) Model EC130T2 helicopters with an ARRIEL 2D engine installed.

    (b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as failure of one of the two contactors, 53Ka or 53Kb, which can prevent switching from “IDLE” mode to “FLIGHT” mode during autorotation training making it impossible to recover from a practice autorotation and compelling the pilot to continue the autorotation to the ground. This condition could result in unintended touchdown to the ground at a flight-idle power setting during a practice autorotation, damage to the helicopter, and injury to occupants.

    (c) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 2016-25-19, Amendment 39-18745 (81 FR 95854, December 29, 2016).

    (d) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by October 9, 2018.

    (e) Compliance

    You are responsible for performing each action required by this AD within the specified compliance time unless it has already been accomplished prior to that time.

    (f) Required Actions

    (1) Before the next practice autorotation or within 100 hours time-in-service (TIS), whichever occurs first, inspect the wiring, perform an insulation test, inspect the pilot and copilot throttle twist grip controls, and test the pilot and copilot throttle twist grip controls for proper functioning by following the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 3.B.1 through 3.B.6, of Airbus Helicopters Emergency Alert Service Bulletin (EASB) No. 05.00.61, Revision 3, dated June 15, 2015, for Model AS350B3 helicopters with an ARRIEL 2B1 engine; EASB No. 05.00.77, Revision 1, dated June 15, 2015, for Model AS350B3 helicopters with an ARRIEL 2D engine; EASB No. 05A009, Revision 3, dated June 15, 2015, for Model EC130B4 helicopters; or EASB No. 05A014, Revision 1, dated June 15, 2015, for Model EC130T2 helicopters, as appropriate for your model helicopter.

    (2) Repeat the inspections in paragraph (f)(1) of this AD at intervals not to exceed the following compliance times. For purposes of this AD, salt laden conditions exist when a helicopter performs a flight from a takeoff and landing area, heliport, or airport less than 0.5 statute mile from salt water or performs a flight within 0.5 statute mile from salt water below an altitude of 1,000 ft. above ground or sea level.

    (i) For helicopters that have operated in salt laden conditions since the previous inspection required by this AD, at intervals not to exceed 330 hours TIS.

    (ii) For helicopters that have not operated in salt laden conditions since the previous inspection required by this AD, at intervals not to exceed 660 hours TIS.

    (g) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: George Schwab, Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, 10101 Hillwood Parkway, Fort Worth, Texas 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email [email protected].

    (2) For operations conducted under a 14 CFR part 119 operating certificate or under 14 CFR part 91, subpart K, we suggest that you notify your principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office or certificate holding district office before operating any aircraft complying with this AD through an AMOC.

    (h) Additional Information

    The subject of this AD is addressed in European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD No. 2017-0059, dated April 6, 2017. You may view the EASA AD on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov in the AD Docket.

    (i) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 7697 Engine Control System Wiring.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on July 11, 2018. Scott A. Horn, Deputy Director for Regulatory Operations, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16494 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R03-OAR-2018-0153; FRL-9981-76—Region 3] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Maryland; Amendment to Control of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds From Consumer Products AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve a state implementation plan (SIP) revision submitted by the State of Maryland. This revision pertains to Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 26.11.32—Control of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from Consumer Products. This action is being taken under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before September 7, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R03-OAR-2018-0153 at http://www.regulations.gov, or via email to Susan Spielberger, Associate Director, Office of Air Planning and Programs, [email protected] For comments submitted at Regulations.gov, follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. For either manner of submission, EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be confidential business information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e. on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. For the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Gregory Becoat (215) 814-2036, or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On November 16, 2017, the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) submitted a revision to its SIP for COMAR 26.11.32—Control of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Consumer Products. The amendment is part of Maryland's strategy to achieve and maintain the 8-hour ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) throughout the State.

    I. Background

    EPA has designated certain areas within Maryland as nonattainment for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. See 40 CFR 81.321. Also, all of Maryland is included in the Ozone Transport Region (OTR) and is therefore treated as a moderate nonattainment area for ozone. See CAA section 184(a), (b)(2), 42 U.S.C. 7511c(a), (b)(2). Therefore, Maryland must continue to enact regulations to gain further reductions of the emissions of VOCs, a class of compounds that are precursors to ground-level ozone. Ozone is formed in the atmosphere by photochemical reactions between VOCs and oxides of nitrogen (NOX) in the presence of sunlight. In order to reduce ozone concentrations, the CAA requires control of VOC and NOX emission sources to achieve VOC and/or NOX emission reductions in nonattainment areas.

    In December 1999, EPA identified emission reduction shortfalls in several severe 1-hour ozone nonattainment areas, including those located in the OTR. The Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) developed model rules for a number of source categories. One of the model rules was to reduce VOC emissions from consumer products. The OTC model rules are based on existing rules developed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in 2001 (See “OTC Model Rule for Consumer Products,” issued March 28, 2001, revised November 29, 2001, and April 23, 2002), which were then analyzed and modified by OTC-formed workgroups to address emission reduction needs in the OTR. The 2001 OTC model rule set VOC emission limits on nearly 80 percent of the consumer product categories. Maryland adopted the 2001 OTC model rule for consumer products under COMAR 26.11.32—Control of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Consumer Products, on August 18, 2003. EPA approved Maryland's adopted regulation COMAR 26.11.32 as part of the SIP on December 8, 2004 (69 FR 70895). The OTC model rule for consumer products was amended on September 19, 2006, based upon changes by CARB in 2005. Maryland adopted the amended 2006 OTC model rule for consumer products under COMAR 26.11.32—Control of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Consumer Products, on June 8, 2007.

    The amended model rule added fourteen consumer product categories with new product category definitions and VOC limits; revised one previously regulated category with a more restrictive VOC limit; and established additional requirements for two previously regulated categories. EPA approved Maryland's amended regulation into the SIP on December 10, 2007 (72 FR 69621). Maryland again amended its consumer products regulation and on October 18, 2010 (75 FR 63717), EPA approved Maryland's SIP revision to COMAR 26.11.32—Control of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Consumer Products. This SIP revision added and amended definitions; added VOC content limits for an additional 11 categories of consumer products; and revised the VOC content limits for one category of consumer products that was already regulated.

    MDE's November 16, 2017 SIP revision asks EPA to approve into the SIP recent amendments to COMAR 26.11.32—Control of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Consumer Products, in order to institute the requirements of the 2010 and 2014 OTC model rules for consumer products. The 2010 and 2014 model rules were developed as part of a regional effort to attain and maintain the 8-hour ozone NAAQS, and reduce 8-hour ozone levels. The 2010 OTC model rule reflected changes made by the 2006 CARB rule. The 2014 OTC model rule reflected changes made by the 2009 CARB rule. The OTC model rules further enhance VOC standards for specific consumer products and introduces VOC standards for new products. The amendments to COMAR 26.11.32—Control of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Consumer Products, consists of updates to the VOC content limits and standards for a variety of consumer product categories, including personal care products, household products, automotive cleaners, and adhesives. The regulations set forth content and labeling requirements for flammable multi-purpose solvents and paint thinners. In addition, the regulations prohibit the sale, offer for sale, supply, or manufacture for use in the State of certain products manufactured on or after January 1 that contain methylene chloride, perchloroethylene, or trichloroethylene. These products include any bathroom and tile cleaner, construction panel and floor covering adhesive, electronic cleaner labeled “Energized Electronic Equipment use only,” general purpose cleaner, or oven or grill cleaner. The amendments also establish VOC standards for 11 new consumer product categories. In addition, the amendments further strengthen the VOC standards for 15 consumer product categories based on improved reformulations of these products that are capable of achieving lower VOC emissions while demonstrating an ability to maintain performance specifications for the products. The amendments also incorporate new definitions and numerous modifications to existing definitions to improve clarity. In particular, MDE amended the structure of the definition, exemptions, and VOC standard for the artist's thinner/solvent consumer product category without changing the regulatory language, which remains consistent with the 2009 CARB rule and the 2014 OTC model rule.

    It is important to note that the 2006 CARB rule eliminated the “hair styling gel” category and now considers gels to fall under “hair styling product—all other forms.” Moving gels under the “hair styling product—all other forms” category reduced the VOC limit from 6 to 2 percent VOC by weight. The 2014 OTC model rule did not address this amendment as intended; however, MDE amended “hair styling gel” to be included under the “hair styling product—all other forms” category to meet the VOC limit of 2 percent VOC by weight in order to remain consistent with CARB.

    II. Summary of SIP Revision and EPA Analysis

    The SIP revision consists of Maryland's revision to regulations .01-.06, .08, .12, .14, .16, and the addition of a new regulation .05-1, under COMAR 26.11.32—Control of Emissions of VOCs from Consumer Products. Generally, the regulations establish or amend VOC content limits and standards for a variety of consumer product categories, including personal care products, household products, automotive cleaners, and adhesives, in order to be consistent with the CARB and OTC model rules. The regulations also, among other things:

    1. Set forth content and labeling requirements for flammable multi-purpose solvent and paint thinner;

    2. prohibit the sale, offer for sale, supply, or manufacture for use in the State of specified products that contain methylene chloride, perchloroethylene, or trichloroethylene, which are compounds that are potential carcinogens; and

    3. make various updates to the applicability provisions, documents incorporated by reference, definitions, reporting requirements, exemptions, and test methods.

    Substantial amendments were made to COMAR 26.11.32.04—Standards—General, to establish that a person may not sell, supply, offer for sale, or manufacture for sale in the State a consumer product that contains VOCs in excess of limits specified in COMAR 26.11.32.04B based on the CARB and OTC model rules. The following 11 consumer products categories were added, including the VOC standards limits in parentheses based on percent VOC by weight: (1) Dual Purpose Air freshener/Disinfectant, Aerosol (60); (2) Anti-Static Product, Aerosol (80); (3) Artist's Solvent/Thinner (3); (4) Automotive Windshield Cleaner (35); (5) Disinfectant, Aerosol (70); (6) Disinfectant, Non-Aerosol (1); (7) Multi-Purpose Solvent (3); (8) Paint Thinner (3); (9) Sanitizer, Aerosol (70); (10) Sanitizer, Non-Aerosol (1); and (11) Temporary Hair Color, Aerosol (55).

    The following existing 15 consumer products categories were amended, including the VOC content limits in parentheses based on percent VOC by weight: (1) Adhesive—Construction, Panel and Floor (7); (2) Automotive Brake Cleaner (category changed to Brake Cleaner (10); (3) Bathroom and Tile Cleaner, All Other Forms (subcategory changed to Non-Aerosol (1); (4) Carburetor or Fuel-Injection Air Intake Cleaner (10); (5) Engine Degreaser, Aerosol (10); (6) Floor Polish/Wax, Resilient Flooring Material (1); (7) Floor Polish/Wax, Non-resilient Flooring Material (1); (8) Furniture Maintenance Product, All Other Forms (subcategory changed to Non-Aerosol) (3); (9) General Purpose Cleaner, Aerosol (8); (10) General Purpose Degreaser, Aerosol (10); and (11) Laundry Starch/Sizing/Fabric Finish Product (4.5); (12) Nail Polish Remover (1); (13) Oven or Grill Cleaner, Non-Aerosol (subcategory changed to Non-Aerosol) (4); (14) Oven or Grill Cleaner, Aerosol (8); and (15) Shaving Gel (4).

    In addition to these revised and new standards, Maryland added a requirement for “flammable and extremely flammable multi-purpose solvent and paint thinner,” to meet the formulated California VOC limits. The revision will continue to help Maryland attain and maintain the eight-hour ozone standard for the 2008 NAAQS. The revision is expected to result in estimated statewide VOC emissions reduction potential of approximately 6.3 tons per day through the implementation of standards for new and existing forms of consumer products. This estimate is based on the proposed emissions benefit methodology of CARB and OTC model rules.

    Further details of Maryland's regulation revisions and the CARB and OTC model rules for consumer products can be found in the docket of this proposed rulemaking EPA-R03-OAR-2018-0153 on www.regulations.gov.

    III. Proposed Action

    EPA is proposing to approve MDE's amendments to COMAR 26.11.32—Control of Emissions of VOCs from Consumer Products, that adopts the VOC limits established in the 2010 and 2014 OTC model rules for consumer products, based on the 2006 and 2009 CARB rules; respectively (with the exception of the previously discussed “hair styling gel” category). The OTR estimated regional VOC emission reductions of approximately 15 percent if all OTR states, including Maryland, adopts the 2010 and 2014 model rules. EPA's review of this material indicates that the revisions made to COMAR 26.11.32—Control of Emissions of VOCs from Consumer Products, meet the SIP revision requirements of the CAA. EPA is proposing to approve the State of Maryland's SIP revision for the control of emissions of VOCs from consumer products, which was submitted on November 19, 2017. EPA is soliciting public comments on the proposed adoption of these changes into the Maryland SIP.

    IV. Incorporation by Reference

    In this proposed rule, EPA is proposing to include in a final EPA rule regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, EPA is proposing to incorporate by reference the specific provisions of the Maryland rule discussed in section II of this preamble. EPA has made, and will continue to make, these materials generally available through http://www.regulations.gov and at the EPA Region III Office (please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this preamble for more information).

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In addition, this proposed rule, to approve amendments to the State of Maryland's COMAR 26.11.32—Control of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Consumer Products, does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), because the SIP is not approved to apply in Indian country located in the state, and EPA notes that it will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Consumer products, Incorporation by reference, Ozone, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Volatile organic compounds.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: July 24, 2018. Cecil Rodrigues, Acting Regional Administrator, Region III.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16776 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2018-0413; FRL-9981-73—Region 9] Revisions to California State Implementation Plan; South Coast Air Quality Management District; Stationary Source Permits AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing action on a revision to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD or District) portion of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). We are proposing a conditional approval of an update to provisions governing issuance of permits for stationary sources, including review and permitting of major sources and major modifications under part D of title I of the Clean Air Act (CAA). Specifically, the revision pertains to SCAQMD Rule 1325—Federal PM 2.5 New Source Review Program. We are taking comments on this proposal and a final action will follow.

    DATES:

    Any comments must arrive by September 7, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R09-OAR-2018-0413 at http://www.regulations.gov, or via email to [email protected] For comments submitted at Regulations.gov, follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be removed or edited from Regulations.gov. For either manner of submission, the EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. The EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e. on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. For the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Laura Yannayon, EPA Region 9, (415) 972-3534, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document, the terms “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to EPA.

    Table of Contents I. The State's Submittal A. What rule did the State submit? B. Are there other versions of this rule? C. What is the purpose of the submitted rule? II. The EPA's Evaluation A. How is the EPA evaluating the rule? B. Does the rule meet the evaluation criteria? III. Proposed Action and Public Comment IV. Incorporation by Reference V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. The State's Submittal A. What rule did the State submit?

    Table 1 lists the rule addressed by this proposal with the date it was adopted by SCAQMD and submitted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the governor's designee for California SIP submittals. Rule 1325 contains the District's New Source Review (NSR) permit program applicable to new and modified major sources emitting fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and PM2.5 precursors.

    Table 1—Submitted Rule Rule No. Rule title Amended Submitted 1325 Federal PM2.5 New Source Review Program 11/4/16 5/8/17

    On November 1, 2017, CARB's May 8, 2017 submittal of Rule 1325 was deemed to meet the completeness criteria in 40 CFR part 51, appendix V. Completeness criteria must be met before formal EPA review.

    B. Are there other versions of this rule?

    The current SIP contains a version of Rule 1325—Federal PM 2.5 New Source Review Program, approved into the SIP on May 1, 2015 (80 FR 24821). Consistent with the District's stated intent to have the submitted rule replace the existing SIP-approved rule in its entirety, EPA's conditional approval of the rule identified above in Table 1 would have the effect of entirely superseding our prior approval of the same rule in the current SIP-approved program.

    C. What is the purpose of the submitted rule?

    For areas designated as nonattainment for one or more National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), the SIP must include preconstruction permit requirements for new or modified major stationary sources of such nonattainment pollutant(s), commonly referred to as “Nonattainment New Source Review” (NNSR). CAA 172(c)(5).

    SCAQMD Rule 1325 addresses NNSR permit requirements for major sources of PM2.5. Rule 1325 has been amended to address SCAQMD's reclassification from a Moderate to a Serious PM2.5 nonattainment area and to implement additional provisions pertaining to precursors, as promulgated in EPA's rule entitled Fine Particulate Matter National Ambient Air Quality Standards: State Implementation Plan Requirements (“2016 Implementation Rule”).1

    1 81 FR 58010, August 24, 2016.

    II. The EPA's Evaluation and Action A. How is the EPA evaluating the rule?

    Under EPA's 2016 Implementation Rule, which implements the D.C. Circuit court's January 2013 decision in NRDC v. EPA, 2 areas classified as nonattainment for any PM2.5 NAAQS are required to comply with the parts of CAA subpart 4 section 189(e) 3 that require the control of major stationary sources of PM10 precursors (and hence under the court decision, PM2.5 precursors) “except where the Administrator determines that such sources do not contribute significantly to PM10 levels which exceed the standard in the area.” The 2016 Implementation Rule amended the definitions of (1) Regulated NSR Pollutant with regards to PM2.5 precursors; (2) Major Stationary Source with regards to major sources locating in PM2.5 nonattainment areas classified as Moderate and Serious; and (3) Significant with regards to emissions of PM2.5 precursors. Rule 1325 is subject to these new regulatory requirements.

    2 706 F.3d 428 (D.C. Cir. 2013).

    3 This requirement was codified in 40 CFR 51.165(a)(13). See 81 FR 58010, August 24, 2016.

    The SCAQMD is classified as a Moderate nonattainment area for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. On January 13, 2016,4 the SCAQMD was reclassified from a Moderate to a Serious PM2.5 nonattainment area for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS. The major source permitting threshold for a Moderate PM2.5 nonattainment area is 100 tons per year (tpy) of direct PM2.5 or any PM2.5 precursor, and 70 tpy for a Serious PM2.5 nonattainment area.

    4 81 FR 1514, January 13, 2016.

    In addition, EPA has reviewed the submitted rule for compliance with: (1) The requirements for SIPs as set forth in CAA section 110(a)(2); (2) the requirements related to SIP revisions in CAA sections 110(l) and 193; (3) the requirements for stationary source preconstruction permitting programs in CAA section 173(a) through (c); and (4) the requirements related to the review and modification of major sources in 40 CFR part 51.165 that pertain to a PM2.5 nonattainment area classified as Serious.

    B. Does the rule meet the evaluation criteria?

    In our previous May 1, 2015 5 action we evaluated Rule 1325 in accordance with the CAA and regulatory requirements listed in Section II.A of this preamble. In that action, we determined Rule 1325 satisfied the applicable requirements for a PM2.5 NNSR permit program. Below we discuss and evaluate the revised portions of submitted Rule 1325 to determine if the revisions meet current applicable requirements for a PM2.5 NNSR permit program.

    5 80 FR 24821.

    Section (a)—Applicability, contains minor revisions to clarify that the rule applies to major polluting facilities that will emit PM2.5 or its precursors in areas federally-designated as nonattainment for PM2.5. EPA finds these clarifying revisions approvable.

    Section (b)—Definitions, has been revised to update: (1) The effective date of the referenced 40 CFR 51.165(a)(1) definitions; (2) the definition of Major Polluting Facility to include a 70 tpy emissions threshold, effective upon the date of the EPA's approval of the November 4, 2016 amendments to Rule 1325; (3) the definition of Precursors to include volatile organic compounds (VOC) and ammonia, effective upon the date of the EPA's approval of the November 4, 2016 amendments to Rule 1325; and (4) the definition of “Significant” to include VOC and ammonia and specify a 40 tpy threshold. EPA finds these revisions approvable, as they are consistent with current applicable requirements for a serious PM2.5 nonattainment area.

    The definition of Regulated NSR Pollutant was not revised to include VOC and ammonia as PM2.5 precursors. Because the definition for the term Major Modification relies on the definition of Regulated NSR Pollutant, Rule 1325 does not satisfy the requirement to include VOC and ammonia as PM2.5 precursors when evaluating if a project will result in a major modification, and it is therefore deficient.

    Section (f)—Two Year Limit on Facility Exemption has been revised to lower the emissions threshold for this exemption provision from 100 tpy to 70 tpy, effective upon the date of the EPA's approval of the November 4, 2016 amendments to Rule 1325. The provision requires a source to aggregate its PM2.5 emissions from any permit actions that occur within a two-year period to determine if emissions exceed 70 tpy; if so, offsets are required for the aggregated emission increase. This provision requiring PM2.5 emissions to be aggregated is more stringent that CAA requirements. Therefore, EPA finds this more stringent provision acceptable.

    Section (j)—Offset Exemptions for Regulatory Compliance has been added.

    This provision allows the Executive Officer to exempt new or modified sources installed solely to comply with District, state or federal air pollution control regulations from the otherwise applicable offset requirements. EPA finds this new provision approvable.

    In addition, other minor editorial or conforming edits have been made throughout the rule. EPA finds these revisions approvable.

    With respect to procedural requirements, CAA sections 110(a)(2) and 110(l) require that revisions to a SIP be adopted by the state after reasonable notice and public hearing. EPA has promulgated specific procedural requirements for SIP revisions in 40 CFR part 51, subpart V. These requirements include publication of notices by prominent advertisement in the relevant geographic area, a public hearing or notice of an opportunity for a public hearing on the proposed revisions, and a public comment period of at least 30 days.

    Based on our review of the public process documentation included in the May 5, 2017 submittal, we find that SCAQMD has provided sufficient evidence of public notice and opportunity for comment and a public hearing prior to adoption and submittal of these rules to EPA.

    Section 193 of the Act, which was added by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, includes a clause providing in pertinent part: “No control requirement in effect, or required to be adopted by an order, settlement agreement, or plan in effect before November 15, 1990, in any area which is a nonattainment area for any air pollutant may be modified after November 15, 1990, in any manner unless the modification insures equivalent or greater emission reductions of such air pollutant.” Since PM2.5 is a NAAQS adopted after 1990, there are no existing PM2.5 control requirements that would be subject to the provisions of Section 193 of the CAA. Therefore, for the purposes of our analysis of Rule 1325, we find that Section 193 of the CAA does not apply to this action.

    III. Proposed Action and Public Comment

    Because the revisions to Rule 1325 do not ensure VOC and ammonia emissions are evaluated to determine if a proposed project will result in a major modification, EPA cannot grant full approval of this rule under section 110(k)(3) of the Act. However, in a letter dated June 26, 2018, the District committed to adopt and submit specific enforceable measures to address this deficiency. The District committed to submit these revisions to CARB within 11 months of the date of EPA's final action. In addition, in a letter dated July 16, 2018, CARB committed to submit the adopted rule revisions to EPA no later than 12 months from the date of EPA's final action. Accordingly, pursuant to section 110(k)(4) of the Act, EPA is proposing a conditional approval of the submitted rule. We are proposing to conditionally approve the submitted rule based on our determination that separate from the deficiency listed above, the rule satisfies the applicable requirements discussed in Section II.A of this action.

    In support of this proposed action, we have concluded that our conditional approval of the submitted rule would comply with section 110(l) of the Act because the amended rule, as a whole, would not interfere with continued attainment of the NAAQS in the South Coast Air Basin. The intended effect of our proposed conditional approval action is to update the applicable SIP with current SCAQMD rules and provide SCAQMD the opportunity to correct the identified deficiencies, as discussed in their commitment letter dated June 26, 2018. If we finalize this action as proposed, our action would incorporate this rule into the federally enforceable SIP and be codified through revisions to 40 CFR 52.220 (Identification of plan) and 40 CFR 52.119 (Part D conditional approval).

    If the State meets its commitment to submit the required measures within 12 months of the date of EPA's final action, Rule 1325 will remain a part of the SIP until EPA takes final action approving or disapproving any subsequently submitted SIP revision. However, if the District fails to submit a revision within the required timeframe, the conditional approval will automatically become a disapproval, and EPA will issue a finding of disapproval. EPA is not required to propose the finding of disapproval.

    We will accept comments from the public on this proposal until September 7, 2018. If we take final action to approve the submitted rule, our final action will incorporate this rule into the federally enforceable SIP.

    IV. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rule, the EPA is proposing to include in a final EPA rule, regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, the EPA is proposing to incorporate by reference the SCAQMD rule listed in Table 1 of this preamble. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these materials available electronically through www.regulations.gov and in hard copy at the EPA Region IX Office (please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this preamble for more information).

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: July 24, 2018. Michael Stoker, Regional Administrator, Region IX.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16877 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R03-OAR-2018-0507; FRL-9981-77—Region 3] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Maryland; NOX Ozone Season Emissions Caps for Non-Trading Large NOX Units and Associated Revisions to General Administrative Provisions and Kraft Pulp Mill Regulation AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve a state implementation plan (SIP) revision submitted by the State of Maryland. This revision (Maryland SIP Revision #18-03) pertains to a new Maryland regulation that establishes ozone season nitrogen oxides (NOX) emissions caps and other requirements for large non-electric generating units (non-EGU) in Maryland and includes associated revisions to two other Maryland regulations. The revisions will enable Maryland to meet NOX reduction requirements related to interstate transport of pollution that contributes to other states' nonattainment or interferes with other states' maintenance of the ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). This action is being taken under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before September 7, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R03-OAR-2018-0507 at http://www.regulations.gov, or via email to [email protected]. For comments submitted at Regulations.gov, follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. For either manner of submission, EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be confidential business information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e. on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. For the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Marilyn Powers, (215) 814-2308, or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On May 15, 2018, the State of Maryland, through the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), submitted for approval into the Maryland SIP new Code of Maryland Regulation (COMAR) 26.11.40—NOX Ozone Season Emission Caps for Non-Trading Large NOX Units and revisions to two regulations presently included in the Maryland SIP, COMAR 26.11.01.01—General Administrative Provisions and COMAR 26.11.14—Control of Emissions from Kraft Pulp Mills to EPA.

    I. Background

    In October 1998 (63 FR 57356), EPA finalized the “Finding of Significant Contribution and Rulemaking for Certain States in the Ozone Transport Assessment Group Region for Purposes of Reducing Regional Transport of Ozone”—commonly called the NOX SIP Call. The NOX SIP Call, issued pursuant to Section 110 of the CAA, was designed to mitigate significant transport of NOX, one of the precursors of ozone. EPA developed the NOX Budget Trading Program, an allowance trading program that states could adopt to meet their obligations under the NOX SIP Call. The NOX Budget Trading Program allowed electric generating units (EGUs) greater than 25 megawatts and industrial non-electric generating units, such as boilers and turbines, with a rated heat input greater than 250 million British thermal units per hour (MMBtu/hr), referred to as “large non-EGUs”, to participate in a regional NOX cap and trade program. The NOX SIP Call also established specific reduction requirements for other non-EGUs, including cement kilns and stationary internal combustion (IC) engines. On January 10, 2001 (66 FR 1866), EPA approved two Maryland regulations, COMAR 26.11.29—NO X Reduction and Trading Program, and COMAR 26.11.30—Policies and Procedures Relating to Maryland's NO X Reduction and Trading Program, into the Maryland SIP as meeting the requirements of the NOX SIP Call. Under the approved trading program, large EGUs and large non-EGUs in Maryland participated in a regional cap and trade program that was administered by EPA.

    On May 12, 2005, (70 FR 25162), EPA promulgated the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) to address transported emissions that significantly contributed to downwind states' nonattainment and maintenance of the 1997 ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) NAAQS. CAIR required 28 states, including Maryland, to reduce emissions of NOX and sulfur dioxide (SO2), which are precursors to ozone and PM2.5. Under CAIR, EPA developed separate cap and trade programs for annual NOX, ozone season NOX, and annual SO2 emissions. On April 28, 2006 (71 FR 25328), EPA also promulgated federal implementation plans (FIPs) requiring the EGUs in each affected state, but not large non-EGUs, to participate in the CAIR trading programs. States could comply with the requirements of CAIR by either remaining on the FIP, which applied only to EGUs, or by submitting a CAIR SIP revision that included as trading sources EGUs and the non-EGUs that formerly traded in the NOX Budget Trading Program under the NOX SIP Call. EPA discontinued administration of the NOX Budget Trading Program in 2009 upon the start of the CAIR trading programs.1 The NOX SIP Call requirements continued to apply, however, and EGUs that were formerly trading under the NOX Budget Trading Program continued to meet their NOX SIP Call requirements under the generally more stringent requirements of the CAIR ozone season trading program. States needed to assess their NOX SIP Call requirements and take other regulatory action as necessary to ensure that their obligations for the large non-EGUs continued to be met either through submission of a CAIR SIP or other NOX regulation. EPA has implementing regulations for the NOX SIP Call at 40 CFR 51.121.

    1 CAIR was subsequently vacated and remanded. See North Carolina v. EPA, 531 F.3d 896 (D.C. Cir. 2008), modified by 550 F.3d 1176 (remanding CAIR). CAIR was replaced with the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, or CSAPR (76 FR 48208, August 8, 2011), which, after legal challenges, was implemented starting in January 2015. The NOX Ozone Season Trading Program under CSAPR was replaced in Maryland and most other states by a new trading program for ozone season NOX under the CSAPR Update rule in January 2017 (81 FR 74504, October 26, 2016).

    In Maryland, Luke Paper Mill (formerly the Westvaco pulp and paper mill) was the only facility with non-EGUs that were affected by the NOX SIP Call and which participated in the NOX Budget Trading Program. When the CAIR NOX Ozone Season trading program replaced the NOX Budget Trading Program, Maryland adopted the CAIR program as it applied to large EGUs, but chose not to include the non-EGUs at Luke as participants in the CAIR NOX Ozone Season trading program.2 Instead, in 2010, Maryland adopted COMAR 26.11.14.07-Control of Emissions from Kraft Pulp Mills, which, among other requirements, included provisions that address the NOX SIP Call non-EGU requirements in Maryland through a NOX ozone season tonnage cap of 947 tons for the Luke non-EGUs and monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting in accordance with 40 CFR part 75. EPA conditionally approved COMAR 26.11.14.07 into the Maryland SIP on August 30, 2016 (81 FR 59486) and took final approval on July 17, 2017 (82 FR 32641).

    2 CAIR became obsolete upon implementation of the CSAPR program. Maryland subsequently took action rescinding its CAIR regulation (COMAR 26.11.28), and submitted a SIP revision to EPA which sought removal of the regulation in its entirety from the approved Maryland SIP. On July 17, 2017 (82 FR 32641), EPA approved the SIP revision removing the CAIR regulation from Maryland's SIP.

    Subsequent to adoption of COMAR 26.11.14.07, MDE determined that additional applicable units have either started operation or were previously not subject but have become subject to the requirements for non-EGUs under the NOX SIP Call as the units are greater than 250 MMBtu/hr. A review of the applicability of the NOX SIP Call to large non-EGUs in the State showed that there are three additional facilities having non-EGUs that are covered under the NOX SIP Call. MDE adopted new regulation COMAR 26.11.40 to reallocate the NOX emissions cap among the affected sources, and concurrently revised COMAR 26.11.14.07 to reflect a reduced cap for Luke. The NOX annual emissions cap for Maryland established for the NOX SIP Call is 1,013 tons per year of NOX, as established by EPA in 40 CFR part 97, subpart E, Appendix C.

    II. Summary of SIP Revision and EPA Analysis

    On May 15, 2018, Maryland, through MDE, submitted for inclusion in the Maryland SIP new regulation COMAR 26.11.40—NOX Ozone Season Emission Caps for Non-trading Large NO X Units, and associated revisions to COMAR 26.11.01.01—General Administrative Provisions, and COMAR 26.11.14—Control of Emissions from Kraft Pulp Mills.

    New COMAR 26.11.40 establishes NOX ozone season tonnage caps and NOX monitoring requirements for large non-EGUs in the State that are not covered under the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) to meet requirements of the NOX SIP Call. Regulation .01 under COMAR 26.11.40 defines the terms used in COMAR 26.11.40, including “boiler”, “combined cycle system”, “combustion turbine”, “fossil-fuel”, “fossil fuel-fired”, “new unit”, “new unit set-aside”, “non-trading large NOX unit”, and “ozone season”. The definition of non-trading large NOX unit in Regulation .01 lists two categories of sources: (1) Non-EGUs with a maximum design heat input greater than 250 MMBtu/hr, and (2) fossil fuel-fired EGUs serving a generator with a nameplate capacity greater than 25 megawatt output. Maryland explains its intent that these definitions apply to non-EGUs and EGUs as defined for purposes of the NOX SIP Call as amended.3 In addition to the definitions of non-trading large NOX unit, Maryland clarifies its intent by specifically listing in Regulation .02 all units in the State that currently meet the definitions. Regulation .01 also clarifies that non-EGUs subject to this rule are units that are not already subject to the CSAPR NOX Ozone Season Group 2 Trading Program under 40 CFR part 97, subpart EEEEE.

    3 The definitions for non-EGUs and EGUs are set forth in the preamble to the April 2004 NOX SIP Call amendments. See 69 FR 21604 and 21616, April 21, 2004.

    Regulation .02 under COMAR 26.11.40 lists the currently affected non-EGUs meeting the definition of “non-trading large NOX unit” (shown in the following table), and includes a provision that any new unit installed after May 1, 2018 or an existing unit that is modified such that it meets the definition of a large non-EGU will become subject to the requirements of COMAR 26.11.40. Regulation .03 under COMAR 26.11.40 establishes the NOX annual tonnage caps for each source. The affected units and their NOX ozone season caps are as follows:

    Facility Unit NOX ozone season cap
  • (tons)
  • American Sugar Refining C6 24 Dominion Energy Cove Point LNG Frame 5-1 (Turbine S009), Frame 5-2 (Turbine S010), Frame 7-A, Frame 7-B, Aux. A, Aux B 214 Luke Paper Mill 24, 25, and 26 656 National Institutes of Health 5-1156 23 New unit set-aside 96 Total 1,013

    Regulation .03 also establishes a 96 ton set aside for new units or modified existing units. The total, 1,013 tons of NOX, is consistent with the portion of the overall Maryland NOX Budget Trading Program budget for large non-EGUs.4 Regulation .03 stipulates that the combined NOX ozone season emissions from units subject to COMAR 26.11.40 may not exceed 1,013 tons. Regulation .04 requires continuous emissions monitoring (CEM) of NOX emissions at affected units in accordance with 40 CFR part 75, subpart H, as required by 40 CFR 51.121(i)(4),5 maintenance of records and submittal of reports in accordance with 40 CFR part 75, and submittal of CEMs data to the State on a quarterly basis.

    4 Maryland's NOX Budget Trading Program regulations included an overall budget of 15,466 tons for EGUs and non-EGUs. See, e.g., The NOX Budget Trading Program: 2008 Highlights (October 2009) at 10, available at https://www.epa.gov/airmarkets/nox-budget-trading-program-historical-reports. While most of the overall budget was allocated directly to EGUs and non-EGUs (those shares were 13,793 tons and 947 tons, respectively), a 726-ton portion was not assigned to either sector, but instead was placed in set-asides. To identify the portion of the overall 15,466-ton budget attributable to non-EGUs that would be an appropriate cap for its replacement non-EGU rule, Maryland has therefore used the 1,013-ton non-EGU portion of the overall budget of 15,532 tons established for Maryland's EGUs and non-EGUs under a different federal rule promulgated contemporaneously with the NOX SIP Call pursuant to CAA section 126. See 40 CFR part 97, subpart E, appendix C. In the absence of an express division of the State's overall NOX Budget Trading Program budget between EGUs and non-EGUs, EPA believes the State's approach to identifying an appropriate cap for its replacement non-EGU rule is reasonable.

    5 EPA's regulations implementing the NOX SIP Call are in 40 CFR 51.121.

    To meet NOX SIP Call requirements and conform to COMAR 26.11.40, Maryland revised regulation .07A of COMAR 26.11.14 Control of emissions from Kraft Pulp Mills to remove the 947 ton ozone season NOX cap that originally applied to the Luke Mill. A new provision in COMAR 26.11.14 establishes Luke's lower NOX cap via a cross reference to Luke's 636 ton per year cap in COMAR 26.11.40.03. Regulation .07B removes the requirements for an owner or operator of a kraft pulp mill that exceeds the emission limit(s) specified in COMAR 26.11.14 to acquire one ozone season NOX allowance for every ton of NOX emissions over the limits to demonstrate compliance, and requires compliance instead to be demonstrated with the 636 ton per year cap via a CEMs meeting 40 CFR part 75. Maryland removed the provision for paper mills such as Luke Mill to acquire additional NOX allowances in order for the sources in the State to remain under Maryland's total NOX ozone season cap for the NOX SIP Call.

    Correspondingly, Maryland also revised a provision of COMAR 26.11.01—General Administrative Provisions to remove the definition for “NOX ozone season allowance” which is no longer necessary because the revisions to COMAR 26.11.14 remove the requirement for fuel burning equipment at Luke to purchase NOX ozone season allowances for any exceedance over its specified limits.

    EPA finds that this May 2018 SIP submittal meets Maryland's NOX SIP Call requirements (including requirements in CAA section 110 and 40 CFR 51.121) for non-EGUs through: (1) New regulation COMAR 24.11.40 which updates the State's requirements to include all currently applicable large non-EGUs and any new non-EGUs under the NOX SIP Call; (2) the specified state-wide ozone season NOX emissions cap of 1013 tons which is consistent with the portion of the overall Maryland NOX emissions budget under the NOX Budget Trading Program attributable to non-EGUs, and (3) through the 40 CFR part 75 monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting requirements which apply for the affected non-EGUs. In addition, the revisions remove the ability of kraft pulp mills that exceed their NOX limits and caps to comply by purchasing or otherwise acquiring NOX allowances from EPA's ozone season NOX trading program by removing these provisions in COMAR 26.11.14 and 26.11.01. The removal of the provisions allowing purchase of additional allowances removes the potential for increased local NOX emissions.

    The May 15, 2018 Maryland SIP submittal does not result in increased NOX emissions, and therefore has no impact on any requirements related to attainment, reasonable further progress, or any other NAAQS requirements under the CAA. The submittal therefore meets section 110(l) of the CAA.

    III. Proposed Action

    EPA's review of this material indicates that Maryland's May 18, 2018 SIP revision submittal (Maryland SIP Revision #18-03) is approvable in accordance with CAA section 110. For the reasons noted previously, EPA is proposing to approve the Maryland SIP revision submitted on May 15, 2018. EPA is soliciting public comments on the issues discussed in this document. These comments will be considered before taking final action.

    IV. Incorporation by Reference

    In this proposed action, EPA is proposing to include in a final EPA rule regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, EPA is proposing to incorporate by reference new Maryland regulation COMAR 26.11.40 and associated revisions to COMAR 26.11.01 and COMAR 26.11.14.07. EPA has made, and will continue to make, these materials generally available through http://www.regulations.gov and at the EPA Region III Office (please contact the person identified in the For Further Information Contact section of this preamble for more information).

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In addition, this action proposing approval of Maryland regulation COMAR 26.11.40 and associated revisions to other COMAR regulations does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), because the SIP is not approved to apply in Indian country located in the state, and EPA notes that it will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: July 24, 2018. Cecil Rodrigues, Acting Regional Administrator, Region III.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16778 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2016-0711; FRL-9981-91—Region 9] Approval of California Air Plan Revision, South Coast Air Quality Management District AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve a revision to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) portion of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). This revision concerns emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from architectural coatings. We are proposing to approve a local rule to regulate emissions from architectural coatings under the Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act). We are taking comments on this proposal and plan to follow with a final action.

    DATES:

    Any comments must arrive by September 7, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R09-OAR-2016-0711 at http://www.regulations.gov. For comments submitted at Regulations.gov, follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be removed or edited from Regulations.gov. For either manner of submission, the EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. The EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e., on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. For the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Arnold Lazarus, EPA Region IX, (415) 972 3024, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document, “we,” “us” and “our” refer to the EPA.

    Table of Contents I. The State's Submittal A. What rule did the State submit? B. Are there other versions of this rule? C. What is the purpose of the submitted rule revision? II. The EPA's Evaluation and Action A. How is the EPA evaluating the rule? B. Does the rule meet the evaluation criteria? C. Public Comment and Proposed Action III. Incorporation by Reference IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. The State's Submittal A. What rule did the State submit?

    Table 1 lists the rule addressed by this action with the date that it was adopted by the local air agency and submitted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). On February 22, 2018, CARB requested the withdrawal from its earlier SIP submittal of one sentence from two definitions (“Bond Breakers” and “Form Release Compounds”), which exempted these materials from the rule, due to the adoption of a rule regulating these materials. Accordingly, our proposed approval of this rule does not include the two withdrawn sentences.

    Table 1—Submitted Rule Local agency Rule No. Rule title Amended Submitted SCAQMD 1113 Architectural Coatings 2/5/2016 8/22/2016

    On September 27, 2016, the EPA determined that the submittal for SCAQMD Rule 1113 met the completeness criteria in 40 CFR part 51 Appendix V, which must be met before formal EPA review.

    B. Are there other versions of this rule?

    We approved an earlier version of SCAQMD Rule 1113 into the SIP on March 26, 2013 (78 FR 18244).

    C. What is the purpose of the submitted rule revision?

    VOCs contribute to the production of ground-level ozone, smog, and particulate matter, which harm human health and the environment. Section 110(a) of the CAA requires states to submit regulations that control VOC emissions. Architectural coatings are applied to stationary structures and their accessories. They include house paints, stains, industrial maintenance coatings, traffic coatings, and many other products. VOCs are emitted from the coatings during application and curing, and from the associated solvents used for thinning and clean-up. SCAQMD Rule 1113 controls VOC emissions by establishing VOC limits on architectural coatings. SCAQMD Rule 1113 was revised to increase stringency and reduce VOC emissions by updating VOC content limits, and restricting the small container exemption (less than 1 quart) for high-VOC coatings.

    The EPA's technical support document (TSD) has more information about this rule.

    II. The EPA's Evaluation and Action A. How is the EPA evaluating the rule?

    SIP rules must be enforceable (see CAA section 110(a)(2)), must not interfere with applicable requirements concerning attainment and reasonable further progress or other CAA requirements (see CAA section 110(l)), and must not modify certain SIP control requirements in nonattainment areas without ensuring equivalent or greater emissions reductions (see CAA section 193).

    Generally, SIP rules must require Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) for each category of sources covered by a Control Techniques Guidelines (CTG) document as well as each major source of VOCs in ozone nonattainment areas classified as Moderate or above (see CAA section 182(b)(2)). The SCAQMD has been designated as Extreme nonattainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS (40 CFR 81.305). As addressed further in the EPA's TSD for this rule, there are no relevant EPA CTG documents and architectural coatings are considered area sources. Therefore, architectural coating sources are not subject to RACT requirements.

    Guidance and policy documents that we use to evaluate enforceability, revision/relaxation, and rule stringency include the following:

    1. “State Implementation Plans; General Preamble for the Implementation of Title I of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990,” (57 FR 13498, April 16, 1992 and 57 FR 18070, April 28, 1992).

    2. “Issues Relating to VOC Regulation Cutpoints, Deficiencies, and Deviations” (“the Bluebook,” U.S. EPA, May 25, 1988; revised January 11, 1990).

    3. “Guidance Document for Correcting Common VOC & Other Rule Deficiencies” (“the Little Bluebook”, EPA Region 9, August 21, 2001).

    4. National Volatile Organic Compound Emission Standards for Architectural Coatings, 40 CFR 59.400, Subpart D, Table 1, VOC Content Limits for Architectural Coatings.

    B. Does the rule meet the evaluation criteria?

    We believe this rule is consistent with CAA requirements and relevant guidance regarding enforceability, stringency, and SIP revisions. The TSD has more information on our evaluation.

    C. Public Comment and Proposed Action

    As authorized in section 110(k)(3) of the Act, the EPA proposes to fully approve the submitted rule because we believe it fulfills all relevant requirements. We will accept comments from the public on this proposal until September 7, 2018. If we take final action to approve the submitted rule, our final action will incorporate this rule into the federally enforceable SIP.

    III. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rule, the EPA is proposing to include in a final EPA rule, regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, the EPA is proposing to incorporate by reference the SCAQMD rule described in Table 1 of this preamble. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these materials available through www.regulations.gov and at the EPA Region IX Office (please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this preamble for more information).

    IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Ozone, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Volatile organic compounds.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: July 24, 2018. Michael Stoker, Regional Administrator, Region IX.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16795 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R03-OAR-2018-0215; FRL-9981-75—Region 3] Air Plan Approval; District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia; Maryland and Virginia Redesignation Requests and District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia Maintenance Plan for the Washington, DC-MD-VA 2008 Ozone Standard Nonattainment Area AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve the requests from the State of Maryland (Maryland) and the Commonwealth of Virginia (Virginia) to redesignate to attainment their respective portions of the Washington, DC-MD-VA nonattainment area (hereafter “the Washington Area” or “the Area”) for the 2008 8-hour ozone national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS or standard) (also referred to as the 2008 ozone NAAQS). EPA is not proposing to approve the redesignation request for the District of Columbia (the District) for its portion of the Area; EPA will address the District's redesignation request for its portion of the Area in a separate rulemaking action. EPA is also proposing to approve, as a revision to the District's, Maryland's, and Virginia's state implementation plans (SIPs), the joint maintenance plan submitted by the District, Maryland, and Virginia. The joint maintenance plan demonstrates maintenance of the 2008 ozone NAAQS through 2030 in the Washington Area. Approval of a maintenance plan is among the CAA criteria for redesignation to attainment, as discussed in more detail in this notice. The Washington Area maintenance plan includes motor vehicle emissions budgets (MVEBs) for the 2008 ozone NAAQS for nitrogen oxides (NOX) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are precursors to ozone. EPA has found the MVEBs adequate and is proposing to approve, as a SIP revision, these 2014, 2025, and 2030 NOX and VOC MVEBs for the Washington Area.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before September 7, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R03-OAR-2018-0215 at https://www.regulations.gov, or via email to spielberger.susa[email protected] For comments submitted at Regulations.gov, follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. For either manner of submission, EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be confidential business information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e., on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, please contact the person identified in the For Further Information Contact section. For the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit https://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sara Calcinore, (215) 814-2043, or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document whenever “we,” “us,” or “our” is used, we mean EPA. This supplementary information section is arranged as follows:

    I. What are the actions EPA is proposing? II. What is the background for these proposed actions? III. What are the criteria for redesignation? IV. What is EPA's analysis of Maryland's and Virginia's redesignation requests for the Washington Area? A. Has the Washington Area attained the 2008 ozone NAAQS? B. Have Maryland and Virginia met all applicable requirements of section 110 and part D of the CAA for the Washington Area and does the Washington Area have a fully approved SIP under section 110(k) of the CAA? C. Are the air quality improvements in the Washington Area due to permanent and enforceable emission reductions? D. Do the District, Maryland, and Virginia have fully approvable ozone maintenance plans for the Washington Area? V. Have the District, Maryland, and Virginia adopted approvable MVEBs? A. What are the MVEBs? B. What is the status of EPA's adequacy determination for the proposed 2025 and 2030 VOC and NOX MVEBs for the Washington Area? C. What is a safety margin and how was it allocated? VI. Proposed Action VII. General Information Pertaining to SIP Submittals From the Commonwealth of Virginia VIII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. What are the actions EPA is proposing?

    On March 12, 2018, January 29, 2018, and January 3, 2018, the District, Maryland, and Virginia, respectively, formally submitted a request to redesignate their portions of the Washington Area from marginal nonattainment to attainment for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. Concurrently, the District, Maryland, and Virginia formally submitted, as a revision to their respective SIPs, a joint maintenance plan for the Washington Area to ensure continued attainment for at least 10 years following redesignation. The maintenance plan includes MVEBs for NOX and VOC for the years 2014, 2025, and 2030. Pursuant to CAA section 107(d)(3), in this rulemaking action, EPA is proposing to approve the redesignation requests submitted by Maryland and Virginia for their portions of the Washington Area. EPA is not proposing to approve (at this time) the redesignation request from the District and will act on the District's redesignation request for its portion of the Area in a separate action. EPA is also proposing to approve, as revisions to the District's, Maryland's, and Virginia's SIPs, the joint maintenance plan submitted by the District, Maryland, and Virginia.

    EPA is proposing to take several related actions. EPA is proposing to determine that Maryland and Virginia have met the requirements for redesignation for their respective portions of the Washington Area pursuant to section 107(d)(3)(E) of the CAA. EPA is therefore proposing to approve Maryland's and Virginia's redesignation requests and change the designation of their respective portions of the Washington Area from marginal nonattainment to attainment for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. EPA is also proposing to approve, as revisions to the District's, Maryland's, and Virginia's SIPs, the joint Washington Area maintenance plan that was prepared by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) and jointly submitted by the District, Maryland, and Virginia. The maintenance plan is designed to ensure continued attainment in the Washington Area for the next ten years. Additionally, EPA has found the submitted MVEBs adequate and is proposing to approve, as revisions to the District's, Maryland's, and Virginia's SIPs, the 2014, 2025, and 2030 MVEBs for NOX and VOC for the Washington Area that are identified in the Washington Area maintenance plan. The adequacy comment period for the MVEBs began on May 21, 2018, with EPA's posting of the availability of the District's, Maryland's, and Virginia's maintenance plan submittal on EPA's Adequacy website (at https://www.epa.gov/state-and-local-transportation). The adequacy comment period for these MVEBs ended on June 20, 2018. EPA did not receive any adverse comments on this submittal during the adequacy comment period. In letters dated July 24, 2018, EPA informed the District, Maryland, and Virginia that the 2014, 2025, and 2030 MVEBs are adequate for use in transportation conformity analyses.1 Please see section V.B., “What Is the Status of EPA's Adequacy Determination for the Proposed NOX and VOC MVEBs for the Washington Area?”, of this rulemaking for further explanation of this process.

    1 EPA originally informed the District, Maryland, and Virginia that the 2014, 2025, and 2030 MVEBs were adequate for use in transportation conformity analyses in letters dated July 18, 2018. EPA revised language in these letters and sent the revised letters to the District, Maryland, and Virginia on July 24, 2018. The original and revised letters are available online at https://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: EPA-R03-OAR-2018-0215.

    II. What is the background for these proposed actions?

    Under the CAA, EPA establishes NAAQS for criteria pollutants in order to protect human health and the environment. In response to scientific evidence linking ozone exposure to adverse health effects, EPA promulgated the first ozone NAAQS, the 0.12 part per million (ppm) 1-hour ozone NAAQS, in 1979. See 44 FR 8202 (February 8, 1979). The CAA requires EPA to review and reevaluate the NAAQS every 5 years in order to consider updated information regarding the effects of the criteria pollutants on human health and the environment. On July 18, 1997, EPA promulgated a revised ozone NAAQS, referred to as the 1997 ozone NAAQS, of 0.08 ppm averaged over eight hours. 62 FR 38855. This 8-hour ozone NAAQS was determined to be more protective of public health than the previous 1979 1-hour ozone NAAQS. In 2008, EPA strengthened the 8-hour ozone NAAQS from 0.08 to 0.075 ppm. The 0.075 ppm standard is referred to as the 2008 ozone NAAQS. See 73 FR 16436 (March 27, 2008).

    Upon promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS, section 107(d)(1)(B) of the CAA requires EPA to designate as nonattainment any areas that are violating the NAAQS based on the most recent three years of quality-assured ozone monitoring data. On May 21, 2012 and June 11, 2012, EPA designated nonattainment areas for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. 77 FR 30088 and 77 FR 34221. Effective July 20, 2012, the Washington Area was designated as marginal nonattainment for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. The Washington Area consists of the Counties of Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince George's in Maryland, the Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William and the Cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park Cities in Virginia, and the District of Columbia. See 40 CFR 81.309, 81.321, and 81.347.

    As stated previously, on March 12, 2018, January 29, 2018, and January 3, 2018, the District, Maryland, and Virginia, respectively, formally submitted requests to redesignate their respective portions of the Washington Area from marginal nonattainment to attainment for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. The District, Maryland, and Virginia concurrently submitted, as revisions to their SIPs, a maintenance plan for the Washington Area to ensure continued attainment for at least 10 years following redesignation. In this rulemaking action, EPA is proposing to approve the redesignation requests submitted by Maryland and Virginia for their respective portions of the Area. EPA is not proposing to approve the redesignation request for the District for its portion and will act on the redesignation request for the District in a separate action. EPA is also proposing to approve, as revisions to the District's, Maryland's, and Virginia's SIPs, the maintenance plan jointly submitted by the District, Maryland, and Virginia.

    III. What are the criteria for redesignation?

    Section 107(d)(3)(E) of the CAA allows redesignation of an area to attainment of the NAAQS provided that: (1) The Administrator (EPA) determines that the area has attained the applicable NAAQS; (2) the Administrator has fully approved the applicable implementation plan for the area under section 110(k) of the CAA; (3) the Administrator determines that the improvement in air quality is due to permanent and enforceable reductions in emissions resulting from implementation of the applicable SIP, applicable federal air pollutant control regulations, and other permanent and enforceable emission reductions; (4) the Administrator has fully approved a maintenance plan for the area as meeting the requirements of section 175A of the CAA; and (5) the State containing the area has met all requirements applicable to the area for purposes of redesignation under section 110 and part D of the CAA.

    On April 16, 1992, EPA provided guidance on redesignations in the General Preamble for the Implementation of Title I of the CAA Amendments of 1990 (57 FR 13498) and supplemented this guidance on April 28, 1992 (57 FR 18070). EPA has provided further guidance on processing redesignation requests in the following documents:

    1. “Ozone and Carbon Monoxide Design Value Calculations,” Memorandum from Bill Laxton, Director, Technical Support Division, June 18, 1990; 2. “Maintenance Plans for Redesignation of Ozone and Carbon Monoxide Nonattainment Areas,” Memorandum from G.T. Helms, Chief, Ozone/Carbon Monoxide Programs Branch, April 30, 1992; 3. “Contingency Measures for Ozone and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Redesignations,” Memorandum from G.T. Helms, Chief, Ozone/Carbon Monoxide Programs Branch, June 1, 1992; 4. “Procedures for Processing Requests to Redesignate Areas to Attainment,” Memorandum from John Calcagni, Director, Air Quality Management Division, September 4, 1992 (the “Calcagni memorandum”); 5. “State Implementation Plan (SIP) Actions Submitted in Response to Clean Air Act (CAA) Deadlines,” Memorandum from John Calcagni, Director, Air Quality Management Division, October 28, 1992; 6. “Technical Support Documents (TSDs) for Redesignation of Ozone and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Nonattainment Areas,” Memorandum from G.T. Helms, Chief, Ozone/Carbon Monoxide Programs Branch, August 17, 1993; 7. “State Implementation Plan (SIP) requirements for Areas Submitting Requests for Redesignation to Attainment of the Ozone and Carbon Monoxide (CO) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) On or After November 15, 1992,” Memorandum from Michael H. Shapiro, Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, September 17, 1993 (the “Shapiro memorandum”); 8. “Use of Actual Emissions in Maintenance Demonstrations for Ozone and CO Nonattainment Areas,” Memorandum from D. Kent Berry, Acting Director, Air Quality Management Division, November 30, 1993; 9. “Part D New Source Review (part D NSR) Requirements for Areas Requesting Redesignation to Attainment,” Memorandum from Mary D. Nichols, Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, October 14, 1994; and 10. “Reasonable Further Progress, Attainment Demonstration, and Related Requirements for Ozone Nonattainment Areas Meeting the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard,” Memorandum from John S. Seitz, Director, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, May 10, 1995. IV. What is EPA's analysis of Maryland's and Virginia's redesignation requests for the Washington Area? A. Has the Washington Area attained the 2008 ozone NAAQS?

    For redesignation of a nonattainment area to attainment, the CAA requires EPA to determine that the area has attained the applicable NAAQS. See CAA section 107(d)(3)(E)(i). An area is attaining the 2008 ozone NAAQS if it meets the 2008 ozone NAAQS, as determined in accordance with 40 CFR 50.15 and appendix P of part 50, based on three complete, consecutive calendar years of quality-assured air quality data for all monitoring sites in the area. To attain the NAAQS, the three-year average of the annual fourth-highest daily maximum 8-hour average ozone concentrations, referred to as ozone design values, at each monitor must not exceed 0.075 ppm.2 The air quality data must be collected and quality-assured in accordance with 40 CFR part 58 and recorded in EPA's Air Quality System (AQS). Ambient air quality monitoring data for the 3-year period must also meet data completeness requirements. An ozone design value is valid if daily maximum 8-hour average concentrations are available for at least 90 percent of the days within the ozone monitoring season,3 on average, for the three-year period, with a minimum data completeness of 75 percent during the ozone monitoring season of any year during the three-year period. See section 2.3 of appendix P to 40 CFR part 50.

    2 The rounding convention under 40 CFR part 50, appendix P dictates that concentrations shall be reported in ppm to the third decimal place, with additional digits to the right of the third decimal place truncated. Thus, a computed three-year average ozone concentration of 0.0759 ppm or lower would meet the standard, but 0.0760 ppm or higher would be over the standard.

    3 The ozone season is defined by state in 40 CFR 58 appendix D. For the 2013-2015 time period, the ozone season was April-October for the states in the Area. Beginning in 2016, the ozone season is March-October for the states in the Washington Area. See 80 FR 65292, 65466-67 (October 26, 2015).

    As part of the final rule, “Implementation of the 2008 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone: State Implementation Plan (SIP) Requirements,” for the 2008 ozone NAAQS (80 FR 12264, March 6, 2015) (hereinafter, SIP Requirements Rule), EPA modified the maximum attainment dates for all nonattainment areas for the 2008 ozone NAAQS to be consistent with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's (D.C. Circuit) decision in NRDC v. EPA, 777 F .3d 456, 464-69 (D.C. Cir. 2014).4 The SIP Requirements Rule established a maximum deadline for marginal nonattainment areas to attain the 2008 ozone NAAQS of three years from the effective date of designation, or July 20, 2015. See 80 FR at 12268; 40 CFR 51.1103.5

    4 In a final rule published on May 21, 2012 and effective July 20, 2012, EPA established the air quality thresholds that define the classification assigned to all nonattainment areas for the 2008 ozone NAAQS (the Classifications Rule). See 77 FR 30160. This rulemaking also established December 31 of each relevant calendar year as the attainment date for all nonattainment area classification categories. Section 181 of the CAA provides that the attainment deadline for ozone nonattainment area is “as expeditiously as practicable” but no later than the prescribed dates that are provided in Table 1 of that section. In the Classifications Rule, EPA translated the deadlines in Table 1 of CAA section 181 for purposes of the 2008 standard by measuring those deadlines from the effective date of the new designations, but extended those deadlines by several months to December 31 of the corresponding calendar year. Pursuant to a challenge of EPA's interpretation of the attainment deadlines, on December 23, 2014, the D.C. Circuit issued a decision rejecting, among other things, the Classifications Rule's attainment deadlines for the 2008 ozone nonattainment areas, finding that EPA did not have statutory authority under the CAA to extend those deadlines to the end of the calendar year. NRDC v. EPA, 777 F .3d 456, 464-69 (D.C. Cir. 2014).

    5 On February 16, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Cir. Court) issued an opinion on the SIP Requirements Rule. South Coast Air Quality Mgmt. Dist. v. EPA, No. 15-1115 (D.C. Cir. Feb. 16, 2018). The D.C. Cir. Court found certain provisions from the SIP Requirements Rule unreasonable including EPA's provision for a “redesignation substitute.” The D.C. Cir. Court vacated these provisions and found redesignations must comply with all required elements in CAA section 107(d)(3) and thus found the “redesignation substitute” which did not require all items in CAA section 107(d)(3)(E) violated the CAA and was thus unreasonable. The D.C. Cir. Court also vacated other provisions relating to anti-backsliding in the SIP Requirements Rule as the Court found them unreasonable. Id. The D.C. Circuit found other parts of the 2008 Ozone SIP Requirements Rule unrelated to anti-backsliding and this action reasonable and denied the petition for appeal on those. Id.

    In a final rulemaking action published on May 4, 2016, EPA determined that the Washington Area did not attain the 2008 ozone NAAQS by its July 20, 2015 attainment date, based on ambient air quality monitoring data for the 2012-2014 monitoring period. In that same action, EPA determined that the Washington Area qualified for a 1-year extension of its attainment date, as provided in section 181(a)(5) of the CAA and interpreted by regulation at 40 CFR 51.1107. With that final rulemaking action, the new attainment date for the Washington Area was July 20, 2016. See 81 FR 26697 (May 4, 2016).

    On November 14, 2017 (82 FR 52651), in accordance with section 181(b)(2)(A) of the CAA and Provisions for Implementation of the 2008 Ozone NAAQS (40 CFR part 51, subpart AA), EPA made a determination that the Washington Area attained the 2008 ozone NAAQS by the July 20, 2016 attainment date. EPA's determination was based upon three years of complete, certified, and quality-assured data for the 2013-2015 monitoring period.

    In addition, EPA has reviewed the most recent ambient air quality monitoring data for ozone in the Area, including preliminary 2017 design values, as submitted by the District, Maryland, and Virginia and recorded in EPA's AQS. The quality-assured, quality-controlled, and state-certified 2014 to 2016 ozone air quality data shows that the Washington Area continues to attain the 2008 ozone NAAQS. This data, as well as the preliminary design values for 2017, are summarized in Table 1 and are also included in the docket for this rulemaking available online at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: EPA-R03-OAR-2018-0215.

    Table 1—Washington Area 2014-2016 and Preliminary 2015-2017 Ozone Design Values AQS Site ID Site description Jurisdiction Annual 4th highest reading
  • (ppm)
  • 2014 2015 2016 2017 2014-2016
  • design value
  • (ppm)
  • 2015-2017
  • design value
  • (ppm) 6
  • 11-001-0041 7 420 34th Street NE, Washington, DC 20019 District of Columbia 0.065 0.056 0.056 0.060 11-001-0043 2500 1st Street NW, Washington, DC District of Columbia 0.068 0.072 0.072 0.071 0.070 0.071 11-001-0050 300 Van Buren Street NW, Washington, DC 20012 District of Columbia 0.069 0.72 0.071 0.067 0.070 0.070 24-009-0011 350 Stafford Road Maryland 0.070 0.067 0.070 0.066 0.069 0.067 24-017-0010 14320 Oaks Road Maryland 0.070 0.068 0.073 0.068 0.070 0.069 24-021-0037 Frederick County Airport Maryland 0.063 0.070 0.070 0.067 0.067 0.069 24-031-3001 Lathrop E. Smith Environmental Education Center Maryland 0.064 0.072 0.068 0.065 0.068 0.068 24-033-0030 Howard University's Beltsville Laboratory Maryland 0.065 0.072 0.070 0.069 0.069 0.070 24-033-8003 PG County Equestrian Center Maryland 0.069 0.069 0.073 0.072 0.070 0.071 24-033-9991 Powder Mill Rd., Laurel, MD 20708 Maryland 0.069 0.067 0.070 0.070 0.068 0.069 51-013-0020 S 18th and Hayes St. Virginia 0.071 0.073 0.072 0.070 0.072 0.071 51-059-0030 STA. 46-B9, Lee Park, Telegraph Road Virginia 0.065 0.072 0.073 0.068 0.070 0.071 51-107-1005 38-I, Broad Run High School, Ashburn Virginia 0.063 0.071 0.068 0.066 0.067 0.068 51-153-0009 James S. Long Park Virginia 0.062 0.067 0.067 0.065 0.065 0.066

    The Washington Area's most recent monitoring data supports EPA's previous determination that the Area has attained, and continues to attain, the 2008 ozone NAAQS. In addition, as discussed subsequently with respect to the maintenance plan for the Washington Area, Maryland and Virginia have committed to continue monitoring ambient ozone concentrations in accordance with 40 CFR part 58. Therefore, EPA is proposing to determine that the Washington Area continues to attain the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS, which is required by CAA section 107(d)(3)(E)(i) for redesignation of a nonattainment area to attainment.

    6 As noted previously, the 2017 design values are preliminary.

    7 The 2014 and 2015 data at monitoring site 11-001-0041 (also referred to as “the River Terrace monitor”) is incomplete. Therefore, the 2016 and 2017 design values are invalid. The River Terrace monitor was temporarily shut down in March 2014 due to renovations at the monitoring site. The River Terrace monitor was reinstated in 2016, and began operation in May 2016. The temporary shutdown of the River Terrace monitor is discussed in more detail in the TSD for this rulemaking action available online at https://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: EPA-R03-OAR-2018-0215.

    B. Have Maryland and Virginia met all applicable requirements of section 110 and part D of the CAA for the Washington Area and does the Washington Area have a fully approved SIP under section 110(k) of the CAA?

    EPA has determined that Maryland and Virginia have met all SIP requirements applicable for purposes of this redesignation of the Maryland and Virginia portions of the Washington Area under section 110 of the CAA (General SIP Requirements) and that they have met all applicable SIP requirements under part D of Title I of the CAA, in accordance with section 107(d)(3)(E)(v). In addition, EPA has determined that the Maryland and Virginia SIPs are fully approved with respect to all requirements applicable for purposes of redesignation in accordance with section 107(d)(3)(E)(ii). In making these determinations, EPA ascertained what requirements are applicable to the Area and determined that the portions of the Maryland and Virginia SIPs meeting these requirements are fully approved under section 110(k) of the CAA. We note that SIPs must be fully approved only with respect to applicable requirements.

    The September 4, 1992 Calcagni memorandum (“Procedures for Processing Requests to Redesignate Areas to Attainment,” Memorandum from John Calcagni, Director, Air Quality Management Division, September 4, 1992) describes EPA's interpretation of section 107(d)(3)(E) with respect to the timing of applicable requirements. Under this interpretation, to qualify for redesignation, states requesting redesignation to attainment must meet only the relevant CAA requirements that come due prior to the submittal of a complete redesignation request. See also Shapiro memorandum, September 17, 1993, and 60 FR 12459, 12465-12466, (March 7, 1995) (redesignation of Detroit-Ann Arbor).8 Applicable requirements of the CAA that come due subsequent to the area's submittal of a complete redesignation request remain applicable until a redesignation is approved, but are not required as a prerequisite to redesignation. Section 175A(c) of the CAA. Sierra Club v. EPA, 375 F .3d 537 (7th Cir. 2004). See also 68 FR 25424, 25427 (May 12, 2003) (redesignation of the St. Louis/East St. Louis area to attainment of the 1-hour ozone NAAQS).

    8 The Calcagni memorandum and Shapiro memorandum are included in the docket for this rulemaking available online at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: EPA-R03-OAR-2018-0215.

    1. Maryland and Virginia Have Met All Applicable Requirements of Section 110 and Part D of the CAA Applicable to the Washington Area for Purposes of Redesignation a. Section 110 General Requirements for SIPs

    Section 110(a)(2) of Title I of the CAA contains the general requirements for a SIP, which include enforceable emissions limitations and other control measures, means, or techniques, provisions for the establishment and operation of appropriate devices necessary to collect data on ambient air quality, and programs to enforce the limitations. The general SIP elements and requirements set forth in section 110(a)(2) include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) Submit a SIP that has been adopted by the state after reasonable public notice and hearing; (2) include enforceable emission limitations and other control measures, means, or techniques necessary to meet the requirements of the CAA; (3) provide for establishment and operation of appropriate devices, methods, systems and procedures necessary to monitor ambient air quality; (4) provide for implementation of a source permit program to regulate the modification and construction of stationary sources within the areas covered by the plan; (5) include provisions for the implementation of part C prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) and part D new source review (NSR) permit programs; (6) include provisions for stationary source emission control measures, monitoring, and reporting; (7) include provisions for air quality modeling; and, (8) provide for public and local agency participation in planning and emission control rule development.

    Section 110(a)(2)(D) of the CAA requires SIPs to contain certain measures to prevent sources in a state from significantly contributing to air quality problems in another state. To implement this provision, EPA has required certain states to establish programs to address transport of air pollutants, in accordance with the NOX SIP Call,9 amendments to the NOX SIP Call, May 14, 1999 (64 FR 26298), and March 2, 2000 (65 FR 11222), and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) Update, October 26, 2016 (81 FR 74504). However, the section 110(a)(2)(D) SIP requirements are not linked with a particular area's ozone designation and classification. EPA concludes that the SIP requirements linked with an area's ozone designation and classification are the relevant measures to evaluate when reviewing a redesignation request for the area. The section 110(a)(2)(D) requirements, where applicable, continue to apply to a state regardless of the designation (or redesignation) of any one particular area within the state. Thus, these requirements are not applicable requirements for purposes of redesignation. See 65 FR 37890 (June 15, 2000), 66 FR 50399 (October 19, 2001), and 68 FR 25418, 25426-25427 (May 13, 2003).

    9 On October 27, 1998 (63 FR 57356), EPA finalized the “Finding of Significant Contribution and Rulemaking for Certain States in the Ozone Transport Assessment Group Region for Purposes of Reducing Regional Transport of Ozone”—commonly called the NOX SIP Call. The NOX SIP call requires the District of Columbia and 22 states to reduce emissions of NOX in order to reduce the transport of ozone and ozone precursors. EPA developed the NOX Budget Trading Program, an allowance trading program that states could adopt to meet their obligations under the NOX SIP Call. The NOX Budget Trading Program allowed electric generating units (EGUs) greater than 25 megawatts and industrial non-electric generating units, such as boilers and turbines, with a rated heat input greater than 250 million British thermal units per hour (MMBtu/hr), referred to as “large non-EGUs”, to participate in a regional NOX cap and trade program. The NOX SIP call also established reduction requirements for other non-EGUs, including cement kilns and stationary internal combustion (IC) engines.

    Similarly, other section 110 elements that are neither connected with attainment plan submissions nor linked with an area's ozone attainment status are not applicable requirements for purposes of redesignation. An area that is redesignated from nonattainment to attainment will remain subject to these statewide requirements after the area is redesignated to attainment of the 2008 ozone NAAQS. The section 110(a)(2) requirements, which are linked with a particular area's designation and classification, are the relevant measures to evaluate in reviewing a redesignation request. The section 110(a)(2) elements not linked to the area's nonattainment status are not applicable for purposes of redesignation. This approach is consistent with EPA's existing policy on applicability (e.g., for redesignations) of conformity and oxygenated fuels requirements, as well as with section 184 ozone transport region (OTR) requirements. See, e.g., Reading, Pennsylvania, proposed and final rulemakings for redesignation, 61 FR 53174-53176 (October 10, 1996) and 62 FR 24826 (May 7, 1997); Cleveland-Akron-Lorain, Ohio, final rulemaking for redesignation, 61 FR 20458 (May 7, 1996); and Tampa, Florida final rulemaking for redesignation, 60 FR 62748 (December 7, 1995). For further information and analysis, see the discussion of this issue in the Cincinnati, Ohio ozone redesignation (65 FR 37890, June 19, 2000), and the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ozone redesignation (66 FR 50399, October 19, 2001).

    EPA has reviewed Maryland's and Virginia's SIPs and concludes that they meet the general SIP requirements under section 110 of the CAA, to the extent those requirements are applicable for purposes of redesignation. On November 17, 2014 (79 FR 62010) and March 27, 2014 (79 FR 17043), EPA approved elements of the SIPs submitted by Maryland and Virginia, respectively, which, with the exception of interstate transport, meet the requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2), for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. As explained previously, the general requirements of section 110(a)(2) are statewide requirements that are not linked to the 2008 8-hour ozone nonattainment status of the Washington Area and are therefore not “applicable requirements” for purpose of the review of Maryland's and Virginia's 2008 ozone NAAQS redesignation requests. Because Maryland's and Virginia's SIPs satisfy all of the general SIP elements and requirements set forth in CAA section 110(a)(2) applicable to and necessary for redesignation, EPA concludes that Maryland and Virginia have satisfied the criterion of section 107(d)(3)(E) regarding section 110 of the CAA.

    b. Part D Requirements

    Areas designated nonattainment for the ozone NAAQS are subject to the applicable nonattainment area and ozone-specific planning requirements of part D of the CAA. Sections 172-176 of the CAA, found in subpart 1 of part D, set forth the basic nonattainment requirements for all nonattainment areas. Section 172(c), under part D of the CAA, sets forth the basic requirements of air quality plans for states with nonattainment areas for all pollutants that are required to submit plans pursuant to section 172(b). Section 182 of the CAA, found in subpart 2 of part D, establishes specific requirements for ozone nonattainment areas depending on the areas' nonattainment classifications.10 The Washington Area was classified as marginal under subpart 2 of part D of the CAA for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. As such, the Area is subject to the subpart 1 requirements contained in CAA sections 172(c) and 176. The Area is also subject to the subpart 2 requirements contained in CAA section 182(a) (marginal nonattainment area requirements), which include, but are not limited to, submitting a baseline emissions inventory, adopting a SIP requiring emissions statements from stationary sources, and implementing a nonattainment NSR (NNSR) program for the relevant ozone standard. A thorough discussion of the requirements contained in CAA sections 172(c) and 182 can be found in the General Preamble for Implementation of Title I (57 FR 13498).

    10 Ozone nonattainment areas are classified based on the severity of their ozone levels (as determined based on the area's “design value,” which represents air quality in the area for the most recent 3 years). The possible classifications for ozone nonattainment areas are Marginal, Moderate, Serious, Severe, and Extreme. See CAA section 181(a)(1).

    Additionally, states located in the OTR, which includes Maryland and portions of Virginia,11 are also subject to the requirements of CAA section 184. All areas located in the OTR, both attainment and nonattainment, are subject to additional control requirements under section 184 for the purpose of reducing interstate transport of emissions that may contribute to downwind ozone nonattainment. The section 184 requirements include reasonably available control technology (RACT), NSR, enhanced vehicle inspection and maintenance (I/M), and Stage II vapor recovery or a comparable measure relating to gasoline dispensing facilities.

    11 The OTR is comprised of the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and the Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes the District of Columbia and portions of Virginia. The areas designated as in the Virginia portion of the OTR are as follows: Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Stafford County, Alexandria City, Fairfax City, Falls Church City, Manassas City, and Manassas Park City. See, e.g. “Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Virginia; NSR in the Ozone Transport Region”, 71 FR 39570 (July 13, 2006) and 71 FR 890 (January 6, 2006).

    EPA has interpreted the section 184 OTR requirements, including the NSR program, as not being applicable for purposes of redesignation. The rationale for this is based on two considerations. First, the requirement to submit SIP revisions for the section 184 requirements continues to apply to areas in the OTR even after redesignation to attainment. Therefore, states remain obligated to have NSR, as well as RACT, and I/M programs, even after redesignation. Second, the section 184 control measures are region-wide requirements and do not apply to the area by virtue of the area's designation and classification, and thus are properly considered not relevant to an action changing an area's designation. See 61 FR 53174, 53175-53176 (October 10, 1996) and 62 FR 24826, 24830-24832 (May 7, 1997).

    i. CAA Section 172 Requirements

    As provided in CAA part D, subpart 2, for marginal ozone nonattainment areas such as the Washington Area, the ozone specific requirements of section 182(a) supersede (where overlapping) the attainment planning requirements that would otherwise apply under section 172(c), including the attainment demonstration and reasonably available control measures (RACM) under section 172(c)(1), reasonable further progress (RFP) under section 172(c)(2), and contingency measures under section 172(c)(9). 42 U.S.C. 7511a(a).

    Section 172(c)(3) requires submission and approval of a comprehensive, accurate, and current inventory of actual emissions. This requirement is superseded by the inventory requirement in section 182(a)(1) discussed later in this notice.

    Section 172(c)(4) requires the identification and quantification of allowable emissions for major new and modified sources in an area, and section 172(c)(5) requires source permits for the construction and operation of new and modified major stationary sources anywhere in the nonattainment area (NNSR). As explained previously, the Washington Area is included in the OTR established by Congress in section 184 of the CAA. Therefore, sources located in Maryland and the portions of Virginia included in the OTR will remain subject to the part D NNSR requirements even after the Washington Area is redesignated to attainment. Since the part D NNSR requirements apply to the Washington Area regardless of its attainment status, they are not considered to be relevant for purposes of redesignation. Regardless, Maryland and Virginia both have an approved NNSR program. See 82 FR 45475 (September 29, 2017) and 64 FR 51047 (September 21, 1999).

    Section 172(c)(6) requires the SIP to contain control measures necessary to provide for attainment of the NAAQS. Because attainment has been reached in the Area, EPA finds no additional measures are needed in the SIPs to provide for attainment.

    Section 172(c)(7) requires the SIP to meet the applicable provisions of section 110(a)(2). As noted previously, Maryland's and Virginia's SIPs meet the applicable requirements of section 110(a)(2) for purposes of redesignation.

    ii. CAA Section 176 Conformity Requirements

    Section 176(c) of the CAA requires states to establish criteria and procedures to ensure that federally supported or funded projects conform to the air quality planning goals in the applicable SIP. The requirement to determine conformity applies to transportation plans, programs, and projects that are developed, funded, or approved under title 23 of the United States Code (U.S.C.) and the Federal Transit Act (transportation conformity) as well as to all other federally supported or funded projects (general conformity). State transportation conformity SIP revisions must be consistent with federal conformity regulations relating to consultation, enforcement, and enforceability that EPA promulgated pursuant to its authority under the CAA.

    EPA interprets the conformity SIP requirements 12 as not applicable for purposes of evaluating a redesignation request under section 107(d) because state conformity rules are still required after redesignation and federal conformity rules apply where state conformity rules have not been approved. See Wall v. EPA, 265 F .3d 426 (6th Cir. 2001) (upholding this interpretation); see also 60 FR 62748 (December 7, 1995) (redesignation of Tampa, Florida).

    12 CAA section 176(c)(4)(E) requires states to submit revisions to their SIPs to reflect certain federal criteria and procedures for determining transportation conformity. Transportation conformity SIPs are different from SIPs requiring the development of Motor Vehicle Emission Budgets (MVEBs), such as control strategy SIPs and maintenance plans.

    iii. Section 182 Requirements

    Section 182(a)(1) requires states to submit a comprehensive, accurate, and current inventory of actual emissions from sources of NOX and VOC emitted within the boundaries of the ozone nonattainment area. On July 17, 2014, the District and Virginia submitted a joint 2011 base year emissions inventory addressing NOX and VOC emissions, as well as carbon monoxide (CO) emissions, for the Washington Area. On August 4, 2014, Maryland submitted its 2011 base year emissions inventory for the Washington Area, which also addressed NOX, VOC, and CO. EPA approved the District's, Maryland's, and Virginia's base year emissions inventories for NOX and VOC for the 2008 ozone NAAQS on May 13, 2015 (80 FR 27255). On July 23, 2015 (80 FR 43625), EPA approved the District's, Maryland's, and Virginia's base year emission inventories for CO.

    Under section 182(a)(2)(A), states with ozone nonattainment areas that were designated prior to the enactment of the 1990 CAA amendments were required to submit, within six months of classification, all rules and corrections to existing RACT rules that were required under section 172(b)(3) prior to the 1990 CAA amendments. EPA approved Maryland's and Virginia's SIP revisions satisfying the section 182(a)(2) RACT “fix-up” requirement on March 31, 1994 (59 FR 15117) and November 29, 1994 (59 FR 60908).

    Section 182(c)(3) of the CAA requires areas classified as serious and above to adopt and implement an enhanced I/M program. The Washington Area was classified as severe for the 1979 1-hour ozone NAAQS, and therefore enhanced I/M was required. In addition, section 184(b)(1)(a) of the CAA requires areas located in the OTR that are a metropolitan statistical area, or part thereof, with a population of 100,000 or more to meet the enhanced I/M program requirements of CAA section 182(c)(3). EPA approved Maryland's enhanced I/M program into Maryland's SIP on October 29, 1999 (64 FR 58340). EPA approved Virginia's enhanced I/M program on September 1, 1999 (64 FR 47670), as revised April 22, 2008 (73 FR 21540).

    CAA section 182(a)(2)(C) and section 182(a)(4) contain source permitting and offset requirements (known as NNSR). As discussed previously, part D NNSR will continue to apply to the Washington Area, regardless of attainment status, due to the Washington Area being part of the OTR. Therefore, EPA concludes that Maryland and Virginia need not have a fully approved part D NSR program prior to approval of the redesignation request. As stated previously, however, Maryland and Virginia both have an approved NNSR program. See 82 FR 45475 (September 29, 2017) for Maryland and 64 FR 51047 (September 21, 1999) for Virginia. On January 29, 2018 (83 FR 3982), EPA approved Maryland's May 8, 2017 SIP revision addressing the NNSR requirements for the 2008 ozone NAAQS and certifying that Maryland's existing NNSR program covering Maryland's portion of the Washington Area is at least as stringent as the requirements at 40 CFR 51.165, as amended by the SIP Requirements Rule. On May 11, 2017, Virginia formally submitted a SIP revision to address the specific NNSR requirements for the 2008 ozone NAAQS, located in 40 CFR 51.160-165. In Virginia's SIP revision, Virginia is certifying that its existing NNSR program covering Virginia's portion of the Washington Area is at least as stringent as the requirements at 40 CFR 51.165, as amended by the SIP Requirements Rule. EPA proposed approval of Virginia's May 11, 2017 SIP revision addressing the NNSR requirements for the 2008 ozone NAAQS on April 4, 2018 (83 FR 14386).13

    13 While not prejudging the outcome of EPA's rulemaking on Virginia's May 11, 2017 SIP revision, EPA expects to finalize rulemaking on that NNSR SIP revision before taking final action on this redesignation action.

    Section 182(a)(3) requires states to submit periodic emission inventories and a revision to the SIP to require the owners or operators of stationary sources to annually submit emission statements documenting actual NOX and VOC emissions. Maryland and Virginia submit periodic emission inventories as required by CAA section 182(a)(3). As stated above, EPA approved the District's, Maryland's, and Virginia's base year emissions inventories for NOX and VOC for the 2008 ozone NAAQS on May 13, 2015 (80 FR 27255). With regard to stationary source emission statements, EPA approved Maryland's and Virginia's emission statement rules on October 12, 1994 (59 FR 51517) and May 2, 1995 (60 FR 21451), respectively, which satisfied the requirements of CAA section 182(a)(3)(B). Maryland's and Virginia's emission statement rules require certain sources in ozone nonattainment areas and the OTR to report annual NOX and VOC emissions. EPA approved Maryland's and Virginia's emission statement certification SIPs (finding Maryland and Virginia had an emission statement program meeting section 182(a)(3) requirements for the 2008 ozone NAAQS) on July 16, 2018 (83 FR 32796) and June 1, 2018 (83 FR 25378), respectively.

    Therefore, Maryland and Virginia have satisfied all applicable SIP requirements under section 110 and part D of title I of the CAA for purposes of redesignation of their respective portions of the Washington Area. As noted previously, EPA will act on the District's redesignation request for its portion of the Washington Area in a separate rulemaking.

    2. Maryland and Virginia Have Fully Approved SIPs for Purposes of Redesignation Under Section 110(k) of the CAA

    At various times, Maryland and Virginia have adopted and submitted, and EPA has approved, provisions addressing the various SIP elements applicable for the ozone NAAQS. As discussed previously, EPA has fully approved Maryland's and Virginia's SIPs for the Washington Area under section 110(k) for all requirements applicable for purposes of redesignation under the 2008 ozone NAAQS. EPA may rely on prior SIP approvals in approving a redesignation request (see the Calcagni memorandum at page 3; Southwestern Pennsylvania Growth Alliance v. Browner, 144 F.3d 984, 989-990 (6th Cir. 1998); Wall v. EPA, 265 F.3d 426), plus any additional measures it may approve in conjunction with a redesignation action (see 68 FR 25426 (May 12, 2003) and citations therein).

    C. Are the air quality improvements in the Washington area due to permanent and enforceable emission reductions?

    To redesignate an area from nonattainment to attainment, section 107(d)(3)(E)(iii) of the CAA requires EPA to determine that the air quality improvement in the area is due to permanent and enforceable reductions in emissions resulting from the implementation of the SIP and applicable federal air pollution control regulations and other permanent and enforceable emission reductions. Maryland and Virginia have demonstrated that the observed ozone air quality improvement in the Washington Area is due to permanent and enforceable reductions in NOX and VOC emissions resulting from Maryland and Virginia measures approved as part of the SIP as well as federal measures.

    In making this demonstration, Maryland and Virginia have calculated the change in emissions between 2011 and 2014. The change in emissions is shown in Table 2. Maryland and Virginia attribute the decrease in emissions and corresponding improvement in air quality during this time period to a number of regulatory control measures that have been implemented in the Washington Area and upwind areas in recent years. Based on the information summarized in the following sections, Maryland and Virginia have adequately demonstrated that the improvement in air quality is due to permanent and enforceable emissions reductions.

    1. Permanent and Enforceable Emission Controls Implemented a. Federal Emission Control Measures

    A variety of federal and state control programs have contributed to reduced on-road, point source, and nonroad emissions of NOX and VOC in the Washington Area, with additional emission reductions expected to occur in the future as older equipment and vehicles are replaced with newer, compliant models. Federal emission control measures include the following:

    Tier 2 Motor Vehicle Emissions Standards and Gasoline Sulfur Control Requirements

    On February 10, 2000 (65 FR 6698), EPA promulgated Tier 2 motor vehicle emission standards and gasoline sulfur control requirements. These emission control requirements result in lower NOX and VOC emissions from new cars and light duty trucks, including sport utility vehicles. With respect to fuels, this rule required refiners and importers of gasoline to meet lower standards for sulfur in gasoline, which were phased in between 2004 and 2006. By 2006, refiners were required to meet a 30 ppm average sulfur level, with a maximum cap of 80 ppm. This reduction in fuel sulfur content ensures the effectiveness of low emission-control technologies. The Tier 2 tailpipe standards established in this rule were phased in for new vehicles between 2004 and 2009. EPA estimated in the final rule that this program will reduce annual NOX emissions by about 2.2 million tons per year in 2020 and 2.8 million tons per year in 2030 after the program is fully implemented and non-compliant vehicles have all been retired.

    Control of Emissions From Nonroad Spark-Ignition Engines and Equipment

    On October 8, 2008 (73 FR 59034), EPA finalized emission standards for new nonroad spark-ignition engines. The exhaust emission standards applied beginning in 2010 for new marine spark-ignition engines and in 2011 and 2012 for different sizes of new land-based, spark-ignition engines at or below 19 kW (i.e. small engines used primarily in lawn and garden applications). In the October 8, 2008 final rule, EPA estimated that by 2030 the rule will result in annual nationwide reductions of 604,000 tons of volatile organic hydrocarbon emissions, 132,200 tons of NOX emissions, and 5,500 tons of directly-emitted PM2.5 emissions. These reductions correspond to significant reductions in the formation of ground-level ozone.

    Nonroad Diesel Engines Tier 1 and Tier 2

    On June 17, 1994 (59 FR 31306), EPA made an affirmative determination under section 213(a)(2) of the CAA that nonroad engines are significant contributors to ambient ozone or CO levels in more than one nonattainment area. In the same notice, EPA also made a determination under CAA section 213(a)(4) that other emissions from compression-ignition (CI) nonroad engines rated at or above 37 kilowatts (kW) cause or contribute to air pollution that may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare. In the June 17, 1994 final rule, EPA set a first phase of emission standards (Tier 1 standards) for nonroad diesel engines rated 37 kW and above. These standards apply to nonroad, compression-ignition (i.e. diesel-powered) utility engines including, but not limited to, farm, construction, and industrial equipment, rated at or above 37 kW. On October 23, 1998 (63 FR 56968), EPA finalized a second phase of emission standards (Tier 2 standards) for nonroad diesel engines rated under 37 kW. These emission standards have resulted in a decrease in NOX emissions from the combustion of diesel fuel used to power this equipment. The Tier 1 and Tier 2 standards for nonroad diesel engines will continue to result in emission reductions as older equipment is replaced with newer, compliant models.

    Emissions Standards for Large Spark Ignition Engines

    On November 8, 2002 (67 FR 68242), EPA established emission standards for large spark-ignition engines such as those used in forklifts and airport ground-service equipment; recreational vehicles using spark-ignition engines such as off-highway motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, and snow mobiles; and recreational marine diesel engines. These emission standards were phased in from model year 2004 through 2012. When the emission standards are fully implemented in 2030, EPA expects a national 75 percent reduction in hydrocarbon (HC) emissions, 82 percent reduction in NOX emissions, 61 percent reduction in CO emissions, and a 60 percent reduction in direct particulate matter (PM) emissions from these engines, equipment, and vehicles compared to projected emissions if the standards were not implemented.

    Standards for Reformulated and Conventional Gasoline

    On February 16, 1994 (59 FR 7716), EPA finalized regulations requiring that gasoline in certain areas be reformulated to reduce vehicle emissions of toxic and ozone-forming compounds, including NOX and VOC. Reformulated gasoline (RFG) is required in the Washington Area. The first phase of the RFG program (Phase I) began in 1995 and the second phase (Phase II) began in 2000. These standards affect various gasoline-powered non-road mobile sources, such as lawn equipment, generators, and compressors. EPA estimates that Phase I of the RFG program resulted in a 2 percent and 17 percent annual reduction in NOX, and VOCs, respectively, from 1995 emission levels and prevented 64,000 tons of smog-forming pollutants, including NOX and VOC, from being emitted into the air from 1995 to 2000. Phase II of the RFG program, which began in 2000, was expected to reduce emissions of NOX and VOC by 7 percent and 27 percent, respectively, from 1995 emission levels and reduce emissions of smog-forming pollutants by an additional 41,000 tons.14 The RFG program continues to provide emission reductions in the Washington Area as the use of RFG results in less vehicle emissions of NOX and VOC compared to the use of conventional gasoline.

    14See https://www.epa.gov/gasoline-standards/reformulated-gasoline for more information on the RFG program.

    Emission Standards for Locomotives and Locomotive Engines

    On April 16, 1998 (63 FR 18978), EPA established emission standards for NOX, HC, CO, PM, and smoke from newly manufactured and remanufactured diesel-powered locomotives and locomotive engines. These emission standards were effective in 2000 and are expected to result in a more than 60 percent reduction in NOX emissions from locomotives by 2040 compared to 1995 baseline levels.

    b. Control Measures Specific to the Washington Area Maryland Healthy Air Act

    In addition to the measures referenced previously, a reduction of emission of ozone precursors can also be attributed to the Maryland Healthy Air Act (Annotated Code of Maryland Environment Title 2 Ambient Air Quality Control Subtitle 10 Healthy Air Act Sections 2-1001 to 2-1005, with implementing regulations at COMAR 26.11.27 Emission Limitations for Power Plants). The Maryland Health Air Act (HAA) was effective on July 16, 2007 and approved by EPA on September 4, 2008 (73 FR 51599). The HAA established limits on the amount of NOX and SO2 emissions affected facilities in Maryland could emit and required the installation of on-site pollution controls at 15 power plants in Maryland. The first phase of the HAA occurred between 2009 and 2010 and reduced NOX emissions from affected sources by almost 70% compared to 2002 levels. The second phase of the HAA occurred between 2012 and 2013. Maryland estimates that the HAA will reduce NOX emissions by approximately 75% from 2002 levels.

    Closure of GenOn Potomac River LLC Facility

    The decrease in emissions of ozone precursors is also attributable to the closure of the GenOn Potomac River plant located in Alexandria, Virginia. This 482-megawatt electrical generating facility consisted of five coal-fired boilers and emitted 557.7 tons of NOX annually and 2.7 tons of NOX per ozone season day (tpd) in 2011. The plant ceased operations and signed a mutual determination letter on December 21, 2012, agreeing to the permanent shutdown of the source and revoking all permits for the facility.15 Therefore, this closure is permanent and federally enforceable.

    15See Mutual Determination Letter from Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to Mr. William Lee Davis, President, GenOn Potomac River, LLC, Subject: Mutual Determination of Permanent Shutdown of the Potomac River Generating Station, December 20, 2012 included in the docket for this rulemaking available online at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: EPA-R03-OAR-2018-0215.

    2. Emission Reductions

    Maryland and Virginia calculated the change in emissions between 2011 and 2014 throughout the entire Washington Area to demonstrate that air quality has improved. The change in emissions is shown in Table 2. Maryland and Virginia used the 2011 base year emissions inventory for the Washington Area as the nonattainment year inventory because 2011 was one of the three years used to designate the area nonattainment for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. EPA approved the Washington Area 2011 base year inventory as meeting the requirements of CAA section 182(a)(1) on May 13, 2015 (80 FR 27276) for NOX and VOC emissions and July 23, 2015 (80 FR 43625) for CO emissions. As explained later in this notice, 2014 was used as the attainment year inventory.

    Table 2—2011-2014 Emissions Reduction for the Washington, DC-MD-VA Area 2011 2014 Δ 2011—2014 % Reduction from 2011 VOC Emissions (tpd) 295.0 259.4 35.6 12.1 NO X Emissions (tpd) 436.5 296.9 139.6 32.0 CO Emissions (tpd) 1,800.8 1,617.9 182.9 10.2 Note: 2011 emissions data is from the 2011 base year emissions inventory for the Washington, DC-MD-VA 2008 ozone NAAQS nonattainment area that was approved by EPA on May 13, 2015 (80 FR 27276) for NOX and VOC emissions and July 23, 2015 (80 FR 43625) for CO emissions.

    Table 2 shows that emissions of NOX and VOC in the Washington area were reduced by 139.6 tpd and 35.6 tpd, respectively, between 2011 and 2014. As discussed previously, Maryland and Virginia identified several federal and state rules approved into Maryland's and Virginia's SIPs that resulted in the reduction of NOX and VOC emissions from 2011 to 2014. Therefore, Maryland and Virginia have shown that the air quality improvements in the Washington Area are due to permanent and enforceable emission reductions.

    D. Do the District, Maryland, and Virginia have fully approvable ozone maintenance plans for the Washington Area?

    As one of the criteria for redesignation to attainment, section 107(d)(3)(E)(iv) of the CAA requires EPA to determine that the area has a fully approved maintenance plan pursuant to section 175A of the CAA. Section 175A of the CAA sets forth the elements of a maintenance plan for areas seeking redesignation from nonattainment to attainment. Under CAA section 175A, the maintenance plan must demonstrate continued attainment of the NAAQS for at least 10 years after the Administrator approves a redesignation to attainment. Eight years after the redesignation, the state must submit a revised maintenance plan which demonstrates that attainment of the NAAQS will continue for an additional 10 years beyond the initial 10-year maintenance period. To address the possibility of future NAAQS violations, the maintenance plan must contain contingency measures, as EPA deems necessary, to assure prompt correction of the future NAAQS violation.

    The Calcagni memorandum provides further guidance on the content of a maintenance plan, explaining that a maintenance plan should address five elements: (1) An attainment emission inventory; (2) a maintenance demonstration; (3) a commitment for continued air quality monitoring; (4) a process for verification of continued attainment; and (5) a contingency plan.

    In conjunction with their requests to redesignate their respective portions of the Washington Area to attainment for the 2008 ozone NAAQS, the District, Maryland, and Virginia submitted, as a revision to their SIPs, a plan to provide for maintenance of the 2008 ozone NAAQS through 2030, which is more than 10 years after the expected effective date of the redesignation to attainment. EPA anticipates redesignating the entire Washington Area, including the District's portion, by 2019. As discussed in this notice, EPA is proposing to find that the District's, Maryland's, and Virginia's maintenance plan for the 2008 ozone NAAQS includes the necessary components per the CAA, including CAA section 175A and EPA guidance, and is proposing to approve the maintenance plan as revisions to the District's, Maryland's, and Virginia's SIPs.

    1. Attainment Inventory

    The Calcagni memorandum indicates that states requesting redesignation to attainment should develop an attainment emissions inventory in order to identify the level of emissions in the area which is sufficient to attain the NAAQS. The attainment inventory should be consistent with EPA's most recent guidance on emission inventories for nonattainment areas available at the time and should include the emissions during the time period associated with monitoring data showing attainment.

    For the attainment inventory, the District, Maryland, and Virginia used the year 2014, which is one of the years during the three-year period associated with the monitoring data first showing attainment of the 2008 ozone NAAQS (i.e., 2013 to 2015). As previously mentioned, on November 14, 2017, EPA determined that the Washington Area attained the 2008 ozone NAAQS by the attainment date, based on 2013 to 2015 data. See 82 FR 52651. The attainment year inventory is summarized in Table 3. A detailed evaluation of the methodology used to develop the attainment year inventory (and EPA's rationale to approve the attainment inventory) is provided in the Emission Inventory Technical Support Document (EI TSD), which is included in the docket for this rulemaking available online at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: EPA-R03-OAR-2018-0215.

    Table 3—2014 Attainment Inventory for the Washington Area Source category NOX (tpd) VOC
  • (tpd)
  • CO
  • (tpd)
  • Point 64.9 7.7 23.7 Non-Point (Area) 9.6 139.3 63.5 Marine, Air, Rail (MAR) 19.2 2.4 19.6 Nonroad Model 52 47.5 762.8 On-Road Mobile 136.8 61.3 744.1 Quasi-Point 14.4 1.2 4.2 Total 296.9 259.4 1617.9
    2. Have the District, Maryland, and Virginia documented maintenance of the 2008 ozone NAAQS in the Washington Area? a. Maintenance Emission Inventory for the Washington Area

    The District, Maryland, and Virginia have demonstrated maintenance of the 2008 ozone standard through 2030 by the use of emission inventories showing that future emissions of NOX and VOC for the Washington Area will remain at or below attainment year emission levels. A maintenance demonstration need not be based on modeling. See Wall v. EPA, 265 F.3d 426 (6th Cir. 2001), Sierra Club v. EPA, 375 F.3d 537 (7th Cir. 2004). See also 66 FR 53094, 53099-53100 (October 19, 2001) and 68 FR 25413, 25430-25432 (May 12, 2003).

    The District, Maryland, and Virginia are using emissions inventories for the years 2025 and 2030 to demonstrate maintenance in the Washington Area. EPA anticipates redesignating the entire Washington Area, including the District's portion, in 2019. 2030 is more than 10 years after the expected effective date of the redesignation to attainment, and 2025 was selected to demonstrate that emissions are not expected to increase in the interim between the attainment year and the final maintenance year.

    In order to develop the 2025 and 2030 inventories, the District, Maryland, and Virginia applied growth factors to the 2014 attainment year emissions inventory (shown in Table 3). A detailed evaluation of the methodology used to develop the maintenance inventory (and EPA's rational for approving the maintenance inventory as well as the growth factors used) is provided in EPA's EI TSD, which is included in the docket for this rulemaking available online at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: EPA-R03-OAR-2018-0215.

    The maintenance inventory, provided in Table 4, shows the projected emissions of NOX, VOC, and CO in the Washington Area for 2014 (the attainment year), 2025, and 2030 and demonstrates that future emissions of NOX, VOC, and CO will not exceed the levels of the 2014 attainment year inventory for the Washington area for a minimum of 10 years following redesignation.

    Table 4—2014 to 2030 NOX, VOC, and CO Maintenance Emissions Inventories for the Washington Area Source category NOX
  • (tpd)
  • 2014 2025 2030 VOC
  • (tpd)
  • 2014 2025 2030 CO
  • (tpd)
  • 2014 2025 2030
    Point 64.9 66.0 68.5 7.7 8.8 9.4 23.7 25.1 26.2 Non-Point (Area) 9.6 9.9 10.0 139.3 153.7 160.3 63.6 64.9 65.5 Marine-Air-Rail (M-A-R) 19.2 21.4 22.4 2.4 2.6 2.6 19.6 19.9 20.7 Nonroad Mobile 52.0 29.6 27.8 47.5 44.9 47.2 762.8 845.8 898.8 On-Road Mobile 136.8 40.7 27.4 61.3 33.2 24.1 744.1 457.1 323.7 Quasi-Point 14.4 14.4 14.4 1.2 1.2 1.2 4.2 4.2 4.2 Total 296.9 182.0 170.5 259.4 244.4 244.8 1618.0 1417.0 1339.1 Δ 2014-2025 114.9 15.0 201.0 Δ 2014-2030 126.4 14.6 278.9

    In summary, EPA finds the maintenance inventory for the Washington Area provided in Table 4 shows maintenance of the 2008 ozone NAAQS by providing emissions information and reasonable growth factors to support the demonstration that future emissions of NOX and VOC will remain at or below 2014 emission levels (an inventory year showing attainment of NAAQS) when taking into account both future source growth and implementation of future controls. Table 4 shows that NOX and VOC emissions are projected to decrease by 126.4 tpd and 14.6 tpd, respectively, between 2014 and 2030. EPA finds that the District, Maryland, and Virginia have demonstrated maintenance of the 2008 ozone standard in the Washington Area through 2030.

    b. Control Measures for Maintenance of Air Quality in the Washington Area

    The point, nonroad, and on-road emission projections for 2025 and 2030 include a variety of control strategies that will reduce emissions of NOX and VOC in future years.

    i. Point Sector Controls COMAR 26.11.38 Control of NOX Emissions From Coal-Fired Electric Generating Units

    COMAR 26.11.38 (also referred to as the Maryland NOX Rule) established new NOX emission standards and additional monitoring and reporting requirements for coal-fired EGUs in Maryland. COMAR 26.11.38 was approved by EPA into the SIP on May 30, 2017 (82 FR 24546). The coal-fired EGUs included in this rule account for more than 80 percent of the State of Maryland's NOX emissions from power plants. These new NOX emission standards have resulted in reductions in NOX emissions.

    ii. Nonroad Emission Controls

    As discussed previously, a variety of federal and state control programs have contributed to reduced on-road, point source, and nonroad emissions of NOX and VOC in the Washington Area, with additional emission reductions expected to occur in the future. These Federal measures include the following and are discussed in more detail in section IV.C.1.b. of this rulemaking: (1) Control of Emissions from Nonroad Spark-Ignition Engines and Equipment; (2) Nonroad Diesel Engines Tier 1 and Tier 2; (3) Emissions Standards for Large Spark Ignition Engines; (4) Standards for Reformulated and Conventional Gasoline; and, (5) Emission Standards for Locomotives and Locomotive Engines.

    iii. On-Road Emission Controls Tier 3 Vehicle Emissions and Fuel Standards Program

    On April 28, 2014 (79 FR 23414), EPA established more stringent vehicle emissions standards. The vehicle emissions standards will reduce both tailpipe and evaporative emissions of the ozone precursors NOX and VOC from passenger cars, light-duty trucks, medium-duty passenger vehicles, and some heavy-duty vehicles. These standards will result in significant reductions in ozone concentrations due to the decrease in NOX and VOC emissions. The Tier 3 standards include new light- and heavy-duty vehicle emission standards for exhaust emissions of VOC, NOX, and PM, as well as new evaporative emissions standards. In the final rule, EPA estimates that in 2030, when Tier 3 vehicles will make up the majority of the fleet as well as vehicle miles traveled, NOX and VOC emissions from on-highway vehicles will be reduced by about 21 percent compared to projected emission levels if the Tier 3 standards were not implemented.

    Transportation Emission Reduction Measures

    The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) 16 utilizes many strategies to reduce emissions from mobile sources by reducing the number of vehicle trips and/or vehicle miles traveled. Such strategies include, but are not limited to, ridesharing programs, telecommuting programs, improved transit and bicycling facilities, and clean fuel vehicle programs. A summary of these measures is provided by TPB in their transportation conformity analyses. The emission reductions from these strategies were not included in the 2025 and 2030 maintenance emissions inventories.

    16 The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) is the federally designated metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for metropolitan Washington.

    Inspection and Maintenance (I/M) Programs

    The District, Maryland, and Virginia operate enhanced I/M programs to ensure that motorists are driving vehicles that meet federal emission requirements. Owners of vehicles that do not meet requirements, based on tail pipe or On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) testing, must repair the vehicles or show that the total costs of repair are more than waiver limitations. As noted previously, EPA approved Maryland's and Virginia's enhanced I/M program into Maryland's and Virginia's SIPs on October 29, 1999 (64 FR 58340) and September 1, 1999 (64 FR 47670), as revised April 22, 2008 (73 FR 21540), respectively. EPA approved the District's enhanced I/M program into the District's SIP on June 11, 1999 (64 FR 31498).

    3. Continued Air Quality Monitoring

    The District, Maryland, and Virginia have committed, in their joint maintenance plan for the Washington Area, to continue to operate an appropriate air quality monitoring network in accordance with 40 CFR part 58. The District, Maryland, and Virginia also committed, in their redesignation requests, to continue to monitor ozone concentrations in the Washington Area in accordance with 40 CFR part 58 and EPA-approved annual monitoring plans, to quality-assure the monitoring data in accordance with 40 CFR part 58, and to enter all data into AQS in a timely fashion.

    4. Verification of Continued Attainment

    The District, Maryland, and Virginia state in their maintenance plan submittal that they have the legal authority to develop, implement, and enforce regulations regarding air pollution, including the requirements of the maintenance plan for the Washington Area. The District, Maryland, and Virginia cite the regulations and statutory provisions included in Table 5 below as providing them with the authority to develop, implement, and enforce the requirements of the maintenance plan for the Washington Area.

    Table 5—Measures Cited as Providing the District, Maryland, and Virginia With the Authority To Develop, Implement, and Enforce the Requirements of the Maintenance Plan for the Washington Area State Citation Description Virginia Section 10.1-1308 of the Virginia Air Pollution Control Law (Title 10.1, Chapter 13 of the Code of Virginia) Authorizes the State Air Pollution Control Board to promulgate regulations abating, controlling, and prohibiting air pollution in order to protect public health and welfare. Maryland Annotated Code of Maryland, Section 2-103 Legal authority to implement and enforce. Maryland Annotated Code of Maryland, Environment Article, Section 2-302(a)-(d) Authority for MDE to set emission standards and ambient air quality standards for each air quality control area in the state. Maryland Annotated Code of Maryland, Environment Article, Section 2-601-614 Authority for MDE to enforce the standards and impose penalties. District of Columbia Air Pollution Control Act of 1984, as amended (D.C. Official Code Section 8-101.05-101.06) Provides authority to “develop a comprehensive program for the control and prevention of air pollution in the District that provides for the administration and enforcement of the requirements of [the Act] and the regulations promulgated pursuant to [the Act].” District of Columbia 20 DCMR Sections 101, 102, and 105 Authority for inspection, order for compliance, and penalty, respectively.

    In their joint maintenance plan submittal, the District, Maryland, and Virginia also referenced several regulatory elements that each state will retain in order to maintain attainment of the 2008 ozone NAAQS. These regulatory elements are summarized in Table 6.

    Table 6—Regulatory Measures Cited for Continued Attainment State Citation Description District of Columbia 20 DCMR 202 and 20 DCMR 303.8 Shutdown requirements. District of Columbia 20 DCMR Chapter 2 (General and Non-Attainment Area Permits) and 20 DCMR Chapter 3 (Operating Permits and Acid Rain Programs) Permitting requirements. District of Columbia 20 DCMR 804, 805, 899 (NOX), 20 DCMR Chapter 10 (NOX Emissions Budget), and 20 DCMR Chapter 7 (Volatile Organic Compounds) Regulatory requirements. District of Columbia 18 DCMR Chapters 4, 6, 7, 11, 26, and 99 I/M program requirements. District of Columbia 20 DCMR Chapter 5 Emission statement requirements. Maryland COMAR 26.11.01.05-1 Emission statement requirements. Maryland COMAR 11.14.08 I/M program requirements. Maryland COMAR 26.11.02 and COMAR 26.11.03 Permitting requirements. Virginia 9VAC5-20-220 Shutdown requirements. Virginia 9VAC5-80 Permits for stationary sources. Virginia 9VAC5-91 I/M program requirements for Northern Virginia. Virginia 9VAC5-20-160.B Emission statement requirements.

    Verification of continued attainment is accomplished through operation of the ambient ozone monitoring network and the periodic update of the area's emissions inventory. As stated above, the District, Maryland, and Virginia have committed, in their joint maintenance plan for the Washington Area, to continue to operate an appropriate air quality monitoring network in accordance with 40 CFR part 58. The District, Maryland, and Virginia also committed, in their redesignation requests, to continue to monitor ozone concentrations in the Washington Area in accordance with 40 CFR part 58 and EPA-approved annual monitoring plans, to quality-assure the monitoring data in accordance with 40 CFR part 58, and to enter all data into AQS in a timely fashion. The District, Maryland, and Virginia state in their joint maintenance plan that they will track attainment and maintenance using ambient and source emission data.

    In addition, to track the progress of the maintenance demonstration, the District, Maryland, and Virginia state in their joint maintenance plan submittal that they will periodically update the emissions inventory. The District, Maryland, and Virginia also commit to an annual evaluation consisting of a comparison of key emissions trend indicators, such as the annual emissions update of stationary sources and the Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) vehicle miles traveled data reported to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), to the growth assumptions used in the plan. The District, Maryland, and Virginia also commit in their maintenance plan submittal to developing and submitting to EPA “comprehensive tracking inventories every three years or as required by federal regulation during the maintenance plan period.” EPA notes that point source facilities covered by the District's, Maryland's, and Virginia's emission statement rules are required to submit NOX and VOC emissions on an annual basis to address CAA requirements in CAA section 182.17

    17 In the District's May 25, 2018 emission statement certification SIP submittal for the 2008 ozone NAAQS, the District cites to section 20-500.9 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR) (20 DCMR 500.9) as containing the District's emission statement rules. However, the District's emission statement rules were SIP-approved as 20 DCMR 500.7 (60 FR 27889, May 26, 1995). A recodification of 20 DCMR 500 caused the emission statement rules under 20 DCMR 500.7 to move to 20 DCMR 500.9. Despite the recodification, the District's emission statement rules continue to require applicable point sources in the District to submit information on NOX and VOC emissions on an annual basis. EPA intends to propose conditional approval of the District's emission statement certification SIP for the 2008 ozone NAAQS, contingent on the District's submittal of a SIP revision updating the District's SIP to reflect the recodification of 20 DCMR 500.

    5. What is the contingency plan for the Washington Area?

    Section 175A of the CAA requires that the state must adopt a maintenance plan, as a SIP revision, that includes such contingency measures as EPA deems necessary to assure that the state will promptly correct a violation of the NAAQS that occurs after a redesignation of the area to attainment of the NAAQS. The maintenance plan must identify the contingency measures to be considered and, if needed for maintenance, adopted and implemented; a schedule and procedure for adoption and implementation; and, a time limit for action by the state. The state should also identify specific indicators to be used to determine when the contingency measures need to be considered, adopted, and implemented.

    As required by section 175A of the CAA, the District, Maryland, and Virginia have adopted a contingency plan for the Washington Area to address possible future ozone air quality problems as described herein and in the TSD for this rulemaking available online at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: EPA-R03-OAR-2018-0215. EPA's analysis of the contingency plan as addressing requirements in CAA section 175A is also in the TSD.

    a. Contingency Measures

    The District, Maryland, and Virginia included several measures as contingency measures in their joint maintenance plan submittal that EPA found to not be appropriate for use as contingency measures as discussed in detail in the TSD for this rulemaking. However, since emission reductions from these measures were not accounted for in the maintenance inventory or the MVEBs, it is expected that these measures will provide more emission reductions than what was projected in the maintenance inventory or the MVEBs. Thus, these measures will provide additional assurance that the 2008 ozone standard will be maintained in the Washington Area. A description of the District's, Maryland's, and Virginia's submitted contingency measures as well as EPA's evaluation of these measures and the contingency plan as a whole can be found in the TSD for this rulemaking available online at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: EPA-R03-OAR-2018-0215. Table 7 lists the measures that EPA finds appropriate to use as contingency measures for the Washington Area.

    Table 7—Measures Found To Be Appropriate To Use as Contingency Measures for the Washington Area Measure State Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) 2009-2014 model rule for VOC for consumer products 18 Virginia. OTC 2009-2014 model rule for VOC for architectural and industrial maintenance coatings 19 Virginia. Additional contingency measures as needed District of Columbia, Maryland, and/or Virginia. b. Indicators

    The District, Maryland, and Virginia include specific indicators, or “triggers”, to be used to determine when the contingency measures need to be considered, adopted, and implemented. In the contingency measure implementation schedule included in the maintenance plan and discussed later in this notice, the District, Maryland, and Virginia state that the “schedule onset” for the implementation of any contingency measure will begin three months after quality assured data determine that an exceedance or violation of the 2008 ozone NAAQS occurred within the previous year or upon notification from EPA that a contingency measure must be implemented. Another trigger is if any future year emissions inventory indicates that the Washington Area's total emissions of NOX or VOC exceeded the levels in the attainment year inventory. If an audit of the attainment year and future year inventories does not reconcile the original estimated emissions with the exceedances, then the District, Maryland, and Virginia commit to implementing one or more of the contingency measures to ensure that future total emissions of NOX and VOC in the Washington Area do not exceed the levels in the attainment year inventory.

    18 The Model Rule for Consumer Products was developed by the OTC and establishes limits on VOC emissions from consumer products including, but not limited to, adhesives, air fresheners, general purpose cleaners, and hairsprays. See “2013 Consumer Product Update”, May 21, 3013, available at https://otcair.org/document.asp?Fview=modelrules.

    19 The Model Rule for Architectural and Industrial Maintenance (AIM) Coatings was developed by the OTC and establishes limits on VOC emissions from AIM coatings, including, but not limited to concrete/masonry sealer, driveway sealers, and wood coatings. See “Model Rule 2009-2014—Architectural & Industrial Maintenance (AIM) Coatings”, Updated October 13, 2014, available at https://otcair.org/document.asp?Fview=modelrules.

    c. Schedule and Procedure for Adoption and Implementation of Contingency Measures

    The District, Maryland, and Virginia have committed to implementing any contingency measure according to the following schedule: (1) Schedule onset: Notification received from EPA that a contingency measure must be implemented or three months after quality assured data determine that an exceedance or violation occurred within the previous year; (2) applicable regulation or program will be adopted six months following the schedule onset; (3) applicable regulation or program will be implemented six months following adoption; and, (4) compliance with regulation, or full program implementation, to be achieved within twelve months of adoption.

    The District and Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee (MWAQC) will use their regional coordination process to determine the contingency measure to be implemented.

    d. EPA's Evaluation of the Contingency Plan for the Washington Area

    Based on EPA's evaluation of the District's, Maryland's, and Virginia's contingency plan for the Washington Area, which is provided in the TSD for this rulemaking available online at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: EPA-R03-OAR-2018-0215, EPA finds that the contingency plan includes the required elements for CAA section 175A and relevant EPA guidance and will promptly correct any violation of the NAAQS that occurs after the redesignation of the Washington Area.

    EPA has concluded that the District's, Maryland's, and Virginia's joint maintenance plan adequately addresses the five basic components of a maintenance plan: Attainment inventory, maintenance demonstration, monitoring network, verification of continued attainment, and a contingency plan. Therefore, EPA concludes that the maintenance plan SIP revisions submitted by the District, Maryland, and Virginia meet the requirements of CAA section 175A. EPA is proposing to approve the maintenance plan as a revision to the District's, Maryland's, and Virginia's SIPs.

    V. Have the District, Maryland, and Virginia adopted approvable MVEBs? A. What are the MVEBs?

    Under section 176(c) of the CAA, new transportation plans, programs, or projects that receive federal funding or support, such as the construction of new highways, must “conform” (i.e., be consistent with) the SIP. Conformity to the SIP means that transportation activities will not cause new air quality violations, worsen existing air quality problems, or delay timely attainment of the NAAQS or interim air quality milestones. Regulations at 40 CFR part 93 set forth EPA policy, criteria, and procedures for demonstrating and assuring conformity of transportation activities to a SIP. Transportation conformity is a requirement for nonattainment and maintenance areas.20

    20 Maintenance areas are areas that were previously nonattainment for a particular NAAQS, but have been redesignated to attainment with an approved maintenance plan for the NAAQS.

    Under the CAA, states are required to submit, at various times, control strategy SIPs for nonattainment areas and maintenance plans for areas seeking redesignations to attainment of the ozone standard and maintenance areas. See the SIP Requirements Rule. These control strategy SIPs (including reasonable further progress plans and attainment plans) and maintenance plans must include MVEBs for criteria pollutants, including ozone, and their precursor pollutants (NOX and VOC for ozone) to address pollution from on-road transportation sources. The MVEBs are the portion of the total allowable emissions that are allocated to highway and transit vehicle use that, together with emissions from other sources in the area, will provide for attainment or maintenance of the NAAQS. See 40 CFR 93.101.

    Under 40 CFR part 93, a MVEB for an area seeking redesignation to attainment must be established, at minimum, for the last year of the maintenance plan. A state may adopt MVEBs for other years as well. The MVEB serves as a ceiling on emissions from an area's planned transportation system. The MVEB concept is further explained in the preamble to the November 24, 1993 Transportation Conformity Rule (58 FR 62188). The preamble also describes how to establish the MVEB in the SIP and how to revise the MVEB, if needed, subsequent to initially establishing a MVEB in the SIP. The most recently approved MVEBs for the Washington Area originate from the attainment plan for the 1997 ozone NAAQS, which EPA found adequate on February 7, 2013 (78 FR 9044).

    B. What is the status of EPA's adequacy determination for the proposed 2025 and 2030 VOC and NOX MVEBs for the Washington Area?

    When reviewing submitted control strategy SIPs or maintenance plans containing MVEBs, EPA must affirmatively find that the MVEBs contained therein are adequate for use in determining transportation conformity. Once EPA affirmatively finds that the submitted MVEBs are adequate for transportation purposes, the MVEBs must be used by state and federal agencies in determining whether proposed transportation projects conform to the SIP as required by section 176(c) of the CAA.

    EPA's substantive criteria for determining adequacy of a MVEB are set out in 40 CFR 93.118(e)(4). The process for determining adequacy consists of three basic steps: (1) Public notification of a SIP submission, (2) provision for a public comment period, and (3) EPA's adequacy determination. This process for determining the adequacy of submitted MVEBs for transportation conformity purposes was initially outlined in EPA's May 14, 1999 guidance, “Conformity Guidance on Implementation of March 2, 1999, Conformity Court Decision.” EPA adopted regulations to codify the adequacy process in the Transportation Conformity Rule Amendments for the “New 8-Hour Ozone and PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standards and Miscellaneous Revisions for Existing Areas; Transportation Conformity Rule Amendments—Response to Court Decision and Additional Rule Change,” on July 1, 2004 (69 FR 40004). Additional information on the adequacy process for transportation conformity purposes is available in the proposed rule titled, “Transportation Conformity Rule Amendments: Response to Court Decision and Additional Rule Changes,” 68 FR 38974, 38984 (June 30, 2003).

    The District's, Maryland's, and Virginia's maintenance plan includes NOX and VOC MVEBs for the Washington Area for 2014 (the attainment year), 2025 (the intermediate year), and 2030 (the last year of the maintenance period). The District's, Maryland's, and Virginia's maintenance plan SIP submission, including the NOX and VOC MVEBs for the Washington Area, was available for public comment on EPA's adequacy website on May 21, 2018 at https://www.epa.gov/state-and-local-transportation. The EPA public comment period on adequacy of the 2014, 2025, and 2030 MVEBs for the Washington Area closed on June 20, 2018. No comments on the submittal were received during the adequacy comment period. EPA reviewed the NOX and VOC MVEBs in accordance with the adequacy process in 40 CFR part 93 and found the MVEBs adequate. EPA anticipates it will publish a notice of adequacy for the 2014, 2025, and 2030 MVEBs for the Washington Area before taking final action on this redesignation of the Washington Area. In letters dated July 24, 2018, EPA informed the District, Maryland, and Virginia that the 2014, 2025, and 2030 MVEBs are adequate for use in transportation conformity analyses.21 EPA's analysis of the MVEBs is included in the Notice of Adequacy TSD, which is included in the docket for this rulemaking available online at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: EPA-R03-OAR-2018-0215.

    21 As stated previously, EPA originally informed the District, Maryland, and Virginia that the 2014, 2025, and 2030 MVEBs were adequate for use in transportation conformity analyses in letters dated July 18, 2018. EPA revised language in these letters and sent the revised letters to the District, Maryland, and Virginia on July 24, 2018. The original and revised letters are available online at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: EPA-R03-OAR-2018-0215.

    The MVEBs were calculated using the most current USEPA Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator (MOVES) model (MOVES2014a) and regional travel demand forecasting model at the time of the submittal. These MVEBs, when considered together with all other emissions sources, are consistent with maintenance of the 2008 ozone standard. The MVEBs are shown in Table 8.

    Table 8—Washington, DC-MD-VA Maintenance Plan On-Road Mobile Source Emissions Budgets Year NOX on-road emissions
  • (tpd)
  • VOC on-road emissions
  • (tpd)
  • Attainment Year 2014 Emission and Budget 136.8 61.3 Intermediate Year 2025 Emission and Budget 40.7 33.2 Final Year 2030 Emission and Budget 27.4 24.1
    C. What is a safety margin and how was it allocated?

    EPA's transportation conformity regulations allow for the use of a safety margin, also referred to as a “transportation buffer”, in the development of MVEBs for maintenance plans. A “safety margin” is the difference between the attainment level of emissions (from all sources) and the projected level of emissions (from all sources) in the maintenance plan. All or a portion of these transportation buffers can be allotted to mobile source inventories to develop MVEBs.

    Table 4 shows the difference in total emissions for NOX and VOC from all sources between the attainment year (2014) and the intermediate year (2025) as well as the attainment year (2014) and the final maintenance year (2030). These differences in emissions provide estimates of the total available transportation buffers for NOX and VOC in 2025 and 2030. The total available transportation buffers for NOX is 114.9 tpd in 2025 and 126.4 tpd in 2030 and for VOC the total available transportation buffer is 15.0 tpd in 2025 and 14.6 tpd in 2030. The District, Maryland, and Virginia used 20% of the total available transportation buffer to develop the second set of mobile budgets for 2025 and 2030 in the maintenance plan. The transportation buffers add 8.1 tpd of NOX and 6.6 tpd of VOC to the 2025 emission inventories, and 5.5 tpd of NOX and 4.8 tpd of VOC to the 2030 emission inventories. The MVEBs with the transportation buffers described previously for the Washington Area are shown in Table 9.

    Table 9—Washington, DC-MD-VA Maintenance Plan On-Road Mobile Source Emissions Budgets With Transportation Buffers Year NOX on-road emissions
  • (tpd)
  • VOC on-road emissions
  • (tpd)
  • Attainment Year 2014 Emissions & Budget 136.8 61.3 Predicted 2025 Emission 40.7 33.2 Transportation Buffer 8.1 6.6 Intermediate Year 2025 Budget 48.8 39.8 Predicted 2030 Emission 27.4 24.1 Transportation Buffer 5.5 4.8 Final Year 2030 Budget 32.9 28.9

    These two sets of MVEBs (with and without transportation buffers) have been developed for both milestone years (2025 and 2030). As can be seen in Table 10, the MVEBs that include the transportation buffer (Table 9), remain below the emission levels of the maintenance inventory.

    Table 10—Maintenance Inventory: NOX and VOC Emissions in the Washington Area, Including MVEBs With Transportation Buffer, 2014 to 2030 Source category NOX
  • (tpd)
  • 2014 2025 2030 VOC
  • (tpd)
  • 2014 2025 2030
    Point 64.9 66.0 68.5 7.7 8.8 9.4 Non-Point (Area) 9.6 9.9 10.0 139.3 153.7 160.3 M-A-R 19.2 21.4 22.4 2.4 2.6 2.6 Nonroad Mobile 52.0 29.6 27.8 47.5 44.9 47.2 On-Road Mobile 136.8 48.8 32.9 61.3 39.8 28.9 Quasi-Point 14.4 14.4 14.4 1.2 1.2 1.2 Total 296.9 190.1 176.0 259.4 251.0 249.6 Δ 2014-2025 106.8 8.4 Δ 2014-2030 120.9 9.8

    The District, Maryland, and Virginia will only use the MVEBs with transportation buffers, shown in Table 9, as needed in situations where the conformity analysis must be based on different data, models, or planning assumptions, including, but not limited to, updates to demographic, land use, or project-related assumptions, than were used to create the first set of MVEBs in the maintenance plan. The technical analyses used to demonstrate compliance with the MVEBs and the need, if any, to use transportation buffers will be fully documented in the conformity analysis and follow the Transportation Planning Board's (TPB) interagency consultation procedures. Regulations governing the interagency consultation process adopted by the District, Maryland, Virginia, and the TPB are as follows:

    1. District of Columbia: Title 20 Environment, Chapter 20-15 General and Transportation Conformity, Rule Numbers 20-1503, 20-1504, 20-1505, 20-1506, 20-1507 2. Maryland: Title 26 Department of Environment, Subtitle 11 Air Quality, Chapter 26 Conformity, Regulation Numbers 26.11.26.04, 26.11.26.05, 26.11.26.06, 26.11.26.07, 26.11.26.08 3. Virginia: 9VAC5 Chapter 151 Regulation for Transportation Conformity Section 70 Consultation (9VAC5-151-70) 4. Transportation Planning Board: Report titled “Transportation Planning Board Consultation Procedures with respect to Transportation Conformity Regulations Governing TPB Plans and Programs,” May 20, 1998

    EPA finds that the District, Maryland, and Virginia continue to demonstrate maintenance of the 2008 ozone standard with both sets of MVEBs, including the MVEBs with the transportation buffers. Therefore, EPA is proposing to approve, as revisions to the District's, Maryland's, and Virginia's SIPs, the MVEBs contained in this maintenance plan for the Washington Area.

    VI. Proposed Action

    EPA is proposing to approve the requests from Maryland and Virginia to redesignate to attainment their respective portions of the Washington Area for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. EPA is not proposing to approve the redesignation request from the District and will address the District's redesignation request in a separate rulemaking action. EPA is also proposing to approve, as a revision to the District's, Maryland's, and Virginia's SIPs, the joint maintenance plan submitted by the District, Maryland, and Virginia. The joint maintenance plan demonstrates maintenance of the 2008 ozone NAAQS through 2030 in the Washington Area and includes 2014, 2025, and 2030 MVEBs for NOX and VOCs for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. Finally, EPA has found adequate and is proposing to approve these 2014, 2025, and 2030 NOX and VOC MVEBs for the Washington Area. EPA is soliciting public comments on the issues discussed in this document. These comments will be considered before taking final action.

    VII. General Information Pertaining to SIP Submittals From the Commonwealth of Virginia

    In 1995, Virginia adopted legislation that provides, subject to certain conditions, for an environmental assessment (audit) “privilege” for voluntary compliance evaluations performed by a regulated entity. The legislation further addresses the relative burden of proof for parties either asserting the privilege or seeking disclosure of documents for which the privilege is claimed. Virginia's legislation also provides, subject to certain conditions, for a penalty waiver for violations of environmental laws when a regulated entity discovers such violations pursuant to a voluntary compliance evaluation and voluntarily discloses such violations to the Commonwealth and takes prompt and appropriate measures to remedy the violations. Virginia's Voluntary Environmental Assessment Privilege Law, Va. Code Sec. 10.1-1198, provides a privilege that protects from disclosure documents and information about the content of those documents that are the product of a voluntary environmental assessment. The Privilege Law does not extend to documents or information that: (1) Are generated or developed before the commencement of a voluntary environmental assessment; (2) are prepared independently of the assessment process; (3) demonstrate a clear, imminent and substantial danger to the public health or environment; or (4) are required by law.

    On January 12, 1998, the Commonwealth of Virginia Office of the Attorney General provided a legal opinion that states that the Privilege law, Va. Code Sec. 10.1-1198, precludes granting a privilege to documents and information “required by law,” including documents and information “required by federal law to maintain program delegation, authorization or approval,” since Virginia must “enforce federally authorized environmental programs in a manner that is no less stringent than their federal counterparts. . . .” The opinion concludes that “[r]egarding § 10.1-1198, therefore, documents or other information needed for civil or criminal enforcement under one of these programs could not be privileged because such documents and information are essential to pursuing enforcement in a manner required by federal law to maintain program delegation, authorization or approval.”

    Virginia's Immunity law, Va. Code Sec. 10.1-1199, provides that “[t]o the extent consistent with requirements imposed by federal law,” any person making a voluntary disclosure of information to a state agency regarding a violation of an environmental statute, regulation, permit, or administrative order is granted immunity from administrative or civil penalty. The Attorney General's January 12, 1998 opinion states that the quoted language renders this statute inapplicable to enforcement of any federally authorized programs, since “no immunity could be afforded from administrative, civil, or criminal penalties because granting such immunity would not be consistent with federal law, which is one of the criteria for immunity.”

    Therefore, EPA has determined that Virginia's Privilege and Immunity statutes will not preclude the Commonwealth from enforcing its program consistent with the federal requirements. In any event, because EPA has also determined that a state audit privilege and immunity law can affect only state enforcement and cannot have any impact on federal enforcement authorities, EPA may at any time invoke its authority under the CAA, including, for example, sections 113, 167, 205, 211 or 213, to enforce the requirements or prohibitions of the state plan, independently of any state enforcement effort. In addition, citizen enforcement under section 304 of the CAA is likewise unaffected by this, or any, state audit privilege or immunity law.

    VIII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Under the CAA, the redesignation of an area to attainment and the accompanying approval of the maintenance plan under CAA section 107(d)(3)(E) are actions that affect the status of geographical area and do not impose any additional regulatory requirements on sources beyond those required by state law. A redesignation to attainment does not in and of itself impose any new requirements, but rather results in the application of requirements contained in the CAA for areas that have been redesignated to attainment. Moreover, the Administrator is required to approve a SIP submission that complies with the provisions of the Act and applicable federal regulations. 42 U.S.C. 7410(k); 40 CFR 52.02(a). Thus, in reviewing SIP submissions, EPA's role is to approve state choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the CAA. Accordingly, this action merely approves state law as meeting federal requirements and does not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law. For that reason, this proposed action:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The action approving Maryland's and Virginia's redesignation request for their respective portions of the Washington Area for the 2008 ozone NAAQS as well as the District's, Maryland's, and Virginia's maintenance plan for the Washington Area, is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land as defined in 18 U.S.C. 1151 or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications and will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Carbon monoxide, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Volatile organic compounds.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: July 24, 2018. Cosmo Servidio, Regional Administrator, Region III.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16882 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R06-OAR-2017-0699; FRL-9981-42—Region 6] Air Plan Approval; Arkansas AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    Pursuant to the Federal Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve portions of the revisions to the Arkansas State Implementation Plan (SIP) submitted by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) on March 24, 2017. Most of the revisions are administrative in nature and make the SIP current with Federal rules. The EPA is also proposing to make ministerial changes to the Code of Federal Register (CFR) to reflect SIP actions pertaining to the Arkansas Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program.

    DATES:

    Written comments should be received on or before September 7, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by EPA-R06-OAR-2017-0699, at http://www.regulations.gov or via email to [email protected] For additional information on how to submit comments see the detailed instructions in the ADDRESSES section of the direct final rule located in the rules section of this issue of the Federal Register.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Carrie Paige, (214) 665-6521, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In the final rules section of this issue of the Federal Register, the EPA is approving the State's SIP submittal as a direct rule without prior proposal because the Agency views this as noncontroversial submittal and anticipates no adverse comments. A detailed rationale for the approval is set forth in the direct final rule. If no relevant adverse comments are received in response to this action no further activity is contemplated. If the EPA receives relevant adverse comments, the direct final rule will be withdrawn and all public comments received will be addressed in a subsequent final rule based on this proposed rule. The EPA will not institute a second comment period. Any parties interested in commenting on this action should do so at this time.

    For additional information, see the direct final rule, which is located in the rules section of this issue of the Federal Register.

    Dated: July 31, 2018. Anne Idsal, Regional Administrator, Region 6.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16905 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R03-OAR-2013-0492; FRL-9981-67—Region 3] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Delaware; Interstate Transport Requirements for the 2010 1-Hour Sulfur Dioxide Standard AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve portions of a state implementation plan (SIP) revision submittal from the State of Delaware. This revision addresses the infrastructure requirement for interstate transport of pollution with respect to the 2010 1-hour sulfur dioxide (SO2) national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS). This action is being taken under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before September 7, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R03-OAR-2013-0492 at http://www.regulations.gov, or via email to [email protected] For comments submitted at Regulations.gov, follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. For either manner of submission, EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be confidential business information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e., on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, please contact the person identified in the For Further Information Contact section. For the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On May 29, 2013, the State of Delaware, through the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) submitted a SIP revision addressing the infrastructure requirements under section 110(a)(2) of the CAA for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS.

    I. Background A. General

    On June 2, 2010, the EPA promulgated a revised primary SO2 standard, establishing a new 1-hour primary standard at the level of 75 parts per billion (ppb), based on the 3-year average of the annual 99th percentile of 1-hour daily maximum concentrations (hereafter “the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS”). At the same time, the EPA also revoked the previous 24-hour and annual primary SO2 standards. See 75 FR 35520 (June 22, 2010). See 40 CFR 50.11. The previous SO2 air quality standards were set in 1971, including a 24-hour average primary standard at 140 ppb and an annual average primary standard at 30 ppb. See 36 FR 8186 (April 30, 1971).

    Current scientific evidence links short-term exposures to SO2, ranging from five minutes to 24 hours, with an array of adverse respiratory effects including bronchoconstriction and increased asthma symptoms. These effects are particularly important for asthmatics at elevated ventilation rates (e.g., while exercising or playing). Studies also show a connection between short-term exposure and increased visits to emergency departments and hospital admissions for respiratory illnesses, particularly in at-risk populations including children, the elderly, and asthmatics.

    B. EPA's Infrastructure Requirements

    Pursuant to section 110(a)(1) of the CAA, states are required to submit a SIP revision to address the applicable requirements of section 110(a)(2) within three years after promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS or within such shorter period as EPA may prescribe. Section 110(a)(2) requires states to address basic SIP elements to assure attainment and maintenance of the NAAQS—such as requirements for monitoring, basic program requirements, and legal authority. Section 110(a) imposes the obligation upon states to make a SIP submission to EPA for a new or revised NAAQS, but the contents of that submission may vary depending upon the facts and circumstances of each NAAQS and what is in each state's existing SIP. In particular, the data and analytical tools available at the time the state develops and submits the SIP revision for a new or revised NAAQS affect the content of the submission. The content of such SIP submission may also vary depending upon what provisions the state's existing SIP already contains.

    Specifically, section 110(a)(1) provides the procedural and timing requirements for SIP submissions. Section 110(a)(2) lists specific elements that states must meet for infrastructure SIP requirements related to a newly established or revised NAAQS such as requirements for monitoring, basic program requirements, and legal authority that are designed to assure attainment and maintenance of the NAAQS.

    C. Interstate Pollution Transport Requirements

    Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) of the CAA requires a state's SIP to include adequate provisions prohibiting any emissions activity in one state that contributes significantly to nonattainment, or interferes with maintenance, of the NAAQS in any downwind state. The EPA sometimes refers to these requirements as prong 1 (significant contribution to nonattainment) and prong 2 (interference with maintenance), or jointly as the “good neighbor” provision of the CAA. Further information can be found in the Technical Support Document (TSD) for this rulemaking action, which is available online at www.regulations.gov, Docket number EPA-R03-OAR-2013-0492.

    II. Summary of SIP Revision and EPA Analysis

    On May 29, 2013, Delaware submitted, through DNREC, a revision to its SIP to satisfy the infrastructure requirements of section 110(a)(2) of the CAA for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS, including the interstate transport requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I). On January 22, 2014 (79 FR 3506), the EPA approved Delaware's infrastructure SIP submittal for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS for all applicable elements of section 110(a)(2) with the exception of 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I). This proposed rulemaking action is addressing the portions of Delaware's infrastructure submittal for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS that pertain to transport requirements.1 2

    1 For the EPA's explanation of its ability to act on discrete elements of section 110(a)(2), see 80 FR 2865 (Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; District of Columbia; Infrastructure Requirements for the 2008 Ozone, 2010 Nitrogen Dioxide, and 2010 Sulfur Dioxide National Ambient Air Quality Standards; Approval of Air Pollution Emergency Episode Plan (January 21, 2015)).

    2 This proposed approval action is based on the information contained in the administrative record for this action, and does not prejudge any other future EPA action that may make other determinations regarding any of the subject state's air quality status. Any such future actions, such as area designations under any NAAQS, will be based on their own administrative records and the EPA's analyses of information that becomes available at those times. Future available information may include, and is not limited to, monitoring data and modeling analyses conducted pursuant to the EPA's SO2 Data Requirements Rule (80 FR 51052, August 21, 2015) and information submitted to the EPA by states, air agencies, and third-party stakeholders such as citizen groups and industry representatives.

    The portions of Delaware's May 29, 2013 SIP submittal addressing interstate transport (for section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I)) discuss how Delaware does not significantly contribute with respect to the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS to nonattainment in, or interfere with maintenance in, any other state and discusses prevailing wind direction in the region. Additionally, Delaware described in its submittal several existing SIP-approved measures and other federally enforceable source-specific measures, pursuant to permitting requirements under the CAA, that apply to SO2 sources within the state.

    Based on EPA's analysis, EPA agrees with Delaware's general conclusion that the existing Delaware SIP is adequate to prevent sources in Delaware from significantly contributing to nonattainment or interfering with maintenance in another state with respect to the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS. A detailed summary of EPA's review and rationale for proposed approval of this SIP revision as meeting CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS may be found in the TSD.

    III. Proposed Action

    EPA is proposing to approve the portions of Delaware's May 29, 2013 SIP revision addressing interstate transport for the 2010 1-hr SO2 NAAQS as these portions meet the requirements in section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) of the CAA. EPA is soliciting public comments on the issues discussed in this document. These comments will be considered before taking final action.

    IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In addition, this proposed rule, addressing Delaware's interstate transport requirements for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS, does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), because the SIP is not approved to apply in Indian country located in the state, and EPA notes that it will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: July 12, 2018. Cosmo Servidio, Regional Administrator, Region III.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16796 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 665 [Docket No. 180208146-8690-01] RIN 0648-XG025 Pacific Island Pelagic Fisheries; 2018 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Proposed specifications; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS proposes a 2018 limit of 2,000 metric tons (t) of longline-caught bigeye tuna for each U.S. Pacific territory (American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)). NMFS would allow each territory to allocate up to 1,000 t each year to U.S. longline fishing vessels in a specified fishing agreement that meets established criteria. As an accountability measure, NMFS would monitor, attribute, and restrict (if necessary) catches of longline-caught bigeye tuna, including catches made under a specified fishing agreement. The proposed catch limits and accountability measures would support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands.

    DATES:

    NMFS must receive comments by August 23, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2018-0026, by either of the following methods:

    Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2018-0026, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Send written comments to Michael D. Tosatto, Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), 1845 Wasp Blvd., Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818.

    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on http://www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rebecca Walker, NMFS PIRO Sustainable Fisheries, 808-725-5184.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS proposes to specify a 2018 catch limit of 2,000 t of longline-caught bigeye tuna for each U.S. Pacific territory. NMFS would also authorize each U.S. Pacific territory to allocate up to 1,000 t of its 2,000 t bigeye tuna limit to U.S. longline fishing vessels that are permitted to fish under the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific (FEP). Those vessels must be identified in a specified fishing agreement with the applicable territory. The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council recommended these specifications. The proposed catch and allocation limits and accountability measures are identical to those specified for U.S. territories in each year since 2014 (for the most recent example, see 82 FR 47642, October 13, 2017).

    NMFS will monitor catches of longline-caught bigeye tuna by the longline fisheries of each U.S Pacific territory, including catches made by U.S. longline vessels operating under specified fishing agreements. The criteria that a specified fishing agreement must meet, and the process for attributing longline-caught bigeye tuna, will follow the procedures in 50 CFR 665.819. When NMFS projects that a territorial catch or allocation limit will be reached, NMFS would, as an accountability measure, prohibit the catch and retention of longline-caught bigeye tuna by vessels in the applicable territory (if the territorial catch limit is projected to be reached), and/or vessels in a specified fishing agreement (if the allocation limit is projected to be reached).

    NMFS will consider public comments on the proposed action and will announce the final specifications in the Federal Register. On March 20, 2017, in Territory of American Samoa v. NMFS, et al. (16-cv-95, D. Haw), a federal judge set aside a NMFS rule that amended the American Samoa Large Vessel Prohibited Area (LVPA) for eligible longliners because it did not consider under the Deeds of Cession the protection of cultural fishing in American Samoa. NMFS is appealing this decision. However, NMFS invites public comments that address the impact of this proposed rule on cultural fishing in American Samoa. NMFS must receive any comments on this rule by the date provided in the DATES heading. NMFS may not consider any comments not postmarked or otherwise transmitted by that date. Regardless of the final specifications, all other existing management measures will continue to apply in the longline fishery.

    Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the NMFS Assistant Administrator for Fisheries has determined that this proposed specification is consistent with the FEP, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws, subject to further consideration after public comment.

    Certification of Finding of No Significant Impact on Substantial Number of Small Entities

    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce has certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that these proposed specifications, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    The proposed action would specify a 2018 limit of 2,000 t of longline-caught bigeye tuna for American Samoa, Guam, and the CNMI. NMFS would also allow each territory to allocate up to 1,000 t of its 2,000 t limit to U.S. longline fishing vessels in a specified fishing agreement that meets established criteria set forth in 50 CFR 665.819. As an accountability measure, NMFS would monitor, attribute, and restrict (if necessary) catches of longline-caught bigeye tuna by vessels in the applicable U.S. territory (if the territorial catch limit is projected to be reached), or by vessels operating under the applicable specified fishing agreement (if the allocation limit is projected to be reached). Payments under the specified fishing agreements support fisheries development in the U.S. Pacific territories and the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands.

    This proposed action would directly apply to longline vessels federally permitted under the FEP, specifically Hawaii, American Samoa, and Western Pacific longline permit holders. As of May 2018, 145 vessels had Hawaii permits and 47 had American Samoa permits. No Western Pacific general permit has been issued since 2011.

    Based on dealer data collected by the State of Hawaii, Hawaii longline vessels landed approximately 32.75 million pounds (lb) of pelagic fish valued at $101.6 million in 2017. With 145 vessels making either a deep- or shallow-set trip in 2017, the ex-vessel value of pelagic fish caught by Hawaii-based longline fisheries averaged almost $701,000 per vessel. In 2016, American Samoa-based longline vessels landed approximately 4.5 million lb of pelagic fish valued at $4.7 million, where albacore made up the largest proportion of pelagic longline commercial landings at 3.35 million lb. With 18 active longline vessels in 2016, the ex-vessel value of pelagic fish caught by American Samoa fishery averaged about $261,111 per vessel.

    NMFS has established a small business size standard for businesses, including their affiliates, whose primary industry is commercial fishing (see 50 CFR 200.2). A business primarily engaged in commercial fishing (NAICS code 11411) is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts not in excess of $11 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide. Based on available information, NMFS has determined that all vessels permitted federally under the FEP are small entities, i.e., they are engaged in the business of fish harvesting (NAICS 114111), are independently owned or operated, are not dominant in their field of operation, and have annual gross receipts not in excess of $11 million. Even though this proposed action would apply to a substantial number of vessels, the implementation of this action would not result in significant adverse economic impact to individual vessels. The proposed action would potentially benefit the Hawaii longline fishermen by allowing them to fish under specified fishing agreements with a territory, which could extend fishing effort for bigeye tuna in the western Pacific and provide more bigeye tuna for markets in Hawaii and elsewhere.

    In accordance with Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 300, subpart O, vessels that possess both an American Samoa and Hawaii longline permit are not subject to the U.S bigeye tuna limit. Therefore, these vessels may retain bigeye tuna and land fish in Hawaii after the date NMFS projects the fishery would reach that limit. Further, catches of bigeye tuna made by such vessels are attributed to American Samoa, provided the fish was not caught in the U.S. EEZ around Hawaii. In 2017, all dual American Samoa/Hawaii longline permitted vessels were included in the fishing agreement with the CNMI and American Samoa. Therefore, NMFS attributed bigeye catches by those vessels to the two territories.

    The 2018 U.S. bigeye tuna catch limit is 3,554 t, which is the same limit in place for 2016 and higher than the limit for 2017. NMFS established this limit through a separate action (83 FR 33851, July 17, 2018). Based on preliminary logbook data, NMFS expects the fishery to reach this limit by mid-October 2018.

    Through this action, Hawaii-based longline vessels could potentially enter into one or more fishing agreements with participating territories. This would enhance the ability of these vessels to extend fishing effort in the western and central Pacific Ocean after reaching the 2018 U.S. limit and provide more bigeye tuna for markets in Hawaii. Providing opportunity to land bigeye tuna in Hawaii in the last quarter of the year when market demand is high will result in positive economic benefits for fishery participants and net benefits to the nation. Allowing participating territories to enter into specified fishing agreements under this action provides benefits to the territories by providing funds for territorial fisheries development projects. Establishing a 2,000 t longline limit for bigeye tuna where territories are not subject to Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission longline limits is not expected to adversely affect vessels based in the territories.

    Historical catch of bigeye tuna by the American Samoa longline fleet has been less than 2,000 t, even including the catch of vessels based in American Samoa, catch by dual permitted vessels that land their catch in Hawaii, and catch attributed to American Samoa from U.S. vessels under specified fishing agreements. With regard to Guam and the CNMI, no longline fishing has occurred since 2011.

    Under the proposed action, longline fisheries managed under the FEP are not expected to expand substantially nor change the manner in which they are currently conducted, (i.e., area fished, number of vessels longline fishing, number of trips taken per year, number of hooks set per vessel during a trip, depth of hooks, or deployment techniques in setting longline gear), due to existing operational constraints in the fleet, the limited entry permit programs, and protected species mitigation requirements. The proposed rule does not duplicate, overlap, or conflict with other Federal rules and is not expected to have significant impact on small organizations or government jurisdictions. Furthermore, there would be little, if any, disproportionate adverse economic impacts from the proposed rule based on gear type, or relative vessel size. The proposed rule also will not place a substantial number of small entities, or any segment of small entities, at a significant competitive disadvantage to large entities.

    For the reasons above, NMFS does not expect the proposed action to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. As such, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared.

    This action is exempt from review under E.O. 12866.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: August 2, 2018. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16883 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 665 RIN 0648-BH63 Pacific Island Fisheries; Ecosystem Component Species AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability of fishery ecosystem plan amendments; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS announces that the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) proposes to amend the Fishery Ecosystem Plans (FEP) for American Samoa, the Mariana Archipelago, and Hawaii. Amendment 4 to the American Samoa FEP, Amendment 5 to the Marianas FEP, and Amendment 5 to the Hawaii FEP would reclassify certain management unit species as ecosystem component species. The intent of these amendments is to focus management efforts on species that are in need of conservation and management, and improve efficiency of fishery management in the region.

    DATES:

    NMFS must receive comments on the proposed amendments by October 9, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2018-0021, by either of the following methods:

    Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2018-0021, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Send written comments to Michael D. Tosatto, Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), 1845 Wasp Blvd., Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818.

    Instructions: NMFS may not consider comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. All comments received are a part of the public record, and NMFS will generally post them for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

    The Council prepared Amendment 4 to the American Samoa FEP, Amendment 5 to the Marianas FEP, and Amendment 5 to the Hawaii FEP. Those amendments, available as a single document, include an environmental assessment (EA). Copies of the amendments and EA, and other supporting documents are available at https://www.regulations.gov or the Council, 1164 Bishop St., Suite 1400, Honolulu, HI 96813, tel 808-522-8220, fax 808-522-8226, www.wpcouncil.org.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sarah Ellgen, Sustainable Fisheries, NMFS PIR, 808-725-5173.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Council established the FEPs for American Samoa, the Mariana Archipelago, and Hawaii to conserve and manage fisheries in the US Exclusive Economic Zone (Federal waters) in the Pacific Islands. The Council developed the FEPs, and NMFS implemented the associated regulations, under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).

    Under the National Standard guidelines (50 CFR 600.305 and 600.310) for the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Council and NMFS manage any fish species or stock that generally is a target of a Federal fishery and caught predominantly in Federal waters. Councils develop fishery management plans for these species (known as management unit species (MUS) that describe the fisheries, essential fish habitat (EFH), the scientific data required for effective implementation of the plan, the data that should be collected from the fisheries, and other required elements. The FEPs specify maximum sustainable yield, optimum yield, and status determination criteria so that overfishing and overfished determinations can be made. The Council and NMFS are also required to set annual catch limits (ACL) and accountability measures (AM) for all MUS, and the FEPs describe the process for specifying ACLs and AMs.

    The FEPs have documented that the Council would use the system for classifying certain stocks as ecosystem component species (ECS), based on the criteria outlined in National Standard 1. National Standard 1 describes ECS as stocks that are included in an FEP to achieve ecosystem management objectives, but do not require conservation and management. Once reclassified as ECS, the number of MUS would be reduced from 205 species or families to 11 species in the American Samoa FEP, from 227 species or families to 13 species in the Marianas FEP, and from 173 species or families to 20 species in the Hawaii FEP. Appendix B in the amendment document list the proposed ECS for each area.

    For a detailed description of the methods that the Council and NMFS used to identify the species to reclassify from MUS to ECS, please refer to Section 2 of the EA (see ADDRESSES).

    The proposed action would change the definitions of MUS and ECS in the FEPs to reflect the Council's recommendations. It would also replace the FEP definitions of Currently Harvested Coral Reef Taxa (CHCRT) and Potentially Harvested Coral Reef Taxa (PHCRT) with Coral Reef ECS. All management measures that allow for the collection of data on EC species and protect the associated role of ECS in the ecosystem, and/or address other ecosystem issues, would be retained. These include permits and fees, reporting and recordkeeping requirements, prohibitions, allowable gear and gear restrictions, notifications, at-sea observer coverage, vessel marking and gear identification, area closures, and quotas, seasons, and minimum sizes for American Samoa and Mariana precious coral ECS. The management measures unique to the CHCRT and PHCRT would be carried forward to the coral reef ECS.

    Finally, the proposed action would result in revision or removal of those sections of the FEPs that are not required for ECS, including EFH designations for ECS. The effects of this change on the environment would be minor, however, because the total area designated as EFH would change only for the deep (400-700 m) benthic substrates near Guam, the CNMI, and American Samoa, and reclassification would not change any fishery activities.

    NMFS must receive comments on the proposed amendments by October 9, 2018 for consideration in the decision to approve, partially approve, or disapprove the amendments.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: August 3, 2018. Margo B. Schulze-Haugen, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16946 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    83 153 Wednesday, August 8, 2018 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food Safety and Inspection Service [Docket No. FSIS-2018-0013] Trade and Foreign Agriculture Affairs; Codex Alimentarius Commission: International Standard-Setting Activities AGENCY:

    Office of Trade and Foreign Agriculture Affairs (TFAA), USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice informs the public of the sanitary and phytosanitary standard-setting activities of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), in accordance with section 491 of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979, as amended, and the Uruguay Round Agreements Act. This notice also provides a list of other standard-setting activities of Codex, including commodity standards, guidelines, codes of practice, and revised texts. This notice, which covers Codex activities during the time periods from June 1, 2016, to May 31, 2017, and June 1, 2017, to July 20, 2018, seeks comments on standards under consideration and recommendations for new standards.

    ADDRESSES:

    The U.S. Codex Office invites interested persons to submit their comments on this notice. Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:

    Federal e-Rulemaking 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 the website for submitting comments.

    Mail, including CD-ROMs, etc.: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Mailstop 3758, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

    Hand- or courier-delivered submittals: Deliver to 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or email are to include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2018-0013. 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.

    Please state that your comments refer to Codex and, if your comments relate to specific Codex committees, please identify the committee(s) in your comments and submit a copy of your comments to the delegate from that particular committee.

    Docket: For access to background documents or comments received, call (202) 720-5627 to schedule a time to visit the FSIS Docket Room at 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mary Frances Lowe, United States Manager for Codex Alimentarius, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Food Safety, South Agriculture Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 4861, Washington, DC 20250-3700; Telephone: (202) 205-7760; Fax: (202) 720-3157; Email: [email protected]

    For information pertaining to particular committees, contact the delegate of that committee. A complete list of U.S. delegates and alternate delegates can be found in Attachment 2 of this notice. Documents pertaining to Codex and specific committee agendas are accessible via the internet at http://www.codexalimentarius.org/meetings-reports/en/. The U.S. Codex Office also maintains a website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/us-codex-alimentarius.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    The World Trade Organization (WTO) was established on January 1, 1995, as the common international institutional framework for the conduct of trade relations among its members in matters related to the Uruguay Round Trade Agreements. The WTO is the successor organization to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). United States membership in the WTO was approved and the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (Uruguay Round Agreements) was signed into law by the President on December 8, 1994, Public Law 103-465, 108 Stat. 4809. The Uruguay Round Agreements became effective, with respect to the United States, on January 1, 1995. The Uruguay Round Agreements amended the Trade Agreements Act of 1979. Pursuant to section 491 of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979, as amended, the President is required to designate an agency to be “responsible for informing the public of the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standard-setting activities of each international standard-setting organization” (19 U.S.C. 2578). The main international standard-setting organizations are Codex, the World Organisation for Animal Health, and the International Plant Protection Convention. The President, pursuant to Proclamation No. 6780 of March 23, 1995, (60 FR 15845), designated the U.S. Department of Agriculture as the agency responsible for informing the public of the SPS standard-setting activities of each international standard-setting organization. The Secretary of Agriculture has delegated to the Office of Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs the responsibility to inform the public of the SPS standard-setting activities of Codex. The Office of Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs has, in turn, assigned the responsibility for informing the public of the SPS standard-setting activities of Codex to the U.S. Codex Office (USCO).

    Codex was created in 1963 by two United Nations organizations, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Codex is the principal international organization for establishing standards for food. Through adoption of food standards, codes of practice, and other guidelines developed by its committees and by promoting their adoption and implementation by governments, Codex seeks to protect the health of consumers, ensure fair practices in the food trade, and promote coordination of food standards work undertaken by international governmental and nongovernmental organizations. In the United States, U.S. Codex activities are managed and carried out by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce (DOC); and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    As the agency responsible for informing the public of the SPS standard-setting activities of Codex, the U.S. Codex Office publishes this notice in the Federal Register annually. Attachment 1 (Sanitary and Phytosanitary Activities of Codex) sets forth the following information:

    1. The SPS standards under consideration or planned for consideration; and

    2. For each SPS standard specified:

    a. A description of the consideration or planned consideration of the standard;

    b. Whether the United States is participating or plans to participate in the consideration of the standard;

    c. The agenda for United States participation, if any; and

    d. The agency responsible for representing the United States with respect to the standard.

    TO OBTAIN COPIES OF THE STANDARDS LISTED IN ATTACHMENT 1, PLEASE CONTACT THE CODEX DELEGATE OR THE U.S. CODEX OFFICE.

    This notice also solicits public comment on standards that are currently under consideration or planned for consideration and recommendations for new standards. The delegate, in conjunction with the responsible agency, will take the comments received into account in participating in the consideration of the standards and in proposing matters to be considered by Codex.

    The U.S. delegate will facilitate public participation in the United States Government's activities relating to Codex. The U.S. delegate will maintain a list of individuals, groups, and organizations that have expressed an interest in the activities of the Codex Committees and will disseminate information regarding U.S. delegation activities to interested parties. This information will include the status of each agenda item; the U.S. Government's position or preliminary position on the agenda items; and the time and place of planning meetings and debriefing meetings following the Codex committee sessions. In addition, the U.S. Codex Office makes much of the same information available through its web page at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/us-codex-alimentarius. If you would like to access or receive information about specific committees, please visit the web page or notify the appropriate U.S. delegate or the U.S. Codex Office, Room 4861, South Agriculture Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-3700 ([email protected]).

    The information provided in Attachment 1 describes the status of Codex standard-setting activities by the Codex Committees for the time periods from June 1, 2016, to May 31, 2017, and June 1, 2017, to July 20, 2018. Attachment 2 provides a list of U.S. Codex Officials (including U.S. delegates and alternate delegates). A list of forthcoming Codex sessions may be found at: http://www.fao.org/fao-who-codexalimentarius/meetings/en/.

    Additional Public Notification

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy development is important. Consequently, FSIS will announce this Federal Register publication on-line through the FSIS web page located at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/federal-register.

    Done at Washington, DC.

    Mary Frances Lowe, U.S. Manager for Codex Alimentarius.
    Attachment 1 Sanitary and Phytosanitary Activities of Codex Codex Alimentarius Commission and Executive Committee

    The Codex Alimentarius Commission convened for its 41st Session July 2-6, 2018, in Rome, Italy. At that time, the Commission adopted standards recommended by Committees at Step at 8 or Step 5/8 (final adoption), and it advanced the work of Committees by adopting draft standards at Step 5 (for further comment and consideration by the relevant committee). The Commission also considered proposals for new work; discontinuation of work; amendments to Codex standards and related texts; matters arising from the reports of the Commission, the Executive Committee and subsidiary bodies; committees working by correspondence and a possible pilot for a committee on standards advancement; regular review of Codex work management; Codex budgetary and financial matters for 2020-2021; FAO/WHO Scientific Support for Codex activities; matters arising from FAO and WHO; reports on side events on FAO and WHO capacity development activities, the Codex Trust Fund, and discussion panels with International Government Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations; election of the chairperson and vice-chairpersons of Codex; and other business.

    Before the Commission meeting, the Executive Committee met for its 75th Session from June 26 to 29, 2018. It is composed of the chairperson and vice-chairpersons of the CAC; seven members elected by the Commission from each of the following geographic regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Near East, North America, and South-West Pacific; and regional coordinators from the six regional committees. The United States participated as the member elected on a geographic basis for North America. The Executive Committee conducted a critical review of the elaboration of Codex standards; reviewed the implementation status of the 2014-2019 Strategic Plan and preparation of the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan; and considered the work of committees working by correspondence and the possibility of a pilot for a committee on standards advancement, FAO/WHO Scientific Support for Codex work, other matters arising from FAO and WHO, and financial and budgetary issues.

    Responsible Agency: USDA/TFAA/USCO.

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods

    The Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods (CCRVDF) determines priorities for the consideration of residues of veterinary drugs in foods and recommends Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for veterinary drugs. The Committee also develops codes of practice, as may be required, and considers methods of sampling and analysis for the determination of veterinary drug residues in food. A veterinary drug is defined as any substance applied or administered to any food producing animal such as meat or milk producing animals, poultry, fish, or bees, whether used for therapeutic, prophylactic or diagnostic purposes, or for modification of physiological functions or behavior.

    A Codex MRL for residues of veterinary drugs is the maximum concentration of residue resulting from the use of a veterinary drug (expressed in mg/kg or ug/kg on a fresh weight basis) that is recommended by the Codex Alimentarius Commission to be permitted or recognized as acceptable in or on a food. Residues of a veterinary drug include the parent compounds or their metabolites in any edible portion of the animal product, and include residues of associated impurities of the veterinary drug concerned. An MRL is based on the type and amount of residue considered to be without any toxicological hazard for human health as expressed by the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) or on the basis of a temporary ADI that utilizes an additional safety factor. When establishing an MRL, consideration is also given to residues that occur in food of plant origin or the environment. Furthermore, the MRL may be reduced to be consistent with official recommended or authorized usage, approved by national authorities, of the veterinary drugs under practical conditions.

    An ADI is an estimate made by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the amount of a veterinary drug, expressed on a body weight basis, which can be ingested daily in food over a lifetime without appreciable health risk.

    The Committee convened for its 24th Session (CCRVDF24) in Chicago, Illinois, April 23-27, 2018. The relevant document is REP18/RVDF. The following items were adopted by the 41st Session of the Commission in July 2018:

    Adopted at Step 5/8:

    • Proposed draft MRLs for amoxicillin (finfish fillet, muscle); ampicillin (finfish fillet, muscle; lufenuron (salmon and trout fillet); monepantel (cattle fat, kidney, liver, muscle).

    Adopted at Step 8:

    • Draft Risk Management Recommendation for gentian violet.

    Adopted at Step 5:

    • Proposed draft MRL for flumethrin (honey).

    The Commission also adopted the proposed amendment to the Risk Analysis Principles Applied by CCRVDF in the Codex Procedural Manual, and approved new work on the priority list of veterinary drugs for evaluation by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives, as recommended by CCRVDF24.

    The Committee will continue working on the following items:

    • Proposed draft MRLs for zilpaterol hydrochloride (cattle fat, kidney, liver, muscle);

    • Draft Priority List of veterinary drugs requiring approval by CAC;

    • Discussion paper on extrapolation of MRLs to one or more species (including a pilot on extrapolation of MRLs identified in Part D of the Priority List);

    • Coordination with the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues/Electronic Working Group on the revision of the Classification of Food and Feed for the development of a harmonized definition for edible offal/animal tissues for the establishment of MRLs;

    • Database on countries needs for MRLs; and

    • Discussion paper on advantages and disadvantages of a parallel approach to compound evaluation.

    The following items were discontinued:

    • Discussion paper on the revision of the criteria for the use of multi-residue analytical methods for the determination and identification of veterinary drugs in foods in the Guidelines for the design and implementation of national regulatory food safety assurance programs associated with the use of veterinary drugs in food producing animals; and

    • Discussion paper on MRLs for groups of fish species.

    Responsible Agencies: HHS/FDA/Center for Veterinary Medicine; USDA/FSIS.

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods

    The Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF) establishes or endorses permitted maximum levels (MLs), as necessary, revises existing guideline levels (GLs) for contaminants and naturally occurring toxicants in food and feed; prepares priority lists of contaminants and naturally occurring toxicants for risk assessment by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA); considers and elaborates methods of analysis and sampling for the determination of contaminants and naturally occurring toxicants in food and feed; considers and elaborates on standards or codes of practice (COPs) for related subjects; and considers other matters assigned to it by the Commission in relation to contaminants and naturally occurring toxicants in food and feed.

    The Committee convened for its 12th Session (CCCF12) in Utrecht, the Netherlands, March 12-16, 2018. The relevant document is REP18/CF. The following standards were forwarded to the CAC for consideration and adopted by the 41st Session of the Commission in July 2018:

    Adopted at Step 5/8:

    • MLs for lead in selected commodities (revision of MLs and consequential revocation of corresponding MLs/amendments to MLs in the General Standard for Contaminants and Toxins in Food and Feed (GSCTFF) (CXS 193-1995));

    • MLs for cadmium in chocolate containing or declaring ≥50% to <70% total cocoa solids on a dry matter basis; and chocolate containing or declaring ≥70% total cocoa solids on a dry matter basis;

    • MLs for methylmercury in tuna, alfonsino, marlin and shark, and revocation of the GLs for methylmercury in predatory and non-predatory fish;

    • Amendment to the note for the ML on inorganic arsenic in rice (consequential amendment); and

    • COP for the prevention and reduction of dioxins, dioxin-like PCBs and non-dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) contamination in food and feed.

    Adopted at Step 5:

    • COP for the reduction of 3-MCPDE and GE in refined oils and products made with refined oils; and

    • Guidelines for risk analysis of instances of contaminants in food where there is no regulatory level or risk management framework established.

    The Commission also approved discontinuation of work on the following items, as recommended by CCCF12:

    • Establishment of MLs for cadmium in dry mixtures of cocoa and sugars sold for final consumption; and

    • Establishment of MLs for methylmercury in amberjack and swordfish.

    The Committee suspended working on the following items:

    • Establishment of MLs for total aflatoxins in ready-to-eat peanuts; and

    • Establishment of MLs for total aflatoxins and ochratoxin A in nutmeg, chili and paprika, ginger, pepper and turmeric.

    The Committee will continue working on the following items:

    • MLs for lead in wine and edible offals;

    • MLs for cadmium in chocolate and cocoa-derived products (category of chocolate and chocolate products containing or declaring (1) <30% and (2) ≥30% to <50% total cocoa solids on a dry matter basis;

    • Discussion paper on establishment of MLs for hydrocyanic acid (HCN) in cassava and cassava-based products and occurrence of mycotoxins in these products;

    • Discussion paper on structured approach to prioritize commodities for which new MLs for lead could be established for inclusion in the General Standard for Contaminants and Toxins in Food and Feed;

    • Discussion paper on aflatoxins in cereals (establishment of MLs for total aflatoxins in wheat, maize, sorghum and rice (specifying the categories));

    • Discussion paper on development of a COP for the prevention and reduction of cadmium contamination in cocoa;

    • Discussion paper on forward workplan for CCCF; and

    • Priority list of contaminants and naturally occurring toxicants for evaluation by JECFA.

    The Committee also agreed to start discussion on the following items:

    • Discussion paper on lead and cadmium in quinoa;

    • Discussion paper on general guidance on data analysis for ML development; and

    • Discussion paper, including a project document, for a proposal for new work on the revision of the COP for prevention and reduction of lead contamination in foods (CXC 56-2004).

    Responsible Agencies: HHS/FDA; USDA/FSIS.

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    Codex Committee on Food Additives

    The Codex Committee on Food Additives (CCFA) establishes or endorses acceptable maximum levels (MLs) for individual food additives; prepares a priority list of food additives for risk assessment by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA); assigns functional classes to individual food additives; recommends specifications of identity and purity for food additives for adoption by the Codex Alimentarius Commission; considers methods of analysis for the determination of additives in food; and considers and elaborates standards or codes of practice for related subjects such as the labeling of food additives when sold as such. The 50th Session of the Committee (CCFA50) convened in Xiamen, China, March 26-30, 2018. The relevant document is REP18/FA. Immediately prior to the Plenary Session, there was a two-day physical Working Group (PWG) on the General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA) chaired by the United States.

    The following items were recommended by CCFA50 and considered by the 41st Session of the Commission in July 2018:

    Adopted at Step 5/8:

    • Proposed draft specifications for the identity and purity of food additives; and

    • Proposed draft amendments to the Class Names and International Numbering System (INS) for Food Additives (CAC/GL 36-1989).

    Adopted at Step 8 and 5/8:

    • Draft and proposed draft food additive provisions of the GSFA.

    Adopted:

    • Replacement of the name “sodium aluminosilicate” with “sodium aluminum silicate” in the GSFA (CXS 192-1995); Class Names and the INS for Food Additives (CXG 36-1989); Standard for Milk Powders and Cream Powder (CXS 207-1999); Standard for a Blend of Skimmed Milk and Vegetable Fat in Powdered Form (CXS 251-2006); and Standard for Edible Casein Products (CXS 290-1995);

    • Revised food additive provisions of the GSFA related to the alignment of the annexes of the Standard for Certain Canned Fruits (CXS 319-2015) and to the alignment of 14 standards for fish and fish products; and

    • Revised food additive sections of 14 standards for fish and fish products and the Standard for Certain Canned Fruits (CXS 319-2015).

    Revoked:

    • Food additive provisions of the GSFA;

    • Food-additive provisions for specific malates and/or tartrates from the Standards for Mozzarella (CXS 262-2006), Cottage Cheese (CXS 273-1968), Cream Cheese (CXS 275-1973), Fermented Milks (CXS 243-2003), and Dairy Fat Spreads (CXS 253-2006) due to a lack of JECFA specifications for these additives; and

    • Food-additive provisions for sodium sorbate (INS 201) from the Standards for Instant Noodles (CXS 249-2006), Fermented Milks (CXS 243-2003), Dairy Fat Spreads (CXS 253-2006), Cottage Cheese (CXS 273-1968), Cream Cheese (CXS 275-1973), the General Standard for Cheese (CXS 283-197), and 11 standards for named cheeses due to a lack of JECFA specifications for the additive.

    The Committee will continue working on:

    • Draft and proposed draft food additive provisions of the GSFA, and technological justification for the use of preservatives and anticaking agents for surface treatment of mozzarella with high moisture content covered by Standard for Mozzarella (CXS 262-2006) (EWG led by the United States);

    • Proposals for additions and changes to the Priority List of Substances Proposed for Evaluation by JECFA (PWG led by Canada);

    • Alignment of the food additive provisions of commodity standards and relevant provisions of the GSFA; consider revisions to the “References to Commodity Standard for GSFA Table 3 Additives” section of Table 3; proposed revisions to food-additive provisions in Food Categories 13.1.1, 13.1.2, and 13.1.3 for ascorbyl palmitate (INS 304) and ascorbyl stearate (INS 305) (EWG led by Australia, Japan and the United States);

    • Revision of the Class Names and the INS for Food additives (EWG led by Iran and Belgium);

    • New or revised provisions of the GSFA (PWG led by the United States);

    • Clarification of the appropriate descriptors for Food Categories 14.1.4.2 and 14.1.5 for ready-to-drink coffee and tea beverages (Codex Secretariat);

    • Review of all group food additives in the GSFA to determine if all food-additives in the group share a Group Acceptable Daily Intake (Codex Secretariat in consultation with JECFA Secretariat);

    • Development of an inventory of data available on the use of nitrates (INS 251, 252) and nitrites (INS 249, 250) with a view to consulting with JECFA and CCFA regarding next steps (eWG led by the European Union and the Netherlands);

    • Development of an alternative to Note 161 relating to the use of sweeteners and, subject to agreement on the wording of an alternative, review of recommendations in CX FA 14/47/13 in the context of pending and adopted provisions (EWG led by United States and the European Union); and

    • Preparation of a discussion paper on the use of the terms “fresh”, “plain”, “unprocessed” and “untreated” in existing Codex texts (Russian Federation).

    The Committee also agreed to hold a one and one-half day PWG on the GSFA immediately preceding the 51st Session of the CCFA, to be chaired by the United States. That group will discuss the recommendations of the EWG on the GSFA, new proposals and proposed revisions of food additive provisions in the GSFA.

    The Committee also agreed to hold a half day PWG on the GSFA immediately preceding the 51st Session of the CCFA to be chaired by Australia. That group will discuss the recommendations of the PWG on alignment.

    Responsible Agency: HHS/FDA.

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues

    The Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR) is responsible for establishing MRLs for pesticide residues in specific food items or in groups of food; establishing MRLs for pesticide residues in certain animal feeding stuffs moving in international trade where this is justified for reasons of protection of human health; preparing priority lists of pesticides for evaluation by the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR); considering methods of sampling and analysis for the determination of pesticide residues in food and feed; considering other matters in relation to the safety of food and feed containing pesticide residues; and establishing maximum limits for environmental and industrial contaminants showing chemical or other similarity to pesticides in specific food items or groups of food.

    The 50th Session of the Committee (CCPR50) met in Haikou, China, April 9-14, 2018. The relevant document is REP18/PR. The following items were considered at the 41st Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission in July 2018:

    Adopted at Step 8 and 5/8:

    • Three hundred eighty-six (386) MRLs for different pesticide residues.

    • Revisions of the Classification: Class A—Primary Commodities of Plant Origin—Type 04 Nuts, Seeds, and SAPs (Step 8 and 5/8);

    • Revision of the Classification: Class A-Primary Commodities of Plant Origin—Type 05 Herbs and Spices (Step 8).

    Adopted at Step 5/8:

    • Tables with Examples of Representative Commodities for Commodity Groups in Type 04 and Type 05 (For inclusion in the Principles and Guidance for the Selection of Representative Commodities for the Extrapolation of Maximum Residue Limits for Pesticides for Commodity Groups).

    The Commission also discontinued work, approved new work, and revoked existing MRLs as recommended by CCPR50.

    The Committee will continue working on the following items:

    • Revision of the Classification: Impact of the Revised Commodity Groups and Subgroups in Type 03, Type 04 and Type 05 on the CXLs adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission;

    • Draft and proposed draft Revision of the Classification of Food and Feed;

    • Development of a system within the classification of food and feed to provide codes for commodities not meeting the criteria for crop grouping;

    • Discussion Paper on the review of the International Estimated Short-term Intake Equations (IESTI);

    • Discussion paper on management of unsupported compounds;

    • Discussion paper on biopesticides;

    • Discussion paper on the revision of the guidelines on the use of mass spectrometry for the identification, confirmation and quantitative determination of residues;

    • Discussion paper on the opportunities and challenges related to the participation of JMPR in an international joint review of a new compounds;

    • National Registration Database of Pesticides; and

    • Establishment of Codex Schedules and Priority Lists of Pesticides.

    Responsible Agencies: EPA; USDA/FSIS.

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems

    The Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems (CCFICS) is responsible for developing principles and guidelines for food import and export inspection and certification systems, with a view to harmonizing methods and procedures that protect the health of consumers, ensure fair trading practices, and facilitate international trade in foodstuffs; developing principles and guidelines for the application of measures by the competent authorities of exporting and importing countries to provide assurance, where necessary, that foodstuffs comply with requirements, especially statutory health requirements; developing guidelines for the utilization, as and when appropriate, of quality assurance systems to ensure that foodstuffs conform with requirements and promote the recognition of these systems in facilitating trade in food products under bilateral/multilateral arrangements by countries; developing guidelines and criteria with respect to format, declarations, and language of such official certificates as countries may require with a view towards international harmonization; making recommendations for information exchange in relation to food import/export control; consulting as necessary with other international groups working on matters related to food inspection and certification systems; and considering other matters assigned to it by the Commission in relation to food inspection and certification systems. The 24th Session of the Committee will convene in Brisbane, Australia, October 22-26, 2018.

    The Committee will continue working on the following items:

    • Project document for new work on guidance on paperless use of electronic certificates (Revision of Guidelines for Design, Production, Issuance and Use of Generic Official Certificates);

    • Project document for new work on guidance on regulatory approaches to third party assurance schemes in food safety and fair practices in the food trade;

    • Discussion paper on food integrity and food authenticity;

    • Discussion paper on consideration of emerging issues and future directions for the work of the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems;

    • Framework for the preliminary assessment and identification of priority areas for CCFICs; and

    • Inter-sessional physical working groups: trial.

    Responsible Agencies: USDA/FSIS; HHS/FDA.

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling

    The Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling (CCMAS) defines the criteria appropriate to Codex Methods of Analysis and Sampling; serves as a coordinating body for Codex with other international groups working on methods of analysis and sampling and quality assurance systems for laboratories; specifies, on the basis of final recommendations submitted to it by the bodies referred to above, reference methods of analysis and sampling appropriate to Codex standards which are generally applicable to a number of foods; considers, amends if necessary, and endorses as appropriate, methods of analysis and sampling proposed by Codex commodity committees, except for methods of analysis and sampling for residues of pesticides or veterinary drugs in food, the assessment of microbiological quality and safety in food, and the assessment of specifications for food additives; elaborates sampling plans and procedures, as may be required; considers specific sampling and analysis problems submitted to it by the Commission or any of its Committees; and defines procedures, protocols, guidelines or related texts for the assessment of food laboratory proficiency, as well as quality assurance systems for laboratories.

    The 39th Session of the Committee (CCMAS39) met in Budapest, Hungary, May 7-11, 2018. The relevant document is REP18/MAS.

    At its 41st Session in July 2018, the Commission adopted, amended and revoked methods of analysis and sampling as recommended by CCMAS39. The Commission also approved new work as proposed by CCMAS:

    • Revision of the Guidelines on Measurement Uncertainty (CXG 54-2004); and

    • Project plan and amendment of the General Guidelines on Sampling (CXG 50-2004).

    The Committee will continue working on the following item:

    • Review/Revision of the General Standard for Methods of Analysis and Sampling (CSX 234.

    At CCMAS 39, the Committee agreed to discontinue work on criteria for endorsement of biological methods to detect chemicals of concern.

    Responsible Agencies: HHS/FDA; USDA/AMS.

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    Codex Committee on Food Labelling

    The Codex Committee on Food Labelling (CCFL) drafts provisions on labeling applicable to all foods; considers, amends, and endorses draft specific provisions on labeling prepared by the Codex Committees drafting standards, codes of practice, guidelines; and studies specific labeling problems assigned by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. The Committee also studies problems associated with the advertisement of food with particular reference to claims and misleading descriptions.

    The Committee convened its 44th Session (CCFL44) in Asuncion, Paraguay, October 16-20, 2017. The relevant document is REP18/FL. The following item was adopted by the Commission at its 41st Session in July 2018, as recommended by CCFL44:

    Adopted at Step 8:

    • Draft Revision of the General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods: Date marking.

    The Committee will continue working on the following items:

    • Proposed draft Guidance for the Labelling of Non-Retail Containers;

    • Proposed draft Guidelines on Front of Pack Nutrition Labelling;

    • Discussion paper on internet sales/e-commerce;

    • Discussion paper on allergen labelling;

    • Discussion paper on innovation—use of technology in food labelling;

    • Discussion paper on labelling of alcoholic beverages;

    • Discussion paper on criteria for the definition of “high in” nutritional descriptors for fats, sugars and sodium;

    • Discussion paper on labelling of foods in joint presentation and multipack formats; and

    • Discussion paper on future work and direction of CCFL (update).

    Responsible Agencies: HHS/FDA; USDA/FSIS.

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    Codex Committee on Food Hygiene

    The Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH):

    • Develops basic provisions on food hygiene, applicable to all food or to specific food types;

    • Considers and amends or endorses provisions on food hygiene contained in Codex commodity standards and codes of practice developed by Codex commodity committees;

    • Considers specific food hygiene problems assigned to it by the Commission;

    • Suggests and prioritizes areas where there is a need for microbiological risk assessment at the international level and develops questions to be addressed by the risk assessors; and

    • Considers microbiological risk management matters in relation to food hygiene and in relation to the FAO/WHO risk assessments.

    The Committee convened for its 49th Session (CCFH49) in Chicago, Illinois, November 13-17, 2017. The relevant document is REP 18/FH. The following item was adopted by the 41st Session of the Commission in July 2018, as recommended by CCFH49:

    Adopted at Step 5/8:

    • Proposed draft Revision of the Code of Practice (COP) for Fish and Fishery Products (Guidance for histamine control), with minor amendment accepted to section 13.1.2.

    The Commission also approved new work as recommended by CCFH49:

    • Code of Practice on food allergen management for food business operators; and

    • Guidance for the management of (micro)biological foodborne crises/outbreaks.

    The Committee will continue working on the following items:

    • Proposed draft Revision of the General Principles of Food Hygiene and its HACCP Annex;

    • The placement for the guidance on histamine control in CXC 52-2003, the amendments of other sections of CXC 52-3002, and the revision of the section on sampling, examination and analyses in standards for fish and fishery products related to histamine food safety;

    • Discussion paper on future work on Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC); and

    • New work proposals/Forward Workplan.

    Responsible Agencies: HHS/FDA; USDA/FSIS.

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    Codex Committee on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

    The Codex Committee on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (CCFFV) is responsible for elaborating worldwide standards and codes of practice, as may be appropriate, for fresh fruits and vegetables, consulting as necessary, with other international organizations in the standards development process to avoid duplication.

    The 20th Session of the Committee (CCFFV20) met in Kampala, Uganda, October 2-6, 2017. The relevant document is REP 18/FFV.

    The following items were considered by the Commission at its 40th Session in July 2018, and the Commission took action as recommended by CCFFV20:

    Adopted at Step 8:

    • Draft Standard for Aubergines.

    Adopted at Step 5:

    • Draft Standard for Ware Potatoes.

    Approved new work:

    • Standards for yam, onions and shallots, and berry fruits.

    The Committee will continue working on the following items:

    • Proposed Layout for Standards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables;

    • Draft Standard for Garlic;

    • Draft Standard for Kiwifruit;

    • Draft Standard for Ware Potatoes;

    • Proposed Draft Standard for Fresh Dates;

    • Discussion paper on glossary of terms used in the layout for Codex standards for fresh fruits and vegetables; and

    • Recommendation on the inclusion of mono and di-glycerides of fatty acids and salts of myristic, palmitic and stearic acids with ammonia, calcium, potassium and sodium in the GSFA under the food categories “surface-treated fresh fruits” and “surface treated fresh vegetables.”

    Responsible Agencies: USDA/Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS); HHS/FDA.

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses

    The Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU) is responsible for studying nutrition issues referred to it by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. The Committee also drafts general provisions, as appropriate, on nutritional aspects of all foods and develops standards, guidelines, and related texts for foods for special dietary uses, in cooperation with other committees where necessary; considers, amends if necessary, and endorses provisions on nutritional aspects proposed for inclusion in Codex standards, guidelines, and related texts.

    The Committee convened for its 39th Session (CCNFSDU) in Berlin, Germany, December 4-8, 2017. The reference document is REP 18/NFSDU. The following item was adopted by the Commission at its 41st Session in July 2-6, 2018, as recommended by CCNFSDU39.

    Adopted at Step 5:

    • Review of the Standard for Follow-up Formula: Proposed “Essential composition requirements for older infants and young children.”

    The Committee will continue working on the following items:

    • Proposed draft Claim for “free of” trans fatty acids;

    • Discussion of biological methods used to detect chemicals of concern;

    • Review of the Standard for Follow-up Formula: Scope, product definition, labelling;

    • Proposed draft definition for biofortification;

    • Proposed draft Nutrient Reference Values—Noncommunicable Disease (NRV-NCD) for EPA and DHA;

    • Proposed draft guideline for ready to use therapeutic foods;

    • Nutrient Reference Values—Requirements (NRV-R) for older infants and young children;

    • Mechanism/framework for considering the technological justification of food additives;

    • Discussion paper on harmonized probiotic guidelines for use in foods and dietary supplements; and

    • General guidelines to establish nutritional profiles.

    Responsible Agencies: HHS/FDA; USDA/Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    Ad hoc Codex Intergovernmental Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance (re-activated in 2016).

    The Ad hoc Codex Intergovernmental Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance (TFAMR) is responsible for (1) reviewing and revising, as appropriate, the Code of Practice to Minimize and Contain Antimicrobial Resistance (CAC/RCP 61-2005) to address the entire food chain, in line with the mandate of Codex; and (2) considering the development of Guidance on Integrated Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance, taking into account the guidance developed by the WHO Advisory Group on Integrated Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance (AGISAR) and relevant World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) documents. The objective of the Task Force is to develop science-based guidance on the management of foodborne antimicrobial resistance, taking full account of the WHO Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance, in particular objectives 3 and 4, the work and standards of relevant international organizations, such as FAO, WHO, and OIE, and the One-Health approach, to ensure members have the necessary guidance to enable coherent management of antimicrobial resistance along the food chain. The Task Force is expected to complete its work within three (or a maximum of four) sessions.

    The Task Force will convene for its 6th Session (the 2nd Session since reactivation in 2016) in the Republic of Korea, December 10-14, 2018.

    The Committee will continue to discuss:

    • The Proposed draft Revision of the Code of Practice to Minimize and Contain Antimicrobial Resistance;

    • Proposed draft Guidelines on Integrated surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance; and

    • Request for Scientific Advice from Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with OIE.

    Responsible Agencies: FDA/USDA.

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    Codex Committee on Fats and Oils

    The Codex Committee on Fats and Oils (CCFO) is responsible for elaborating worldwide standards for fats and oils of animal, vegetable, and marine origin, including margarine and olive oil.

    The Committee will convene in 2019 for its 26th Session.

    The Committee will continue working on the following items:

    • Revision of the Standard for Named Vegetable Oils: Essential composition of sunflower seed oils;

    • Revision of the Standard for Named Vegetable Oils: Inclusion of walnut oil, almond oil, hazelnut oil, pistachio oil, flaxseed oil, and avocado oil;

    • Revision of the Standard for Named Vegetable Oils: Replacement of acid value with free fatty acids for virgin palm oil and inclusion of free fatty acids for crude palm kernel oil; and

    • Revision of the Standard for Olive Oils and Pomace Olive Oils (Codex Stan 33-1981).

    • Gathering information on technical difficulties in the implementation of the fish oil standard, specifically on monitoring its application with respect to the conformity of named fish oils with the requirements (especially the fatty acid profile), and its effect on trade;

    • Alignment of food additives provisions in standards for fats and oils (except fish oils) and technological justification for use of emulsifiers;

    • Proposals for new substances to be added to the list of acceptable previous cargoes;

    • Provision of relevant information (if available from Member countries) to the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) on the 23 substances on the list of acceptable previous cargoes currently on the list; and

    • Discussion paper on the applicability of the fatty acid composition of all oils listed in Table 1 in relation to the fatty acid composition of corresponding crude (unrefined) forms in the Standard for Named Vegetable Oils.

    Responsible Agencies: HHS/FDA; USDA/Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables

    The Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables (CCPFV) is responsible for elaborating worldwide standards and related texts for all types of processed fruits and vegetables including, but not limited to canned, dried, and frozen products, as well as fruit and vegetable juices and nectars. Proposals for new work were received by Executive Committee of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CCEXEC) and approved by CAC40 (July 17-22, 2017) for cashew kernels, chili sauce, mango chutney, dried sweet potato, gochujang, dried fruits, and canned mixed fruits.

    The Commission authorized CCPFV to work by correspondence until CAC 41 (2018) to prioritize the proposals for new work, prepare a work plan, and prepare recommendations on the establishment of electronic working groups. The Commission at its 41st Session in July 2018 endorsed the CCPFV Chairperson's proposed work plan and recommendations (1) to establish 7 EWGS to prepare proposed drafts for comments and consideration by the CCPFV, and (2) to schedule a physical meeting of the Committee at an appropriate time.

    Responsible Agencies: USDA/Agricultural Marketing Service; HHS/FDA.

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    Codex Committee on Sugars

    The Codex Committee on Sugars (CCS) elaborates worldwide standards for all types of sugars and sugar products.

    The Committee has been re-activated to work by correspondence on a draft Standard for Non-Centrifuged Dehydrated Sugar Cane Juice. The work is behind schedule. The Commission at its 41st Session in July 2018 agreed to extend the work by correspondence by one year, reporting back to the Commission at its 42nd session, and noted the possibility that a physical meeting could be convened.

    Responsible Agencies: HHS/FDA.

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    Codex Committee on Cereals, Pulses and Legumes

    The Codex Committee on Cereals, Pulses and Legumes (CCCPL) elaborates worldwide standards and/or codes of practice, as appropriate, for cereals, pulses and legumes and their products.

    The Committee has been reactivated to work by correspondence to draft an international Codex Standard for quinoa. The following item was considered by the Commission at its 41st Session in July 2018:

    • Standard for Quinoa

    The Commission agreed to adopt, subject to the endorsement of the labelling provisions by CCFL45, the draft standard for quinoa at Step 8, except for the provisions for moisture content and grain size, which were returned to Step 6. The Commission also established an EWG, chaired by Costa Rica and co-chaired by Chile and the United States of America, to continue the work on the provisions for moisture content and grain size. The Commission further encouraged members to identify a validated method of analysis for saponins to allow for full implementation of the standard.

    Responsible Agencies: HHS/FDA.

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    Certain Codex Commodity Committees

    Several Codex Alimentarius Commodity Committees have adjourned sine die. The following Committees fall into this category:

    • Cocoa Products and Chocolate—adjourned 2001.

    Responsible Agency: HHS/FDA; DCO/NOAA.

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    • Fish and Fishery Products—adjourned 2016.

    Responsible Agency: HHS/FDA/NOAA.

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    • Meat Hygiene—adjourned 2003.

    Responsible Agency: USDA/FSIS.

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    • Milk and Milk Products—adjourned 2017.

    Responsible Agency: USDA/AMS; HHS/FDA.

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    • Natural Mineral Waters—adjourned 2008.

    Responsible Agency: HHS/FDA.

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    • Vegetable Proteins—adjourned 1989.

    Responsible Agency: USDA/ARS.

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    FAO/WHO Regional Coordinating Committees

    The FAO/WHO Regional Coordinating Committees define the problems and needs of the regions concerning food standards and food control; promote within the Committee contacts for the mutual exchange of information on proposed regulatory initiatives and problems arising from food control and stimulate the strengthening of food control infrastructures; recommend to the Commission the development of worldwide standards for products of interest to the region, including products considered by the Committees to have an international market potential in the future; develop regional standards for food products moving exclusively or almost exclusively in intra-regional trade; draw the attention of the Commission to any aspects of the Commission's work of particular significance to the region; promote coordination of all regional food standards work undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental organizations within each region; exercise a general coordinating role for the region and such other functions as may be entrusted to them by the Commission; and promote the use of Codex standards and related texts by members.

    There are six regional coordinating committees:

    Coordinating Committee for Africa Coordinating Committee for Asia Coordinating Committee for Europe Coordinating Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean Coordinating Committee for the Near East Coordinating Committee for North America and the South West Pacific Coordinating Committee for Africa

    The Committee (CCAFRICA) will convene its 23rd Session in 2019.

    The Committee will continue to work on the following items:

    • Proposed draft Regional Standard for Unrefined Shea Butter;

    • Proposed draft Regional Standard for Fermented Cooked Cassava Based Products;

    • Proposed draft Regional Standard for Gnetum Spp leaves;

    • Priority Setting criteria for the establishment of work priorities as laid down in the Codex Procedural Manual;

    • Comments on the preparation of the new global Codex Strategic Plan;

    • Food quality and safety situation in countries of the Region (on-line platform, prioritization of needs in the region and comments for future consideration);

    • Use of Codex Standards in the Region;

    • Proposed draft Standard on Dried Meat;

    • Discussion paper and project document on a Harmonized Food Law; and

    • Discussion paper/project on a Regional Standard for a Fermented Non-Alcoholic Cereal Based Drink (Mahewu).

    Responsible Agency: USDA/FSIS/USCO.

    U.S. Participation: Yes (as observer).

    Coordinating Committee for Asia

    The Committee (CCASIA) will convene its 21st Session in 2019.

    The Committee will continue to work on the following items:

    • Report on the status of the Implementation of the Activities of the Strategic Plan Relevant to CCASIA;

    • Discussion paper and project document on the Development of a Regional Standard for Rice Based Low Alcohol Beverages (cloudy types);

    • Discussion paper and project document on the Development of a Regional Standard for Soybean Products Fermented with the Bacterium Bacillus Subtilis;

    • Discussion paper and project document on the Development of a Regional Standard for Quick Frozen Dumpling (Jiaozi);

    • Discussion paper and the project document on the Development of a Regional Standard/Code of Practice for Zongzi;

    • Emerging Issues as priorities for the CCASIA region; and

    • Information sharing on the Food Safety Control Systems.

    Responsible Agency: USDA/FSIS/USCO.

    U.S. Participation: Yes (as observer).

    Coordinating Committee for Europe

    The Committee (CCEUROPE) will convene its 31st Session in 2019.

    The Committee will continue to work on the following items:

    • Survey of critical and emerging issues;

    • On-line Platform and information sharing on the Food Safety Control Systems;

    • Survey on the use of Codex Standards;

    • Relevant languages of the Codex Alimentarius Commission in the work of CCEUROPE; and

    • Funding translation and interpretation services into Russian for the effective operation of CCEUROPE.

    Responsible Agency: USDA/FSIS/USCO.

    U.S. Participation: Yes (as observer).

    Coordinating Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean

    The Coordinating Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean (CCLAC) will convene its 21st in 2019.

    The Committee will continue to work on the following items:

    • Monitoring of the Strategic Plan for CCLAC;

    • Critical and Emerging Issues and prioritization of CCLAC issues within the framework of Codex;

    • Comments on the Food Safety Control Systems Platform;

    • Cross-cutting topics for the region, proposed draft standards and seeking regional support; and

    • Proposal for the Development of a Standard for Yams.

    Responsible Agency: USDA/FSIS/USCO.

    U.S. Participation: Yes (as observer).

    Coordinating Committee for the Near East

    The Coordinating Committee for the Near East (CCNEA) will convene its 10th Session in 2019.

    Responsible Agency: USDA/FSIS/USCO.

    U.S. Participation: No.

    Coordinating Committee for North America and the South West Pacific (CCNASWP)

    The Committee (CCNASWP) will convene its 15th Session in 2019.

    The Committee will continue to work on the following items:

    • New work on the development of a Regional Standard for Kava as a beverage when mixed with cold water;

    • Recommendation that Vanuatu be re-appointed as Coordinator for North America and the South West Pacific;

    • Proposed draft Regional Standard for Fermented Noni-Juice; and

    • Development of on-line platform for information on sharing food quality and safety systems.

    Responsible Agency: USDA/FSIS/USCO.

    U.S. Participation: Yes.

    Contact: U.S. Codex Office, United States Department of Agriculture, Room 4861, South Agriculture Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-3700, Phone: (202) 205-7760, Fax: (202) 720-3157, Email: [email protected].

    Attachment 2 U.S. Codex Alimentarius Officials Codex Chairpersons From the United States Codex Committee on Food Hygiene Emilio Esteban, DVM, MBA, MPVM, Ph.D., Executive Associate for Laboratory Services, Office of Public Health Science, Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 950 College Station Road, Athens, GA 30605, Phone: (706) 546-3429, Fax: (706) 546-3428, Email: [email protected]. Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables Richard Boyd, Chief, Contract Services Branch, Specialty Crops Inspection Division, Specialty Crops Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Mail Stop 0247, Room 0726—South Building, Washington, DC 20250, Phone: (202) 690-1201, Fax: (202) 690-1527, Email: [email protected] Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods Kevin Greenlees, Ph.D., DABT, Senior Advisor for Science and Policy, Office of New Animal Drug Evaluation, HFV-100, Center for Veterinary Medicine, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 7500 Standish Place, Rockville, MD 20855, Phone: (240) 402-0638, Fax: (240) 276-9538, [email protected]. U.S. Delegates and Alternate Delegates Worldwide General Codex Subject Committees Contaminants in Foods (Host Government—The Netherlands) U.S. Delegate Dr. Lauren Posnick Robin, Branch Chief, Plant Products Branch, Division of Plant Products and Beverages, Office of Food Safety (HFS-317), Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD 20740, Phone: +1 (240) 402-1639, [email protected]. Alternate Delegate Dr. Terry Dutko, Ph.D., Laboratory Director, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Office of Public Health Science, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 4300 Goodfellow Building, 105D Federal, St. Louis, MO 63120-0005, Phone: +1 (314) 263-2680, Extension 344, [email protected]. Food Additives (Host Government—China) U.S. Delegate Paul S. Honigfort, Ph.D., Consumer Safety Officer, Division of Food Contact Notifications (HFS-275), Office of Food Additive Safety, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD 20740, Phone: +1 (240) 402-1206, Fax: +1 (301) 436-2965, [email protected] Alternate Delegate Daniel Folmer, Ph.D., Chemist, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5001 Campus Drive, Room 3017 HFS-265, College Park, MD 20740, Phone: +1 (240) 402-1274, [email protected] Food Hygiene (Host Government—United States) U.S. Delegate Jenny Scott, Senior Advisor, Office of Food Safety, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5001 Campus Drive, HFS-300, Room 3B-014, College Park, MD 20740-3835, Phone: +1 (240) 402-2166, Fax: +1 (301) 436-2632, [email protected] Alternate Delegates William Shaw, Director, Risk, Innovation and Management Staff, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 355 E Street SW, Room 8-142, Patriots Plaza III, Washington, DC 20024, Phone: +1 (301) 504-0852, [email protected] Andrew Chi Yuen Yeung, Ph.D., Branch Chief, Egg and Meat Products Branch, Division of Dairy, Egg and Meat Products, Office of Food Safety, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD 20740, Phone: +1 (240) 402-1541, Fax: +1 (301) 436-2632, [email protected] Food Import and Export Certification and Inspection Systems (Host Government—Australia) U.S. Delegate Mary Stanley, Senior Advisor, Office of International Coordination, Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 3151, Washington, DC 20250, Phone: +1 (202) 720-0287, Fax: +1 (202) 690-3856, [email protected]. Alternate Delegate Caroline Smith DeWaal, International Food Safety Policy Manager, Office of the Center Director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5001 Campus Drive, Room 4A011, College Park, MD 20740-3835, Phone: +1 (240) 402-1242, [email protected]. Food Labelling (Host Government—Canada) U.S. Delegate Douglas Balentine, Director, Office of Nutrition and Food Labelling, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5001 Campus Drive (HFS-830), College Park, MD 20740, +1 240 402 2373, Fax: +1 (301) 436-2636, [email protected]. Alternate Delegate Jeffrey Canavan, Deputy Director, Labeling and Program Delivery Staff, Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW—Mail Stop 5273, Patriots Plaza III, 8th Floor-161A, Washington, DC 20250, Phone: +1 (301) 504-0860, Fax: +1 (202) 245-4792, [email protected]. General Principles (Host Government—France)

    Delegate Note: A member of the Steering Committee heads the delegation to meetings of the General Principles Committee.

    Methods of Analysis and Sampling (Host Government—Hungary) U.S. Delegate Gregory Noonan, Director, Division of Bioanalytical Chemistry, Division of Analytical Chemistry, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD 20740, Phone: +1 (240) 402-2250, Fax: +1 (301) 436-2332, [email protected]. Alternate Delegate Dr. Timothy Norden, Technology and Science Division, Federal Grain Inspection Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 10383 N Ambassador Drive, Kansas City, MO 64153, Phone: +1 (816) 891-0470, Fax: +1 (816) 872-1253, [email protected]. Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (Host Government—Germany) U.S. Delegate Douglas Balentine, Director, Office of Nutrition and Food Labelling, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5001 Campus Drive (HFS-830), College Park, MD 20740, +1 240 402 2373, Fax: +1 (301) 436-2636, [email protected]. Alternate Delegate Pamela R. Pehrsson, Ph.D., Research Leader, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory, Room 105, Building 005, BARC-West, 10300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD 20705, 301.504.0630 (voice), 301.504.0632 (fax), [email protected]. Pesticide Residues (Host Government—China) U.S. Delegate Captain David Miller, Chief, Chemistry and Exposure Branch, and acting Chief, Toxicology and Epidemiology Branch, Health Effects Division, William Jefferson Clinton Building, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20460, Phone: +1 (703) 305-5352, Fax: +1 (703) 305-5147, [email protected]. Alternate Delegate Dr. John Johnston, Scientific Liaison/Chemist, Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2150 Centre Avenue, Building D, Suite 320, Fort Collins, CO 80526, Phone: (202) 365-7175, [email protected]. Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods (Host Government—United States) U.S. Delegate Ms. Brandi Robinson, MPH, CPH, ONADE International Coordinator, Center for Veterinary Medicine, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 7500 Standish Place (HFV-100), Rockville, MD 20855, Phone: +1 (240) 402-0645, [email protected]. Alternate Delegate Vacant Worldwide Commodity Codex Committees (Active) Cereals, Pulses and Legumes (Host Government—United States) U.S. Delegate Dr. Henry Kim, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Food Safety, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5001 Campus Drive (HFS-317), College Park, MD, USA 20740-3835, Phone: +1 (240) 402-2023, [email protected]. Alternate Delegate Mr. Patrick McCluskey, Supervisory Agricultural Marketing Specialist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, Federal Grain Inspection Service, 10383 N Ambassador Drive, Kansas City, MO 64153, Phone: +1 (816) 659-8403, [email protected]. Fats and Oils (Host Government—Malaysia) U.S. Delegate Dr. Paul South, Director, Division of Plant Products and Beverages, Office of Food Safety (HFS-317), Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD 20740-3835, Phone: +1 (240) 402-1640, Fax: +1 (301) 436-2632, [email protected]. Alternate Delegate Robert A. Moreau, Ph.D., Research Leader, Eastern Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 600 East Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, PA 19038, Phone: +1 (215) 233-6428, Fax: +1 (215) 233-6406, [email protected]. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (Host Government—Mexico) U.S. Delegate Dorian LaFond, International Standards Coordinator, Fruit and Vegetables Program, Specialty Crop Inspection Division, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW—Mail Stop 0247, Washington, DC 20250-0247, Phone: +1 (202) 690-4944, Fax: +1 (202) 690-1527, [email protected]. Alternate Delegate David T. Ingram, Ph.D., Consumer Safety Officer, Office of Food Safety, Fresh Produce Branch, Division of Produce Safety, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5001 Campus Drive, Room 3E027, College Park, MD 20740-3835, Phone: +1 (240) 402-0335, [email protected]. Processed Fruits and Vegetables (Host Government—United States) U.S. Delegate Dorian LaFond, International Standards Coordinator, Fruit and Vegetables Program, Specialty Crop Inspection Division, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW—Mail Stop 0247, Washington, DC 20250-0247, Phone: +1 (202) 690-4944, Fax: +1 (202) 690-1527, [email protected]. Alternate Delegate Dr. Yinqing Ma, Branch Chief, Beverages Branch, Division of Plant Products and Beverages, Office of Food Safety (HFS-317), Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD 20740, Phone: +1 (240) 402-2479, Fax: +1 (301) 436-2632, [email protected]. Spices and Culinary Herbs (Host Government—India) U.S. Delegate Dorian LaFond, International Standards Coordinator, Fruit and Vegetables Program, Specialty Crop Inspection Division, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW—Mail Stop 0247, Washington, DC 20250-0247, Phone: +1 (202) 690-4944, Fax: +1 (202) 690-1527, [email protected]. Alternate Delegate Dr. Aparna Tatavarthy, Microbiologist, Spices and Seasoning Mixes Team, Division of Plant Products and Beverages, Office of Food Safety (HFS-317), Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD 20740, Phone: +1 (240) 402-1013, Fax: +1 (301) 436-2632, [email protected]. Sugars (Host Government—United Kingdom) U.S. Delegate Dr. Chia-Pei Charlotte Liang, Chemist, Office of Food Safety, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD 20740, Phone: +1 (240) 402-2785, [email protected] Worldwide Ad Hoc Codex Task Forces (Active) Antimicrobial Resistance (Reactivated 2016) (Host Government—Republic of Korea) U.S. Delegate Donald A. Prater, DVM, Assistant Commissioner for Food Safety Integration, Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20993, Phone: +1-301-348-3007, [email protected] Alternate Delegate Neena Anandaraman, DVM, MPH, Veterinary Science Policy Advisor, Office of Chief Scientist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Jamie L. Whitten Building, Room 339A, 1200 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20024, Phone: +1 (202) 260-8789, [email protected] Worldwide Commodity Codex Committees (Adjourned) Cocoa Products and Chocolate (adjourned sine die 2001) (Host Government—Switzerland) U.S. Delegate Michelle Smith, Ph.D., Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Food Safety, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (HFS-317), Harvey W. Wiley Federal Building, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD 20740-3835, Phone: +1 (240) 402-2024, Fax: +1 (301) 436-2632, [email protected] Fish and Fishery Products (adjourned sine die 2016) (Host Government—Norway) U.S. Delegate Dr. William R. Jones, Deputy Director, Office of Food Safety (HFS-300), U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD 20740, Phone: +1 (240) 402-2300, Fax: +1 (301) 436-2601, [email protected] Alternate Delegate Steven Wilson, Deputy Director, Office of International Affairs and Seafood Inspection, National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, Phone: +1 (301) 427-8312 [email protected] Meat Hygiene (adjourned sine die 2003) (Host Government—New Zealand) U.S. Delegate Vacant Milk and Milk Products (adjourned sine die 2017) (Host Government—New Zealand) U.S. Delegate Christopher Thompson, Dairy Standardization Branch, Mail Stop 0230, Room 2756, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250, Phone: +1 (202) 720-9382, Fax: +1 (844) 804-4701, [email protected]. Alternate Delegate John F. Sheehan, Director, Division of Dairy, Egg and Meat Product Safety, Office of Food Safety, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (HFS-315), Harvey W. Wiley Federal Building, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD 20740, Phone: +1 (240) 402-1488, Fax: +1 (301) 436-2632, [email protected] Natural Mineral Waters (adjourned sine die 2008) (Host Government—Switzerland) U.S. Delegate Dr. Yinqing Ma, Branch Chief, Beverages Branch, Division of Plant Products and Beverages, Office of Food Safety (HFS-317), Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD 20740, Phone: +1 (240) 402-2479, Fax: +1 (301) 436-2632, [email protected] Vegetable Proteins (adjourned sine die 1989) (Host Government—Canada) U.S. Delegate Vacant Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Forces (Dissolved) Animal Feeding (Dissolved 2013) (Host government—Switzerland) U.S. Delegate Vacant
    [FR Doc. 2018-16944 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Tongass National Forest; Ketchikan Misty Fjords Ranger District; Alaska; South Revillagigedo Integrated Resource Project Environmental Impact Statement AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.

    SUMMARY:

    The Forest Service will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the South Revillagigedo Integrated Resource Project (South Revilla IRP) which proposes to harvest timber, restore watershed function, enhance or restore fish and wildlife habitat, and develop recreation opportunities using an integrated approach in the Shelter Cove, Shoal Cove, and Thorne Arm areas within the Ketchikan Misty Fjords Ranger District, Tongass National Forest. The Proposed Action would harvest about 60 million board feet of timber from up to 6,000 acres over the course of 15 years. In addition, transportation management activities such as road construction, reconstruction, maintenance, and decommissioning are proposed. At the same time that it would approve the proposed project, the Forest Service may approve a project-specific Forest Plan amendment to ensure the project is consistent with the Plan.

    DATES:

    Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received by September 7, 2018. Designated opportunities for additional comments will be provided. The draft EIS, is expected to be published July 2019. A final EIS is expected July, 2020.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send or hand-deliver specific written comments to the Ketchikan Misty Fjords Ranger District, Attn: South Revilla IRP, 3031 Tongass Avenue, Ketchikan, Alaska 99901; telephone (907) 225-2148. The FAX number is (907) 225-8738. Comments may be emailed to: [email protected] with South Revilla IRP in the subject line. In all correspondence, include your name, address, and organization name if you are commenting as a representative of an organization.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Susan Howle, District Ranger, Ketchikan Misty Fjords Ranger District, 3031 Tongass Avenue, Ketchikan, Alaska 99901; Daryl Bingham, Planning Staff, (907) 228-4114, or Damien Zona, Interdisciplinary Team Leader, (907) 228-4126. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf may call the Federal Information Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This EIS will tier to and incorporate by reference the 2016 Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan Final EIS. The project area is located on Revillagigedo Island, approximately 17 miles northeast of Ketchikan, Alaska, within the Ketchikan Misty Fjords Ranger District, Tongass National Forest and encompasses about 58,159 acres of National Forest System lands.

    Purpose and Need for Action

    The purpose of the South Revilla IRP is to implement the 2016 Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan) direction to move the project area toward the desired future conditions described in that plan. More specifically, the purpose is to manage the timber resource for production of sawtimber and other wood products, improve ecosystem and watershed health, and provide a range of recreation opportunities to meet public and tourism business demand through an integrated approach to meet multiple resource objectives. Maintaining existing, and expanding opportunities for the recreation and tourism sector would contribute to the local economy.

    There is a need to provide a sustainable level of forest products to contribute to the economic sustainability of the region. Providing old-growth timber would preserve a viable timber industry during the transition to young-growth management and would provide jobs and opportunities for Southeast Alaska residents. Past management activities have affected watershed function in the project area. There is a need to improve and restore the natural range of habitat conditions in the project area to support viable wildlife, fish, and plant populations and to sustain diversity and production. Restoration would contribute to traditional, cultural, and subsistence uses by residents of Southeast Alaska. There is a need to provide sustainable recreation opportunities to a diverse and growing group of forest users. A sustainable recreation program in terms of operations and maintenance is needed to maintain infrastructure at an acceptable level.

    Proposed Action

    The Forest Service proposes to harvest timber, construct and reconstruct roads, restore watershed function, enhance or restore fish and wildlife habitat, and develop recreation opportunities in the Shelter Cove, Shoal Cove and Thorne Arm areas within the Ketchikan Misty Fjords Ranger District, Tongass National Forest. The project area includes the following land use designations (LUDs): Wilderness, Semi-remote Recreation, Old-growth Habitat, Special Interest Area, Scenic River, Modified Landscape, and Timber Production (Forest Plan, Chapter 3). Proposed activities will be consistent with Forest Plan direction. A proposed action map and information on the 2018 Shelter Cove and Saddle Lakes Recreation Area Master Plan is provided on the project web page at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=53477.

    Forest and Transportation Management

    The Forest Service proposes to harvest about 60 million board feet of old-growth timber from up to 6,000 acres of forested land in the Modified Landscape and Timber Production LUDs using one or more timber sales, with activities that would occur over the course of 15 years. The Proposed Action would construct about 30 miles of new National Forest System road and reconstruct about 104 miles of existing roads. Temporary road construction would include about 105 miles. Existing rock quarries would be used as available or new quarries would be developed as necessary to provide raw materials for road construction. Existing log transfer facilities at Shelter Cove and Shoal Cove could be used. Young-growth harvest may be considered during this planning phase if it meets the purpose and need of the Proposed Action.

    Watershed and Wildlife Habitat Management

    Watershed enhancement and restoration activities would include instream and floodplain wood placement, riparian thinning, blasting of a partial fish barrier, invasive plant management and culvert replacement/removal. Wildlife habitat treatments would move habitat toward favorable wildlife conditions and will be planned based on project design and identified needs.

    Recreation Management

    Recreation opportunities will be developed using the 2018 Shelter Cove and Saddle Lakes Recreation Area Master Plan and ongoing public input. The Proposed Action will be refined through public involvement to meet the Purpose and Need for the project and consistency with the Forest Plan. The 2008 Access and Travel Management Plan and its associated Motor Vehicle Use map would be reviewed and updated as needed.

    Proposed Forest Plan Amendment

    The 2012 Planning Rule (36 CFR 219.13(b)(2)) requires the Responsible Official to identify which substantive requirements of the Rule are likely to be directly related to a proposed land management plan amendment (36 CFR 219.13(b)(5) and 36 CFR 219.8 through 219.11) in the initial notice for the amendment (36 CFR 219.16(a)(1)). At this time, the Responsible Official believes that a modification to Scenic Integrity Objectives in the Forest Plan may be necessary for this project (see Possible Alternatives section.)

    Possible Alternatives

    Scoping comments will be used to develop a range of alternatives to the Proposed Action in response to significant issues that are identified. A No-action Alternative will be analyzed as the baseline for comparison of action alternatives. Other alternative(s) may include a project-specific Tongass Forest Plan amendment to lower the Scenic Integrity Objectives (Forest Plan, p. 4-54 to 4-56), if needed, on portions of timber analysis areas in the project area to meet the Purpose and Need. If included in the South Revilla IRP, this plan amendment would only apply to the commercial timber sales undertaken as part of this specific project only; therefore, the notification requirements and objection procedures of 36 CFR 218, subparts A and B, apply rather than the notification requirements of 36 CFR 219. The 2012 Planning Rule (36 CFR 219.13(b)(2)) requires the Responsible Official to identify which substantive requirements of the Rule are likely to be directly related to the a proposed land management plan amendment. At this time, the Responsible Official believes the following requirements of the Rule are likely to apply to an amendment that would modify the Scenic Integrity Objectives of the Forest Plan for this project: 36 CFR 219.8(b)(2); 36 CFR 219.10(a)(1); and 36 CFR 219.10(b)(1)(i).

    Lead and Cooperating Agencies

    The Forest Service will be the lead agency for this project. Invited cooperating agencies include: Ketchikan Indian Community, Organized Village of Saxman, Metlakatla Indian Community, State of Alaska Department of Fish and Game, State of Alaska Department of Forestry, and Ketchikan Gateway Borough.

    Responsible Official

    The Responsible Official for this project is M. Earl Stewart, Forest Supervisor, Tongass National Forest.

    Nature of Decision To Be Made

    Given the Purpose and Need, the Forest Supervisor will review alternatives, and consider the environmental consequences to make decisions including: (1) Whether to select the Proposed Action or another alternative; (2) the locations, design, and scheduling of restoration activities, habitat improvements, road construction and reconstruction, and recreation development or decommissioning opportunities; (3) mitigation measures and monitoring; (4) whether there may be a significant restriction to subsistence resources; and (5) whether a project-specific Forest Plan amendment to lower Scenic Integrity Objectives (Forest Plan, p. 4-54 to 4-57) is necessary.

    Preliminary Issues

    Preliminary concerns identified by the interdisciplinary team include: (1) Designing an economical timber sale(s) that meets market demand; (2) effects of Forest Plan scenery direction on the ability to design an economical timber sale; (3) effects of timber harvest and road construction on wildlife habitat and travel corridors; (4) effects of timber harvest and road construction on watershed condition; (5) effects of timber harvest and road construction to rare and sensitive plants; and (6) effects of herbicide use on other resources.

    Permits or Licenses Required

    All necessary permits will be obtained prior to project implementation.

    Scoping Process

    This Notice of Intent initiates the scoping process, which guides the development of the EIS. To help determine the location and types of activities, and how they will occur across the landscape, the Forest Service is seeking information, comments, and assistance from Tribal Governments; Federal, State, and local agencies; stakeholders, individuals and organizations interested in or affected by the proposed activities. In addition, a legal notice will be published in the Ketchikan Daily News, the newspaper of record for this project. A scoping document has been prepared and will be distributed to interested parties who have subscribed through an electronic mailing list to receive project information. Individuals and organizations wishing to subscribe may do so at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAFS/subscriber/new?preferences=true.

    Additionally, there will be in-person opportunities for involvement including open houses and subsistence hearings held in Ketchikan, Alaska. Project information, meeting announcements, legal notices, and documents will be provided on the project web page at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=53477.

    Forest Service regulations at 36 CFR part 218, subparts A and B (78 FR 18481-18504) regarding the project-level predecisional administrative review process applies to projects and activities implementing land management plans that are not authorized under the Healthy Forests Restoration Act. The South Revilla IRP is an activity implementing the Forest Plan and is subject to 36 CFR 218.

    Only individuals or entities who submit timely and specific written comments concerning this project during this or another public comment period established by the Responsible Official will be eligible to file an objection. It is important that reviewers provide their comments at such times and in such manner that they are useful to the agency's preparation of the EIS. Therefore, comments should be provided prior to the close of the comment period and should clearly articulate the reviewer's concerns and contentions.

    Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record for this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered. Anonymous commenters will not gain standing to object as defined in 36 CFR 218.2.

    Dated: July 26, 2018. Chris French, Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16884 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    The Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    Agency: U.S. Census Bureau.

    Title: Business and Professional Classification Report.

    OMB Control Number: 0607-0189.

    Form Number(s): SQ-CLASS.

    Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved collection.

    Number of Respondents: 57,000.

    Average Hours per Response: 13 minutes.

    Burden Hours: 12,350.

    Needs and Uses: This request is for continued clearance of the Business and Professional Classification Report (SQ-CLASS). The primary purpose of SQ-CLASS Report is to meet the ongoing sample needs of the Census Bureau's various surveys of the retail trade, wholesale trade, and services portions of the economy (our current business surveys) as defined by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The data collected by the SQ-CLASS report are used to update the samples in our current business surveys to reflect newly opened establishments. Additionally, establishments in the five-year economic census will receive data collection instruments specifically tailored to their industry based on the classification information obtained by the SQ-CLASS report.

    To keep current with rapid changes in the marketplace caused by new businesses (a.k.a. births) the Census Bureau samples newly assigned Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) obtained from the Internal Revenue Service. Each EIN can only be selected once for the SQ-CLASS report. Companies are selected for the SQ-CLASS sample based on the presence of a newly filed application for an EIN. Companies in the sample are asked to provide data about the establishment(s) associated with the new EIN including a more reliable measure of size, consisting of sales in two recent months, company affiliation information, a new or more detailed industry classification code, and other key information needed to maintain proper coverage of the business universe on the Business Register for the current business surveys.

    Based on information collected on the SQ-CLASS form, EINs meeting the criteria for inclusion in the Census Bureau's current business surveys may be eligible for a second phase of sampling. Companies with new EINs selected in this second sampling are asked to report annually on the annual retail, wholesale, and service surveys. A subsample of the wholesale and retail EINs also may be added to the monthly retail and wholesale surveys. Similarly, a subsample of companies with new EINs in the service industries are asked to report in the quarterly services surveys.

    The Economic Census and the current business surveys represent the primary source of facts about the structure and function of the U.S. economy, providing essential information to government and the business community in making sound decisions. This information helps build the foundation for the calculation of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and other economic indicators. Crucial to its success are the accuracy and reliability of the Business Register, which provides the Economic Census and current business surveys with their establishment lists. Critical to the quality of information housed in the Business Register is that each of the statistical units has an accurate industry classification, measure of size, activity status, and physical address assigned to it. The vital information obtained from the SQ-CLASS report is fed back to the Business Register to represent changes in industries and confirm coverage between the years of the Economic Census.

    We are not proposing any major changes to the collection. Minimal changes are being made to the economic activity descriptions in the primary business activity question on the SQ-CLASS report. These changes include providing additional examples of activities included in a specific economic sector. Respondents will continue to choose the economic sector of their business and then select their type of business from a list of business activities based on their response to the question about their economic sector. These selections correspond to NAICS codes, which are then assigned to each business establishment. If the respondents do not see their business activity listed, then they will provide a brief description of their business activity. The response is then assigned a NAICS code by an analyst using an automated coding tool. This is the same methodology that the Census Bureau uses in the Economic Census to assign industry classification.

    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit; not-for-profit institutions.

    Frequency: One time.

    Respondent's Obligation: Mandatory.

    Legal Authority: The Census Bureau conducts this survey under the authority of Title 13, U.S.C., Sections 131, 182, and 193. This collection is made mandatory under the provisions of Title 13 U.S.C., Sections 224 and 225.

    This information collection request may be viewed at www.reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB.

    Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to [email protected] or fax to (202) 395-5806.

    Sheleen Dumas, Departmental Lead PRA Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16915 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-07-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Economic Development Administration Notice of Petitions by Firms for Determination of Eligibility To Apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance AGENCY:

    Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice and opportunity for public comment.

    SUMMARY:

    The Economic Development Administration (EDA) has received petitions for certification of eligibility to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance from the firms listed below. Accordingly, EDA has initiated investigations to determine whether increased imports into the United States of articles like or directly competitive with those produced by each of the firms contributed importantly to the total or partial separation of the firms' workers, or threat thereof, and to a decrease in sales or production of each petitioning firm.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: List of Petitions Received by Eda for Certification of Eligibility To Apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance [07/18/2018 through 07/31/2018] Firm name Firm address Date accepted for
  • investigation
  • Product(s)
    Ashland Foundry & Machine Works, LLC 500 East Centre Street, Ashland, PA 17921 7/24/2018 The firm manufactures ferrous and non-ferrous cast parts, primarily for pumps, including pump impellers, stuffing boxes, and suction covers. Crestwood Pools, Inc 220 Stage Road, Vestal, NY 13850 7/26/2018 The firm manufactures above-ground wood-wall pools, spas, exercise tanks, and related components. T.A. Pelsue Company d/b/a Pelsue Equipment Company, Inc 2500 South Tejon Street, Englewood, CO 80110 7/26/2018 The firm manufactures custom vehicles and trailers for the communications industry, as well as related equipment including work tents, portable ventilators, and manhole equipment.

    Any party having a substantial interest in these proceedings may request a public hearing on the matter. A written request for a hearing must be submitted to the Trade Adjustment Assistance Division, Room 71030, Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230, no later than ten (10) calendar days following publication of this notice. These petitions are received pursuant to section 251 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended.

    Any party having a substantial interest in these proceedings may request a public hearing on the matter. A written request for a hearing must be submitted to the Trade Adjustment Assistance Division, Room 71030, Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230, no later than ten (10) calendar days following publication of this notice. These petitions are received pursuant to section 251 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended.

    Please follow the requirements set forth in EDA's regulations at 13 CFR 315.9 for procedures to request a public hearing. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance official number and title for the program under which these petitions are submitted is 11.313, Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms.

    Irette Patterson, Program Analyst.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16892 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-WH-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Telecommunications and Information Administration First Responder Network Authority Combined Committee and Board Meeting AGENCY:

    First Responder Network Authority (“FirstNet Authority”), U.S. Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of open public meetings.

    SUMMARY:

    The Board of the First Responder Network Authority (“FirstNet Authority Board”) will convene a meeting of the FirstNet Authority Board and the Committees of the FirstNet Authority Board (“Board Committees”) that will be open to the public via teleconference and WebEx on August 13, 2018.

    DATES:

    A combined meeting of the Board Committees and the FirstNet Authority Board will be held on August 13, 2018, between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). The meeting of the FirstNet Authority Board and the Governance and Personnel, Technology, Public Safety Advocacy, and Finance Committees will be open to the public via teleconference and WebEx only from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EDT.

    ADDRESSES:

    The combined meeting of the FirstNet Authority Board and Board Committees will be conducted via teleconference and WebEx only. Members of the public may listen to the meeting by dialing toll free 1-877-917-6910 and using passcode 3324054. To view the slide presentation, the public may visit the URL: https://www.mymeetings.com/nc/join/ and enter Conference Number: PWXW7911812 and Audience Passcode: 3324054. Alternatively, members of the public may view the slide presentation by directly visiting the URL: https://www.mymeetings.com/nc/join.php?i=PWXW7911812&p=3324054&t=c.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Karen Miller-Kuwana, Board Secretary, FirstNet Authority, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, M/S 243, Reston, VA 20192; telephone: (571) 665-6177; email: [email protected] Please direct media inquiries to Ryan Oremland at (571) 665-6186.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This notice informs the public that the FirstNet Authority Board and Board Committees will convene a combined meeting open to the public via teleconference and WebEx only on August 13, 2018.

    Background: The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (47 U.S.C. 1401 et seq.)) (“the Act”) established the FirstNet Authority as an independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration that is headed by a Board. The Act directs the FirstNet Authority to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of a nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network. The FirstNet Authority Board is responsible for making strategic decisions regarding the FirstNet Authority's operations. The FirstNet Authority Board held its first public meeting on September 25, 2012.

    Matters to be Considered: The FirstNet Authority will post a detailed agenda for the combined meeting of the Board Committees and FirstNet Authority Board meeting on its website, http://www.firstnet.gov, prior to the meetings. The agenda topics are subject to change. Please note that the subjects that will be discussed by the Board Committees and the FirstNet Authority Board may involve commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential or other legal matters affecting the FirstNet Authority. As such, the Board Committee Chairs and Board Chair may call for a vote to close the meetings only for the time necessary to preserve the confidentiality of such information, pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 1424(e)(2).

    Times and Dates of Meeting: A combined meeting of the FirstNet Authority Board and Board Committees will be held on August 13, 2018, between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). The meeting of the FirstNet Authority Board and Board Committees will be open to the public via teleconference and WebEx from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EDT. The times listed above are subject to change. Please refer to FirstNet's website at www.firstnet.gov for the most up-to-date information.

    Place: The combined meeting of the FirstNet Authority Board and Board Committees will be conducted via teleconference and WebEx.

    Other Information: The combined meeting of the FirstNet Authority Board and Board Committees is open to the public via teleconference and WebEx only. On the date and time of the meeting, members of the public may listen to the meeting by dialing toll free 1-877-917-6910 and using passcode 3324054. To view the slide presentation, the public may visit the URL: https://www.mymeetings.com/nc/join/ and enter Conference Number: PWXW7911812 and Audience Passcode: 3324054. Alternatively, members of the public may view the slide presentation by directly visiting the URL: https://www.mymeetings.com/nc/join.php?i=PWXW7911812&p=3324054&t=c.

    If you experience technical difficulty, please contact the Conferencing Center customer service at 1-866-900-1011. Public access will be limited to listen-only. Due to the limited number of ports, attendance via teleconference will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

    The FirstNet Authority Board and Combined Committee Meeting is accessible to people with disabilities. Individuals requiring accommodations are asked to notify Ms. Miller-Kuwana by telephone (571) 665-6177 or email at [email protected] at least five (5) business days before the applicable meeting.

    Records: The FirstNet Authority maintains records of all FirstNet Authority Board proceedings. Minutes of the FirstNet Authority Board Meeting and the Board Committee Meetings will be available at www.firstnet.gov.

    Dated: August 2, 2018. Karen Miller-Kuwana, Board Secretary, First Responder Network Authority.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16912 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-TL-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of Industry and Security Emerging Technology Technical Advisory Committee (ETTAC); Notice of Recruitment of Private-Sector Members

    The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is announcing a recruitment for new candidates to serve on the Emerging Technology Technical Advisory Committee (ETTAC) to advise the Department of Commerce and other agency officials on emerging technologies with potential dual-use applications. This advice will include: (a) The identification of such technologies as early as possible in their developmental stages both within the United States and abroad; (b) assessing and providing information on emerging technologies, potential “chokepoint technologies” (for example, technologies that, if developed by an adversary prior to development by the United States, could present grave threats to United States national and/or economic security) and trends in technologies of particular interest to BIS; (c) assessing the potential impact of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) on research activities, including technical and policy issues relating to controls under the EAR, revisions of the Commerce Control List, including proposed revisions of multilateral controls in which the United States participates, and the issuance of regulations; and (d) any other matters relating to actions designed to carry out the policy set forth in Section 3(2)(A) of the Export Administration Act of 1979 as well as the directives contained in Section 1758 of H.R. 5515, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019. In its work, the Committee will be forward leaning—focusing both on the current state of emerging technologies and projecting their likely effects five to ten years in the future on national security, the U.S. defense industrial base, and the overall health and competitiveness of the U.S. economy.

    The ETTAC will consist of experts drawn from academia, industry, federal laboratories, and pertinent U.S. Government departments and agencies who are engaged in developing and producing cutting edge technology in areas key to maintaining a U.S. forward leaning presence in the world economy. ETTAC members are appointed by the Secretary of Commerce and serve terms of two years, and may not serve more than four consecutive years. The membership term limit reflects the Department's commitment to attaining balance and diversity. As a general rule members will be highly ranked, accomplished and recognized leaders, engineers, and scientists working in their disciplines as researchers and/or program managers. All members must be able to qualify for a Secret security clearance or a security clearance at a level sufficient to perform their work for the committee. The ETTAC will also reach out to other government and non-government experts to ensure a broad and thorough review of the issues. The ETTAC meets approximately four times per year. Members of the Committee will not be compensated for their services.

    To respond to this recruitment notice, please send a copy of your resume to Ms. Yvette Springer at [email protected]

    Deadline: This Notice of Recruitment will close 30 days from its date of publication in the Federal Register.

    Yvette Springer, Committee Liaison Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16893 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-33-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-580-878] Certain Corrosion-Resistant Steel Products From the Republic of Korea: Notice of Court Decision Not in Harmony With Final Determination of Investigation and Notice of Amended Final Results AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    On June 22, 2018, the United States Court of International Trade (the CIT) entered final judgment sustaining the Department of Commerce's (Commerce) remand results pertaining to the final determination in the antidumping duty (AD) investigation on certain corrosion-resistant steel products (CORE) from the Republic of Korea (Korea) for Hyundai Steel Company (Hyundai). Commerce is notifying the public that the final judgment in this case is not in harmony with the final determination, and that Commerce has determined a dumping margin of 7.89 percent ad valorem for Hyundai. We have also revised the “all others” rate to 8.32 percent ad valorem.

    DATES:

    June 22, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Chloee Sagmoe or Elfi Blum, AD/CVD Operations, Office VII, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-2273 and (202) 482-0197, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On June 2, 2016, Commerce published the Final Determination for the AD investigation of CORE from Korea pertaining to mandatory respondents Hyundai and Dongkuk Steel Mill Co., Ltd/Union Steel Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (Dongkuk). The period of investigation (POI) is April 1, 2014, through March 31, 2015.1 In the Final Determination, Commerce calculated weighted-average dumping margins for Hyundai and Dongkuk that were above de minimis and which were not based on total facts available. Commerce calculated the “all-others” rate using a simple average of dumping margins calculated for the mandatory respondents.2 Commerce determined a weighted-average dumping rate of 8.75 percent for Dongkuk, 47.80 percent for Hyundai, and 31.73 for all-others.3

    1See Certain Corrosion-Resistant Steel Products from the Republic of Korea: Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Final Affirmative Determination of Critical Circumstances, 81 FR 35303 (June 2, 2016) (Final Determination) and accompanying Issues and Decision Memorandum (IDM).

    2Id.

    3Id.

    On January 10, 2018, the CIT remanded for Commerce to provide Hyundai with an opportunity to remedy the deficiencies at issue for its further manufactured sales of skelp, sheet, and blanks (SSBs), and to recalculate Hyundai's overall margin.4 Commerce determined in the AD investigation that the application of facts available, with an adverse inference, pursuant to sections 776(a)(1), 776(a)(2), and 776(b) of the Act, was warranted for Hyundai's U.S. sales of tailor welded blanks (TWBs), auto parts, and SSBs because: (1) Certain information was not available on the record; (2) Hyundai's December 29, 2015 data submissions were untimely; and (3) Hyundai significantly impeded the proceeding through delays and the provision of unusable information. As stated above, the CIT remanded to Commerce, instructing Commerce to provide Hyundai with an opportunity to remedy its deficiencies with respect to its sales and costs of SSBs, holding that Commerce improperly had failed to do so in the original proceeding.5

    4See Hyundai Steel Company v. United States, Court No. 16-00161, Slip Op. 18-2 (Hyundai v. U.S.).

    5Id.

    In light of the Court's remand order, on May 3, 2018, Commerce released the Draft Remand Determination, 6 finding that Hyundai's March 15, 2018 response remedied the major deficiencies in its previous further manufacturing responses with respect to SSBs. Specifically, we found that Hyundai sufficiently explained the inconsistencies and previously unexplained changes that plagued the data it submitted with respect to its SSB sales during the investigation. Based on the analysis of Hyundai's response to the remand questionnaire and verification, Commerce made adjustments to Hyundai's reported further-manufacturing expenses for SSBs in order to recalculate Hyundai's dumping margin to include its sales of SSBs.7 Both the petitioners 8 and Hyundai 9 filed comments on the Draft Remand Determination on May 11, 2018. On May 11, 2018, Commerce filed the Final Remand Determination with the CIT.10

    6See “Draft Results of Redetermination Pursuant to Remand: Antidumping Duty (AD) Investigation on Certain-Corrosion-Resistant Steel Products (CORE) from the Republic of Korea,” (Draft Remand Determination) dated May 3, 2018.

    7Id.

    8See United States Steel Corporation's Comments, “Certain Corrosion-Resistant Steel Products from the Republic of Korea: Comments on the Draft Remand Redetermination,” dated May 8, 2018.

    9See Hyundai Steel Company's Comments, “Certain Corrosion-Resistant Steel Products from the Republic of Korea: Comments on Draft Remand Redetermination,” dated May 7, 2018.

    10See Final Remand Redetermination Pursuant to Hyundai Steel Company, v. United States, Court. No. 16-00161, Slip Op. 18-2 (Court of International Trade January 10, 2018), dated May 11, 2018 (Final Remand Redetermination).

    On June 22, 2018, the CIT sustained the Department's Final Remand Determination. 11 Thus, the CIT sustained our changes made to our margin analysis and margin calculations for Hyundai's sales of SSBs, resulting in an overall dumping margin of 7.89 percent ad valorem for Hyundai. Commerce has also revised the “all others” rate to 8.32 percent ad valorem.

    11See Hyundai Steel Company v. United States, CIT Slip Op. 18-2, Ct. No. 16-00161 (June 22, 2018).

    Timken Notice

    In its decision in Timken, 12 as clarified by Diamond Sawblades, 13 the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that, pursuant to section 516A(e) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), the Department must publish a notice of a court decision that is not “in harmony” with a Department determination and must suspend liquidation of entries pending a “conclusive” court decision. The CIT's June 22, 2018, final judgment sustaining the Final Remand Determination constitutes a final decision of the Court that is not in harmony with Commerce's Final Determination. This notice is published in fulfillment of the Timken publication requirements.

    12See Timken Co. v. United States, 893 F.2d 337, 341 (Fed. Cir. 1990) (Timken).

    13See Diamond Sawblades Mfrs. Coalition v. United States, 626 F.3d 1374 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (Diamond Sawblades).

    Amended Final Determination

    Because there is now a final court decision, we are amending the Final Determination with respect to the dumping margin calculated for Hyundai. Based on the Final Remand Determination, as affirmed by the CIT, the revised dumping margin for Hyundai is 7.89 percent ad valorem. We have also re-calculated the “all-others rate” to 8.32 percent.

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    Commerce will issue revised cash deposit instructions to CBP, adjusting the cash deposit rate for Hyundai to 7.88 percent and the “all-others” cash deposit rate to 8.31 percent, effective July 2, 2018.14

    14See Final Remand Determination at FN 74: “We intend to instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to require a cash deposit less the amount of the countervailing duty determined to constitute any export subsidies (.0.01 percent). Therefore, Hyundai's cash deposit rate will be 7.88 percent and the all-others cash deposit rate will be 8.31.”

    Notification to Interested Parties

    This notice is issued and published in accordance with sections 516A(e)(1), 751(a)(1), and 777(i)(1) of the Act.

    Dated: July 23, 2018. 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. 2018-16898 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-073] Common Alloy Aluminum Sheet From the People's Republic of China: Amended Preliminary Affirmative Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (Commerce) is amending the preliminary determination of the less-than-fair-value (LTFV) investigation of common alloy aluminum sheet (aluminum sheet) from the People's Republic of China (China) to correct a significant ministerial error.

    DATES:

    Applicable August 8, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Deborah Scott or Scott Hoefke, 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) 482-2657 or (202) 482-4947, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    On June 22, 2018, Commerce published in the Federal Register the Preliminary Determination, 1 and completed the disclosure of all calculation materials to interested parties. On June 26, 2018, Henan Mingtai Al Industrial Co., Ltd. and Zhengzhou Mingtai Industry Co., Ltd. (collectively, Mingtai), timely filed a ministerial error allegation regarding the Preliminary Determination. 2 Commerce did not receive ministerial error allegations or comments from any other interested party.

    1See Antidumping Duty Investigation of Common Alloy Aluminum Sheet from the People's Republic of China: Affirmative Preliminary Determination of Sales at Less-Than-Fair Value, Preliminary Affirmative Determination of Critical Circumstances, and Postponement of Final Determination, 83 FR 29088 (June 22, 2018) (Preliminary Determination).

    2See Letter from Mingtai, “Common Alloy Aluminum Sheet from the People's Republic of China—Ministerial Error Allegation,” dated June 26, 2018.

    Period of Investigation

    The period of investigation is April 1, 2017 through September 30, 2017.

    Scope of the Investigation

    The product covered by this investigation is aluminum sheet from China. For a complete description of the scope of this investigation, see the Appendix to this notice.

    Analysis of Significant Ministerial Error Allegation

    Commerce will analyze any comments received and, if appropriate, correct any significant ministerial error by amending the preliminary determination according to 19 CFR 351.224(e). A ministerial error is defined in 19 CFR 351.224(f) as “an error in addition, subtraction, or other arithmetic function, clerical error resulting from inaccurate copying, duplication, or the like, and any other similar type of unintentional error which the Secretary considers ministerial.” 3 A significant ministerial error is defined as a ministerial error, the correction of which, singly or in combination with other errors, would result in: (1) A change of at least five absolute percentage points in, but not less than 25 percent of, the antidumping duty rate calculated in the original preliminary determination; or (2) a difference between an antidumping duty rate of zero or de minimis and an antidumping duty rate of greater than de minimis or vice versa.4

    3See also section 735(e) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act).

    4See 19 CFR 351.224(g).

    Amended Preliminary Determination

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.224(e) and (g)(1), Commerce is amending the Preliminary Determination to reflect the correction of one ministerial error made in the calculation of the estimated weighted-average dumping margin for Mingtai.5 This error is a significant ministerial error within the meaning of 19 CFR 351.224(g) because Mingtai's margin decreases from 167.16 percent to 91.47 percent as a result of correcting this ministerial error, exceeding the specified threshold, i.e., a change of at least five absolute percentage points in, but not less than 25 percent of, the antidumping duty rate calculated in the original preliminary determination.6

    5See Memorandum, “Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigation of Common Alloy Aluminum Sheet from the People's Republic of China: Allegation of Ministerial Error in the Preliminary Determination,” dated concurrently with this notice (Ministerial Error Memorandum).

    6See Memorandum, “Analysis for the Amended Preliminary Determination of the Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigation of Common Alloy Aluminum Sheet from the People's Republic of China for Henan Mingtai Al Industrial Co., Ltd. and Zhengzhou Mingtai Industry Co., Ltd.,” dated concurrently with this notice.

    Mingtai is the only mandatory respondent for which Commerce calculated a weighted-average dumping margin in the Preliminary Determination. For this reason, we assigned Mingtai's calculated rate to the non-examined respondents that preliminarily received a separate rate.7 Accordingly, as part of this amended preliminary determination, Commerce will amend the estimated weighted-average dumping margin to 91.47 percent for each non-examined respondent that preliminarily received a separate rate.

    7See Preliminary Determination, 83 FR at 29090.

    In the Preliminary Determination, we found that Nanjie Resources Co., Limited, Yong Jie New Material Co., Ltd., and Zhejiang Yongjie Aluminum Co., Ltd. (collectively, the Yongjie Companies), Zhejiang GKO Aluminium Stock Co., Ltd. (GKO Aluminium), and the China-wide entity failed to cooperate by not acting to the best of their ability to comply with requests for information and, thus, found that an adverse inference was warranted in selecting from the facts otherwise available.8 In an investigation, Commerce's practice with respect to the assignment of a rate based on adverse facts available is to select the higher of: (1) The highest dumping margin alleged in the petition or (2) the highest calculated dumping margin of any respondent in the investigation.9 In the Preliminary Determination, because the highest margin in the initiation of this investigation (i.e., 59.72 percent) was less than the 167.16 percent margin calculated for Mingtai, we assigned the 167.16 percent rate to the Yongjie Companies, GKO Aluminium, and the China-wide entity as adverse facts available.10 For this amended preliminary determination, we examined whether the highest margin in the initiation of the investigation (i.e., 59.72 percent) was less than or equal to the highest calculated margin, and determined that the highest calculated margin of 91.47 percent was the higher of the two. Because this rate is a calculated rate based on a mandatory respondent's data in this segment of the proceeding, it does not constitute secondary information and, therefore, it does not need to be corroborated. Therefore, for this amended preliminary determination, as facts available based on an adverse inference, we have assigned to the Yongjie Companies, GKO Aluminium, and the China-wide entity a dumping margin of 91.47 percent, which is the highest calculated rate in this proceeding.

    8See Memorandum, “Decision Memorandum for the Preliminary Determination in the Antidumping Duty Investigation of Common Alloy Aluminum Sheet from the People's Republic of China,” dated June 15, 2018 (Preliminary Decision Memorandum), at 20-26.

    9See, e.g., Certain Uncoated Paper from Indonesia: Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value, 81 FR 3101 (January 20, 2016).

    10See Preliminary Decision Memorandum, at 26.

    Amended Cash Deposits and Suspension of Liquidation

    The collection of cash deposits and suspension of liquidation will be revised according to the rates calculated in this amended preliminary determination. Because these amended rates result in reduced cash deposits, the amended rate for Mingtai will be effective retroactively to June 22, 2018, the date of publication of the Preliminary Determination. As Commerce preliminarily found that critical circumstances exist for imports of subject merchandise from the non-examined respondents that preliminarily received a separate rate, the Yongjie Companies, GKO Aluminium, and the China-wide entity,11 the amended rates for these entities will be effective retroactively to March 24, 2018, i.e., 90 days before the publication of the Preliminary Determination. Parties will be notified of this determination, in accordance with section 733(d) and (f) of the Act.

    11See Preliminary Determination, 83 FR at 29089 and Preliminary Decision Memorandum, at 4-7.

    Amended Preliminary Determination

    Commerce preliminarily determines that the following estimated weighted-average antidumping duty margins exist:

    Exporter Producer Weighted-
  • average
  • margin
  • (percent)
  • Cash deposit
  • adjusted for
  • subsidy offset
  • (percent)
  • Henan Mingtai Al Industrial Co., Ltd./Zhengzhou Mingtai Industry Co., Ltd.12 Henan Mingtai Al Industrial Co., Ltd./Zhengzhou Mingtai Industry Co., Ltd 91.47 91.47 Alcha International Holdings Limited Jiangsu Alcha Aluminium Co., Ltd 91.47 91.47 Alumax Composite Material (Jiangyin) Co., Ltd Chalco Ruimin Co., Ltd 91.47 91.47 Granges Aluminum (Shanghai) Co., Ltd Granges Aluminum (Shanghai) Co., Ltd 91.47 91.47 Henan Founder Beyond Industry Co., Ltd Henan Xintai Aluminum Industry Co., Ltd 91.47 91.47 Huafon Nikkei Aluminium Corporation Huafon Nikkei Aluminium Corporation 91.47 91.47 Jiangsu Lidao New Material Co., Ltd Henan Jinyang Luyue Co., Ltd 91.47 91.47 Jiangsu Lidao New Material Co., Ltd Jiangsu Zhong He Aluminum Co., Ltd 91.47 91.47 Jiangyin Litai Ornamental Materials Co., Ltd Jiangyin Litai Ornamental Materials Co., Ltd 91.47 91.47 Jiangyin New Alumax Composite Material Co. Ltd Chalco Ruimin Co., Ltd 91.47 91.47 Shandong Fuhai Industrial Co., Ltd Shandong Fuhai Industrial Co., Ltd 91.47 91.47 Tianjin Zhongwang Aluminium Co., Ltd Tianjin Zhongwang Aluminium Co., Ltd 91.47 91.47 Xiamen Xiashun Aluminum Foil Co., Ltd Xiamen Xiashun Aluminum Foil Co., Ltd 91.47 91.47 Yantai Jintai International Trade Co., Ltd Shandong Nanshan
  • Aluminium Co., Ltd
  • 91.47 91.47
    Yinbang Clad Material Co., Ltd Yinbang Clad Material Co., Ltd 91.47 91.47 Zhengzhou Silverstone Limited Henan Zhongyuan Aluminum Co., Ltd 91.47 91.47 Zhengzhou Silverstone Limited Luoyang Xinlong Aluminum Co., Ltd 91.47 91.47 Zhengzhou Silverstone Limited Shanghai Dongshuo Metal Trade Co., Ltd 91.47 91.47 Zhengzhou Silverstone Limited Zhengzhou Mingtai Industry Co., Ltd 91.47 91.47 China-Wide Entity 91.47 91.47
    Disclosure

    We intend to disclose the calculations performed to parties in this proceeding within five days after public announcement of the amended preliminary determination, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.224.

    12 We preliminarily determined that Henan Mingtai Al Industrial Co., Ltd. and Zhengzhou Mingtai Industry Co., Ltd. are a single entity. See Preliminary Decision Memorandum, at 17-19; see also Memorandum, “Preliminary Affiliation and Collapsing Memorandum for Henan Mingtai Al Industrial Co., Ltd. and Zhengzhou Mingtai Industry Co., Ltd.,” dated June 15, 2018.

    International Trade Commission Notification

    In accordance with section 733(f) of the Act, we will notify the International Trade Commission of our amended preliminary determination.

    This amended preliminary determination is issued and published pursuant to sections 733(f) and 777(i) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.224(e).

    Dated: July 31, 2018. Gary Taverman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, performing the non-exclusive functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix Scope of the Investigation

    The merchandise covered by this investigation is aluminum common alloy sheet (common alloy sheet), which is a flat-rolled aluminum product having a thickness of 6.3 mm or less, but greater than 0.2 mm, in coils or cut-to-length, regardless of width. Common alloy sheet within the scope of this investigation includes both not clad aluminum sheet, as well as multi-alloy, clad aluminum sheet. With respect to not clad aluminum sheet, common alloy sheet is manufactured from a 1XXX-, 3XXX-, or 5XXX-series alloy as designated by the Aluminum Association. With respect to multi-alloy, clad aluminum sheet, common alloy sheet is produced from a 3XXX-series core, to which cladding layers are applied to either one or both sides of the core.

    Common alloy sheet may be made to ASTM specification B209-14, but can also be made to other specifications. Regardless of specification, however, all common alloy sheet meeting the scope description is included in the scope. Subject merchandise includes common alloy sheet that has been further processed in a third country, including but not limited to annealing, tempering, painting, varnishing, trimming, cutting, punching, and/or slitting, or any other processing that would not otherwise remove the merchandise from the scope of the investigation if performed in the country of manufacture of the common alloy sheet.

    Excluded from the scope of this investigation is aluminum can stock, which is suitable for use in the manufacture of aluminum beverage cans, lids of such cans, or tabs used to open such cans. Aluminum can stock is produced to gauges that range from 0.200 mm to 0.292 mm, and has an H-19, H-41, H-48, or H-391 temper. In addition, aluminum can stock has a lubricant applied to the flat surfaces of the can stock to facilitate its movement through machines used in the manufacture of beverage cans. Aluminum can stock is properly classified under Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) subheadings 7606.12.3045 and 7606.12.3055.

    Where the nominal and actual measurements vary, a product is within the scope if application of either the nominal or actual measurement would place it within the scope based on the definitions set for the above.

    Common alloy sheet is currently classifiable under HTSUS subheadings 7606.11.3060, 7606.11.6000, 7606.12.3090, 7606.12.6000, 7606.91.3090, 7606.91.6080, 7606.92.3090, and 7606.92.6080. Further, merchandise that falls within the scope of this investigation may also be entered into the United States under HTSUS subheadings 7606.11.3030, 7606.12.3030, 7606.91.3060, 7606.91.6040, 7606.92.3060, 7606.92.6040, 7607.11.9090. Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope of this investigation is dispositive.

    [FR Doc. 2018-16897 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-075] Certain Plastic Decorative Ribbon From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (Commerce) preliminarily determines that certain plastic decorative ribbon (plastic ribbon) from the People's Republic of China (China) is being, or is likely to be, sold in the United States at less than fair value (LTFV), for the period of investigation (POI) April 1, 2017, through September 30, 2017. Interested parties are invited to comment on this preliminary determination.

    DATES:

    Applicable August 8, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Nancy Decker, Lauren Caserta, or Caitlin Monks, AD/CVD Operations, Office VII, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-0196, (202) 482-4737, or (202) 482-2670, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    Commerce published the notice of initiation of this investigation on January 23, 2018.1 Commerce exercised its discretion to toll deadlines affected by the closure of the Federal Government from January 20 through 22, 2018.2 Subsequently, Commerce postponed the deadline for the preliminary determination to July 30, 2018.3 For a complete description of the events that followed the initiation of this investigation, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.4 A list of topics included in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum is included as Appendix II to this notice. The Preliminary Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at https://access.trade.gov, and to all parties in the Central Records Unit, Room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum can be found at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/. The signed Preliminary Decision Memorandum and the electronic version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    1See Certain Plastic Decorative Ribbon from the People's Republic of China: Initiation of Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigation, 83 FR 3126 (January 23, 2018) (Initiation Notice).

    2See Memorandum, “Deadlines Affected by the Shutdown of the Federal Government,” dated January 23, 2018 (Tolling Memorandum). Accordingly, all deadlines in this segment of the proceeding have been extended by 3 days.

    3 Note that the revised deadline reflects a full postponement to 190 days after the date on which this investigation was initiated, in addition to the 3-day extension due to closure of the Federal Government. See Certain Plastic Decorative Ribbon from the People's Republic of China: Postponement of Preliminary Determination in the Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigation, 83 FR 13256 (March 28, 2018).

    4See Memorandum, “Decision Memorandum for the Preliminary Determination in the Antidumping Duty Investigation of Certain Plastic Decorative Ribbon from the People's Republic of China” (Preliminary Decision Memorandum), dated concurrently with and hereby adopted by this notice.

    Scope of the Investigation

    The product covered by this investigation is plastic ribbon from China. For a full description of the scope of this investigation, see the “Scope of the Investigation” in Appendix I.

    Scope Comments

    In accordance with the preamble to the Commerce's regulations,5 the Initiation Notice set aside a period of time for parties to raise issues regarding product coverage (i.e., scope).6 Certain interested parties commented on the scope of the investigation as it appeared in the Initiation Notice. For a summary of the product coverage comments and rebuttal responses submitted to the record for this preliminary determination, and accompanying discussion and analysis of all comments timely received, see the Preliminary Scope Decision Memorandum.7 In response to the submitted comments, Commerce is preliminarily modifying the scope language as it appeared in the Initiation Notice to exclude certain shredded plastic film/strip and to clarify “exclusion (4).” See “Scope of the Investigation” in Appendix I, which includes the additional clarifying language.

    5See Antidumping Duties; Countervailing Duties, 62 FR 27296, 27323 (May 19, 1997).

    6See Initiation Notice, 83 FR at 3126.

    7See Memorandum, “Certain Plastic Decorative Ribbon from the People's Republic of China: Scope Comments Preliminary Decision Memorandum” (Preliminary Scope Decision Memorandum), dated concurrently with and hereby adopted by this notice.

    Methodology

    Commerce is conducting this investigation in accordance with section 731 of the Act. Export prices have been calculated in accordance with section 772(a) of the Act. Because China is a non-market economy within the meaning of section 771(18) of the Act, we calculated normal value (NV) in accordance with section 773(c) of the Act. In addition, Commerce has preliminarily relied upon facts available under section 776(a)(1) of the Act, including the use of an adverse inference under section 776(b) of the Act, for determining the antidumping margin for one producer and exporter combination, as well as for the China-wide entity. For a full description of the methodology underlying our preliminary conclusions, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    Combination Rates

    In the Initiation Notice, Commerce stated that it would calculate producer/exporter combination rates for the respondents that are eligible for a separate rate in this investigation. Policy Bulletin 05.1 describes this practice.8

    8See Enforcement and Compliance's Policy Bulletin No. 05.1 regarding “Separate-Rates Practice and Application of Combination Rates in Antidumping Investigations involving Non-Market Economy Countries,” (April 5, 2005) (Policy Bulletin 05.1), available on Commerce's website at http://enforcement.trade.gov/policy/bull05-1.pdf.

    Preliminary Determination

    Commerce preliminarily determines that the following weighted-average dumping margins exist:

    Exporter Producer Weighted-
  • average
  • dumping
  • margin
  • (percent)
  • Ningbo Junlong Craft Gift Co., Ltd Ningbo Junlong Craft Gift Co., Ltd 45.16 Dongguan Mei Song Plastic Industry Co., Ltd Dongguan Mei Song Plastic Industry Co., Ltd 50.93 Ricai Film Artwork Materials Co., Ltd Dongguan Ricai Plastic Technology Co., Ltd * 370.04 Sun Rich (Asia) Ltd Kai Feng Decoration (Hui Zhou) Co., Ltd 48.05 Sun Rich (Asia) Ltd Sheng Yi Decoration (Dong Guan) Co., Ltd 48.05 Joynice Gifts & Crafts Co., Ltd Joynice Gifts & Crafts Co., Ltd 48.05 Chiapton Gifts Decorative Limited Nan Mei (Huizhou) Ribbon Art Factory Ltd 48.05 Chiapton Gifts Decorative Limited Shantou Longhu YingXin Art Craft Factory Co. Ltd 48.05 Colorart Plastic Ribbon Productions Limited Colorart Industrial Limited 48.05 Zhejiang Shaoxing Royal Arts & Crafts Co., Ltd Santa's Collection Shaoxing Co. Ltd 48.05 Zhejiang Shaoxing Royal Arts & Crafts Co., Ltd Zheijang Shaoxing Royal Arts & Crafts Co., Ltd 48.05 Wingo Gift & Crafts (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd Wingo Gift & Crafts (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd 48.05 Seng San Enterprises Co., Ltd Xin Seng San Handicraft (ShenZhen) Co., Ltd 48.05 Xiangxin Decoration Factory Xiangxin Decoration Factory 48.05 Xinghui Packaging Co., Ltd Xinghui Packaging Co., Ltd 48.05 Shenzhen SHS Technology R&D Co., Ltd Shenzhen SHS Technology R&D Co., Ltd 48.05 China-Wide Entity * 370.04 * Determined on the basis of adverse facts available.

    As detailed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum, because parties to whom we issued Q&V questionnaires did not provide timely quantity and value questionnaire responses or separate rate applications,9 the China-wide entity also includes these non-responsive companies. See Appendix III for a list of companies that did not respond to the quantity and value questionnaire.

    9See Memorandum to the File, “Antidumping Duty Investigation of Plastic Decorative Ribbon from the People's Republic of China: Respondent Selection” (March 1, 2018).

    Suspension of Liquidation

    In accordance with section 733(d)(2) of the Act, we will direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to suspend liquidation of all entries of plastic ribbon from China as described in the scope of the investigation section entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register.

    Pursuant to section 733(d)(1)(B) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(d), Commerce will instruct CBP to require a cash deposit equal to the weighted-average amount by which the NV exceeds U.S. price as follows: (1) The cash deposit rate for the exporter/producer combination listed in the table above will be the rate identified for that combination in the table; (2) for all combinations of Chinese exporters/producers of merchandise under consideration that have not received their own separate rate above, the cash-deposit rate will be the cash deposit rate established for the China-wide entity, 370.04 percent; and (3) for all non-Chinese exporters of the merchandise under consideration which have not received their own separate rate above, the cash-deposit rate will be the cash deposit rate applicable to the Chinese exporter/producer combination that supplied that non-Chinese exporter. These suspension of liquidation instructions will remain in effect until further notice.

    Disclosure and Public Comment

    We will disclose the calculations performed to parties to this proceeding within five days of the date of announcement of this preliminary determination in accordance with 19 CFR 351.224(b). Interested parties may submit case briefs, rebuttal briefs, and hearing requests.10 For a schedule of the deadlines for filing case briefs, rebuttal briefs, and hearing requests, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum at Section IX.

    10See 19 CFR 351.309(c)-(d), 19 CFR 351.310(c).

    International Trade Commission (ITC) Notification

    In accordance with section 733(f) of the Act, we will notify the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) of our affirmative preliminary determination of sales at LTFV. If our final determination is affirmative, the ITC will determine before the later of 120 days after the date of this preliminary determination or 45 days after our final determination whether these imports are materially injuring, or threaten material injury to, the U.S. industry.

    This determination is issued and published in accordance with sections 733(f) and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(c).

    Dated: July 30, 2018. Gary Taverman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, performing the non-exclusive functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix I Scope of the Investigation

    The merchandise covered by this investigation is certain plastic decorative ribbon having a width (measured at the narrowest span of the ribbon) of less than or equal to four (4) inches in actual measurement, including but not limited to ribbon wound onto itself; a spool, a core or a tube (with or without flanges); attached to a card or strip; wound into a keg- or egg-shaped configuration; made into bows, bow-like items, or other shapes or configurations; and whether or not packaged or labeled for retail sale. The subject merchandise is typically made of substrates of polypropylene, but may be made in whole or in part of any type of plastic, including without limitation, plastic derived from petroleum products and plastic derived from cellulose products. Unless the context otherwise clearly indicates, the word “ribbon” used in the singular includes the plural and the plural “ribbons” includes the singular.

    The subject merchandise includes ribbons comprised of one or more layers of substrates made, in whole or in part, of plastics adhered to each other, regardless of the method used to adhere the layers together, including without limitation, ribbons comprised of layers of substrates adhered to each other through a lamination process. Subject merchandise also includes ribbons comprised of (a) one or more layers of substrates made, in whole or in part, of plastics adhered to (b) one or more layers of substrates made, in whole or in part, of non-plastic materials, including, without limitation, substrates made, in whole or in part, of fabric.

    The ribbons subject to this investigation may be of any color or combination of colors (including without limitation, ribbons that are transparent, translucent or opaque) and may or may not bear words or images, including without limitation, those of a holiday motif. The subject merchandise includes ribbons with embellishments and/or treatments, including, without limitation, ribbons that are printed, hot-stamped, coated, laminated, flocked, crimped, die-cut, embossed (or that otherwise have impressed designs, images, words or patterns), and ribbons with holographic, metallic, glitter or iridescent finishes.

    Subject merchandise includes “pull-bows” an assemblage of ribbons connected to one another, folded flat, and equipped with a means to form such ribbons into the shape of a bow by pulling on a length of material affixed to such assemblage, and “pre-notched” bows, an assemblage of notched ribbon loops arranged one inside the other with the notches in alignment and affixed to each other where notched, and which the end user forms into a bow by separating and spreading the loops circularly around the notches, which form the center of the bow. Subject merchandise includes ribbons that are packaged with non-subject merchandise, including ensembles that include ribbons and other products, such as gift wrap, gift bags, gift tags and/or other gift packaging products. The ribbons are covered by the scope of this investigation; the “other products” (i.e., the other, non-subject merchandise included in the ensemble) are not covered by the scope of this investigation.

    Excluded from the scope of this investigation are the following: (1) Ribbons formed exclusively by weaving plastic threads together; (2) ribbons that have metal wire in, on, or along the entirety of each of the longitudinal edges of the ribbon; (3) ribbons with an adhesive coating covering the entire span between the longitudinal edges of the ribbon for the entire length of the ribbon; (4) ribbon formed into a bow without a tab or other means for attaching the bow to an object using adhesives, where the bow has: (a) An outer layer that is either flocked or made of fabric, and (b) a flexible metal wire at the base which permits attachment to an object by twist-tying; (5) elastic ribbons, meaning ribbons that elongate when stretched and return to their original dimension when the stretching load is removed; (6) ribbons affixed as a decorative detail to non-subject merchandise, such as a gift bag, gift box, gift tin, greeting card or plush toy, or affixed (including by tying) as a decorative detail to packaging containing non subject merchandise; (7) ribbons that are (a) affixed to non-subject merchandise as a working component of such non-subject merchandise, such as where the ribbon comprises a book marker, bag cinch, or part of an identity card holder, or (b) affixed (including by tying) to non-subject merchandise as a working component that holds or packages such non-subject merchandise or attaches packaging or labeling to such non-subject merchandise, such as a “belly band” around a pair of pajamas, a pair of socks or a blanket; (8) imitation raffia made of plastics having a thickness not more than one (1) mil when measured in an unfolded/untwisted state; and (9) ribbons in the form of bows having a diameter of less than seven-eighths (7/8) of an inch, or having a diameter of more than 16 inches, based on actual measurement. For purposes of this exclusion, the diameter of a bow is equal to the diameter of the smallest circular ring through which the bow will pass without compressing the bow.

    The scope of the investigation is not intended to include shredded plastic film or shredded plastic strip, in each case where the shred does not exceed 5 mm in width and does not exceed 18 inches in length, imported in bags.

    Further, excluded from the scope of the antidumping duty investigation are any products covered by the existing antidumping duty order on polyethylene terephthalate film, sheet, and strip (PET Film) from the People's Republic of China (China). See Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, Sheet, and Strip from Brazil, the People's Republic of China and the United Arab Emirates: Antidumping Duty Orders and Amended Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value for the United Arab Emirates, 73 FR 66595 (November 10, 2008).

    Merchandise covered by this investigation is currently classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) under subheadings 3920.20.0015 and 3926.40.0010. Merchandise covered by this investigation also may enter under subheadings 3920.10.0000; 3920.20.0055; 3920.30.0000; 3920.43.5000; 3920.49.0000; 3920.62.0050; 3920.62.0090; 3920.69.0000; 3921.90.1100; 3921.90.1500; 3921.90.1910; 3921.90.1950; 3921.90.4010; 3921.90.4090; 3926.90.9996; 5404.90.0000; 9505.90.4000; 4601.99.9000; 4602.90.0000; 5609.00.3000; 5609.00.4000; and 6307.90.9889. These HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes; the written description of the scope of this investigation is dispositive.

    Appendix II List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum I. SUMMARY II. BACKGROUND III. PERIOD OF INVESTIGATION IV. SCOPE COMMENTS V. SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION VI. DISCUSSION OF THE METHODOLOGY a. Non-Market Economy Country b. Surrogate Country and Surrogate Values Comments c. Separate Rates d. The China-wide Entity e. Application of Facts Available and Adverse Inferences f. Date of Sale g. Comparisons to Fair Value h. U.S. Price i. Normal Value j. Factor Valuation Methodology VII. CURRENCY CONVERSION VIII. ADJUSTMENT UNDER SECTION 777A(F) OF THE ACT IX. DISCLOSURE AND PUBLIC COMMENT X. VERIFICATION XI. CONCLUSION Appendix III Unresponsive Companies 1. Best Craftwork Products Co., Ltd. 2. Billion Trend International Ltd. 3. Dongguan Xinghui Packaging Co., Ltd. 4. Fangtai Webbing Co. 5. Foshan City Shunde District Fangtai Webbing Co., Ltd. 6. Hangzhou Jiefa Materials Co., Ltd. 7. Hangzhou Owner Party Co., Ltd. 8. Jiaxing Kaiya Textile Co., Ltd. 9. Long Fine Gift & Bags Factory 10. Nan Mei Decorative Ribbons Co., Ltd. 11. Ningbo Qianyi Color Ribbon Co., Ltd. 12. Ningbo Sellers Union Co., Ltd. 13. Qingdao Hileaders Co., Ltd. 14. Shanghai Foreign Trade Enterprises Pudong Co., Ltd. 15. Shenzhen Ao Wei Gift Co., Ltd. 16. Shenzhen Gary Gifts Packing Co., Ltd. 17. Shenzhen Guangyunda Technology Co., Ltd. 18. True Color Gift Packing Co., Ltd. 19. Wellmark Gift (Shenzhen) Co Ltd 20. Wello Gift Co., Ltd. 21. Xiamen Golden Grand Lucky Ribbon & Bow Co., Ltd. 22. Xiamen Meisida Decorations Co., Ltd. 23. Yangzhou Bestpak Gifts & Crafts Co., Ltd. 24. Yiwu Eco-Tondo Artware Co., Ltd. 25. Yongjiaxin Gifts & Crafts Factory
    [FR Doc. 2018-16900 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration Quarterly Update to Annual Listing of Foreign Government Subsidies on Articles of Cheese Subject to an In-Quota Rate of Duty AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    DATES:

    Applicable August 8, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Stephanie Moore, AD/CVD Operations, Office III, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20230, telephone: (202) 482-3692.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On April 25, 2018, the Department of Commerce (Commerce), pursuant to section 702(h) of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (as amended) (the Act), published the quarterly update to the annual listing of foreign government subsidies on articles of cheese subject to an in-quota rate of duty covering the period October 1, 2017, through December 31, 2017.1 In the Fourth Quarter 2017 Update, we requested that any party, that has information on foreign government subsidy programs that benefit articles of cheese subject to an in-quote rate of duty, to submit such information to Commerce.2 We received no comments, information or requests for consultation from any party.

    1See Quarterly Update to Annual Listing of Foreign Government Subsidies on Articles of Cheese Subject to an In-Quota Rate of Duty, 83 FR 18000 (April 25, 2018) (Fourth Quarter 2017 Update).

    2Id.

    Pursuant to section 702(h) of the Act, we hereby provide Commerce's update of subsidies on articles of cheese that were imported during the period January 1, 2018, through March 31, 2018. The appendix to this notice lists the country, the subsidy program or programs, and the gross and net amounts of each subsidy for which information is currently available.

    Commerce will incorporate additional programs which are found to constitute subsidies, and additional information on the subsidy programs listed, as the information is developed. Commerce encourages any person having information on foreign government subsidy programs which benefit articles of cheese subject to an in-quota rate of duty to submit such information in writing to the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20230.

    This determination and notice are in accordance with section 702(a) of the Act.

    Dated: July 31, 2018. Gary Taverman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, performing the non-exclusive functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix Subsidy Programs on Cheese Subject to an In-Quota Rate of Duty Country Program(s) Gross 3
  • subsidy
  • ($/lb)
  • Net 4
  • subsidy
  • ($/lb)
  • 28 European Union Member States 5 European Union Restitution Payments $0.00 $0.00 Canada Export Assistance on Certain Types of Cheese 0.44 0.44 Norway Indirect (Milk) Subsidy 0.00 0.00 Consumer Subsidy 0.00 0.00 Total 0.00 0.00 Switzerland Deficiency Payments 0.00 0.00

    3 Defined in 19 U.S.C. 1677(5).

    4 Defined in 19 U.S.C. 1677(6).

    5 The 28 member states of the European Union are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

    [FR Doc. 2018-16899 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Institute of Standards and Technology Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; NIST SURF Program Student Applicant Information AGENCY:

    National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce, 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 proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted on or before October 9, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230 (or via the internet at [email protected]).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Dr. Brandi Toliver, NIST, 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 1090, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-1090, tel. (301) 972-2371, or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Abstract

    The purpose of this collection is to gather information requested on behalf of the NIST Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program for both Gaithersburg and Boulder locations. The information is submitted by the university on behalf of the student applicants. The student information is utilized by laboratory program coordinators and technical evaluators to determine student eligibility, select students to appropriate research projects which match their needs, interests, and academic preparation, and ultimately, make offers to participate in the program. The information includes: Student name, host institution, email address/contact information, permanent address, choice of SURF-specific location (Boulder and/or Gaithersburg), class standing, first- and second-choice NIST laboratories/projects they wish to apply to, previous SURF participation/mentor identification, academic major/minor, current overall GPA, need for housing and gender (for housing purposes only), special skills (laboratory, computer programming etc.) availability dates, resume, personal statement of commitment and research interests, two letters of recommendation, academic transcripts, ability to verify U.S. citizenship or permanent legal residency, acknowledgement of background check, and requirements for REAL ID Act.

    II. Method of Collection

    The Student Application Information form will be available on the web. The collection is currently limited to paper form and is required to be scanned and submitted electronically.

    III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 0693-0042.

    Form Number(s): None.

    Type of Review: Renewal submission.

    Affected Public: Individuals or households.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 650.

    Estimated Time per Response: 30 minutes.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 325.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $0.

    IV. Request for Comments

    NIST invites comments on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (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 summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

    Sheleen Dumas, Departmental Lead PRA Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16914 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XG108 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Unexploded Ordnance Investigation Survey off the Coast of Virginia AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; issuance of an incidental harassment authorization.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) as amended, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to Virginia Electric and Power Company d/b/a Dominion Energy Virginia (Dominion) for the take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to high-resolution geophysical (HRG) surveys associated with unexploded ordnance investigation activities off the coast of Virginia in the area of the Research Lease of Submerged Lands for Renewable Energy Activities on the Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Virginia (OCS-A 0497) and coastal waters where one or more cable route corridors will be established (the Survey Area).

    DATES:

    This Authorization is in effect for one year from the date of issuance.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dale Youngkin, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401. Electronic copies of the applications and supporting documents, as well as a list of the references cited in this document, may be obtained by visiting the internet at: www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/incidental-take-authorizations-other-energy-activities-renewable. In case of problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed above.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) direct the Secretary of Commerce (as delegated to NMFS) to allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if certain findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, a notice of a proposed authorization is provided to the public for review.

    An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings are set forth.

    NMFS has defined “negligible impact” in 50 CFR 216.103 as an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival.

    The MMPA states that the term “take” means to harass, hunt, capture, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal.

    Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the MMPA defines “harassment” as: any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A harassment); or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering (Level B harassment).

    Summary of Request

    On March 7, 2018, NMFS received a request from Dominion for an IHA to take marine mammals incidental to high resolution geophysical (HRG) surveys off the coast of Virginia. The purpose of these surveys are to acquire data regarding the potential presence of UXO within the proposed construction and operational footprints of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) Project Area in the Lease Area and export cable route construction corridor (Survey Area). A revised application was received on April 26, 2018. NMFS deemed that request to be adequate and complete. Dominion's request is for take of nine marine mammal species by Level B harassment. Neither Dominion nor NMFS expects injury, serious injury or mortality to result from this activity and the activity is expected to last no more than one year, therefore, an IHA is appropriate.

    Description of the Proposed Activity Overview

    Dominion proposes to conduct marine site characterization surveys including HRG surveys to search for UXO in the marine environment of the approximately 2,135-acre Lease Area located offshore of Virginia (see Figure 1-1 in the IHA application). Additionally, an export cable route will be established between the Lease Area and Virginia Beach, identified as the Export Cable Route Area (see Figure 1 in the IHA application). See the IHA application for further information. The survey area consists of two 1-kilometer (km) X 1-km turbine position locations, a 2 km by 300 meter (m) Inter-array cable route connecting the two turbine position locations, and a 43-km X 300 m Export Corridor Route. For the purpose of this IHA, the survey area is designated as the Lease Area and cable route corridors. Water depths across the Lease Area are estimated to range from approximately 8 to 40 m (26 to 131 feet (ft)) while the cable route corridors will extend to shallow water areas near landfall locations. Surveys would begin no earlier than August 1, 2018 and are anticipated to last for up to three months.

    The purpose of the marine site characterization surveys are to acquire data regarding the potential presence of UXO within the proposed construction and operational footprints of the CVOW Project Area (i.e., export cable construction corridor, inter-array cable area, and wind turbine positions) in accordance with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) guidelines for archaeology surveys as well as geophysical activities. No removal of ordnance would be conducted as a part of the activities. Underwater sound resulting from Dominion's proposed HRG surveys for UXO have the potential to result in incidental take of marine mammals in the form of harassment.

    Dates and Duration

    Surveys will last for approximately three months and are anticipated to commence no earlier than August 1, 2018. This schedule is based on 24-hour operations and includes potential down time due to inclement weather. Based on 24-hour operations, the estimated duration of the HRG survey activities would be approximately 60 days for the export cable route corridor and approximately 15 days each for the inter-array cable route and wind turbine positions.

    Specific Geographic Region

    Dominion's survey activities will occur in the approximately 2,135-acre Research Lease Area located off the coast of Virginia (see Figure 1 in the IHA application). Additionally, a cable route corridor would be surveyed between the Lease Area and the coast of Virginia. The cable route corridor to be surveyed is anticipated to be 300 m wide and 43 km long. The wind turbine positions to be surveyed are twoapproximately 1 km X 1 km square areas connected by an inter-array cable route that is 300 m wide and 2 km in length.

    A detailed description of the planned survey activities, including types of survey equipment planned for use, is provided in the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (83 FR 26968; June 11, 2018). Since that time, no changes have been made to the planned activities and a detailed description is not repeated here. Please refer to that Federal Register notice for the description of the specific activity.

    Comments and Responses

    NMFS published a notice of proposed IHA in the Federal Register on June 11, 2018 (83 FR 26968). During the 30-day public comment period, NMFS received one comment letter, which was from the Marine Mammal Commission (Commission). No other public comments were received. NMFS has posted the comment letter received online at: www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/incidental-take-authorizations-other-energy-activities-renewable. The following is a summary of the Commission comments received and NMFS's responses.

    Comment 1: The Commission notes that impulsive thresholds, rather than non-impulsive thresholds, were incorrectly used to model Level A harassment zones for the ultra-short baseline positioning system (UBPS) and sub-bottom profiler (SBP) sources, which resulted in overly conservative Level A harassment zones. The Commission states that NMFS should not permit applicants to arbitrarily choose which thresholds to use, and should prohibit applicants from using impulsive thresholds for non-impulsive sources.

    NMFS Response: NMFS appreciates the input from the Commission. We acknowledge the error, and have corrected it in this final notice (refer to Table 4) and IHA, and will ensure it does not happen again. Take by Level A harassment was not proposed for authorization based on the fact that it is not considered likely to occur, even based on the larger (more conservative) isopleths associated with the impulsive threshold. The use of the non-impulsive threshold does not change our findings or determinations under the MMPA.

    Comment 2: The Commission recommends that NMFS revise the extent of the Level A harassment zones for the Geo-Source sparker based on both the SPLpk and SELcum thresholds and for the GeoPulse SBP based on the SELcum threshold.

    NMFS Response: As stated above, the thresholds have been revised and are presented in Table 4 of this notice.

    Comment 3: The Commission continues to recommend that, until behavioral thresholds are updated, NMFS require applicants to use the 120-decibel (dB) re 1 micropascal (μPa), rather than 160- dB re 1μPa, behavioral harassment threshold for acoustic, non-impulsive sources (e.g., sub-bottom profilers/chirps, echosounders, and other sonars including side-scan and fish-finding).

    NMFS Response: As NMFS has said on numerous other responses to this recommendation, certain sub-bottom profiling systems are appropriately considered to be impulsive sources (e.g., boomers, sparkers); therefore, the threshold of 160 dB re 1μPa will continue to be used for those sources. Other source types referenced by the Commission produce signals that are not necessarily strictly impulsive; however, NMFS finds that the 160-dB root mean square (rms) threshold is most appropriate for use in evaluating potential behavioral impacts to marine mammals because the temporal characteristics (i.e., intermittency) of these sources are better captured by this threshold. The 120-dB threshold is associated with continuous sources and was derived based on studies examining behavioral responses to drilling and dredging. Continuous sounds are those whose sound pressure level remains above that of the ambient sound, with negligibly small fluctuations in level (NIOSH, 1998; ANSI, 2005). Examples of sounds that NMFS would categorize as continuous are those associated with drilling or vibratory pile driving activities. Intermittent sounds are defined as sounds with interrupted levels of low or no sound (NIOSH, 1998). Thus, signals produced by these source types are not continuous but rather intermittent sounds. With regard to behavioral thresholds, we consider the temporal and spectral characteristics of signals produced by these source types to more closely resemble those of an impulse sound rather than a continuous sound. The threshold of 160 dB re 1μPa is typically associated with impulsive sources, which are inherently intermittent. Therefore, the 160 dB threshold (typically associated with impulsive sources) is more appropriate than the 120 dB threshold (typically associated with continuous sources) for estimating takes by behavioral harassment incidental to use of such sources.

    Comment 4: The Commission commented that harbor seals have been occurring in the Virginia area earlier in fall months. The Commission recommends that NMFS include at least five harbor seal takes and one gray seal take in the Final IHA to account for their potential occurrence in the project area.

    NMFS Response: NMFS has included the takes of five harbor seals and one gray seal, as recommended by the Commission.

    Comment 5: The Commission noted concerns with density information and take calculations and recommended the following: NMFS should (1) clarify why various densities were revised and ensure all are correct; (2) report densities and ensonified areas out to three significant digits to ensure takes were calculated properly; (3) include takes for Risso's dolphins based on average group size, noting that Dominion estimated 0.59 takes for this species, but did not request take while estimating “similarly low numbers” for pilot whales and requesting take for this species based on group size.

    NMFS Response: The densities were not revised and remain the same as were included in the notice for the proposed IHA (83 FR 26968, June 11, 2018), with the exception of adding three decimal places, as requested by the Commission (refer to Table 6 of this notice). The Commission erroneously states that 0.59 takes of Risso's dolphins were calculated. As shown in the notice for the proposed IHA, only 0.08 takes of Risso's dolphins were estimated based on calculations. Calculations of pilot whales estimated 1.15 takes. As Risso's dolphin calculations are so low as to not round up to one (1) take, and the applicant did not request take due to the low likelihood of encountering this species based on take estimates and lack of sighting data, NMFS did not propose takes, and is not authorizing takes for this species. However, calculated takes for pilot whales did estimate over one (1) take. Therefore, takes have been authorized for this species and the take estimate was adjusted to account for average group size for this species.

    Comment 6: The Commission recommended that NMFS refrain from authorizing Level B harassment takes of any low frequency (LF) cetacean, including humpback whales and minke whales. This recommendation is based on the fact that the sound source used to calculate the Level B harassment zone (Innomar sub-bottom profiler) operates at frequencies which are 50 kHz beyond the best hearing capabilities of these species, and the sound source with the largest Level B harassment zone within the best hearing range of LF cetaceans only has a 20 m Level B harassment isopleth.

    NMFS Response: NMFS has not authorized take of any LF cetaceans, as recommended by the Commission.

    Comment 7: The Commission continues to express concern that the method used to estimate the numbers of takes, which summed fractions of takes for each species across project days, does not account for and negates the intent of NMFS' 24-hour reset policy and recommended that NMFS share the rounding criteria with the Commission in an expeditious manner.

    NMFS Response: NMFS recently completed internal guidance on rounding and consideration of qualitative factors in the estimation of instances of take, and provided this information to the Commission. As discussed with the Commission, we believe that the methodology used for take calculation in this IHA remains appropriate and is not at odds with the 24-hour reset policy the Commission references.

    Comment 8: The Commission continues to request clarification regarding certain issues associated with NMFS' notice that one-year renewals could be issued in certain limited circumstances and expressed concern that the process would bypass the public notice and comment requirements. The Commission also suggested that NMFS should discuss the possibility of renewals through a more general route, such as a rulemaking, instead of notice in a specific authorization. The Commission further recommended that if NMFS did not pursue a more general route, that the agency provide the Commission and the public with a legal analysis supporting our conclusion that this process is consistent with the requirements of section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA. The Commission also noted that NMFS had recently begun utilizing abbreviated notices, referencing relevant documents, to solicit public input and suggested that NMFS use these notices and solicit review in lieu of the currently proposed renewal process.

    NMFS Response: As stated in previous responses to this comment from the Commission, the process of issuing a renewal IHA does not bypass the public notice and comment requirements of the MMPA. The notice of the proposed IHA expressly notifies the public that under certain, limited conditions an applicant could seek a renewal IHA for an additional year. The notice describes the conditions under which such a renewal request could be considered and expressly seeks public comment in the event such a renewal is sought. Additional reference to this solicitation of public comment has recently been added at the beginning of the FR notices that consider renewals, requesting input specifically on the possible renewal itself. NMFS appreciates the streamlining achieved by the use of abbreviated FR notices and intends to continue using them for proposed IHAs that include minor changes from previously issued IHAs, but which do not satisfy the renewal requirements. However, we believe our proposed method for issuing renewals meets statutory requirements and maximizes efficiency.

    Importantly, such renewals would be limited to circumstances where: The activities are identical or nearly identical to those analyzed in the proposed IHA; monitoring does not indicate impacts that were not previously analyzed and authorized; and, the mitigation and monitoring requirements remain the same, all of which allow the public to comment on the appropriateness and effects of a renewal at the same time the public provides comments on the initial IHA. NMFS has, however, modified the language for future proposed IHAs to clarify that all IHAs, including renewal IHAs, are valid for no more than one year and that the agency would consider only one renewal for a project at this time. In addition, notice of issuance or denial of a renewal IHA would be published in the Federal Register, as they are for all IHAs. The option for issuing renewal IHAs has been in NMFS's incidental take regulations since 1996. We will provide any additional information to the Commission and consider posting a description of the renewal process on our website before any renewal is issued utilizing this process.

    Description of Marine Mammals in the Area of Specified Activity

    Sections 3 and 4 of Dominion's IHA application summarize available information regarding status and trends, distribution and habitat preferences, and behavior and life history, of the potentially affected marine mammal species. Additional information regarding population trends and threats may be found in NMFS's Stock Assessment Reports (SAR; www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/marine-mammal-stock-assessments) and more general information about these species (e.g., physical and behavioral descriptions) may be found on NMFS's website (www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species-directory).

    Table 1 lists all species with expected potential for occurrence in the survey area and summarizes information related to the population or stock, including regulatory status under the MMPA and Endangered Species Act (ESA) and potential biological removal (PBR), where known. For taxonomy, we follow Committee on Taxonomy (2017). PBR is defined by the MMPA as the maximum number of animals, not including natural mortalities, that may be removed from a marine mammal stock while allowing that stock to reach or maintain its optimum sustainable population (as described in NMFS's SARs). While no mortality is anticipated or authorized here, PBR is included here as gross indicators of the status of the species and other threats.

    Marine mammal abundance estimates presented in this document represent the total number of individuals that make up a given stock or the total number estimated within a particular study or survey area. NMFS's stock abundance estimates for most species represent the total estimate of individuals within the geographic area, if known, that comprises that stock. For some species, this geographic area may extend beyond U.S. waters. All managed stocks in this region are assessed in NMFS's U.S. 2017 draft SARs (e.g., Hayes et al., 2018). All values presented in Table 2 are the most recent available at the time of publication and are available in the 2017 draft SARs (Hayes et al., 2018).

    Table 1—Marine Mammals With Potential Occurrence in the Survey Area Common name Stock NMFS MMPA and ESA status; strategic
  • (Y/N) 1
  • Stock abundance
  • (CV,Nmin) 2
  • PBR 3 Occurrence and seasonality in the NW
  • atlantic OCS
  • Toothed whales (Odontoceti) Atlantic white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus acutus) W. North Atlantic -; N 48,819 (0.61; 30,403) 304 rare. Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis) W. North Atlantic -; N 44,715 (0.43; 31,610) 316 rare. Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) W. North Atlantic, Southern Migratory Coastal -; Y 3,751 (0.60; 2,353) 23 Common year round. Clymene dolphin (Stenella clymene) W. North Atlantic -; N Unknown (unk; unk; n/a) Undet rare. Pantropical Spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata) W. North Atlantic -; N 3,333 (0.91; 1,733) 17 rare. Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) W. North Atlantic -; N 18,250 (0.46; 12,619) 126 rare. Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) W. North Atlantic -; N 70,184 (0.28; 55,690) 557 Common year round. Striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) W. North Atlantic -; N 54,807 (0.3; 42,804) 428 rare. Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris) W. North Atlantic -; N Unknown (unk; unk; n/a) Undet rare. Harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy -; N 79,833 (0.32; 61,415) 706 Common year round. Killer whale (Orcinus orca) W. North Atlantic -; N Unknown (unk; unk; n/a) Undet rare. False killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) W. North Atlantic -; Y 442 (1.06; 212) 2.1 rare. Long-finned pilot whale (Globicephala melas) W. North Atlantic -; Y 5,636 (0.63; 3,464) 35 rare. Short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus) W. North Atlantic -; Y 21,515 (0.37; 15,913) 159 rare. Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) North Atlantic E; Y 2,288 (0.28; 1,815) 3.6 Year round in continental shelf and slope waters, occur seasonally to forage. Pygmy sperm whale 4 (Kogia breviceps) W. North Atlantic -; N 3,785 (0.47; 2,598) 26 rare. Dwarf sperm whale 4 (Kogia sima) W. North Atlantic -; N 3,785 (0.47; 2,598) 26 rare. Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) W. North Atlantic -; N 6,532 (0.32; 5,021) 50 rare. Blainville's beaked whale 5 (Mesoplodon densirostris) W. North Atlantic -; N 7,092 (0.54; 4,632) 46 rare. Gervais' beaked whale 5 (Mesoplodon europaeus) W. North Atlantic -; N 7,092 (0.54; 4,632) 46 rare. True's beaked whale 5 (Mesoplodon mirus) W. North Atlantic -; N 7,092 (0.54; 4,632) 46 rare. Sowerby's Beaked Whale 5 (Mesoplodon bidens) W. North Atlantic -; N 7,092 (0.54; 4,632) 46 rare. Melon-headed whale (Peponocephala electra) W. North Atlantic -; N Unknown (unk; unk; n/a) Undet rare. Baleen whales (Mysticeti) Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) Canadian East Coast -; N 2,591 (0.81; 1,425) 14 Year round in continental shelf and slope waters, occur seasonally to forage. Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) W. North Atlantic E; Y Unknown (unk; 440) 0.9 Year round in continental shelf and slope waters, occur seasonally to forage. Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) W. North Atlantic E; Y 1,618 (0.33; 1,234) 2.5 Year round in continental shelf and slope waters, occur seasonally to forage. Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) Gulf of Maine -; Y 335 (0.42; 239) 3.7 Common year round North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) W. North Atlantic E; Y 458 (0; 455) 1.4 Year round in continental shelf and slope waters, occur seasonally to forage. Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis) Nova Scotia E; Y 357 (0.52; 236) 0.5 Year round in continental shelf and slope waters, occur seasonally to forage. Earless seals (Phocidae) Gray seal 6 (Halichoerus grypus) W. North Atlantic -; N 27,131 (0.10; 25,908) 1,554 Unlikely. Harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) W. North Atlantic -; N 75,834 (0.15; 66,884) 2,006 Common year round. Hooded seal (Cystophora cristata) W. North Atlantic -; N Unknown (unk; unk) Undet rare. Harp seal (Phoca groenlandica) North Atlantic -; N Unknown (unk; unk) Undet rare. 1ESA status: Endangered (E), Threatened (T)/MMPA status: Depleted (D). A dash (-) indicates that the species is not listed under the ESA or designated as depleted under the MMPA. Under the MMPA, a strategic stock is one for which the level of direct human-caused mortality exceeds PBR (see footnote 3) or which is determined to be declining and likely to be listed under the ESA within the foreseeable future. Any species or stock listed under the ESA is automatically designated under the MMPA as depleted and as a strategic stock. 2 CV is coefficient of variation; Nmin is the minimum estimate of stock abundance. In some cases, CV is not applicable. For certain stocks, abundance estimates are actual counts of animals and there is no associated CV. The most recent abundance survey that is reflected in the abundance estimate is presented; there may be more recent surveys that have not yet been incorporated into the estimate. All values presented here are from the 2017 Draft Atlantic SARs. 3 Potential biological removal, defined by the MMPA as the maximum number of animals, not including natural mortalities, that may be removed from a marine mammal stock while allowing that stock to reach or maintain its optimum sustainable population size (OSP). 4 Abundance estimate includes both dwarf and pygmy sperm whales. 5 Abundance estimate includes all species of Mesoplodon in the Atlantic. 6 Abundance estimate applies to U.S. population only, actual abundance, including those occurring in Canada, is estimated at 505,000.

    All species that could potentially occur in the proposed survey areas are included in Table 1. However, the temporal and/or spatial occurrence for all but 11 of the species listed in Table 2 is such that take of these species is not expected to occur, and they are not discussed further beyond the explanation provided here. Take of these species is not anticipated either because they have very low densities in the project area, are known to occur further offshore or further north than the project area, or are considered very unlikely to occur in the project area during the proposed survey due to the species' seasonal occurrence in the area. The 11 species/stocks evaluated for incidental take in the proposed IHA included: North Atlantic right whale; humpback whale; fin whale; minke whale; Atlantic white-sided dolphin; common dolphin; bottlenose dolphin; Atlantic spotted dolphin; long-finned pilot whale; short-finned pilot whale; and harbor porpoise. However, as discussed below, takes for harbor seals and gray seals have been authorized as a result of consideration of public comment on the proposed IHA.

    Five marine mammal species listed in Table 2 are listed under the ESA and are known to be present, at least seasonally, in waters of the mid-Atlantic (sperm whale, north Atlantic right whale, fin whale, blue whale, and sei whale). All of these species are highly migratory and do not spend extended periods of time in the localized survey area. The offshore waters of Virginia (including the survey area) are primarily used as a migration corridor for these species, particularly north Atlantic right whales, during seasonal movements north or south between feeding and breeding grounds (Knowlton et al., 2002; Firestone et al., 2008). While fin and north Atlantic right whales have the potential to occur within the survey area, sperm, blue, and sei whales are more pelagic and/or northern species and their presence within the survey area is unlikely (Waring et al., 2007; 2010; 2012; 2013) and these species are therefore not considered further in this analysis. In addition, the proposed IHA (83 FR 26968, June 11, 2018) noted that, while stranding data exists for harbor and gray seals along the mid-Atlantic coast south of New Jersey, their preference for colder, northern waters during the survey period makes their presence in the survey area unlikely. Winter haulout sites for harbor seals have been identified within the Chesapeake Bay region. However, the proposed IHA noted that the seals were not expected to be present during the summer and fall months when the survey activities are planned (Waring et al., 2016). In addition, the proposed IHA noted that coastal Virginia represents the southern extent of the habitat range for gray seals, with few stranding records reported and sightings only occur during winter months as far south as New Jersey (Waring et al., 2016). Therefore pinniped species were not considered for take in the proposed IHA. However, after review of public comments received on the proposed IHA that stated harbor seals and gray seals have more recently been observed to be present in the area earlier than expected, NMFS has added a small number of takes for these species out of an abundance of caution.

    A detailed description of the species likely to be affected by Dominion's UXO survey activities, including brief introductions to the species and relevant stocks as well as available information regarding population trends and threats, and information regarding local occurrence, were provided in the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (83 FR 26968; June 11, 2018); since that time, we are not aware of any changes in the status of these species and stocks; therefore, detailed descriptions are not repeated here. Please refer to the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA for descriptions of species. Please also refer to NMFS' website (www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species-directory) for generalized species accounts.

    Potential Effects of Specified Activities on Marine Mammals and Their Habitat

    The potential effects of Dominion's UXO survey activities have the potential to result in incidental take of marine mammals by harassment in the vicinity of the survey area. The Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (83 FR 26968; June 11, 2018) included a discussion of the potential effects of Dominion's UXO survey activities on marine mammals and their habitat, and that information is not repeated here; please refer to that Federal Register notice for that information. No instances of injury, serious injury, or mortality are expected as a result of the planned activities.

    Estimated Take

    This section provides an estimate of the number of incidental takes authorized through this IHA, which informed both NMFS' consideration of “small numbers” and the negligible impact determination.

    Harassment is the only type of take expected to result from these activities. Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the MMPA defines “harassment” as any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A harassment); or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering (Level B harassment).

    Authorized takes would be by Level B harassment only, as use of the HRG equipment has the potential to result in disruption of behavioral patterns for individual marine mammals. NMFS has determined take by Level A harassment is not an expected outcome of the proposed activity as discussed in greater detail below. As described previously, no mortality or serious injury is anticipated, nor is any authorized for this activity. Below we describe how the take is estimated for this project.

    Described in the most basic way, we estimate take by considering: (1) Acoustic thresholds above which NMFS believes the best available science indicates marine mammals will be behaviorally harassed or incur some degree of permanent hearing impairment; (2) the area or volume of water that will be ensonified above these levels in a day; (3) the density or occurrence of marine mammals within these ensonified areas; and, (4) and the number of days of activities. Below, we describe these components in more detail and present the take estimate.

    Acoustic Thresholds

    NMFS uses acoustic thresholds that identify the received level of underwater sound above which exposed marine mammals would be reasonably expected to be behaviorally harassed (equated to Level B harassment) or to incur PTS of some degree (equated to Level A harassment).

    Level B Harassment—Though significantly driven by received level, the onset of behavioral disturbance from anthropogenic noise exposure is also informed to varying degrees by other factors related to the sound source (e.g., frequency, predictability, duty cycle); the environment (e.g., bathymetry); and the receiving animals (hearing, motivation, experience, demography, behavioral context); therefore can be difficult to predict (Southall et al., 2007, Ellison et al. 2011). NMFS uses a generalized acoustic threshold based on received level to estimate the onset of Level B (behavioral) harassment. NMFS predicts that marine mammals may be behaviorally harassed when exposed to underwater anthropogenic noise above received levels 160 dB re 1 μPa (rms) for non-explosive impulsive (e.g., seismic HRG equipment) or intermittent (e.g., scientific sonar) sources. Dominion's proposed activity includes the use of impulsive sources. Therefore, the 160 dB re 1 μPa (rms) criteria is applicable for analysis of Level B harassment.

    Level A harassment—NMFS' Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing (NMFS 2016) identifies dual criteria to assess auditory injury (Level A harassment) to five different marine mammal groups (based on hearing sensitivity) as a result of exposure to noise from two different types of sources (impulsive or non-impulsive). The Technical Guidance identifies the received levels, or thresholds, above which individual marine mammals are predicted to experience changes in their hearing sensitivity for all underwater anthropogenic sound sources, reflects the best available science, and better predicts the potential for auditory injury than does NMFS' historical criteria.

    These thresholds were developed by compiling and synthesizing the best available science and soliciting input multiple times from both the public and peer reviewers to inform the final product, and are provided in Table 2 below. The references, analysis, and methodology used in the development of the thresholds are described in NMFS 2016 Technical Guidance, which may be accessed at: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/acoustics/guidelines.htm. As described above, Dominion's proposed activity includes the use of intermittent and impulsive sources. We note here that for intermittent sources such as the Geo-Source 800 sparker and the Innomar Medium 100 sub-bottom profiler, it is more appropriate to consider these sources as non-impulsive for consideration of potential for Level A harassment but due to their intermittent nature they are considered impulsive for consideration of potential for Level B harassment.

    Table 2—Thresholds Identifying the Onset of Permanent Threshold Shift in Marine Mammals Hearing group PTS onset thresholds Impulsive * Non-impulsive Low-Frequency (LF) Cetaceans L pk,flat: 219 dB; L E,LF,24h: 183 dB L E,LF,24h: 199 dB. Mid-Frequency (MF) Cetaceans L pk,flat: 230 dB; L E,MF,24h: 185 dB L E,MF,24h: 198 dB. High-Frequency (HF) Cetaceans L pk,flat: 202 dB; L E,HF,24h: 155 dB L E,HF,24h: 173 dB. Phocid Pinnipeds (PW) (Underwater) L pk,flat: 218 dB; L E,PW,24h: 185 dB L E,PW,24h: 201 dB. Otariid Pinnipeds (OW) (Underwater) L pk,flat: 232 dB; L E,OW,24h: 203 dB L E,OW,24h: 219 dB. Note: * Dual metric acoustic thresholds for impulsive sounds: Use whichever results in the largest isopleth for calculating PTS onset. If a non-impulsive sound has the potential of exceeding the peak sound pressure level thresholds associated with impulsive sounds, these thresholds should also be considered. Note: Peak sound pressure (Lpk) has a reference value of 1 μPa, and cumulative sound exposure level (LE) has a reference value of 1μPa2s. In this Table, thresholds are abbreviated to reflect American National Standards Institute standards (ANSI 2013). However, peak sound pressure is defined by ANSI as incorporating frequency weighting, which is not the intent for this Technical Guidance. Hence, the subscript “flat” is being included to indicate peak sound pressure should be flat weighted or unweighted within the generalized hearing range. The subscript associated with cumulative sound exposure level thresholds indicates the designated marine mammal auditory weighting function (LF, MF, and HF cetaceans, and PW and OW pinnipeds) and that the recommended accumulation period is 24 hours. The cumulative sound exposure level thresholds could be exceeded in a multitude of ways (i.e., varying exposure levels and durations, duty cycle). When possible, it is valuable for action proponents to indicate the conditions under which these acoustic thresholds will be exceeded. Ensonified Area

    Here, we describe operational and environmental parameters of the activity that feed into estimating the area ensonified above the acoustic thresholds.

    The proposed survey would entail the use of HRG survey equipment. The distance to the isopleth corresponding to the threshold for Level B harassment was calculated for all HRG survey equipment with the potential to result in harassment of marine mammals (see Table 1 of the Proposed IHA (83 FR 26968; June 11, 2018)). Of the HRG survey equipment planned for use that has the potential to result in harassment of marine mammals, acoustic modeling indicated the Innomar Medium 100 sub-bottom profiler would be expected to produce sound that would propagate the furthest in water (Table 3); therefore, for the purposes of the take calculation, it was assumed this equipment would be active during the entirety of the survey. Thus the distance to the isopleth corresponding to the threshold for Level B harassment for the Innomar Medium 100 sub-bottom profiler (100 m; Table 3) was used as the basis of the Level B take calculation for all marine mammals. However, this sound source operates at frequencies that are 50 kHz beyond the best hearing capabilities of LF cetaceans, so there is no potential for behavioral harassment of these species. The sound source with the next-largest Level B harassment threshold distance was the Geo-Source 800 sparker and this distance is 20 m, which is well within the required 100-m exclusion zone for large whales. Therefore, no take for LF cetaceans have been authorized.

    Table 3—Predicted Radial Distances (m) From HRG Sources to Isopleths Corresponding to Level B Harassment Threshold HRG system HRG survey equipment Modeled
  • distance to
  • threshold
  • (160 dB re 1 μPa)
  • Pinger/Chirper GeoPulse sub-bottom profiler <5 m Sparker Geo-Source 800 sparker <20 m Medium penetration sub-bottom profiler Innomar Medium 100 sub-bottom profiler * <100 m * We note here that the Innomar Medium 100 sub-bottom profiler operating frequencies (85-115 kHz) are beyond the best hearing capabilities of LF cetaceans (7-35 kHz), but as this sound source provides the largest Level B isopleth, this information was used to calculate the zone of influence and estimate take for all species.

    Predicted distances to Level A harassment isopleths, which vary based on marine mammal functional hearing groups (Table 4), were also calculated by Dominion. The updated acoustic thresholds for impulsive sounds (such as HRG survey equipment) contained in the Technical Guidance (NMFS, 2016) were presented as dual metric acoustic thresholds using both SELcum and peak sound pressure level (SPL) metrics for all equipment in the notice of the proposed IHA (83 FR 26968, June 11, 2018). As dual metrics, NMFS considers onset of PTS (Level A harassment) to have occurred when either one of the two metrics is exceeded (i.e., metric resulting in the largest isopleth). However, the Geo-Source 800 sparker and Innomar 100 sub-bottom profiler are more appropriately considered as non-impulsive sources, which considers the SELcum metric only. This information has been corrected in Table 4 below, and NMFS notes that the correction results in smaller distances to the Level A threshold than reported in the proposed IHA notice and reinforces our determination that Level A harassment is so unlikely to occur as to be discountable. The SELcum metric considers both level and duration of exposure, as well as auditory weighting functions by marine mammal hearing group. In recognition of the fact that calculating Level A harassment ensonified areas could be more technically challenging to predict due to the duration component and the use of weighting functions in the new SELcum thresholds, NMFS developed an optional User Spreadsheet that includes tools to help predict a simple isopleth that can be used in conjunction with marine mammal density or occurrence to facilitate the estimation of take numbers. Dominion used the NMFS optional User Spreadsheet to calculate distances to Level A harassment isopleths (see Appendix A of the IHA application). Modeled distances to isopleths corresponding to Level A harassment thresholds for the proposed HRG equipment and marine mammal hearing groups are shown in Table 4.

    Table 4—Modeled Radial Distances (m) to Isopleths Corresponding to Level A Harassment Thresholds Functional hearing group
  • (Level A harassment thresholds)
  • PTS onset Lateral
  • distance
  • (m)
  • GeoPulse Sub-Bottom Profiler Low frequency cetaceans 199 dB SELcum Mid frequency cetaceans 198 dB SELcum High frequency cetaceans 173 dB SELcum <1 Phocid Pinnipeds (Underwater) 201 dB SELcum Geo-Source 800 Sparker Low frequency cetaceans 219 dBpeak/183 dB SELcum 5 Mid frequency cetaceans 230 dBpeak/185 dB SELcum <1 High frequency cetaceans 202 dBpeak/155 dB SELcum <1; 24 Phocid Pinnipeds (Underwater) 218 dBpeak/185 dB SELcum 3 Innomar Medium 100 Sub-Bottom Profiler Low frequency cetaceans 199 dB SELcum N/A Mid frequency cetaceans 198 dB SELcum High frequency cetaceans 173 dB SELcum <5 Phocid Pinnipeds (Underwater) 201 dB SELcum N/A Note: Peak SPL is unweighted (flat weighted), whereas the cumulative SEL criterion is M-weighted for the given marine mammal hearing group. — indicates not expected to be measureable to regulatory threshold at any appreciable distance. N/A indicates not applicable as the HRG sound source is outside the effective marine mammal hearing range.

    In this case, due to the very small estimated distances to Level A harassment thresholds for all marine mammal functional hearing groups, based on both SELcum and peak SPL (Table 4), and in consideration of the mitigation measures that must be implemented, including marine mammal exclusion zones to avoid Level A harassment (see the Mitigation section for more detail) NMFS has determined that the likelihood of Level A harassment take of marine mammals occurring as a result of the proposed survey is so low as to be discountable. Therefore, NMFS has not authorized Level A harassment take of any marine mammals in the IHA.

    We note that because of some of the assumptions included in the methods used, isopleths produced may be overestimates to some degree. The acoustic sources proposed for use in Dominion's survey do not radiate sound equally in all directions but were designed instead to focus acoustic energy directly toward the sea floor. Therefore, the acoustic energy produced by these sources is not received equally in all directions around the source but is instead concentrated along some narrower plane depending on the beamwidth of the source. For example, in the case of the Innomar Medium 100 sub-bottom profiler, the beamwidth is only one degree. However, the calculated distances to isopleths do not account for this directionality of the sound source and are therefore conservative. For mobile sources, such as the proposed survey, the User Spreadsheet predicts the closest distance at which a stationary animal would not incur PTS if the sound source traveled by the animal in a straight line at a constant speed. In addition to the conservative estimation of calculated distances to isopleths associated with the Innomar Medium 100 sub-bottom profiler, calculated takes may be conservative due to the fact that this sound source operates at frequencies beyond the best hearing capabilities of LF cetaceans, but calculated takes for all species were based on the isopleths associated with this sound source. As discussed above, the Innomar Medium 100 sub-bottom profiler operates at frequencies between 85 and 115 kHz and the best hearing range of LF cetaceans is between 7 and 35 kHz. Therefore, we would not expect that take of LF cetaceans would likely occur due to the use of this equipment because it operates beyond their hearing capabilities. The proposed IHA (83 FR 26968, June 11, 2018) noted takes were estimated based on these isopleths due to the fact that the largest distances were associated with this equipment. However, after consideration of public comments, NMFS has determined not to issue take of LF cetaceans for the following reasons: (1) the Innomar Medium 100 sub-bottom profiler operates at frequencies that are 50 kHz beyond the best hearing capabilities for these species, so there would be no potential for behavioral disturbance, and (2) the sound source with the next largest Level B harassment isopleth is the Geo-Source 800 Sparker, for which the distance to the Level B harassment threshold has been calculated to be 20 m, and this is well within the required 100-m exclusion zone (EZ) for large whales.

    Marine Mammal Occurrence

    In this section we provide the information about the presence, density, or group dynamics of marine mammals that will inform the take calculations.

    The best available scientific information was considered in conducting marine mammal exposure estimates (the basis for estimating take). For cetacean species, densities calculated by Roberts et al. (2016) were used. The density data presented by Roberts et al. (2016) incorporates aerial and shipboard line-transect survey data from NMFS and from other organizations collected over the period 1992-2014. Roberts et al. (2016) modeled density from 8 physiographic and 16 dynamic oceanographic and biological covariates, and controlled for the influence of sea state, group size, availability bias, and perception bias on the probability of making a sighting. In general, NMFS considers the models produced by Roberts et al. (2016) to be the best available source of data regarding cetacean density in the Atlantic Ocean. More information, including the model results and supplementary information for each model, is available online at: seamap.env.duke.edu/models/Duke-EC-GOM-2015/.

    For the purposes of the take calculations, density data from Roberts et al. (2016) were mapped within the boundary of the survey area for each survey segment (i.e., the Lease Area survey segment and the cable route area survey segment; See Figure 1 in the IHA application) using a geographic information system. Monthly density data for all cetacean species potentially taken by the proposed survey was available via Roberts et al. (2016). Monthly mean density within the survey area, as provided in Roberts et al. (2016), were averaged by season (i.e., Summer (June, July, August), and Fall (September, October, November)) to provide seasonal density estimates. The highest average seasonal density as reported by Roberts et al. (2016), for each species, was used based on the planned survey dates of August through October.

    Take Calculation and Estimation

    Here we describe how the information provided above is brought together to produce a quantitative take estimate.

    In order to estimate the number of marine mammals predicted to be exposed to sound levels that would result in harassment, radial distances to predicted isopleths corresponding to harassment thresholds are calculated, as described above. Those distances are then used to calculate the area(s) around the HRG survey equipment predicted to be ensonified to sound levels that exceed harassment thresholds. The area estimated to be ensonified to relevant thresholds in a single day of the survey is then calculated, based on areas predicted to be ensonified around the HRG survey equipment and estimated trackline distance traveled per day by the survey vessel. The estimated daily vessel track line distance was determined using the estimated average speed of the vessel (4 kn) multiplied by 24 (to account for the 24 hour operational period of the survey). Using the maximum distance to the regulatory threshold criteria (Tables 4 and 5) and estimated daily track line distance of approximately 177.8 km (110.5 mi), it was estimated that an area of 35.59 km2 (13.74 mi2) per day would be ensonified to the largest Level B harassment threshold, and 17.78 km2 (0.69 mi2) per day would be ensonifed to the Level A harassment threshold (largest threshold of 155 dB SELcum for HF cetaceans was used) (Table 5).

    Table 5—Estimated Track Line Distance per Day (km) and Area (km 2) Estimated To Be Ensonified to Level B Harassment Threshold per Day Estimated
  • track line
  • distance
  • per day
  • (km)
  • Estimated
  • area
  • ensonified
  • to Level A
  • harassment
  • threshold
  • per day
  • (km2)
  • Estimated
  • area
  • ensonified
  • to Level B
  • harassment
  • threshold
  • per day
  • (km2)
  • 177.8 17.78 35.59

    The number of marine mammals expected to be incidentally taken per day is then calculated by estimating the number of each species predicted to occur within the daily ensonified area, using estimated marine mammal densities as described above. In this case, estimated marine mammal density values varied between the turbine positions, inter-array cable route corridor survey areas, and export cable route corridors; therefore, the estimated number of each species taken per survey day was calculated separately for the these survey areas. Estimated numbers of each species taken per day are then multiplied by the number of survey days to generate an estimate of the total number of each species expected to be taken over the duration of the survey. In this case, as the estimated number of each species taken per day varied depending on survey area (turbine positions, inter-array cable route, and export cable route corridor), the number of each species taken per day in each respective survey area was multiplied by the number of survey days anticipated in each survey area (i.e., 15 survey days each in the turbine position location and inter-array cable route, and 60 survey days in the export cable route corridor portion of the survey) to get a total number of takes per species in each respective survey area.

    As described above, due to the very small estimated distances to Level A harassment thresholds (based on both SELcum and peak SPL; Table 4), and in consideration of the mitigation measures that must be implemented, the likelihood of the proposed survey resulting in take in the form of Level A harassment is considered so unlikely as to be discountable. Authorized take numbers are shown in Table 6. As described above, the zone of influence (ZOI) were calculated based on the sound source with the largest isopleths to the regulatory thresholds (the Innomar Medium 100 sub-bottom profiler) without consideration of the fact that this equipment operates beyond the best hearing capability of LF cetaceans, so calculated takes of these species are likely to be overestimates due to the fact that we would not necessarily expect LF cetaceans to be harassed by sound produced by this equipment. Additionally, as shown in Table 3, the Geo-Source 800 Sparker has the next largest Level B harassment threshold distance of 20 m, which is well within the required distance of 100 m for which vessels are required to avoid large cetaceans. Therefore, take for all low frequency cetaceans have been adjusted to zero.

    Table 6—Numbers of Incidental Take of Marine Mammals Calculated and Authorized for Level B Harassment Species Turbine positions Max.
  • seasonal
  • density a
  • (#/100 km 2)
  • Calculated
  • takes
  • Export cable route Max.
  • seasonal
  • density a
  • (#/100 km 2)
  • Calculated
  • takes
  • Inter-array cable route Max.
  • seasonal
  • density a
  • (#/100 km 2)
  • Calculated
  • takes
  • Totals Adjusted
  • take
  • % of
  • population
  • North Atlantic right whale 0.003 0.018 0.003 0.070 0.003 0.018 b c 0 0.000 Humpback whale 0.018 0.097 0.018 0.387 0.018 0.097 b c 0 0.000 Fin whale 0.107 0.570 0.107 2.279 0.107 0.570 b c 0 0.00 Minke whale 0.027 0.144 0.027 0.575 0.027 0.144 b c 0 0.39 Bottlenose dolphin—N Coastal Migratory 13.991 74.691 13.991 298.765 13.991 74.691 c d e 350 9.33 Bottlenose dolphin—Offshore 13.991 74.691 13.991 298.765 13.991 74.691 c d e 350 9.33 Atlantic spotted dolphin 0.899 4.800 1.231 26.289 0.899 4.800 d 300 0.67 Common dolphin 2.501 13.349 2.501 53.397 2.501 13.349 d 400 0.57 Atlantic white-sided dolphin 0.389 2.076 0.389 8.305 0.389 2.076 d 200 0.41 Risso's dolphin 0.007 0.035 0.001 0019 0.007 0.035 0 0.00 Short-finned/long-finned pilot whale 0.058 0.310 0.025 0.532 0.058 0.310 f 15 0.27 Harbor porpoise 0.272 1.452 0.230 4.915 0.272 1.452 6 0.01 Harbor seal 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 5 0.007 Gray seal 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 1 0.000 a Density values from Duke University (Roberts et al., 2016). b Mitigation (exclusion zone) will prevent take. c Take calculations based on largest Level B harassment isopleth; however, the sound source is 50 kHz beyond the best hearing sensitivity for LF cetaceans and the Level B harassment isopleth for the next largest source is 20 m, which is well within the required 100-m exclusion zone for large whales. No take has been authorized for LF cetaceans. d Calculated take has been modified to account for increases in actual sighting data to date (Smultea Environmental Sciences 2016; Gardline 2016b) based on similar project activities. e Take adjusted to account for possible overlap of the Western North Atlantic southern migratory coastal and offshore stocks. f Take adjusted to account for potential overlap of stocks (assume 50 percent of each).
    Mitigation

    In order to issue an IHA under Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA, NMFS must set forth the permissible methods of taking pursuant to such activity, and other means of effecting the least practicable impact on such species or stock and its habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on the availability of such species or stock for taking for certain subsistence uses (latter not applicable for this action). NMFS regulations require applicants for incidental take authorizations to include information about the availability and feasibility (economic and technological) of equipment, methods, and manner of conducting such activity or other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact upon the affected species or stocks and their habitat (50 CFR 216.104(a)(11)).

    In evaluating how mitigation may or may not be appropriate to ensure the least practicable adverse impact on species or stocks and their habitat, as well as subsistence uses where applicable, we carefully consider two primary factors:

    (1) The manner in which, and the degree to which, the successful implementation of the measure(s) is expected to reduce impacts to marine mammals, marine mammal species or stocks, and their habitat. This considers the nature of the potential adverse impact being mitigated (likelihood, scope, range). It further considers the likelihood that the measure will be effective if implemented (probability of accomplishing the mitigating result if implemented as planned) the likelihood of effective implementation (probability implemented as planned), and;

    (2) The practicability of the measures for applicant implementation, which may consider such things as relative cost and impact on operations.

    Mitigation Measures

    With NMFS' input during the application process, and as per the BOEM Lease, Dominion must implement the following mitigation measures during the proposed marine site characterization surveys.

    Marine Mammal Exclusion and Watch Zones

    Marine mammal exclusion zones (EZ) must be established around the HRG survey equipment and monitored by protected species observers (PSO) during HRG surveys as follows:

    • 50 m (164.0 ft) EZ for harbor porpoises, which is the extent of the largest calculated distance to the potential for onset of PTS (Level A harassment);

    • 100 m (328.1 ft) EZ for ESA-listed large whales (i.e., fin whales), which is the largest calculated distance to the potential for behavioral harassment (Level B behavioral harassment), and for species for which authorization has not been granted, or for species for which authorization has been granted but the authorized number of takes have been met; and

    • 500 m (1,640.4 ft) EZ for North Atlantic right whales. In addition, PSOs must visually monitor to the extent of the Level B zone (100 m (328.1 ft)) for all other marine mammal species not listed above.

    Visual Monitoring

    Visual monitoring of the established exclusion and monitoring zones must be performed by qualified and NMFS-approved PSOs. It must be the responsibility of the Lead PSO on duty to communicate the presence of marine mammals as well as to communicate and enforce the action(s) that are necessary to ensure mitigation and monitoring requirements are implemented as appropriate. PSOs must be equipped with binoculars and have the ability to estimate distances to marine mammals located in proximity to the vessel and/or exclusion zone using range finders. Reticulated binoculars must also be available to PSOs for use as appropriate based on conditions and visibility to support the siting and monitoring of marine species. Digital single-lens reflex camera equipment must be used to record sightings and verify species identification. During surveys conducted at night, night-vision equipment and infrared technology must be available for PSO use.

    Pre-Clearance of the Exclusion Zone

    For all HRG survey activities, Dominion must implement a 30-minute pre-clearance period of the relevant EZs prior to the initiation of HRG survey equipment. During this period the EZs must be monitored by PSOs, using the appropriate visual technology for a 30-minute period. HRG survey equipment must not be initiated if marine mammals are observed within or approaching the relevant EZs during this pre-clearance period. If a marine mammal were observed within or approaching the relevant EZ during the pre-clearance period, ramp-up must not begin until the animal(s) has been observed exiting the EZ or until an additional time period has elapsed with no further sighting of the animal (15 minutes for small delphinoid cetaceans and pinnipeds and 30 minutes for all other species). This pre-clearance requirement must include small cetaceans (dolphins and harbor porpoises) that approach the vessel (e.g., bow ride). PSOs must also continue to monitor the zone for 30 minutes after survey equipment is shut down or survey activity has concluded.

    Ramp-Up of Survey Equipment

    Where technically feasible, a ramp-up procedure must be used for HRG survey equipment capable of adjusting energy levels at the start or re-start of HRG survey activities. The ramp-up procedure must be used at the beginning of HRG survey activities in order to provide additional protection to marine mammals near the survey area by allowing them to vacate the area prior to the commencement of survey equipment use at full energy. A ramp-up must begin with the power of the smallest acoustic equipment at its lowest practical power output appropriate for the survey. When technically feasible the power must then be gradually turned up and other acoustic sources added in way such that the source level would increase gradually.

    Shutdown Procedures

    If a marine mammal is observed within or approaching the relevant EZ (as described above) an immediate shutdown of the survey equipment is required. Subsequent restart of the survey equipment must only occur after the animal(s) has either been observed exiting the relevant EZ or until an additional time period has elapsed with no further sighting of the animal (15 minutes for harbor porpoises and 30 minutes for all other species).

    If the HRG equipment shuts down for reasons other than mitigation (i.e., mechanical or electronic failure) resulting in the cessation of the survey equipment for a period greater than 20 minutes, a 30 minute pre-clearance period (as described above) must precede the restart of the HRG survey equipment. If the pause is less than less than 20 minutes, the equipment shall be restarted as soon as practicable at its full operational level only if visual surveys were continued diligently throughout the silent period and the EZs remained clear of marine mammals during that entire period. If visual surveys were not continued diligently during the pause of 20 minutes or less, a 30-minute pre-clearance period (as described above) must precede the re-start of the HRG survey equipment. Following a shutdown, HRG survey equipment shall be restarted following pre-clearance of the zones as described above.

    Vessel Strike Avoidance

    Dominion must ensure that vessel operators and crew maintain a vigilant watch for cetaceans and pinnipeds by slowing down or stopping the vessel to avoid striking marine mammals. Survey vessel crew members responsible for navigation duties must receive site-specific training on marine mammal sighting/reporting and vessel strike avoidance measures. Vessel strike avoidance measures must include, but are not limited to, the following, except under circumstances when complying with these requirements would put the safety of the vessel or crew at risk:

    • All vessel operators and crew must maintain vigilant watch for cetaceans and pinnipeds, and slow down or stop their vessel to avoid striking these protected species;

    • All vessel operators must comply with 10 kn (18.5 km/hr) or less speed restrictions in any DMA. This applies to all vessels operating at any time of year. In addition (if applicable, as surveys are not anticipated to occur during this time of year), vessels over 19.8 m (65 ft) operating from November 1 through April 30 must operate at speeds of 10 kn or less;

    • All vessel operators must reduce vessel speed to 10 kn (18.5 km/hr) or less when any large whale, any mother/calf pairs, pods, or large assemblages of non-delphinoid cetaceans are observed near (within 100 m (330 ft)) an underway vessel;

    • All survey vessels must maintain a separation distance of 500 m (1640 ft) or greater from any sighted North Atlantic right whale;

    • If underway, vessels must steer a course away from any sighted North Atlantic right whale at 10 kn (18.5 km/hr) or less until the 500 m (1640 ft) minimum separation distance has been established. If a North Atlantic right whale is sighted in a vessel's path, or within 500 m (1640 ft)) to an underway vessel, the underway vessel must reduce speed and shift the engine to neutral. Engines must not be engaged until the North Atlantic right whale has moved outside of the vessel's path and beyond 500 m. If stationary, the vessel must not engage engines until the North Atlantic right whale has moved beyond 100 m;

    • All vessels must maintain a separation distance of 100 m (330 ft) or greater from any sighted non-delphinoid cetacean. If sighted, the vessel underway must reduce speed and shift the engine to neutral, and must not engage the engines until the non-delphinoid cetacean has moved outside of the vessel's path and beyond 100 m. If a survey vessel is stationary, the vessel must not engage engines until the non-delphinoid cetacean has moved out of the vessel's path and beyond 100 m;

    • All vessels must maintain a separation distance of 100 m or greater from any sighted non-delphinoid cetacean. If sighted, the vessel underway must reduce speed and shift the engine to neutral, and must not engage the engines until the non-delphinoid cetacean has moved outside of the vessel's path and beyond 100 m. If a survey vessel is stationary, the vessel must not engage the engines until the non-delphinoid cetacean has moved out of the vessel's path and beyond 100 m.

    • Any vessel underway must remain parallel to a sighted delphinoid cetacean's course whenever possible, and avoid excessive speed or abrupt changes in direction. Any vessel underway must reduce vessel speed to 10 kn (18.5 km/hr) or less when pods (including mother/calf pairs) or large assemblages of delphinoid cetaceans are observed. Vessels must not adjust course and speed until the delphinoid cetaceans have moved beyond 50 m and/or the abeam of the underway vessel;

    • All vessels underway must not divert or alter course in order to approach any whale, delphinoid cetacean, or pinniped. Any vessel underway must avoid excessive speed or abrupt changes in direction to avoid injury to the sighted cetacean or pinniped; and

    • All vessels must maintain a separation distance of 50 m (164 ft) or greater from any sighted pinniped.

    Seasonal Operating Requirements

    Between watch shifts, members of the monitoring team must consult NMFS' North Atlantic right whale reporting systems for the presence of North Atlantic right whales throughout survey operations. The proposed survey activities will occur in the vicinity of the Right Whale Mid-Atlantic SMA located at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The proposed survey start date in August, 2018 and would last for up to three months. Therefore, it is possible that the HRG survey activities would occur outside of the seasonal mandatory speed restriction period for this SMA (November 1 through April 30). Members of the monitoring team must monitor the NMFS North Atlantic right whale reporting systems for the establishment of a Dynamic Management Area (DMA). If NMFS should establish a DMA in the survey area, within 24 hours of the establishment of the DMA Dominion must work with NMFS to shut down and/or alter the survey activities as needed to avoid right whales to the extent possible.

    These mitigation measures are designed to avoid the already low potential for injury in addition to some Level B harassment, and to minimize the potential for vessel strikes. There are no known marine mammal feeding areas, rookeries, or mating grounds in the survey area that would otherwise potentially warrant increased mitigation measures for marine mammals or their habitat (or both). The proposed survey would occur in an area that has been identified as a biologically important area for migration for North Atlantic right whales. However, given the small spatial extent of the survey area relative to the substantially larger spatial extent of the right whale migratory area, the survey is not expected to appreciably reduce migratory habitat nor to negatively impact the migration of North Atlantic right whales, thus additional mitigation to address the proposed survey's occurrence in North Atlantic right whale migratory habitat is not warranted. Further, these mitigation measures are practicable for the applicant to implement.

    Based on our evaluation of the mitigation measures, NMFS has determined that the measures provide the means of effecting the least practicable impact on the affected species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance.

    Monitoring and Reporting

    In order to issue an IHA for an activity, Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA states that NMFS must set forth, requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking. The MMPA implementing regulations at 50 CFR 216.104(a)(13) indicate that requests for authorizations must include the suggested means of accomplishing the necessary monitoring and reporting that will result in increased knowledge of the species and of the level of taking or impacts on populations of marine mammals that are expected to be present in the proposed action area. Effective reporting is critical both to compliance as well as ensuring that the most value is obtained from the required monitoring.

    Monitoring and reporting requirements prescribed by NMFS should contribute to improved understanding of one or more of the following:

    • Occurrence of marine mammal species or stocks in the area in which take is anticipated (e.g., presence, abundance, distribution, density);

    • Nature, scope, or context of likely marine mammal exposure to potential stressors/impacts (individual or cumulative, acute or chronic), through better understanding of: (1) Action or environment (e.g., source characterization, propagation, ambient noise); (2) affected species (e.g., life history, dive patterns); (3) co-occurrence of marine mammal species with the action; or (4) biological or behavioral context of exposure (e.g., age, calving or feeding areas);

    • Individual marine mammal responses (behavioral or physiological) to acoustic stressors (acute, chronic, or cumulative), other stressors, or cumulative impacts from multiple stressors;

    • How anticipated responses to stressors impact either: (1) Long-term fitness and survival of individual marine mammals; or (2) populations, species, or stocks;

    • Effects on marine mammal habitat (e.g., marine mammal prey species, acoustic habitat, or other important physical components of marine mammal habitat); and

    • Mitigation and monitoring effectiveness.

    Monitoring Measures

    As described above, visual monitoring of the EZs and monitoring zone must be performed by qualified and NMFS-approved PSOs. Observer qualifications must include direct field experience on a marine mammal observation vessel and/or aerial surveys and completion of a PSO training program, as appropriate. An observer team comprising a minimum of four NMFS-approved PSOs operating in shifts, must be employed by Dominion during the proposed surveys. PSOs must work in shifts such that no one monitor must work more than 4 consecutive hours without a 2 hour break or longer than 12 hours during any 24-hour period. During daylight hours the PSOs must rotate in shifts of one on and three off, while during nighttime operations PSOs must work in pairs. During ramp-up procedures, two PSOs must be required. Each PSO must monitor 360 degrees of the field of vision.

    Also as described above, PSOs must be equipped with binoculars and have the ability to estimate distances to marine mammals located in proximity to the vessel and/or exclusion zone using range finders. Reticulated binoculars must also be available to PSOs for use as appropriate based on conditions and visibility to support the siting and monitoring of marine species. Digital single-lens reflex camera equipment must be used to record sightings and verify species identification. During night operations, night-vision equipment, and infrared technology must be used to increase the ability to detect marine mammals. Position data must be recorded using hand-held or vessel global positioning system (GPS) units for each sighting. Observations must take place from the highest available vantage point on the survey vessel. General 360-degree scanning must occur during the monitoring periods, and target scanning by the PSO must occur when alerted of a marine mammal presence.

    Data on all PSO observations must be recorded based on standard PSO collection requirements. This must include dates and locations of survey operations; time of observation, location and weather; details of the sightings (e.g., species, age classification (if known), numbers, behavior); and details of any observed “taking” (behavioral disturbances). The data sheet must be provided to NMFS for review and approval prior to the start of survey activities. In addition, prior to initiation of survey work, all crew members must undergo environmental training, a component of which must focus on the procedures for sighting and protection of marine mammals. A briefing must also be conducted between the survey supervisors and crews, the PSOs, and Dominion. The purpose of the briefing must be to establish responsibilities of each party, define the chains of command, discuss communication procedures, provide an overview of monitoring purposes, and review operational procedures.

    Reporting Measures

    Dominion must provide the following reports as necessary during survey activities:

    Notification of Injured or Dead Marine Mammals—In the unanticipated event that the specified HRG activities lead to an injury of a marine mammal (Level A harassment) or mortality (e.g., ship-strike, gear interaction, and/or entanglement), Dominion must immediately cease the specified activities and report the incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources and the NMFS Greater Atlantic Stranding Coordinator. The report must include the following information:

    • Time, date, and location (latitude/longitude) of the incident;

    • Name and type of vessel involved;

    • Vessel's speed during and leading up to the incident;

    • Description of the incident;

    • Status of all sound source use in the 24 hours preceding the incident;

    • Water depth;

    • Environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction, Beaufort sea state, cloud cover, and visibility);

    • Description of all marine mammal observations in the 24 hours preceding the incident;

    • Species identification or description of the animal(s) involved;

    • Fate of the animal(s); and

    • Photographs or video footage of the animal(s) (if equipment is available).

    Activities must not resume until NMFS is able to review the circumstances of the event. NMFS shall work with Dominion to minimize reoccurrence of such an event in the future. Dominion must not resume activities until notified by NMFS.

    In the event that Dominion discovers an injured or dead marine mammal and determines that the cause of the injury or death is unknown and the death is relatively recent (i.e., in less than a moderate state of decomposition), Dominion must immediately report the incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources and the NMFS Greater Atlantic Stranding Coordinator. The report must include the same information identified in the paragraph above. Activities must be able to continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident. NMFS must work with Dominion to determine if modifications in the activities are appropriate.

    In the event that Dominion discovers an injured or dead marine mammal and determines that the injury or death is not associated with or related to the activities authorized in the IHA (e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced decomposition, or scavenger damage), Dominion must report the incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, and the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Stranding Coordinator, within 24 hours of the discovery. Dominion must provide photographs or video footage (if available) or other documentation of the stranded animal sighting to NMFS. Dominion may continue its operations under such a case.

    Within 90 days after completion of survey activities, a final technical report must be provided to NMFS that fully documents the methods and monitoring protocols, summarizes the data recorded during monitoring, estimates the number of marine mammals estimated to have been taken during survey activities, and provides an interpretation of the results and effectiveness of all mitigation and monitoring. Any recommendations made by NMFS must be addressed in the final report prior to acceptance by NMFS.

    Negligible Impact Analysis and Determination

    NMFS has defined negligible impact as an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. A negligible impact finding is based on the lack of likely adverse effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (i.e., population-level effects). An estimate of the number of takes alone is not enough information on which to base an impact determination. In addition to considering estimates of the number of marine mammals that might be “taken” through harassment, NMFS considers other factors, such as the likely nature of any responses (e.g., intensity, duration), the context of any responses (e.g., critical reproductive time or location, migration), as well as effects on habitat, and the likely effectiveness of the mitigation. We also assess the number, intensity, and context of estimated takes by evaluating this information relative to population status. Consistent with the 1989 preamble for NMFS's implementing regulations (54 FR 40338; September 29, 1989), the impacts from other past and ongoing anthropogenic activities are incorporated into this analysis via their impacts on the environmental baseline (e.g., as reflected in the regulatory status of the species, population size and growth rate where known, ongoing sources of human-caused mortality, or ambient noise levels).

    To avoid repetition, our analysis applies to all the species listed in Tables 8 and 9, given that NMFS expects the anticipated effects of the proposed survey to be similar in nature.

    NMFS does not anticipate that injury, serious injury, or mortality would occur as a result of Dominion's proposed survey, even in the absence of mitigation. Thus the authorization does not authorize any serious injury or mortality. Non-auditory physical effects and vessel strike are not expected to occur.

    We expect that most potential takes would be in the form of short-term Level B behavioral harassment in the form of temporary avoidance of the area or decreased foraging (if such activity were occurring), reactions that are considered to be of low severity and with no lasting biological consequences (e.g., Southall et al., 2007).

    Potential impacts to marine mammal habitat were discussed in the notice of proposed IHA (83 FR 26968; June 11, 2018, see Potential Effects of the Specified Activity on Marine Mammals and their Habitat). Marine mammal habitat may be impacted by elevated sound levels, but these impacts would be temporary. In addition to being temporary and short in overall duration, the acoustic footprint of the proposed survey is small relative to the overall distribution of the animals in the area and their use of the area. Feeding behavior is not likely to be significantly impacted, as no areas of biological significance for marine mammal feeding are known to exist in the survey area. Prey species are mobile and are broadly distributed throughout the project area; therefore, marine mammals that may be temporarily displaced during survey activities are expected to be able to resume foraging once they have moved away from areas with disturbing levels of underwater noise. Because of the temporary nature of the disturbance, the availability of similar habitat and resources in the surrounding area, and the lack of important or unique marine mammal feeding habitat, the impacts to marine mammals and the food sources that they utilize are not expected to cause significant or long-term consequences for individual marine mammals or their populations. In addition, there are no rookeries or mating or calving areas known to be biologically important to marine mammals within the proposed project area.

    The proposed survey area is within a biologically important migratory area for North Atlantic right whales (effective March-April and November-December) that extends from Massachusetts to Florida (LaBrecque, et al., 2015). Off the coast of Virginia, this biologically important migratory area extends from the coast to the just beyond the shelf break. Due to the fact that that the proposed survey is temporary and short in overall duration, and the fact that the spatial acoustic footprint of the proposed survey is very small relative to the spatial extent of the available migratory habitat in the area, North Atlantic right whale migration is not expected to be impacted by the proposed survey.

    Mitigation measures are expected to reduce the number and/or severity of takes by (1) giving animals the opportunity to move away from the sound source before HRG survey equipment reaches full energy; (2) preventing animals from being exposed to sound levels that may otherwise result in injury. Additional vessel strike avoidance requirements will further mitigate potential impacts to marine mammals during vessel transit to and within the survey area.

    NMFS concludes that exposures to marine mammal species and stocks due to Dominion's proposed survey would result in only short-term (temporary and short in duration) effects to individuals exposed. Marine mammals may temporarily avoid the immediate area, but are not expected to permanently abandon the area. Major shifts in habitat use, distribution, or foraging success are not expected. NMFS does not anticipate the authorized take estimates to impact annual rates of recruitment or survival.

    In summary and as described above, the following factors primarily support our determination that the impacts resulting from this activity are not expected to adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival:

    • No mortality or serious injury is anticipated or authorized;

    • No injury is anticipated or authorized;

    • The anticipated impacts of the proposed activity on marine mammals would be limited to temporary behavioral changes due to avoidance of the area around the survey vessel;

    • Alternate areas of similar habitat value for marine mammals to temporarily vacate the survey area during the proposed survey and avoid exposure to sounds from the activity are available;

    • The proposed project area does not contain areas of significance for feeding, mating or calving;

    • Effects on species that serve as prey species for marine mammals from the proposed survey are expected to be minimal;

    • Mitigation measures, including visual and acoustic monitoring and shutdowns, are expected to minimize potential impacts to marine mammals.

    Based on the analysis contained herein of the likely effects of the specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into consideration the implementation of the monitoring and mitigation measures, NMFS finds that the total marine mammal take from the proposed activity will have a negligible impact on all affected marine mammal species or stocks.

    Small Numbers

    As noted above, only small numbers of incidental take may be authorized under Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA for specified activities other than military readiness activities. The MMPA does not define small numbers and so, in practice, where estimated numbers are available, NMFS compares the number of individuals taken to the most appropriate estimation of abundance of the relevant species or stock in our determination of whether an authorization is limited to small numbers of marine mammals. Additionally, other qualitative factors may be considered in the analysis, such as the temporal or spatial scale of the activities.

    The numbers of marine mammals that we authorized to be taken would be considered small relative to the relevant stocks or populations for all species and stocks (less than 10 percent of bottlenose dolphin stocks, and less than 1 percent of each of the other species and stocks). See Tables 6 and 7. Based on the analysis contained herein of the proposed activity (including the mitigation and monitoring measures) and the anticipated take of marine mammals, NMFS finds that small numbers of marine mammals will be taken relative to the population size of the affected species or stocks.

    Unmitigable Adverse Impact Analysis and Determination

    There are no relevant subsistence uses of the affected marine mammal stocks or species implicated by this action. Therefore, NMFS has determined that the total taking of affected species or stocks would not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of such species or stocks for taking for subsistence purposes.

    National Environmental Policy Act

    To comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and NOAA Administrative Order (NAO) 216-6A, NMFS must review our proposed action (i.e., the issuance of an incidental harassment authorization) with respect to potential impacts on the human environment.

    This action is consistent with categories of activities identified in Categorical Exclusion B4 (incidental harassment authorizations with no anticipated serious injury or mortality) of the Companion Manual for NOAA Administrative Order 216-6A, which do not individually or cumulatively have the potential for significant impacts on the quality of the human environment and for which we have not identified any extraordinary circumstances that would preclude this categorical exclusion. Accordingly, NMFS has determined that the issuance of the IHA qualifies to be categorically excluded from further NEPA review. We have reviewed all comments submitted in response to the proposed IHA notice prior to concluding our NEPA process and making this final decision on the IHA request.

    Endangered Species Act

    Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires that each Federal agency insure that any action it authorizes, funds, or carries out is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat.

    The NMFS Office of Protected Resources is proposing mitigation to avoid the incidental take of the species of marine mammals which are likely to be present and are listed under the ESA: The North Atlantic right and fin whales. Therefore, consultation under section 7 of the ESA is not required.

    Authorization

    NMFS has issued an IHA to Dominion for conducting UXO surveys offshore Virginia for a period of one year, provided the previously mentioned mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements are incorporated.

    Dated: July 31, 2018. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16885 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Northeast Multispecies Amendment 16 AGENCY:

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce, 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 proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted on or before October 9, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230 (or via the internet at [email protected]).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Liz Sullivan, (978) 282-8493 or [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract

    This request is for an extension of a current information collection. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), the Secretary of Commerce has the responsibility for the conservation and management of marine fishery resources. We, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the Regional Fishery Management Councils are delegated the majority of this responsibility. The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) develops management plans for fishery resources in New England.

    In 2010, we implemented a new suite of regulations for the Northeast (NE) multispecies fishery through Amendment 16 to the NE Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP). This action updated status determination criteria for all regulated NE multispecies or ocean pout stocks; adopted rebuilding programs for NE multispecies (groundfish) stocks newly classified as being overfished and subject to overfishing; revised management measures, including significant revisions to the sector management measures (established under Amendment 13) necessary to end overfishing, rebuild overfished regulated NE multispecies and ocean pout stocks, and mitigate the adverse economic impacts of increased effort controls. It also implemented new requirements under Amendment 16 for establishing acceptable biological catch (ABC), annual catch limits (ACLs), and accountability measures (AMs) for each stock managed under the FMP, pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).

    Sectors are a management tool in the NE groundfish fishery. A sector consists of three or more limited access NE multispecies vessel permits, with distinct ownership, who voluntarily enter into a contract to manage their fishing operations and to share liability. A sector is granted an annual allocation of most stocks of fish managed by the NE Multispecies FMP. In return for increased operational flexibility, such as exemptions from certain effort controls and the ability to pool and trade quota, sectors have additional reporting and monitoring requirements. The sector reporting and monitoring requirements, as established by Amendment 16 and revised by subsequent framework adjustments to the NE Multispecies FMP, are contained within this information collection.

    II. Method of Collection

    Respondents must submit either paper forms via postal service, or electronic forms submitted via the internet or a vessels' vessel monitoring system (VMS).

    III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 0648-0605.

    Form Number: None.

    Type of Review: Regular submission (revision and extension of a current information collection).

    Affected Public: Business or for-profit organizations.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 1,334.

    Estimated Time per Response: Sector operations plan and membership list updates, 176 hr/response; Monitoring service provider initial application, 10 hr/response; Monitoring service provider response to application disapproval, 10 hr/response; Data entry for sector discard monitoring system, 3 min/response; Sector weekly catch report, 4 hr/response; Sector annual report, 12 hr/response; Notification of expulsion from a sector, 30 min/response; Request to transfer Annual Catch Entitlement (ACE), 5 min/response; Request to lease day-at-sea (DAS), 5 min/response; request to downgrade, 5 min/response; VMS certification form, 10 min/response; VMS confirmation call, 5 min/response; VMS area and DAS declaration, 5 min/response; VMS trip-level catch report; VMS daily catch reports when fishing in multiple broad stock areas, 15 min/response; Daily VMS catch reports when fishing in the U.S./Canada Management Area and CA II SAPs, 15 min/response; Daily VMS catch reports when fishing in the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP, 15 min/response; Daily VMS catch reports when fishing in the Regular B DAS Program, 15 min/response; Pre-trip hail report, 2 min/response; Trip-end hail report, 15 min/response; Forward trip start/end hails to NMFS, 2 min/response; ASM Pre-Trip Notification, 2 min/response; Vessel notification of selection for at-sea monitoring coverage, 5 min/response; at-sea monitor deployment report, 10 min/response; at-sea monitoring service provider catch report to NMFS upon request, 5 min/response; at-sea monitor report of harassment and other issues, 30 min/response; at-sea monitoring service provider contract upon request, 30 min/response; at-sea monitoring service provider information materials upon request, 30 min/response; OLE debriefing of at-sea monitors, 2 hr/response; ASM Database and Data Entry Requirements, 3 min/response; Observer program pre-trip notification, 2 min/response; DAS Transfer Program, 5min/response; Expedited Submission of Proposed SAPs, 20 hr/response; NAFO Reporting Requirements, 10 min/response.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 39,351.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $ 4,466,172 in recordkeeping/reporting costs.

    IV. Request for Comments

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (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 summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

    Dated: August 3, 2018. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16955 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; International Fisheries Trade To Include Shrimp and Abalone AGENCY:

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce, 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 proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted on or before October 9, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230 (or via the internet at [email protected]).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to: Celeste Leroux at (301) 427-8372 or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract

    The Seafood Traceability Program (see 50 CFR 300.320-300.325) is the first phase of a risk-based traceability program, which establishes permit, reporting and recordkeeping requirements needed to prevent illegally harvested and misrepresented seafood from entering into U.S. Commerce. In the development of the Seafood Traceability Program rule, 13 “priority” species were identified as being most at risk for Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and misrepresentation, and are the only species currently subject to this program. For two of those species (abalone and shrimp), NMFS stayed program requirements indefinitely (50 CFR 300.324(a)(3)). See 81 FR 88975 (December 9, 2016). A final rule was published on April 24, 2018 (83 FR 17762) which lifted the stay and established a compliance date of December 31, 2018 for shrimp and abalone.

    NMFS had stayed requirements for abalone and shrimp because gaps existed in the collection of traceability information for domestic aquaculture-raised shrimp and abalone, which is currently largely regulated at the state level. During development of the Seafood Traceability Program, NMFS explored the possibility of working with its state partners to establish reporting and recordkeeping requirements for aquaculture traceability information that could be shared with NMFS. However, this did not prove to be a viable approach. See 81 FR at 88977-78. In the Seafood Import Monitoring Program final rule, NMFS explained that “[A]t such time that the domestic reporting and recordkeeping gaps have been closed, NMFS will then publish an action in the Federal Register to lift the stay of the effective date for § 300.324(a)(3) of the rule pertaining to shrimp and abalone. Adequate advance notice to the trade community would be provided” to ensure all affected parties have sufficient time to come into compliance.

    On March 23, 2018, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 (Pub. L. 115-141) was signed by the President and became law. Section 539 of Division B of the Act directed the Secretary of Commerce to, within 30 days, “lift the stay on the effective date of the final rule for the Seafood Traceability Program published by the Secretary on December 9, 2016, (81 FR 88975 et seq.) for the species described in § 300.324(a)(3) of title 50, Code of Federal Regulations: Provided that the compliance date for the species described in § 300.324(a)(3) of title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, shall occur not later than December 31, 2018.” A final rule was issued to implement the Act (83 FR 17762, April 24, 2018) and provides that shrimp and abalone will be subject to the requirements of the Seafood Traceability Program under 50 CFR 300.324(a)(3), with a compliance date December 31, 2018.

    The Program consists of two components: (1) Reporting of harvest events at the time of entry; and (2) permitting and recordkeeping requirements with respect to both harvest events and chain of custody information. See 50 CFR 300.324 and id. §§ 300.320-300.323 and 300.325. Application of the program's reporting and recordkeeping requirements to shrimp and abalone will enable audits of imports to be conducted to determine the origin of the products and confirm that they were lawfully acquired.

    The final rule to lift the stay on shrimp and abalone contains a collection-of-information requirement subject to review and approval by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA).

    OMB had previously approved the information collection requirements for the Seafood Traceability Program under Control Number 0648-0739, but the burden estimates did not include the requirements for shrimp and abalone given the stay. The requirements for permitting, reporting and recordkeeping for imports of shrimp and abalone will be submitted to OMB for approval.

    II. Method of Collection

    As of the December 31, 2018 compliance date established by the final rule to lift the stay, importers of shrimp and abalone species will be required to obtain an International Fisheries Trade Permit as specified at 50 CFR 300.322, submit harvest and landing information on those products into the U.S. Customs and Border Protection International Trade Data System (ITDS) through the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) portal prior to entry into U.S. Commerce, and maintain supply chain records from the point of harvest to the point of entry into U.S Commerce for a period of two years after entry.

    III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 0648-xxxx.

    Form Number(s): None.

    Type of Review: Regular submission (request for a new information collection).

    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit organizations.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 2,000.

    Estimated Time per Response: International Fisheries Trade Permit, 5 minutes; data entry, 1 hour.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 215,167.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $805,000 in recordkeeping/reporting costs.

    IV. Request for Comments

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (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 summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

    Dated: August 3, 2018. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16987 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XG348 Nominations for Advisory Committee and Species Working Group Technical Advisor Appointments to the U.S. Section to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of request for nominations.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS is soliciting nominations to the Advisory Committee to the U.S. Section to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) as established by the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA). NMFS is also soliciting nominations for Technical Advisors to the Advisory Committee's species working groups.

    DATES:

    Nominations must be received by October 1, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Nominations, including a letter of interest and a resume or curriculum vitae, should be sent via email to Terra Lederhouse at [email protected] with a copy to Grace Ferrara at [email protected]. Include in the subject line whether the nomination is for the Advisory Committee or for a Technical Advisor to a species working group.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Grace Ferrara, Office of International Affairs and Seafood Inspection; telephone: (301) 427-8371; email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Convention and the Commission

    ICCAT was established to provide an effective program of international cooperation in research and conservation in recognition of the unique problems related to the highly migratory nature of tunas and tuna-like species. The International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (Convention) entered into force in 1969 after receiving the required number of ratifications. The Commission holds its Annual Meeting, usually in November of each year, and convenes meetings of working groups and other ICCAT bodies between annual meetings as needed. Under Section 971a of ATCA (16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.), the United States is represented on the Commission by not more than three U.S. Commissioners. Additional information is available at www.iccat.int.

    Advisory Committee and Species Working Groups to the U.S. Section to the ICCAT

    Section 971b of ATCA (16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) requires that an advisory committee be established that shall be comprised of: (1) Not less than 5 nor more than 20 individuals appointed by the U.S. Commissioners to ICCAT who shall select such individuals from the various groups concerned with the fisheries covered by the ICCAT Convention; and (2) the chairs (or their designees) of the New England, Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Councils. Each member of the Advisory Committee appointed under paragraph (1) shall serve for a term of 2 years and be eligible for reappointment. The Committee meets at least twice a year when members receive information and provide advice on ICCAT-related matters. All members of the Advisory Committee are appointed in their individual professional capacity and undergo a background screening. Any individual appointed to the Committee who is unable to attend all or part of an Advisory Committee meeting may not appoint another person to attend such meetings as his or her proxy. Members of the Advisory Committee shall receive no compensation for their services. The Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of State may pay the necessary travel expenses of members of the Advisory Committee. The terms of all currently appointed Advisory Committee members expire on December 31, 2018. NMFS is soliciting nominees to serve as members of the Advisory Committee for a term of 2 years that will expire December 31, 2020.

    Section 971b-1 of ATCA specifies that the U.S. Commissioners may establish species working groups for the purpose of providing advice and recommendations to the U.S. Commissioners and to the Advisory Committee on matters relating to the conservation and management of any highly migratory species covered by the ICCAT Convention. Any species working group shall consist of no more than seven members of the Advisory Committee and no more than four Technical Advisors, as considered necessary by the Commissioners. Currently, there are four species working groups advising the Committee and the U.S. Commissioners: A Bluefin Tuna Working Group, a Swordfish/Sharks Working Group, a Billfish Working Group, and a Bigeye, Albacore, Yellowfin, and Skipjack (BAYS) Tunas Working Group. Technical Advisors to the species working groups serve at the pleasure of the Commissioners; therefore, the Commissioners can choose to alter these appointments at any time. As with Committee Members, Technical Advisors may not be represented by a proxy during meetings of the Advisory Committee.

    Procedure for Submitting Nominations

    Nominations to the Advisory Committee or to a species working group should include a letter of interest and a resume or curriculum vitae. Self-nominations are acceptable. Letters of recommendation are useful but not required. When making a nomination, please specify which appointment (Advisory Committee member or Technical Advisor to a species working group) is being sought. Nominees may also indicate which of the species working groups is preferred, although placement on the requested group is not guaranteed.

    Dated: August 3, 2018. John Henderschedt, Director, Office of International Affairs and Seafood Inspection, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16956 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    The Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35).

    Agency: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    Title: Report of Whaling Operations.

    OMB Control Number: 0648-0311.

    Form Number(s): None.

    Type of Request: Regular (extension of a currently approved information collection).

    Number of Respondents: 66.

    Average Hours per Response: 30 minutes for reports on whales struck or on recovery of dead whales, including providing the information to the relevant Native American whaling organization; 5 minutes for the relevant Native American whaling organization to type in each report; and 5 hours for the relevant Native American whaling organization to consolidate and submit reports.

    Burden Hours: 50.

    Needs and Uses: This request is for extension of a current information collection.

    Native Americans may conduct certain aboriginal subsistence whaling under the Whaling Convention Act in accordance with the provisions of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). In order to respond to obligations under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, the IWC, and the Whaling Convention Act, whaling captains participating in these operations must submit certain information to the relevant Native American whaling organization about strikes on and catch of whales. Anyone retrieving a dead whale is also required to report. Captains must place a distinctive permanent identification mark on any harpoon, lance, or explosive dart used, and must also provide information on the mark and self-identification information. The relevant Native American whaling organization receives the reports, compiles them, and submits the information to NOAA.

    The information is used to monitor the hunt and to ensure that quotas are not exceeded. The information is also provided to the IWC, which uses it to monitor compliance with its requirements.

    Affected Public: Individuals or households; state, local, or tribal governments.

    Frequency: On occasion, monthly and annually.

    Respondent's Obligation: Required to obtain or retain benefits.

    This information collection request may be viewed at reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB.

    Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to [email protected] or fax to (202) 395-5806.

    Dated: August 3, 2018. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2018-16933 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and At