Federal Register Vol. 83, No.201,

Federal Register Volume 83, Issue 201 (October 17, 2018)

Page Range52305-52749
FR Document

83_FR_201
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
83 FR 52305 - Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company AirplanesPDF
83 FR 52572 - Sunshine Act Meetings; Regular Board of Directors MeetingPDF
83 FR 52419 - Sunshine Act MeetingsPDF
83 FR 52315 - Medical Devices; Neurological Devices; Classification of the External Upper Limb Tremor StimulatorPDF
83 FR 52313 - Medical Devices; Immunology and Microbiology Devices; Classification of the Herpes Virus Nucleic Acid-Based Cutaneous and Mucocutaneous Lesion PanelPDF
83 FR 52319 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Delaware River, Pennsauken Township, NJPDF
83 FR 52451 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 52505 - Notice of Competitive Coal Lease Sale ALES-55199, Alabama; CorrectionPDF
83 FR 52558 - United States v. CVS Health Corporation and Aetna Inc.; Proposed Final Judgment and Competitive Impact StatementPDF
83 FR 52616 - National Research Advisory Council; Notice of MeetingPDF
83 FR 52577 - Mail Classification SchedulePDF
83 FR 52610 - Petition for Exemption; Summary of Petition Received; The Boeing CompanyPDF
83 FR 52570 - Notice of Availability of the Record of Decision for NASA Groundwater Cleanup Activities at Santa Susana Field LaboratoryPDF
83 FR 52444 - Receipt of Requests To Voluntarily Cancel Certain Pesticide Registrations and Amend Registrations To Terminate Certain UsesPDF
83 FR 52448 - Receipt of Requests To Voluntarily Cancel Certain Pesticide RegistrationsPDF
83 FR 52446 - The Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest System Advisory Board: Request for NominationsPDF
83 FR 52453 - Information Collection; Mobile Now ActPDF
83 FR 52573 - NorthStar Group Services, Inc.; Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power StationPDF
83 FR 52436 - Procedures for Conducting Electric Transmission Congestion StudiesPDF
83 FR 52330 - Authorization of Revised Reporting Requirements Due to Catastrophic Conditions for Federal Seafood Dealers and Individual Fishing Quota Dealers in Portions of FloridaPDF
83 FR 52427 - Application to Pilot; Federal Student Aid's Next Generation Financial Services Environment-Payment Vehicle Account Program PilotPDF
83 FR 52503 - 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection; Maintenance Wage Rate Recommendation, Maintenance Wage Rate Survey and Maintenance Wage Survey-Summary SheetPDF
83 FR 52501 - Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC): Notice Inviting Nominations of Individuals To Serve on the CommitteePDF
83 FR 52608 - Request for Comments on Small Business Administration Enterprise Learning AgendaPDF
83 FR 52332 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in Statistical Area 610 in the Gulf of AlaskaPDF
83 FR 52610 - Cultural Property Advisory Committee; Notice of MeetingPDF
83 FR 52609 - Administrative Declaration of a Disaster for the Commonwealth of PennsylvaniaPDF
83 FR 52608 - Administrative Declaration of a Disaster for the State of ConnecticutPDF
83 FR 52609 - Administrative Declaration of a Disaster for the State of New YorkPDF
83 FR 52417 - Solicitation for Members of the NOAA Science Advisory BoardPDF
83 FR 52419 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Application Package for Employers of National Service Enrollment Form and Employers of National Service Annual SurveyPDF
83 FR 52495 - National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
83 FR 52383 - Certain Uncoated Paper From Indonesia: Final Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2015-2016PDF
83 FR 52496 - Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
83 FR 52497 - National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
83 FR 52503 - National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Procedures for the Bureau of Reclamation (516 DM 14)PDF
83 FR 52495 - National Center for Complementary & Integrative Health; Notice of MeetingPDF
83 FR 52439 - Southwest Airlines Co., United Aviation Fuels Corporation v. Colonial Pipeline Company; Notice of ComplaintPDF
83 FR 52440 - Athens Energy, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
83 FR 52439 - Notice of Effectiveness of Exempt Wholesale Generator StatusPDF
83 FR 52438 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
83 FR 52441 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
83 FR 52494 - Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
83 FR 52495 - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
83 FR 52496 - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
83 FR 52497 - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
83 FR 52497 - National Institute on Aging; Amended Notice of MeetingPDF
83 FR 52571 - 38th Meeting of the National Museum and Library Services BoardPDF
83 FR 52455 - Disease, Disability, and Injury Prevention and Control Special Emphasis Panel (SEP); Notice of Charter RenewalPDF
83 FR 52378 - Notice of Public Meeting of the Connecticut Advisory CommitteePDF
83 FR 52379 - Agenda and Notice of Public Meeting of the Colorado Advisory CommitteePDF
83 FR 52438 - Andrew Peklo, III, Pomperaug Hydro LLC; Notice of Application for Transfer of License and Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and ProtestsPDF
83 FR 52442 - Commission Information Collection Activities (FERC-725G); Comment Request; ExtensionPDF
83 FR 52418 - Request for Public Comment on a Commercial Availability Request Under the U.S.-Korea Free Trade AgreementPDF
83 FR 52436 - New England Hydropower Company, LLC; Notice of Application Tendered for Filing With the Commission and Soliciting Additional Study RequestsPDF
83 FR 52437 - Cheyenne Connector, LLC and Rockies Express Pipeline LLC; Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review of the Cheyenne Connector Pipeline and Cheyenne Hub Enhancement ProjectsPDF
83 FR 52439 - Virginia Electric and Power Company; Notice of FilingPDF
83 FR 52440 - New England Hydropower Company, LLC; Notice of Application Tendered for Filing With the Commission and Soliciting Additional Study RequestsPDF
83 FR 52394 - Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to In-Water Demolition and Construction Activities Associated With a Harbor Improvement Project in Statter Harbor, AlaskaPDF
83 FR 52382 - Foreign-Trade Zone 142-Salem/Millville, New Jersey; Application for Reorganization and Expansion Under Alternative Site FrameworkPDF
83 FR 52535 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Princeton University, Princeton, NJPDF
83 FR 52530 - Notice of Inventory Completion: University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Region, Sacramento, CAPDF
83 FR 52538 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZPDF
83 FR 52529 - Notice of Intent To Repatriate Cultural Items: Arizona State Parks and Trails, Phoenix, AZ, and Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZPDF
83 FR 52532 - Notice of Intent To Repatriate Cultural Items: Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZPDF
83 FR 52508 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZPDF
83 FR 52539 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Arizona State Parks and Trails, Phoenix, AZ, and Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZPDF
83 FR 52528 - Notice of Intent To Repatriate Cultural Items: Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; CorrectionPDF
83 FR 52541 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; CorrectionPDF
83 FR 52505 - Notice of Inventory Completion: History Colorado, Formerly Colorado Historical Society, Denver, COPDF
83 FR 52522 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Norman, OKPDF
83 FR 52521 - Notice of Inventory Completion: California Department of Parks and Recreation, Sacramento, CAPDF
83 FR 52526 - Notice of Inventory Completion: California Department of Parks and Recreation, Sacramento, CAPDF
83 FR 52537 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Carter County Museum, Ekalaka, MTPDF
83 FR 52537 - Notice of Intent To Repatriate Cultural Items: Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Hays, KSPDF
83 FR 52527 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Hays, KSPDF
83 FR 52536 - Notice of Inventory Completion: U.S. Department of Defense, Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District, Nashville, TN; CorrectionPDF
83 FR 52525 - Notice of Inventory Completion: The University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History, Eugene, ORPDF
83 FR 52383 - Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 294-Western Kentucky; Notification of Proposed Production Activity; Mayfield Consumer Products (Candles); Mayfield and Hickory, KentuckyPDF
83 FR 52382 - Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 106-Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Authorization of Production Activity; Eastman Kodak Company (Printing Flexographic Plates), Weatherford, OklahomaPDF
83 FR 52382 - Foreign-Trade Zone 294-Western Kentucky; Application for Subzone Mayfield Consumer Products Mayfield and Hickory, KentuckyPDF
83 FR 52487 - Isachi Gil; Denial of Hearing; Final Debarment OrderPDF
83 FR 52385 - Corporation for Travel Promotion Board of DirectorsPDF
83 FR 52384 - Tapered Roller Bearings and Parts Thereof, Finished and Unfinished, From the People's Republic of China: Continuation of the Antidumping Duty OrderPDF
83 FR 52488 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Guidance for Industry on Establishing That a Tobacco Product Was Commercially Marketed in the United States as of February 15, 2007PDF
83 FR 52386 - Mattresses From the People's Republic of China: Initiation of Less-Than-Fair-Value InvestigationPDF
83 FR 52416 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Estimating Economic Burden of Vibrio parahaemolyticus in Washington State AquaculturePDF
83 FR 52417 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 52471 - Determination of Regulatory Review Period for Purposes of Patent Extension; TREMFYAPDF
83 FR 52478 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Experimental Study of an Accelerated Approval DisclosurePDF
83 FR 52490 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Physician Interpretation of Information About Prescription Drugs in Scientific Publications Versus Promotional PiecesPDF
83 FR 52484 - Presenting Quantitative Efficacy and Risk Information in Direct-to-Consumer Promotional Labeling and Advertisements; Draft Guidance for Industry; AvailabilityPDF
83 FR 52472 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Disease Awareness and Prescription Drug Promotion on TelevisionPDF
83 FR 52481 - Determination of Regulatory Review Period for Purposes of Patent Extension; DUPIXENTPDF
83 FR 52477 - Oncology Center of Excellence: Pediatric Oncology Program; Establishment of a Public Docket; Request for CommentsPDF
83 FR 52322 - Net Worth, Asset Transfers, and Income Exclusions for Needs-Based BenefitsPDF
83 FR 52610 - Petition for Waiver of Compliance; Docket Number FRA-2018-0076PDF
83 FR 52611 - Petition for Waiver of Compliance; Docket Number FRA-2018-0072PDF
83 FR 52455 - Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection and Control Advisory Committee (BCCEDCAC); Notice of Charter RenewalPDF
83 FR 52483 - Determination of Regulatory Review Period for Purposes of Patent Extension; BRINEURAPDF
83 FR 52570 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Job ChalleNGe Evaluation; Office of the SecretaryPDF
83 FR 52542 - United States v. United Technologies Corporation, et al.; Proposed Final Judgment and Competitive Impact StatementPDF
83 FR 52614 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Multiple IRS Information Collection RequestsPDF
83 FR 52498 - Information Collection Request to Office of Management and Budget; OMB Control Number: 1625-0069PDF
83 FR 52498 - Information Collection Request to Office of Management and Budget; OMB Control Number: 1625-0035PDF
83 FR 52452 - Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 52576 - Environmental Dosimetry-Performance Specifications, Testing, and Data AnalysisPDF
83 FR 52500 - Telecommunications Service Priority SystemPDF
83 FR 52499 - Nationwide Cyber Security Review AssessmentPDF
83 FR 52381 - Meeting of Bureau of Economic Analysis Advisory CommitteePDF
83 FR 52458 - Medicare and Medicaid Program; Application from the Accreditation Association for Hospitals/Health Systems-Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (AAHHS-HFAP) for Approval of its Hospital Accreditation ProgramPDF
83 FR 52377 - Texas A&M AgriLife Research; Determination of Nonregulated Status of Cotton Genetically Engineered for Ultra-low Gossypol Levels in the CottonseedPDF
83 FR 52571 - Meeting of Humanities PanelPDF
83 FR 52557 - Notice Pursuant to the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993-UHD Alliance, Inc.PDF
83 FR 52578 - Competitive Price AdjustmentPDF
83 FR 52602 - Destra International & Event-Driven Credit Fund and Destra Capital Advisors LLC; Notice of ApplicationPDF
83 FR 52581 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; LCH SA; Order Approving Proposed Rule Change Relating to Implementation of Electronic Exercise PlatformPDF
83 FR 52579 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; New York Stock Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Fees for Routing Orders in UTP Securities Priced Below $1.00PDF
83 FR 52593 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq ISE, LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend Certain Maker/Taker Fees in Section I of the Exchanges Schedule of FeesPDF
83 FR 52605 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Cboe EDGX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Introduce Equities Purge Ports To (1) Establish Purge Ports for Equities Trading and Amend the Interpretations and Policies to Rule 11.10, Order Execution, To Reflect the Proposed Purge Ports, and (2) Modify the Fee Schedule Applicable To the Exchange's Equities Platform (“EDGX Equities”) to Identify and To Set Fees for Purge PortsPDF
83 FR 52598 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Cboe EDGA Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Introduce Equities Purge Ports to (1) Establish Purge Ports for Equities Trading and Amend the Interpretations and Policies to Rule 11.10, Order Execution, To Reflect the Proposed Purge Ports, and (2) Modify the Fee Schedule Applicable to the Exchange's Equities Platform (“EDGA Equities”) To Identify and To Set Fees for Purge PortsPDF
83 FR 52588 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Introduce Equities Purge Ports To (1) Establish Purge Ports for Equities Trading and Amend the Interpretations and Policies to Rule 11.10, Order Execution, To Reflect the Proposed Purge Ports, and (2) Modify the Fee Schedule Applicable to the Exchange's Equities Platform (“BZX Equities”) To Identify and To Set Fees for Purge PortsPDF
83 FR 52595 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Cboe BYX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Introduce Equities Purge Ports To (1) Establish Purge Ports for Equities Trading and Amend the Interpretations and Policies to Rule 11.10, Order Execution, To Reflect the Proposed Purge Ports, and (2) Modify the Fee Schedule Applicable to the Exchange's Equities Platform (“BYX Equities”) To Identify and To Set Fees for Purge PortsPDF
83 FR 52591 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Related to Fees on Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc.PDF
83 FR 52586 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE American LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend Rule 7.14E, Clearance and SettlementPDF
83 FR 52462 - Medicare Program; Medicare Part B Monthly Actuarial Rates, Premium Rates, and Annual Deductible Beginning January 1, 2019PDF
83 FR 52455 - Medicare Program; CY 2019 Part A Premiums for the Uninsured Aged and for Certain Disabled Individuals Who Have Exhausted Other EntitlementPDF
83 FR 52611 - Response to Comments on National Transit Database Reporting Changes and ClarificationsPDF
83 FR 52450 - Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications CommissionPDF
83 FR 52459 - Medicare Program; CY 2019 Inpatient Hospital Deductible and Hospital and Extended Care Services Coinsurance AmountsPDF
83 FR 52520 - National Register of Historic Places; Notification of Pending Nominations and Related ActionsPDF
83 FR 52507 - National Register of Historic Places; Notification of Pending Nominations and Related ActionsPDF
83 FR 52454 - Implementation of Section 2695 (42 U.S.C. 300ff-131) Public Law 111-87: Infectious Diseases and Circumstances Relevant to Notification Requirements: Definition of Emergency Response EmployeePDF
83 FR 52376 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 52426 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Recent Graduates Employment and Earnings Survey (RGEES) Standards and Survey FormPDF
83 FR 52320 - Safety Zone; Blue Angels Air Show; St. Johns River, Jacksonville, FLPDF
83 FR 52333 - Special Local Regulations; Marine Events in the Coast Guard Sector Detroit Captain of the Port ZonePDF
83 FR 52355 - Great Lakes Pilotage Rates-2019 Annual Review and Revisions to MethodologyPDF
83 FR 52498 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Application for Extension of Bond for Temporary ImportationPDF
83 FR 52450 - Termination of Dormant ProceedingsPDF
83 FR 52420 - Privacy Act of 1974; System of RecordsPDF
83 FR 52317 - Privacy Act of 1974; ImplementationPDF
83 FR 52379 - Request for Comments on the Cross-Agency Priority Goal: Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset: Phase 2PDF
83 FR 52336 - Registration ModernizationPDF
83 FR 52353 - New Mailing Standards for Domestic Mailing Services ProductsPDF
83 FR 52326 - Domestic Competitive Products Pricing and Mailing Standards ChangesPDF
83 FR 52351 - International Mailing Services: Product and Price Changes-CPIPDF
83 FR 52323 - International Competitive Services Product and Price ChangesPDF
83 FR 52345 - Adopting Standards for Laboratory RequirementsPDF
83 FR 52618 - Change in Rates and Classes of General Applicability for Competitive ProductsPDF
83 FR 52726 - De Minimis Error Safe Harbor Exceptions to Penalties for Failure To File Correct Information Returns or Furnish Correct Payee StatementsPDF
83 FR 52694 - Fees for the Administration of the Toxic Substances Control ActPDF
83 FR 52377 - Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE); Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers and Ranchers Request for NominationsPDF
83 FR 52376 - Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE); Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers-Solicitation for NominationsPDF
83 FR 52391 - Announcement of July 2018 Approved International Trade Administration Trade MissionsPDF

Issue

83 201 Wednesday, October 17, 2018 Contents Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 52376-52377 2018-22521 Requests for Nominations: Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers, 52376 2018-22146 Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers and Ranchers, 52377 2018-22149
Animal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service NOTICES Determinations: Texas A and M AgriLife Research; Nonregulated Status of Cotton Genetically Engineered for Ultra-low Gossypol Levels in Cottonseed, 52377-52378 2018-22545 Antitrust Division Antitrust Division NOTICES Changes under the National Cooperative Research and Production Act: UHD Alliance, Inc., 52557-52558 2018-22543 Proposed Final Judgment and Competitive Impact Statement: United States v. CVS Health Corp. and Aetna, Inc., 52558-52569 2018-22665 United States v. United Technologies Corp., et al., 52542-52557 2018-22555 Centers Disease Centers for Disease Control and Prevention NOTICES Charter Renewals: Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection and Control Advisory Committee, 52455 2018-22561 Disease, Disability, and Injury Prevention and Control Special Emphasis Panel, 52455 2018-22616 Infectious Diseases and Circumstances Relevant to Notification Requirements: Definition of Emergency Response Employee, 52454-52455 2018-22522 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services NOTICES Medicaid Program: CY 2019 Inpatient Hospital Deductible and Hospital and Extended Care Services Coinsurance Amounts, 52459-52462 2018-22526 Medicare and Medicaid Program: Application from the Accreditation Association for Hospitals/Health Systems—Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program for Approval of its Hospital Accreditation Program, 52458-52459 2018-22546 Medicare Program: CY 2019 Part A Premiums for the Uninsured Aged and for Certain Disabled Individuals Who Have Exhausted Other Entitlement, 52455-52458 2018-22529 Medicare Part B Monthly Actuarial Rates, Premium Rates, and Annual Deductible Beginning January 1, 2019, 52462-52471 2018-22530 Civil Rights Civil Rights Commission NOTICES Meetings: Colorado Advisory Committee, 52379 2018-22614 Connecticut Advisory Committee, 52378-52379 2018-22615 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Drawbridge Operations: Delaware River, Pennsauken Township, NJ, 52319-52320 2018-22692 Safety Zones: Blue Angels Air Show; St. Johns River, Jacksonville, FL, 52320-52322 2018-22519 PROPOSED RULES Great Lakes Pilotage Rates—2019 Annual Review and Revisions to Methodology, 52355-52375 2018-22513 Special Local Regulations: Marine Events in Coast Guard Sector Detroit Captain of the Port Zone, 52333-52336 2018-22517 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: OMB Control Number: 1625-0035; Correction, 52498 2018-22552 OMB Control Number: 1625-0069; Correction, 52498 2018-22553 Commerce Commerce Department See

Economic Analysis Bureau

See

Foreign-Trade Zones Board

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOTICES Cross-Agency Priority Goal: Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset: Phase 2, 52379-52381 2018-22490
Committee Implementation Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements NOTICES Commercial Availability Request under U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, 52418-52419 2018-22610 Consumer Product Consumer Product Safety Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 52419 2018-22731 Copyright Office Copyright Office, Library of Congress PROPOSED RULES Registration Modernization, 52336-52345 2018-22486 Corporation Corporation for National and Community Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Application Package for Employers of National Service Enrollment Form and Employers of National Service Annual Survey, 52419-52420 2018-22636 Defense Department Defense Department RULES Privacy Act; Implementation, 52317-52319 2018-22507 NOTICES Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 52420-52426 2018-22508 Economic Analysis Bureau Economic Analysis Bureau NOTICES Meetings: Bureau of Economic Analysis Advisory Committee, 52381-52382 2018-22547 Education Department Education Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Recent Graduates Employment and Earnings Survey Standards and Survey Form, 52426-52427 2018-22520 Application to Pilot: Federal Student Aid's Next Generation Financial Services Environment—Payment Vehicle Account Program, 52427-52436 2018-22646 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

NOTICES Procedures for Conducting Electric Transmission Congestion Studies, 52436 2018-22648
Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Fees for Administration of Toxic Substances Control Act, 52694-52724 2018-22252 NOTICES Requests for Nominations: Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest System Advisory Board, 52446-52448 2018-22651 Requests to Voluntarily Cancel Certain Pesticide Registrations, 52448-52450 2018-22657 Requests to Voluntarily Cancel Certain Pesticide Registrations and Amend Registrations to Terminate Certain Uses, 52444-52446 2018-22658 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: The Boeing Company Airplanes, 52305-52313 R1--2018--21460 NOTICES Petition for Exemption; Summary: Boeing Co., 52610 2018-22662 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 52450-52451 2018-22527 Termination of Dormant Proceedings, 52450 2018-22510 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 52442-52443 2018-22611 Combined Filings, 52438-52439, 52441 2018-22624 2018-22625 Complaints: Southwest Airlines Co., United Aviation Fuels Corp. v. Colonial Pipeline Co., 52439 2018-22628 Effectiveness of Exempt Wholesale Generator Status: Bluebell Solar, LLC; Casa Mesa Wind, LLC; Titan Solar, LLC; et al., 52439 2018-22626 Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Cheyenne Connector, LLC, Rockies Express Pipeline, LLC; Cheyenne Connector Pipeline, Cheyenne Hub Enhancement Projects, 52437-52438 2018-22608 Filings: Virginia Electric and Power Co., 52439 2018-22607 Hydroelectric Applications: New England Hydropower Co., LLC, 52436-52437, 52440 2018-22606 2018-22609 Initial Market-Based Rate Filings Including Requests for Blanket Section 204 Authorizations: Athens Energy, LLC, 52440-52441 2018-22627 License Transfers: Andrew Peklo, III; Pomperaug Hydro, LLC, 52438 2018-22612 Federal Housing Finance Agency Federal Housing Finance Agency NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 52451-52452 2018-22667 Federal Railroad Federal Railroad Administration NOTICES Compliance Waivers; Petitions, 52610-52611 2018-22562 2018-22563 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 52452-52453 2018-22551 Federal Transit Federal Transit Administration NOTICES Response to Comments on National Transit Database Reporting Changes and Clarifications, 52611-52614 2018-22528 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration RULES Medical Devices: Immunology and Microbiology Devices; Classification of Herpes Virus Nucleic Acid-Based Cutaneous and Mucocutaneous Lesion Panel, 52313-52315 2018-22694 Neurological Devices; Classification of External Upper Limb Tremor Stimulator, 52315-52316 2018-22695 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Disease Awareness and Prescription Drug Promotion on Television, 52472-52477 2018-22567 Experimental Study of Accelerated Approval Disclosure, 52478-52481 2018-22570 Guidance for Industry on Establishing that Tobacco Product was Commercially Marketed in United States as of February 15, 2007, 52488-52490 2018-22578 Physician Interpretation of Information about Prescription Drugs in Scientific Publications Versus Promotional Pieces, 52490-52494 2018-22569 Debarment Orders: Isachi Gil, 52487-52488 2018-22581 Determinations of Regulatory Review Periods for Purposes of Patent Extensions: BRINEURA, 52483-52484 2018-22559 DUPIXENT, 52481-52483 2018-22566 TREMFYA, 52471-52472 2018-22571 Guidance: Presenting Quantitative Efficacy and Risk Information in Direct-to-Consumer Promotional Labeling and Advertisements, 52484-52487 2018-22568 Oncology Center of Excellence: Pediatric Oncology Program, 52477-52478 2018-22565 Foreign Trade Foreign-Trade Zones Board NOTICES Production Activities: Eastman Kodak Co., Foreign-Trade Zone 106, Oklahoma City, OK, 52382 2018-22583 Mayfield Consumer Products; Foreign-Trade Zone 294; Western Kentucky, 52383 2018-22584 Reorganizations and Expansions under Alternative Site Frameworks: Foreign-Trade Zone 142, Salem/Millville, NJ, 52382 2018-22603 Subzone Applications: Mayfield Consumer Products; Foreign-Trade Zone 294; Western Kentucky, 52382-52383 2018-22582 General Services General Services Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Mobile Now Act, 52453 2018-22650 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

Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Nationwide Cyber Security Review Assessment, 52499-52500 2018-22548 Telecommunications Service Priority System, 52500-52501 2018-22549
Housing Housing and Urban Development Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Maintenance Wage Rate Recommendation, Maintenance Wage Rate Survey and Maintenance Wage Survey—Summary Sheet, 52503 2018-22645 Requests for Nominations: Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee, 52501-52503 2018-22644 Institute of Museum and Library Services Institute of Museum and Library Services NOTICES Meetings: National Museum and Library Services Board, 52571 2018-22618 Interior Interior Department See

Land Management Bureau

See

National Park Service

NOTICES National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Procedures for Bureau of Reclamation, 52503-52505 2018-22630
Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service PROPOSED RULES De Minimis Error Safe Harbor Exceptions to Penalties for Failure to File Correct Information Returns or Furnish Correct Payee Statements, 52726-52749 2018-22393 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Certain Uncoated Paper from Indonesia, 52383-52384 2018-22633 Tapered Roller Bearings and Parts Thereof, Finished and Unfinished, from the People's Republic of China, 52384-52385 2018-22579 Initiation of Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigations: Mattresses from the People's Republic of China, 52386-52391 2018-22577 July 2018 Approved Trade Missions, 52391-52394 2018-22097 Requests for Nominations: Corporation for Travel Promotion Board of Directors, 52385-52386 2018-22580 Justice Department Justice Department See

Antitrust Division

Labor Department Labor Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Job ChalleNGe Evaluation, 52570 2018-22556 Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Competitive Coal Leases: ALES-55199, Alabama; Correction, 52505 2018-22666 Library Library of Congress See

Copyright Office, Library of Congress

NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NOTICES Records of Decisions: NASA Groundwater Cleanup Activities at Santa Susana Field Laboratory, 52570-52571 2018-22660 National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Humanities NOTICES Meetings: Humanities Panel, 52571-52572 2018-22544 National Foundation National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities See

Institute of Museum and Library Services

See

National Endowment for the Humanities

National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Meetings: Center for Scientific Review, 52494-52497 2018-22623 2018-22632 National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, 52495 2018-22634 National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 52495 2018-22629 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 52496-52497 2018-22620 2018-22621 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 52495 2018-22622 National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 52497-52498 2018-22631 National Institute on Aging, 52497 2018-22619 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Authorization of Revised Reporting Requirements Due to Catastrophic Conditions for Federal Seafood Dealers and Individual Fishing Quota Dealers in Portions of Florida, 52330-52332 2018-22647 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska: Pollock in Statistical Area 610 in Gulf of Alaska, 52332 2018-22642 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 52417 2018-22573 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Estimating Economic Burden of Vibrio parahaemolyticus in Washington State Aquaculture, 52416-52417 2018-22574 Requests for Nominations: NOAA Science Advisory Board, 52417-52418 2018-22637 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities: In-Water Demolition and Construction Activities Associated with Harbor Improvement Project in Statter Harbor, AK, 52394-52416 2018-22604 National Park National Park Service NOTICES Inventory Completions: Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, 52508-52520, 52538-52539 2018-22597 2018-22600 Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; Correction, 52541-52542 2018-22594 Arizona State Parks and Trails, Phoenix, AZ, and Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, 52539-52541 2018-22596 California Department of Parks and Recreation, Sacramento, CA, 52521-52522, 52526-52527 2018-22590 2018-22591 Carter County Museum, Ekalaka, MT, 52537 2018-22589 Department of Defense, Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District, Nashville, TN; 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Treasury Treasury Department See

Internal Revenue Service

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 52614-52616 2018-22554
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83 201 Wednesday, October 17, 2018 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2017-0127; Product Identifier 2016-NM-161-AD; Amendment 39-19447; AD 2018-20-13] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all The Boeing Company Model 737 airplanes, excluding Model 737-100, -200, -200C, -300, -400, and -500 series airplanes; all Model 757-200, -200PF, -200CB, and -300 series airplanes; and all Model 767-200, -300, -300F, and -400ER series airplanes. This AD was prompted by reports of latently failed motor-operated valve (MOV) actuators of the fuel shutoff valves. This AD requires replacing certain MOV actuators of the fuel shutoff valves for the left and right engines (on certain airplanes) and of the auxiliary power unit (APU) fuel shutoff valve (on Model 757 and Model 767 airplanes); and revising the maintenance or inspection program to incorporate certain airworthiness limitations (AWLs). We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

This AD is effective November 15, 2018.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of November 15, 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-2017-0127.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-0127; 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:

Tak Kobayashi, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Section, FAA, Seattle ACO Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; phone and fax: 206-231-3553; email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to all The Boeing Company Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes; Model 757 airplanes; and Model 767 airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on March 9, 2017 (82 FR 13073). The NPRM was prompted by reports of latently failed MOV actuators of the fuel shutoff valves. The NPRM proposed to require replacing certain MOV actuators of the fuel shutoff valves for the left and right engines (on all airplanes) and of the APU fuel shutoff valve (on Model 757 and Model 767 airplanes); and revising the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, to incorporate certain AWLs.

We subsequently issued a supplemental NPRM (SNPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to all Model 737 airplanes, excluding Model 737-100, -200, -200C, -300, -400, and -500 series airplanes; and all Model 757 and 767 airplanes. The SNPRM published in the Federal Register on April 3, 2018 (83 FR 14207). The SNPRM proposed to add Model 737-8 airplanes and future Model 737 airplanes to the applicability.

We are issuing this AD to address a latent failure of the actuator for the engine or APU fuel shutoff valves, which could result in the inability to shut off fuel to the engine or the APU, and, in case of certain engine or APU fires, could result in structural failure.

Republication Editorial Note:

Rule document 2018-21460 was originally published on pages 51304 through 51313 in the issue of Thursday, October 11, 2018. In that publication, on page 51307, in the second column, in (c)(1), “Estimated -200” should read “-200”. The corrected document is published here in its entirety.

Comments

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

Request To Exclude Model 737-8 and Future Model 737

Boeing requested that we revise the proposed AD (in the SNPRM) to exclude Model 737-8 airplanes and future Model 737 airplanes, because MOV actuator part number MA30A1017 (Boeing P/N S343T003-76) is the only certified MOV actuator for use on any future Model 737 airplanes as documented in the drawings and Illustrated Parts Catalog (IPC). The commenter stated that using airworthiness limitations to prohibit the use of parts with AD restrictions on one minor model series (Model 737 next generation (NG) airplanes) from being used on a different minor model series (Model 737-8 and future Model 737 airplanes) that does not allow the use of the restricted parts is unnecessary and implies that certified configurations and ADs can be overridden via an Advisory Circular (AC) or other means.

We disagree with the commenter's request. The MOV actuator currently allowed on Model 737-8 and 737-9 airplanes, part number MA30A1017 (Boeing P/N S343T003-76), is the only part number certificated on those models, as documented in the manufacturer's drawings. However, manufacturer's proprietary drawings are not readily available to all affected operators, and there is no prohibition against installing MOV actuator part numbers that were determined unsafe in this AD. We have been informed by operators that the practice of rotating physically interchangeable parts among airplanes is widespread, and even a key part of their operations. In the absence of an AD or AWL that restricts the installation of the affected parts, we cannot be assured that the unsafe condition will not be introduced to Model 737-8, 737-9, and future 737 airplanes. In addition, ACs are advisory in nature and do not include mandatory actions. Therefore, ACs do not take precedence over ADs. We have not changed this AD regarding this issue.

Request To Remove Requirement To Revise Maintenance Program

Boeing requested that we remove paragraph (j) of the proposed AD and revise FAA AC 120-77 or other applicable advisory material to preclude installation of equipment that both Boeing and the FAA have determined cause a potential safety issue, against certified configurations. Boeing suggested that listing parts that are not approved for use on a given model sets a precedent that can become unmanageable, and that identifying parts that are acceptable for a given airplane and installation position is a more explicit and manageable approach. Boeing added that the use of AWLs to prohibit AD-driven part installations is unnecessary and implies that certified configurations and ADs can be overridden via an AC or other means.

We disagree with the commenter's request. The FAA is currently considering revising AC 120-77 to help prevent the rotation of parts as a minor alteration. However, ACs are advisory in nature and do not include mandatory actions. Therefore, ACs cannot prohibit the installation of unsafe equipment, and they do not take precedence over ADs. In addition, the practice of rotating parts is widespread, and revising the AC will not improve the situation in a timely manner. Certain MOV actuator part numbers have been identified to be unsafe for installation at certain locations. Since those part numbers continue to be available and acceptable for installation at certain other locations, we consider the use of AWLs to prohibit specific parts installation to be a reasonable way to address the safety concern in a timely manner. We have not changed this AD regarding this issue.

Request To Clarify Affected Part Numbers

FedEx requested that we revise paragraphs (h)(2) and (h)(3) of the proposed AD (in the SNPRM) to state that no replacement is necessary if the MOV actuator part number is one of the following alternative part numbers: AV-31-1 (Boeing P/N S343T003-111), MA11A1265 (Boeing P/N S343T003-14), or MA11A1265-1 (Boeing P/N S343T003-41). FedEx stated that the service information specified in paragraphs (h)(2) and (h)(3) of the proposed AD (in the SNPRM) explicitly state that those alternative MOV actuator part numbers are acceptable substitutes for P/N MA30A1017 (Boeing P/N S343T003-76).

We disagree with the commenter's request. However, we agree to clarify the requirements of paragraphs (h)(2) and (h)(3) of this AD. Paragraphs (h)(2) and (h)(3) of this AD require replacement of MOV actuator P/N MA20A2027 (Boeing P/N S343T003-56) and P/N MA30A1001 (Boeing P/N S343T003-66) with an acceptable MOV actuator part number. Those paragraphs do not state or imply that MOV actuator P/N AV-31-1 (Boeing P/N S343T003-111), P/N MA11A1265 (Boeing P/N S343T003-14), or P/N MA11A1265-1 (Boeing P/N S343T003-41) must be replaced. Therefore, we consider that adding the proposed statement is unnecessary. We have not changed this AD regarding this issue.

Request To Add a Terminating Action Provision

FedEx requested that we revise paragraphs (i)(2) and (i)(3) of the proposed AD (in the SNPRM) to state that the actuator installation would terminate the daily functional checks required by AWLs 28-AWL-ENG and 28-AWL-APU. The commenter added that installation of MOV actuator part number MA30A1017 (Boeing P/N S343T003-76) or an acceptable alternative part number should substantially increase the safety value.

We disagree with the commenter's request. We have determined that accomplishing the applicable maintenance or inspection program revisions specified in paragraph (j) of this AD are the appropriate terminating actions. As discussed previously in the preamble of the SNPRM, we included the conditions (accomplishing the applicable maintenance or inspection program revisions) that would terminate the requirements of AD 2015-21-10, Amendment 39-18303 (80 FR 65130, October 26, 2015); AD 2015-19-04, Amendment 39-18267 (80 FR 55505, September 16, 2015); and AD 2015-21-09, Amendment 39-18302 (80 FR 65121, October 26, 2015). Those ADs require incorporation of the AWLs that require repetitive inspections of specific MOV actuator part numbers installed at specific locations. The requirements of those ADs may be terminated if the applicable conditions specified in paragraph (m) of this AD are met. We have not changed this AD regarding this issue.

Request To Refer to Latest Service Information

Southwest Airlines requested that we refer to the latest revisions of the airworthiness limitations documents.

We agree with the commenter's request and have revised this AD to refer to the current airworthiness limitations as the appropriate source of service information, and have included earlier revisions of the service information as credit in this AD. There are no changes to the required actions of this AD because the tasks that must be incorporated into the maintenance or inspection program are not changed in Boeing 737-600/700/700C/800/900/900ER Special Compliance Items/Airworthiness Limitations, D626A001-9-04, Revision June 2018; Boeing 757 Maintenance Planning Data (MPD) Document, Section 9, Airworthiness Limitations (AWLS) and Certification Maintenance Requirements (CMRs), D622N001-9, Revision May 2018; or Boeing 767-200/300/300F/400 Special Compliance Items/Airworthiness Limitations, D622T001-9-04, Revision March 2018; except for Task 28-AWL-23 for Model 767-200, -300, -300F, and -400ER series airplanes, which adds instructions that further describe the conditions for performing electrical bonding resistance measurements, in addition to being more descriptive regarding cap seal application.

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed the following service information.

• Boeing Service Bulletin 737-28-1314, dated November 17, 2014, describes procedures for installing new MOV actuators of the fuel shutoff valves for the left and right engines on Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes.

• Boeing 737-600/700/700C/800/900/900ER Special Compliance Items/Airworthiness Limitations, D626A001-9-04, Revision June 2018, describes AWLs for fuel tank ignition prevention on Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes.

• Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 757-28-0138, Revision 1, dated June 19, 2017, describes procedures for installing new MOV actuators of the fuel shutoff valves for the left and right engines, and of the APU fuel shutoff valve, on Model 757 airplanes.

• Boeing 757 Maintenance Planning Data (MPD) Document, Section 9, Airworthiness Limitations (AWLs) and Certification Maintenance Requirements (CMRs), D622N001-9, Revision May 2018, describes AWLs for fuel tank ignition prevention on Model 757 airplanes.

• Boeing Service Bulletin 767-28-0115, Revision 1, dated June 2, 2016, describes procedures for installing new MOV actuators of the fuel shutoff valves for the left and right engines, and of the APU fuel shutoff valve, on Model 767 airplanes.

• Boeing 767-200/300/300F/400 Special Compliance Items/Airworthiness Limitations, D622T001-9-04, Revision March 2018, describes AWLs for fuel tank ignition prevention on Model 767 airplanes.

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 2,557 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 Model 737 (1,440 airplanes) Up to 6 work-hours × $85 per hour = Up to $510 Up to $12,000 Up to $12,510 Up to $18,014,400. Inspection and replacement Model 757 (675 airplanes) Up to 9 work-hours × $85 per hour = Up to $765 Up to $18,000 Up to $18,765 Up to $12,666,375. Inspection and replacement Model 767 (442 airplanes) Up to 9 work-hours × $85 per hour = Up to $765 Up to $18,000 Up to $18,765 Up to $8,294,130.

For the maintenance/inspection program revision, we have determined that this action takes an average of 90 work-hours per operator, although we recognize that this number may vary from operator to operator. In the past, we have estimated that this action takes 1 work-hour per airplane. Since operators incorporate maintenance or inspection program changes for their affected fleets, we have determined that a per-operator estimate is more accurate than a per-airplane estimate. Therefore, we estimate the total cost per operator to be $7,650 (90 work-hours × $85 per work-hour).

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): 2018-20-13 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-19447; Docket No. FAA-2017-0127; Product Identifier 2016-NM-161-AD. (a) Effective Date

This AD is effective November 15, 2018.

(b) Affected ADs

This AD affects AD 2015-21-09, Amendment 39-18302 (80 FR 65121, October 26, 2015) (“AD 2015-21-09”); AD 2015-19-04, Amendment 39-18267, (80 FR 55505, September 16, 2015) (“AD 2015-19-04”); and AD 2015-21-10, Amendment 39-18303 (80 FR 65130, October 26, 2015) (“AD 2015-21-10”).

(c) Applicability

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

(1) Model 737 airplanes, excluding Model 737-100, -200, -200C, -300, -400, and -500 series airplanes.

(2) Model 757-200, -200PF, -200CB, and -300 series airplanes.

(3) Model 767-200, -300, -300F, and -400ER series airplanes.

(d) Subject

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

(e) Unsafe Condition

This AD was prompted by reports of latently failed motor-operated valve (MOV) actuators of the fuel shutoff valves. We are issuing this AD to prevent a latent failure of the actuator for the engine or auxiliary power unit (APU) fuel shutoff valves, which could result in the inability to shut off fuel to the engine or the APU, and, in case of certain engine or APU fires, could result in structural failure.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Inspection To Determine Part Number (P/N)

(1) For Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes: Within 8 years after the effective date of this AD, do an inspection to determine the part numbers of the MOV actuators of the fuel shutoff valves for the left and right engines, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin 737-28-1314, dated November 17, 2014. A review of airplane maintenance records is acceptable in lieu of this inspection if the part number of the MOV actuator at each location can be conclusively determined from that review.

(2) For airplanes identified in paragraphs (c)(2) and (c)(3) of this AD: Within 8 years after the effective date of this AD, do an inspection to determine the part numbers of the MOV actuators of the fuel shutoff valves for the left and right engines, and of the APU fuel shutoff valve, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 757-28-0138, Revision 1, dated June 19, 2017 (“SB 757-28-0138 R1”); or Boeing Service Bulletin 767-28-0115, Revision 1, dated June 2, 2016 (“SB 767-28-0115 R1”); as applicable. A review of airplane maintenance records is acceptable in lieu of this inspection if the part number of the MOV actuator at each location can be conclusively determined from that review.

(h) Replacement

(1) For Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes on which any MOV actuator having P/N MA20A2027 or P/N MA30A1001 (Boeing P/N S343T003-56 or Boeing P/N S343T003-66, respectively), is found during the inspection required by paragraph (g)(1) of this AD: Within 8 years after the effective date of this AD, replace each affected MOV actuator with an MOV actuator having P/N MA30A1017 (Boeing P/N S343T003-76), in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin 737-28-1314, dated November 17, 2014. Where Boeing Service Bulletin 737-28-1314, dated November 17, 2014, specifies the installation of a new MOV actuator, this AD allows the installation of a new or serviceable MOV actuator. While not required by this AD, the Accomplishment Instructions specified in Boeing Service Bulletin 737-28-1314, dated November 17, 2014, for replacing MOV actuators having Boeing P/N S343T003-66 or Boeing P/N S343T003-56 may be used for replacing MOV actuators having P/N MA20A1001-1 (Boeing P/N S343T003-39).

(2) For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(2) of this AD on which any MOV actuator having P/N MA20A2027 or P/N MA30A1001 (Boeing P/N S343T003-56 or Boeing P/N S343T003-66, respectively) is found during the inspection required by paragraph (g)(2) of this AD: Within 8 years after the effective date of this AD, replace each affected MOV actuator with an MOV actuator having P/N MA30A1017 (Boeing P/N S343T003-76), P/N AV-31-1 (Boeing P/N S343T003-111), or P/N MA11A1265-1 (Boeing P/N S343T003-41), in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of SB 757-28-0138 R1. Where SB 757-28-0138 R1 specifies the installation of a new MOV actuator, this AD allows the installation of a new or serviceable MOV actuator. While not required by this AD, the Accomplishment Instructions specified in SB 757-28-0138 R1 for replacing MOV actuators having Boeing P/N S343T003-66 or Boeing P/N S343T003-56 may be used for replacing MOV actuators having P/N MA20A1001-1 (Boeing P/N S343T003-39).

(3) For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(3) of this AD on which any MOV actuator having P/N MA20A2027 (Boeing P/N S343T003-56) or P/N MA30A1001 (Boeing P/N S343T003-66) is found during the inspection required by paragraph (g)(2) of this AD: Within 8 years after the effective date of this AD, replace each affected MOV actuator with an MOV actuator having P/N MA30A1017 (Boeing P/N S343T003-76), P/N AV-31-1 (Boeing P/N S343T003-111), P/N MA11A1265 (Boeing P/N S343T003-14), or P/N MA11A1265-1 (Boeing P/N S343T003-41), in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of SB 767-28-0115 R1. Where SB 767-28-0115 R1 specifies the installation of a new MOV actuator, this AD allows the installation of a new or serviceable MOV actuator. While not required by this AD, the Accomplishment Instructions specified in SB 767-28-0115 R1, for replacing MOV actuators having Boeing P/N S343T003-66 or Boeing P/N S343T003-56 may be used for replacing MOV actuators having P/N MA20A1001-1 (Boeing P/N S343T003-39).

(i) Maintenance or Inspection Program Revision

(1) For Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes with an original certificate of airworthiness or original export certificate of airworthiness issued on or before the effective date of this AD: Prior to or concurrently with the actions required by paragraph (h)(1) of this AD or within 30 days after the effective date of this AD, whichever is later, revise the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, to add the airworthiness limitations (AWLs) specified in paragraphs (i)(1)(i), (i)(1)(ii), and (i)(1)(iii) of this AD. The initial compliance time for accomplishing the actions required by AWL No. 28-AWL-24 is within 6 years since the most recent inspection was performed in accordance with AWL No. 28-AWL-24, or within 6 years since the actions specified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-28A1207 were accomplished, whichever is later.

(i) AWL No. 28-AWL-21, Motor Operated Valve (MOV) Actuator—Lightning and Fault Current Protection Electrical Bond, as specified in Boeing 737-600/700/700C/800/900/900ER Special Compliance Items/Airworthiness Limitations, D626A001-9-04, Revision June 2018.

(ii) AWL No. 28-AWL-22, Motor Operated Valve (MOV) Actuator—Electrical Design Feature, as specified in Boeing 737-600/700/700C/800/900/900ER Special Compliance Items/Airworthiness Limitations, D626A001-9-04, Revision June 2018.

(iii) AWL No. 28-AWL-24, Spar Valve Motor Operated Valve (MOV) Actuator—Lightning and Fault Current Protection Electrical Bond, as specified in Boeing 737-600/700/700C/800/900/900ER Special Compliance Items/Airworthiness Limitations, D626A001-9-04, Revision June 2018.

(2) For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(2) of this AD: Prior to or concurrently with the actions required by paragraph (h)(2) of this AD, revise the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, to add the AWLs specified in paragraphs (i)(2)(i), (i)(2)(ii), and (i)(2)(iii) of this AD. The initial compliance time for accomplishing the actions required by AWL No. 28-AWL-25 is within 6 years since the most recent inspection was performed in accordance with AWL No. 28-AWL-25, or within 6 years since the actions specified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 757-28A0088 were accomplished, whichever is later.

(i) AWL No. 28-AWL-23, Motor Operated Valve (MOV) Actuator—Lightning and Fault Current Protection Electrical Bond, as specified in Boeing 757 Maintenance Planning Data (MPD) Document, Section 9, Airworthiness Limitations (AWLs) and Certification Maintenance Requirements (CMRs), D622N001-9, Revision May 2018.

(ii) AWL No. 28-AWL-24, MOV Actuator—Electrical Design Feature, as specified in Boeing 757 Maintenance Planning Data (MPD) Document, Section 9, Airworthiness Limitations (AWLs) and Certification Maintenance Requirements (CMRs), D622N001-9, Revision May 2018.

(iii) AWL No. 28-AWL-25, Motor Operated Valve (MOV) Actuator—Lightning and Fault Current Protection Electrical Bond, as specified in Boeing 757 Maintenance Planning Data (MPD) Document, Section 9, Airworthiness Limitations (AWLs) and Certification Maintenance Requirements (CMRs), D622N001-9, Revision May 2018.

(3) For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(3) of this AD with an original certificate of airworthiness or original export certificate of airworthiness issued on or before the effective date of this AD: Prior to or concurrently with the actions required by paragraph (h)(3) of this AD, revise the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, to add the AWLs specified in paragraphs (i)(3)(i) and (i)(3)(ii) of this AD.

(i) AWL No. 28-AWL-23, Motor Operated Valve (MOV) Actuator—Lightning and Fault Current Protection Electrical Bond, as specified in Boeing 767-200/300/300F/400 Special Compliance Items/Airworthiness Limitations, D622T001-9-04, Revision March 2018.

(ii) AWL No. 28-AWL-24, Motor Operated Valve (MOV) Actuator—Electrical Design Feature, as specified in Boeing 767-200/300/300F/400 Special Compliance Items/Airworthiness Limitations, D622T001-9-04, Revision March 2018.

(j) Maintenance or Inspection Program Revision for Parts Installation Prohibition

(1) For Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes: After accomplishing the actions required by paragraphs (g)(1), (h)(1), and (i)(1) of this AD, as applicable, on all airplanes in an operator's fleet, and within 8 years after the effective date of the AD, revise the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, by incorporating the AWL specified in figure 1 to paragraph (j)(1) of this AD.

BILLING CODE 1301-00-D ER17OC18.019

(2) For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(2) of this AD: After accomplishing the actions required by paragraphs (g)(2), (h)(2), and (i)(2) of this AD, as applicable, on all airplanes in an operator's fleet, and within 8 years after the effective date of the AD, revise the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, by incorporating the AWL specified in figure 2 to paragraph (j)(2) of this AD.

ER17OC18.020

(3) For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(3) of this AD: After accomplishing the actions required by paragraphs (g)(2), (h)(3), and (i)(3) of this AD, as applicable, on all airplanes in an operator's fleet, and within 8 years after the effective date of the AD, revise the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, by incorporating the AWL specified in figure 3 to paragraph (j)(3) of this AD.

ER17OC18.021

(4) For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(1) of this AD, excluding Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes: Within 30 days since the date of issuance of the original standard airworthiness certificate or the date of issuance of the original export certificate of airworthiness, or within 30 days after the effective date of this AD, whichever is later, revise the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, by incorporating the AWL specified in figure 4 to paragraph (j)(4) of this AD.

ER17OC18.022 BILLING CODE 1301-00-C (k) No Alternative Actions, Intervals, and Critical Design Configuration Control Limitations (CDCCLs)

(1) After the maintenance or inspection program has been revised as required by paragraph (i) of this AD, no alternative actions (e.g., inspections), intervals, or CDCCLs, may be used unless the actions, intervals, and CDCCLs are approved as an alternative method of compliance (AMOC) in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (o) of this AD.

(2) After the maintenance or inspection program has been revised as required by paragraph (j) of this AD, no alternative actions (e.g., inspections), intervals, or CDCCLs, may be used unless the actions, intervals, and CDCCLs are approved as an AMOC in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (o) of this AD.

(l) Parts Installation Prohibition

(1) For Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes: As of the effective date of this AD, no person may replace an MOV actuator having P/N MA30A1017 (Boeing P/N S343T003-76) with an MOV actuator having P/N MA20A2027 or P/N MA30A1001 (Boeing P/N S343T003-56 or Boeing P/N S343T003-66, respectively) for the left engine and right engine fuel shutoff valves.

(2) For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(2) of this AD: As of the effective date of this AD, no person may replace an MOV actuator having P/N AV-31-1 (Boeing P/N S343T003-111), P/N MA11A1265 (Boeing P/N S343T003-14), P/N MA11A1265-1 (Boeing P/N S343T003-41), or P/N MA30A1017 (Boeing P/N S343T003-76) with an MOV actuator having P/N MA30A1001 (Boeing P/N S343T003-66) or P/N MA20A2027 (Boeing P/N S343T003-56) for the left engine and right engine fuel shutoff valves and the APU fuel shutoff valve.

(3) For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(3) of this AD: As of the effective date of this AD, no person may replace an MOV actuator having P/N AV-31-1 (Boeing P/N S343T003-111), P/N MA11A1265 (Boeing P/N S343T003-14), P/N MA11A1265-1 (Boeing P/N S343T003-41), or P/N MA30A1017 (Boeing P/N S343T003-76) with an MOV actuator having P/N MA30A1001 (Boeing P/N S343T003-66) or P/N MA20A2027 (Boeing P/N S343T003-56) for the left engine and right engine fuel shutoff valves and the APU fuel shutoff valve.

(4) For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(1) of this AD, excluding Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes: As of the effective date of this AD, no person may install an MOV actuator having P/N MA20A1001-1 (Boeing P/N S343T003-39) or replace an MOV actuator with an MOV actuator having P/N MA20A2027 or P/N MA30A1001 (Boeing P/N S343T003-56 or Boeing P/N S343T003-66, respectively) for the left engine and right engine fuel shutoff valves.

(m) Terminating Action

(1) For Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes: Accomplishing the actions required by paragraph (j)(l) of this AD terminates the requirements of paragraph (l)(1) of this AD and all requirements of AD 2015-21-10.

(2) For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(2) of this AD: Accomplishing the action required by paragraph (j)(2) of this AD terminates the requirements of paragraph (l)(2) of this AD and all requirements of AD 2015-19-04.

(3) For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(3) of this AD: Accomplishing the action required by paragraph (j)(3) of this AD terminates the requirements of paragraph (l)(3) of this AD and all requirements of AD 2015-21-09.

(4) For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(1) of this AD, excluding Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes: Accomplishing the action required by paragraph (j)(4) of this AD terminates the requirements of paragraph (l)(4) of this AD.

(n) Credit for Previous Actions

(1) This paragraph provides credit for the actions specified in paragraph (g)(2) or (h)(2) of this AD, as applicable, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 757-28-0138, dated May 18, 2016.

(2) This paragraph provides credit for the actions specified in paragraph (g)(2) or (h)(3) of this AD, as applicable, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Boeing Service Bulletin 767-28-0115, dated September 10, 2015.

(3) For Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes with an original certificate of airworthiness or original export certificate of airworthiness issued on or before the effective date of this AD, this paragraph provides credit for the actions specified in paragraph (i)(1) of this AD if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Boeing 737-600/700/700C/800/900/900ER Special Compliance Items/Airworthiness Limitations, D626A001-9-04, Revision July 2016, Revision September 2016, Revision January 2017, Revision April 2018, or Revision May 2018; or Boeing 737-600/700/700C/800/900/900ER Maintenance Planning Data (MPD) Document, Section 9, Airworthiness Limitations (AWLs) and Certification Maintenance Requirements (CMRs), D626A001-CMR, Revision October 2014, Revision November 2014, Revision January 2015, or Revision April 2016.

(4) For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(2) of this AD, this paragraph provides credit for the actions specified in paragraph (i)(2) of this AD if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Boeing 757 Maintenance Planning Data (MPD) Document, Section 9, Airworthiness Limitations (AWLs) and Certification Maintenance Requirements (CMRs), D622N001-9, Revision January 2016, Revision July 2016, or Revision February 2017.

(5) For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(3) of this AD with an original certificate of airworthiness or original export certificate of airworthiness issued on or before the effective date of this AD, this paragraph provides credit for the actions specified in paragraph (i)(3) of this AD if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Boeing 767 Special Compliance Items/Airworthiness Limitations, D622T001-9-04, Revision July 2015, Revision March 2016, Revision May 2016, Revision May 2016 R1, or Revision June 2016; or Boeing 767-200/300/300F/400 Special Compliance Items/Airworthiness Limitations, D622T001-9-04, Revision January 2018.

(6) For airplanes identified in paragraph (c)(3) of this AD with an original certificate of airworthiness or original export certificate of airworthiness issued on or before the effective date of this AD, this paragraph provides credit for the actions specified in paragraph (i)(3)(ii) of this AD if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Boeing 767 Special Compliance Items/Airworthiness Limitations, D622T001-9-04, Revision October 2014.

(o) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(1) The Manager, Seattle ACO Branch, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the manager of the certification office, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (p)(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 (o)(4)(i) and (o)(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.

(p) Related Information

(1) For more information about this AD, contact Tak Kobayashi, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Section, FAA, Seattle ACO Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; phone and fax: 206-231-3553; email: [email protected]

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

(q) 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 737-600/700/700C/800/900/900ER Special Compliance Items/Airworthiness Limitations, D626A001-9-04, Revision June 2018.

(ii) Boeing 757 Maintenance Planning Data (MPD) Document, Section 9, Airworthiness Limitations (AWLs) and Certification Maintenance Requirements (CMRs), D622N001-9, Revision May 2018.

(iii) Boeing 767-200/300/300F/400ER Special Compliance Items/Airworthiness Limitations, D622T001-9-04, Revision March 2018.

(iv) Boeing Service Bulletin 737-28-1314, dated November 17, 2014.

(v) Boeing Service Bulletin 767-28-0115, Revision 1, dated June 2, 2016.

(vi) Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 757-28-0138, Revision 1, dated June 19, 2017.

(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 September 14, 2018. John P. Piccola, Acting Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. R1-2018-21460 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1301-00-D
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 866 [Docket No. FDA-2018-N-3596] Medical Devices; Immunology and Microbiology Devices; Classification of the Herpes Virus Nucleic Acid-Based Cutaneous and Mucocutaneous Lesion Panel AGENCY:

Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

ACTION:

Final order.

SUMMARY:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is classifying the herpes virus nucleic acid-based cutaneous and mucocutaneous lesion panel into class II (special controls). The special controls that apply to the device type are identified in this order and will be part of the codified language for the herpes virus nucleic acid-based cutaneous and mucocutaneous lesion panel's classification. We are taking this action because we have determined that classifying the device into class II (special controls) will provide a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness of the device. We believe this action will also enhance patients' access to beneficial innovative devices, in part by reducing regulatory burdens.

DATES:

This order is effective October 17, 2018. The classification was applicable on May 13, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Scott McFarland, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 66, Rm. 4676, Silver Spring, MD, 20993-0002, 301-796-6217, [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

Upon request, FDA has classified the herpes virus nucleic acid-based cutaneous and mucocutaneous lesion panel as class II (special controls), which we have determined will provide a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness. In addition, we believe this action will enhance patients' access to beneficial innovation, in part by reducing regulatory burdens by placing the device into a lower device class than the automatic class III assignment.

The automatic assignment of class III occurs by operation of law and without any action by FDA, regardless of the level of risk posed by the new device. Any device that was not in commercial distribution before May 28, 1976, is automatically classified as, and remains within, class III and requires premarket approval unless and until FDA takes an action to classify or reclassify the device (see 21 U.S.C. 360c(f)(1)). We refer to these devices as “postamendments devices” because they were not in commercial distribution prior to the date of enactment of the Medical Device Amendments of 1976, which amended the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).

FDA may take a variety of actions in appropriate circumstances to classify or reclassify a device into class I or II. We may issue an order finding a new device to be substantially equivalent under section 513(i) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 360c(i) to a predicate device that does not require premarket approval. We determine whether a new device is substantially equivalent to a predicate by means of the procedures for premarket notification under section 510(k) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 360(k)) and part 807 (21 CFR part 807).

FDA may also classify a device through “De Novo” classification, a common name for the process authorized under section 513(f)(2) of the FD&C Act. Section 207 of the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997 (Pub. L. 105-115) established the first procedure for De Novo classification. Section 607 of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (Pub. L. 112-144) modified the De Novo application process by adding a second procedure. A device sponsor may utilize either procedure for De Novo classification.

Under the first procedure, the person submits a 510(k) for a device that has not previously been classified. After receiving an order from FDA classifying the device into class III under section 513(f)(1) of the FD&C Act, the person then requests a classification under section 513(f)(2).

Under the second procedure, rather than first submitting a 510(k) and then a request for classification, if the person determines that there is no legally marketed device upon which to base a determination of substantial equivalence, that person requests a classification under section 513(f)(2) of the FD&C Act.

Under either procedure for De Novo classification, FDA is required to classify the device by written order within 120 days. The classification will be according to the criteria under section 513(a)(1) of the FD&C Act. Although the device was automatically placed within class III, the De Novo classification is considered to be the initial classification of the device.

We believe this De Novo classification will enhance patients' access to beneficial innovation, in part by reducing regulatory burdens. When FDA classifies a device into class I or II via the De Novo process, the device can serve as a predicate for future devices of that type, including for 510(k)s (see 21 U.S.C. 360c(f)(2)(B)(i)). As a result, other device sponsors do not have to submit a De Novo request or premarket approval application (PMA) to market a substantially equivalent device (see 21 U.S.C. 360c(i), defining “substantial equivalence”). Instead, sponsors can use the less-burdensome 510(k) process, when necessary, to market their device.

II. De Novo Classification

For this device, FDA issued an order on February 7, 2014, finding the LyraTM Direct HSV 1 + 2/VZV Assay not substantially equivalent to a predicate not subject to PMA. Thus, the device remained in class III in accordance with section 513(f)(1) of the FD&C Act when we issued the order.

On February 21, 2014, Quidel Corporation submitted a request for De Novo classification of the LyraTM Direct HSV 1 + 2/VZV Assay. FDA reviewed the request in order to classify the device under the criteria for classification set forth in section 513(a)(1) of the FD&C Act.

We classify devices into class II if general controls by themselves are insufficient to provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness, but there is sufficient information to establish special controls that, in combination with the general controls, provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device for its intended use (see 21 U.S.C. 360c(a)(1)(B)). After review of the information submitted in the request, we determined that the device can be classified into class II with the establishment of special controls. FDA has determined that these special controls, in addition to general controls, will provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device.

Therefore, on May 13, 2014, FDA issued an order to the requestor classifying the device into class II. FDA is codifying the classification of the device by adding 21 CFR 866.3309. We have named the generic type of device herpes virus nucleic acid-based cutaneous and mucocutaneous lesion panel, and it is identified as a qualitative in vitro diagnostic device intended for the simultaneous detection and differentiation of different herpes viruses in cutaneous and mucocutaneous lesion samples from symptomatic patients suspected of Herpetic infections. Negative results do not preclude infection and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or other patient management decisions. The assay is not intended for use in cerebrospinal fluid samples.

FDA has identified the following risks to health associated specifically with this type of device and the measures required to mitigate these risks in table 1.

Table 1—Herpes Virus Nucleic Acid-Based Cutaneous and Mucocutaneous Lesion Panel Risks and Mitigation Measures Identified risks Mitigation measures Risk of false results Special controls (1) (21 CFR 866.3309(b)(1)), (2) (21 CFR 866.3309(b)(2)), and (3) (21 CFR 866.3309(b)(3)). Failure to correctly interpret test results Special controls (4) (21 CFR 866.3309(b)(4)) and (5) (21 CFR 866.3309(b)(5)). Failure to correctly operate the instrument Special controls (6) (21 CFR 866.3309(b)(6)) and (7) (21 CFR 866.3309(b)(7)).

FDA has determined that special controls, in combination with the general controls, address these risks to health and provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness. For a device to fall within this classification, and thus avoid automatic classification in class III, it would have to comply with the special controls named in this final order. The necessary special controls appear in the regulation codified by this order. This device is subject to premarket notification requirements under section 510(k) of the FD&C Act.

III. Analysis of Environmental Impact

We have determined under 21 CFR 25.34(b) that this action is of a type that does not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. Therefore, neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement is required.

IV. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

This final order establishes special controls that refer to previously approved collections of information found in other FDA regulations and guidance. These collections of information are subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). The collections of information in the guidance document “De Novo Classification Process (Evaluation of Automatic Class III Designation)” have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0844; the collections of information in 21 CFR part 814, subparts A through E, regarding premarket approval, have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0231; the collections of information in part 807, subpart E, regarding premarket notification submissions, have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0120; the collections of information in 21 CFR part 820, regarding quality system regulations, have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0073; and the collections of information in 21 CFR parts 801 and 809, regarding labeling, have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0485.

List of Subjects in 21 CFR Part 866

Biologics; Laboratories; Medical devices.

Therefore, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and under authority delegated to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, 21 CFR part 866 is amended as follows:

PART 866—IMMUNOLOGY AND MICROBIOLOGY DEVICES 1. The authority citation for 21 CFR part 866 continues to read as follows: Authority:

21 U.S.C. 351, 360, 360c, 360e, 360j, 360l, 371.

2. Add § 866.3309 to subpart D to read as follows:
§ 866.3309 Herpes virus nucleic acid-based cutaneous and mucocutaneous lesion panel.

(a) Identification. A herpes virus nucleic acid-based cutaneous and mucocutaneous lesion panel is a qualitative in vitro diagnostic device intended for the simultaneous detection and differentiation of different herpes viruses in cutaneous and mucocutaneous lesion samples from symptomatic patients suspected of Herpetic infections. Negative results do not preclude infection and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or other patient management decisions. The assay is not intended for use in cerebrospinal fluid samples.

(b) Classification. Class II (special controls). The special controls for this device are:

(1) Premarket notification submissions must include detailed documentation for the device description, including the device components, ancillary reagents required but not provided, and a detailed explanation of the methodology including primer design and selection.

(2) Premarket notification submissions must include detailed documentation from the following analytical and clinical performance studies: Analytical sensitivity (Limit of Detection), reactivity, inclusivity, precision, reproducibility, interference, cross reactivity, carry-over, and cross contamination.

(3) Premarket notification submissions must include detailed documentation of a clinical study using lesion samples in which Herpes Simplex Virus 1, Herpes Simplex Virus 2, or Varicella Zoster Virus DNA detection was requested. The study must compare the device performance to an appropriate well established reference method.

(4) A detailed explanation of the interpretation of results and acceptance criteria must be included in the device's 21 CFR 809.10(b)(9) compliant labeling.

(5) The device labeling must include a limitation statement that reads: “The device is not intended for use with cerebrospinal fluid or to aid in the diagnosis of HSV or VZV infections of the central nervous system (CNS).”

(6) Premarket notification submissions must include quality assurance protocols and a detailed documentation for device software, including, but not limited to, standalone software applications and hardware-based devices that incorporate software.

(7) The risk management activities performed as part of the manufacturer's 21 CFR 820.30 design controls must document an appropriate end user device training program that will be offered as part of efforts to mitigate the risk of failure to correctly operate the instrument.

Dated: October 12, 2018. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2018-22694 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 882 [Docket No. FDA-2018-N-3635] Medical Devices; Neurological Devices; Classification of the External Upper Limb Tremor Stimulator AGENCY:

Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

ACTION:

Final order.

SUMMARY:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is classifying the external upper limb tremor stimulator into class II (special controls). The special controls that apply to the device type are identified in this order and will be part of the codified language for the external upper limb tremor stimulator's classification. We are taking this action because we have determined that classifying the device into class II (special controls) will provide a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness of the device. We believe this action will also enhance patients' access to beneficial innovative devices, in part by reducing regulatory burdens.

DATES:

This order is effective October 17, 2018. The classification was applicable on April 26, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Kristen Bowsher, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 66, Rm. 2646, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 301-796-6448, [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

Upon request, FDA has classified the external upper limb tremor stimulator as class II (special controls), which we have determined will provide a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness. In addition, we believe this action will enhance patients' access to beneficial innovation, in part by reducing regulatory burdens by placing the device into a lower device class than the automatic class III assignment.

The automatic assignment of class III occurs by operation of law and without any action by FDA, regardless of the level of risk posed by the new device. Any device that was not in commercial distribution before May 28, 1976, is automatically classified as, and remains within, class III and requires premarket approval unless and until FDA takes an action to classify or reclassify the device (see 21 U.S.C. 360c(f)(1)). We refer to these devices as “postamendments devices” because they were not in commercial distribution prior to the date of enactment of the Medical Device Amendments of 1976, which amended the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).

FDA may take a variety of actions in appropriate circumstances to classify or reclassify a device into class I or II. We may issue an order finding a new device to be substantially equivalent under section 513(i) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 360c(i)) to a predicate device that does not require premarket approval. We determine whether a new device is substantially equivalent to a predicate by means of the procedures for premarket notification under section 510(k) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 360(k)) and part 807 (21 CFR part 807).

FDA may also classify a device through “De Novo” classification, a common name for the process authorized under section 513(f)(2) of the FD&C Act. Section 207 of the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997 (Pub. L. 105-115) established the first procedure for De Novo classification. Section 607 of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (Pub. L. 112-144) modified the De Novo application process by adding a second procedure. A device sponsor may utilize either procedure for De Novo classification.

Under the first procedure, the person submits a 510(k) for a device that has not previously been classified. After receiving an order from FDA classifying the device into class III under section 513(f)(1) of the FD&C Act, the person then requests a classification under section 513(f)(2).

Under the second procedure, rather than first submitting a 510(k) and then a request for classification, if the person determines that there is no legally marketed device upon which to base a determination of substantial equivalence, that person requests a classification under section 513(f)(2) of the FD&C Act.

Under either procedure for De Novo classification, FDA is required to classify the device by written order within 120 days. The classification will be according to the criteria under section 513(a)(1) of the FD&C Act. Although the device was automatically placed within class III, the De Novo classification is considered to be the initial classification of the device.

We believe this De Novo classification will enhance patients' access to beneficial innovation, in part by reducing regulatory burdens. When FDA classifies a device into class I or II via the De Novo process, the device can serve as a predicate for future devices of that type, including for 510(k)s (see 21 U.S.C. 360c(f)(2)(B)(i)). As a result, other device sponsors do not have to submit a De Novo request or premarket approval application to market a substantially equivalent device (see 21 U.S.C. 360c(i), defining “substantial equivalence”). Instead, sponsors can use the less-burdensome 510(k) process, when necessary, to market their device.

II. De Novo Classification

On May 17, 2017, Cala Health, Inc. submitted a request for De Novo classification of the Cala ONE. FDA reviewed the request in order to classify the device under the criteria for classification set forth in section 513(a)(1) of the FD&C Act.

We classify devices into class II if general controls by themselves are insufficient to provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness, but there is sufficient information to establish special controls that, in combination with the general controls, provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device for its intended use (see 21 U.S.C. 360c(a)(1)(B)). After review of the information submitted in the request, we determined that the device can be classified into class II with the establishment of special controls. FDA has determined that these special controls, in addition to the general controls, will provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device.

Therefore, on April 26, 2018, FDA issued an order to the requester classifying the device into class II. FDA is codifying the classification of the device by adding 21 CFR 882.5897. We have named the generic type of device external upper limb tremor stimulator, and it is identified as a prescription device that is placed externally on the upper limb and designed to aid in tremor symptom relief of the upper limb.

FDA has identified the following risks to health associated specifically with this type of device and the measures required to mitigate these risks in table 1.

Table 1—External Upper Limb Tremor Stimulator Risks and Mitigation Measures Identified risks Mitigation measures Tissue damage due to over-stimulation Non-clinical performance testing; Software verification, validation, and hazard analysis; Electrical safety testing; Shelf life testing; and Labeling. Adverse tissue reaction Biocompatibility evaluation and Labeling. Electrical shock or burn Electrical, thermal, and mechanical safety testing; Software verification, validation, and hazard analysis; and Labeling. Interference with other devices Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) testing; Software verification, validation, and hazard analysis; and Labeling.

FDA has determined that special controls, in combination with the general controls, address these risks to health and provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness. For a device to fall within this classification, and thus avoid automatic classification in class III, it would have to comply with the special controls named in this final order. The necessary special controls appear in the regulation codified by this order. This device is subject to premarket notification requirements under section 510(k) of the FD&C Act.

At the time of classification, external upper limb tremor stimulators are for prescription use only. Prescription devices are exempt from the requirement for adequate directions for use for the layperson under section 502(f)(1) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 352(f)(1)) and 21 CFR 801.5, as long as the conditions of 21 CFR 801.109 are met (referring to 21 U.S.C. 352(f)(1)).

III. Analysis of Environmental Impact

We have determined under 21 CFR 25.34(b) that this action is of a type that does not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. Therefore, neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement is required.

IV. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

This final order establishes special controls that refer to previously approved collections of information found in other FDA regulations and guidance. These collections of information are subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). The collections of information in the guidance document “De Novo Classification Process (Evaluation of Automatic Class III Designation)” have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0844; the collections of information in 21 CFR part 814, subparts A through E, regarding premarket approval, have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0231; the collections of information in 21 CFR part 820, regarding quality system regulations, have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0073; the collections of information in part 807, subpart E, regarding premarket notification submissions, have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0120; and the collections of information in 21 CFR part 801, regarding labeling, have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0485.

List of Subjects in 21 CFR Part 882

Medical devices.

Therefore, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and under authority delegated to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, 21 CFR part 882 is amended as follows:

PART 882—NEUROLOGICAL DEVICES 1. The authority citation for part 882 continues to read as follows: Authority:

21 U.S.C. 351, 360, 360c, 360e, 360j, 360l, 371.

2. Add § 882.5897 to subpart F to read as follows:
§ 882.5897 External upper limb tremor stimulator.

(a) Identification. An external upper limb tremor stimulator is a prescription device which is placed externally on the upper limb and designed to aid in tremor symptom relief of the upper limb.

(b) Classification. Class II (special controls). The special controls for this device are:

(1) Non-clinical performance testing must assess the following:

(i) Characterization of the electrical stimulation, including the following, must be performed: Waveforms, output modes, maximum output voltage, maximum output current, pulse duration, frequency, net charge per pulse, maximum phase charge at 500 ohms, maximum current density, maximum average current, and maximum average power density.

(ii) Impedance testing, current distribution across the electrode surface area, adhesive integrity, and shelf life testing of the electrodes and gels must be conducted.

(iii) Simulated use testing of sensor performance and the associated algorithms that determine the stimulation output must be conducted.

(2) Patient-contacting components of the device must be demonstrated to be biocompatible.

(3) Performance testing must demonstrate electrical, thermal, and mechanical safety along with electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) of the device in the intended use environment.

(4) Software verification, validation, and hazard analysis must be performed.

(5) Physician and patient labeling must include:

(i) Summaries of electrical stimulation parameters;

(ii) Instructions on how to correctly use and maintain the device;

(iii) Instructions and explanations of all user-interface components;

(iv) Instructions on how to clean the device;

(v) A shelf life for the electrodes and gel; and

(vi) Reuse information.

Dated: October 12, 2018. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2018-22695 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary 32 CFR Part 310 [Docket ID: DoD-2018-OS-0075] Privacy Act of 1974; Implementation AGENCY:

Office of the Secretary of Defense, DoD.

ACTION:

Interim final rule.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, the Office of the Secretary of Defense is exempting records maintained in a new system of records, “Personnel Vetting Records System,” DUSDI 02-DoD, from certain requirements of the Act.

DATES:

This interim final rule is effective October 17, 2018. Comments must be received on or before November 16, 2018.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

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

Mail: Department of Defense, Office of the Chief Management Officer, Directorate for Oversight and Compliance, 4800 Mark Center Drive, ATTN: Box 24, Suite 08D09, Alexandria, VA 22350-1700.

Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Cindy Allard, Chief, Defense Privacy, Civil Liberties, and Transparency Division, 703-571-0070.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

This Privacy Act system contains records that support DoD in conducting end-to-end personnel security, suitability, fitness, and credentialing processes, including submission of applications and questionnaires, investigations, adjudications, and continuous vetting activities. DoD developed the information technology capabilities that contribute to the Personnel Vetting Records System to support background investigation processes pursuant to Executive Order 13467, as amended, and Section 925 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2018.

The Personnel Vetting Records System integrates information technology capabilities to execute the conduct of background investigations actions including: Investigations and determinations of eligibility for access to classified national security information, suitability for federal employment, fitness of contractor personnel to perform work for or on behalf of the U.S. Government, and HSPD-12 determinations for Personal Identity Verification (PIV) to gain logical or physical access to government facilities and systems. The Personnel Vetting Records System also supports submission of adverse personnel information, verification of investigation and adjudicative history and status, continuous evaluation, and insider threat detection, prevention, and mitigation activities. Records in the information systems covered by this system notice may also be used as a management tool for statistical analyses; tracking, reporting, and evaluating program effectiveness; and conducting research related to personnel vetting.

Pursuant to subsections (k)(1)-(3) and (5)-(7) of the Privacy Act, these specific exemptions from subsections (c)(3), (d)(1)-(4), and (e)(1) of the Act are necessary to allow the Department to ensure that the personnel vetting process functions in a way that fosters efficient, fair, and effective identification, investigation, and adjudication of information for end-to-end adjudication of the whole person. If a process within the personnel vetting program indicates adverse action is anticipated, due process is provided to the subject of the record prior to a final decision by the Department.

Good Cause for Adoption Without Prior Notice and Comment

The Department is publishing this rule as an interim final rule in order to implement the program in a timely manner consistent with new mandates in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018. In accordance with Public Law 115-91, responsibility for the vetting of DoD personnel will begin to transfer from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to the Department of Defense effective October 1, 2018. OPM's conduct of background of investigation necessitated exemptions for its system of records covering such investigations. Similarly, DoD's full, immediate use of the records system and associated exemptions to carry out the missions transferred from OPM are essential to mitigate the backlog of personnel investigations which is preventing tens of thousands of U.S. citizens from starting new employment and delaying the identification of issues of concern among the existing cleared population which places classified information and other personnel at risk. Accordingly, it is currently impractical, unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest to first publish this exemption rule for notice and comment before its implementation.

Regulatory Procedures Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review” and Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review”

It has been determined that this rule is not a significant rule. This rule does not (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy; a sector of the economy; productivity; competition; jobs; the environment; public health or safety; or State, local, or tribal governments or communities; (2) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another Agency; (3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs, or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in these Executive orders.

Executive Order 13771, “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs”

This rule is not significant under Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review.” Therefore, the requirements of Executive Order 13771 do not apply.

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

It has been certified that this rule does not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because it is concerned only with the administration of Privacy Act systems of records within DoD. A Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is not required.

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

It has been determined that this rule does not impose additional information collection requirements on the public under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

Section 202, Public Law 104-4, “Unfunded Mandates Reform Act”

It has been determined that this rule does not involve a Federal mandate that may result in the expenditure by State, local and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more and that it will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments.

Executive Order 13132, “Federalism”

It has been determined that this rule does not have federalism implications. This rule does not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the National Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

List of Subjects in 32 CFR Part 310

Privacy.

Accordingly, 32 CFR part 310 is amended as follows:

PART 310—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for 32 CFR part 310 continues to read as follows: Authority:

5 U.S.C. 552a.

2. Amend § 310.30 by: a. Revising the first sentence of paragraph (b)(1). b. Redesignating paragraph (d) as paragraph (e). c. Revising newly redesignated paragraph (e)(1). d. Designating the undesignated paragraph following paragraph (e)(1) as paragraph (e)(1)(i). e. Adding paragraph (e)(1)(ii). f. Further redesignating newly designated paragraph (e)(2) as paragraph (d) and adding a heading for newly redesignated paragraph (d). g. Adding a new paragraph (e)(2). h. Further redesignating newly designated paragraphs (e)(3) introductory text and (e)(3)(i) through (xii) as paragraphs (e)(1)(iii) introductory text and (e)(1)(iii)(A) through (L), respectively, and further redesignating newly designated paragraph (e)(4) as paragraph (e)(1)(iv). i. Adding headings for newly redesignated paragraphs (e)(1)(iii) and (iv).

The revisions and additions read as follows:

§ 310.30 DoD-wide exemptions.

(b) Promises of confidentiality. (1) Only the identity of sources that have been given an express promise of confidentiality may be protected from disclosure under this section. * * *

(d) Exempt records. * * *

(e) * * *

(1) System identifier and name. DUSDI 01-DoD “Department of Defense (DoD) Insider Threat Management and Analysis Center (DITMAC) and DoD Component Insider Threat Records System.”

(i) Exemption. This system of records is exempted from subsections (c)(3) and (4); (d)(1), (2), (3) and (4); (e)(1), (2), (3), (4)(G)(H) and (I), (5) and (8); and (g) of the Privacy Act.

(ii) Authority. 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) and (k)(1), (2), (3), (5), (6), and (7).

(iii) Exemption from the particular subsections. * * *

(iv) Exempt records from other systems. * * *

(2) System identifier and name. DUSDI 02-DoD “Personnel Vetting Records System.”

(i) Exemption. This system of records is exempted from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d)(1), (d)(2), (d)(3), (d)(4), and (e)(1) of the Privacy Act.

(ii) Authority. 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1), (k)(2), (k)(3), (k)(5), (k)(6), and (k)(7).

(iii) Exemption from the particular subsections. Exemption from the particular subsections is justified for the following reasons:

(A) Subsections (c)(3), (d)(1), and (d)(2)-(1) Exemption (k)(1). Personnel investigations and vetting records may contain information properly classified pursuant to Executive Order. Application of exemption (k)(1) for such records may be necessary because access to, amendment of, or release of the accounting of disclosures of such records could disclose classified information that could be detrimental to national security.

(2) Exemption (k)(2). Personnel investigations and vetting records may contain investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes other than material within the scope of 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2). Application of exemption (k)(2) for such records may be necessary because access to, amendment of, or release of the accounting of disclosures of such records could: Inform the record subject of an investigation of the existence, nature, or scope of an actual or potential law enforcement or counterintelligence investigation, and thereby seriously impede law enforcement or counterintelligence efforts by permitting the record subject and other persons to whom he might disclose the records to avoid criminal penalties, civil remedies, or counterintelligence measures; interfere with a civil or administrative action or investigation which may impede those actions or investigations; and result in an unwarranted invasion of the privacy of others. Amendment of such records could also impose a highly impracticable administrative burden by requiring investigations to be continuously reinvestigated.

(3) Exemption (k)(3). Personnel investigations and vetting records may contain information pertaining to providing protective services to the President of the United States or other individuals pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 3056. Application of exemption (k)(3) for such records may be necessary because access to, amendment of, or release of the accounting of disclosures of such records could compromise the safety of the individuals protected pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 3056 and compromise protective services provided to the President and other individuals. Amendment of such records could also impose a highly impracticable administrative burden by requiring investigations to be continuously reinvestigated.

(4) Exemption (k)(5). Personnel investigations and vetting records may contain investigatory material compiled solely for determining suitability, eligibility, and qualifications for Federal civilian employment, military service, Federal contracts, or access to classified information. In some cases, such records may contain information pertaining to the identity of a source who furnished information to the Government under an express promise that the source's identity would be held in confidence (or prior to the effective date of the Privacy Act, under an implied promise). Application of exemption (k)(5) for such records may be necessary because access to, amendment of, or release of the accounting of disclosures of such records could identify these confidential sources who might not have otherwise come forward to assist the Government, could hinder the Government's ability to obtain information from future confidential sources, and result in an unwarranted invasion of the privacy of others. Amendment of such records could also impose a highly impracticable administrative burden by requiring investigations to be continuously reinvestigated.

(5) Exemption (k)(6). Personnel investigations and vetting records may contain information relating to testing or examination material used solely to determine individual qualifications for appointment or promotion in the Federal service. Application of exemption (k)(6) for such records may be necessary because access to, amendment of, or release of the accounting of disclosures of such records could compromise the objectivity and fairness of the testing or examination process. Amendment of such records could also impose a highly impracticable administrative burden by requiring investigations to be continuously reinvestigated.

(6) Exemption (k)(7). Personnel investigations and vetting records may contain evaluation material used to determine potential for promotion in the armed services. In some cases, such records may contain information pertaining to the identity of a source who furnished information to the Government under an express promise that the source's identity would be held in confidence (or prior to the effective date of the Privacy Act, under an implied promise). Application of exemption (k)(7) for such records may be necessary because access to, amendment of, or release of the accounting of disclosures of such records could identify these confidential sources who might not have otherwise come forward to assist the Government, hinder the Government's ability to obtain information from future confidential sources, and result in an unwarranted invasion of the privacy of others. Amendment of such records could also impose a highly impracticable administrative burden by requiring investigations to be continuously reinvestigated.

(B) Subsections (d)(3) and (4). These subsections are inapplicable to the extent an exemption is claimed from (d)(1) and (2). Moreover, applying the amendment appeal procedures toward background investigation and vetting records could impose a highly impracticable administrative burden by requiring investigations to be continuously reinvestigated.

(C) Subsection (e)(1). In the collection of information for authorized vetting purposes, it is not always possible to conclusively determine the relevance and necessity of particular information in the early stages of the investigation or adjudication. In some instances, it will be only after the collected information is evaluated in light of other information that its relevance and necessity for effective investigation and adjudication can be assessed. Collection of such information permits more informed decision-making by the Department when making required suitability, eligibility, fitness, and credentialing determinations. Accordingly, application of exemptions (k)(1), (k)(2), (k)(3), (k)(5), (k)(6), and (k)(7) may be necessary.

(iv) Exempt records from other systems. In addition, in the course of carrying out personnel vetting, including records checks for continuous vetting, exempt records from other systems of records may in turn become part of the records maintained in this system. To the extent that copies of exempt records from those other systems of records are maintained into this system, the DoD claims the same exemptions for the records from those other systems that are entered into this system, as claimed for the original primary system of which they are a part.

Dated: October 11, 2018. Shelly E. Finke, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
[FR Doc. 2018-22507 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2016-0257] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Delaware River, Pennsauken Township, NJ AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Notice of temporary deviation from regulation.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the DELAIR Memorial Railroad Bridge across the Delaware River, mile 104.6, at Pennsauken Township, NJ. This deviation will allow the bridge to be remotely operated from the Conrail South Jersey dispatch center in Mount Laurel, NJ, instead of being operated by an on-site bridge tender.

DATES:

This deviation is effective without actual notice from October 17, 2018 through 7:59 a.m. on December 15, 2018. For the purposes of enforcement, actual notice will be used from 8 a.m. on October 16, 2018, until October 17, 2018.

ADDRESSES:

The docket for this deviation, USCG-2016-0257 is available at http://www.regulations.gov. Type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH”. Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this deviation.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions on this temporary deviation, call or email Mr. Hal R. Pitts, Fifth Coast Guard District (dpb); telephone (757) 398-6222, email [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background, Purpose and Legal Basis

On April 12, 2017, we published a notice in the Federal Register entitled, “Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Delaware River, Pennsauken Township, NJ” announcing a temporary deviation from the regulations, with request for comments (see 82 FR 17562). This temporary deviation commenced at 8 a.m. on April 24, 2017, and concluded at 7:59 a.m. on October 21, 2017. The purpose of the deviation was to test the newly installed remote operation system of the DELAIR Memorial Railroad Bridge across the Delaware River, mile 104.6, at Pennsauken Township, NJ, owned and operated by Conrail Shared Assets. The installation of the remote operation system did not change the operational schedule of the bridge.

On June 30, 2017, we published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled, “Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Delaware River, Pennsauken Township, NJ” (see 82 FR 29800). This proposed regulation will allow the bridge to be remotely operated from the Conrail South Jersey dispatch center in Mount Laurel, NJ, instead of being operated by an on-site bridge tender. This proposed regulation will not change the operating schedule of the bridge. The original comment period closed on August 18, 2017.

During the initial test deviation performed from 8 a.m. on April 24, 2017, through 7:59 a.m. on October 21, 2017, the bridge owner identified deficiencies in the remote operation center procedures, bridge to vessel communications, and equipment redundancy. Comments concerning these deficiencies were submitted to the docket and provided to the Coast Guard and bridge owner by representatives from the Mariners' Advisory Committee for the Bay and River Delaware.

On October 18, 2017, we published a notice in the Federal Register entitled, “Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Delaware River, Pennsauken Township, NJ” announcing a second temporary deviation from the regulations, with request for comments (see 82 FR 48419). This temporary deviation commenced at 8 a.m. on October 21, 2017, and concluded at 7:59 a.m. on April 19, 2018. This notice included a request for comments and related material to reach the Coast Guard on or before January 15, 2018.

On December 6, 2017, we published a notice of proposed rulemaking; reopening of comment period; entitled “Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Delaware River, Pennsauken Township, NJ” in the Federal Register (see 82 FR 57561). This notice included a request for comments and related material to reach the Coast Guard on or before January 15, 2018.

On January 22, 2018, we published a notice of temporary deviation from regulations; reopening comment period; entitled “Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Delaware River, Pennsauken Township, NJ” in the Federal Register (see 83 FR 2909). This notice included a request for comments and related material to reach the Coast Guard on or before March 2, 2018.

On February 15, 2018, we published a notice of proposed rulemaking; reopening comment period; entitled “Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Delaware River, Pennsauken Township, NJ” in the Federal Register (see 83 FR 6821). This notice included a request for comments and related material to reach the Coast Guard on or before March 2, 2018.

The Coast Guard reviewed 26 comments posted to the docket and six reports with supporting documentation submitted by the bridge owner during the initial and second temporary deviations concerning the remote operation system of the DELAIR Memorial Railroad Bridge. Through this review, the Coast Guard found that further testing and evaluation of the remote operation system of the drawbridge was necessary before making a decision on the proposed regulation.

On April 26, 2018, we published a notice in the Federal Register entitled, “Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Delaware River, Pennsauken Township, NJ” announcing a third temporary deviation from the regulations, with request for comments (see 83 FR 18226). This temporary deviation commenced at 8 a.m. on April 19, 2018, and is scheduled to conclude at 7:59 a.m. on October 16, 2018. This notice included a request for comments and related material to reach the Coast Guard on or before August 17, 2018.

On May 4, 2018, we published a notice of proposed rulemaking; reopening comment period; entitled “Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Delaware River, Pennsauken Township, NJ” in the Federal Register (see 83 FR 19659). This notice included a request for comments and related material to reach the Coast Guard on or before August 17, 2018.

During the third temporary deviation, the following changes were implemented: (1) The on-site bridge tender was removed from the bridge, (2) qualified personnel would return and operate the bridge within 60 minutes if the remote operation system is considered in a failed condition, and (3) comments concerning the utility and value of the automated identification system (AIS) were requested.

The Coast Guard received no comments posted to the docket during the third temporary deviation; however, the Coast Guard did receive two reports with supporting documentation submitted by the bridge owner. The Coast Guard is conducting an evaluation of the proposed rulemaking and has decided to publish a temporary deviation to allow the DELAIR Memorial Railroad Bridge across the Delaware River, mile 104.6, at Pennsauken Township, NJ, to continue to be remotely operated from the Conrail South Jersey dispatch center in Mount Laurel, NJ, instead of being operated by an on-site bridge tender, to allow sufficient time for the evaluation to be completed. The operating schedule published in 33 CFR 117.716 will not change with the remote operation of the bridge.

II. Temporary Deviation From Regulations

The operating schedule is published in 33 CFR 117.716. Under this temporary deviation, the bridge will be remotely operated from the Conrail South Jersey dispatch center in Mount Laurel, NJ, instead of being operated by an on-site bridge tender.

In accordance with 33 CFR 117.35(e), the drawbridge must return to its regular operating methods immediately at the end of the effective period of this temporary deviation. This deviation from the operating regulations is authorized under 33 CFR 117.35.

Dated: October 12, 2018. Hal R. Pitts, Bridge Program Manager, Fifth Coast Guard District.
[FR Doc. 2018-22692 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2018-0232] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Blue Angels Air Show; St. Johns River, Jacksonville, FL AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Temporary final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone on the waters of the St. Johns River in the vicinity of Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Florida during the Blue Angels Air Show. This rulemaking prohibits persons and vessels from entering, transiting through, remaining within, or anchoring in the safety zone unless authorized by the Captain of the Port (COTP) Jacksonville or a designated representative.

DATES:

This rule is effective from 8 a.m. on October 26, 2018 until 5 p.m. on October 28, 2018.

ADDRESSES:

To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2018-0232 in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rule.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions on this rule, call or email Lieutenant Junior Grade Emily Sysko, Chief, Waterways Management Division, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone 904-714-7616, email [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Table of Abbreviations CFR Code of Federal Regulations DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking § Section U.S.C. United States Code II. Background Information and Regulatory History

On May 18, 2018, NAS Jacksonville submitted a marine event application to the Coast Guard for the Blue Angels Air Show that will take place daily from October 26, 2018 through October 28, 2018. The air show will consist of various flight demonstrations over the St. Johns River in vicinity of NAS Jacksonville. Over the years, there have been unfortunate instances of aircraft mishaps and crashes during performances at various air shows around the world. Occasionally, these incidents result in a wide area of scattered debris in the water that can damage property or cause significant injury or death to the public observing the air shows. The Captain of the Port (COTP) Jacksonville has determined that a safety zone is necessary to protect the general public from hazards associated with aerial flight demonstrations.

On July 26, 2018, the Coast Guard published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) titled “Safety Zone; Blue Angels Air Show; St. Johns River, Jacksonville, FL” (83 FR 35442). There we stated why we issued the NPRM, and invited comments on our proposed regulatory action related to this fireworks display. During the comment period that ended August 27, 2018, we received 1 comment.

III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under authority in 33 U.S.C. 1231. The Captain of the Port Jacksonville (COTP) has determined that potential hazards associated with the aerial flight demonstrations will be a safety concern for members of the public viewing the demonstration within, or transiting through, the safety zone. The purpose of this rule is to ensure safety of vessels and persons on the navigable waters of the St. Johns River in the vicinity of Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Florida, before, during, and after the air show.

IV. Discussion of Comments, Changes, and the Rule

As noted above, we received 1 comment on our in support of the regulation. There are no changes in the regulatory text of this rule from the regulatory text in the NPRM.

This rule establishes a safety zone daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 26, 2018 through October 28, 2018, on the waters of the St. John's River in the vicinity of NAS Jacksonville, Florida. The safety zone will encompass all waters within an area approximately three quarters of a mile parallel to the shoreline, and one mile out into the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, FL. The duration of the zone is intended to ensure the safety of the public on these navigable waters during the aerial flight demonstrations. No vessel or person will be permitted to enter, transit through, remain within, or anchor in the safety zone without obtaining permission from the COTP or a designated representative. The Coast Guard will provide notice of the regulated areas by Local Notice to Mariners, Broadcast Notice to Mariners, and on-scene designated representative.

V. Regulatory Analyses

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

A. Regulatory Planning and Review

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

This regulatory action determination is based on the size, location, duration, and time-of-day of the safety zone. Vessel traffic will be able to safely transit around this safety zone, which would impact a small designated area of the St. Johns River for nine hours on each of the three days the air show is occurring. Moreover, the Coast Guard will issue a Broadcast Notice to Mariners via VHF-FM marine channel 16 about the zone, and the rule would allow vessels to seek permission to enter the zone.

B. Impact on Small Entities

The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, 5 U.S.C. 601-612, as amended, requires Federal agencies to consider the potential impact of regulations on small entities during rulemaking. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000. The Coast Guard received no comments from the Small Business Administration on this rulemaking. The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

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

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

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

C. Collection of Information

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

D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Governments

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

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

E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

F. Environment

We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.1D, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have determined that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule involves a safety zone lasting nine hours daily that prohibits persons and vessels from entering, transiting through, remaining within, within, or anchoring in an area of approximately one square mile. Normally such actions are categorically excluded from further review under paragraph L60(a) of Appendix A, Table 1 of DHS Instruction Manual 023-01-001-01, Rev. 01. A Record of Environmental Consideration supporting this determination is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES.

G. Protest Activities

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

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

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

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

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

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

2. Add § 165.T07-0232 to read as follows:
§ 165.T07-0232 Safety Zone, Blue Angels Air Show; St. Johns River, Jacksonville, FL.

(a) Regulated area. The following area is a safety zone: All waters of the St. Johns River, from surface to bottom, encompassed by a line connecting the following points beginning at 30°13′41″ N; 081°39′45″ W, thence due east to, 30°13′41″ N; 081°38′35″ W, thence south to 30°14′27″ N; 081°38′35″ W, thence west to 30°14′27″ N, 081°39′45″ W, and thence along the shore line back to the beginning point. These coordinates are based on North American Datum 1983.

(b) Definition. The term “designated representative” means a Coast Guard Patrol Commander, including a Coast Guard coxswain, petty officer, or other officer operating a Coast Guard vessel and a Federal, State, and local officer designated by or assisting the Captain of the Port Jacksonville (COTP) in the enforcement of the safety zone.

(c) Regulations. (1) All persons and vessels are prohibited from entering, transiting through, anchoring in, or remaining within the regulated area unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Jacksonville or a designated representative.

(2) Persons and vessels desiring to enter, transit through, anchor in, or remain within the regulated area may contact the Captain of the Port Jacksonville by telephone at (904) 714-7557, or a designated representative via VHF-FM radio on channel 16, to request authorization. If authorization is granted, all persons and vessels receiving such authorization must comply with the instructions of the COTP Jacksonville or a designated representative.

(3) The Coast Guard will provide notice of the regulated area through Broadcast Notice to Mariners via VHF-FM channel 16 or by on-scene designated representatives.

(d) Enforcement period. This rule will be enforced daily from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. from October 26, 2018 through October 28, 2018.

Dated: October 11, 2018. T.C. Wiemers, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Jacksonville.
[FR Doc. 2018-22519 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 38 CFR Part 3 RIN 2900-AO73 Net Worth, Asset Transfers, and Income Exclusions for Needs-Based Benefits AGENCY:

Department of Veterans Affairs.

ACTION:

Final rule; correction.

SUMMARY:

On September 18, 2018, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published a final rule amending its regulations governing veterans' eligibility for VA pensions and other needs-based benefit programs. The final rule contained some errors in its preamble and in one amendment to the CFR. This document corrects those errors.

DATES:

These corrections are effective on October 18, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Marie Gregory, Assistant Director, Pension and Fiduciary Service, Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, 21P1, 810 Vermont Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20420, (202) 632-8863. (This is not a toll-free number.)

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

In FR Doc. No. 2018-19895 appearing on page 47246 in the Federal Register of Tuesday, September 18, 2018, the following corrections are made:

Corrections

1. On page 47260, third column, under the heading “1. Changes to Exclusions,” add the following paragraph:

“At the outset, as a technical matter, the paragraph proposed as § 3.279(a) is recharacterized in this final rule as an introductory paragraph. Thus, proposed paragraphs (b) through (e) are recharacterized as final paragraphs (a) through (d), respectively.”

2. On page 47261, first column, in the first full paragraph, the third and fourth sentences are corrected to read as follows:

“We have made this addition to final §§ 3.261, 3.262, and 3.272, and final § 3.279 lists this exclusion at paragraph (d)(1). Given this addition and the recharacterization of proposed paragraphs (b) through (e) discussed above, we have renumbered proposed § 3.279(e)(1) through (8) as final § 3.279(d)(2) through (9), respectively.”

3. On page 47261, second column, in the first paragraph, the third sentence is corrected to read as follows:

“Final § 3.279(b)(1), (2), and (3) use the term “assets” in the first column rather than the term “net worth” as proposed.”

4. On page 47261, third column, in the second paragraph, the fourth sentence is corrected to read as follows:

“We make no substantive change based on this comment because the $2,000 cap is statutory.”

5. On page 47261, third column, in the fourth paragraph, the first and second sentences are corrected to read as follows:

“One commenter opined that the exclusion at proposed § 3.279(b)(1) was erroneous because it “is inconsistent with 25 U.S.C. 1408” and because “relocation payments under 25 U.S.C. 1408 are treated as assets.” We make no substantive change because the statute cited, section 1408, pertains to interests of American Indians in trusts or restricted lands and is listed in final § 3.279(b)(2), where we note such payments are excluded from income (up to $2,000 per year) and assets.”

6. On page 47261, third column, in the fifth paragraph, the first sentence is corrected to read as follows:

“However, the commenter goes on to quote from 42 U.S.C. 4636, which is the basis of the relocation payment exclusion listed at final § 3.279(a)(1).”

7. On page 47262, first column, in the first full paragraph, second sentence is corrected to read as follows:

“This payment type was listed as an income exclusion at proposed § 3.279(d)(1) and is now at final § 3.279(c)(1).”

8. On page 47262, first column, in the first full paragraph, the fourth sentence is corrected to read as follows:

“Therefore, the only substantive change we make here is to update the statutory citation.”

9. On page 47262, first column, the second paragraph is corrected to read as follows:

“Similarly, the same commenter stated that payments to AmeriCorps participants, listed as an exclusion from income at proposed § 3.279(d)(2), should not be considered an asset for the annualization period in which the payment is received. Since the statutory authority for this exclusion, 42 U.S.C. 12637(d), does not authorize the exclusion of these payments from assets, we make no substantive changes based on this comment.”

10. On page 47263, first column, in the first paragraph under the heading “3. Distribution and Derivation Tables for Exclusions,” the fifth sentence is corrected to read as follows:

“The derivation table here corrects one error from the table providing this information in the proposed rule, and updates the paragraphs in accord with the recharacterization of proposed paragraphs (b) through (e) discussed above.”

11. On page 47263, second column, table 2 is corrected to read as follows:

Table 2—Section 3.279 Derivation From Previous § 3.272 New § 3.279 Derived from
  • previous § 3.272
  • (or “New”)
  • 3.279(a)(1) New. 3.279(a)(2) 3.272(v). 3.279(a)(3) 3.272(p). 3.279(a)(4) New. 3.279(a)(5) 3.272(o). 3.279(a)(6) 3.272(u). 3.279(a)(7) New. 3.279(b)(1) New. 3.279(b)(2) 3.272(r). 3.279(b)(3) through (b)(5) New. 3.279(b)(6) 3.272(t). 3.279(b)(7) through (c)(2) New. 3.279(c)(3) 3.272(k). 3.279(d)(1) through (d)(9) New.

    12. On page 47263, second column, table 3 is corrected to read as follows:

    Table 3—Previous § 3.272 Distribution Previous § 3.272 Distributed to or
  • no change in
  • location
  • 3.272(a) through (j) No change. 3.272(k) 3.279(c)(3). 3.272(l) through (n) No change. 3.272(o) 3.279(a)(5). 3.272(p) 3.279(a)(3). 3.272(q) 3.272(o). 3.272(r) 3.279(b)(2). 3.272(s) 3.272(p). 3.272(t) 3.279(b)(6). 3.272(u) 3.279(a)(6). 3.272(v) 3.279(a)(2). 3.272(w) Removed. 3.272(x) 3.272(q).

    13. On page 47267, first column, in the third paragraph, the second sentence is corrected to read as follows:

    “We are spelling out the acronym “aka” used in proposed § 3.279(a) (now the introductory paragraph to final § 3.279), and making a technical correction to proposed § 3.279(e)(9) (now final § 3.279(d)(9)) to correctly refer to subchapter I instead of subchapter 1 as the authority for excluding as income annuities received under the Retired Serviceman's Family Protection Plan.”

    14. On page 47269, first column, in added paragraph (u) in the amendments to § 3.262, the second sentence is corrected to read as follows:
    § 3.262 [Corrected]

    (u) * * * See § 3.279(d)(1).

    Approved: October 12, 2018. Jeffrey M. Martin, Assistant Director, Office of Regulation Policy & Management, Office of the Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22564 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8320-01-P
    POSTAL SERVICE 39 CFR Part 20 International Competitive Services Product and Price Changes AGENCY:

    Postal ServiceTM.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Postal Service is revising Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM®), to reflect the prices, product features, and classification changes to Competitive Services, as established by the Governors of the Postal Service.

    DATES:

    Effective date: January 27, 2019.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Paula Rabkin at 202-268-2537.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    New prices will be posted under Docket Number CP2019-3 on the Postal Regulatory Commission website at http://www.prc.gov.

    Over the course of time, country names have changed due to a variety of political or cultural reasons. In collaboration with International Postal Affairs and requests made through the Universal Postal Union, the Postal Service is updating country names throughout mailing standards, changing Great Britain and Northern Ireland to United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and changing Swaziland to Eswatini.

    This final rule describes the international price and classification changes and the corresponding mailing standards changes for the following Competitive Services:

    • Global Express Guaranteed® (GXG®).

    • Priority Mail Express International®.

    • Priority Mail International®.

    • First-Class Package International Service® (FCPIS®).

    • International Priority Airmail® (IPA®).

    • International Surface Air Lift® (ISAL®).

    • Direct Sacks of Printed Matter to One Addressee (Airmail M-bag® services).

    The following international extra services and fees:

    • International Insurance.

    • International Certificate of Mailing.

    • International Registered Mail.

    • International Return Receipt.

    • International Postal Money Orders.

    • International Money Order Inquiry Fee.

    • International Money Transfer Service.

    • Customs Clearance and Delivery Fee.

    New prices will be located on the Postal Explorer® website at https://pe.usps.com.

    Global Express Guaranteed

    Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) service provides fast international shipping and date-certain delivery with a money-back guarantee, with international transportation and delivery provided through an alliance with FedEx Express®. The price increase for GXG service averages 4.9 percent.

    The Postal Service provides Commercial Base® pricing to online customers who prepare and pay for GXG shipments via USPS-approved payment methods (other than Click-N-Ship® service), with a 5 percent discount off the published retail prices for GXG service. Customers who prepare GXG shipments via Click-N-Ship service will continue to pay retail prices. Commercial Plus® prices are set to match the Commercial Base prices.

    Priority Mail Express International

    Priority Mail Express International service provides fast service to approximately 180 countries in 3-5 business days, for many major markets, although the actual number of days may vary based upon origin, destination and customs delays. Priority Mail Express International with Money-Back Guarantee service is available for certain destinations. The price increase for Priority Mail Express International service averages 3.9 percent. The Commercial Base price for customers who prepare and pay for Priority Mail Express International shipments via permit imprint, online at USPS.com®, or as registered end-users using an authorized PC Postage vendor (with the exception of Click-N-Ship service) will be 4.9 percent below the retail price. Customers who prepare Priority Mail Express International shipments via Click-N-Ship service pay retail prices. Commercial Plus prices are set to match the Commercial Base prices.

    The Postal Service will also continue to include Priority Mail Express International service in customized Global Expedited Package Services (GEPS) contracts offered to customers who meet certain revenue thresholds and are willing to commit a larger amount of revenue to the USPS® for Priority Mail Express International service and Priority Mail International service.

    Priority Mail International

    Priority Mail International is an economical way to send merchandise and documents to approximately 180 countries in 6-10 business days, for many major markets, although the actual number of days may vary based upon origin, destination and customs delays. The price increase for Priority Mail International service averages 3.9 percent. The Commercial Base price for customers who prepare and pay for Priority Mail International items via permit imprint, online at USPS.com, or as registered end-users using an authorized PC Postage vendor (with the exception of Click-N-Ship) will be 5 percent below the retail price. Customers who prepare Priority Mail International shipments via Click-N-Ship pay retail prices. Commercial Plus prices are set to match Commercial Base prices. The Postal Service will continue to include Priority Mail International service in customized GEPS contracts offered to customers who meet certain revenue thresholds and are willing to commit to a larger amount of revenue to the USPS for Priority Mail Express International and Priority Mail International.

    Priority Mail International flat rate pricing continues to be available for Flat Rate Envelopes, Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes, and Medium and Large Flat Rate Boxes.

    First-Class Package International Service

    First-Class Package International Service (FCPIS) is an economical international service for small packages weighing less than 4 pounds and not exceeding $400 in value. The price increase for FCPIS averages 3.9 percent. The Commercial Base price for customers who prepare and pay for FCPIS items via permit imprint or by USPS-approved online payment methods will be 5 percent below the retail price. Customers who prepare FCPIS shipments via Click-N-Ship service pay retail prices. Commercial Plus prices are set to match the Commercial Base prices.

    Electronic USPS Delivery Confirmation International service—abbreviated E-USPS DELCON INTL®—is available for First-Class Package International Service items to select destination countries at no charge.

    International Priority Airmail and International Surface Air Lift

    International Priority Airmail (IPA) service, including IPA M-bags®, is an economical commercial service designed for volume mailings of all First-Class Mail International postcards, letters, and large envelopes (flats), and for volume mailings of First-Class Package International Service packages (small packets) weighing up to a maximum of 4.4 pounds. IPA shipments are typically flown to foreign destinations (exceptions apply to Canada and Mexico) and are then entered into that country's air or surface priority mail system for delivery. The price increase for IPA and IPA M-bags is 19.9 percent. International Surface Airlift (ISAL) is similar to IPA except that once flown to the foreign destination, it is entered into that country's air or surface nonpriority mail system for delivery. The price increase for ISAL, as well as ISAL M-Bags, is 19.9 percent.

    Direct Sacks of Printed Matter to One Addressee (Airmail M-bags)

    An airmail M-bag is a direct sack of printed matter sent to a single foreign addressee at a single address. Prices are based on the weight of the sack. The price increase for Airmail M-bag service averages 5.0 percent.

    International Extra Services and Fees

    Depending on country destination and mail type, customers may add a variety of extra services to their outbound shipments and pay a variety of fees. The Postal Service proposes to increase fees for certain competitive international extra services including:

    International Insurance

    Global Express Guaranteed, each additional $100 or fraction over $100 (maximum indemnity varies by country).

    Fee: $1.05.

    $100.01-$200.00 $1.05 $200.01-$300.00 2.10 $300.01-$400.00 3.15 $400.01-$500.00 4.20 $500.01-$600.00 5.25 $600.01-$700.00 6.30 $700.01-$800.00 7.35 $800.01-$900.00 8.40 $8.40 plus $1.05 per $100 or fraction thereof over $900 1.05

    Priority Mail Express International and Priority Mail International, each additional $100 or fraction over $100 (maximum indemnity varies by country).

    Fee: $1.05.

    $200.01-$300.00 $6.50 $300.01-$400.00 8.05 $400.01-$500.00 9.60 $500.01-$600.00 11.15 $600.01-$700.00 12.70 $700.01-$800.00 14.25 $800.01-$900.00 15.80 $15.80 plus $1.55 per $100 or fraction thereof over $900 in declared value 1.55 Certificate of Mailing Fee Individual pieces Individual article (PS Form 3817) $1.45 Duplicate copy of PS Form 3817 or PS Form 3665 (per page) 1.45 Firm mailing sheet (PS Form 3665), per piece (minimum 3) First-Class Mail International only 0.50 Bulk quantities For first 1,000 pieces (or fraction thereof) 8.55 Each additional 1,000 pieces (or fraction thereof) 1.07 Duplicate copy of PS Form 3606 1.45 Return Receipt

    Fee: $4.10.

    International Postal Money Orders

    Fee: $9.50.

    International Money Order Inquiry

    Fee: $7.25.

    International Money Transfer Service

    Fee:

    $0.01-$750.00 $13.95 $750.01-$1,500.00 19.95 Refunds 29.95 Change of Recipient 15.50 Customs Clearance and Delivery

    Fee: Per piece $6.40.

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

    List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 20

    Foreign relations, International postal services.

    Accordingly, 39 CFR part 20 is amended as follows:

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

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

    2. Revise the following sections of Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM), as follows: Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM)

    [Throughout the IMM, change all references to “Great Britain and Northern Ireland” to “United Kingdom of Great Britain and North Ireland” and place in correct alphabetical order in lists]

    [Throughout the IMM, change all references to “Swaziland” to “Eswatini” and place in correct alphabetical order in lists]

    We will publish an appropriate amendment to 39 CFR part 20 to reflect these changes.

    Ruth Stevenson, Attorney, Federal Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22472 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-12-P
    POSTAL SERVICE 39 CFR Part 111 Domestic Competitive Products Pricing and Mailing Standards Changes AGENCY:

    Postal ServiceTM.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Postal Service is amending Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®), to reflect changes to prices and mailing standards for competitive products.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: January 27, 2019.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Tom Foti at (202) 268-2931 or Garry Rodriguez at (202) 268-7281.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This final rule describes new prices and product features for competitive products, by class of mail, established by the Governors of the United States Postal Service®. New prices are available under Docket Number CP2019-3 on the Postal Regulatory Commission PRC website at http://www.prc.gov, and on the Postal Explorer® website at http://pe.usps.com.

    The Postal Service will revise Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), to reflect changes to prices and mailing standards for the following competitive products:

    • Priority Mail Express®.

    • Priority Mail®.

    • First-Class Package Service®.

    • Parcel Select®.

    • USPS Retail Ground®.

    • Extra Services.

    • Return Services.

    • Mailer Services.

    • Recipient Services.

    Competitive product prices and changes are identified by product as follows:

    Priority Mail Express Prices

    Overall, Priority Mail Express prices will increase 3.9 percent. Priority Mail Express will continue to offer zoned and Flat Rate Retail, Commercial BaseTM, and Commercial PlusTM pricing.

    Retail prices will increase an average of 3.9 percent. The Flat Rate Envelope price will increase to $25.50, the Legal Flat Rate Envelope will increase to $25.70, and the Padded Flat Rate Envelope will increase to $26.20.

    Commercial Base prices offer lower prices to customers who use authorized postage payment methods. Commercial Base prices will increase an average of 3.9 percent.

    Commercial Plus prices were matched to the Commercial Base prices in the 2016 price change and will continue to be matched in 2018.

    Dimensional Weight Pricing

    The Postal Service is implementing Dimensional Weight (DIM) pricing for Priority Mail Express retail and commercial parcels. Postage for Priority Mail Express parcels addressed for delivery to Zones 1 through 9 and exceeding 1 cubic foot (1,728 cubic inches) will be based on the actual weight or the dimensional weight, whichever is greater.

    Priority Mail Express DIM weight pricing will be calculated using one of two formulas, rectangular or nonrectangular, with a DIM divisor of 166.

    Priority Mail Prices

    Overall, Priority Mail prices will increase 5.9 percent. Priority Mail will continue to offer zoned and Flat Rate Retail, Commercial Base, and Commercial Plus pricing.

    Retail prices will increase an average of 6.6 percent. The Flat Rate Envelope price will increase to $7.35, the Legal Flat Rate Envelope will increase to $7.65, and the Padded Flat Rate Envelope will increase to $8.00. The Small Flat Rate Box price will increase to $7.90 and the Medium Flat Rate Boxes will increase to $14.35. The Large Flat Rate Box will increase to $19.95 and the APO/FPO/DPO Large Flat Rate Box will increase to $18.45.

    Commercial Base prices offer lower prices to customers who use authorized postage payment methods. Commercial Base prices will increase an average of 3.2 percent.

    The Commercial Plus price category offers price incentives to large volume customers who have a customer commitment agreement with USPS®. Commercial Plus prices will increase an average of 6.2 percent.

    Dimensional Weight Pricing

    The Postal Service is extending the zones for Priority Mail retail, commercial, and commercial plus Dimensional Weight (DIM) pricing to include all zones. Postage for Priority Mail parcels addressed for delivery to Zones 1 through 9 and exceeding 1 cubic foot (1,728 cubic inches) will be based on the actual weight or the dimensional weight, whichever is greater.

    The Postal Service will also change the DIM divisor used in the rectangular and nonrectangular formulas to 166.

    Balloon Pricing

    As a result of the zone extension to include all zones for Priority Mail DIM weight pricing, the Postal Service will eliminate balloon pricing under the retail, commercial, and commercial plus price categories.

    First-Class Package Service Prices

    Overall, First-Class Package Service—Retail prices will increase 13.3 percent.

    Overall, First-Class Package Service—Commercial prices will increase 11.9 percent.

    Zone Pricing

    First-Class Package Service—Retail and First-Class Package Service—Commercial price computation will change to weight and zone based pricing. First-Class Package Service—Retail prices will continue to start at 1 ounce up to 13 ounces and First-Class Package Service—Commercial prices will continue to start at 1 ounce up to less than 16 ounces.

    Parcel Select Prices

    The prices for Parcel Select Destination Entry increase an average of 9.3 percent. Parcel Select Ground prices will decrease an average of 1.3 percent. The prices for Parcel Select Lightweight® will increase an average of 12.3 percent.

    Dimensional Weight Pricing

    The Postal Service is implementing Dimensional Weight (DIM) weight pricing for Parcel Select parcels in the Destination Entry and Ground price categories. Postage for Parcel Select parcels addressed for delivery to Zones 1 through 9 and exceeding 1 cubic foot (1,728 cubic inches) will be based on the actual weight or the dimensional weight, whichever is greater.

    Parcel Select DIM weight pricing will be calculated using one of two formulas, rectangular or nonrectangular, with a DIM divisor of 166.

    Balloon Pricing

    As a result of the implementation of DIM pricing for Parcel Select parcels in zones 1 through 9, the Postal Service will eliminate balloon pricing under the Destination Entry and Ground price categories.

    USPS Retail Ground

    Overall, USPS Retail Ground prices will increase an average of 3.9 percent.

    Extra Services Adult Signature Service

    Adult Signature Required and Adult Signature Restricted Delivery service prices are increasing 4.9 percent. The price for Adult Signature Required will increase to $6.40 and Adult Signature Restricted Delivery will increase to $6.66.

    Return Services Parcel Return Service

    Overall, Parcel Return Service prices will increase an average of 6.8 percent.

    Return Sectional Center Facility (RSCF) prices will increase an average of 6.4 percent and Return Delivery Unit (RDU) prices will increase an average of 7.3 percent.

    Mailer Services Pickup on Demand Service

    The Pickup on Demand® service fee will increase 4.5 percent to be $23.00.

    Recipient Services Post Office Box Service

    The competitive Post Office BoxTM service prices will increase an average of 10.0 percent within the existing price ranges.

    Premium Forwarding Service

    Premium Forwarding Service® (PFS®) prices will increase between 4.9 and 11.1 percent depending on the specific price element. The enrollment fee paid at the retail counter for PFS-Residential will increase to $21.10 and the PFS-Residential and PFS-Commercial enrollment fee paid online will increase to $19.35 per application. The price of the weekly shipment charge for PFS-Residential will increase to $21.10.

    Premium Forwarding Service Local

    The Postal Service is adding another option to the Premium Forwarding Service product, Premium Forwarding Service Local (PFS-Local). PFS-Local provides residential and business customers the option to have USPS gather their mail addressed to Post Office Boxes (except no fee Group E boxes) within the same servicing postal facility, and dispatch the mail to their delivery street address. An annual enrollment fee is required, and a reshipment fee is charged for each container of mail requested and received by the customer (Monday through Saturday).

    USPS Package Intercept

    The USPS Package InterceptTM fee will increase 4.8 percent to $14.10.

    Other Address Enhancement Service

    Address Enhancement Service competitive product prices will increase between 2.6 and 4.0 percent.

    Small Parcel Forwarding Fee

    The Postal Service is introducing a “small parcel” forwarding fee for Parcel Select Lightweight parcels. The forwarding fee would only apply for pieces endorsed “Change Service Requested” under “Option 2” (ACS only) that are forwarded due to an active change-of-address. All other undeliverable pieces will be discarded and an electronic ACS notice is provided in both cases.

    Overweight Item Charge

    As discussed in the August 29, 2018, Federal Register final rule (83 FR 43985-43986), the Postal Service is introducing a charge for items identified in the postal network that exceed the 70 pound weight limit for Postal Service products, and are therefore are nonmailable. Overweight items identified in the postal network will be assessed a $100 charge payable before release of the item, unless the item is picked up at the same facility where it was entered.

    Resources

    The Postal Service provides additional resources to assist customers with this price change for competitive products. These tools include price lists, downloadable price files, and Federal Register Notices, which may be found on the Postal Explorer® website at http://pe.usps.com.

    For the above reasons, the Postal Service adopts the following changes to Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), incorporated by reference in the Code of Federal Regulations. See 39 CFR 111.1.

    List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 111

    Administrative practice and procedure, Postal Service.

    Accordingly, 39 CFR part 111 is amended as follows:

    PART 111—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for 39 CFR part 111 continues to read as follows: Authority:

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

    2. Revise Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) as follows: Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 100 Retail Mail Letters, Cards, Flats, and Parcels 110 Priority Mail Express 113 Prices and Eligibility 1.0 Prices and Fees

    [Renumber 1.3 through 1.5 as 1.4 through 1.6 and add new 1.3 to read as follows:]

    1.3 Dimensional Weight Price for Low-Density Parcels to Zones 1-9

    Postage for parcels addressed for delivery to Zones 1-9 and exceeding 1 cubic foot (1,728 cubic inches) is based on the actual weight or the dimensional weight (as calculated in 1.3.1 or 1.3.2), whichever is greater.

    1.3.1 Determining Dimensional Weight for Rectangular Parcels

    Follow these steps to determine the dimensional weight for a rectangular parcel:

    a. Measure the length, width, and height in inches. Round off (see 604.7.0) each measurement to the nearest whole inch.

    b. Multiply the length by the width by the height.

    c. If the result exceeds 1,728 cubic inches, divide the result by 166 and round up (see 604.7.0) to the next whole number to determine the dimensional weight in pounds.

    d. If the dimensional weight exceeds 70 pounds, the customer pays the 70-pound price.

    1.3.2 Determining Dimensional Weight for Nonrectangular Parcels

    Follow these steps to determine the dimensional weight for a nonrectangular parcel:

    a. Measure the length, width, and height in inches at their extreme dimensions. Round off (see 604.7.0) each measurement to the nearest whole inch.

    b. Multiply the length by the width by the height.

    c. Multiply the result by an adjustment factor of 0.785.

    d. If the final result exceeds 1,728 cubic inches, divide the result by 166 and round up (see 604.7.0) to the next whole number to determine the dimensional weight in pounds.

    e. If the dimensional weight exceeds 70 pounds, the customer pays the 70-pound price.

    120 Priority Mail 123 Prices and Eligibility 1.0 Prices and Fees

    [Delete 1.3, Balloon Price, in its entirety and renumber 1.4 through 1.7 as 1.3 through 1.6.]

    [Revise the heading and text of renumbered 1.3 to read as follows:]

    1.3 Dimensional Weight Price for Low-Density Parcels to Zones 1-9

    Postage for parcels addressed for delivery to Zones 1-9 and exceeding 1 cubic foot (1,728 cubic inches) is based on the actual weight or the dimensional weight (as calculated in 1.3.1 or 1.3.2), whichever is greater.

    1.3.1 Determining Dimensional Weight for Rectangular Parcels

    Follow these steps to determine the dimensional weight for a rectangular parcel:

    [Revise the text of renumbered item 1.3.1c to read as follows:]

    c. If the result exceeds 1,728 cubic inches, divide the result by 166 and round up (see 604.7.0) to the next whole number to determine the dimensional weight in pounds.

    [Add new item d to read as follows:]

    d. If the dimensional weight exceeds 70 pounds, the customer pays the 70-pound price.

    1.3.2 Determining Dimensional Weight for Nonrectangular Parcels

    Follow these steps to determine the dimensional weight for a nonrectangular parcel:

    [Revise the text of renumbered item 1.3.2d to read as follows:]

    d. If the final result exceeds 1,728 cubic inches, divide the result by 166 and round up (see 604.7.0) to the next whole number to determine the dimensional weight in pounds.

    130 Retail First-Class Mail and First-Class Package Service—Retail 133 Prices and Eligibility 1.0 Prices and Fees 1.2 Price Computation for First-Class Mail and First-Class Package Service—Retail

    [Revise the text of 1.2 to read as follows:]

    First-Class Mail and First-Class Package Service—Retail prices are charged as follows:

    a. First-Class Mail—Per ounce or fraction thereof; any fraction of an ounce is considered a whole ounce. For example, if a piece weighs 0.5 ounces, the weight (postage) increment is 1 ounce.

    b. First-Class Package Service—Retail—Based on weight and zone; any fraction of an ounce is considered a whole ounce.

    200 Commercial Letters, Flats, and Parcels 210 Priority Mail Express 213 Prices and Eligibility 1.0 Prices and Fees

    [Renumber 1.5 through 1.7 as 1.6 through 1.8 and add new 1.5 to read as follows:]

    1.5 Dimensional Weight Price for Low-Density Parcels to Zones 1-9

    Postage for parcels addressed for delivery to Zones 1-9 and exceeding 1 cubic foot (1,728 cubic inches) is based on the actual weight or the dimensional weight (as calculated in 1.5.1 or 1.5.2), whichever is greater.

    1.5.1 Determining Dimensional Weight for Rectangular Parcels

    Follow these steps to determine the dimensional weight for a rectangular parcel:

    a. Measure the length, width, and height in inches. Round off (see 604.7.0) each measurement to the nearest whole inch.

    b. Multiply the length by the width by the height.

    c. If the result exceeds 1,728 cubic inches, divide the result by 166 and round up (see 604.7.0) to the next whole number to determine the dimensional weight in pounds.

    d. If the dimensional weight exceeds 70 pounds, the customer pays the 70-pound price.

    1.5.2 Determining Dimensional Weight for Nonrectangular Parcels

    Follow these steps to determine the dimensional weight for a nonrectangular parcel:

    a. Measure the length, width, and height in inches at their extreme dimensions. Round off (see 604.7.0) each measurement to the nearest whole inch.

    b. Multiply the length by the width by the height.

    c. Multiply the result by an adjustment factor of 0.785.

    d. If the final result exceeds 1,728 cubic inches, divide the result by 166 and round up (see 604.7.0) to the next whole number to determine the dimensional weight in pounds.

    e. If the dimensional weight exceeds 70 pounds, the customer pays the 70-pound price.

    220 Priority Mail 223 Prices and Eligibility 1.0 Prices and Fees

    [Delete 1.5, Balloon Price, in its entirety and renumber 1.6 through 1.11 as 1.5 through 1.10.]

    [Revise the heading and text of renumbered 1.5 to read as follows:]

    1.5 Dimensional Weight Price for Low-Density Parcels to Zones 1-9

    Postage for parcels addressed for delivery to Zones 1-9 and exceeding 1 cubic foot (1,728 cubic inches) is based on the actual weight or the dimensional weight (as calculated in 1.5.1 or 1.5.2), whichever is greater.

    1.5.1 Determining Dimensional Weight for Rectangular Parcels

    Follow these steps to determine the dimensional weight for a rectangular parcel:

    [Revise the text of renumbered item 1.5.1c to read as follows:]

    c. If the result exceeds 1,728 cubic inches, divide the result by 166 and round up (see 604.7.0) to the next whole number to determine the dimensional weight in pounds.

    [Add new item d to read as follows:]

    d. If the dimensional weight exceeds 70 pounds, the customer pays the 70-pound price.

    1.5.2 Determining Dimensional Weight for Nonrectangular Parcels

    Follow these steps to determine the dimensional weight for a nonrectangular parcel:

    [Revise the text of renumbered item 1.5.2d to read as follows:]

    d. If the final result exceeds 1,728 cubic inches, divide the result by 166 and round up (see 604.7.0) to the next whole number to determine the dimensional weight in pounds.

    250 Parcel Select 253 Prices and Eligibility 1.0 Prices and Fees

    [Renumber 1.3 as 1.4 and add new 1.3 to read as follows:]

    1.3 Dimensional Weight Price for Low-Density Parcels to Zones 1-9

    Postage for parcels addressed for delivery to Zones 1-9 and exceeding 1 cubic foot (1,728 cubic inches) is based on the actual weight or the dimensional weight (as calculated in 1.3.1 or 1.3.2), whichever is greater.

    1.3.1 Determining Dimensional Weight for Rectangular Parcels

    Follow these steps to determine the dimensional weight for a rectangular parcel:

    a. Measure the length, width, and height in inches. Round off (see 604.7.0) each measurement to the nearest whole inch.

    b. Multiply the length by the width by the height.

    c. If the result exceeds 1,728 cubic inches, divide the result by 166 and round up (see 604.7.0) to the next whole number to determine the dimensional weight in pounds.

    d. If the dimensional weight exceeds 70 pounds, the customer pays the 70-pound price.

    1.3.2 Determining Dimensional Weight for Nonrectangular Parcels

    Follow these steps to determine the dimensional weight for a nonrectangular parcel:

    a. Measure the length, width, and height in inches at their extreme dimensions. Round off (see 604.7.0) each measurement to the nearest whole inch.

    b. Multiply the length by the width by the height.

    c. Multiply the result by an adjustment factor of 0.785.

    d. If the final result exceeds 1,728 cubic inches, divide the result by 166 and round up (see 604.7.0) to the next whole number to determine the dimensional weight in pounds.

    e. If the dimensional weight exceeds 70 pounds, the customer pays the 70-pound price.

    280 First-Class Package Service—Commercial 283 Prices and Eligibility 1.0 Prices and Fees 1.1 Price Application

    [Revise the first sentence of 1.1 to read as follows:]

    Postage is based on the price that applies to the weight and zone of each addressed piece. * * *

    285 Mail Preparation 1.0 Preparation for First-Class Package Service—Commercial

    The following standards apply to single-piece First-Class Package Service—Commercial:

    [Revise the text of item b to read as follows:]

    b. There are no presorting requirements for single-piece First-Class Package Service—Commercial parcels paid with postage evidencing system postage.

    [Renumber 2.0 as 3.0 and add new 2.0 to read as follows:]

    2.0 Preparation of Permit Imprint Mailings 2.1 Identical Weight Pieces

    To use a permit imprint, the pieces must be of identical weight and, unless all the pieces are in a weight category for which the price does not vary by zone, the pieces must be separated by zone when presented to the Post Office, except under 2.2.

    2.2 Nonidentical Weight Pieces

    A permit imprint may be used for mailings of nonidentical-weight pieces only if authorized by Business Mailer Support at USPS Headquarters.

    500 Additional Mailing Services 505 Return Services 1.0 Business Reply Mail (BRM) 1.1 BRM Postage and Fees 1.1.1 Basic BRM

    [Revise the second sentence of 1.1.1 to read as follows:]

    * * * For First-Class Package Service—Retail, or Priority Mail BRM pieces exceeding 13 ounces in weight, if the zone cannot be determined from a return address or cancellation, then the permit holder is charged zone 4 postage based on the weight of the piece. * * *

    1.1.5 Bulk Weight Averaged Nonletter-Size BRM

    [Revise the text of 1.1.5 to read as follows:]

    In addition to an annual permit fee (which will apply under 1.2.3 for the return of any flat-size pieces), per piece fee and the applicable Retail First-Class Mail, First-Class Package Service—Retail, or Priority Mail postage, permit holders participating in bulk weight averaged nonletter-size BRM under 1.8 must pay an annual account maintenance fee and a monthly maintenance fee.

    508 Recipient Services 7.0 Premium Forwarding Services

    [Renumber 7.1 as 7.2, delete the heading of current 7.2, Preparation, and renumber current 7.2.1 as 7.2.6. Add new 7.1 to read as follows:]

    7.1 Premium Forwarding Services Description

    Premium Forwarding Services offers three options as follows:

    a. Premium Forwarding Service Residential (PFS-Residential): Provides certain residential customers an option to have all mail addressed to their primary address shipped to a temporary address as described under 7.2.

    b. Premium Forwarding Service Commercial (PFS-Commercial): Provides business commercial customers the option to have USPS gather their mail addressed to business P.O. Boxes or business street addresses and dispatched to a new address as described under 7.3.

    c. Premium Forwarding Service Local (PFS-Local): Provides certain residential/individual and business/organization Post Office Box holders the option to have the USPS gather their mail addressed to their P.O. Box for delivery to their street address as described under 7.4.

    [Add new section 7.4 to read as follows:]

    7.4 Premium Forwarding Service Local 7.4.1 Description

    Premium Forwarding Service Local (PFS-Local) provides certain residential/individual and business/organization Post Office Box holders the option to have the USPS gather their mail addressed to their P.O. Box (excludes no-fee Group E P.O. Boxes) and dispatch the mail to their delivery street address when both addresses are within the same local servicing postal facility. An annual enrollment fee is required, and a reshipment fee is charged (see 7.4.3b) for each reshipment container. Email notifications are sent regarding reshipments or when there is no mail available to forward. See Notice 123—Price List for postage price and fee.

    7.4.2 Activation

    Customers must enroll for PFS-Local and pay the annual enrollment fee online via USPS.com at www.usps.com/manage/forward.htm for residential/individual boxholders or the Business Customer Gateway at https://gateway.usps.com/eAdmin/view/signin for business/organization boxholders. Customers must specify the active P.O. Box, a deliverable destination address, and frequency (Monday through Saturday). Service is activated electronically, upon receipt of an email confirmation.

    7.4.3 Conditions

    Only the residential/individual use P.O. Box customer or authorized recipient (or legal agent) of a business' (or organization's) P.O. Box mail that is on file may activate the request for PFS-Local service. PFS-Local service is subject to these conditions:

    a. Customers must pay an annual enrollment fee per P.O. Box to establish service. The enrollment fee is refundable only if the request is denied.

    b. The annual enrollment and reshipment fees are paid using a credit card for residential/individual use P.O. Box customers or a permit linked to the Enterprise Payment System (EPS) account for commercial customers.

    c. The reshipment fee is charged for each reshipment container. Customers may request reshipments Monday through Saturday.

    d. If no mail is collected for reshipment on a designated frequency day, no reshipment fee is charged.

    e. Any mailpiece arriving postage due is charged using the customer's postage due account prior to delivery. If no account exists, the appropriate postage due is collected upon delivery.

    f. A business must keep a postage-due merchandise return service (MRS) account or business reply mail (BRM) account at the originating postal facility where the P.O. Box or business street address is located. Any short paid, MRS, or BRM pieces will be charged to the mailer's account prior to reshipment.

    g. Any mailpiece indicating surface only transportation such as Label 127, Surface Mail only, or bears other hazardous materials markings such as “Consumer Commodity ORM-D” is not included in the reshipment and a delivery notice will be provided in the PFS-Local reshipment.

    h. Mailpieces that do not fit in the reshipment container, or that require a scan or signature, will be scanned (when applicable) and recorded on a firm sheet (Form 3883-A) for delivery in the PFS-Local reshipment upon signature of Form 3849.

    i. Some mailpieces may be reshipped separately from the PFS-Local shipment to the customer's deliverable physical street address.

    j. Customers may cancel their PFS-Local service effective 24 hours after the USPS receives the customer's request for cancellation through USPS.com or the Business Customer Gateway. The customer must pay all reshipment fees as applicable for any reshipments already scheduled before cancellation of service is made effective.

    k. USPS may cancel a customer's PFS-Local service request effective 24 hours after the customer receives written notice of cancellation from the serving Post Office. Cancellation is based upon the customer`s failure to pay the fees, failure to meet the standards for PFS-Local service, or when there is substantial reason to believe that the service is being or will be used for unlawful activities (in this case, cancellation within less than 24-hours may be granted by USPS). The customer may appeal this cancellation of services to the Manager, Post Office Operations, but must pay for all reshipment fees as applicable for any service provided during the appeal period.

    7.4.4 Prohibited Use

    PFS-Local is not available for:

    a. Customers who have an active change-of-address (COA) (temporary or permanent).

    b. Customers who have an active Hold Mail Authorization (Form 8076). Mail that has previously been held at the primary P.O. Box address cannot be included in the reshipments.

    c. Customers who have a no-fee Group E P.O. Box.

    d. Customers whose primary P.O. Box address is a central point to which the USPS provides delivery in bulk to a third party, such as a commercial mail receiving agency (CMRA).

    e. Customers whose primary address or temporary address is an APO/FPO or DPO.

    f. Customers whose address is within the 969 3-digit ZIP Code area or is otherwise in a U.S. territory or possession that requires a customs declaration.

    g. Customers who have an active PFS-Residential or PFS-Commercial order.

    600 Basic Standards for All Mailing Services 601 Mailability 1.0 General Standards 1.2 Overweight Items

    [Revise 1.2 by adding a new last sentence to read as follows:]

    * * * Unless the item is picked up at the same facility where it was entered, an Overweight item charge of $100 will be assessed and must be paid by any authorized retail payment method or through the Enterprise Payment System, before release of the item.

    Notice 123 (Price List)

    [Revise competitive prices as applicable.]

    We will publish an appropriate amendment to 39 CFR part 111 to reflect these changes.

    Ruth B. Stevenson, Attorney, Federal Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22474 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-12-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket Nos. 090206140-91081-03 and 120405260-4258-02] RIN 0648-XG550 Authorization of Revised Reporting Requirements Due to Catastrophic Conditions for Federal Seafood Dealers and Individual Fishing Quota Dealers in Portions of Florida AGENCY:

    National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; determination of catastrophic conditions.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the regulations implementing the individual fishing quota (IFQ) and Federal dealer reporting programs specific to the commercial reef fish fishery in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) and the coastal migratory pelagic (CMP) fisheries in the Gulf, the Regional Administrator (RA), Southeast Region, NMFS has determined that Hurricane Michael has caused catastrophic conditions in multiple counties. This temporary rule announcing the determination of catastrophic conditions and authorization to use alternative methods for completing required IFQ and other dealer reporting administrative functions is intended to facilitate continuation of IFQ and dealer reporting operations during the period of catastrophic conditions. NMFS will continue to monitor and evaluate conditions and a subsequent Federal Register document will be published, if needed to address any changes.

    DATES:

    The RA is authorizing Federal dealers and IFQ dealers in the affected area to use revised reporting methods from October 12, 2018, through November 21, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    IFQ Customer Service, telephone: 866-425-7627, fax: 727-824-5308, email: [email protected] For Federal dealer reporting, Fisheries Monitoring Branch, telephone: 305-361-4581.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS has determined that Hurricane Michael has caused catastrophic conditions in the following counties: Bay, Calhoun, Dixie, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Suwannee, Taylor, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington County, Florida; and Barbour, Bullock, Coffee, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lee, Macon, and Russell County, Alabama. Consistent with those regulations, the RA has authorized any dealer in the affected area who does not have access to electronic reporting to delay reporting of trip tickets to NOAA Fisheries from October 12, 2018, through November 21, 2018. The RA has also authorized IFQ dealers within this affected area to use paper-based forms, if necessary, for basic required administrative functions, e.g., landing transactions, from October 12, 2018, through November 21, 2018.

    The reef fish fishery of the Gulf is managed under the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico, prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council). The CMP fishery (king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and cobia) is managed under the FMP for CMP Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region, prepared by the Gulf Council and South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Both FMPs are implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).

    The Generic Dealer Amendment established Federal dealer reporting requirements for federally permitted dealers in the Gulf and South Atlantic (79 FR 19490; April 9, 2014). Amendment 26 to the FMP established an IFQ program for the commercial red snapper component of the Gulf reef fish fishery (71 FR 67447; November 22, 2006). Amendment 29 to the FMP established an IFQ program for the commercial grouper and tilefish components of the Gulf reef fish fishery (74 FR 44732; August 31, 2009). Regulations implementing these IFQ programs (50 CFR 622.21 and 622.22) and the dealer reporting requirements (50 CFR 622.5(c)) require that Federal dealers and IFQ participants have access to a computer and internet and that they conduct administrative functions associated with dealer reporting and the IFQ program, e.g., landing transactions, online. However, these regulations also specify that during catastrophic conditions, as determined by the RA, the RA may waive or modify the reporting time requirements for dealers and authorize IFQ participants to use paper-based forms to complete administrative functions for the duration of the catastrophic conditions. The RA must determine that catastrophic conditions exist, specify the duration of the catastrophic conditions, and specify which participants or geographic areas are deemed affected.

    Hurricane Michael made landfall in the U.S. near Mexico Beach, Florida, in the Gulf as a Category 4 hurricane on October 10, 2018. Strong winds and flooding from this hurricane impacted communities throughout Florida's panhandle region and coastal Alabama, resulting in power outages and damage to homes, businesses, and infrastructure. As a result, the RA has determined that catastrophic conditions exist in the following counties along the Gulf: Bay, Calhoun, Dixie, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Suwannee, Taylor, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington County, Florida; and Barbour, Bullock, Coffee, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lee, Macon, and Russell County, Alabama. Through this temporary rule, the RA is authorizing Federal dealers in this affected area to delay reporting of trip tickets to NOAA Fisheries and IFQ dealers in this affected area to use paper-based forms, from October 12, 2018, through November 21, 2018. NMFS will provide additional notification to affected dealers via NOAA Weather Radio, Fishery Bulletins, and other appropriate means. NOAA Fisheries will continue to monitor and re-evaluate the areas and duration of the catastrophic conditions, as necessary.

    Dealers may delay electronic reporting of trip tickets to NMFS during catastrophic conditions. Dealers are to report all landings to NMFS as soon as possible. Assistance for Federal dealers in effected area is available from the Fisheries Monitoring Branch at 1-305-361-4581. NMFS previously provided IFQ dealers with the necessary paper forms (sequentially coded) and instructions for submission in the event of catastrophic conditions. Paper forms are also available from the RA upon request. The electronic systems for submitting information to NMFS will continue to be available to all dealers, and dealers in the affected area are encouraged to continue using these systems, if accessible.

    The administrative program functions available to IFQ dealers in the area affected by catastrophic conditions will be limited under the paper-based system. There will be no mechanism for transfers of IFQ shares or allocation under the paper-based system in effect during catastrophic conditions. Assistance in complying with the requirements of the paper-based system will be available via the Catch Share Support line, 1-866-425-7627 Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Eastern Time.

    Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of reef fish and CMP species managed under the Gulf IFQ Programs and the Federal dealer reporting programs, as applicable, and is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws.

    This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.5(c)(iii), 622.21(a)(3)(iii), and 622.22(a)(3)(iii), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    These measures are exempt from the procedures of the Regulatory Flexibility Act because this temporary rule is issued without opportunity for prior notice and comment.

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), there is good cause to waive the requirements to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment on this temporary rule. Such procedures are unnecessary because the final rules implementing the Gulf IFQ programs and the Gulf and Atlantic Federal dealer reporting have already been subject to notice and public comment. These rules authorize the RA to determine when catastrophic conditions exist, and which participants or geographic areas are deemed affected by catastrophic conditions. The final rules also authorize the RA to provide timely notice to affected participants via publication of notification in the Federal Register, NOAA Weather Radio, Fishery Bulletins, and other appropriate means. All that remains is to notify the public that catastrophic conditions exist and that paper forms may be utilized by IFQ dealers in the affected area and that Federal dealers may submit delayed reports. Additionally, delaying this temporary rule to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment would be contrary to the public interest because affected dealers are still fishing for and receiving these species in the affected area and need a means of completing their landing transactions. With the power outages and damages to infrastructure that have occurred in the affected area due to Hurricane Michael, numerous businesses are unable to complete landings transactions and dealer reports electronically. In order to continue with their businesses, IFQ dealers need to be aware they can still complete landing transactions and dealer reports using the paper forms.

    For the aforementioned reasons, the AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effectiveness of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3).

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: October 12, 2018. Margo B. Schulze-Haugen, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22647 Filed 10-12-18; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 170816769-8162-02] RIN 0648-XG528 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in Statistical Area 610 in the Gulf of Alaska AGENCY:

    National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; closure.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 610 in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2018 total allowable catch of pollock for Statistical Area 610 in the GOA.

    DATES:

    Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), October 13, 2018, through 2400 hours, A.l.t., December 31, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Josh Keaton, 907-586-7228.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the GOA exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679.

    The 2018 total allowable catch (TAC) of pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the GOA is 30,799 metric tons (mt) as established by the final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications for groundfish in the GOA (83 FR 8768, March 1, 2018) and one in-season adjustment (83 FR 42609, August 23, 2018).

    In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional Administrator has determined that the 2018 TAC of pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the GOA will soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 30,699 mt and is setting aside the remaining 100 mt as bycatch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the GOA.

    While this closure is effective the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip.

    Classification

    This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the closure of directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the GOA. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of October 11, 2018.

    The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment.

    This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: October 12, 2018. Margo B. Schulze-Haugen, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22642 Filed 10-12-18; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    83 201 Wednesday, October 17, 2018 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 100 [Docket Number USCG-2018-0929] RIN 1625-AA08 Special Local Regulations; Marine Events in the Coast Guard Sector Detroit Captain of the Port Zone AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    This proposed rule is intended to amend the rules that regulate vessel traffic and control navigation of portions of waterways during events that pose a hazard to public safety. This rule, if adopted, would add six new reoccurring special local regulations, remove six special local regulations, and amend the event, dates, and/or regulated areas for the 15 recurring special local regulations that will be listed in a table. The permanent special local regulations established by this proposed rule are necessary to protect spectators, participants, and vessels from the hazards associated with the varying types of marine events. This proposed rulemaking would restrict vessel traffic in the designated areas during the events unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Detroit or a designated representative. We invite your comments on this proposed rulemaking.

    DATES:

    Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before November 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2018-0929 using the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. See the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on submitting comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions about this proposed rulemaking, call or email Tracy Girard, Prevention Department, Sector Detroit, Coast Guard; telephone (313) 568-9564, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Table of Abbreviations CFR Code of Federal Regulations DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking § Section U.S.C. United States Code COTP Captain of the Port II. Background, Purpose, and Legal Basis

    Marine events are held on a recurring basis on the navigable waters within the Coast Guard Sector Detroit COTP Zone. In past history, the Coast Guard established special local regulations for these recurring event. These events have been submitted annually to ensure the protection of the maritime public and event participants from the hazards associated with these events. The Coast Guard has never received public comments or concerns regarding the impact to waterway traffic from these annually reoccurring events.

    This proposed rule would consistently apprise the public in a timely manner through permanent publication in Title 33 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The table in this proposed rule would list each annual recurring event requiring a special local regulated area as administered by the Coast Guard.

    By establishing permanent regulations containing these events, the Coast Guard would eliminate the need to establish temporary rules for events that occur on an annual basis and thereby limit the costs associated with cumulative regulations. This rulemaking would remove, add, and consolidate regulations to better meet the Coast Guard's intended purpose of ensuring safety during these events. The Coast Guard proposes this rulemaking under authority in 33 U.S.C. 1233.

    III. Discussion of Proposed Rule

    The purpose of this rulemaking is to combine all of the Captain of the Port Detroit Zone's special local regulations from 33 CFR 100.911 through § 100.928, into one table under § 100.911. This table will ensure accuracy of times, dates, and dimensions for various marine events that are expected to be conducted within the Captain of the Port Detroit Zone throughout the year. We also propose to remove §  100.911, § 100.912, § 100.913, § 100.914, § 100.915, § 100.916, § 100.917, § 100.918, § 100.919, § 100.920 § 100.921, § 100.927, § 100.928 replacing these regulations with a table. In addition, we propose to add three rowing events, two swim events, and a water ski show to the table.

    As large numbers of spectator vessels and marine traffic are expected to congregate around the event location, the regulated areas are needed to protect both spectators and participants from the safety hazards associated with the event. During the enforcement period of the regulated areas, persons and vessels would be prohibited from entering, transiting through, remaining, anchoring or mooring within the zone unless specifically authorized by the COTP or the designated representative. The Coast Guard may be assisted by other Federal, State and local agencies in the enforcement of these regulated areas. These events are listed below in the text of the regulation.

    IV. Regulatory Analyses

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

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

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

    The Coast Guard has previously promulgated special local regulations or safety zones, in 33 CFR part 100, for all event areas contained within this proposed regulation and has not received notice of any negative impact caused by any of the special local regulations. By establishing a permanent regulation containing all of these events, the Coast Guard will eliminate the need to establish individual temporary rules for each separate event that occurs on an annual basis, thereby limiting the costs of cumulative regulations.

    B. Impact on Small Entities

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

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

    If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this rule would have a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment (see ADDRESSES) explaining why you think it qualifies and how and to what degree this rule would economically affect it.

    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this proposed rule. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this proposed rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

    C. Collection of Information

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

    D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Governments

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

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

    E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

    F. Environment

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under Department of Homeland Security Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.1D, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have made a preliminary determination that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This proposed rule involves regulated areas for swim events and other marine events. Normally such actions are categorically excluded from further review under paragraph L61 of Appendix A, Table 1 of DHS Instruction Manual 023-01-001-01, Rev. 01. A preliminary Record of Environmental Consideration supporting this determination is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this proposed rule.

    G. Protest Activities

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

    V. Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We view public participation as essential to effective rulemaking, and will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. Your comment can help shape the outcome of this rulemaking. If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking, indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation.

    We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document for alternate instructions.

    We accept anonymous comments. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and the docket, visit http://www.regulations.gov/privacyNotice.

    Documents mentioned in this NPRM as being available in the docket, and all public comments, will be in our online docket at http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that website's instructions. Additionally, if you go to the online docket and sign up for email alerts, you will be notified when comments are posted or a final rule is published.

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 100

    Marine safety, Navigation (water), Reporting and record keeping requirements, Waterways.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 100 as follows:

    PART 100—SAFETY OF LIFE ON NAVIGABLE WATERS 1. The authority citation for part 100 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    33 U.S.C. 1233.

    2. Revise § 100.911 to read as follows:
    § 100.911 Special Local Regulations; Marine Events in the Coast Guard Sector Detroit Captain of the Port Zone.

    (a) General. The following regulations apply to the marine events listed in Table 1 to § 100.911, along with the requirements of § 100.901. These regulations will be enforced for the duration of each event, on or about the dates indicated. Annual notice of the exact dates and times of the effective period of the regulations with respect to each event, the geographical area, and details concerning of the event will be made by publication in the Federal Register via a Notice of Enforcement, published in a Local Notices to Mariners, and broadcast over VHF-FM radio. Although listed in the Code of Federal Regulations, sponsors of events listed in the table to § 100.911 are still required to submit marine event applications in accordance with § 100.15.

    (b) Special local regulations. No vessel may enter, transit through, or anchor within the regulated area without the permission of the Coast Guard Patrol Commander.

    (c) Vessel operators desiring to enter or operate within the regulated area shall contact the Coast Guard Patrol Commander to obtain permission to do so. Vessel operators given permission to enter or operate within the regulated area must comply with all directions given to them by the Coast Guard Patrol Commander.

    (d) All geographic coordinates in Table 1 to § 100.911 are North American Datum of 1983 (NAD 83).

    Table 1 to § 100.911 COTP Zone Detroit Event Sector Detroit Special Local Regulations Date (a) Hebda Cup Rowing Regatta Rowing Event Wyandotte, MI All waters of the Detroit River, Trenton Channel between the following two lines going from bank-to-bank: The first line is drawn directly across the channel from position 42°10.98′ N, 083°09.29′ W; the second line, to the north, is drawn directly across the channel from position 42°11.7′ N, 083°08.9′ W Two days in April or May. (b) Wy-Hi Rowing Regatta Rowing Event— Wyandotte, MI All waters of the Detroit River, Trenton Channel between the following two lines going from bank-to-bank: The first line is drawn directly across the channel from position 42°10.98′ N, 083°09.29′ W; the second line, to the north, is drawn directly across the channel from position 42°11.7′ N, 083°08.9′ W Two days in April or May. (c) Wyandotte Rowing Regatta Wyandotte, MI All waters of the Detroit River, Trenton Channel between the following two lines going from bank-to-bank: The first line is drawn directly across the channel from position 42°10.98′ N, 083°09.29′ W; the second line, to the north, is drawn directly across the channel from position 42°11.7′ N, 083°08.9′ W Two days in April or May. (d) Motor City Mile Swimming Event Detroit, MI All waters of the Detroit River, Belle Isle Beach between the following two lines: The first line is drawn directly across the channel from position 42°20.517′ N, 082°59.159′ W to 42°20.705′ N, 082°59.233′ W; the second line, to the north, is drawn directly across the channel from position 42°20.754′ N, 082°58.681′ W to 42°20.843′ N, 082°58.792′ W One day in June or July. (e) Wyandotte Invites Rowing Event Wyandotte, MI All waters of the Detroit River, Trenton Channel between the following two lines going from bank-to-bank: The first line is drawn directly across the channel from position 42°10.98′ N, 083°09.29′ W; the second line, to the north, is drawn directly across the channel from position 42°11.7′ N, 083°08.9′ W One day in July or August. (f) Roar on the River Powerboat Race Trenton, MI All U.S. waters of the Trenton Channel bounded by an east/west line starting at a point on land at the northern end of Elizabeth Park in Trenton, MI, located at position 42°8.2′ N; 083°10.6′ W, extending east to a point near the center of the Trenton Channel at position 42°8.2′ N; 083°10.4′ W, extending South to the Grosse Ile Parkway Bridge located at position 42°7.7′ N; 083°10.5′ W, west to the shore Three consecutive days in July or August. (g) St. Clair River Classic Power Boat Race St. Clair, MI All U.S. waters of the St. Clair River bounded by latitude 42°50.5′ N to the north and latitude 42°48.5′ N to the south; the shoreline of the St. Clair River on the west; and the international boundary line on the east One weekend in July or August. (h) Marine City Water Ski Show Marine City, MI All U.S. waters of the St. Clair River 200 feet seaward of latitude position 42°43.382′ N, and to the south by 2,000 feet to 200 feet seaward of latitude position 42°42.983′ N One day at the end of July or beginning of August. (i) Detroit Hydrofest Power Boat Race Detroit, MI All U.S. waters of the Detroit River in Scott Middle Ground, north of Belle Isle, Michigan, starting at positions 42°20.506′ N, 083°00.016′ W, on the Douglas MacArthur Bridge; extending east to the Belle Isle Crib Light at 42°21.205′ N, 082°57.996′ W Three consecutive days in August or September. (j) Bay City Grand Prix Powerboat Races Bay City, MI All waters of the Saginaw River bounded on the north by the Liberty Bridge, located at 43°36.3′ N, 083°53.4′ W, and bounded on the south by the Veterans Memorial Bridge, located at 43°35.8′ N, 083°53.6′ W One weekend at the end of June or beginning of July. (k) Tug Across the River Detroit, MI All U.S. waters of the Detroit River, Detroit, Michigan, bounded on the south by the International boundary, on the west by 083°03′ W, on the east by 083°02′ W, and on the north by the U.S. shoreline. This position is located on the Detroit River in front of Hart Plaza, Detroit, MI One day in June or July. (l) Michigan Championships Swimming Event Detroit, MI All waters of the Detroit River and Belle Isle Beach between the following two lines: The first line is drawn directly across the channel from position 42°20.517′ N, 082°59.159′ W to 42°20.705′ N, 082°59.233′ W; the second line, to the north, is drawn directly across the channel from position 42°20.754′ N, 082°58.681′ W to 42°20.997′ N, 082°58.846′ W One day in August or September. (m) Bay City Tall Ships Parade of Sail Bay City, MI All waters throughout the federal navigational channel of Saginaw Bay from Light Buoy 11 at position 43°43.90′ N, 083°46.87′ W and Light 12 at position 43°43.93′ N, 083°46.95′ W to the Saginaw River, and on all waters of the Saginaw River from its mouth to the Veterans Memorial Bridge in Bay City, MI at position 43°35.77′ N, 083°53.60′ W Tri-annually in July. Event Marine Safety Unit Toledo Special Local Regulations Date (n) Frogtown Race Regatta Toledo, OH All waters of the Maumee River, Toledo, OH, from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge at River Mile 4.30 to the Michael DiSalle Bridge at River Mile 6.73 One day in September. (o) Dragon Boat Learning Festival Toledo, OH All waters of the Maumee River in Toledo, OH between the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge at river mile 4.30 and a line extending from a point at position 41°38.78′ N, 083°31.84′ W at International Park straight across the river to shore near the mouth of Swan Creek at position 41°38.79′ N, 083°32.03′ W One day in June or July.
    §§ 100.912 through 100.921, 100.927, and 100.928 [Removed]
    3. Remove §§ 100.912, 100.913, 100.914, 100.915, 100.916, 100.917, 100.918, 100.919, 100.920, 100.921, 100.927, and 100.928. Dated: October 11, 2018. Jeffrey W. Novak, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Detroit.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22517 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    LIBRARY OF CONGRESS Copyright Office 37 CFR Parts 201 and 202 [Docket No. 2018-9] Registration Modernization AGENCY:

    U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress.

    ACTION:

    Notification of inquiry.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Copyright Office is building a new registration system to meet the demands of the digital age. As the Office develops a new technological infrastructure for this system, it is considering several legal and policy changes to improve user experience, increase Office efficiency, and decrease processing times. The Office is seeking public comment to inform its decisions on how to improve the regulations and practices related to the registration of copyright claims.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on January 15, 2019.

    ADDRESSES:

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

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Regan A. Smith, General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights at [email protected]; Robert J. Kasunic, Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Registration Policy and Practice at [email protected]; Erik Bertin, Deputy Director of Registration Policy and Practice at [email protected]; Cindy Abramson, Assistant General Counsel at [email protected]; or Jalyce Mangum at [email protected] All can be reached by telephone by calling 202-707-3000.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    The U.S. Copyright Office (the “Office”) is statutorily responsible for administering the nation's copyright laws pursuant to the Copyright Act.1 One of the most significant responsibilities assigned to the Office is the registration of copyright claims. The Office's registration services are vital to creators and users of creative works of all types, including large and small businesses, individuals, and non-profit organizations. Copyright registration provides essential benefits for copyright owners. Before bringing a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work, registration of the claim must be made in accordance with the Copyright Act, or refused by the Office.2 A timely registration constitutes prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright and the facts stated in the certificate of registration.3 Additionally, copyright owners must obtain a timely registration to seek statutory damages and attorney's fees in litigation.4 A registration also creates a public record that includes key facts relating to the authorship and ownership of the work, as well as information about the work itself, such as title, year of creation, and date of publication (if any). And an index of each registration is published in the Online Public Record, the database posted on the Office's website containing indexes of records relating to registrations and document recordations issued after 1977.5 In fiscal year 2017, the Office received 539,662 claims to copyright and issued 452,122 registrations.6 And in fiscal year 2018, the Office processed more than 600,000 claims. It is therefore crucial that the Office have an innovative and modern copyright registration system that can meet the rapidly expanding needs of the highly diverse copyright community and the public at large.

    1See 17 U.S.C. 701(a) (“All administrative functions and duties under this title . . . are the responsibility of the Register of Copyrights as director of the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.”).

    2 17 U.S.C. 411(a). The Supreme Court recently granted certiorari to resolve a conflict among the circuits concerning the interpretation of section 411(a), specifically, whether a copyright owner may commence an infringement suit after delivering the proper deposit, application, and fee to the Copyright Office, but before the Register of Copyrights has acted on the application for registration. In the government's view, the statute requires the copyright owner to receive either a registration or a refusal from the Copyright Office before instituting suit. See Br. for the U.S. as Amicus Curiae for Writ of Cert. at 12, Fourth Estate Pub. Ben. Corp. v. Wall-Street.com, LLC, 856 F.3d 1338 (11th Cir. 2017), (No. 17-571), available at https://www.copyright.gov/rulings-filings/briefs/fourth-estate-pub-ben-corp-v-wall-street-com-138-s-ct-720-2018.pdf.

    3 17 U.S.C. 410(c).

    4See 17 U.S.C. 412, 504, 505.

    5 Indexes of records related to earlier registrations and recordations, as well as the actual records, are available at the Copyright Office.

    6See U.S. Copyright Office, Fiscal 2017 Annual Report 4-5 (2017), available at https://www.copyright.gov/reports/annual/2017/ar2017.pdf. During the same period, the Office rejected more than 17,000 claims for failure to comply with the statutory and/or regulatory requirements for registration, and closed more than 52,000 claims because the applicant failed to respond to a written communication from the Office.

    The Office is dedicated to modernizing its systems. Starting in 2011, the Office began a series of comprehensive and targeted efforts to understand and analyze its information technology (“IT”) needs. The Office issued its Priorities and Special Projects of the United States Copyright Office (October 2011-October 2013), which highlighted the need for technological upgrades. The Office then undertook a comprehensive study of its technological capabilities and needs, which included extensive stakeholder feedback. The resulting 2015 Report and Recommendations of the Technical Upgrades Special Project Team acknowledged challenges with the current user experience and access to the public record, and offered recommendations for improvement.7 Based on congressional direction, the Office followed its initial report with a more detailed plan, 2016's Provisional Information Technology Modernization Plan and Cost Analysis (“Provisional IT Plan”).8 And in 2017, the Office prepared a Modified U.S. Copyright Office Provisional IT Modernization Plan (“Modified IT Plan”) 9 at the direction of the House Committee on Appropriations that includes “potential opportunities for shared efficiencies and cost-savings as well as ways the [Library of Congress' (the “Library's”) Office of the Chief Information Officer (“OCIO”)] can support the Copyright Office in its overall modernization efforts.” 10

    7See U.S. Copyright Office, Report and Recommendations of the Technical Upgrades Special Project Team (Feb. 18, 2015), available at https://www.copyright.gov/docs/technical_upgrades/usco-technicalupgrades.pdf.

    8 U.S. Copyright Office, Provisional Information Technology Modernization Plan and Cost Analysis (Feb. 29, 2016), available at http://www.copyright.gov/reports/itplan/technology-report.pdf.

    9 Library of Congress & U.S. Copyright Office, Modified U.S. Copyright Office Provisional IT Modernization Plan (Sept. 1, 2017), available at http://www.copyright.gov/reports/itplan/modified-modernization-plan.pdf.

    10See 163 Cong Rec. H4033 (daily ed. May 3, 2017) (explanatory statement submitted by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, Chairman of the H. Comm. on Appropriations), available at https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record/2017/5/3/house-section/article/H3949-2; see also Modified IT Plan at 1.

    A principal reason that the Office has prioritized modernization is to improve the Office's processing times for claims submitted for registration.11 Current processing times vary based on a number of factors, including delays in the receipt of the deposit, the number of examiners available to review pending claims, the complexity of the claim, whether there are errors or inconsistencies in the registration materials, and whether the Office needs to correspond with an applicant to resolve those issues. If the examiner sends an email or other correspondence, the applicant will be given 45 days to respond, and if the applicant responds in a timely manner, the examiner will review and respond within 30 days after the applicant's response has been received.12

    11 The current processing times are posted on the Office's website with separate figures for claims submitted through the electronic registration system and claims filed on paper forms. See Registration Processing Times, Copyright.gov, https://www.copyright.gov/registration/docs/processing-times-faqs.pdf.

    12 U.S. Copyright Office, Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices 605.6(B), (D) (3d ed. 2017) (“Compendium (Third)”).

    The Office intends to replace the current electronic system (known as “eCO”) with a modern solution that meets the changing needs of individual creators, industry (including on the user side), copyright practitioners, and the general public. In the past year, the Office engaged stakeholders in targeted outreach efforts with the assistance of a third-party contractor. The contractor interviewed numerous examiners, supervisors, and managers from the Office's Registration Program to identify common problems faced by applicants and the Office. External user interviews were conducted in Washington DC, New York City, Nashville, and Los Angeles with companies, organizations, lawyers, and individual creators who engage with the copyright registration system. In addition, the Office analyzed eCO survey data as well as calls received by the Public Information Office (“PIO”) and eCO help desk, which included over 10,000 responses from individual applicants.

    Based on the information gathered during these outreach efforts, the Office is planning to develop several solutions to improve the registration system. These solutions will include a more powerful dashboard, which will allow users to track application progress; an integrated drag and drop submission option for electronic deposits; and an improved messaging system to confirm that a submission has been received and provide details on what to expect next. The Office also intends to improve the flow and usability of the user interface. For example, the Office plans to develop a mechanism that will allow users to view a draft version of the registration certificate before final submission to confirm that the correct information has been entered. The Office also plans to implement more automated validations to enhance the application.

    As the Office identifies the IT infrastructure needed to support the new registration system, we are considering a number of legal and policy changes to improve the efficiency of the system for both users and the Office. The Office invites public comment in three specific areas of reform: The administration and substance of the application for registration, the utility of the public record, and the deposit requirements for registration.

    While this document addresses a broad range of issues related to the national copyright registration system, the Office will continue to focus on additional topics in current and future rulemakings and notices of inquiry. For example, the Office has open rulemakings related to certain group registration options, and is preparing additional notices concerning group registration options for musical compositions and sound recordings, certain short online literary works, and websites.13

    13 Information related to open rulemakings, including instructions for submitting public comments, can be found at https://www.copyright.gov/rulemaking/.

    II. Subjects of Inquiry A. The Application Process: How Users Engage With the Registration System 1. New Solutions for Delivering Application Assistance: How should the Office integrate in-application support and assistance to users of the electronic registration system?

    Through the data it has collected, the Office confirmed that users approach the electronic registration system with varying levels of understanding of copyright law and technical experience. Infrequent users require more guidance than frequent users. Therefore, in-application assistance should be pointed and flexible.

    The Office is considering a multi-tier option that will offer different levels of support during the online application process. The first level, or Tier One, would provide the most elementary and basic support by placing an icon next to certain application terms that would expand to display one to two concise sentences of explanatory text. At Tier Two, users would receive in-depth substantive assistance through a help panel that would expand to provide comprehensive information and instructions on pertinent copyright concepts. The Office is also contemplating a live chat support feature to resolve common problems quickly and efficiently, subject to the availability of resources.

    The Office welcomes comment on these multi-tier support options and invites other ideas for improving in-application assistance and support. The Office also seeks comment on the potential value and benefit of a live chat service as well as the most common questions users have when filling out applications for registration.

    2. Electronic Applications and Payments: Should the Office mandate the use of electronic applications and payments, and eliminate the paper application and payment options via check or money order?

    Section 409 of the Copyright Act authorizes the Register of Copyrights to prescribe forms for copyright registration. At present, the Office maintains three basic registration forms: The Standard and Single electronic applications, and the paper application. Paper applications, however, continue to be less efficient than electronic forms. The Office must scan each paper form into the registration system and input the relevant information by hand before an examiner even begins to review the claim. This is a cumbersome, labor-intensive process. Also, a significant portion of claims submitted on paper forms require correspondence or other action from the Office, which further increases pendency times and contributes to the overall backlog of pending claims.14 For example, applicants routinely fail to provide information expressly requested on paper forms, or add materially conflicting information. In many cases, the Office must contact the applicant to request additional information or permission to correct the application. As a result, paper applications are more costly to process than electronic applications, and the corresponding filing fee for a basic registration submitted on a paper form is $85 (compared to $55 for a basic registration submitted on an electronic form).15

    14 The average time for the Office to resolve a paper application that requires correspondence is 20 months. By contrast, the average time for the Office to resolve an electronic application that requires correspondence is nine months. Registration Processing Times, Copyright.gov, https://www.copyright.gov/registration/docs/processing-times-faqs.pdf (last visited Oct. 4, 2018).

    15 The Office recently proposed to increase the filing fee for a basic registration submitted on a paper form to $125. Copyright Office Fees, 83 FR 24054, 24057 (May 24, 2018).

    Addressing common errors on paper applications imposes significant burdens on the Office's limited resources, and has had an adverse effect on the examination of claims submitted on electronic forms. Eliminating the paper application should mitigate many of these problems. Among other improvements, the new online application is expected to contain automated validations that would prevent applicants from submitting claims that fail to provide pertinent information. Also, the Office intends to develop a reliable system that is maintained to mitigate service interruptions and technical processing delays. For these reasons, the Office believes mandating electronic applications is necessary to improve the overall efficiency of the registration process.

    The Office is also contemplating requiring the designation of an email address for receiving correspondence concerning applications for registration, and eliminating physical correspondence and physical forms of payment such as checks and money orders. These changes would facilitate end-to-end electronic processing of applications, thereby improving efficiency, reducing processing errors, and decreasing pendency times.16

    16 The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) recently issued a similar proposal that would eliminate paper applications for trademark claims and require trademark applicants “to provide and maintain an email address for correspondence.” See Changes to the Trademark Rules of Practice To Mandate Electronic Filing, 83 FR 24701, 24702 (May 30, 2018).

    The Office recognizes that public access to computers and internet technology continues to rise. Nearly every local library provides free public access to computers and the internet.17 In fiscal year 2017, 96% of basic registrations were submitted electronically, which reflects the pervasiveness of computer and internet access among the Office's users.

    17 Institute of Museum and Library Services, Public Libraries in the United States Survey Fiscal Year 2012 10 (Dec. 2014), available at https://www.imls.gov/assets/1/AssetManager/PLS_FY2012.pdf.

    At the same time, the Office is aware that certain communities do not have access to computer and internet technologies. A number of factors may contribute to a person's ability to access the Office's electronic system, including age, educational attainment, household income, and community type. Some of the most frequent users of paper applications include older adults and individuals who are incarcerated. Thus, to serve these populations and other individual needs, the Office is considering offering the paper application upon written request demonstrating sufficient need.

    The Office welcomes comment on the viability of the proposal to require electronic applications and payments and invites the submission of other proposals to improve the efficiency of the Office's registration processes for populations with limited access to computer and internet technology.

    3. Electronic Certificates: Should the Office issue electronic certificates and offer paper certificates for an additional fee?

    The Copyright Act mandates the payment of a fee as one of the conditions for seeking a copyright registration.18 Section 708(a)(1) of the statute provides that fees shall be paid to the Register “on filing each application . . . for registration of a copyright claim” and for “the issuance of a certificate of registration if registration is made.” The cost of issuing a certificate is included in the filing fee for a basic registration, though the Office does charge an additional fee if extra copies of the certificate are needed.19

    18See 17 U.S.C. 408(a).

    19See 37 CFR 201.3(c)(13).

    The Office has always issued certificates of registration on a special type of paper that confirms the authenticity of each document. The Office prints roughly 10,000 to 20,000 certificates in any given week. This requires a substantial amount of resources both in terms of employee compensation and the cost of maintaining printing equipment. Paper certificates are also subject to delays associated with mail delivery, and many certificates are returned to the Office as undeliverable due to errors or omissions in the mailing addresses provided by applicants.20 To expedite the delivery of certificates, and to reduce the rate of returned mail, the Office is contemplating providing electronic certificates of registration with appropriate watermarks or other security measures needed to ensure authenticity (in lieu of issuing paper certificates). The cost of the electronic certificate would be included in the basic registration fee. But upon request, the Office would provide paper certificates for an additional fee.

    20 In July 2018 alone, the Office received 1,737 pieces of returned mail, most of which were undeliverable paper certificates.

    For copyright owners, defaulting to electronic certificates would facilitate speedier access to certificates. And it would allow the Office to reallocate resources used in printing and mailing paper certificates to other important tasks.

    The Office welcomes comment on this proposal.

    4. Dynamic Pricing Models: Should the Office replace the Single, Standard, and group applications with a dynamic pricing model that scales fees based on the number and type of works submitted for registration?

    On May 24, 2018, the Office issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Fee Study proposing the adoption of a new fee schedule to account for inflationary increases and the expected cost of IT modernization over the next several years.21 The Fee Study was issued pursuant to the Office's routine adjustment of fees, which occurs every three to five years, so it did not address alternative models for calculating and collecting fees.

    21 83 FR 24054 (May 24, 2018).

    As mentioned above, the Copyright Act requires the payment of fees “on filing each application under section 408 for registration of a copyright claim or for a supplementary registration.” 22 Currently, the Office maintains three basic registration forms: (1) The Standard Application, (2) the Single Application, and (3) the paper application. And the Office recently proposed fees for nine types of group applications.23 Basic and group registrations account for the highest volume of the Office's fee generating services, and processing these registrations is the costliest activity the Office performs.24 This is due, in part, to the varying complexity posed by certain types of claims. For example, claims submitted on the Single Application tend to be straightforward, because they must be limited to one work by one author that is owned by that same individual. By contrast, claims submitted on the Standard Application tend to be more complex because they may involve works created by multiple authors, works with multiple owners, as well as works made for hire, derivative works, collective works, compilations, or other complicated issues.

    22 17 U.S.C. 708(a)(1).

    23 83 FR at 24057.

    24See Booz Allen Hamilton, 2017 Fee Study Report 13 (Dec. 2017), available at https://www.copyright.gov/policy/feestudy2018.

    Setting fees that accurately account for difficult and/or divergent claims is important because the Office recovers approximately 60% of its costs through fees.25 To achieve a more precise pricing model, the Office is considering adopting a system that varies fees based upon the kind of work submitted for registration and/or the number of works included in each application. This approach may also address user concerns regarding the numerical limits that currently apply to the Office's existing group registration options.

    25 U.S. Copyright Office, Fiscal 2017 Annual Report 15 (2017), available at https://www.copyright.gov/reports/annual/2017/ar2017.pdf; see 83 FR 24054, 24057-58 (May 24, 2018) (explaining methodology for targeted cost of fee recovery).

    Under this approach, the fee for any particular application could be dynamic and vary based on information provided in the application. The Office could charge a base fee for registering an individual work, and an incrementally higher fee for each additional work that is added to the application (assuming the pertinent facts for each work remains the same). Or the Office could conceivably offer a subscription service that would let authors register a specific number of works over a designated period (assuming the pertinent facts for each work remain the same).

    Many commenters have expressed support for these ideas.26 The Office invites additional comment on this approach, as well as the submission of alternative methods for calculating fees that would sustain the Office, provide equity to users, and encourage registration.

    26See, e.g., Coalition of Visual Artists, Comments Submitted in Response to the U.S. Copyright Office's December 1, 2016 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at 17, 23-24, 59 (Jan. 30, 2017); Browning-Smith PC, Comments Submitted in Response to the U.S. Copyright Office's October 12, 2017 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at 1-2 (Nov. 17, 2017); Copyright Alliance, Comments Submitted in Response to the U.S. Copyright Office's October 12, 2017 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at 2 (Nov. 17, 2017).

    B. Application Information: The Information Requested on the Application for Registration 5. Authorship Statements and Administrative Classifications: Should the Office eliminate the Author Created and Nature of Authorship sections of the application, and instead, require the applicant to identify the work being submitted for registration, rather than the elements of authorship contained in the work?

    Section 409 of the Copyright Act enumerates nine items of information that should be requested on the application for registration. None of these provisions requires the applicant to identify the type of work or the type of authorship being registered, except in the case of a compilation or derivative work. But section 409(10) gives the Register discretion to request “any other information regarded” by her “as bearing upon the preparation or identification of the work or the existence, ownership, or duration of the copyright.” Pursuant to this section, the Office has required applicants to “clearly identif[y] the copyrightable authorship that the applicant intends to register” and “assert a claim to copyright in that authorship.” 27

    27 Compendium (Third) 618.1. This practice was a departure from the Office's practices under the 1909 Act. The prior statute enumerated 11 classes of works that were eligible for copyright protection, such as books, periodicals, lectures, and musical compositions, and the Office developed a specific registration application for each class. When completing these applications copyright owners were not asked to identify the authorship they intended to register, because this information could be deduced from the form itself. For example, a work submitted on Form K presumably contained two-dimensional artwork, because that form could only be used to register prints and pictorial illustrations.

    The statute also authorizes the Register to issue regulations specifying the “administrative classes into which works are to be placed for purposes of deposit and registration” and to develop the application forms that should be used to register each claim.28 Pursuant to this authority, the Office established five administrative classes for purposes of registration—namely, literary works, serials, works of the visual arts, works of the performing arts, and sound recordings—and developed a corresponding application for each class—Forms TX, SE, VA, PA, and SR.

    28 17 U.S.C. 408(c), 409.

    Because these forms can be used to register different types of works,29 the Office added a space to each application that asked the applicant to identify the “nature of authorship” being registered. But the Office found that some applicants provided vague or ambiguous statements in this portion of the application, such as “plot,” “character,” “story idea,” “beats,” “loops,” or “remastering.” To address situations where it was unclear whether statements referred to copyrightable authorship or uncopyrightable material, the Office developed extensive practices for communicating with the applicant, amending the application, and/or annotating the certificate.30

    29 For instance, Form SR is primarily intended for sound recordings, but it can be used to register a sound recording and the musical work, dramatic work, or literary embodied in that recording. Form SE is intended for registering a single issue of a serial publication, but it also can be used to register the individual articles, photographs, or other component works appearing within that issue.

    30See, e.g.,Compendium (Third) 618.8(A)(1)-(11); U.S. Copyright Office, Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices 619 (2d ed. 1988).

    When the Office introduced the eCO system, it included a series of checkboxes in the “Author Created” field, which were intended to minimize these problems.31 These boxes encourage applicants to provide an authorship statement that describes the work being registered. But many of the checkboxes focus on the individual elements of the work, such as “text,” “music,” or “lyrics,” rather than the work as a whole.

    31 This approach was inspired by Form VA, which contains a similar set of checkboxes.

    Collectively, this system can cause confusion for applicants and additional work for examiners. The Office is considering requiring applicants to identify the type of work being deposited. This approach has the benefit of ensuring that the work as a whole is considered by the examiner in addition to the individual elements of authorship. The Office is currently testing this approach with the new version of the Single Application, which was released on December 18, 2017. Instead of providing a blank space or a series of checkboxes that encourage applicants to assert claims in the individual elements of the work, the applicant is prompted to select an entry from a dropdown list that best describes the work as a whole. The Office intends to follow this same approach when it launches the new application for registering groups of unpublished works.32

    32See Group Registration of Unpublished Works, 82 FR 47415, 47418-19 (Oct. 12, 2017).

    The Office welcomes public comment on how this approach has been working. In addition, the Office welcomes public comment on the following proposals or other alternative suggestions for improving this portion of the application:

    (a) Should the Office eliminate the Author Created and Nature of Authorship sections in all of its applications, and instead, allow the applicant to provide a general statement that appropriately describes the work as a whole?

    (b) Should the Office eliminate the Author Created and Nature of Authorship sections in all of its applications, and instead, allow the examiner to add a statement that appropriately describes the work submitted for registration?

    (c) Should the Office eliminate the Author Created and Nature of Authorship sections in all of its applications, and instead, develop a searchable, crowdsourced list of terms that could be used to describe the work—similar to the USPTO's trademark ID manual for identifying and classifying goods and services? 33

    33See Trademark ID Manual, USPTO.gov https://tmidm.uspto.gov/id-master-list-public.html.

    The Office also invites comment on its current administrative classifications. These classes are solely for administrative purposes and have no bearing on the subject matter or exclusive rights provided by copyright.34 Instead, they identify the application form used to register each type of work and determine how the Office assigns applications to examiners for processing. If the work is registered, the administrative class will be reflected in the registration number that is assigned to the certificate and the public record for that claim. Interested parties often use this information to search the Office's records for specific types of works or authors.

    34 17 U.S.C. 408(c).

    The Office, however, recognizes that these classifications, and the corresponding application forms, may be confusing for some applicants. Many works do not fit neatly into a specific class. For example, a children's book could be classified as either a literary or visual arts work, depending on the amount of text versus artwork that appears within the deposit, and the Office will accept such a work regardless of whether it is submitted on Form TX or Form VA.

    This confusion could be alleviated by letting applicants provide a general statement describing the work as a whole. The Office could use that information to assign the work to the appropriate class for purposes of routing the application for examination and indexing the public record. The Office requests public comment on this idea. We also welcome comment on whether the Office should modify the current administrative classes or create additional or alternative class structures.

    6. Derivative Works: Should the Office require users to explicitly identify whether a work submitted for registration is a derivative work?

    The Copyright Act defines a derivative work as “a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted.” 35 This category also includes “[a] work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications, which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship.” 36 Thus, by definition, a derivative work contains at least two forms of authorship: (1) “The authorship in the preexisting work(s) that have been recast, transformed, or adapted within the derivative work; and [(2)] the new authorship involved in recasting, transforming, or adapting the preexisting work(s).” 37

    35 17 U.S.C. 101 (definition of “derivative work”).

    36 17 U.S.C. 101 (definition of “derivative work”).

    37 Compendium (Third) 618.5.

    To register a claim to copyright in a derivative work, the Copyright Act states that the application must include “an identification of any preexisting work or works that it is based on or incorporates, and a brief, general statement of the additional material covered by the copyright claim being registered.” 38 The Office obtains this information on the current application in two steps. First, the Office requires the applicant to “identify the new authorship that the applicant intends to register” by checking “one or more boxes that appear under the heading Author Created” in the online application, or by providing a statement in the Nature of Authorship space on the paper application, “that accurately describe[s] the new material that the applicant intends to register.” 39 Second, if the derivative work contains an appreciable amount of preexisting material that is previously published, previously registered, in the public domain, or owned by a third party, the applicant must identify that material “by checking one or more boxes” in the Material Excluded field of the online application or by providing a brief statement in the corresponding section of the paper application. As with the Author Created section discussed above, these checkboxes encourage applicants to identify individual elements of the work that should be excluded from the claim, without identifying the preexisting work itself. In addition, the applicant must identify the elements of the work that should be “included” in the claim by completing another set of checkboxes in the online application or by providing a brief statement in the corresponding section of the paper application.

    38 17 U.S.C. 409(9).

    39 Compendium (Third) 618.5.

    The Office is considering a different approach to streamline the way that applicants provide this type of information. As discussed above, applicants would be asked to identify the type of work the author created. Applicants would be given an opportunity to identify any elements that should be excluded from the claim using their own words, rather than a set of predetermined checkboxes. And the Office would eliminate the requirement to identify the new material that should be “included” in the claim and assume that the applicant intends to register all copyrightable aspects of the work that have not been expressly disclaimed.40

    40 The Office is currently employing this approach with the new version of the Single Application, and it intends to follow this same approach when it launches the new application for registering groups of unpublished works. See Group Registration of Unpublished Works, 82 FR 47415, 47419 (Oct. 12, 2017).

    In addition, the Office is considering asking applicants to affirmatively state whether the work submitted for registration is a derivative work. The question would be accompanied by informational text to educate applicants on derivative work authorship. If the applicant identifies the work as a derivative work, the applicant would be asked to identify the preexisting work that the derivative work is based on or incorporates. The Office welcomes comment on these proposals. The Office also invites comment on whether the Office should take a similar approach with claims involving compilations and collective works.

    7. Simplifying Transfer Statements: Should the Office restrict the transfer statement options to “by written agreement,” “by inheritance,” and “by operation of law”?

    Copyright ownership in a work initially vests in the author or authors of that work.41 However, “[t]he ownership of a copyright may be transferred in whole or in part by any means of conveyance or by operation of law, and may be bequeathed by will or pass as personal property by the applicable laws of intestate succession.” 42 If the individual or organization named as the claimant or co-claimant is not an author of the work, the applicant must provide “a brief statement of how the claimant obtained ownership of the copyright.” 43 The Office refers to this as a transfer statement.44

    41 17 U.S.C. 201(a).

    42 17 U.S.C. 201(d)(1).

    43 17 U.S.C. 409(5).

    44 Compendium (Third) 620.2.

    The transfer statement should confirm that the copyright was transferred to the claimant by written agreement, by inheritance, or by operation of law.45 In the current online application, the applicant may provide this information by selecting one of the options listed in a dropdown menu.46 The options include “By written agreement” (which is the most common response provided) and “By inheritance.” If these options do not fully describe the transfer, the applicant may provide a more specific transfer statement in a blank space marked “Transfer Statement Other.” 47 This option has created inefficiencies for the Office. Providing conflicting information in the “Other” field is one of the most common reasons that the Office must correspond with applicants, which delays the resolution of claims and increases pendency times.

    45See 17 U.S.C. 201(d)(1), 204(a).

    46 Compendium (Third) 620.9(A).

    47 Compendium (Third) 620.9(A).

    Because the only acceptable means of transferring a copyright are “by written agreement,” “by inheritance,” or “by operation of law,” the Office is considering whether to add “by operation of law” to the list of acceptable transfer statements and remove the “Other” space. In addition, the Office plans to include automated validations that would prevent an applicant from submitting an application without a transfer statement in cases where the names provided in the author and claimant fields do not match. The Office welcomes comment on these proposals.

    8. In-Process Corrections: Should the Office permit applicants to make in-process edits to open cases prior to the examination of the application materials?

    Currently the Office does not permit an applicant to make manual corrections or edits to an application once it has been received by the Office. To make a correction or edit, an applicant must contact PIO and ask the Office to make the revision on the applicant's behalf. To improve efficiency, the Office is considering allowing applicants to make changes to pending applications at any point before an examiner opens the application for review.

    To implement this proposal, the Office must be able to assign an appropriate Effective Date of Registration (“EDR”). The EDR is the day on which an acceptable application, complete deposit copy, and filing fee—which are later determined by the Register of Copyrights or a court of competent jurisdiction to be acceptable for registration—have all been received in the Office in proper form.48 “Where the three necessary elements are received at different times the date of receipt of the last of them is controlling, regardless of when the Copyright Office acts on the claim.” 49 Certain in-process changes can affect the EDR assigned to a registered work. For example, the EDR may change if the applicant replaces the deposit copy that accompanies an application for registration or submits an insufficient or uncollectible filing fee.50 By contrast, replacing or updating the title of the work would not change the EDR.51

    48 17 U.S.C. 410(d).

    49 H.R. Rep. No. 94-1476, at 157 (1976), reprinted in 1976 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5659, 5773.

    50 Compendium (Third) 625.2.

    51 Compendium (Third) 625.1.

    The Office invites comment on this proposal.

    9. The Rights and Permissions Field: Should the Office allow authorized users to make changes to the Rights and Permission field in a completed registration?

    In completing an online application for registration, an “applicant may provide the name, address, and other contact information for the person and/or organization that should be contacted for permission to use the work.” 52 This is known as Rights and Permissions information. Providing this information is optional and applicants may include as little information as they prefer. The application also cautions that any information provided in this portion of the application will appear in the Online Public Record for the work.53

    52 Compendium (Third) 622.1. There is no corresponding space for providing Rights and Permissions information in a paper application.

    53 Compendium (Third) 622.1.

    Once a certificate of registration has been issued, the Office may remove certain personally identifiable information from the Online Public Record and replace it with substitute information. To do so, the author, claimant, or an authorized representative must submit “a written request in the form of an affidavit, and must pay the appropriate fee for this service.” 54 Alternatively, an author, claimant, or other interested party may update Rights and Permissions information by submitting an application for a supplementary registration and paying the appropriate fee for that service.55 If the application is approved, the Office will issue a separate certificate containing the updated information, and cross-reference the records for the initial registration and the supplementary registration. However, the Office will not remove or replace the Rights and Permissions information that appears on the original certificate or record.

    54 37 CFR 201.2(e)(1); Compendium (Third) 622.1. See generally Removal of Personally Identifiable Information from Registration Records, 82 FR 9004 (Feb. 2, 2017).

    55 37 CFR 202.6(d), (e); Compendium (Third) 1802.

    The Office is considering building a user interface that will let users update Rights and Permissions information, as necessary, without having to submit a formal written removal request and fee and without having to seek a supplementary registration. This proposal is aligned with the Office's general goal to empower users to engage with the Online Public Record. The Office also believes that this change would improve the accuracy of Rights and Permissions information for persons who may be interested in licensing particular works.

    The Office welcomes comment on this proposal, specifically addressing how it may affect the user's decision to provide Rights and Permissions information in an application for registration and how self-service changes may improve the quality of the Online Public Record. The Office also requests comment on whether this option should be limited to the party that submitted the initial application or the account associated with that submission to prevent third parties from making unauthorized changes to the record.

    10. Additional Data: What additional data should the Office collect on applications for registration? For example, should ISBNs or other unique identifiers be mandatory? Should the Office accept other optional data?

    The utility of the Office's Online Public Record is affected by the search capability of the electronic system (currently, the Voyager system), but it is also affected by the data contained within the record itself. The Office seeks input from members of the public that use and search the Online Public Record to determine whether additional data could be included in the online record to enhance the functionality of the system. For instance, the number of page numbers in a book might assist in matching a particular publication with the edition of a work that was registered. Low-resolution images or sound clips could help identify a work for potential licensing. The Office welcomes comments on any additional data that should be included in the registration record to enhance the value of the public registry. In particular, should the Office allow applicants to voluntarily upload low-resolution images or sound bites of their works to appear in the Online Public Record?

    As another example, the current system allows the applicant to include certain unique identifiers in the application, including an International Standard Book Number (“ISBN”), International Standard Recording Code (“ISRC”), International Standard Serial Number (“ISSN”), International Standard Audiovisual Number (“ISAN”), International Standard Music Number (“ISMN”), International Standard Musical Work Code (“ISWC”), International Standard Text Code (“ISTC”), or Entertainment Identifier Registry number (“EIDR”).56 If these numbers are provided in the appropriate fields, they will appear on the certificate and in the Online Public Record. These unique identifiers may assist “in the identification of a work and may facilitate licensing,” particularly in the digital environment.57

    56 Compendium (Third) 612.6(C); see U.S. Copyright Office, U.S. Copyright Office Adds Unique Identifiers to the Electronic Registration System, Issue No. 706 (Feb. 5, 2018), https://www.copyright.gov/newsnet/2018/706.html.

    57 Compendium (Third) 612.6(C).

    The Office is considering making it mandatory for applicants to provide unique identifiers for published works if a number or code has been assigned when the claim is submitted. Alternatively, the applicant could be required to add an identifier to the record if it appears in or on the deposit copy submitted with the application for registration. The Office believes this would improve the utility of the public record because users would be able to search the Online Public Record using those unique identifiers.

    The Office has noted, “reliable, up-to-date information about copyrighted works is a critical prerequisite for efficient licensing.” 58 As such, consistent with the in-process correction process noted above, the Office would allow applicants to add unique identifiers to pending cases as long as the changes are made before the case has been opened by the examiner. In addition, the Office is considering establishing a procedure for adding unique identifiers to completed registration records, potentially at no cost, which would be similar to the proposed procedure for updating Rights and Permissions information.

    58 U.S. Copyright Office, Copyright and the Music Marketplace 59-62 (2015) (discussing data standards in music industry); see Compendium (Third) 612.6(C) (noting that unique identifiers assist “in the identification of a work and may facilitate licensing”).

    Finally, the Office appreciates that standard identifiers are not a static universe. Therefore, it is considering accepting additional identifiers in the new system, such as the Interested Parties Information (“IPI”), International Standard Name Identifier (“ISNI”), and the Plus Registry.

    The Office welcomes comment on these proposals. We also invite the public to identify other types of data that could be included in the registration application—either on an optional or mandatory basis—to improve the quality and utility of the public record. The Office encourages commenters to identify any special considerations for particular categories of copyrighted works.

    11. Application Programming Interfaces (“APIs”): What considerations should the Office take into account in developing APIs for the electronic registration system?

    The Office is exploring the use of standard application programming interfaces (“APIs”) as part of the new electronic registration system. APIs offer opportunities for automated advancements. They could be used by companies to build a registration workflow into their normal business processes, or by third parties to create customized user interfaces for particular types of creators or industries, such as photographers, songwriters, book publishers, or recording artists. APIs could facilitate batch submissions of applications for registration. They could also be used to import and autofill work information, such as the title, author name(s), and date of publication from other databases when an author provides a unique identifier on an online application. In addition to making the application easier to complete, APIs could improve the accuracy of information provided on the application by minimizing errors from manual input, thereby increasing efficiency and decreasing processing times.

    Post-registration, APIs could also facilitate the export of data from the Office's Online Public Record, allowing the record to be augmented by private entities to provide potentially useful facts about the work that may not be captured in the Online Public Record, such as additional information about the deposited works. This could foster efficient licensing transactions in registered works, and help detect the infringement of registered works. That said, the Office is committed to providing the public with accurate information about copyright and does not want the introduction of third-party API access to enable consumer confusion or facilitate business models that charge excessive premiums or otherwise prey upon individual authors who may be less sophisticated about the copyright system.

    The Office invites comment on how it should utilize APIs to integrate external data into the official registry or export internal data from the Office's registry to facilitate enhanced services offered by private entities. What factors should the Office consider? Should the Office limit API access to verified entities to minimize spam submissions and deter predatory behavior? Should the Office initiate API access through a pilot program, similar to past initiatives? 59

    59See, e.g., Pilot Program for Bulk Submission of Claims to Copyright, 82 FR 21551 (May 9, 2017).

    C. Public Record: How Users Engage and Manage Copyright Office Records 12. The Online Registration Record: Should the Office expand the Online Public Record to include refusals, closures, correspondence, and appeals?

    Because the Copyright Office is primarily an office of public record,60 all “public records, indexes, and deposits” are available for public inspection pursuant to section 705(c) of the Copyright Act. In addition, with the exception of deposited articles retained by the Office,61 section 706(a) of the Copyright Act makes the Office's records available for copying by the public. To that end, registration application materials that the Office receives, including any associated correspondence between the Office and an applicant, create public records that the Office maintains in full form within the Office and in condensed form in the Online Public Record.

    60See generally 17 U.S.C. 705.

    61 Only authorized persons may receive copies of deposited articles. Persons authorized to receive copies of deposited articles include the copyright claimant of record or his or her designated agent, or an attorney representing the plaintiff or defendant in litigation, actual or prospective, involving the deposit materials. 17 U.S.C. 706(b); see also 37 CFR 201.2(d)(2).

    Full records of approved, closed, or refused registration applications, and pending applications, including any associated correspondence, are available in the Office for public inspection and copying, under certain circumstances, and for a fee.62 Condensed indexes of approved post-1977 registration applications are available on the Office's website for free via the Online Public Record.63 The Office maintains the Online Public Record pursuant to section 707(a) of the Act, which provides that the Register “shall compile and publish at periodic intervals catalogs of all copyright registrations.” This provision also gives the Register the discretion to “determine, on the basis of practicability and usefulness, the form” of publication of these records.64

    62See 37 CFR 201.2(b).

    63Public Catalog, Cocatalog.loc.gov, https://cocatalog.loc.gov. The Copyright Office currently publishes the registration of vessel hull designs in a separate database on its website, listing all registrations in reverse chronological order. See Registration of Vessel Designs, Copyright.gov, https://www.copyright.gov/vessels/.

    64 17 U.S.C. 707(a).

    Due to considerations of feasibility and current technological limitations, the Online Public Record does not contain all of the information that is contained in the Office's full registration records. In particular, it does not include a copy of any correspondence between the Office and the applicant. It does not include information concerning claims that have been refused, claims that have been voluntarily withdrawn, or claims that have been closed for failure to respond to a written communication from the Office. Likewise, it does not contain information concerning first or second requests for reconsideration (although recent decisions that have been issued by the Review Board are available on the Office's website).65 These types of records are maintained solely in the full registration record, which must be viewed at the Office.66 As a result, courts, litigants, and the public may not be aware of refused claims or communications between the Office and applicant that resulted in material modifications to the registration materials.

    65Review Board Letters Online, Copyright.gov, https://www.copyright.gov/rulings-filings/review-board/.

    66See 37 CFR 201.2(b)(1); 201.2(b)(5) (providing that, “[i]n exceptional circumstances” the Office “may allow inspection of pending applications and open correspondence files by someone other than the copyright claimant, upon submission of a written request which is deemed by the Register to show good cause for such access and establishes that the person making the request is one properly and directly concerned.”).

    The Office is considering whether to expand the Online Public Record to include correspondence records between the Office and an applicant, and refused registration application records including any associated appeal records.67 The Office believes these additions would greatly improve the utility of the public record, and invites public comment on the type and scope of information that should be included in the Online Public Record. In particular, the Office invites comment on whether it should publish condensed or full versions of these records, and comment on how these changes to the public record would affect stakeholders in different industries.

    67 This proposal is made in consideration of the Removal of Personally Identifiable Information final rule codified at 37 CFR 201.2(e), (f).

    13. Linking Registration and Recordation Records: What considerations should the Office take into account in expanding the Online Public Record to connect registration and recordation records and provide chain of title information?

    In addition to expanding the type of information included in the Online Public Record, the Office seeks to build improved search functionality, which will include enhancing the connection between its registration and recordation records. Currently, registration and recordation records are maintained as discrete data sets. A search for a name, title, or registration number pulls up the records for any registration or recordation that has been indexed with that information. And in some cases, there are hyperlinks within the registration record that allows the user to pull up any corresponding recordation records. But it is not possible to view all of the registration and recordation information on the same screen. This limits the functionality of the Online Public Record and makes it difficult to obtain chain of title information.

    The Office seeks to create a new version of the Online Public Record that would seamlessly link registration and recordation records and provide robust chain of title information. To inform its future activities concerning this endeavor, the Office invites comment on how it should link registration and recordation records in the Online Public Record, the level of detail and specificity that should be included within the chain of title, and the potential value of that information to copyright owners, users, and the general public.

    14. Unified Case Numbers: Should the Office issue one case number to track and identify a work or group of works through the registration and appeal process?

    The Office currently uses multiple identification numbers to keep track of applications, correspondence, and requests for reconsideration. The Office assigns a service request/case number to each application to keep track of the claim within the electronic registration system. A separate “THREAD ID” is assigned to each email communication sent by the Office. A separate “Correspondence ID” is assigned to each letter that is sent by the Office. And the Office assigns another “Correspondence ID” when it issues a response to a request for reconsideration.

    Administering and tracking disparate numbers for these types of records has created internal and external challenges for the Office and users alike. For instance, THREAD and Correspondence ID numbers have occasionally been attached to the wrong service request/case number. Examiners often catch these errors, but they must be fixed by hand to ensure that the correspondence materials are assigned to the appropriate case. To avoid these problems and improve the transparency of its records, the Office is proposing to unify its identification numbers to create a clear relationship between an application for registration, any correspondence, and any associated request for reconsideration. This would benefit users because they would only be tasked with monitoring one case number over the life cycle of a claim. The Office invites comment on this proposal.

    D. Deposit Requirements: The Deposit Requirements for Registration and Related Security Considerations 15. Digital First Strategy: Should the Office require only electronic and identifying material for all deposits for registration, thereby eliminating the need to submit physical deposits for purposes of registration?

    The Office is seeking comment on a new approach for registration deposits. Under this approach, applicants would be required to submit electronic deposit copies and phonorecords, or other identifying material, for the purpose of registering a work under section 408 of the Copyright Act. Copyright owners would only be expected to submit physical copies or phonorecords if they receive a written demand from the Office for that material pursuant to the mandatory deposit provisions set forth in section 407. In other words, the Library would continue to receive physical copies or phonorecords through mandatory deposit if they are needed for its collections, but only if the Office affirmatively issues a written demand for that material on the Library's behalf and provides adequate notice to the copyright owner.68

    68 This approach would be similar to the demand-based mandatory deposit scheme that the Office established for electronic-only serials and recently proposed to expand to include electronic-only books. See 75 FR 3863, 3865-66 (Jan. 25, 2010); 83 FR 16269 (Apr. 16, 2018).

    The Office already administers two separate sets of deposit requirements as codified in the Copyright Act: The requirements for depositing a work for the Library pursuant to section 407 (the “mandatory deposit requirement”) 69 and the deposit requirements for registering a work with the Copyright Office pursuant to section 408 (the “deposit requirements for registration”).70 It has been suggested that a digital approach to deposit requirements for registration would make clearer the discrete aims of the registration and mandatory deposit requirements, as the deposit needs for registration examination purposes in many cases can be fulfilled without receiving a physical copy of the work where identifying material is sufficient.71

    69See 17 U.S.C. 407.

    70See 17 U.S.C. 408.

    71See, e.g., 37 CFR 202.20(c)(2), 202.21.

    Both sections 407 and 408 give the Register broad authority to issue regulations dictating the specific nature of the copies and phonorecords that must be deposited, and in practice, the Register has traditionally exercised this authority in significant ways. Specifically, section 408(c)(1) authorizes the Register to “specify by regulation the administrative classes into which works are to be placed for purposes of deposit and registration, and the nature of the copies or phonorecords to be deposited in the various classes specified.” 72 In addition, the Register may further “require or permit, for particular classes, the deposit of identifying material instead of copies or phonorecords.” 73 Currently, a wide range of works may be registered with identifying material, including most pictorial and graphic works and computer programs.74

    72 17. U.S.C. 408(c)(1).

    73 17. U.S.C. 408(c)(1).

    74 37 CFR 202.20(c)(2) (iv), (v), (vii).

    In enacting section 407, Congress balanced different, important interests, including the “value of the copies or phonorecords to the collections of the Library of Congress” and “the burdens and costs to the copyright owner of providing [copies of the works].” 75 Thus, under section 407(c), the Register may exempt any categories of material from the mandatory deposit requirements, or demand only one copy or phonorecord if it provides a “satisfactory archival record of a work.” 76 As both the Office and the Library acknowledge that the Library does not need every deposit submitted for registration in its collections, over the years the Register has adopted a series of exemptions from the mandatory deposit requirement, including exemptions for most electronic works that are available only online, musical works that are published solely on phonorecords, advertising material, scientific or technical diagrams, greeting cards, individual lectures or sermons, and most three-dimensional sculptural works.77

    75 H.R. Rep. No. 94-1476, at 151 (1976), reprinted in 1976 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5659, 5767.

    76 17. U.S.C. 407(c).

    77See 37 CFR 202.19(c).

    Considering a digital approach to deposit requirements for registration, the Office seeks comment on whether and how it should expand the classes of excepted works under section 408. Pursuant to its authority under section 408(c)(1), the Office is considering whether it should, for all classes of works, accept only, or preferentially, electronic copies or phonorecords and identifying material to satisfy the deposit requirement for registration.78

    78 Where it is impractical or impossible to provide an electronic deposit, the Office would still accept a physical deposit.

    The Office takes seriously its responsibility to administer both the registration and mandatory deposit requirements. But the advent of a new registration system provides an opportunity to think innovatively about the best way to design a 21st century copyright registration system while serving the Library's collection needs. A digital approach to deposit requirements for registration would aim to (1) reduce the pendency time for processing applications, (2) reduce the number of physical deposit materials that the Office of Registration Policy & Practice (“RPP”) processes, and (3) simplify the deposit requirements for registration.

    Although pendency times have improved,79 this remains a crucial concern for the Office. On April 25, 2018, the House Subcommittee on Legislative Branch Appropriations highlighted the need for the Office to decrease its processing times in its hearing on the Library of Congress's fiscal year 2019 budget request.80 While inquiring about the appropriate turnaround time for completing a copyright registration, Chairman Kevin Yoder emphasized that the aim is to make the registration system “more efficient and quicker.” 81 It is believed that this proposal would further significantly decrease burdens on both copyright owners and the Copyright Office by simplifying registration requirements and the examination process, and subsequently decreasing pendency times.

    79 Between April 3, 2018, and October 2, 2018, the average processing time for all claims decreased from eight months to seven months. See Registration Processing Times, Copyright.gov, https://www.copyright.gov/registration/docs/processing-times-faqs.pdf (last visited Oct. 4, 2018).

    80See Legislative Branch Appropriations for 2019, Hearings Before the Subcomm. on Legislative Branch of the H. Comm. on Appropriations, Part 2, 115th Cong., 2d Sess. 325, 357-359 (2018)(statement from Rep. Kevin Yoder, Chairman, Subcomm. on Legislative Branch concerning registration processing times, noting “we really want the Copyright Office to be successful and [] efficient”), available at https://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-115hhrg30357/pdf/CHRG-115hhrg30357.pdf.

    81Legislative Branch Appropriations for 2019, Hearings Before the Subcomm. on Legislative Branch of the H. Comm. on Appropriations, Part 2, 115th Cong., 2d Sess. at 358 (2018).

    When an applicant sends a physical deposit with their application for registration, that deposit must be sent offsite to be screened and decontaminated for possible pathogens. Once the deposit is delivered to the Office, the Office's Receipt Analysis and Control Division (“RAC”) must manually match the physical deposit to its corresponding pending application and deliver the deposit to an examiner.82 This time consuming process can delay examination. And if the examiner later discovers that the applicant submitted an incorrect deposit, this process may be repeated, which would delay examination and re-set the EDR to the date that an acceptable deposit was received by the Office. Additionally, physical deposits are often heavy and unwieldy. The Office moves these deposits multiple times during the examination process, which increases the risk that they may be damaged, misplaced, mismatched, or lost.

    82 When an applicant submits an online application and sends the deposit through the mail, they are expected to print and attach a “shipping slip” to the deposit. This document contains a barcode generated by the electronic registration system that is used to connect the deposit with the appropriate registration application. Unfortunately, large quantities of deposits are submitted without a shipping slip. In such cases, RAC staff must correspond with the applicant to obtain the ten-digit case numbers that have been assigned to all of the applications submitted by that party, and then search for those applications in the electronic registration system. Before delivering the deposit to the examiner for a substantive review, RAC staff must match each application to its corresponding deposit by manually generating a new shipping slip with an identifying barcode.

    By contrast, when an applicant uploads a digital deposit to the electronic registration system, the Office receives the deposit as soon as the application is submitted. An examiner can immediately access the deposit when they open the application. Examiners do not need to move deposits around the Office. Electronic deposits allow examiners to process more claims per hour, thereby cutting processing times significantly.

    The Office is interested in hearing from copyright owners on how this digital approach may or may not incentivize the routine registration of copyrighted works and improve the efficiency of the registration system. The Office also seeks comments on how this approach may affect copyright owners with regard to their compliance with mandatory deposit.

    16. Digital Deposit Security

    Any approach that increases the deposit of digital formats must be supported by a robust security system. Users have expressed concern regarding the capacity of the Office's current IT infrastructure to handle an increase in digital deposits, as well as the Office's mechanisms for securing these deposits.

    The Office currently utilizes a multi-level security design to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the data within the eCO system. The system is certified to operate at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) Moderate security level.83 The entire eCO system operates on hardware and software dedicated to this system and it does not share any computer or storage resources. Strict access controls are in place throughout the system for public users, staff, and system administrators, enforcing the principle of least privilege, which means that users in each role may only access what is needed for their role. The system is also protected by multiple levels of network firewalls and other network-based security, such as anti-malware protection. Finally, the eCO system is under continuous monitoring, both operational and security, to ensure that these security controls are and remain effective.

    83See National Institute of Standards and Technology, Minimum Security Requirements for Federal Information and Information Systems, FIPS PUB 200, available at https://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/FIPS/NIST.FIPS.200.pdf; National Institute of Standards and Technology, Security and Privacy Controls for Information Systems and Organizations, SP 800-53, available at https://csrc.nist.gov/CSRC/media//Publications/sp/800-53/rev-5/draft/documents/sp800-53r5-draft.pdf.

    The Office, working with OCIO, plans to implement these same controls in the new online registration system. Additionally, the Office's IT infrastructure is being updated to support increased numbers of digital deposits. The Office welcomes comment on the current and future state of the Office's deposit security as well as any additional approaches to this issue.

    E. Additional Considerations

    The Office is dedicated to developing a robust and efficient registration system and invites comment on any additional considerations that it should take into account during its modernization process.

    Dated: October 11, 2018. Karyn Temple, Acting Register of Copyrights and Director of the U.S. Copyright Office.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22486 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1410-30-P
    DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 38 CFR Part 17 RIN 2900-AP64 Adopting Standards for Laboratory Requirements AGENCY:

    Department of Veterans Affairs.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proposes to amend its medical regulations to establish standards for VA clinical laboratories. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has established standards for the staffing, management, procedures, and oversight of clinical laboratories that perform testing used for the diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of any disease or impairment of, or health assessment of, human beings. VA is required, in consultation with HHS, to establish standards equal to those applicable to other clinical laboratories. As a matter of policy and practice VA has applied HHS standards to its VA laboratory operations, and this proposed rule would formalize this practice. The proposed rule would establish quality standards for laboratory testing performed on specimens from humans, such as blood, body fluid and tissue, for the purpose of diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of disease, or assessment of health. Specifically, it would address how VA applies regulations as the controlling standards for VA medical facility laboratories.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before December 17, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments may be submitted through www.regulations.gov; by mail or hand-delivery to the Director, Regulation Policy and Management (00REG), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Ave. NW, Room 1063B, Washington, DC 20420; or by fax to (202) 273-9026. Comments should indicate that they are submitted in response to “RIN 2900-AP64—Adopting 42 CFR Part 493 Laboratory Requirements.” Copies of comments received will be available for public inspection in the Office of Regulation Policy and Management, Room 1063B, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (except holidays). Please call (202) 461-4902 for an appointment. (This is not a toll-free number.) In addition, during the comment period, comments may be viewed online through the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) at http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Quynh Vantu, Health Science Specialist, Pathology and Laboratory Service (10P11P), Office of Specialty Care Services, Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Ave. NW, Room 1063B, Washington, DC 20420, (202) 632-8418. (This is not a toll-free number.)

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (Pub. L. (PL) 100-578) amended section 353 of the Public Health Service Act to establish legal requirements for the staffing, management, procedures, and oversight of clinical laboratories that perform testing used for the diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of any disease or impairment of, or health assessment of, human beings. These statutory requirements are codified at 42 U.S.C. 263a. The term “laboratory” or “clinical laboratory” are defined at 42 U.S.C. 263a(a) as a facility for the biological, microbiological, serological, chemical, immuno-hematological, hematological, biophysical, cytological, pathological, or other examination of materials derived from the human body for the purpose of providing information for the diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of any disease or impairment of, or the assessment of the health of, human beings. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), within HHS, promulgated regulations for the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) at title 42, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 493. CMS has primary responsibility for the administration of the CLIA program.

    “. . . [T]o assure consistent performance of medical facility laboratories under the jurisdiction of the Secretary [of Veterans Affairs] of valid and reliable laboratory examinations and other procedures,” section 101 of Public Law 102-139 (“1991 Act”) was enacted, requiring VA, within a specified time-frame and in consultation with HHS, “to establish standards [by regulation] equal to that applicable to other medical facility laboratories in accordance with the requirements of section 353(f) of the Public Health Service Act.” VA's regulations must “include appropriate provisions respecting compliance with such requirements [set forth in section 353(f) of the Public Health Service Act]” and may include appropriate provisions respecting waivers and accreditations described in sections 353(d) and 353(e), respectively, of the Public Health Service Act. As a matter of policy and practice, VA believes it has met these statutory requirements; however, VA is issuing this proposed rule to comply with the requirement for formal rulemaking. Since enactment of section 101(a) of the 1991 Act, VA has collaborated with HHS in reviewing VA requirements and in developing standards for VA's medical facility laboratories that meet the requirements of law.

    VA policy and practice regarding CLIA compliance was developed in consultation with HHS in 1994 and 1998. VA laboratories are accredited by accrediting organizations granted deeming authority by CMS (i.e., HHS-approved accreditation organization) to ensure its laboratories are in compliance with current CLIA regulations. Based on consultation with CMS in 1994 and 1998, the accreditation organization(s) provide oversight for proficiency testing in VA laboratories, as set forth in CLIA. Deeming authority is granted to an accrediting organization by CMS after a determination that the organization's accreditation oversight program requires that laboratories comply with or exceed CLIA standards. CMS has granted “deeming authority” to several other organization allowing them to accredit laboratories and inspect the laboratories in CMS's stead. The history of the process of the development of CLIA equivalent VHA standards in consultation with CMS is documented in the interagency agreement (IAA) between VA and CMS.

    In 2000, after further consultation, VA and CMS entered into an IAA, which documented the history of the parties' consultations and agreements and granted VA limited authority to act on behalf of CMS. Specifically, the IAA authorized VA to issue CMS CLIA numbers and CLIA certificates to VA laboratories, which requires VA to notify CMS when VA suspends or retires CLIA numbers assigned to VA laboratories.

    This agreement was renewed in 2010, and CMS and VA have agreed to review and update the interagency agreement as necessary in 2018, and every 6 years thereafter. In addition, CMS and VA agree to meet annually to discuss program issues of mutual importance.

    To ensure VA remains current with CMS CLIA requirements, VA participates in the CMS Partners in Laboratory Oversight group, consults will CMS as needed, and participates in at least one formal consultative meeting per year. These engagements with CMS facilitates ongoing communication and coordination, and promotes effective oversight necessary to coordinate major activities, and expeditious, effective response to complaints, survey findings, and publicly volatile situations. VA staff attend State Agency Surveyor training, and CLIA surveyor webinars. VA has also convened ad hoc conferences with CMS when the exchange of information on CLIA may be needed. VA provides updates at the annual partners meeting and participates in audio conferences as requested. The CMS CLIA Program Director participates in VA's annual conference in which CMS, VA, and Department of Defense provide updates on laboratory issues and enforcement of laboratory regulations. As discussed below, VA laboratories that perform testing are all accredited and inspected by accrediting organizations granted deeming authority by CMS. As such, VA has documentation that its laboratories meet current CLIA standards.

    VA provides updated data to CMS for each VA laboratory assigned a CLIA number at least every two years, or as changes occur. VA provides CMS with any requested information regarding the operation and performance of VA laboratories and the operations of the oversight program.

    Under the 1991 Act, the definition of “medical facility laboratories” has the same meaning previously used to define the terms “laboratory” or “clinical laboratory” pursuant to section 353(a) of the Public Health Service Act, codified at 42 U.S.C. 263a(a). VA concluded that it should adopt 42 CFR part 493 regulations that were applicable to clinical laboratory operations but keep oversight and enforcement of these regulations as applied to VA laboratories within VA, rather than HHS. Under current VA practice, VA fulfills all laboratory oversight of and enforcement functions for VA laboratories that CMS fulfills for HHS with respect to laboratories subject to CLIA. VA has the authority and responsibility to provide enforcement of the CLIA regulations for VA laboratories, including imposing sanctions and discontinuing laboratory testing. VA believes this determination is consistent with the fact that Congress passed an entirely separate law (Pub. L. 102-139) for VA medical facility laboratories under the exclusive jurisdiction and control of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

    The 42 CFR part 493 regulations are very detailed and include multiple subparts that address clinical laboratory tests. The laboratory regulations include requirements for proficiency testing; facility administration; quality systems; personnel qualifications; responsibilities for laboratory personnel, including laboratory directors and testing personnel; laboratory inspections; and enforcement. Several subparts are not directly applicable to VA medical facility laboratories because they address administration of the oversight and enforcement functions performed by CMS under 42 CFR part 493. Sections of 42 CFR part 493 that refer to the interactions with state programs, collections of fees, suspension of payments, creation of an advisory committee, and civil action are not applicable to VA, as discussed in greater detail below.

    Although the requirement for consultation between HHS and VA was accomplished over 20 years ago, we are now proposing to formalize, document, and update, as necessary, VA's application of the CLIA requirements to VA laboratory operations. VA proposes to amend its medical regulations to reference the portions of 42 CFR part 493 adopted by VA as they apply to VA medical facility laboratories and clinics and to clarify that these standards are subject to VA oversight and enforcement by VA only. In addition, the proposed rule would require VA laboratories to be accredited by an accreditation organization granted deeming authority by CMS, in accordance with the accreditation requirement in CLIA, and participate in an HHS approved proficiency testing program.

    Through this proposed rulemaking, in accordance with current VA policy and practice, VA can continue to assure that medical facility laboratories across our system perform consistent, accurate and reliable laboratory testing, ensuring the provision of quality testing for our veteran-patients in a manner comparable to non-VA laboratories.

    We note that, in addition to 42 CFR part 493 standards, VA recognizes and adheres to worker safety standards established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the collection of blood and blood components intended for transfusion or for further manufacturing use, such as to make clotting factors, and establishes standards for blood and blood products. FDA also regulates related products such as cell separation devices, blood collection containers and HIV screening tests that are intended for use in the manufacture of blood or blood products. FDA develops and enforces quality standards, inspects blood establishments, and monitors reports of errors, accidents and adverse clinical events. Those additional standards are beyond the scope of this proposed rule.

    VA proposes to add a new section 17.3500, “Adopting 42 CFR Part 493 Laboratory Requirements,” to its medical regulations. There, we would address CLIA regulations found at 42 CFR part 493, by subpart, and how VA would apply those regulations.

    We state that all laboratory testing within VA performed for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, and assessment of health in patients would comply with the relevant requirements established by HHS under 42 CFR part 493 as enforced by VA. VA laboratory testing must meet, at a minimum, requirements established in 42 CFR part 493. These requirements must be met for any laboratory service offered by a VA medical facility, as well as contracted laboratory services performed on site at VA laboratories, outreach clinics, or testing sites. Provisions that are specific to oversight by state licensure programs are not applicable, since VA as a federal entity is not subject to state licensing requirements. Except as noted in the proposed rule, functions and responsibilities assigned to CMS in 42 CFR part 493 are assumed by VA with respect to laboratories operated by or on behalf of VA.

    Part 493 subpart A covers general provisions. We propose that all provisions of subpart A would apply to VA with several exceptions intended to reflect that VA has the authority, responsibility, and duty to administer 42 CFR part 493 standards within VA. We state that functions assigned to HHS in this subpart would be performed by VA. This is consistent with an IAA previously entered into between VA and CMS. The regulation would set forth that the respective provisions of 42 CFR part 493 apply to VA laboratories performing waived, moderate, and high complexity tests.

    Subparts B through D address certificates issued by CMS. Subpart B focuses on Certificates of Waiver. Subpart C addresses Registration Certificates, Certificates for PPM procedures, and Certificates of Compliance. PPM procedures are a select group of moderately complex microscopy tests commonly performed by specific health care providers during patient office visits. Tests included in PPM procedures do not meet the criteria for waiver because they are not simple procedures; they require training and specific skills for test performance. Subpart D focuses on Certificates of Accreditation. These subparts establish standards for CMS-issuance of the listed certificates as well as fees that must be remitted to CMS by regulated laboratories in order to apply for and receive certification. We state that all provisions of these subparts would apply to VA laboratories, except that certificates issued by HHS under these subparts are instead issued by VA pursuant to the previously noted interagency agreement between CMS and VA. As certificates are issued by VA rather than CMS, CMS does not require remittance of a fee from laboratories for any certificate issued by VA under these subparts.

    Subpart E addresses accreditation by a private, nonprofit accreditation organization or exemption under an approved State laboratory program. Under this subpart, a laboratory may meet individual VA and CLIA program requirements through accreditation by a CMS approved nonprofit accreditation organization (AO). The subpart establishes an application and approval process for an accreditation organization seeking to be granted deeming authority by CMS, as well as a process in which CMS may validate findings of an accreditation organization by reinspection of a laboratory following an inspection by that accreditation organization. CLIA has granted “deeming authority” to several accreditation organizations allowing them to accredit laboratories and inspect the laboratories. These accreditation organizations must impose organizations' requirements equal to or more stringent than those contained in 42 CFR part 493 at the condition level. The subpart also establishes standards for CLIA exemptions under an approved State laboratory program. All provisions would apply to VA, to the extent that this subpart addresses accreditation by a private, nonprofit accreditation organization. However, the provisions related to approved State laboratory program do not apply to VA.

    The proposed rule states that VA would use only accreditation agencies with CMS-granted deeming authority to accredit VA laboratories. This is consistent with current, longstanding, VA practice. CMS has an established process for determining whether an accreditation organization should be granted deeming authority, and experience in making that determination. VA has determined that there is no need to duplicate that process and relying on CMS' approval of an accreditation organization ensures that VA would not reach any conclusions on deeming authority that are inconsistent with CMS.

    A validation inspection is a quality control measure performed by CMS under Subpart E. It involves CMS reinspection of a laboratory that has recently been inspected by an accreditation organization with deeming authority, to validate that AO's survey findings. We state that validation inspections performed by CMS under subpart E would be performed instead by VA. This is consistent with current practice, and VA's authority under the 1991 Act to provide oversight and enforcement of the requirements set forth in 42 CFR part 493, as oversight and enforcement functions under this subpart as applied to VA laboratories are performed by VA.

    General administration provisions related to 42 CFR part 493 are found at Subpart F. This subpart sets forth the methodology for determining the amount of fees for issuing the appropriate certificate, and for determining compliance with the applicable standards of the Public Health Service Act and the Federal validation of accredited laboratories. We state that provisions of Subpart F would not be applicable to VA, as CMS does not collect fees for certification of VA laboratories

    Subpart H addresses participation in proficiency testing for laboratories performing nonwaived testing. Nonwaived testing is the term used by CMS to refer collectively to moderate and high complexity testing. We state that all provisions of this subpart would apply to VA, and VA employs scoring criteria under this subpart.

    Subpart I focuses on the approval of proficiency testing programs. The proposed rule states that VA would rely on HHS to approve proficiency testing programs. VA would continue to use only HHS approved proficiency testing programs. HHS has an established process for proficiency testing program approval and experience in making that determination. VA has determined that there is no need to duplicate that process and relies on HHS program approvals.

    Subpart J addresses facility administration for nonwaived testing, and sets standards for facility construction, transfusion services, and records retention. We state that all provisions of this subpart would apply to VA.

    Subpart K focuses on quality systems for nonwaived testing. Under this subpart, each laboratory that performs nonwaived testing must establish and maintain written policies and procedures that implement and monitor a quality system for all phases of the total testing process (that is, preanalytic, analytic, and postanalytic) as well as general laboratory systems. Laboratory quality systems must include a quality assessment component that ensures continuous improvement of the laboratory's performance and services through ongoing monitoring that identifies, evaluates, and resolves problems. The laboratory's quality system must be appropriate for the specialties and subspecialties of testing that the laboratory performs, services it offers, and clients it serves. This subpart establishes requirements for different specialties and subspecialties of laboratory tests and VA would apply all established requirements.

    Personnel requirements for performing non-waived testing are addressed in subpart M. All applicable personnel requirements would meet CLIA requirements with the exception of state-specific licensing requirements. Subpart M requires that certain personnel maintain a license in the state in which the laboratory is located. While VA health care providers must be licensed in a state, there is no requirement that the health care provider be licensed in the state where the VA facility at which the provider works is located. See, 38 U.S.C. 7402 (requiring licensure in any state for eligibility to an appointment as VHA health care provider regardless of VHA facility location).

    Subpart Q establishes inspection requirements for all CLIA-certified and CLIA-exempt state laboratories. We state that all provisions would apply to VA, except that all enforcement and oversight functions that are assigned to HHS in this subpart are performed by VA.

    Subpart R sets forth enforcement procedures, including the policies and procedures CMS uses to enforce CLIA requirements, as well as appeal rights of laboratories on which CMS imposes sanctions. We state that all provisions would apply to VA with the following exceptions. Suspension of the right to Medicare or Medicaid payments as an available sanction against VA laboratories is not applicable because VA laboratories do not participate in these programs. Enforcement and oversight functions would be performed by VA rather than HHS or CMS. VA is responsible for ensuring its laboratories comply with these CLIA requirements, and taking immediate action in the jeopardy to patients. See, Public Law 102-139, section 101; 42 CFR 493.1218. Due process protections afforded by CMS-certified laboratories facing sanctions would not apply to laboratories operating by or under contract with VA. If VA had a substantial testing issue with a non-VA CMS-certified laboratory, VA would notify CMS of that instant. Laboratories subject to this proposed rule are operated by VA or under contract with VA. Finally, we state that VA would not participate in laboratory registry under 42 CFR 493.1850. This is consistent with longstanding VA policy and practice. The laboratory registry operated by CMS under part 493 includes collection of data that is not applicable to VA. Examples include a list of laboratories that have been convicted, under Federal or State laws relating to fraud and abuse, false billing, or kickbacks; all appeals and hearing decisions; a list of laboratories against which CMS has sued under § 493.1846 and the reasons for those actions; and, a list of laboratories that have been excluded from participation in Medicare or Medicaid and the reasons for the exclusion. VA has made VA laboratory information available to the public in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552. VA believes this would provide the public with greater access to information than that found in the private sector.

    Subpart T requires HHS to establish a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Advisory Committee (CLIAC) to advise and make recommendations on technical and scientific aspects of the provisions of part 493. The committee is managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provides scientific and technical advice and guidance to HHS. The Committee includes diverse membership across laboratory specialties, professional roles, (laboratory management, technical, physicians, nurses) and practice settings (academic, clinical, public health), and includes a consumer representative. VA benefits from the diversity, broad knowledge, and expertise of government and non-government participants that make up CLIAC, because any issues addressed that result in changes to the part 493 regulations, then also become a requirement for VA. Since VA complies with part 493 regulations, VA ultimately benefits from revisions for improvement to standards initiated by CLIAC. CLIAC is governed by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), Public Law 92-463. FACA was enacted in 1972 to establish guidelines on federal advisory committee structures and operations. As VA does not have a similar FACA-level advisory committee, this subpart would not apply to VA.

    Effect of Rulemaking

    The Code of Federal Regulations, as proposed to be revised by this proposed rulemaking, would represent the exclusive legal authority on this subject. No contrary rules or procedures would be authorized. All VA guidance would be read to conform with this proposed rulemaking if possible or, if not possible, such guidance would be superseded by this rulemaking.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    This proposed rule contains no provisions constituting a collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3521).

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Secretary hereby certifies that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as they are defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-612. It would affect only the operations of VA medical facility laboratories. Therefore, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 605(b), this rulemaking would be exempt from the initial and final regulatory flexibility analysis requirements of 5 U.S.C. 603 and 604.

    Executive Order 12866, 13563 and 13771

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, when regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity). Executive Order 13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review) emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) defines a “significant regulatory action,” requiring review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), unless OMB waives such review, as “any regulatory action that is likely to result in a rule that may: (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities; (2) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency; (3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in this Executive Order.”

    The economic, interagency, budgetary, legal, and policy implications of this proposed rule have been examined, and it has been determined to be a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, because it raises novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in this Executive Order. VA's impact analysis can be found as a supporting document at http://www.regulations.gov, usually within 48 hours after the rulemaking document is published. Additionally, a copy of the rulemaking and its impact analysis are available on VA's website at http://www.va.gov/orpm/, by following the link for “VA Regulations Published From FY 2004 Through Fiscal Year to Date.” This proposed rule is not expected to be subject to the requirements of E.O. 13771 because this proposed rule is expected to result in no more than de minimis costs using a post-statutory baseline reflecting current practices within VA.

    Unfunded Mandates

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires, at 2 U.S.C. 1532, that agencies prepare an assessment of anticipated costs and benefits before issuing any rule that may result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more (adjusted annually for inflation) in any one year. This proposed rule would have no such effect on State, local, and tribal governments, or on the private sector.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

    The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance numbers and titles for the programs affected by this document are 64.008—Veterans Domiciliary Care; 64.011—Veterans Dental Care; 64.029—Purchase Care Program; 64.033—VA Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program; 64.040—VA Inpatient Medicine; 64.041—VA Outpatient Specialty Care; 64.042—VA Inpatient Surgery; 64.043—VA Mental Health Residential; 64.044—VA Home Care; 64.045—VA Outpatient Ancillary Services; 64.046—VA Inpatient Psychiatry; 64.047—VA Primary Care; 64.048—VA Mental Health clinics; 64.049—VA Community Living Center; 64.050—VA Diagnostic Care; 64.054—Research and Development.

    List of Subjects in 38 CFR Part 17

    Administrative practice and procedure, Alcohol abuse, Alcoholism, Claims, Day care, Dental health, Drug abuse, Government contracts, Grant programs-health, Grant programs-veterans, Health care, Health facilities, Health professions, Health records, Homeless, Medical and Dental schools, Medical devices, Medical research, Mental health programs, Nursing homes, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Travel and transportation expenses, Veterans.

    Signing Authority

    The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or designee, approved this document and authorized the undersigned to sign and submit the document to the Office of the Federal Register for publication electronically as an official document of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Gina S. Farrisee, Deputy Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans Affairs, approved this document on September 19, 2017, for publication.

    Dated: October 11, 2018. Consuela Benjamin, Regulation Development Coordinator, Office of Regulation Policy & Management, Office of the Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, VA proposes to amend 38 CFR part 17 as follows:

    PART 17—MEDICAL 1. The authority citation for part 17 is amended by adding a sentence immediately following the statutory authority citation for section 17.655 to read as follows: Authority:

    38 U.S.C. 501, and as noted in specific sections:

    Section 17.3500 is also issued under Public Law 102-139 sec. 101.

    2. Add an undesignated center heading and § 17.3500 to read as follows: Clinical Laboratory Standards
    § 17.3500 VA application of 42 CFR part 493 standards for clinical laboratory operations.

    All laboratory testing within VA performed for the diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of any disease or impairment of, or health assessment of, human beings must comply with the listed requirements established by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the following subparts of 42 CFR part 493 as interpreted, administered, and enforced by VA. VA laboratory testing must meet, at a minimum, requirements established in 42 CFR part 493. These standards must be met for any laboratory service offered within a VA medical facility or outreach clinics, as well as contracted laboratory services performed on site at VA laboratories, outreach clinics, or testing sites. Except as noted below, functions and responsibilities assigned to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in 42 CFR part 493 are assumed by VA. Provisions that are specific to oversight by state licensure programs are not applicable. VA administers the application of the relevant provisions of 42 CFR part 493 to VA laboratories as follows:

    (a) Subpart A—General provisions. All provisions apply to VA with the following exceptions:

    (1) Functions assigned to HHS in this subpart are performed by VA.

    (2) While 42 CFR part 493 requires laboratories that perform waived, moderate and high complexity tests to meet the regulations, VA requires VA laboratories meet or exceed the requirements of 42 CFR part 493.

    (b) Subpart B—Certificate of waiver. All provisions apply to VA, except that:

    (1) Certificates issued by HHS under this subpart are instead issued by VA pursuant to an agreement between CMS and VA.

    (2) CMS does not require remittance of a fee from laboratories for any certificate issued by the VA under this subpart.

    (c) Subpart C—Registration certificate, certificate for provider-performed microscopy procedures, and certificate of compliance. All provisions apply to VA, except that:

    (1) Certificates issued by HHS under this subpart are instead issued by VA pursuant to an agreement between CMS and VA.

    (2) CMS does not require remittance of a fee from laboratories for any certificate issued by VA under this subpart.

    (d) Subpart D—Certificates of accreditation. All provisions apply to VA, except that:

    (1) Certificates issued by HHS under this subpart are instead issued by VA pursuant to an agreement between CMS and VA.

    (2) CMS does not require remittance of a fee from laboratories for any certificate issued by VA under this subpart.

    (e) Subpart E—Accreditation by a private, nonprofit accreditation organization or exemption under an approved state laboratory program. All provisions apply to VA, to the extent that this subpart addresses accreditation by a private, nonprofit accreditation organization. VA applies this subpart as follows:

    (1) VA relies on CMS to grant deeming authority for accreditation organizations. VA uses only these accreditation agencies with deeming authority to accredit VA laboratories.

    (2) VA uses only CMS approved proficiency testing providers.

    (3) Proficiency testing providers release proficiency testing results directly to VA.

    (4) VA, rather than CMS, performs validation inspections of VA laboratories.

    (5) Oversight and enforcement functions under this subpart are performed by VA.

    (f) Subpart F—General administration. This subpart sets forth the methodology for determining the amount of the fees for issuing the appropriate certificate, and for determining compliance with the applicable standards of the Public Health Service Act and the Federal validation of accredited laboratories and of CLIA-exempt laboratories. This subpart is inapplicable to VA, as CMS does not collect fees for certification of VA laboratories.

    (g) Subpart H—Participation in proficiency testing for laboratories performing nonwaived testing. All provisions apply to VA, except that all enforcement and oversight functions related to proficiency testing which are assigned to HHS in this subpart are performed by VA.

    (h) Subpart I—Proficiency testing programs for nonwaived testing. All provisions apply to VA, and VA employs scoring criteria under this subpart. VA uses only CMS approved proficiency testing providers. Enforcement and oversight functions related to proficiency testing which are assigned to HHS in this subpart are performed by VA.

    (i) Subpart J—Facility administration for nonwaived testing. VA applies standards established in this subpart.

    (j) Subpart K—Quality system for nonwaived testing. VA applies standards established in this subpart.

    (k) Subpart M—Personnel for nonwaived testing. VA applies standards established in this subpart, except that requirements regarding maintaining a license in the state where the laboratory is located are not applicable.

    (l) Subpart Q—Inspection. VA applies standards established in this subpart, except that all enforcement and oversight functions, which are assigned to HHS in this subpart are performed by VA.

    (m) Subpart R—Enforcement procedures. VA applies standards established in this subpart, except:

    (1) Enforcement and oversight functions which are assigned to HHS in this subpart are performed by VA.

    (2) Due process protections afforded by CMS-certified for laboratories facing sanctions are not applicable to laboratories operating under this section.

    (3) Suspension of the right to Medicare or Medicaid payments as an available sanction is not applicable. VA does not participate in these programs.

    (4) State onsite monitoring and monetary penalties imposed by CMS as an alternate sanction under 42 CFR 493.1806(c) are not applicable.

    (5) VA may cease laboratory testing immediately at any site subject to this section upon notification of immediate jeopardy to patients.

    (6) VA does not participate in laboratory registry under 42 CFR 493.1850. VA may disclose laboratory information useful in evaluating the performance of laboratories under 5 U.S.C. 552.

    (n) Subpart T—Consultations. This subpart requires HHS to establish a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Advisory Committee (CLIAC) to advise and make recommendations on technical and scientific aspects of the provisions of part 493. This subpart does not apply to VA.

    [FR Doc. 2018-22452 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8320-01-P
    POSTAL SERVICE 39 CFR Part 20 International Mailing Services: Product and Price Changes—CPI AGENCY:

    Postal ServiceTM.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Postal Service proposes to revise Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM®), to reflect changes in the prices, product features, and classification changes to Mailing Services. These changes would also implement a lower maximum weight limit on First-Class Mail International® (FCMI) large envelopes (flats), to bring them closer to compliance with Universal Postal Union (UPU) standards.

    DATES:

    We must receive your comments on or before November 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Mail or deliver comments to the manager, Product Classification, U.S. Postal Service®, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, RM 4446, Washington, DC 20260-5015. You may inspect and photocopy all written comments, by appointment only, at USPS® Headquarters Library, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, 11th Floor North, Washington DC 20260, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, by calling 202-268-2906 in advance. Send email comments, including the name and address of the commenter, to: [email protected], with a subject line of “January 2019 International Mailing Services Price Change—CPI.” Faxed comments are not accepted.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Paula Rabkin at 202-268-2537.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    International Price and Service Adjustments

    On October 10, 2018, the Postal Service filed a notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission in Docket No. R2019-1 of mailing services price adjustments, effective on January 27, 2019. The Postal Service proposes to revise Notice 123, Price List, available on Postal Explorer® at https://pe.usps.com, to reflect these new price changes. Proposed prices are or will be available under Docket Number R2019-1 on the Postal Regulatory Commission's website at www.prc.gov.

    Over the course of time, country names have changed due to a variety of political or cultural reasons. In collaboration with International Postal Affairs and requests made through the UPU, the Postal Service is updating country names throughout mailing standards, changing Great Britain and Northern Ireland to United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and changing Swaziland to Eswatini.

    This proposed rule also describes the price and classification changes and the corresponding mailing standards changes for the following market dominant international services:

    • First-Class Mail International (FCMI) service • International extra services and fees. First-Class Mail International

    We propose no increase in prices for single-piece FCMI letters, postcards, and flats. The price for a single-piece 1-ounce letter remains $1.15. The FCMI letter nonmachinable surcharge remains $0.21.

    On October 10, 2018, the Postal Service filed a notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission in Docket No. MC2019-3. In this filing we propose a change in the maximum weight limit for First-Class Mail International (FCMI) large envelopes (flats) to 15.994 ounces, in lieu of the current 64 ounce limit. This change will more closely align the Postal Service's definition of FCMI large envelopes (flats) with the Universal Postal Union Convention's definition, which allows a maximum weight of 500 grams (17.6 ounces) for flat-shaped letter post items.

    A mailpiece weighing 16 ounces or more that is presented as an FCM large envelope (flat) will be charged the applicable First-Class Package International Service® price. Alternatively, the mailer could elect to use another class of mail such as Priority Mail Express International® or Priority Mail International®, if the mailpiece meets the requirements for those mail classes.

    International Extra Services and Fees

    The Postal Service proposes the following increase in fees for certain market dominant international extra services including:

    • Certificate of Mailing.

    • Registered Mail TM.

    • Return Receipt.

    • Customs Clearance and Delivery Fee.

    • International Business Reply TM Mail Service.

    Certificate of Mailing Fee Individual pieces: Individual article (PS Form 3817) $1.45 Duplicate copy of PS Form 3817 or PS Form 3665 (per page) 1.45 Firm mailing sheet (PS Form 3665), per piece (minimum 3) First-Class Mail International only 0.41 Bulk quantities: For first 1,000 pieces (or fraction thereof) 8.55 Each additional 1,000 pieces (or fraction thereof) 1.07 Duplicate copy of PS Form 3606 1.45 Registered Mail Fee: $16.00. Return Receipt Fee: $4.10. Customs Clearance and Delivery Fee: Per piece $6.40. International Business Reply Service Fee: Cards $1.45; Envelopes up to 2 ounces $1.95.

    Following the completion of Docket No. R2019-1, the Postal Service will adjust the prices for products and services covered by the IMM. These prices will be listed on Postal Explorer at https://pe.usps.com.

    Accordingly, although exempt from the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553(b), (c)) regarding proposed rulemaking by 39 U.S.C. 410(a), the Postal Service invites public comment on the following proposed changes to Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM ®), which is incorporated by reference in the Code of Federal Regulations in accordance with 39 CFR 20.1, and to associated changes to Notice 123, Price List.

    List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 20

    Foreign relations, International postal services.

    Accordingly, 39 CFR part 20 is proposed to be amended as follows:

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

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

    2. Revise the following sections of Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM), as follows: Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM)

    [Throughout the IMM, change all references to “Great Britain and Northern Ireland” to “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” and place them in the correct alphabetical order in lists]

    [Throughout the IMM, change all references to “Swaziland” to “Eswatini” and place them in the correct alphabetical order in lists]

    1 International Mail Services 120 Preparation for Mailing 122 Addressing 122.1 Destination Address

    [In item j., revise the country name in the first addressing example to read as follows:]

    MR THOMAS CLARK 117 RUSSELL DRIVE LONDON W1P 6HQ UNITED KINGDOM 123 Customs Forms and Online Shipping Labels 123.6 Required Usage 123.61 Conditions Exhibit 123.61 Customs Declaration Form Usage by Mail Category

    [In the First-Class Mail International section, in the “Comment” column, add a second paragraph listing weight limits for FCMI large envelopes (flats) and IPA and ISAL large envelopes (flats), to read as follows:]

    Type of item Declared value, weight, or physical characteristic Required PS form Comment (if applicable) *         *         *         *         *         *         * First-Class Mail International Letters and Large Envelopes (Flats), as well as International Priority Airmail (IPA) Letters and Large Envelopes (Flats) and International Surface Air Lift (ISAL) Letters and Large Envelopes (Flats) All letter-size and flat-size items, as defined in 241.2, containing only nondutiable documents Under 16 ounces
  • 16 ounces or more
  • None
  • 2976
  • See 123.63 for additional information concerning “documents.” Items containing merchandise must be mailed using Global Express Guaranteed service, Priority Mail Express International service, Priority Mail International service, or First-Class Package International Service; commercial mailers may also use IPA packages (small packets) and ISAL packages (small packets) to mail merchandise. Certain documents controlled by export regulatory agencies may also require customs documentation. See 510-590 and Publication 699 for additional information.
    FCMI large envelopes (flats) are limited to under 16 ounces; IPA flats and ISAL large envelopes (flats) are limited to 17.6 ounces. *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    140 International Mail Categories 141 Definitions 141.5 First-Class Mail International

    [Revise the first sentence to read as follows (changing the weight limit for First-Class Mail International):] First-Class Mail International is a generic term for mailpieces that are postcard-size, letter-size, or flat-size and weigh less than 16 ounces. * * *

    2 Conditions for Mailing 240 First-Class Mail International 241 Description and Physical Characteristics 241.2 Physical Characteristics 241.23 Physical Standards—Large Envelopes (Flats) 241.231 Weight Limit

    [Revise the text to read as follows, changing the weight limit for First-Class Mail International large envelopes (flats):]

    The weight limit for a First-Class Mail International large envelope (flat) is 15.994 ounces.

    243 Prices and Postage Payment Methods 243.3 Permit Imprint—General

    [Revise the text to read as follows (keeping only the first three sentences and eliminating the rest of the text having information about FCMI items requiring customs forms):]

    Mailers may use a permit imprint for mailing identical- or nonidentical-weight First-Class Mail International items. Any of the First-Class Mail International permit imprint formats shown in Exhibit 152.64 is acceptable. Permit imprints must not denote “bulk mail,” “nonprofit,” or other domestic or special mail markings.

    245 Mail Entry and Deposit 245.1 Place of Mailing 245.11 Items Eligible for Deposit or Pickup

    [Revise the first sentence and the Note to read as follows (eliminating information about FCMI items requiring customs forms):]

    First-Class Mail International items may be deposited through any of the following methods, provided postage is paid by a means other than the use of postage stamps: * * *

    Note:

    First-Class Mail International letter-size and flat-size items weighing 13 ounces or less and bearing only postage stamps may also be deposited through the aforementioned methods.

    3 Extra Services 370 International Money Transfer Service 372 Sure Money (Dinero Seguro) 372.3 Fees Exhibit 372.3 Fees for Sure Money Service

    [Insert revised fees for Sure Money to read as follows:]

    Transaction type Amount
  • not over
  • Fee
    Sales $750 $13.95 1,500 19.95 Refunds 1,500 29.95 Change of Payee 1,500 15.50
    New Prices Will Be Listed in the Updated Notice 123, Price List. Ruth Stevenson, Attorney, Federal Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22473 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-12-P
    POSTAL SERVICE 39 CFR Part 111 New Mailing Standards for Domestic Mailing Services Products AGENCY:

    Postal ServiceTM.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    On October 10, 2018, the Postal Service filed a notice of mailing services price adjustments with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), effective January 27, 2019. This proposed rule contains the revisions to Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) that we would adopt to implement related regulatory changes coincident with the price adjustments.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before November 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Mail or deliver written comments to the manager, Product Classification, U.S. Postal Service®, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Room 4446, Washington, DC 20260-5015. You may inspect and photocopy all written comments, by appointment only, at USPS® Headquarters Library, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, 11th Floor North, Washington, DC, 20260. These records are available for review Monday through Friday, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., by calling 202-268-2906. Send email comments, including the name and address of the commenter, to [email protected], with a subject line of “January 2019 Domestic Mailing Services Proposal.” Faxed comments are not accepted.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jacqueline Erwin at 202-268-2158, or Alexander Petr at 202-268-4116.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Proposed prices will be available under Docket No. R2019-1 on the PRC website at www.prc.gov.

    The proposed rule includes changes to prices, mail classification updates, product simplification efforts, and a few minor revisions to the DMM.

    Periodicals Address Corrections for Alternate Addressed Nonsubscriber-Nonrequester Copies

    Currently, Periodicals publishers who mail alternate addressed nonsubscriber-nonrequester copies receive and pay for manual address corrections or Address Correction Service (ACSTM). Undeliverable-as-addressed Periodicals do not receive forwarding service and are provided address-related notices via PS Form 3579, Notice of Undeliverable Periodical, or electronic ACS.

    The Postal Service is proposing to introduce a specifically tailored Periodicals Service Type ID (STID) for publishers to include in the Intelligent Mail® barcode, (IMb®) along with authorized alternative addressing formats. If adopted, publishers will no longer receive address-related notices via PS Form 3579 or electronic ACS, if the address is vacant or not deliverable. Publications processed by the Postal Automated Redirection System, Computerized Forwarding System, or Remote Forwarding System will be discarded without notice to the publisher.

    Correcting BRM/QBRM Postage Anomaly

    Currently, postage for basic and high volume Business Reply Mail (BRM) is based on the applicable retail “metered” letter price. This has resulted in basic and high volume BRM customers paying lower postage prices than QBRM customers.

    The Postal Service is proposing to correct the anomaly by applying the retail “stamped” letter price to basic and high volume BRM. To offset the postage increase, basic and high volume BRM per piece fees are proposed to decrease from the current prices.

    Picture Permit Imprint Indicia

    Currently, a picture permit imprint indicia may be used to pay postage and extra service fees on commercial mailings of full-service automation First-Class Mail® or USPS Marketing Mail® postcards, letters, or flats. Mailpieces bearing a picture permit imprint indicia must be prepared as IMb full-service automation mailings.

    The Postal Service is proposing to eliminate the Full-Service requirement on commercial mailings of First-Class Mail or USPS Marketing Mail postcards, letters, or flats using picture permit imprint indicia.

    Small Parcel Forwarding Fee

    Currently, shippers do not have an ACS option for receiving forwarding of small parcels.

    The Postal Service is proposing to add a “small parcel” forwarding fee for USPS Marketing Mail parcels, similar to the USPS Marketing Mail letter-size and flat-size pieces forwarding fees. The forwarding fee would only apply for pieces endorsed “Change Service Requested” under “Option 2” (ACS only), that are forwarded due to an active change-of-address. All other undeliverable pieces will be discarded and an electronic ACS notice is provided in both cases.

    Overweight Item Charge

    As discussed in the August 29, 2018, Federal Register final rule (83 FR 43985-43986), the Postal Service is introducing a charge for items identified in the postal network that exceed the 70 pound weight limit for Postal Service products, and are therefore nonmailable. Overweight items identified in the postal network will be assessed a $100 charge payable before release of the item, unless the item is picked up at the same facility where it was entered.

    Although exempt from the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553(b), (c)) regarding proposed rulemaking by 39 U.S.C. 410(a), the Postal Service invites public comments on the following proposed revisions to Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), incorporated by reference in the Code of Federal Regulations. See 39 CFR 111.1.

    List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 111

    Administrative practice and procedure, Postal Service.

    Accordingly, 39 CFR part 111 is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 111—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for 39 CFR part 111 continues to read as follows: Authority:

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

    2. Revise the following sections of Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), as follows: Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 500 Additional Mailing Services 505 Return Services 1.0 Business Reply Mail (BRM) 1.1 BRM Postage and Fees 1.1.1 Basic BRM

    [Revise the first sentence of the introductory text in 1.1.1 to read as follows:]

    For basic BRM, a permit holder is required to pay an annual permit fee as provided under 1.2 and a per piece fee under 1.1.7 in addition to the applicable Retail First-Class Mail (stamped letters), First-Class Package Service — Retail, or Priority Mail postage for each returned piece.* * *

    1.1.3 Basic Qualified BRM (QBRM)

    [Revise the first sentence of the introductory text in 1.1.3 to read as follows:]

    For basic qualified BRM, a permit holder is required to pay an account maintenance fee under 1.1.8, and a per piece fee under 1.1.7 in addition to the applicable retail letter or card First-Class Mail (stamped letters) postage for each returned piece.* * *

    507 Mailer Services 1.0 Treatment of Mail 1.5 Treatment for Ancillary Services by Class of Mail 1.5.2 Periodicals

    Undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) Periodicals publications (including publications pending Periodicals authorization) are treated as described in Exhibit 1.5.2, with these additional conditions:

    [Revise the text in items 1.5.2b and 1.5.2c to read as follows:]

    b. Publications with an alternative addressing format under 602.3.0 are delivered to the address when possible. Forwarding service is not provided for such mail.

    c. Address correction service is mandatory for all Periodicals publications, except when publishers use alternative addressing and an IMb with proper STID. An address correction service fee must be paid for each notice issued.

    1.5.3 USPS Marketing Mail and Parcel Select Lightweight Exhibit 1.5.3 Treatment of Undeliverable USPS Marketing Mail and Parcel Select Lightweight Mailer Endorsement USPS Treatment of UAA Pieces “Change Service Requested” 1, 4

    [Revise the parenthetical for “Option 2” to read as follows:]

    (Available via ACS only; for USPS Marketing Mail (all shapes) and Parcel Select Lightweight)

    If change-of-address order on file:

    [Revise the text under “If change-of-address order on file:” for “Months 1 through 12” to read as follows:]

    Months 1 through 12: Piece forwarded; postage due charged to the mailer at applicable Forwarding Fee based on the piece shape for USPS Marketing Mail or Parcel Select Lightweight; separate notice of new address provided (electronic ACS fee charged).

    600 Basic Standards For All Mailing Services 602 Addressing 3.0 Use of Alternative Addressing 3.1 General Information 3.1.3 Treatment

    [Revise the third sentence of the introductory text in 3.1.3 to read as follows:]

    * * * Periodicals publishers are notified when a mailpiece with an occupant or exceptional address format is undeliverable for solely address-related reasons, (except publishers using an IMb with proper STID on non-subscriber or non-requester copies under 207.7.0.* * *

    604 Postage Payment Methods and Refunds 5.0 Permit Imprint (Indicia) 5.4 Picture Permit Imprint Indicia 5.4.1 Description

    [Revise the third sentence of 5.4.1 to read as follows:]

    * * * Picture permit imprints may be used to pay postage and extra service fees on commercial mailings of First-Class Mail or USPS Marketing Mail postcards, letters, or flats.

    5.4.5 Picture Permit Imprint Indicia Format

    As options to the basic format under 5.3.11and if all other applicable standards in 5.0 are met, permit imprint indicia may be prepared in picture permit imprint format subject to these conditions:

    [Delete 5.4.5f in its entirety and renumber current 5.4.5g through 5.4.5k as new 5.4.5f through 5.4.5j.]

    We will publish an appropriate amendment to 39 CFR part 111 to reflect these changes.

    Ruth B. Stevenson Attorney, Federal Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22475 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-12-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 46 CFR Parts 401 and 404 [USCG-2018-0665] RIN 1625-AC49 Great Lakes Pilotage Rates—2019 Annual Review and Revisions to Methodology AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Great Lakes Pilotage Act of 1960, the Coast Guard is proposing new base pilotage rates and surcharges for the 2019 shipping season. This rule would adjust the pilotage rates to account for anticipated traffic, an increase in the number of pilots, anticipated inflation, and surcharges for applicant pilots. The result is an increase in pilotage rates, due to adjustment for inflation and the addition of two pilots.

    DATES:

    Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before November 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2018-0665 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at https://www.regulations.gov. See the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on submitting comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For information about this document, call or email Mr. Brian Rogers, Commandant (CG-WWM-2), Coast Guard; telephone 202-372-1535, email [email protected], or fax 202-372-1914.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Contents for Preamble I. Public Participation and Request for Comments II. Abbreviations III. Executive Summary IV. Basis and Purpose V. Background VI. Discussion of Proposed Methodological and Other Changes VII. Discussion of Proposed Rate Adjustment A. Step 1: Recognition of Operating Expenses B. Step 2: Projection of Operating Expenses C. Step 3: Estimate Number of Working Pilots D. Step 4: Determine Target Pilot Compensation E. Step 5: Calculate Working Capital Fund F. Step 6: Calculate Revenue Needed G. Step 7: Calculate Initial Base Rates H. Step 8: Calculate Weighting Factors by Area I. Step 9: Calculate Revised Base Rates J. Step 10: Review and Finalize Rates K. Surcharges VIII. Regulatory Analyses A. Regulatory Planning and Review B. Small Entities C. Assistance for Small Entities D. Collection of Information E. Federalism F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act G. Taking of Private Property H. Civil Justice Reform I. Protection of Children J. Indian Tribal Governments K. Energy Effects L. Technical Standards M. Environment I. Public Participation and Request for Comments

    The Coast Guard views public participation as essential to effective rulemaking, and will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. Your comment can help shape the outcome of this rulemaking. If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking, indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation.

    We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at https://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be submitted using https://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this proposed rule for alternate instructions. Documents mentioned in this proposed rule, and all public comments, are available in our online docket at https://www.regulations.gov, and can be viewed by following that website's instructions. Additionally, if you visit the online docket and sign up for email alerts, you will be notified when comments are posted or a final rule is published.

    We accept anonymous comments. All comments received will be posted without change to https://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and the docket, visit https://www.regulations.gov/privacyNotice.

    We do not plan to hold a public meeting, but we will consider doing so if public comments indicate a meeting would be helpful. We would issue a separate Federal Register notice to announce the date, time, and location of such a meeting.

    II. Abbreviations APA American Pilots Association BLS Bureau of Labor Statistics CAD Canadian dollars CFR Code of Federal Regulations CPA Certified public accountant DHS Department of Homeland Security FOMC Federal Open Market Committee FR Federal Register GLPA Great Lakes Pilotage Authority (Canadian) GLPAC Great Lakes Pilotage Advisory Committee GLPMS Great Lakes Pilotage Management System NAICS North American Industry Classification System NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking NTSB National Transportation Safety Board OMB Office of Management and Budget PCE Personal Consumption Expenditures RA Regulatory analysis SBA Small Business Administration § Section symbol SLSMC Saint Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation U.S.C. United States Code USD United States dollars III. Executive Summary

    Pursuant to the Great Lakes Pilotage Act of 1960 (“the Act”),1 the Coast Guard regulates pilotage for oceangoing vessels on the Great Lakes—including setting the rates for pilotage services and adjusting them on an annual basis. The rates, which currently range from $271 to $653 per pilot hour (depending on the specific area where pilotage service is provided), are paid by shippers to pilot associations. The three pilot associations, which are the exclusive U.S. source of registered pilots on the Great Lakes, use this revenue to cover operating expenses, maintain infrastructure, compensate working pilots, and train new pilots. We use a ratemaking methodology that we have developed since 2016 in accordance with our statutory requirements and regulations. Our ratemaking methodology calculates the revenue needed for each pilotage association (including operating expenses, compensation, and infrastructure needs), and then divides that amount by the expected shipping traffic over the course of the year to produce an hourly rate. This process is currently effected through a 10-step methodology and supplemented with surcharges, which are explained in detail in this notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    1 46 U.S.C. Chapter 93; Public Law 86-555, 74 Stat. 259, as amended.

    In this NPRM, we are proposing new pilotage rates for 2019 based on the existing methodology. As part of our annual review, we are proposing in this NPRM new rates for the 2019 shipping season. Based on the ratemaking model discussed in this NPRM, we are proposing the rates shown in table 1. The result is an increase in rates, due to adjustment for inflation and the addition of two pilots.

    Table 1—Current and Proposed Pilotage Rates on the Great Lakes Area Name Final 2018
  • pilotage rate
  • Proposed 2019
  • pilotage rate
  • District One: Designated St. Lawrence River $653 $698 District One: Undesignated Lake Ontario 435 492 District Two: Undesignated Lake Erie 497 530 District Two: Designated Navigable waters from Southeast Shoal to Port Huron, MI 593 632 District Three: Undesignated Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior 271 304 District Three: Designated St. Mary's River 600 602

    This proposed rule is not economically significant under Executive Order 12866. This proposed rule would impact 51 U.S. Great Lakes pilots, 3 pilot associations, and the owners and operators of an average of 256 oceangoing vessels that transit the Great Lakes annually. The estimated overall annual regulatory economic impact of this rate change is a net increase of $2,066,143 in payments made by shippers from the 2018 shipping season. Because we must review, and, if necessary, adjust rates each year, we analyze these as single year costs and do not annualize them over 10 years. This rule does not affect the Coast Guard's budget or increase Federal spending. Section VIII of this preamble provides the regulatory impact analyses of this proposed rule.

    IV. Basis and Purpose

    The legal basis of this rulemaking is the Great Lakes Pilotage Act of 1960 (“the Act”),2 which requires U.S. vessels operating “on register” and foreign vessels to use U.S. or Canadian registered pilots while transiting the U.S. waters of the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes system.3 For the U.S. registered Great Lakes pilots (“pilots”), the Act requires the Secretary to “prescribe by regulation rates and charges for pilotage services, giving consideration to the public interest and the costs of providing the services.” 4 The Act requires that rates be established or reviewed and adjusted each year, not later than March 1. The Act requires that base rates be established by a full ratemaking at least once every 5 years, and in years when base rates are not established, they must be reviewed and, if necessary, adjusted. The Secretary's duties and authority under the Act have been delegated to the Coast Guard.5

    2 46 U.S.C. Chapter 93; Public Law 86-555, 74 Stat. 259, as amended.

    3 46 U.S.C. 9302(a)(1).

    4 46 U.S.C. 9303(f).

    5 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Delegation No. 0170.1, para. II (92.f).

    The purpose of this NPRM is to propose new pilotage rates and surcharges for the 2019 shipping season. The Coast Guard believes that the new rates would promote pilot retention, ensure safe, efficient, and reliable pilotage services on the Great Lakes, and provide adequate funds to upgrade and maintain infrastructure.

    V. Background

    Pursuant to the Great Lakes Pilotage Act of 1960, the Coast Guard, in conjunction with the Canadian Great Lakes Pilotage Authority, regulates shipping practices and rates on the Great Lakes. Under the Coast Guard regulations, all vessels engaged in foreign trade (often referred to as “salties”) are required to engage U.S. or Canadian pilots during their transit through the regulated waters.6 United States and Canadian “lakers,” which account for most commercial shipping on the Great Lakes, are not affected.7 Generally, vessels are assigned a U.S. or Canadian pilot depending on the order in which they transit a particular area of the Great Lakes and do not choose the pilot they receive. If a vessel is assigned a U.S. pilot, that pilot will be assigned by the pilotage association responsible for the particular district in which the vessel is operating, and the vessel operator will pay the pilotage association for the pilotage services.

    6 See 46 CFR part 401.

    7 46 U.S.C. 9302(f). A “laker” is a commercial cargo vessel especially designed for and generally limited to use on the Great Lakes.

    The U.S. waters of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway are divided into three pilotage districts. Pilotage in each district is provided by an association certified by the Coast Guard's Director of the Great Lakes Pilotage (“the Director”) to operate a pilotage pool. The Saint Lawrence Seaway Pilotage Association provides pilotage services in District One, which includes all U.S. waters of the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. The Lakes Pilotage Association provides pilotage services in District Two, which includes all U.S. waters of Lake Erie, the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair, and the St. Clair River. Finally, the Western Great Lakes Pilotage Association provides pilotage services in District Three, which includes all U.S. waters of the St. Mary's River; Sault Ste. Marie Locks; and Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior.

    Each pilotage district is further divided into “designated” and “undesignated” areas. Designated areas are classified as such by Presidential Proclamation 8 to be waters in which pilots must, at all times, be fully engaged in the navigation of vessels in their charge. Undesignated areas, on the other hand, are open bodies of water, and thus are not subject to the same pilotage requirements. While working in those undesignated areas, pilots must “be on board and available to direct the navigation of the vessel at the discretion of and subject to the customary authority of the master.” 9 For pilotage purposes, rates in designated areas are significantly higher than those in undesignated areas for these reasons.

    8 Presidential Proclamation 3385, Designation of restricted waters under the Great Lakes Pilotage Act of 1960, December 22, 1960.

    9 46 U.S.C. 9302(a)(1)(B).

    Table 2—Areas of the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Seaway District Pilotage association Designation Area No.10 Area name 11 One Saint Lawrence Seaway Pilotage Association Designated
  • Undesignated
  • 1
  • 2
  • St. Lawrence River.
  • Lake Ontario.
  • Two Lake Pilotage Association Designated 5 Navigable waters from Southeast Shoal to Port Huron, MI. Undesignated 4 Lake Erie. Three Western Great Lakes Pilotage Association Designated
  • Undesignated
  • 7
  • 6
  • St. Mary's River.
  • Lakes Huron and Michigan.
  • Undesignated 8 Lake Superior.

    Each pilot association is an independent business and is the sole provider of pilotage services in the district in which it operates. Each pilot association is responsible for funding its own operating expenses, maintaining infrastructure, acquiring and implementing technological advances, training personnel/partners and pilot compensation. We developed a 10-step ratemaking methodology to derive a pilotage rate that covers these expenses based on the estimated amount of traffic. In short, the methodology is designed to measure how much revenue each pilotage association will need to cover expenses and provide competitive compensation to working pilots. The Coast Guard then divides that amount by the historical average traffic transiting through the district. We recognize that in years where traffic is above average, pilot associations will take in more revenue than projected, while in years where traffic is below average, they will take in less. We believe that over the long term, however, this system ensures that infrastructure will be maintained and that pilots will receive adequate compensation and work a reasonable number of hours with adequate rest between assignments to ensure retention of highly-trained personnel.

    10 Area 3 is the Welland Canal, which is serviced exclusively by the Canadian GLPA and, accordingly, is not included in the United States pilotage rate structure.

    11 The areas are listed by name in the Code of Federal Regulations, see 46 CFR 401.405.

    Over the past 3 years, the Coast Guard has made adjustments to the Great Lakes pilotage ratemaking methodology. In 2016, we made significant changes to the methodology, moving to an hourly billing rate for pilotage services and changing the compensation benchmark to a more transparent model. In 2017, we added additional steps to the ratemaking methodology, including new steps that accurately account for the additional revenue produced by the application of weighting factors (discussed in detail in Steps 7 through 9 of this preamble). In 2018, we revised the methodology by which we develop the compensation benchmark, based upon the rate of U.S. mariners, rather than Canadian registered pilots. The 2018 methodology, which was finalized in the June 5, 2018 final rule (83 FR 26162) and is the current methodology, is designed to accurately capture all of the costs and revenues associated with Great Lakes pilotage requirements and produce an hourly rate that adequately and accurately compensates pilots and covers expenses. The current methodology is summarized in the section below.

    Summary of Ratemaking Methodology

    As stated above, the ratemaking methodology, currently outlined in 46 CFR 404.101 through 404.110, consists of 10 steps that are designed to account for the revenues needed and total traffic expected in each district. The result is an hourly rate (determined separately for each of the areas administered by the Coast Guard).

    In Step 1, “Recognize previous operating expenses,” (§ 404.101) the Director reviews audited operating expenses from each of the three pilotage associations. This number forms the baseline amount that each association is budgeted. Because of the time delay between when the association submits raw numbers and the Coast Guard receives audited numbers, this number is 3 years behind the projected year of expenses. So in calculating the 2019 rates in this proposal, we are beginning with the audited expenses from fiscal year 2016.

    While each pilotage association operates in an entire district, the Coast Guard tries to determine costs by area. Thus, with regard to operating expenses, we allocate certain operating expenses to undesignated areas, and certain expenses to designated areas. In some cases (e.g., insurance for applicant pilots who operate in undesignated areas only), we can allocate the costs based on where they are actually accrued. In other situations (e.g., general legal expenses), expenses are distributed between designated and undesignated waters on a pro rata basis, based upon the proportion of income forecasted from the respective portions of the district.

    In Step 2, “Project operating expenses, adjusting for inflation or deflation,” (§ 404.102) the Director develops the 2018 projected operating expenses. To do this, we apply inflation adjustors for 3 years to the operating expense baseline received in Step 1. The inflation factors used are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index for the Midwest Region, or if not available, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) median economic projections for Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) inflation. This step produces the total operating expenses for each area and district.

    In Step 3, “Estimate number of working pilots,” (§ 404.103) the Director calculates how many pilots are needed for each district. To do this, we employ a “staffing model,” described in § 401.220, paragraphs (a)(1) through (a)(3), to estimate how many pilots would be needed to handle shipping during the beginning and close of the season. This number is helpful in providing guidance to the Director of the Coast Guard Great Lakes Pilotage Office in approving an appropriate number of credentials for pilots.

    For the purpose of the ratemaking calculation, we determine the number of working pilots provided by the pilotage associations (see § 404.103) which is what we use to determine how many pilots need to be compensated via the pilotage fees collected.

    In Step 4, “Determine target pilot compensation benchmark,” (§ 404.104) the Director determines the revenue needed for pilot compensation in each area and district. This step contains two processes. In the first process, we calculate the total compensation for each pilot using a “compensation benchmark.” Next, we multiply the individual pilot compensation by the number of working pilots for each area and district (from Step 3), producing a figure for total pilot compensation. Because pilots are paid by the associations, but the costs of pilotage is divided up by area for accounting purposes, we assign a certain number of pilots for the designated areas and a certain number of pilots for the undesignated areas for purposes of determining the revenues needed for each area. To make the determination of how many pilots to assign, we use the staffing model designed to determine the total number of pilots, described in Step 3, above.

    In the second process of Step 4, set forth in § 404.104(c), the Director determines the total compensation figure for each District. To do this, the Director multiplies the compensation benchmark by the number of working pilots for each area and district (from Step 3), producing a figure for total pilot compensation.

    In Step 5, “Project working capital fund,” (§ 404.105) the Director calculates a value that is added to pay for needed capital improvements. This value is calculated by adding the total operating expenses (derived in Step 2) and the total pilot compensation (derived in Step 4), and multiply that figure by the preceding year's average annual rate of return for new issues of high-grade corporate securities. This figure constitutes the “working capital fund” for each area and district.

    In Step 6, “Project needed revenue,” (§ 404.106) the Director simply adds up the totals produced by the preceding steps. For each area and district, we add the projected operating expense (from Step 2), the total pilot compensation (from Step 4), and the working capital fund contribution (from Step 5). The total figure, calculated separately for each area and district, is the “revenue needed.”

    In Step 7, “Calculate initial base rates,” (§ 404.107) the Director calculates an hourly pilotage rate to cover the revenue needed calculated in Step 6. This step consists of first calculating the 10-year traffic average for each area. Next, we divide the revenue needed in each area (calculated in Step 6) by the 10-year traffic average to produce an initial base rate.

    An additional element, the “weighting factor,” is required under § 401.400. Pursuant to that section, ships pay a multiple of the “base rate” as calculated in Step 7 by a number ranging from 1.0 (for the smallest ships, or “Class I” vessels) to 1.45 (for the largest ships, or “Class IV” vessels). As this significantly increases the revenue collected, we need to account for the added revenue produced by the weighting factors to ensure that shippers are not overpaying for pilotage services.

    In Step 8, “Calculate average weighting factors by area,” (§ 404.108) the Director calculates how much extra revenue, as a percentage of total revenue, has historically been produced by the weighting factors in each area. We do this by using a historical average of applied weighting factors for each year since 2014 (the first year the current weighting factors were applied).

    In Step 9, “Calculate revised base rates,” (§ 404.109) the Director calculates how much extra revenue, as a percentage of total revenue, has historically been produced by the weighting factors in each area. We do this by using a historical average of applied weighting factors for each year since 2014 (the first year the current weighting factors were applied).

    In Step 10, “Review and finalize rates,” (§ 404.110) often referred to informally as “director's discretion,” the Director reviews the revised base rates (from Step 9) to ensure that they meet the goals set forth in the Act and 46 CFR 404.1(a), which include promoting efficient, safe, and reliable pilotage service on the Great Lakes; generating sufficient revenue for each pilotage association to reimburse necessary and reasonable operating expenses; compensating pilots fairly, who are trained and rested; and providing appropriate profit for improvements. Because it is our goal to be as transparent as possible in our ratemaking procedure, we use this step sparingly to adjust rates.

    Finally, after the base rates are set, § 401.401 permits the Coast Guard to apply surcharges. Currently, we use surcharges to pay for the training of new pilots, rather than incorporating training costs into the overall “revenue needed” that is used in the calculation of the base rates. In recent years, we have allocated $150,000 per applicant pilot to be collected via surcharges. This amount is calculated as a percentage of total revenue for each district, and that percentage is applied to each bill. When the total amount of the surcharge has been collected, the pilot associations are prohibited from collecting further surcharges. Thus, in years where traffic is heavier than expected, shippers early in the season could pay more than shippers employing pilots later in the season, after the surcharge cap has been met.

    VI. Discussion of Proposed Methodological and Other Changes

    For 2019, the Coast Guard is not proposing any new methodological changes to the ratemaking model. We believe that the revised methodology laid out in the 2018 Annual Review will produce rates for the 2019 shipping season that will ensure safe and reliable pilotage services are available on the Great Lakes.

    In previous years, several commenters have raised issues regarding the working capital fund. While the Coast Guard is not proposing specific changes in this NPRM (for example, in the text of part 401), we note that we are working with stakeholders to develop the necessary policy framework. These include measures relating to financial segregation of working capital fund, proper disbursement, and accounting, to ensure these monies are appropriately accounted for and utilized. This issue was an agenda item for the September 2018 Great Lakes Pilotage Advisory Committee Meeting. We also invite interested parties to provide their input and recommendations on the issue. We seek to ensure that the working capital fund is an appropriate vehicle to pay for needed capital expenses.

    We are also proposing to correct a typographical error in the regulatory text of section 104. Currently, § 404.104(c) contains a reference to § 404.103(d), which before the publication of the 2018 final rule (83 FR 26162), contained the calculation for the estimated number of pilots. The 2018 final rule amended section 103 so that the calculation is now located in § 404.103, not 404.103(d), and so we propose to correct the reference in section 104 to point to the correct section.

    VII. Discussion of Proposed Rate Adjustments

    In this NPRM, based on the current methodology described in the previous section, we are proposing new pilotage rates for 2019. This section discusses the proposed rate changes using the ratemaking steps provided in 46 CFR part 404. We will detail each step of the ratemaking procedure to show how we arrived at the proposed new rates.

    We propose to conduct the 2019 ratemaking as an “interim year,” rather than a full ratemaking, such as was conducted in 2018. Thus, for this purpose, the Coast Guard proposes to adjust the compensation benchmark pursuant to § 404.104(b) rather than § 404.104(a).

    A. Step 1: Recognition of Operating Expenses

    Step 1 in our ratemaking methodology requires that the Coast Guard review and recognize the previous year's operating expenses (§ 404.101). To do so, we begin by reviewing the independent accountant's financial reports for each association's 2016 expenses and revenues.12 For accounting purposes, the financial reports divide expenses into designated and undesignated areas. In certain instances, for example, costs are applied to the undesignated or designated area based on where they were actually accrued. For example, costs for “Applicant pilot license insurance” in District One are assigned entirely to the undesignated areas, as applicant pilots work exclusively in those areas. For costs that accrued to the pilot associations generally, for example, insurance, the cost is divided between the designated and undesignated areas on a pro rata basis. The recognized operating expenses for the three districts are laid out in tables 3 through 5.

    12 These reports are available in the docket for this rulemaking (see Docket # USCG-2018-0665).

    As noted above, in 2016, the Coast Guard began authorizing surcharges to cover the training costs of applicant pilots. The surcharges were intended to reimburse pilot associations for training applicants in a more timely fashion than if those costs were listed as operating expenses, which would have required three years to reimburse. The rationale for using surcharges to cover these expenses, rather than including the costs as operating expenses, was so that retiring pilots would not have to cover the costs of training their replacements. Because operating expenses incurred are not actually recouped for a period of three years, beginning in 2016, the Coast Guard added a $150,000 surcharge per applicant pilot to recoup those costs in the year incurred. To ensure that the ratepayers are not double-billed for the same expense(s), we need to deduct the amount collected via surcharges from the operating expenses. For that reason, the Coast Guard is proposing a “surcharge adjustment from 2016” as part of its proposed adjustment for each pilotage district. This surcharge adjustment reflects the additional monies that were collected by the surcharge collected that year. We note that in 2016, there was no mechanism to prevent the collection of surcharges above the authorized amounts, and so the amounts we propose to deduct from each association's operating expenses are equal to the actual amount of surcharges collected in the 2016 shipping season, which are in excess of $150,000 per applicant pilot.

    We also propose to deduct 3 percent of the “shared counsel” expenses for each district, to account for lobbying expenditures. Pursuant to 33 CFR 404.2(c)(3), lobbying expenses are not permitted to be recouped as operating expenses.

    For each of the analyses of the operating expenses below, we explain why we are proposing to make the Director's adjustments, other than the surcharge adjustments and lobbying expenses, described above. Other adjustments have been made by the auditors and are explained in the auditor's reports, which are available in the docket for this rulemaking. Numbers by the entries are references to descriptions in the auditor's reports.

    Table 3—2016 Recognized Expenses for District One Reported expenses for 2016 District One Designated St. Lawrence River Undesignated Lake
  • Ontario
  • Total
    Costs relating to pilots: Pilot subsistence/travel $421,749 $336,384 $758,133 Subsistence/Travel—Pilots (D1-16-01) −70,224 −34,846 −105,070 License insurance 40,464 28,269 68,733 Payroll taxes 111,279 90,179 201,458 Payroll taxes—Pilots (D1-16-03) 0 −2,509 −2,509 Training 17,198 13,717 30,915 Training—Pilots (D1-16-04) −594 0 −594 Other 842 672 1,514 Total costs relating to pilots 520,714 431,866 952,580 Applicant Pilots: Wages 70,700 90,000 160,700 Wages (D1-16-02) 0 28,054 28,054 Subsistence/Travel 0 146,219 146,219 Subsistence/Travel—Trainees (D1-16-02) −12,283 −20,589 −32,872 Benefits 0 0 0 Payroll taxes 8,039 11,123 19,162 Payroll taxes—Trainees (D1-16-03) 0 −5,115 −5,115 Surcharge Offset—Director's Adjustment −318,117 −253,649 −571,766 Total applicant pilot costs −251,661 −3,957 −255,618 Pilot Boat and Dispatch Costs: Pilot boat expense 209,800 167,335 377,135 Dispatch expense 51,240 31,705 82,945 Payroll taxes 16,007 12,767 28,774 Total pilot and dispatch costs 277,047 211,807 488,854 Administrative Expenses: Legal—general counsel 4,565 3,641 8,206 Legal—shared (K&L Gates) (D1-16-05) 20,558 16,397 36,955 Legal—shared (K&L Gates) (D1-16-05) −713 −713 −1,426 Legal—shared counsel 3% lobbying fee (K&L Gates) (Director's Adjustment) −617 −492 −1,109 Office rent 0 0 0 Insurance 21,869 17,443 39,312 Employee benefits—Admin 9,428 7,519 16,947 Payroll taxes—Admin 6,503 5,187 11,690 Other taxes 274,503 218,941 493,444 Admin Travel 2,346 1,871 4,217 Depreciation/Auto leasing/Other 65,971 52,618 118,589 Interest 20,688 16,501 37,189 Dues and Subscriptions (incl. APA) (D1-16-05) 29,687 13,959 43,646 Dues and Subscriptions (incl. APA) (D1-16-05) −1,079 −1,079 −2,158 Utilities 12,318 9,578 21,896 Salaries—Admin 65,401 52,163 117,564 Accounting/Professional fees 5,479 3,921 9,400 Other 23,456 18,708 42,164 Total Administrative Expenses 560,363 436,163 996,526 Total Operating Expenses 1,106,463 1,075,879 2,182,342

    In District One, we do not propose any additional Director's adjustments.

    Table 4—2016 Recognized Expenses for District Two Reported expenses for 2016 District Two Undesignated Lake
  • Erie
  • Designated SES to Port Huron Total
    Pilot-related expenses: Pilot subsistence/travel $131,956 $197,935 $329,891 Pilot subsistence/travel CPA Adjustment (D2-16-01) −44,955 −67,433 −112,388 License insurance 10,095 15,142 25,237 License Insurance CPA Adjustment (D2-16-03) −635 −953 −1,588 Payroll taxes 77,306 115,958 193,264 Total Pilot-related expenses 173,767 260,649 434,416 Expenses related to applicant pilots: Wages (from supplemental form) 228,499 342,749 571,248 Wages—Director's Adjustment −125,472 −188,209 −313,681 Benefits (from supplemental form) 9,736 14,605 24,341 Applicant pilot Subsistence/Travel 43,905 65,858 109,763 Applicant Pilot subsistence/travel CPA Adjustment (D2-16-02) −14,940 −22,410 −37,350 Housing Allowance CPA Adjustment (D2-16-02) 14,940 22,410 37,350 Payroll taxes 15,144 22,717 37,861 2016 Surcharge Offset Director's Adjustment −158,640 −277,106 −435,746 Total applicant pilot expenses 13,172 −19,386 −6,214 Pilot Boat and Dispatch Costs: Pilot boat expense 205,572 308,359 513,931 Dispatch expense 8,520 12,780 21,300 Employee benefits 75,405 113,107 188,512 Payroll taxes 10,305 15,457 25,762 Total pilot and dispatch costs 299,802 449,703 749,505 Administrative Expenses: Office rent 26,275 39,413 65,688 Office Rent CPA Adjustment (D2-16-08) 4,766 7,150 11,916 Legal—general counsel 1,624 2,437 4,061 Legal—shared counsel (K&L Gates) 13,150 19,725 32,875 Legal—shared counsel CPA Adjustment (D2-16-04) −526 −789 −1,315 Legal—shared counsel 3% lobbying fee (K&L Gates) (Director's Adjustment) −395 −592 −987 Employee Benefits—Admin Employees 59,907 89,861 149,768 Employee benefits (Director's Adjustment) −30,200 −60,400 −90,600 Workman's compensation—pilots 74,561 111,841 186,402 Payroll taxes—admin employees 5,688 8,532 14,220 Insurance 10,352 15,529 25,881 Other taxes 9,149 13,723 22,872 Administrative Travel 18,205 27,307 45,512 Administrative Travel (D2-16-06) −153 −229 −382 Depreciation/auto leasing/other 39,493 59,239 98,732 Depreciation/Auto leasing/Other CPA Adjustment (D2-16-03) −221 −332 −553 Interest 6,224 9,336 15,560 APA Dues 17,145 25,717 42,862 APA Dues CPA Adjustment (D2-16-04) −815 −1,223 −2,038 Utilities 16,748 25,121 41,869 Salaries 55,426 83,139 138,565 Accounting/Professional fees 12,520 18,780 31,300 Other 128,093 192,139 320,232 Other CPA Adjustment (D2-16-07) −221 −332 −553 Total Administrative Expenses 435,975 638,861 1,074,836 Total Operating Expenses 922,716 1,329,827 2,252,543

    In District Two, we propose two additional Director's adjustments. First, we note that we initially received inaccurate information from District Two regarding applicant pilot wages.13 In response to our inquiries, District Two provided updated information about wages and benefits paid to applicant pilots and asserted that wages for two applicant pilots were $571,248 combined. Because this number is far out of line from wages paid to applicant pilots in other districts, as well as the Coast Guard's estimate of approximately $150,000 per pilot to pay for wages, benefits, and training, the Director proposes only allowing a portion of these expenses to be recouped as reasonable operating expenses. Therefore, we propose an adjustment of −$313,681 to the allowed recoupable operating expenses for District Two. This results in a total wage of $257,567, or approximately $128,783 per applicant, which is equal to the wages for applicant pilots in District Three. Given that the Coast Guard estimated the total cost for each applicant pilot to be $150,000, we believe this is a reasonable adjustment and the Director will allow the full amount.

    13 District Two initially reported paying $1,772,213 in compensation to 5 applicant pilots, although they were authorized only two applicants in 2016. See docket # USCG-2018-0665-0003, p. 8.

    We also deducted a total of $90,600 from the employee benefits costs of District Two. This is based on a note from the auditor that this money had been used for “health insurance expenses . . . paid to retired pilots who performed pilotage services for the District in 2016.” 14 While pilot associations are free to hire additional pilots to assist with workloads, money paid to them comes from the general monies used to pay pilot compensation. Unlike payroll taxes, we consider health benefits to be “compensation,” and compensation paid to pilots cannot be recouped as operating expenses, as health care expenses were part of the calculations of the compensation benchmark rate set forth in the 2018 final rule.

    14 Docket # USCG-2018-0665-0003, p. 8.

    Table 5—2016 Recognized Expenses for District Three Reported expenses for 2016 District Three Undesignated Lakes Huron and Michigan and Lake
  • Superior
  • Designated St.
  • Mary's
  • River
  • Total
    Pilotage Costs: Pilot subsistence/travel $378,014 $100,485 $478,499 Pilot subsistence/Travel (D3-16-01) −50,285 −13,367 −63,652 Pilot subsistence/Travel director's adjustment (housing allowance) 0 −36,900 −36,900 License insurance 21,446 5,701 27,147 Payroll taxes 194,159 51,612 245,771 Other 19,193 72,202 91,395 Total Pilotage Costs 562,527 179,733 742,260 Applicant Pilots: Wages 610,433 162,267 772,700 Benefits 100,234 26,644 126,878 Subsistence/travel 170,089 45,214 215,303 Payroll taxes 50,561 13,440 64,001 Training 11,642 3,095 14,737 Surcharge Adjustment −1,106,339 −235,673 −1,342,012 Total applicant pilotage costs −163,380 14,987 −148,393 Pilot Boat and Dispatch Costs: Pilot boat costs 580,822 154,396 735,218 Pilot boat costs (D3-16-02) −72,724 −19,332 −92,056 Dispatch costs 146,220 38,868 185,088 Employee benefits 6,517 1,733 8,250 Payroll taxes 15,745 4,186 19,931 Total pilot boat and dispatch costs 676,580 179,851 856,431 Administrative Expenses: Legal—general counsel 22,196 5,900 28,096 Legal—shared counsel (K&L Gates) 34,020 9,043 43,063 Legal—shared counsel 3% (Director's Adjustment) −1,021 −271 −1,292 Office rent 6,978 1,855 8,833 Insurance 14,562 3,871 18,433 Employee benefits 103,322 27,465 130,787 Payroll Taxes (administrative employees) 6,540 1,739 8,279 Other taxes 1,338 356 1,694 Depreciation/auto leasing/other 46,016 12,232 58,248 Interest 2,775 738 3,513 APA Dues 24,760 6,582 31,342 Utilities 38,763 10,304 49,067 Administrative Salaries 94,371 25,086 119,457 Accounting/Professional fees 31,877 8,474 40,351 Pilot Training 35,516 9,441 44,957 Other 13,619 3,621 17,240 Other expenses (D3-16-03) −2,054 −546 −2,600 Total Administrative Expenses 473,578 125,890 599,468 Total Operating Expenses 1,549,305 500,461 2,049,766

    For District Three, the Director proposes to disallow $36,900 in “housing allowance” expenditures. At this time, we do not know if these funds were for properties that were available to all of the association partners/members (and thus recoverable as operating expenses) or if these funds were used for properties that were exclusively used by a single member and his family (and therefore not recoverable as operating expenses). We invite the pilot association to provide the receipts that could help to determine if these are recoverable operating expenses.

    B. Step 2: Projection of Operating Expenses

    Having identified the recognized 2016 operating expenses in Step 1, the next step is to estimate the current year's operating expenses by adjusting those expenses for inflation over the 3-year period. We calculated inflation using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' data from the Consumer Price Index for the Midwest Region of the United States 15 and reports from the Federal Reserve.16 Based on that information, the calculations for Step 1 are as follows:

    15Available at https://www.bls.gov/regions/midwest/data/consumerpriceindexhistorical_midwest_table.pdf.

    16https://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/files/fomcprojtabl20180613.pdf.

    Table 6—2016 Adjusted Operating Expenses for District One Designated Undesignated Total Total Operating Expenses (Step 1) $1,106,463 $1,075,879 $2,182,342 2017 Inflation Modification (@1.7%) 18,810 18,290 37,100 2018 Inflation Modification (@2.1%) 23,631 22,978 46,609 2019 Inflation Modification (@2.1%) 24,127 23,460 47,587 Adjusted 2019 Operating Expenses 1,173,031 1,140,607 2,313,638 Table 7—Adjusted Operating Expenses for District Two Undesignated Designated Total Total Operating Expenses (Step 1) $922,716 $1,329,827 $2,252,543 2017 Inflation Modification (@1.7%) 15,686 22,607 38,293 2018 Inflation Modification (@2.1%) 19,706 28,401 48,107 2019 Inflation Modification (@2.1%) 20,120 28,998 49,118 Adjusted 2019 Operating Expenses 978,228 1,409,833 2,388,061 Table 8—Adjusted Operating Expenses for District Three Undesignated Designated Total Total Operating Expenses (Step 1) $1,549,305 $500,461 $2,049,766 2017 Inflation Modification (@1.7%) 26,338 8,508 34,846 2018 Inflation Modification (@2.1%) 33,089 10,688 43,777 2019 Inflation Modification (@2.1%) 33,783 10,913 44,696 Adjusted 2019 Operating Expenses 1,642,515 530,570 2,173,085 C. Step 3: Estimate Number of Working Pilots

    In accordance with the text in § 404.103, we estimated the number of working pilots in each district. Based on input from the Saint Lawrence Seaway Pilots Association, we estimate that there will be 17 working pilots in 2019 in District One. Based on input from the Lakes Pilots Association, we estimate there will be 14 working pilots in 2019 in District Two. Based on input from the Western Great Lakes Pilots Association, we estimate there will be 20 working pilots in 2019 in District Three.

    Furthermore, based on the staffing model employed to develop the total number of pilots needed, we assign a certain number of pilots to designated waters and a certain number to undesignated waters. These numbers are used to determine the amount of revenue needed in their respective areas.

    Table 9—Authorized Pilots District One District Two District Three Maximum number of pilots (per § 401.220(a)) 17 17 15 22 2019 Authorized pilots (total) 17 14 20 Pilots assigned to designated areas 10 7 4 Pilots assigned to undesignated areas 7 7 16 D. Step 4: Determine Target Pilot Compensation

    In this step, we determine the total pilot compensation for each area. Because we are proposing an “interim” ratemaking this year, we propose to follow the procedure outlined in paragraph (b) of § 404.104, which adjusts the existing compensation benchmark by inflation. Because we do not have a value for the employment cost index for 2019, we multiply last year's compensation benchmark by the Median PCE Inflation of 2.1 percent.18 Based on the projected 2019 inflation estimate, the proposed compensation benchmark for 2019 is $359,887 per pilot.

    17 For a detailed calculation of the staffing model, see 82 FR 41466, table 6 at 41480 (August 31, 2017).

    18https://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/files/fomcprojtabl20180613.pdf.

    Next, we certify that the number of pilots estimated for 2019 is less than or equal to the number permitted under the staffing model in § 401.220(a). The staffing model suggests that the number of pilots needed is 17 pilots for District One, 15 pilots for District Two, and 22 pilots for District Three,19 which is more than or equal to the numbers of working pilots provided by the pilot associations.

    19 See Table 6 of the 2017 final rule, 82 FR 41466 at 41480 (August 31, 2017). The methodology of the staffing model is discussed at length in the final rule (see pages 41476-41480 for a detailed analysis of the calculations).

    Thus, in accordance with proposed § 404.104(c), we use the revised target individual compensation level to derive the total pilot compensation by multiplying the individual target compensation by the estimated number of working pilots for each district, as shown in tables 10-12.

    Table 10—Target Compensation for District One Designated Undesignated Total Target Pilot Compensation $359,887 $359,887 $359,887 Number of Pilots 10 7 17 Total Target Pilot Compensation 3,598,870 2,519,209 6,118,079 Table 11—Target Compensation for District Two Undesignated Designated Total Target Pilot Compensation $359,887 $359,887 $359,887 Number of Pilots 7 7 14 Total Target Pilot Compensation 2,519,209 2,519,209 5,038,418 Table 12—Target Compensation for District Three Undesignated Designated Total Target Pilot Compensation $359,887 $359,887 $359,887 Number of Pilots 16 4 20 Total Target Pilot Compensation 5,758,192 1,439,548 7,197,740 E. Step 5: Calculate Working Capital Fund

    Next, we calculate the working capital fund revenues needed for each area. First, we add the figures for projected operating expenses and total pilot compensation for each area. Next, we find the preceding year's average annual rate of return for new issues of high grade corporate securities. Using Moody's data, that number is 3.74 percent.20 By multiplying the two figures, we get the working capital fund contribution for each area, as shown in tables 13-15.

    20 Moody's Seasoned Aaa Corporate Bond Yield, average of 2017 monthly data. The Coast Guard uses the most recent complete year of data. See http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/AAA/downloaddata?cid=119.

    Table 13—Working Capital Fund Calculation for District One Designated Undesignated Total Adjusted Operating Expenses (Step 2) $1,173,031 $1,140,607 $2,313,638 Total Target Pilot Compensation (Step 4) 3,598,870 2,519,209 6,118,079 Total 2019 Expenses 4,771,901 3,659,816 8,431,717 Working Capital Fund (3.74%) 178,469 136,877 315,346 Table 14—Working Capital Fund Calculation for District Two Undesignated Designated Total Adjusted Operating Expenses (Step 2) $978,228 $1,409,833 $2,388,061 Total Target Pilot Compensation (Step 4) 2,519,209 2,519,209 5,038,418 Total 2019 Expenses 3,497,437 3,929,042 7,426,479 Working Capital Fund (3.74%) 130,804 146,946 277,750 Table 15—Working Capital Fund Calculation for District Three Undesignated Designated Total Adjusted Operating Expenses (Step 2) $1,642,515 $530,570 $2,173,085 Total Target Pilot Compensation (Step 4) 5,758,192 1,439,548 7,197,740 Total 2019 Expenses 7,400,707 1,970,118 9,370,825 Working Capital Fund (3.74%) 276,786 73,682 350,468 F. Step 6: Calculate Revenue Needed

    In this step, we add up all the expenses accrued to derive the total revenue needed for each area. These expenses include the projected operating expenses (from Step 2), the total pilot compensation (from Step 4), and the working capital fund contribution (from Step 5). The calculations are shown in tables 15-17.

    Table 15—Revenue Needed for District One Designated Undesignated Total Adjusted Operating Expenses (Step 2) $1,173,031 $1,140,607 $2,313,638 Total Target Pilot Compensation (Step 4) 3,598,870 2,519,209 6,118,079 Working Capital Fund (Step 5) 178,469 136,877 315,346 Total Revenue Needed 4,950,370 3,796,693 8,747,063 Table 16—Revenue Needed for District Two Undesignated Designated Total Adjusted Operating Expenses (Step 2) $978,228 $1,409,833 $2,388,061 Total Target Pilot Compensation (Step 4) 2,519,209 2,519,209 5,038,418 Working Capital Fund (Step 5) 130,804 146,946 277,750 Total Revenue Needed 3,628,241 4,075,988 7,704,229 Table 17—Revenue Needed for District Three Undesignated Designated Total Adjusted Operating Expenses (Step 2) $1,642,515 $530,570 $2,173,085 Total Target Pilot Compensation (Step 4) 5,758,192 1,439,548 7,197,740 Working Capital Fund (Step 5) 276,786 73,682 350,468 Total Revenue Needed 7,677,493 2,043,800 9,721,293 G. Step 7: Calculate Initial Base Rates

    Having determined the revenue needed for each area in the previous six steps, we divide that number by the expected number of hours of traffic to develop an hourly rate. Step 7 is a two-part process. In the first part, we calculate the 10-year average of traffic in each district. Because we are calculating separate figures for designated and undesignated waters, there are two parts for each calculation. The calculations are shown in tables 18-20.

    Table 18—Time on Task for District One Year Designated Undesignated 2017 7605 8679 2016 5434 6217 2015 5743 6667 2014 6810 6853 2013 5864 5529 2012 4771 5121 2011 5045 5377 2010 4839 5649 2009 3511 3947 2008 5829 5298 Average 5545 5934 Table 19—Time on Task for District Two Year Undesignated Designated 2017 5139 6074 2016 6425 5615 2015 6535 5967 2014 7856 7001 2013 4603 4750 2012 3848 3922 2011 3708 3680 2010 5565 5235 2009 3386 3017 2008 4844 3956 Average 5191 4922 Table 20—Time on Task for District Three Year Undesignated Designated 2017 26183 3798 2016 23421 2769 2015 22824 2696 2014 25833 3835 2013 17115 2631 2012 15906 2163 2011 16012 1678 2010 20211 2461 2009 12520 1820 2008 14287 2286 Average 19431 2614

    Next, we derive the initial hourly rate by dividing the revenue needed by the average number of hours for each area. This produces an initial rate needed to produce the revenue needed for each area, assuming the amount of traffic is as expected. The calculations for each area are set forth in tables 21-23.

    Table 21—Initial Rate Calculations for District One Designated Undesignated Revenue needed (Step 6) $4,950,370 $3,796,693 Average time on task (hours) 5,545 5,934 Initial rate 893 640 Table 22—Initial Rate Calculations for District Two Undesignated Designated Revenue needed (Step 6) $3,628,241 $4,075,988 Average time on task (hours) 5,191 4,922 Initial rate 699 828 Table 23—Initial Rate Calculations for District Three Undesignated Designated Revenue needed (Step 6) $7,677,493 $2,043,800 Average time on task (hours) 19,431 2,614 Initial rate 395 782 H. Step 8: Calculate Weighting Factors by Area

    In this step, we calculate the average weighting factor for each designated and undesignated area. We collect the weighting factors, set forth in 46 CFR 401.400, for each vessel trip. Using this database, we calculate the average weighting factor for each area using the data from each vessel transit from 2014 onward, as shown in tables 24-29.

    Table 24—Average Weighting Factor for District 1, Designated Areas Vessel class/year Number
  • of transits
  • Weighting
  • factor
  • Weighted
  • transits
  • Class 1 (2014) 31 1 31 Class 1 (2015) 41 1 41 Class 1 (2016) 31 1 31 Class 1 (2017) 28 1 28 Class 2 (2014) 285 1.15 327.75 Class 2 (2015) 295 1.15 339.25 Class 2 (2016) 185 1.15 212.75 Class 2 (2017) 352 1.15 404.8 Class 3 (2014) 50 1.3 65 Class 3 (2015) 28 1.3 36.4 Class 3 (2016) 50 1.3 65 Class 3 (2017) 67 1.3 87.1 Class 4 (2014) 271 1.45 392.95 Class 4 (2015) 251 1.45 363.95 Class 4 (2016) 214 1.45 310.3 Class 4 (2017) 285 1.45 413.25 Total 2464 3149.5 Average weighting factor (weighted transits/number of transits) 1.28
    Table 25—Average Weighting Factor for District 1, Undesignated Areas Vessel class/year Number
  • of transits
  • Weighting
  • factor
  • Weighted
  • transits
  • Class 1 (2014) 25 1 25 Class 1 (2015) 28 1 28 Class 1 (2016) 18 1 18 Class 1 (2017) 19 1 19 Class 2 (2014) 238 1.15 273.7 Class 2 (2015) 263 1.15 302.45 Class 2 (2016) 169 1.15 194.35 Class 2 (2017) 290 1.15 333.5 Class 3 (2014) 60 1.3 78 Class 3 (2015) 42 1.3 54.6 Class 3 (2016) 28 1.3 36.4 Class 3 (2017) 45 1.3 58.5 Class 4 (2014) 289 1.45 419.05 Class 4 (2015) 269 1.45 390.05 Class 4 (2016) 222 1.45 321.9 Class 4 (2017) 285 1.45 413.25 Total 2290 2965.75 Average weighting factor (weighted transits/number of transits) 1.30
    Table 26—Average Weighting Factor for District 2, Undesignated Areas Vessel class/year Number
  • of transits
  • Weighting
  • factor
  • Weighted
  • transits
  • Class 1 (2014) 31 1 31 Class 1 (2015) 35 1 35 Class 1 (2016) 32 1 32 Class 1 (2017) 21 1 21 Class 2 (2014) 356 1.15 409.4 Class 2 (2015) 354 1.15 407.1 Class 2 (2016) 380 1.15 437 Class 2 (2017) 222 1.15 255.3 Class 3 (2014) 20 1.3 26 Class 3 (2015) 0 1.3 0 Class 3 (2016) 9 1.3 11.7 Class 3 (2017) 12 1.3 15.6 Class 4 (2014) 636 1.45 922.2 Class 4 (2015) 560 1.45 812 Class 4 (2016) 468 1.45 678.6 Class 4 (2017) 319 1.45 462.55 Total 3455 4556.45 Average weighting factor (weighted transits/number of transits) 1.32
    Table 27—Average Weighting Factor for District 2, Designated Areas Vessel class/year Number
  • of transits
  • Weighting
  • factor
  • Weighted
  • transits
  • Class 1 (2014) 20 1 20 Class 1 (2015) 15 1 15 Class 1 (2016) 28 1 28 Class 1 (2017) 15 1 15 Class 2 (2014) 237 1.15 272.55 Class 2 (2015) 217 1.15 249.55 Class 2 (2016) 224 1.15 257.6 Class 2 (2017) 127 1.15 146.05 Class 3 (2014) 8 1.3 10.4 Class 3 (2015) 8 1.3 10.4 Class 3 (2016) 4 1.3 5.2 Class 3 (2017) 4 1.3 5.2 Class 4 (2014) 359 1.45 520.55 Class 4 (2015) 340 1.45 493 Class 4 (2016) 281 1.45 407.45 Class 4 (2017) 185 1.45 268.25 Total 2072 2724.2 Average weighting factor (weighted transits/number of transits) 1.31
    Table 28—Average Weighting Factor for District 3, Undesignated Areas Vessel class/year Number
  • of transits
  • Weighting
  • factor
  • Weighted
  • transits
  • Area 6: Class 1 (2014) 45 1 45 Class 1 (2015) 56 1 56 Class 1 (2016) 136 1 136 Class 1 (2017) 148 1 148 Class 2 (2014) 274 1.15 315.1 Class 2 (2015) 207 1.15 238.05 Class 2 (2016) 236 1.15 271.4 Class 2 (2017) 264 1.15 303.6 Class 3 (2014) 15 1.3 19.5 Class 3 (2015) 8 1.3 10.4 Class 3 (2016) 10 1.3 13 Class 3 (2017) 19 1.3 24.7 Class 4 (2014) 394 1.45 571.3 Class 4 (2015) 375 1.45 543.75 Class 4 (2016) 332 1.45 481.4 Class 4 (2017) 367 1.45 532.15 Total for Area 6 2,886 3,709.35 Area 8: Class 1 (2014) 3 1 3 Class 1 (2015) 0 1 0 Class 1 (2016) 4 1 4 Class 1 (2017) 4 1 4 Class 2 (2014) 177 1.15 203.55 Class 2 (2015) 169 1.15 194.35 Class 2 (2016) 174 1.15 200.1 Class 2 (2017) 151 1.15 173.65 Class 3 (2014) 3 1.3 3.9 Class 3 (2015) 0 1.3 0 Class 3 (2016) 7 1.3 9.1 Class 3 (2017) 18 1.3 23.4 Class 4 (2014) 243 1.45 352.35 Class 4 (2015) 253 1.45 366.85 Class 4 (2016) 204 1.45 295.8 Class 4 (2017) 269 1.45 390.05 Total for Area 8 1,679 2224.1 Combined total 4,565 5,933.45 Average weighting factor (weighted transits/number of transits) 1.30
    Table 29—Average Weighting Factor for District 3, Designated Areas Vessel class/year Number
  • of transits
  • Weighting
  • factor
  • Weighted
  • transits
  • Class 1 (2014) 27 1 27 Class 1 (2015) 23 1 23 Class 1 (2016) 55 1 55 Class 1 (2017) 62 1 62 Class 2 (2014) 221 1.15 254.15 Class 2 (2015) 145 1.15 166.75 Class 2 (2016) 174 1.15 200.1 Class 2 (2017) 170 1.15 195.5 Class 3 (2014) 4 1.3 5.2 Class 3 (2015) 0 1.3 0 Class 3 (2016) 6 1.3 7.8 Class 3 (2017) 14 1.3 18.2 Class 4 (2014) 321 1.45 465.45 Class 4 (2015) 245 1.45 355.25 Class 4 (2016) 191 1.45 276.95 Class 4 (2017) 234 1.45 339.3 Total 1892 2,451.65 Average weighting factor (weighted transits/number of transits) 1.30
    I. Step 9: Calculate Revised Base Rates

    In this step, we revise the base rates so that once the impact of the weighting factors are considered, the total cost of pilotage will be equal to the revenue needed. To do this, we divide the initial base rates, calculated in Step 7, by the average weighting factors calculated in Step 8, as shown in table 30.

    Table 30—Revised Base Rates Area Initial rate
  • (Step 7)
  • Average
  • weighting
  • factor
  • (Step 8)
  • Revised rate
  • (initial
  • rate/average
  • weighting
  • factor)
  • District One: Designated $893 1.28 $698 District One: Undesignated 640 1.30 492 District Two: Undesignated 699 1.32 530 District Two: Designated 828 1.31 632 District Three: Undesignated 395 1.30 304 District Three: Designated 782 1.30 602
    J. Step 10: Review and Finalize Rates

    In this step, the Director reviews the rates set forth by the staffing model and ensures that they meet the goal of ensuring safe, efficient, and reliable pilotage. To establish that the proposed rates do meet the goal of ensuring safe, efficient and reliable pilotage, the Director considered whether the proposed rates incorporate appropriate compensation for pilots to handle heavy traffic periods and whether there are sufficient pilots to handle those heavy traffic periods. Also, he considered whether the proposed rates would cover operating expenses and infrastructure costs, and took average traffic and weighting factors into consideration. Based on this information, the Director is not proposing any alterations to the rates in this step. We propose to modify the text in § 401.405(a) to reflect the final rates, also shown in table 31.

    Table 31—Proposed Final Rates Area Name Final 2018
  • pilotage rate
  • Proposed 2019
  • pilotage rate
  • District One: Designated St. Lawrence River $653 $698 District One: Undesignated Lake Ontario 435 492 District Two: Undesignated Lake Erie 497 530 District Two: Designated Navigable waters from Southeast Shoal to Port Huron, MI 593 632 District Three: Undesignated Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior 271 304 District Three: Designated St. Mary's River 600 602
    K. Surcharges

    Because there are several applicant pilots in 2019, we are proposing to levy surcharges to cover the costs needed for training expenses. Consistent with previous years, we are proposing to assign a cost of $150,000 per applicant pilot. To develop the surcharge, we multiply the number of applicant pilots by the average cost per pilot to develop a total amount of training costs needed, and then impose that amount as a surcharge to all areas in the respective district, consisting of a percentage of revenue needed. In this year, there are two applicant pilots for District One, one applicant pilot for District Two, and four applicant pilots for District Three. The calculations to develop the surcharges are shown in table 32. We note that while the percentages are rounded for simplicity, such rounding does not impact the revenue generated, as surcharges can no longer be collected once the surcharge total has been attained.

    Additionally, the Coast Guard is considering the necessity of continuing with the surcharge for applicant pilots in this or future rulemakings. As the vast majority of registered pilots are not scheduled to retire in the next 20 years, we believe that pilot associations are now able to plan for the costs associated with retirements without relying on the Coast Guard to impose surcharges. We invite comment on the necessity of continuing this practice.

    Table 32—Surcharge Calculations District
  • one
  • District
  • two
  • District
  • three
  • Number of applicant pilots 2 1 4 Total applicant training costs $300,000 $150,000 $600,000 Revenue needed (Step 6) $8,747,063 $7,704,229 $9,721,293 Total surcharge as percentage (total training costs/revenue) 3% 2% 6%
    VIII. Regulatory Analyses

    We developed this proposed rule after considering numerous statutes and Executive orders related to rulemaking. A summary of our analyses based on these statutes or Executive orders follows.

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

    Executive Orders 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and 13563, (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review) direct agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. Executive Order 13771 (Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs) directs agencies to reduce regulation and control regulatory costs and provides that “for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination, and that the cost of planned regulations be prudently managed and controlled through a budgeting process.”

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has not designated this proposed rule a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, OMB has not reviewed it. Because this proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action, it is exempt from the requirements of Executive Order 13771. See the OMB's Memorandum titled, “Guidance Implementing Executive Order 13771, titled `Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs' ” (April 5, 2017). A regulatory analysis (RA) follows.

    The purpose of this rulemaking is to propose new base pilotage rates and surcharges for training. The last full ratemaking was concluded in June of 2018.

    The Coast Guard is required to review and adjust pilotage rates on the Great Lakes annually. See sections IV and V of this preamble for detailed discussions of the legal basis and purpose for this rulemaking and for background information on Great Lakes pilotage ratemaking. Based on our annual review for this proposed rulemaking, we propose adjusting the pilotage rates for the 2019 shipping season to generate sufficient revenues for each district to reimburse its necessary and reasonable operating expenses, fairly compensate trained and rested pilots, and provide an appropriate working capital fund to use for improvements. The rate changes in this proposed rule would, if codified, lead to an increase in the cost per unit of service to shippers in all three districts, and result in an estimated annual cost increase to shippers. The total payments that would be made by shippers during the 2019 shipping season are estimated at approximately $2,066,143 more than the total payments that were estimated in 2018 (table 33).21

    21 Total payments across all three districts are equal to the increase in payments incurred by shippers as a result of the rate changes plus the temporary surcharges applied to traffic in Districts One, Two, and Three.

    A detailed discussion of our economic impact analysis follows.

    Affected Population

    This proposed rule would impact U.S. Great Lakes pilots, the 3 pilot associations, and the owners and operators of oceangoing vessels that transit the Great Lakes annually. As discussed in step 3 in Section VII.C of this preamble, there will be 51 pilots working during the 2019 shipping season. The shippers affected by these rate changes are those owners and operators of domestic vessels operating “on register” (employed in foreign trade) and owners and operators of non-Canadian foreign vessels on routes within the Great Lakes system. These owners and operators must have pilots or pilotage service as required by 46 U.S.C. 9302. There is no minimum tonnage limit or exemption for these vessels. The statute applies only to commercial vessels and not to recreational vessels. United States-flagged vessels not operating on register and Canadian “lakers,” which account for most commercial shipping on the Great Lakes, are not required by 46 U.S.C. 9302 to have pilots. However, these U.S.- and Canadian-flagged lakers may voluntarily choose to engage a Great Lakes registered pilot. Vessels that are U.S.-flagged may opt to have a pilot for varying reasons, such as unfamiliarity with designated waters and ports, or for insurance purposes.

    We used billing information from the years 2015 through 2017 from the Great Lakes Pilotage Management System (GLPMS) to estimate the average annual number of vessels affected by the rate adjustment. The GLPMS tracks data related to managing and coordinating the dispatch of pilots on the Great Lakes, and billing in accordance with the services. In Step 7 of the methodology, we use a 10-year average to estimate the traffic. We use 3 years of the most recent billing data to estimate the affected population. When we reviewed 10 years of the most recent billing data, we found the data included vessels that have not used pilotage services in recent years. We believe using 3 years of billing data is a better representation of the vessel population that is currently using pilotage services and would be impacted by this rulemaking. We found that 448 unique vessels used pilotage services during the years 2015 through 2017. That is, these vessels had a pilot dispatched to the vessel, and billing information was recorded in the GLPMS. Of these vessels, 418 were foreign-flagged vessels and 30 were U.S.-flagged. As previously stated, U.S.-flagged vessels not operating on register are not required to have a registered pilot per 46 U.S.C. 9302, but they can voluntarily choose to have one.

    Vessel traffic is affected by numerous factors and varies from year to year. Therefore, rather than the total number of vessels over the time period, an average of the unique vessels using pilotage services from the years 2015 through 2017 is the best representation of vessels estimated to be affected by the rate proposed in this NPRM. From the years 2015 through 2017, an average of 256 vessels used pilotage services annually.22 On average, 241 of these vessels were foreign-flagged vessels and 15 were U.S.-flagged vessels that voluntarily opted into the pilotage service.

    22 Some vessels entered the Great Lakes multiple times in a single year, affecting the average number of unique vessels utilizing pilotage services in any given year.

    Total Cost to Shippers

    The rate changes resulting from this adjustment to the rates would add new costs to shippers in the form of higher payments to pilots. We estimate the effect of the rate changes on shippers by comparing the total projected revenues needed to cover costs in 2018 with the total projected revenues to cover costs in 2019, including any temporary surcharges we have authorized. We set pilotage rates so that pilot associations receive enough revenue to cover their necessary and reasonable expenses. Shippers pay these rates when they have a pilot as required by 46 U.S.C. 9302. Therefore, the aggregate payments of shippers to pilot associations are equal to the projected necessary revenues for pilot associations. The revenues each year represent the total costs that shippers must pay for pilotage services, and the change in revenue from the previous year is the additional cost to shippers discussed in this proposed rule.

    The impacts of the proposed rate changes on shippers are estimated from the District pilotage projected revenues (shown in tables 15 through 17 of this preamble) and the proposed surcharges described in section VII.K of this preamble. We estimate that for the 2019 shipping season, the projected revenue needed for all three districts is $26,172,585. Temporary surcharges on traffic in Districts One, Two, and Three would be applied for the duration of the 2019 season in order for the pilotage associations to recover training expenses incurred for applicant pilots. We estimate that the pilotage associations would require $300,000, $150,000, and $600,000 in revenue for applicant training expenses in Districts One, Two, and Three, respectively. This would represent a total cost of $1,050,000 to shippers during the 2019 shipping season. Adding the projected revenue of $26,172,585 to the proposed surcharges, we estimate the pilotage associations' total projected revenue needed for 2019 would be $27,222,585.

    To estimate the additional cost to shippers from this proposed rule, we compare the 2019 total projected revenues to the 2018 projected revenues. Because we review and prescribe rates for the Great Lakes Pilotage annually, the effects are estimated as a single year cost rather than annualized over a 10-year period. In the 2018 rulemaking,23 we estimated the total projected revenue needed for 2018, including surcharges, as $25,156,442. This is the best approximation of 2018 revenues as, at the time of this publication, we do not have enough audited data available for the 2018 shipping season to revise these projections. Table 33 shows the revenue projections for 2018 and 2019 and details the additional cost increases to shippers by area and district as a result of the rate changes and temporary surcharges on traffic in Districts One, Two, and Three.

    23 The 2018 projected revenues are from the 2018 Great Lakes Pilotage Ratemaking final rule (83 FR 26189), Table 41.

    Table 33—Effect of the Proposed Rule by Area and District [$U.S.; non-discounted] Area Revenue
  • needed in
  • 2018
  • 2018
  • temporary
  • surcharge
  • Total 2018
  • projected
  • revenue
  • Revenue
  • needed in
  • 2019
  • 2019
  • temporary
  • surcharge
  • Total 2019
  • projected
  • revenue
  • Additional
  • costs of
  • this rule
  • Total, District 1 $7,988,670 $300,000 $8,288,670 $8,747,063 $300,000 $9,047,063 $758,393 Total, District 2 7,230,300 150,000 7,380,300 7,704,229 150,000 7,854,229 473,929 Total, District 3 8,887,472 600,000 9,487,472 9,721,293 600,000 10,321,293 833,821 System Total $24,106,442 $1,050,000 $25,156,442 $26,172,585 $1,050,000 $27,222,585 $2,066,143

    The resulting difference between the projected revenue in 2018 and the projected revenue in 2019 is the proposed annual change in payments from shippers to pilots as a result of the rate change that would be imposed by this rule. The effect of the proposed rate change to shippers varies by area and district. The rate changes, after taking into account the increase in pilotage rates and the addition of temporary surcharges, would lead to affected shippers operating in District One, District Two, and District Three experiencing an increase in payments of $758,393, $473,929, and $833,821, respectively, over the previous year. The overall adjustment in payments would be an increase in payments by shippers of $2,066,143 across all three districts (an 8 percent increase over 2018). Again, because we review and set rates for Great Lakes Pilotage annually, we estimate the impacts as single year costs rather than annualizing them over a 10-year period.

    Table 34 shows the difference in revenue by component from 2018 to 2019.24 The majority of the increase in revenue is due to the inflation of operating expenses and to the addition of two pilots who were authorized in the 2018 rule. These two pilots are training in 2018 and will become full-time working pilots at the beginning of the 2019 shipping season. They would be compensated at the target compensation of $359,887 per pilot. The addition of these pilots to full working status accounts for $719,774 of the increase ($1,082,472 when also including the effect of increasing compensation for 49 pilots). The remaining amount is attributed to increases in the working capital fund.

    24 The 2018 projected revenues are from the 2018 final rule (83 FR 26189), table 41. The 2018 projected revenues are from tables 15-17 of this NPRM.

    Table 34—Difference in Revenue by Component Revenue component Revenue
  • needed in
  • 2018
  • Revenue
  • needed in
  • 2019
  • Difference
  • (2019
  • revenue-
  • 2018
  • revenue)
  • Adjusted Operating Expenses $5,965,599 $6,874,784 $909,185 Total Target Pilot Compensation 17,271,765 18,354,237 1,082,472 Working Capital Fund 869,078 943,564 74,486 Total Revenue Needed, without Surcharge 24,106,442 26,172,585 2,066,143 Surcharge 1,050,000 1,050,000 0 Total Revenue Needed, with Surcharge 25,156,442 27,222,585 2,066,143
    Pilotage Rates as a Percentage of Vessel Operating Costs

    To estimate the impact of U.S. pilotage costs on foreign-flagged vessels that would be affected by the rate adjustment, we looked at the pilotage costs as a percentage of a vessel's costs for an entire voyage. The portion of the trip on the Great Lakes using a pilot is only a portion of the whole trip. The affected vessels are often traveling from a foreign port, and the days without a pilot on the total trip often exceed the days a pilot is needed.

    To estimate this impact, we used the 2017 study titled, “Analysis of Great Lakes Pilotage Costs on Great Lakes Shipping and the Potential Impact of Increases in U.S. Pilotage Charges.” 25 We conducted the study to explore additional frameworks and methodologies for assessing the cost of Great Lakes pilot's ratemaking regulations, with a focus on capturing industry and port level economic impacts. The study also included an analysis of the pilotage costs as a percentage of the total voyage costs that we can use in RAs to estimate the direct impact of changes to the pilotage rates.

    25 The study is available at http://www.dco.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/Assistant-Commandant-for-Prevention-Policy-CG-5P/Marine-Transportation-Systems-CG-5PW/Office-of-Waterways-and-Ocean-Policy/Office-of-Waterways-and-Ocean-Policy-Great-Lakes-Pilotage-Div/.

    The study developed a voyage cost model that is based on a vessel's daily costs. The daily costs included: Capital repayment costs; fuel costs; operating costs (such as crew, supplies, and insurance); port costs; speed of the vessel; stevedoring rates; and tolls. The daily operating costs were translated into total voyage costs using mileage between the ports for a number of voyage scenarios. In the study, the total voyage costs were then compared to the U.S. pilotage costs. The study found that, using the 2016 rates, the U.S. pilotage charges represent 10 percent of the total voyage costs for a vessel carrying grain, and between 8 percent and 9 percent of the total voyage costs for a vessel carrying steel.26 We updated the analysis to estimate the percentage U.S. pilotage charges represent using the percentage increase in revenues from the years 2016 to 2019. Since the study used 2016 as the latest year of data, we compared the revenues needed in 2019 and 2018 to the 2016 revenues in order to estimate the change in pilotage costs as a percentage of total voyage costs from 2018 to 2019. Table 35 shows the revenues needed for the years 2016, 2017, and 2018.

    26 Martin Associates, “Analysis of Great Lakes Pilotage Costs on Great Lakes Shipping and the Potential Impact of Increases in U.S. Pilotage Charges,” page 33. Available at http://www.regulations.gov, USCG-2018-0665-0005.

    Table 35—Revenue Needed in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 Revenue component Revenue
  • needed in
  • 2016
  • Revenue
  • needed in
  • 2017
  • Revenue
  • needed in
  • 2018
  • Revenue
  • needed in
  • 2019
  • Adjusted Operating Expenses $4,677,518 $5,155,280 $5,965,599 $6,874,784 Total Target Pilot Compensation 12,066,226 14,983,335 17,271,765 18,354,237 Working Capital Fund 709,934 837,766 869,078 943,564 Total Revenue Needed, without Surcharge 17,453,678 20,976,381 24,106,442 26,172,585 Surcharge 1,650,000 1,350,000 1,050,000 1,050,000 Total Revenue Needed, with Surcharge 19,103,678 22,326,381 25,156,442 27,222,585 % Increase from 2016 Total Revenue 17% 32% 42% U.S. Pilotage Cost as Percentage of the Total Voyage Costs 9.8% 11.3% 12.6% 13.4%

    From 2016 to 2019, the total revenues needed would increase by 42 percent. While the change in total voyage cost would vary by the trip, vessel class, and whether the vessel is carrying steel or grain, we used these percentages as an average increase to estimate the change in the impact. When we increased the 2016 base pilotage charges by 32 percent, we found the U.S. pilotage costs represented an average of 12.6 percent of the total voyage costs for 2018. To look at the percentage of the total voyage costs for 2019, we then increased the base 2016 rates by 42 percent. With this proposed rule's rates for 2019, pilotage costs are estimated to account for 13.4 percent of the total voyage costs, or a 0.8 percent increase over the percentage that U.S. pilotage costs represented of the total voyage in 2018.

    It is important to note that this analysis is based on a number of assumptions. The purpose of the study was to look at the impact of the U.S. pilotage rates. The study did not include an analysis of the GLPA rates. It was assumed that a U.S. pilot is assigned to all portions of a voyage where he or she could be assigned. In reality, the assignment of a United States or Canadian pilot is based on the order in which a vessel enters the system, as outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding between the GLPA and the Coast Guard.

    This analysis only looks at the impact of proposed U.S. pilotage cost changes. All other costs were held constant at the 2016 levels, including Canadian pilotage costs, tolls, stevedoring, and port charges. This analysis estimates the impacts of Great Lakes pilotage rates holding all other factors constant. If other factors or sectors were not held constant but, instead, were allowed to adjust or fluctuate, it is likely that the impact of pilotage rates would be different. Many factors that drive the tonnage levels of foreign cargo on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway were held constant for this analysis. These factors include, but are not limited to, demand for steel and grain, construction levels in the regions, tariffs, exchange rates, weather conditions, crop production, rail and alternative route pricing, tolls, vessel size restriction on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, and inland waterway river levels.

    Benefits

    This proposed rule would allow the Coast Guard to meet the requirements in 46 U.S.C. 9303 to review the rates for pilotage services on the Great Lakes. The rate changes would promote safe, efficient, and reliable pilotage service on the Great Lakes by: (1) Ensuring that rates cover an association's operating expenses; (2) providing fair pilot compensation, adequate training, and sufficient rest periods for pilots; and (3) ensuring the association produces enough revenue to fund future improvements. The rate changes would also help recruit and retain pilots, which would ensure a sufficient number of pilots to meet peak shipping demand, helping to reduce delays caused by pilot shortages.

    B. Small Entities

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-612, we have considered whether this proposed rule would have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000 people.

    For the proposed rule, we reviewed recent company size and ownership data for the vessels identified in the GLPMS, and we reviewed business revenue and size data provided by publicly available sources such as MANTA 27 and ReferenceUSA.28 As described in Section VIII.A of this preamble, Regulatory Planning and Review, we found that a total of 448 unique vessels used pilotage services from 2015 through 2017. These vessels are owned by 57 entities. We found that of the 57 entities that own or operate vessels engaged in trade on the Great Lakes affected by this proposed rule, 47 are foreign entities that operate primarily outside the United States. The remaining 10 entities are U.S. entities. We compared the revenue and employee data found in the company search to the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Table of Small Business Size Standards 29 to determine how many of these companies are small entities. Table 36 shows the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes of the U.S. entities and the small entity standard size established by the SBA.

    27 See http://www.manta.com/.

    28 See http://resource.referenceusa.com/.

    29 Source: https://www.sba.gov/contracting/getting-started-contractor/make-sure-you-meet-sba-size-standards/table-small-business-size-standards. SBA has established a Table of Small Business Size Standards, which is matched to NAICS industries. A size standard, which is usually stated in number of employees or average annual receipts (“revenues”), represents the largest size that a business (including its subsidiaries and affiliates) may be considered in order to remain classified as a small business for SBA and Federal contracting programs.

    Table 36—NAICS Codes and Small Entities Size Standards NAICS Description Small
  • business size
  • standard
  • 238910 Site Preparation Contractors $15 million. 483211 Inland Water Freight Transportation 750 employees. 487210 Scenic & Sightseeing Transportation, Water $7.5 million. 488330 Navigational Services to Shipping $38.5 million. 488510 Freight Transportation Arrangement $15 million.

    The entities all exceed the SBA's small business standards for small businesses. Furthermore, these U.S. entities operate U.S.-flagged vessels and are not required to have pilots as required by 46 U.S.C. 9302.

    In addition to the owners and operators of vessels affected by this proposed rule, there are three U.S. entities that would be affected by this proposed rule that receive revenue from pilotage services. These are the three pilot associations that provide and manage pilotage services within the Great Lakes districts. Two of the associations operate as partnerships, and one operates as a corporation. These associations are designated with the same NAICS industry classification and small-entity size standards described above, but they have fewer than 500 employees; combined, they have approximately 65 employees in total, and therefore, they are designated as small entities. We expect no adverse effect on these entities from this proposed rule because all associations would receive enough revenue to balance the projected expenses associated with the projected number of bridge hours (time on task) and pilots.

    We did not find any small not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields that would be impacted by this proposed rule. We did not find any small governmental jurisdictions with populations of fewer than 50,000 people that would be impacted by this proposed rule. Based on this analysis, we conclude this proposed rulemaking, if promulgated, would not affect a substantial number of small entities.

    Therefore, we certify under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this proposed rule would have a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment to the Docket Management Facility at the address under ADDRESSES. In your comment, explain why you think it qualifies, and how and to what degree this proposed rule would economically affect it.

    C. Assistance for Small Entities

    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, Public Law 104-121, we want to assist small entities in understanding this proposed rule so that they can better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking. If the proposed rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please consult Mr. Brian Rogers, Commandant (CG-WWM-2), Coast Guard; telephone 202-372-1535, email [email protected], or fax 202-372-1914. The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

    Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247).

    D. Collection of Information

    This proposed rule would call for no new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). This proposed rule would not change the burden in the collection currently approved by OMB under OMB Control Number 1625-0086, Great Lakes Pilotage Methodology.

    E. Federalism

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

    Congress directed the Coast Guard to establish “rates and charges for pilotage services.” See 46 U.S.C. 9303(f). This regulation is issued pursuant to that statute and is preemptive of State law as specified in 46 U.S.C. 9306. Under 46 U.S.C. 9306, a “State or political subdivision of a State may not regulate or impose any requirement on pilotage on the Great Lakes.” As a result, States or local governments are expressly prohibited from regulating within this category. Therefore, this proposed rule is consistent with the fundamental federalism principles and preemption requirements described in Executive Order 13132.

    While it is well settled that States may not regulate in categories in which Congress intended the Coast Guard to be the sole source of a vessel's obligations, the Coast Guard recognizes the key role that State and local governments may have in making regulatory determinations. Additionally, for rules with implications and preemptive effect, Executive Order 13132 specifically directs agencies to consult with State and local governments during the rulemaking process. If you believe this rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION section of this preamble.

    F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

    G. Taking of Private Property

    This proposed rule would not cause a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630 (Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights).

    H. Civil Justice Reform

    This proposed rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform) to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

    I. Protection of Children

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13045 (Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks). This proposed rule is not an economically significant rule and would not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that might disproportionately affect children.

    J. Indian Tribal Governments

    This proposed rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it would not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

    K. Energy Effects

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13211 (Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use). We have determined that it is not a “significant energy action” under that order because it is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy, and the Administrator of OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has not designated it as a significant energy action.

    L. Technical Standards

    The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act, codified as a note to 15 U.S.C. 272, directs agencies to use voluntary consensus standards in their regulatory activities unless the agency provides Congress, through OMB, with an explanation of why using these standards would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., specifications of materials, performance, design, or operation; test methods; sampling procedures; and related management systems practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies. This proposed rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.

    M. Environment

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Directive 023-01, Revision (Rev) 01, Implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act [DHS Instruction Manual 023-01 (series)] and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have made a preliminary determination that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. A preliminary Record of Environmental Consideration supporting this determination is available in the docket where indicated under the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” section of this preamble. This proposed rule meets the criteria for categorical exclusion (CATEX) under paragraph A3 of table 1, particularly subparts (a), (b), and (c) in Appendix A of DHS Directive 023-01(series). CATEX A3 pertains to promulgation of rules and procedures that are: (a) Strictly administrative or procedural in nature; (b) that implement, without substantive change, statutory or regulatory requirements; or (c) that implement, without substantive change, procedures, manuals, and other guidance documents. This proposed rule adjusts base pilotage rates and surcharges for administering the 2019 shipping season in accordance with applicable statutory and regulatory mandates, and also proposes a technical change to the Great Lakes pilotage ratemaking methodology. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this proposed rule.

    List of Subjects 46 CFR Part 401

    Administrative practice and procedure, Great Lakes, Navigation (water), Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Seamen.

    46 CFR Part 404

    Great Lakes, Navigation (water), Seamen.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 46 CFR parts 401 and 404 as follows:

    PART 401—GREAT LAKES PILOTAGE REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 401 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    46 U.S.C. 2103, 2104(a), 6101, 7701, 8105, 9303, 9304; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1(II)(92.a), (92.d), (92.e), (92.f).

    2. Amend § 401.405 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 401.405 Pilotage rates and charges

    (a) The hourly rate for pilotage service on—

    (1) The St. Lawrence River is $698;

    (2) Lake Ontario is $492;

    (3) Lake Erie is $530;

    (4) The navigable waters from Southeast Shoal to Port Huron, MI is $632;

    (5) Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior is $304; and

    (6) The St. Mary's River is $602.

    PART 404—GREAT LAKES PILOTAGE RATEMAKING 3. The authority citation for part 404 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    46 U.S.C. 2103, 2104(a), 9303, 9304; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1(II)(92.a), (92.f)

    § 404.104 [Amended]
    4. Amend § 404.104(c) by removing the reference to § 404.103(d) and adding in its place a reference to § 404.103. Dated: October 11, 2018. Jennifer F. Williams, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Acting Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy .
    [FR Doc. 2018-22513 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    83 201 Wednesday, October 17, 2018 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE); Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers—Solicitation for Nominations AGENCY:

    USDA.

    ACTION:

    Solicitation for applications.

    SUMMARY:

    Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, notice is hereby given that U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is soliciting nominations and applications to serve on the Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers (the “Committee”). Applications and nomination packages can be downloaded at the link below: https://www.ocio.usda.gov/document/ad-755.

    DATES:

    Consideration will be given to nominations received on or before November 1, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mrs. Kenya Nicholas, Designated Federal Official, USDA-OPPE, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 520-A, Washington, DC 20250-0601; Telephone (202) 720-6350; Fax (202) 720-7704; Email: [email protected]

    ADDRESSES:

    Nomination packages may be sent by postal mail or commercial delivery to: Mrs. Kenya Nicholas, Designated Federal Official, USDA OPPE, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 520-A, Washington, DC 20250-0601 or faxed to (202) 720-7704.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On May 31, 2017, we published in the Federal Register (FR DOC# 2017-11214, Pages 24934-24935) a Notice of Solicitation for Nominations. Applications were required to be received on or before June 15, 2017. Previous applicants do not need to reapply.

    We are soliciting nominations from interested organizations and individuals from among ranching and farming producers (industry), related government, State, and Tribal agricultural agencies, academic institutions, commercial banking entities, trade associations, and related nonprofit enterprises. The Committee will meet and discuss beginning farmer and rancher policy and program issues and collaborate to make recommendations to the Secretary on matters broadly affecting new farmers and ranchers. The membership term shall not exceed 2 years from the date of appointment. The Secretary may also appoint others as deemed necessary and appropriate to fulfill the Committee charter. An organization may nominate individuals from within or outside its membership; alternatively, an individual may nominate herself or himself. Nomination packages should include a nomination form along with a cover letter or resume that documents the nominee's background and experience.

    The Secretary will fill 20 vacancies from among those organizations and individuals solicited, in order to obtain the broadest possible representation on the Committee. Equal opportunity practices, in line with the USDA policies, will be followed in all appointments to the Committee. To ensure that the recommendations of the Committee have taken into account the needs of the diverse groups served by the Department, membership should include, to the extent practicable, individuals with demonstrated ability to represent minorities, women, and persons with disabilities.

    Signed in Washington, DC, this 13th day of September, 2018. Christian Obineme, Deputy Director, Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22146 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request October 11, 2018.

    The Department of Agriculture has submitted the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. Comments are requested regarding (1) whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of burden including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Comments regarding this information collection received by November 16, 2018 will be considered. Written comments should be addressed to: Desk Officer for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), New Executive Office Building, 725 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20502. Commenters are encouraged to submit their comments to OMB via email to: [email protected] or fax (202) 395-5806 and to Departmental Clearance Office, USDA, OCIO, Mail Stop 7602, Washington, DC 20250-7602. Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling (202) 720-8958.

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number and the agency informs potential persons who are to respond to the collection of information that such persons are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    Food Safety and Inspection Service

    Title: Food Defense Vulnerability Questionnaire.

    OMB Control Number: 0583-New.

    Summary of Collection: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has been delegated the authority to exercise the functions of the Secretary as provided in the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) (21 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) (21 U.S.C. 451 et seq.), and the Egg Products Inspection Act (EPIA) (21 U.S.C. 1031 et seq.). These statutes mandate that FSIS protect the public by ensuring that meat, poultry, and egg products are safe, wholesome, unadulterated, and properly labeled and packaged. FSIS intends to collect information from food industry and academic experts on vulnerabilities and research activities in the areas of food defense for FSIS-regulated food products.

    Need and Use of the Information: FSIS will collection information using a series of questionnaires to food industry and academic experts on vulnerabilities and research activities in food defense for FSIS-regulated food products.

    Description of Respondents: Business or other for-profit.

    Number of Respondents: 170.

    Frequency of Responses: Reporting: On Occasion.

    Total Burden Hours: 113.

    Ruth Brown, Departmental Information Collection Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22521 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE); Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers and Ranchers Request for Nominations AGENCY:

    Office of Advocacy and Outreach, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Solicitation for applications.

    SUMMARY:

    We are giving notice that U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is soliciting nominations and applications to serve on the Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers and Ranchers (the “Committee”). Interested persons must submit applications and nomination packages which can be downloaded at the link below: https://www.ocio.usda.gov/document/ad-755.

    DATES:

    Consideration will be given to nominations received on or before November 1, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mrs. Kenya Nicholas, Designated Federal Official, USDA OPPE, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 520-A, Washington, DC 20250-0601; Telephone (202) 720-6350; Fax (202) 720-7704; Email: [email protected]

    ADDRESSES:

    Nomination packages may be sent by postal mail or commercial delivery to: Mrs. Kenya Nicholas, Designated Federal Official, USDA OPPE, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 520-A, Washington, DC 20250-0601. Nomination packages may also be faxed to (202) 720-7704.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On March 7, 2017, we published in the Federal Register (FR DOC# 2017-11216, Page 25224) a Notice of Solicitation for Nominations. Applications were required to be received on or before June 16, 2017. Previous applicants do not need to reapply.

    We are soliciting nominations from socially disadvantaged farming and ranching producers; civil rights professionals; private nonprofit organizations that support socially disadvantaged producers; and higher education institutions that work with socially disadvantaged producers. The membership term shall not exceed 2 years from the date of appointment. The Secretary may also appoint others as deemed necessary and appropriate to fulfill the Committee charter. An organization may nominate individuals from within or outside its membership; alternatively, an individual may nominate herself or himself. Nomination packages should include a nomination form along with a cover letter or resume that documents the nominee's background and experience.

    The Secretary will fill 15 vacancies from among those organizations and individuals solicited in order to obtain the broadest possible representation on the Committee. Equal opportunity practices, in line with the USDA policies, will be followed in all appointments to the Committee. To ensure that the recommendations of the Committee have taken into account the needs of the diverse groups served by the Department, membership should include, to the extent practicable, individuals with demonstrated ability to represent minorities, women, and persons with disabilities.

    Signed in Washington, DC, this 13th day of September, 2018. Christian Obineme, Deputy Director, Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22149 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service [Docket No. APHIS-2017-0097] Texas A&M AgriLife Research; Determination of Nonregulated Status of Cotton Genetically Engineered for Ultra-low Gossypol Levels in the Cottonseed AGENCY:

    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    We are advising the public of our determination that cotton designated as event TAM66274, which has been genetically engineered for ultra-low gossypol levels in the cottonseed, is no longer considered a regulated article under our regulations governing the introduction of certain genetically engineered organisms. Our determination is based on our evaluation of data submitted by Texas A&M AgriLife Research in its petition for a determination of nonregulated status, our analysis of available scientific data, and comments received from the public in response to our previous notices announcing the availability of the petition for nonregulated status and its associated environmental assessment and plant pest risk assessment. This notice also announces the availability of our written determination and finding of no significant impact.

    DATES:

    This change in regulatory status will be recognized October 17, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may read the documents referenced in this notice and the comments we received at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2017-0097 or in our reading Room, which is located in Room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 7997039 before coming.

    Supporting documents are also available on the APHIS website at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/biotechnology/petitions_table_pending.shtml under APHIS Petition 17-292-01p.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. John Turner, Director, Environmental Risk Analysis Programs, Biotechnology Regulatory Services, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 147, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236; (301) 851-3954, email: [email protected] To obtain copies of the supporting documents for this petition, contact Ms. Cindy Eck at (301) 851-3892, email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The regulations in 7 CFR part 340, “Introduction of Organisms and Products Altered or Produced Through Genetic Engineering Which Are Plant Pests or Which There Is Reason to Believe Are Plant Pests,” regulate, among other things, the introduction (importation, interstate movement, or release into the environment) of organisms and products altered or produced through genetic engineering that are plant pests or that there is reason to believe are plant pests. Such genetically engineered (GE) organisms and products are considered “regulated articles.”

    The regulations in § 340.6(a) provide that any person may submit a petition to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) seeking a determination that an article should not be regulated under 7 CFR part 340. APHIS received a petition (APHIS Petition Number 17-292-01p) from Texas A&M AgriLife Research of College Station, TX (Texas A&M), seeking a determination of nonregulated status of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) designated as event TAM66274, which has been genetically engineered for ultra-low gossypol levels in the cottonseed. The Texas A&M petition states that information collected during field trials and laboratory analyses indicates that TAM66274 cotton is not likely to be a plant pest and therefore should not be a regulated article under APHIS' regulations in 7 CFR part 340.

    According to our process 1 for soliciting public comment when considering petitions for determinations of nonregulated status of GE organisms, APHIS accepts written comments regarding a petition once APHIS deems it complete. In a notice 2 published in the Federal Register on December 5, 2017 (82 FR 57426-57427, Docket No. APHIS-2017-0097), APHIS announced the availability of the Texas A&M petition for public comment. APHIS solicited comments on the petition for 60 days ending on February 5, 2018, in order to help identify potential environmental and interrelated economic issues and impacts that APHIS may determine should be considered in our evaluation of the petition.

    1 On March 6, 2012, we published in the Federal Register (77 FR 13258-13260, Docket No. APHIS-2011-0129) a notice describing our process for soliciting public comments and information when considering petitions for determinations of nonregulated status for GE organisms (see http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2011-0129).

    2 To view the notice, the petition, and the comments we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2017-0097.

    APHIS received 47 comments on the petition. Of those, 44 were supportive, two opposed, and one was not related to the petition.

    APHIS decided, based on its review of the petition and its evaluation and analysis of the comments received during the 60-day public comment period on the petition, that the petition involves a GE organism that raises substantive new issues. According to our public review process for such petitions (see footnote 1), APHIS is following Approach 2, where we first solicit written comments from the public on a draft environmental assessment (EA) and a draft plant pest risk assessment (PPRA) for a 30-day comment period through the publication of a Federal Register notice. Then, after reviewing and evaluating the comments on the draft EA and the draft PPRA and other information, APHIS revises the draft PPRA as necessary and prepares a final EA and, based on the final EA, a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) finding document (either a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) or a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement). If a FONSI is reached, APHIS furnishes a response to the petitioner, either approving or denying the petition. APHIS also publishes a notice in the Federal Register announcing the regulatory status of the GE organism and the availability of APHIS' final EA, PPRA, FONSI, and our regulatory determination.

    APHIS sought public comment on a draft EA and a draft PPRA from August 1, 2018, to August 31, 2018.3 APHIS solicited comments on the draft EA, the draft PPRA, and whether the subject cotton is likely to pose a plant pest risk. APHIS received two comments on the petition, both of which supported a decision of nonregulated status for event TAM66274 cotton.

    3 83 FR 37459-37460.

    National Environmental Policy Act

    After reviewing and evaluating the comments received during the comment period on the draft EA and draft PPRA and other information, APHIS has prepared a final EA. The EA has been prepared to provide the public with documentation of APHIS' review and analysis of any potential environmental impacts associated with the determination of nonregulated status of cotton designated as event TAM66274. The EA was prepared in accordance with: (1) NEPA, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), (2) regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), (3) USDA regulations implementing NEPA (7 CFR part 1b), and (4) APHIS' NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 372). Based on our EA, the response to public comments, and other pertinent scientific data, APHIS has reached a FONSI with regard to the preferred alternative identified in the EA (to make a determination of nonregulated status of cotton designated as event TAM66274).

    Determination

    Based on APHIS' analysis of field and laboratory data submitted by Texas A&M, references provided in the petition, peer-reviewed publications, information analyzed in the EA, the PPRA, comments provided by the public, and information provided in APHIS' response to those public comments, APHIS has determined that cotton designated as event TAM66274 is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk and therefore is no longer subject to our regulations governing the introduction of certain GE organisms.

    Copies of the signed determination document, PPRA, final EA, FONSI, and response to comments, as well as the previously published petition and supporting documents, are available as indicated in the ADDRESSES and FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT sections of this notice.

    Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 7701-7772 and 7781-7786; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 10th day of October 2018. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22545 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
    COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Notice of Public Meeting of the Connecticut Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    Commission on Civil Rights.

    ACTION:

    Announcement of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the provisions of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission), and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), that a meeting of the Connecticut Advisory Committee to the Commission will convene by conference call at 12:00 p.m. (EST) on Wednesday, November 14, 2018. The purpose of the meeting is project planning and decision-making on next steps.

    DATES:

    Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. (EST). Public Call-In Information: Conference call-in number: 1-877-260-1479 and conference call 5634706.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Evelyn Bohor at [email protected] or by phone at 202-376-7533.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Interested members of the public may listen to the discussion by calling the following toll-free conference call-in number: 1-877-260-1479 and conference call 5634706. Please be advised that before placing them into the conference call, the conference call operator will ask callers to provide their names, their organizational affiliations (if any), and email addresses (so that callers may be notified of future meetings). Callers can expect to incur charges for calls they initiate over wireless lines, and the Commission will not refund any incurred charges. Callers will incur no charge for calls they initiate over land-line connections to the toll-free conference call-in number.

    Persons with hearing impairments may also follow the discussion by first calling the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-977-8339 and providing the operator with the toll-free conference call-in number: 1-877-260-1479 and conference call 5634706.

    Members of the public are invited to make statements during the open comment period of the meeting or submit written comments. The comments must be received in the regional office approximately 30 days after each scheduled meeting. Written comments may be mailed to the Eastern Regional Office, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 1150, Washington, DC 20425, faxed to (202) 376-7548, or emailed to Evelyn Bohor at [email protected] Persons who desire additional information may contact the Eastern Regional Office at (202) 376-7533.

    Records and documents discussed during the meeting will be available for public viewing as they become available at https://gsageo.force.com/FACA/FACAPublicViewCommitteeDetails?id=a10t0000001gzlqAAA; click the “Meeting Details” and “Documents” links. Records generated from this meeting may also be inspected and reproduced at the Eastern Regional Office, as they become available, both before and after the meetings. Persons interested in the work of this advisory committee are advised to go to the Commission's website, www.usccr.gov, or to contact the Eastern Regional Office at the above phone numbers, email or street address.

    Agenda: Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. (EST)

    • Roll Call.

    • Project Planning.

    • Open Comment.

    • Adjourn.

    Dated: October 12, 2018. David Mussatt, Supervisory Chief, Regional Programs Unit.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22615 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6335-01-P
    COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Agenda and Notice of Public Meeting of the Colorado Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    Commission on Civil Rights.

    ACTION:

    Announcement of planning meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the provisions of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission), and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) that a meeting of the Colorado Advisory Committee to the Commission will convene by conference call at 2:00 p.m. (MDT) on Friday, November 2, 2018. The purpose of the meeting is for project planning.

    DATES:

    Friday, November 2, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. (MDT).

    Public Call-In Information: Conference call number: 1-888-395-3237 and conference call ID: 1659256.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Evelyn Bohor, [email protected] or by phone at 303-866-1040.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Interested members of the public may listen to the discussion by calling the following toll-free conference call number: 1-888-395-3237 and conference call ID: 1659256.

    Please be advised that, before being placed into the conference call, the conference call operator will ask callers to provide their names, their organizational affiliations (if any), and email addresses (so that callers may be notified of future meetings). Callers can expect to incur charges for calls they initiate over wireless lines, and the Commission will not refund any incurred charges. Callers will incur no charge for calls they initiate over land-line connections to the toll-free telephone number provided.

    Persons with hearing impairments may also follow the discussion by first calling the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 and providing the operator with the toll-free conference call number: 1-888-395-3237 and conference call 1659256.

    Members of the public are invited to make statements during the open comment period of the meeting or submit written comments. The comments must be received in the regional office approximately 30 days after each scheduled meeting. Written comments may be mailed to the Rocky Mountain Regional Office, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1961 Stout Street, Suite 13-201, Denver, CO 80294, faxed to (303) 866-1040, or emailed to Evelyn Bohor at [email protected] Persons who desire additional information may contact the Rocky Mountain Regional Office at (303) 866-1040.

    Records and documents discussed during the meeting will be available for public viewing as they become available at https://gsageo.force.com/FACA/FACAPublicViewCommitteeDetails?id=a10t0000001gzksAAA; click the “Meeting Details” and “Documents” links. Records generated from this meeting may also be inspected and reproduced at the Rocky Mountain Regional Office, as they become available, both before and after the meeting. Persons interested in the work of this advisory committee are advised to go to the Commission's website, www.usccr.gov, or to contact the Rocky Mountain Regional Office at the above phone number, email or street address.

    Agenda: Friday, November 2, 2018; 2:00 (MDT) I. Roll Call II. Project Planning III. Other Business IV. Adjournment Dated: October 12, 2018. David Mussatt, Supervisory Chief, Regional Programs Unit.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22614 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE [Docket Number USBC-2018-0017] Request for Comments on the Cross-Agency Priority Goal: Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset: Phase 2 AGENCY:

    Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice and Request for Comments.

    SUMMARY:

    In March 2018, President Trump launched the President's Management Agenda (PMA). It lays out a long-term vision for modernizing the Federal Government in key areas that will improve the ability of agencies to deliver mission outcomes, provide excellent service, and effectively steward taxpayer dollars on behalf of the American people. The PMA established a Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) goal of Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset with an intended purpose of guiding development of a comprehensive long-term Federal Data Strategy to grow the economy, increase the effectiveness of the Federal Government, facilitate oversight, and promote transparency (https://www.performance.gov/CAP/CAP_goal_2.html). This notice seeks comment on practices for Federal agencies to adopt in order to achieve this CAP goal.

    A subsequent Request for Comments to be published in January 2019 will seek input on a year-one action plan for implementing the Federal Data Strategy.

    DATES:

    Comments on this notice must be received by November 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments through either the Federal eRulemaking Portal or the Federal Data Strategy website at https://strategy.data.gov. Include the Docket ID and the phrase “Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset Phase 2 Comments” at the beginning of your comments. Also indicate which questions described in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION of this notice are addressed in your comments. Comments will not be accepted by fax or paper delivery.

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov to submit your comments electronically under Docket ID USBC-2018-0017. Information on using regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing documents, submitting comments, and viewing the docket, is available on the site under “How to Use This Site.”

    Privacy Note: Comments and information submitted in response to this notice may be made available to the public through relevant websites. Therefore, commenters should only include in their comments information that they wish to make publicly available on the internet. Note that responses to this public comment request containing any routine notice about the confidentiality of the communication will be treated as public comments that may be made available to the public.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    William Hawk, Economist, U.S. Census Bureau, [email protected] or 301-763-0654.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Purpose

    The Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, performing the nonexclusive duties and functions of the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, along with the Federal Chief Information Officer, the Chief Statistician of the United States, and executives from the U.S. Small Business Administration and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, is charged with developing a comprehensive Federal Data Strategy under the President's Management Agenda CAP goal of Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset. Under this goal, the Federal Government should leverage program, statistical, and mission-support data as a strategic asset to grow the economy, increase the effectiveness of the Federal Government, facilitate oversight, and promote transparency. The Federal Government's role in collecting and disseminating data is rooted in the U.S. Constitution. Advances in technology have transformed the production and use of data across society, business, and government. The Federal Government needs a robust, integrated approach to creating, acquiring, using, and disseminating data to deliver on mission, serve customers, and steward resources while respecting privacy and confidentiality.

    The Federal Data Strategy is currently under development and, by the spring of 2019, will set forth principles, practices, and a year-one action plan to deliver a more consistent approach to federal data stewardship, access, and use. The principles are a framework for agencies, while the practices are actionable, yet aspirational, goals for a 5- to 10-year time horizon, and the action steps will be strategically chosen activities for agencies to implement the practices in any given year. The year-one action plan, with initial action steps, will begin in 2019 and will guide agencies in their data stewardship and information management responsibilities.

    Stakeholder engagement is critical to developing a viable and sustainable Federal Data Strategy. This Federal Register Notice is the second of three notices and requests for comment to seek public input on the development of the strategy. The Department of Commerce published the first of these notices in the Federal Register (83 FR 30113) on June 27, 2018. The notice included a set of ten draft principles for a comprehensive data strategy and asked the public to “review and provide feedback on their clarity, appropriateness, completeness, and potential duplications.” Comments were also requested on practices related to key aspects of the Federal Data Strategy, on mechanisms for stakeholder engagement, and on use cases, or real-world examples, that leverage Federal Government data for the benefit of the public. Comments were also submitted through the Federal Data Strategy website. A total of 237 comments were received, with almost 100 comments related to the draft principles. Based on comments received, the data strategy team revised the principles, which are available at https://strategy.data.gov.

    This request for comments solicits stakeholder feedback on the next products in the development of the federal data strategy: draft practices for the federal data strategy. Feedback will also be accepted through the Federal Data Strategy website at https://strategy.data.gov.

    Request for Comments

    The draft practices are based on the work of the four Federal Data Strategy working groups, each centered on a specific strategic area: Enterprise Data Governance; Decision Making and Accountability; Access, Use, and Augmentation; and Commercialization, Innovation, and Public Use. The working groups are teams of approximately 10 Federal Data Fellows, selected for their multidisciplinary experience and expertise in federal data.

    The working groups conducted research on practices, reviewed relevant Federal policies, such as OMB Circular A-130, Managing Information as a Strategic Resource, and incorporated public and agency comments, including information about use cases provided in response to the June 27 Federal Register Notice (83 FR 30113). The work of the separate groups was synthesized into 47 draft practices, which are available at https://strategy.data.gov.

    The Federal Data Strategy will apply to all Executive Branch agencies with responsibilities for information management and will guide them in data collection and stewardship. The strategy will be a point of guidance for actions across the data lifecycle and will inform and guide actions for the full spectrum of data assets, including:

    Program data: Data generated in carrying out the administration of a government program or mission, such as processing benefit applications, tracking services received, monitoring the weather, or mapping oceans. These data can relate to individuals, businesses, and other institutions, as well as the environment and scientific phenomena.

    Statistical data: Data used to describe, estimate, or analyze the characteristics and activities of groups, without identifying the individuals or organizations that constitute such groups, such as for research and evaluation.

    • Mission-support data: Program data focused on internal government operations, such as government spending, performance, or personnel data, that are common across government.

    The practices are designed to inform agency actions on a regular basis, to be continually relevant, and to be sufficiently general so as to broadly apply at all federal agencies and across all missions. The practices represent aspirational goals that, when fully realized, will enable agencies, practitioners, and policymakers to improve the government's approach to data stewardship and leverage data to create value.

    The draft practices are grouped according to five broad objectives that begin to operationalize five corresponding objectives.

    • Govern and Manage Data as a Strategic Asset • Protect and Secure Data • Promote Efficient Use of Data Assets • Build a Culture that Values Data as an Asset • Honor Stakeholder Input and Leverage Partners

    In addition to applying across government, the strategy and its practices apply across the data lifecycle, which can be depicted in six stages:

    1. Creation, collection, or acquisition;

    2. processing;

    3. access;

    4. use;

    5. dissemination; and

    6. storage and disposition.

    See https://strategy.data.gov for more information about how the draft practices pertain to each of those stages.

    The draft practices will be revised and further developed in response to public and agency comments. Specifically, comments are requested on the following:

    1. What framework(s) for organizing or classifying the practices would be most useful to Federal practitioners and other key stakeholders? For example, should they be classified according to whether they pertain to data creation, collection, or acquisition; processing; access; use; dissemination; and storage and disposition?

    2. List and describe any additional practices relevant to data creation, collection, acquisition, processing, access, use, dissemination, storage, and disposition that are not included in the draft practices.

    3. Identify any draft practices that should be omitted and explain why.

    4. Provide any necessary edits to the practices to ensure that they effectively identify objectives, outcomes, or goals and are helpful to a practitioners and data policymakers.

    5. Please provide examples of how Federal, state, local, or tribal government agencies have successfully implemented a particular practice.

    6. Please provide specific action steps that should be associated with a particular practice.

    For guidance in proposing action steps, use the following as examples of specific practices and associated action steps. These examples are provided for guidance only.

    • Practice: Prioritize Data Security Example Action Steps

    1. Leverage existing standards for comprehensive and high quality data management.

    2. Define, implement, and maintain formal expectations throughout government for data oversight and transparency.

    • Practice: Connect Federal Spending to Outcomes Example Action Steps

    1. Publish interactive reports with spending, performance, and mission-support data that enable the public to interact with the data and create customizable tables and report. These interactive charts and graphics should be embedded in Federal websites such as USAspending.gov and performance.gov.

    2. Standardize reporting data for federal grants to help make the data more accessible and useful.

    Guidance for Submitting Documents

    This guidance for submitting documents is offered to facilitate the analysis and full consideration of the comments. If responding on behalf of an organization or agency, please include the name and address of your institution or affiliation, and your name, title, email addresses, and telephone number. No specific information about you is required, other than that necessary for self-identification, for full consideration of the comment.

    Comments should be informative for the Federal Data Strategy. Comments on issues not related to the strategy will not be considered.

    Please submit comments through the Federal Register portal at www.regulations.gov or through the Federal Data Strategy website at https://strategy.data.gov. Please submit your comment once using your preferred feedback platform.

    Please specify the number of the question to which your comment applies. If possible, structure your comments on specific practices so that they refer to the number of the relevant practice. If you have multiple comments on one practice, please organize them together by practice number.

    If possible, provide comments in a Microsoft Word or plain text file and avoid using footnotes, end notes, images, graphics, or tables. If you refer to reference material (documents, websites, research), please quote or paraphrase the specific content from referenced material.

    Dated: October 10, 2018. Karen Dunn Kelley, Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, Performing the Nonexclusive Duties and Functions of the Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Department of Commerce.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22490 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-07-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of Economic Analysis Meeting of Bureau of Economic Analysis Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    Bureau of Economic Analysis, Economics and Statistics Administration, Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, we are announcing a meeting of the Bureau of Economic Analysis Advisory Committee. The meeting will address proposed improvements to BEA's economic accounts and provide an update on recent statistical developments.

    DATES:

    Friday, November 9, 2018. The meeting will begin at 9:00 a.m. and adjourn at 3:30 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will take place at the Suitland Federal Center, which is located at 4600 Silver Hill Road, Suitland, MD 20746.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Gianna Marrone, Program Analyst, U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Suitland, MD 20746; telephone number: (301) 278-9798.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Committee was established September 2, 1999. The Committee advises the Director of BEA on matters related to the development and improvement of BEA's national, regional, industry, and international economic accounts, with a focus on new and rapidly growing areas of the U.S. economy. The committee provides recommendations from the perspectives of the economics profession, business, and government.

    Public Participation: This meeting is open to the public. Because of security procedures, anyone planning to attend the meeting must contact Gianna Marrone of BEA at (301) 278-9798 in advance. The meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for foreign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Gianna Marrone at (301) 278-9798.

    Dated: September 17, 2018. Brian C. Moyer, Director, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22547 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [B-39-2018] Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 106—Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Authorization of Production Activity; Eastman Kodak Company (Printing Flexographic Plates), Weatherford, Oklahoma

    On June 13, 2018, Eastman Kodak Company submitted a notification of proposed production activity to the FTZ Board for its facility within Subzone 106F, in Weatherford, Oklahoma.

    The notification was processed in accordance with the regulations of the FTZ Board (15 CFR part 400), including notice in the Federal Register inviting public comment (83 FR 29541, June 25, 2018). On October 11, 2018, the applicant was notified of the FTZ Board's decision that no further review of the activity is warranted at this time. The production activity described in the notification was authorized, subject to the FTZ Act and the FTZ Board's regulations, including Section 400.14.

    Dated: October 11, 2018. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22583 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [B-63-2018] Foreign-Trade Zone 142—Salem/Millville, New Jersey; Application for Reorganization and Expansion Under Alternative Site Framework

    An application has been submitted to the Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) Board by the South Jersey Port Corporation, grantee of FTZ 142, requesting authority to reorganize and expand the zone under the alternative site framework (ASF) adopted by the FTZ Board (15 CFR Sec. 400.2(c)). The ASF is an option for grantees for the establishment or reorganization of zones and can permit significantly greater flexibility in the designation of new subzones or “usage-driven” FTZ sites for operators/users located within a grantee's “service area” in the context of the FTZ Board's standard 2,000-acre activation limit for a zone. The application was submitted pursuant to the Foreign-Trade Zones Act, as amended (19 U.S.C. 81a-81u), and the regulations of the Board (15 CFR part 400). It was formally docketed on October 11, 2018.

    FTZ 142 was approved by the FTZ Board on August 25, 1987 (Board Order 358, 52 FR 33855, September 8, 1987).

    The current zone includes the following sites: Site 1 (95 acres)—Port of Salem complex, Salem; Site 2 (10 acres)—Walnut Street warehouse complex, Salem; and, Site 3 (144 acres)—Millville Municipal Airport Industrial Park, Millville.

    The grantee's proposed service area under the ASF would be the Counties of Mercer, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland and Cape May, New Jersey, as described in the application. If approved, the grantee would be able to serve sites throughout the service area based on companies' needs for FTZ designation. The application indicates that the proposed service area is within and adjacent to the Philadelphia Customs and Border Protection port of entry.

    The applicant is requesting authority to reorganize and expand its existing zone to include all of the existing sites as “magnet” sites. The applicant is also requesting approval of the following magnet site: Proposed Site 4 (1,630 acres)—Repauno/Greenwich rail and port terminal complex, 200 North Repauno Avenue, Gibbstown. The application would have no impact on FTZ 142's previously authorized subzones.

    In accordance with the FTZ Board's regulations, Kathleen Boyce of the FTZ Staff is designated examiner to evaluate and analyze the facts and information presented in the application and case record and to report findings and recommendations to the FTZ Board.

    Public comment is invited from interested parties. Submissions shall be addressed to the FTZ Board's Executive Secretary at the address below. The closing period for their receipt is December 17, 2018. Rebuttal comments in response to material submitted during the foregoing period may be submitted during the subsequent 15-day period to December 31, 2018.

    A copy of the application will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Executive Secretary, Foreign-Trade Zones Board, Room 21013, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230-0002, and in the “Reading Room” section of the FTZ Board's website, which is accessible via www.trade.gov/ftz. For further information, contact Kathleen Boyce at [email protected] or (202) 482-1346.

    Dated: October 11, 2018. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22603 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [S-165-2018] Foreign-Trade Zone 294—Western Kentucky; Application for Subzone Mayfield Consumer Products Mayfield and Hickory, Kentucky

    An application has been submitted to the Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) Board by the Paducah McCracken County Riverport Authority, grantee of FTZ 294, requesting subzone status for the facilities of Mayfield Consumer Products, located in Mayfield and Hickory, Kentucky. The application was submitted pursuant to the provisions of the Foreign-Trade Zones Act, as amended (19 U.S.C. 81a-81u), and the regulations of the FTZ Board (15 CFR part 400). It was formally docketed on October 11, 2018.

    The proposed subzone would consist of the following sites: Site 1 (14.4 acres) 112 Industrial Drive, Mayfield; Site 2 (3.47 acres) 1102 Fulton Road, Mayfield; and, Site 3 (25 acres) 22 Rifle Trail, Hickory Industrial Park, Hickory. A notification of proposed production activity has been submitted and will be published separately for public comment. The proposed subzone would be subject to the existing activation limit of FTZ 294.

    In accordance with the FTZ Board's regulations, Elizabeth Whiteman of the FTZ Staff is designated examiner to review the application and make recommendations to the Executive Secretary.

    Public comment is invited from interested parties. Submissions shall be addressed to the FTZ Board's Executive Secretary at the address below. The closing period for their receipt is November 26, 2018. Rebuttal comments in response to material submitted during the foregoing period may be submitted during the subsequent 15-day period to December 11, 2018.

    A copy of the application will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Executive Secretary, Foreign-Trade Zones Board, Room 21013, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230-0002, and in the “Reading Room” section of the FTZ Board's website, which is accessible via www.trade.gov/ftz.

    For further information, contact Elizabeth Whiteman at [email protected] or (202) 482-0473.

    Dated: October 11, 2018. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22582 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [B-62-2018] Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 294—Western Kentucky; Notification of Proposed Production Activity; Mayfield Consumer Products (Candles); Mayfield and Hickory, Kentucky

    The Paducah McCracken County Riverport Authority, grantee of FTZ 294, submitted a notification of proposed production activity to the FTZ Board on behalf of Mayfield Consumer Products (MCP), located in Mayfield and Hickory, Kentucky. The notification conforming to the requirements of the regulations of the FTZ Board (15 CFR 400.22) was received on October 10, 2018.

    The applicant has submitted a separate application for FTZ designation at the MCP facility under FTZ 294. The MCP facility is used for the production of candles. Pursuant to 15 CFR 400.14(b), FTZ activity would be limited to the specific foreign-status materials and components and specific finished products described in the submitted notification (as described below) and subsequently authorized by the FTZ Board.

    Production under FTZ procedures could exempt MCP from customs duty payments on the foreign-status components used in export production. On its domestic sales, for the foreign-status materials/components noted below, MCP would be able to choose the duty rates during customs entry procedures that apply to filled jar candles (duty-free). MCP would be able to avoid duty on foreign-status components which become scrap/waste. Customs duties also could possibly be deferred or reduced on foreign-status production equipment.

    The components and materials sourced from abroad include: Glass jars; tin lids; cardboard boxes; and, wood pulp inserts (duty rate ranges from duty-free to 6%). The request indicates that certain materials/components are subject to special duties under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 (Section 301), depending on the country of origin. The applicable Section 301 decisions require subject merchandise to be admitted to FTZs in privileged foreign status (19 CFR 146.41).

    Public comment is invited from interested parties. Submissions shall be addressed to the Board's Executive Secretary at the address below. The closing period for their receipt is November 26, 2018.

    A copy of the notification will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Executive Secretary, Foreign-Trade Zones Board, Room 21013, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230-0002, and in the “Reading Room” section of the Board's website, which is accessible via www.trade.gov/ftz.

    For further information, contact Elizabeth Whiteman at [email protected] or (202) 482-0473.

    Dated: October 11, 2018. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22584 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [C-560-829] Certain Uncoated Paper From Indonesia: Final Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2015-2016 AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (Commerce) determines that PT Anugrah Kertas Utama, PT Riau Andalan Kertas, APRIL Fine Paper Macao Commercial Offshore Limited, and their cross-owned affiliates (collectively “APRIL”), exporters/producers of certain uncoated paper from Indonesia, received countervailable subsidies during the period June 29, 2015, through December 31, 2016.

    DATES:

    Applicable October 17, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    David Goldberger or Darla Brown, AD/CVD Operations, Office II, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-4136 or 202-482-1791, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    On April 10, 2018, Commerce published the Preliminary Results of this administrative review in the Federal Register.1 We invited interested parties to comment on the Preliminary Results. On May 2, 2018, Commerce postponed the final results of review until October 9, 2018.2 In July 2018, we received timely case and rebuttal briefs from APRIL, the Government of Indonesia, and the petitioners. Based on an analysis of the comments received, Commerce made changes to the subsidy rates determined for APRIL. The final subsidy rates are listed below in the “Final Results of Administrative Review” section.

    1See Certain Uncoated Paper from Indonesia: Preliminary Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2015-2016, 83 FR 15370 (April 10, 2018) (Preliminary Results).

    2See Memorandum, “Certain Uncoated Paper from Indonesia: Extension of Deadline for Final Results of 2015-2016 Countervailing Duty Administrative Review,” dated May 2, 2018.

    Scope of the Order

    The merchandise covered by the order is certain uncoated paper from Indonesia. A full description of the scope of the order is contained in the Issues and Decision Memorandum, which is hereby adopted by this notice.3

    3See Memorandum, “Issues and Decision Memorandum for the Final Results of 2015-2016 Countervailing Duty Administrative Review: Certain Uncoated Paper from Indonesia,” dated concurrently with this notice (Issues and Decision Memorandum).

    Analysis of Comments Received

    All issues raised in interested parties' briefs are addressed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum accompanying this notice. A list of the issues raised by interested parties and to which we responded in the Issues and Decision Memorandum is provided in the Appendix to this notice. The Issues and Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at https://access.trade.gov and in the Central Records Unit, Room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Issues and Decision Memorandum can be access directly at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/. The signed and electronic versions of the Issues and Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    Changes Since the Preliminary Results

    Based on the comments received from the interested parties, we made changes to our subsidy rate calculations. For a discussion of these issues, see the Issues and Decision Memorandum.

    Methodology

    Commerce conducted this review in accordance with section 751(a)(1)(A) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act). For each of the subsidy programs found to be countervailable, we find that there is a subsidy, i.e., a financial contribution from a government or public entity that gives rise to a benefit to the recipient, and that the subsidy is specific.4 For a full description of the methodology underlying all of Commerce's conclusions, see the Issues and Decision Memorandum.

    4See sections 771(5)(B) and (D) of the Act regarding financial contribution; section 771(5)(E) of the Act regarding benefit; and section 771(5A) of the Act regarding specificity.

    Final Results of Administrative Review

    In accordance with section 777A(e) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.221(b)(5), we determine the following countervailable subsidy rates for 2015 and 2016:

    Company 2015
  • Ad Valorem rate
  • 2016
  • Ad Valorem rate
  • APRIL Fine Paper Macao Commercial Offshore Limited/PT Anugrah Kertas Utama/PT Riau Andalan Kertas/PT Intiguna Primatama/PT Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper/PT Esensindo Cipta Cemerlang/PT Sateri Viscose International/PT ITCI Hutani Manunggal 11.71% 5.13%
    Assessment Rates

    In accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(b)(2), Commerce shall determine, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shall assess, countervailing duties on all appropriate entries covered by this review. We intend to issue assessment instructions to CBP 15 days after the date of publication of the final results of this review.

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    Pursuant to section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act, Commerce also intends to instruct CBP to collect cash deposits of estimated countervailing duties in the amount calculated for 2016. For all non-reviewed firms, we will instruct CBP to collect cash deposits at the most recent company-specific or all-others rate applicable to the company, as appropriate. These cash deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    Administrative Protective Orders

    This notice also serves as a reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (APO) of their responsibility concerning the destruction of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3). Timely written notification of the return or destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and terms of an APO is a sanctionable violation.

    These final results are issued and published in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act.

    Dated: October 9, 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 List of Topics Discussed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum I. Summary II. Background III. Scope of the Order IV. Subsidies Valuation Information A. Allocation Period B. Attribution of Subsidies C. Benchmarks and Short-Term Interest Rates V. Programs Determined To Be Countervailable VI. Program Determined Not To Confer Benefits VII. Programs Determined Not To Be Countervailable VIII. Programs Determined Not to Be Used During the Period of Review IX. Analysis of Comments Comment 1: Whether Commerce Should Apply Adverse Facts Available to a Loan from Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) to PT Sateri Viscose International (SVI) Comment 2: Whether Commerce Should Exclude the Sales of PT ITCI Hutani Manunggal (IHM) from the Sales Denominator for PT Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP) Comment 3: Which Benchmark is Appropriate for Mixed Hardwood Logs Comment 4: Which Benchmark is Appropriate for Valuing Acacia Logs under the Log Export Ban Program Comment 5: Whether Commerce Should Deduct Cost Items Inherent to Plantation Operations as Part of Harvesting Costs for the Stumpage Program Comment 6: Whether Commerce Should Deduct Transportation-Related Costs from Mill-Delivered Prices for the Stumpage Program Comment 7: What is the Appropriate Adjustment for Logging Profit Comment 8: Using APRIL's Corrected Data Obtained at Verification in the Subsidy Rate Calculations for the Final Results Comment 9: Correction of Errors in the Subsidy Rate Calculations for Preliminary Results X. Recommendation
    [FR Doc. 2018-22633 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-601] Tapered Roller Bearings and Parts Thereof, Finished and Unfinished, From the People's Republic of China: Continuation of the Antidumping Duty Order AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    As a result of the determinations by the Department of Commerce (Commerce) and the International Trade Commission (ITC) that revocation of the antidumping duty order on tapered roller bearings and parts thereof, finished and unfinished (TRBs), from the People's Republic of China (China) would likely lead to a continuation or recurrence of dumping and material injury to an industry in the United States, Commerce is publishing a notice of continuation of the antidumping duty order.

    DATES:

    Applicable October 17, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Andrew Medley, AD/CVD Operations, Office II, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-4987.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On July 3, 2017, Commerce initiated, and the ITC instituted, the fourth sunset review of the antidumping duty order on TRBs from the PRC pursuant to section 751(c) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act).1 As a result of its review, Commerce determined that revocation of the antidumping duty order on TRBs from China would likely lead to a continuation or recurrence of dumping and, therefore, notified the ITC of the magnitude of the margins likely to prevail should the order be revoked.2 On September 28, 2018, the ITC published its determination, pursuant to section 751(c) of the Act, that revocation of the antidumping duty order on TRBs from China would likely lead to a continuation or recurrence of material injury to an industry in the United States within a reasonably foreseeable time.3

    1See Initiation of Five-Year (Sunset) Review, 82 FR 30844 (July 3, 2017) (Sunset Initiation) and Tapered Roller Bearings from China; Institution of a Five-Year Review, 82 FR 30898 (July 3, 2017).

    2See Tapered Roller Bearings and Parts Thereof, Finished and Unfinished, from the People's Republic of China: Final Results of the Expedited Fourth Sunset Review of the Antidumping Duty Order, 82 FR 51389 (November 6, 2017).

    3See Tapered Roller Bearings from China: Investigation No. 731-TA-344 (Fourth Review), USITC Publication 4824 (September 2018), and Tapered Roller Bearings from China, 83 FR 49125 (September 28, 2018).

    Scope of the Order

    The products covered by the order are tapered roller bearings and parts thereof, finished and unfinished, from China; flange, take up cartridge, and hanger units incorporating tapered roller bearings; and tapered roller housings (except pillow blocks) incorporating tapered rollers, with or without spindles, whether or not for automotive use. These products are currently classifiable under Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) item numbers 8482.20.00, 8482.91.00.50, 8482.99.15, 8482.99.45, 8483.20.40, 8483.20.80, 8483.30.80, 8483.90.20, 8483.90.30, 8483.90.80, 8708.99.80.15 4 and 8708.99.80.80.5 Although the HTSUS item numbers are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope of the order and this review is dispositive.6

    4 Effective January 1, 2007, the HTSUS subheading 8708.99.8015 is renumbered as 8708.99.8115. See ITC publication entitled, “Modifications to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Under Section 1206 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988,” USITC Publication 3898 (December 2006) found at www.usitc.gov.

    5 Effective January 1, 2007, the HTSUS subheading 8708.99.8080 is renumbered as 8708.99.8180. Id.

    6 Subsequent to the issuance of the order, Commerce has issued numerous scope rulings. See Memorandum entitled “Tapered Roller Bearings from the People's Republic of China: Final Scope Ruling on Blackstone OTR LLC and OTR Wheel Engineering, Inc.'s Wheel Hub Assemblies and TRBs,” dated February 7, 2011 (finding Blackstone OTR LLC and OTR Wheel Engineering, Inc.'s wheel hub assemblies are within the scope of the order); Memorandum entitled, “Tapered Roller Bearings from the People's Republic of China: Final Scope Ruling on New Trend Engineering Ltd.'s Wheel Hub Assemblies,” dated April 18, 2011 (finding New Trend Engineering Limited's splined and non-splined wheel hub assemblies without antilock braking system (ABS) elements are included in the scope of the order and its wheel hub assemblies with ABS elements are also included in the scope of the order); Memorandum entitled “Tapered Roller Bearings from the People's Republic of China Final Scope Determination on Bosda's Wheel Hub Assemblies,” dated June 14, 2011 (finding Bosda International (USA) LLC's wheel hub assemblies are within the scope of the order); and Memorandum entitled “Tapered Roller Bearings and Parts Thereof, finished and Unfinished, from the People's Republic of China—Final Scope Determination on DF Machinery's Agricultural Hub Units,” dated August 3, 2011 (finding DF Machinery International, Inc.'s agricultural hub units are included in the scope of the order).

    Continuation of the Order

    As a result of these determinations by Commerce and the ITC that revocation of the antidumping duty order on TRBs would likely lead to a continuation or recurrence of dumping and material injury to an industry in the United States, pursuant to section 751(d)(2) of the Act, Commerce hereby orders the continuation of the antidumping duty order on TRBs from China. U.S. Customs and Border Protection will continue to collect antidumping duty cash deposits at the rates in effect at the time of entry for all imports of subject merchandise. The effective date of the continuation of the order will be the date of publication in the Federal Register of this notice of continuation. Pursuant to section 751(c)(2) of the Act, Commerce intends to initiate the next five-year review of the order not later than 30 days prior to the fifth anniversary of the effective date of continuation.

    Administrative Protective Order

    This notice also serves as the only reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (APO) of their responsibility concerning the return/destruction or conversion to judicial protective order of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3). Failure to comply is a violation of the APO which may be subject to sanctions.

    This five-year sunset review and this notice are in accordance with section 751(c) of the Act and published pursuant to section 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.218(f)(4).

    Dated: September 28, 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. 2018-22579 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration Corporation for Travel Promotion Board of Directors AGENCY:

    International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Applications for membership.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce is again seeking applications from travel and tourism leaders from specific industries for membership on the Board of Directors (Board) of the Corporation for Travel Promotion (doing business as Brand USA). The purpose of the Board is to guide the Corporation for Travel Promotion on matters relating to the promotion of the United States as a travel destination and communication of travel facilitation issues, among other tasks. On July 19, 2018, the Department published in the Federal Register a “Notice of an opportunity for travel and tourism industry leaders to apply for membership on the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Travel Promotion” (83 FR 34112), announcing membership opportunities on the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Travel Promotion. The application period closed on August 17, 2018. The Department is now reopening the application period to solicit additional applications. This notice supplements the notice of July 19, 2018. Interested parties who have already applied in response to that Federal Register notice do not need to re-apply.

    DATES:

    All applications must be received by the National Travel and Tourism Office by close of business on Friday, October 26, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Please submit application information by email to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Julie Heizer, National Travel and Tourism Office, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, MS10003, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: 202-482-0140; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Travel Promotion Act of 2009 (TPA) was signed into law on March 4, 2010 and was amended in July 2010 and December 2014. The TPA established the Corporation for Travel Promotion (the Corporation), as a non-profit corporation charged with the development and execution of a plan to (A) provide useful information to those interested in traveling to the United States; (B) identify and address perceptions regarding U.S. entry policies; (C) maximize economic and diplomatic benefits of travel to the United States through the use of various promotional tools; (D) ensure that international travel benefits all States and the District of Columbia, and (E) identify opportunities to promote tourism to rural and urban areas equally, including areas not traditionally visited by international travelers.

    The Corporation is governed by a Board of Directors, consisting of 11 members with knowledge of international travel promotion or marketing, broadly representing various regions of the United States. The TPA directs the Secretary of Commerce (after consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State) to appoint the Board of Directors for the Corporation.

    On July 19, 2018, the Department published in the Federal Register a “Notice of an opportunity for travel and tourism industry leaders to apply for membership on the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Travel Promotion” (83 FR 34112), announcing membership opportunities on the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Travel Promotion. The application period closed on August 17, 2018. The Department is now reopening the application period to solicit additional applications. This notice supplements the notice of July 19, 2018. Interested parties who have already applied in response to that Federal Register notice do not need to re-apply.

    At this time, the Department will be selecting four individuals with the appropriate expertise and experience from specific sectors of the travel and tourism industry to serve on the Board as follows:

    (A) 1 shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the hotel accommodations sector;

    (B) 1 shall have appropriate expertise and experience as an official of a city convention and visitors' bureau;

    (C) 1 shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the restaurant sector; and

    (D) 1 shall have appropriate expertise and experience as an official of a state tourism office.

    To be eligible for Board membership, individuals must have international travel and tourism marketing experience, be a current or former chief executive officer, chief financial officer, or chief marketing officer or have held an equivalent management position. Additional consideration will be given to individuals who have experience working in U.S. multinational entities with marketing budgets, and/or who are audit committee financial experts as defined by the Securities and Exchange Commission (in accordance with 15 U.S.C. 7265). Individuals must be U.S. citizens, and in addition, cannot be federally registered lobbyists or registered as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as amended. Those selected for the Board must be able to meet the time and effort commitments of the Board.

    Board members serve at the discretion of the Secretary of Commerce (who may remove any member of the Board for good cause). The terms of office of each member of the Board appointed by the Secretary shall be three (3) years. Board members can serve a maximum of two consecutive full three-year terms. Board members are not considered Federal government employees by virtue of their service as a member of the Board and will receive no compensation from the Federal government for their participation in Board activities. Members participating in Board meetings and events may be paid actual travel expenses and per diem by the Corporation when away from their usual places of residence.

    Individuals who want to be considered for appointment to the Board should submit the following information by the Friday, October 26, 2018 deadline to the address listed in the ADDRESSES section above:

    1. Name, title, and personal resume of the individual requesting consideration, including address, email address and phone number.

    2. A brief statement of why the person should be considered for appointment to the Board. This statement should also address the individual's relevant international travel and tourism marketing experience and audit committee financial expertise, if any, and indicate clearly the sector or sectors enumerated above in which the individual has the requisite expertise and experience. Individuals who have the requisite expertise and experience in more than one sector can be appointed for only one of those sectors. Appointments of members to the Board will be made by the Secretary of Commerce.

    3. An affirmative statement that the applicant is a U.S. citizen and further, is not required to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as amended.

    Dated: October 12, 2018. Julie P. Heizer, Deputy Director, National Travel and Tourism Office.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22580 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DR-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-092] Mattresses From the People's Republic of China: Initiation of Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigation AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    DATES:

    Applicable October 9, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Stephen Bailey or Lilit Astvatsatrian at (202) 482-0193 or (202) 482-6412, respectively; AD/CVD Operations, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Petition

    On September 18, 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) received an antidumping duty (AD) Petition concerning imports of mattresses from the People's Republic of China (China), filed in proper form on behalf of Corsicana Mattress Company, Elite Comfort Solutions, Future Foam Inc., FXI, Inc., Innocor, Inc., Kolcraft Enterprises Inc., Leggett & Platt, Incorporated, Serta Simmons Bedding, LLC, and Tempur Sealy International, Inc. (the petitioners).1

    1See the petitioners' Letter, “Mattresses from the People's Republic of China: Antidumping Duty Petition,” dated September 18, 2018 (the Petition).

    On September 25, 2018, October 2, and October 5, 2018, the petitioners filed responses to a supplemental questionnaire issued by Commerce and a request for revisions to their surrogate financial ratio calculation and scope, respectively.2

    2See Commerce's Letter, “Petition for the Imposition of Antidumping Duties on Imports of Mattresses from the People's Republic of China: Supplemental Questions,” dated September 21, 2018; the petitioner's letter, “Mattresses from the People's Republic of China: Response to the Department of Commerce's September 21, 2018 Supplemental Questions,” dated September 25, 2018 (Petition Supplement); Memorandum, “Phone Conversation Regarding Surrogate Financial Ratio Calculations,” dated October 2, 2018; the petitioner's letter, “Mattresses from the People's Republic of China: Request for Revised Normal Value and Dumping Margin Calculations,” dated October 2, 2018 (Second Supplement) and the petitioner's letter, “Mattresses from the People's Republic of China: Modification to Scope Language,” dated October 5, 2018 (Scope Supplement).

    In accordance with section 732(b) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), the petitioners allege that imports of mattresses from China are being, or are likely to be, sold in the United States at less than fair value within the meaning of section 731 of the Act, and that such imports are materially injuring, or threatening material injury to, the domestic industry producing mattresses in the United States. Consistent with section 732(b)(1) of the Act, the Petition is accompanied by information reasonably available to the petitioners supporting their allegation.

    Commerce finds that the petitioners filed the Petition on behalf of the domestic industry because the petitioners are interested parties as defined in section 771(9)(C) of the Act. Commerce also finds that the petitioners demonstrated sufficient industry support with respect to the initiation of the investigation that the petitioners are requesting.3

    3See the “Determination of Industry Support for the Petition” section, infra.

    Period of Investigation

    Because China is a non-market economy (NME) country, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.204(b)(1), the period of investigation (POI) is January 1, 2018, through June 30, 2018.

    Scope of the Investigation

    The product covered by this investigation is mattresses from China. For a full description of the scope of this investigation, see the Appendix to this notice.

    Scope Comments

    During our review of the Petition, we contacted the petitioners regarding the proposed scope to ensure that the scope language in the Petition is an accurate reflection of the products for which the domestic industry is seeking relief.4 As a result, the scope of the Petition was modified to clarify the description of merchandise covered by the Petition. The description of the merchandise covered by this investigation, in the Appendix to this notice, reflects these clarifications.

    4See Petition Supplement at 3-5 and Scope Supplement at 1-3.

    As discussed in the preamble to Commerce's regulations, we are setting aside a period for interested parties to raise issues regarding product coverage (scope).5 Commerce will consider all scope comments received from interested parties and, if necessary, will consult with interested parties prior to the issuance of the preliminary determination. If scope comments include factual information,6 all such factual information should be limited to public information. To facilitate preparation of the AD questionnaire, Commerce requests that all interested parties submit scope comments by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on October 29, 2018, which is 20 calendar days from the signature date of this notice. Any rebuttal comments, which may include factual information, must be filed by 5:00 p.m. ET on November 8, 2018, which is 10 calendar days from the initial comments deadline.7

    5See Antidumping Duties; Countervailing Duties, Final Rule, 62 FR 27296, 27323 (May 19, 1997).

    6See 19 CFR 351.102(b)(21) (defining “factual information”).

    7See 19 CFR 351.303(b).

    Commerce requests that any factual information considered by parties to be relevant to the scope of the investigation be submitted during this period. However, if a party subsequently finds that additional factual information pertaining to the scope of the investigation may be relevant, the party may contact Commerce and request permission to submit the additional information. All such submissions must be filed on the record of the AD investigation.

    Filing Requirements

    All submissions to Commerce must be filed electronically using Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping Duty and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS).8 An electronically filed document must be received successfully in its entirety by the time and date that it is due. Documents exempted from the electronic submission requirements must be filed manually (i.e., in paper form) with Enforcement and Compliance's APO/Dockets Unit, Room 18022, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230, and stamped with the date and time of receipt by the applicable deadlines.

    8See Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings: Electronic Filing Procedures; Administrative Protective Order Procedures, 76 FR 39263 (July 6, 2011); see also Enforcement and Compliance; Change of Electronic Filing System Name, 79 FR 69046 (November 20, 2014) for details of Commerce's electronic filing requirements, effective August 5, 2011. Information on help using ACCESS can be found at https://access.trade.gov/help.aspx and a handbook can be found at https://access.trade.gov/help/Handbook%20on%20Electronic%20Filling%20Procedures.pdf.

    Comments on Product Characteristics

    Commerce is providing interested parties an opportunity to comment on the appropriate physical characteristics of mattresses to be reported in response to Commerce's AD questionnaire. This information will be used to identify the key physical characteristics of the merchandise under consideration in order to report the relevant factors of production (FOP) accurately, as well as to develop appropriate product-comparison criteria.

    Interested parties may provide any information or comments that they feel are relevant to the development of an accurate list of physical characteristics. In order to consider the suggestions of interested parties in developing and issuing the AD questionnaire, all product characteristics comments must be filed by 5:00 p.m. ET on October 29, 2018, which is 20 calendar days from the signature date of this notice. Any rebuttal comments must be filed by 5:00 p.m. ET on November 8, 2018. All comments and submissions to Commerce must be filed electronically on the record of this investigation using ACCESS, as explained above.9

    9See 19 CFR 351.303(b).

    Determination of Industry Support for the Petition

    Section 732(b)(1) of the Act requires that a petition be filed on behalf of the domestic industry. Section 732(c)(4)(A) of the Act provides that a petition meets this requirement if the domestic producers or workers who support the petition account for: (i) At least 25 percent of the total production of the domestic like product; and (ii) more than 50 percent of the production of the domestic like product produced by that portion of the industry expressing support for, or opposition to, the petition. Moreover, section 732(c)(4)(D) of the Act provides that, if the petition does not establish support of domestic producers or workers accounting for more than 50 percent of the total production of the domestic like product, Commerce shall: (i) Poll the industry or rely on other information in order to determine if there is support for the petition, as required by subparagraph (A); or (ii) if there is a large number of producers in the industry, determine industry support using a statistically valid sampling method to poll the “industry.”

    Section 771(4)(A) of the Act defines the “industry” as the producers, as a whole, of a domestic like product. Thus, to determine whether a petition has the requisite industry support, the statute directs Commerce to look to producers and workers who produce the domestic like product. The International Trade Commission (ITC), which is responsible for determining whether “the domestic industry” has been injured, must also determine what constitutes a domestic like product in order to define the industry. While both Commerce and the ITC must apply the same statutory definition regarding the domestic like product,10 they do so for different purposes and pursuant to a separate and distinct authority. In addition, Commerce's determination is subject to limitations of time and information. Although this may result in different definitions of the like product, such differences do not render the decision of either agency contrary to law.11

    10See section 771(10) of the Act.

    11See USEC, Inc. v. United States, 132 F. Supp. 2d 1, 8 (CIT 2001) (citing Algoma Steel Corp., Ltd. v. United States, 688 F. Supp. 639, 644 (CIT 1988), aff'd 865 F.2d 240 (Fed. Cir. 1989)).

    Section 771(10) of the Act defines the domestic like product as “a product which is like, or in the absence of like, most similar in characteristics and uses with, the article subject to an investigation under this title.” Thus, the reference point from which the domestic like product analysis begins is “the article subject to an investigation” (i.e., the class or kind of merchandise to be investigated, which normally will be the scope as defined in the Petition).

    With regard to the domestic like product, the petitioners do not offer a definition of the domestic like product distinct from the scope of the Petition. Based on our analysis of the information submitted on the record, we have determined that mattresses, as defined in the scope, constitute a single domestic like product, and we have analyzed industry support in terms of that domestic like product.12

    12 For a discussion of the domestic like product analysis, see Antidumping Duty Investigation Initiation Checklist: Mattresses from the People's Republic of China (China AD Initiation Checklist) at Attachment II, Analysis of Industry Support for the Antidumping Duty Petition Covering Mattresses from the People's Republic of China (Attachment II). This checklist is dated concurrently with, and hereby adopted by, this notice and is on file electronically via ACCESS. Access to documents filed via ACCESS is also available in the Central Records Unit, Room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building.

    In determining whether the petitioners have standing under section 732(c)(4)(A) of the Act, we considered the industry support data contained in the Petition with reference to the domestic like product as defined in the “Scope of the Investigation,” in the Appendix to this notice. To establish industry support, the petitioners provided their own shipments of the domestic like product in 2017, and compared this to the estimated total shipments of the domestic like product for the entire domestic industry.13 Because total industry production data for the domestic like product for 2017 are not reasonably available to the petitioners, and the petitioners have established that shipments are a reasonable proxy for production data,14 we have relied on the data the petitioners provided for purposes of measuring industry support.15

    13See Petition Supplement at 8-10 and Exhibits 3 through 6.

    14See Volume I of the Petition at 5.

    15Id. at 5; see also Volume II of the Petition at Exhibits 3 and 16; see also Petition Supplement at 8-10 and Exhibits 3 through 6. For further discussion, see China AD Initiation Checklist at Attachment II.

    Our review of the data provided in the Petition, the Petition Supplement, and other information readily available to Commerce indicates that the petitioners have established industry support for the Petition.16 First, the petitioners established support from domestic producers (or workers) accounting for more than 50 percent of the total production of the domestic like product and, as such, Commerce is not required to take further action in order to evaluate industry support (e.g., polling).17 Second, the domestic producers (or workers) have met the statutory criteria for industry support under section 732(c)(4)(A)(i) of the Act because the domestic producers (or workers) who support the Petition account for at least 25 percent of the total production of the domestic like product.18 Finally, the domestic producers (or workers) have met the statutory criteria for industry support under section 732(c)(4)(A)(ii) of the Act because the domestic producers (or workers) who support the Petition account for more than 50 percent of the production of the domestic like product produced by that portion of the industry expressing support for, or opposition to, the Petition.19 Accordingly, Commerce determines that the Petition was filed on behalf of the domestic industry within the meaning of section 732(b)(1) of the Act.

    16See China AD Initiation Checklist at Attachment II.

    17See section 732(c)(4)(D) of the Act; see also China AD Initiation Checklist at Attachment II.

    18See China AD Initiation Checklist at Attachment II.

    19Id.

    Commerce finds that the petitioners filed the Petition on behalf of the domestic industry because they are interested parties as defined in section 771(9)(C) of the Act, and they have demonstrated sufficient industry support with respect to the investigation that they are requesting that Commerce initiate.20

    20Id.

    Allegations and Evidence of Material Injury and Causation

    The petitioners allege that the U.S. industry producing the domestic like product is being materially injured, or is threatened with material injury, by reason of the imports of the subject merchandise sold at less than normal value (NV). In addition, the petitioners allege that subject imports exceed the negligibility threshold provided for under section 771(24)(A) of the Act.21

    21See Volume I of the Petition at 16; see also Volume II of the Petition at Exhibit 10.

    The petitioners contend that the industry's injured condition is illustrated by a significant and increasing volume of subject imports, reduced market share, underselling and price depression or suppression, lost sales and revenues, and declines in the domestic industry's production, U.S. shipments, production-related workers, and financial performance.22 We have assessed the allegations and supporting evidence regarding material injury, threat of material injury, and causation, and we have determined that these allegations are properly supported by adequate evidence, and meet the statutory requirements for initiation.23

    22See Volume I of the Petition at 1-3, 13, 16-31, see also Volume II of the Petition at Exhibits 3 and 10 through 20.

    23See China AD Initiation Checklist at Attachment III, Analysis of Allegations and Evidence of Material Injury and Causation for the Antidumping Duty Petition Covering Mattresses from the People's Republic of China.

    Allegations of Sales at Less Than Fair Value

    The following is a description of the allegations of sales at less than fair value upon which Commerce based its decision to initiate this investigation. The sources of U.S. prices and data relating to NV are discussed in greater detail in the China AD Initiation Checklist.

    Export Price

    The petitioners based export price (EP) on an actual invoice price for mattresses produced in, and exported from, China and sold or offered for sale in the United States, and on the average unit value (AUV) of publicly available import data.24 No adjustments were made to the U.S. prices before comparing them to NV.25

    24See China AD Initiation Checklist.

    25Id.

    Normal Value

    Commerce considers China to be an NME country.26 In accordance with section 771(18)(C)(i) of the Act, any determination that a foreign country is an NME country shall remain in effect until revoked by Commerce. Therefore, we are continuing to treat China as an NME country for purposes of initiating this investigation. Accordingly, NV in China is appropriately based on FOPs valued in a surrogate market economy country, in accordance with section 773(c) of the Act.27

    26See Antidumping Duty Investigation of Certain Aluminum Foil from the People's Republic of China: Affirmative Preliminary Determination of Sales at Less-Than-Fair Value and Postponement of Final Determination, 82 FR 50858, 50861 (November 2, 2017), and accompanying decision memorandum, titled China's Status as a Non-Market Economy (unchanged in Certain Aluminum Foil from the People's Republic of China: Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value, 83 FR 9282 (March 5, 2018)).

    27See China AD Initiation Checklist.

    The petitioners claim that Mexico is an appropriate surrogate country for China because it is a market economy country that is at a level of economic development comparable to that of China and it is a significant producer of comparable merchandise.28 The petitioners provided publicly available information from Mexico, including financial statements of a Mexican producer of mattresses, to value all FOPs.29 Based on the information provided by the petitioners, we determine that it is appropriate to use Mexico as the primary surrogate country for initiation purposes.

    28See Volume II of the Petition at 32-34 and Exhibits 24.

    29Id. at 34-36 and Exhibits 26-30.

    Interested parties will have the opportunity to submit comments regarding surrogate country selection and, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.301(c)(3)(i), will be provided an opportunity to submit publicly available information to value FOPs within 30 days before the scheduled date of the preliminary determination.

    FOPs

    The petitioners asserted that information regarding the types and volumes of inputs that are consumed by Chinese companies in producing mattresses is not reasonably available to them; thus, the petitioners used the consumption rates of a U.S. mattress producer to estimate the Chinese manufacturers' FOPs.30 The petitioners valued the estimated FOPs using surrogate values from Mexico, as noted above.31

    30See Volume II of the Petition at 34-36 and Exhibit 26 and Petition Supplement at 13-15 and Exhibit 3.

    31Id.

    Fair Value Comparisons

    Based on the data provided by the petitioners, there is reason to believe that imports of mattresses from China are being, or are likely to be, sold in the United States at less than fair value. Based on comparisons of EP to NV in accordance with sections 772 and 773 of the Act, the estimated dumping margins for mattresses from China are 258.74 and 1,731.75 percent.32

    32See China AD Initiation Checklist.

    Initiation of Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigation

    Based upon the examination of the Petition, we find that the Petition meets the requirements of section 732 of the Act. Therefore, we are initiating an AD investigation to determine whether imports of mattresses from China are being, or are likely to be, sold in the United States at less than fair value. In accordance with section 733(b)(1)(A) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(b)(1), unless postponed, we will make our preliminary determination no later than 140 days after the date of this initiation.

    Respondent Selection

    The petitioners named 55 producers/exporters as accounting for the majority of exports of mattresses to the United States from China.33 In accordance with our standard practice for respondent selection in AD cases involving NME countries, we intend to issue quantity and value (Q&V) questionnaires to producers/exporters of merchandise subject to this investigation. In the event Commerce determines that it cannot individually examine each producer/exporter, where appropriate, Commerce intends to select mandatory respondents based on the responses received to its Q&V questionnaire. Commerce will request Q&V information from known exporters and producers identified with complete contact information in the Petition. In addition, Commerce will post the Q&V questionnaire along with filing instructions on Enforcement and Compliance's website at http://www.trade.gov/enforcement/news.asp.

    33See Volume I of the Petition at Exhibit I-6; see also Petition Supplement at 1 and Exhibit 1.

    Producers/exporters of mattresses from China that do not receive Q&V questionnaires by mail may still submit a response to the Q&V questionnaire and can obtain a copy of the Q&V questionnaire from Enforcement & Compliance's website. The Q&V questionnaire response must be submitted by the relevant Chinese exporters/producers no later than 5:00 p.m. ET on October 23, 2018, which is two weeks from the signature date of this notice. All Q&V questionnaire responses must be filed electronically via ACCESS.

    Separate Rates

    In order to obtain separate-rate status in an NME investigation, companies must submit a separate-rate application.34 The specific requirements for submitting a separate-rate application in this investigation are outlined in detail in the application itself, which is available on Commerce's website at http://enforcement.trade.gov/nme/nme-sep-rate.html. The separate-rate application will be due 30 days after publication of this initiation notice.35 Companies that submit a separate-rate application and have been selected as mandatory respondents will be eligible for consideration for separate-rate status only if they respond to all parts of Commerce's AD questionnaire as mandatory respondents. Commerce requires that companies from China submit a response to both the Q&V questionnaire and the separate-rate application by the respective deadlines in order to receive consideration for separate-rate status. Companies not filing a timely Q&V questionnaire response will not receive separate-rate consideration.

    34See Policy Bulletin 05.1: Separate-Rates Practice and Application of Combination Rates in Antidumping Investigation involving Non-Market Economy Countries (April 5, 2005), available at http://enforcement.trade.gov/policy/bull05-1.pdf (Policy Bulletin 05.1).

    35 Although in past investigations this deadline was 60 days, consistent with 19 CFR 351.301(a), which states that “the Secretary may request any person to submit factual information at any time during a proceeding,” this deadline is now 30 days.

    Use of Combination Rates

    Commerce will calculate combination rates for respondents that are eligible for a separate rate in an NME investigation. The Separate Rates and Combination Rates Bulletin states:

    {w}hile continuing the practice of assigning separate rates only to exporters, all separate rates that the Department will now assign in its NME Investigation will be specific to those producers that supplied the exporter during the period of investigation. Note, however, that one rate is calculated for the exporter and all of the producers which supplied subject merchandise to it during the period of investigation. This practice applies both to mandatory respondents receiving an individually calculated separate rate as well as the pool of non-investigated firms receiving the weighted-average of the individually calculated rates. This practice is referred to as the application of “combination rates” because such rates apply to specific combinations of exporters and one or more producers. The cash-deposit rate assigned to an exporter will apply only to merchandise both exported by the firm in question and produced by a firm that supplied the exporter during the period of investigation.36

    36See Policy Bulletin 05.1 at 6 (emphasis in original).

    Distribution of Copies of the Petition

    In accordance with section 732(b)(3)(A) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.202(f), a copy of the public version of the Petition has been provided to the government of China via ACCESS. To the extent practicable, we will attempt to provide a copy of the public version of the Petition to each exporter named in the Petition, as provided under 19 CFR 351.203(c)(2).

    ITC Notification

    We will notify the ITC of Commerce's initiation, as required by section 732(d) of the Act.

    Preliminary Determination by the ITC

    The ITC will preliminarily determine, within 45 days after the date on which the Petition was filed, whether there is a reasonable indication that imports of mattresses from China are materially injuring or threatening material injury to a U.S. industry.37 A negative ITC determination will result in the investigation being terminated.38 Otherwise, the investigation will proceed according to statutory and regulatory time limits.

    37See section 733(a) of the Act.

    38Id.

    Submission of Factual Information

    Factual information is defined in 19 CFR 351.102(b)(21) as: (i) Evidence submitted in response to questionnaires; (ii) evidence submitted in support of allegations; (iii) publicly available information to value factors under 19 CFR 351.408(c) or to measure the adequacy of remuneration under 19 CFR 351.511(a)(2); (iv) evidence placed on the record by Commerce; and (v) evidence other than factual information described in (i)-(iv). 19 CFR 351.301(b) requires any party, when submitting factual information, to specify under which subsection of 19 CFR 351.102(b)(21) the information is being submitted 39 and, if the information is submitted to rebut, clarify, or correct factual information already on the record, to provide an explanation identifying the information already on the record that the factual information seeks to rebut, clarify, or correct.40 Time limits for the submission of factual information are addressed in 19 CFR 351.301, which provides specific time limits based on the type of factual information being submitted. Interested parties should review the regulations prior to submitting factual information in this investigation.

    39See 19 CFR 351.301(b).

    40See 19 CFR 351.301(b)(2).

    Extensions of Time Limits

    Parties may request an extension of time limits before the expiration of a time limit established under 19 CFR 351.301, or as otherwise specified by the Secretary. In general, an extension request will be considered untimely if it is filed after the expiration of the time limit established under 19 CFR 351.301. For submissions that are due from multiple parties simultaneously, an extension request will be considered untimely if it is filed after 10:00 a.m. ET on the due date. Under certain circumstances, we may elect to specify a different time limit by which extension requests will be considered untimely for submissions which are due from multiple parties simultaneously. In such a case, we will inform parties in a letter or memorandum of the deadline (including a specified time) by which extension requests must be filed to be considered timely. An extension request must be made in a separate, stand-alone submission; under limited circumstances we will grant untimely-filed requests for the extension of time limits. Parties should review Extension of Time Limits; Final Rule, 78 FR 57790 (September 20, 2013), available at http://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-09-20/html/2013-22853.htm, prior to submitting extension requests in this investigation.

    Certification Requirements

    Any party submitting factual information in an AD or CVD proceeding must certify to the accuracy and completeness of that information.41 Parties must use the certification formats provided in 19 CFR 351.303(g).42 Commerce intends to reject factual submissions if the submitting party does not comply with the applicable certification requirements.

    41See section 782(b) of the Act.

    42See also Certification of Factual Information to Import Administration During Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings, 78 FR 42678 (July 17, 2013) (Final Rule). Answers to frequently asked questions regarding the Final Rule are available at http://enforcement.trade.gov/tlei/notices/factual_info_final_rule_FAQ_07172013.pdf.

    Notification to Interested Parties

    Interested parties must submit applications for disclosure under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305. On January 22, 2008, Commerce published Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings: Documents Submission Procedures; APO Procedures, 73 FR 3634 (January 22, 2008). Parties wishing to participate in this investigation should ensure that they meet the requirements of these procedures (e.g., the filing of letters of appearance as discussed at 19 CFR 351.103(d)).

    This notice is issued and published pursuant to sections 732(c)(2) and 777(i) of the Act, and 19 CFR 351.203(c).

    Dated: October 9, 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 scope of this investigation covers all types of youth and adult mattresses. The term “mattress” denotes an assembly of materials that at a minimum includes a “core,” which provides the main support system of the mattress, and may consist of innersprings, foam, other resilient filling, or a combination of these materials. Mattresses may also contain (1) “upholstery,” the material between the core and the top panel of the ticking on a single-sided mattress, or between the core and the top and bottom panel of the ticking on a double-sided mattress; and/or (2) “ticking,” the outermost layer of fabric or other material (e.g., vinyl) that encloses the core and any upholstery, also known as a cover.

    The scope of this investigation is restricted to only “adult mattresses” and “youth mattresses.” “Adult mattresses” have a width exceeding 35 inches, a length exceeding 72 inches, and a depth exceeding 3 inches on a nominal basis. Such mattresses are frequently described as “twin,” “extra-long twin,” “full,” “queen,” “king,” or “California king” mattresses. “Youth mattresses” have a width exceeding 27 inches, a length exceeding 51 inches, and a depth exceeding 1 inch (crib mattresses have a depth of 6 inches or less from edge to edge) on a nominal basis. Such mattresses are typically described as “crib,” “toddler,” or “youth” mattresses. All adult and youth mattresses are included regardless of actual size description.

    The scope encompasses all types of “innerspring mattresses,” “non-innerspring mattresses,” and “hybrid mattresses.” “Innerspring mattresses” contain innersprings, a series of metal springs joined together in sizes that correspond to the dimensions of mattresses. Mattresses that contain innersprings are referred to as “innerspring mattresses” or “hybrid mattresses.” “Hybrid mattresses” contain two or more support systems as the core, such as layers of both memory foam and innerspring units.

    “Non-innerspring mattresses” are those that do not contain any innerspring units. They are generally produced from foams (e.g., polyurethane, memory (viscoelastic), latex foam, gel-infused viscoelastic (gel foam), thermobonded polyester, polyethylene) or other resilient filling.

    Mattresses covered by the scope of this investigation may be imported independently, as part of furniture or furniture mechanisms (e.g., convertible sofa bed mattresses, sofa bed mattresses imported with sofa bed mechanisms, corner group mattresses, day-bed mattresses, roll-away bed mattresses, high risers, trundle bed mattresses, crib mattresses), or as part of a set in combination with a “mattress foundation.” “Mattress foundations” are any base or support for a mattress. Mattress foundations are commonly referred to as “foundations,” “boxsprings,” “platforms,” and/or “bases.” Bases can be static, foldable, or adjustable. Only the mattress is covered by the scope if imported as part of furniture, with furniture mechanisms, or as part of a set in combination with a mattress foundation.

    Excluded from the scope of this investigation are “futon” mattresses. A “futon” is a bi-fold frame made of wood, metal, or plastic material, or any combination thereof, that functions as both seating furniture (such as a couch, love seat, or sofa) and a bed. A “futon mattress” is a tufted mattress, where the top covering is secured to the bottom with thread that goes completely through the mattress from the top through to the bottom, and it does not contain innersprings or foam. A futon mattress is both the bed and seating surface for the futon.

    Also excluded from the scope are airbeds (including inflatable mattresses) and waterbeds, which consist of air- or liquid-filled bladders as the core or main support system of the mattress.

    Further, also excluded from the scope of this investigation are any products covered by the existing antidumping duty order on uncovered innerspring units. See Uncovered Innerspring Units from the People's Republic of China: Notice of Antidumping Duty Order, 74 FR 7661 (February 19, 2009).

    The products subject to this investigation are currently properly classifiable under Harmonized Tariff Schedule for the United States (HTSUS) subheadings: 9404.21.0010, 9404.21.0013, 9404.29.1005, 9404.29.1013, 9404.29.9085, and 9404.29.9087. Products subject to this investigation may also enter under HTSUS subheadings: 9404.21.0095, 9404.29.1095, 9404.29.9095, 9401.40.0000, and 9401.90.5081. Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the merchandise subject to this investigation is dispositive.

    [FR Doc. 2018-22577 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration Announcement of July 2018 Approved International Trade Administration Trade Missions AGENCY:

    International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The United States Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration (ITA) is announcing two upcoming trade missions that will be recruited, organized, and implemented by ITA. These missions are:

    Trade Mission to India and Indo-Pacific in Conjunction with Trade Winds Indo-Pacific—May 6-13, 2019. Cybersecurity Business Development Mission to Denmark, Norway, and Sweden—September 23-27, 2019.

    A summary of each mission is found below. Application information and more detailed mission information, including the commercial setting and sector information, can be found at the trade mission website: http://export.gov/trademissions.

    For each mission, recruitment will be conducted in an open and public manner, including publication in the Federal Register, posting on the Commerce Department trade mission calendar (http://export.gov/trademissions) and other internet websites, press releases to general and trade media, direct mail, broadcast fax, notices by industry trade associations and other multiplier groups, and publicity at industry meetings, symposia, conferences, and trade shows.

    DATES:

    Applicable October 17, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Gemal Brangman, Trade Promotion Programs, Industry and Analysis, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington DC 20230; telephone (202) 482-3773.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Following Conditions for Participation Will Be Used for Each Mission

    Applicants must submit a completed and signed mission application and supplemental application materials, including adequate information on their products and/or services, primary market objectives, and goals for participation. If the Department of Commerce receives an incomplete application, the Department may either: Reject the application, request additional information/clarification, or take the lack of information into account when evaluating the application. If the requisite minimum number of participants is not selected for a particular mission by the recruitment deadline, the mission may be cancelled.

    Each applicant must also certify that the products and services it seeks to export through the mission are either produced in the United States, or, if not, are marketed under the name of a U.S. firm and have at least fifty-one percent U.S. content by value. In the case of a trade association or organization, the applicant must certify that, for each firm or service provider to be represented by the association/organization, the products and/or services the represented firm or service provider seeks to export are either produced in the United States or, if not, marketed under the name of a U.S. firm and have at least 51% U.S. content.

    A trade association/organization applicant must certify to the above for all of the companies it seeks to represent on the mission.

    In addition, each applicant must:

    • Certify that the products and services that it wishes to market through the mission would be in compliance with U.S. export controls and regulations;

    • Certify that it has identified any matter pending before any bureau or office in the Department of Commerce;

    • Certify that it has identified any pending litigation (including any administrative proceedings) to which it is a party that involves the Department of Commerce; and

    • Sign and submit an agreement that it and its affiliates (1) have not and will not engage in the bribery of foreign officials in connection with a company's/participant's involvement in this mission, and (2) maintain and enforce a policy that prohibits the bribery of foreign officials.

    In the case of a trade association/organization, the applicant must certify that each firm or service provider to be represented by the association/organization can make the above certifications.

    The Following Selection Criteria Will Be Used for Each Mission

    Targeted mission participants are U.S. firms, services providers and trade associations/organizations providing or promoting U.S. products and services that have an interest in entering or expanding their business in the mission's destination country. The following criteria will be evaluated in selecting participants:

    • Suitability of the applicant's (or in the case of a trade association/organization, represented firm or service provider's) products or services to these markets;

    • The applicant's (or in the case of a trade association/organization, represented firm or service provider's) potential for business in the markets, including likelihood of exports resulting from the mission; and

    • Consistency of the applicant's (or in the case of a trade association/organization, represented firm or service provider's) goals and objectives with the stated scope of the mission.

    Balance of company size and location may also be considered during the review process. Referrals from a political party or partisan political group or any information, including on the application, containing references to political contributions or other partisan political activities will be excluded from the application and will not be considered during the selection process. The sender will be notified of these exclusions.

    Trade Mission Participation Fees

    If and when an applicant is selected to participate on a particular mission, a payment to the Department of Commerce in the amount of the designated participation fee below is required. Upon notification of acceptance to participate, those selected have 5 business days to submit payment or the acceptance may be revoked.

    Participants selected for a trade mission will be expected to pay for the cost of personal expenses, including, but not limited to, international travel, lodging, meals, transportation, communication, and incidentals, unless otherwise noted. Participants will, however, be able to take advantage of U.S. Government rates for hotel rooms. In the event that a mission is cancelled, no personal expenses paid in anticipation of a mission will be reimbursed. However, participation fees for a cancelled mission will be reimbursed to the extent they have not already been expended in anticipation of the mission.

    If a visa is required to travel on a particular mission, applying for and obtaining such visas will be the responsibility of the mission participant. Government fees and processing expenses to obtain such visas are not included in the participation fee. However, the Department of Commerce will provide instructions to each participant on the procedures required to obtain business visas. Trade Mission members participate in trade missions and undertake mission-related travel at their own risk. The nature of the security situation in a given foreign market at a given time cannot be guaranteed. The U.S. Government does not make any representations or guarantees as to the safety or security of participants. The U.S. Department of State issues U.S. Government international travel alerts and warnings for U.S. citizens available at https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.html. Any question regarding insurance coverage must be resolved by the participant and its insurer of choice.

    Definition of Small and Medium Sized Enterprise

    For purposes of assessing participation fees, the Department of Commerce defines Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) as a firm with 500 or fewer employees or that otherwise qualifies as a small business under SBA regulations (see http://www.sba.gov/services/contractingopportunities/sizestandardstopics/index.html). Parent companies, affiliates, and subsidiaries will be considered when determining business size.

    Mission List: (additional information about each mission can be found at http://export.gov/trademissions).

    Trade Mission to India and Indo-Pacific in Conjunction With Trade Winds Indo-Pacific, May 6-13, 2019 Summary

    The United States Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS) is organizing a trade mission to India and the Indo-Pacific region, that will include the Trade Winds Indo-Pacific business forum in New Delhi, India, May 2019. U.S. trade mission members will participate in the Trade Winds—Indo-Pacific business forum in New Delhi, India (which is also open to U.S. companies not participating in the trade mission). Trade mission participants may participate in their choice of mission stops based on recommendations from the USFCS. Each trade mission stop will include one-on-one business appointments with pre-screened potential buyers, agents, distributors and joint-venture partners, and networking events. Trade mission participants electing to participate in the Trade Winds Indo-Pacific business forum may attend regional consultations with USFCS Senior Commercial Officers and Officers from participating State Department Partner Posts.

    This mission is open to U.S. companies from a cross section of industries with growth potential in India and the Indo-Pacific region, including but not limited to: Aviation and defense, energy, healthcare, environmental technologies, digital services, infrastructure, smart cities, mining, agribusiness, automotive, and consumer goods.

    Schedule

    This timetable allows for clients to take part in business matchmaking across the diverse Indian marketplace by offering scheduled business-to-business meetings in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad. This structure ensures that each post has set days for meetings that allow the clients to explore up to three of their best prospects for business.

    The clients have the option to travel over the weekend to their choice of a mission stop offered in Bangladesh or Sri Lanka.

    Sunday, May 5 Arrive in New Delhi, India. Monday-Wednesday, May 6-8 New Delhi, India: Trade Winds Business Forum. Registration and Market Briefings, Business to Business meetings, Consultations with U.S. government trade representatives and networking with U.S. and foreign government and business officials. Thursday, May 9 Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata: Business to Business Meetings (Choice of one mission stop). Friday, May 10 Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata: Business to Business Meetings (Choice of one mission stop). Saturday-Sunday, May 11-12 Travel to Bangladesh or Sri Lanka if electing to participate in one of these mission stops. Monday, May 13 Bangladesh or Sri Lanka: Business to Business meetings and networking with government and business officials. Tuesday, May 14 Trade Mission Participants Depart.

    Website: Please visit our official mission website for more information: http://export.gov/tradewinds.

    Participation Requirements

    All parties interested in participating in the trade mission to India (including mission stops with business matchmaking within India and/or Bangladesh or Sri Lanka must complete and submit an application package for consideration by the Department of Commerce. All applicants will be evaluated on their ability to meet certain conditions and best satisfy the selection criteria as outlined below.

    A minimum of 40 companies and/or trade associations will be selected to participate in the mission from the applicant pool on a rolling basis. Mission stop participation will be limited as follows:

    Business matchmaking capacity:

    New Delhi—30 Mumbai—30 Chennai—25 Kolkata—15 Bengaluru—25 Ahmedabad—8 Hyderabad—5 Partner Post Sri Lanka—5 Partner Post Bangladesh—12

    Additional delegates may be accepted based on available space. U.S. companies and/or trade associations already doing business in or seeking business in India, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh for the first time may apply.

    Fees and Expenses

    If and when an applicant is selected to participate on a particular mission, a payment to the Department of Commerce in the amount of the designated participation fee below is required. Upon notification of acceptance to participate, those selected have 5 business days to submit payment or the acceptance may be revoked.

    The below trade mission fees include the $650 participation fee for the Trade Winds business forum to be held in New Delhi, India on May 6-8, 2019.

    1. For one mission stop, the participation fee will be $2,200 for a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) and $4,200 for large firms.

    2. For two mission stops, the participation fee will be $3,200 for a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) and $5,200 for large firms.

    3. For three mission stops, the participation fee will be $4,200 for a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) and $6,200 for large firms.

    4. For four mission stops, the participation fee will be $5,200 for a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) and $7,200 for large firms.

    An additional representative for both SMEs and large firms will require an additional fee of $500.

    Timeline for Recruitment

    Recruitment for the mission will begin immediately and conclude no later than March 15, 2019. The U.S. Department of Commerce will review applications and make selection decisions on a rolling basis beginning October 31, 2018, until the maximum number of participants is selected. After March 15, 2019, applications will be considered only if space and scheduling constraints permit.

    Contacts Leslie Drake, Director U.S. Export Assistance Center—Charleston, WV, [email protected], Tel: 304-347-5123 International Contact Information Aileen Nandi, Acting Senior Commercial Officer, U.S. Commercial Service New Delhi, Email: [email protected] Greg Taevs, Acting Deputy Senior Commercial Officer, U.S. Commercial Service Mumbai, Email: [email protected] Cyber-Security Business Development Mission to Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, September 23-27, 2019 Summary

    The United States Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration (ITA), is organizing a cybersecurity Business Development Mission to Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

    This mission aims to introduce U.S. firms and trade associations to Northern Europe's information and communication technology (ICT), security, and critical infrastructure protection markets. It will assist U.S. companies in finding business partners to which they may export their products and services in the region. This mission intends to include representatives from U.S. companies and U.S. trade associations with members that provide cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection products and services. The mission will visit Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, giving U.S. firms access to business development opportunities across in the Nordic region. Participating firms will gain market insights, make industry contacts, solidify business strategies, and advance their own specific projects, all with the goal of increasing U.S. product and service exports to the region. This mission will include customized, one-on-one, business appointments with pre-screened potential buyers, agents, distributors, and joint venture partners. It will also allow for meetings with industry leaders as well as state and local government officials, along with other networking events.

    Like many other European countries, the Nordic cybersecurity market revolves around the following categories:

    Security Software: Software as a Service (SAaS); Anti-virus software; content-management soft-ware; Security Information and Event Management (SIEM); software associated with compliance and disclosure regulations.

    Security Services: Managed Information Security Services (MISS); Outsourcing; security audits and penetration testing; services associated with compliance and disclosure regulations.

    Security Appliances: Unified Threat Management (UTM)—the unification of firewall, VPN, ID&P and gateway antivirus into a single platform; wireless and application security solutions; biometric technology.

    Proposed Timetable

    * Note: The schedule below is only an example of potential activities during the mission and are subject to change. The final schedule and potential site visits will depend on the availability of host government and business officials, specific goals of mission participants, and ground transportation.

    Sunday, September 22 Trade Mission Participants Arrive in Copenhagen. Monday, September 23, Copenhagen Welcome and Denmark Country Briefing; Participant Elevator Pitches followed by matchmaking appointments; Networking Lunch; Matchmaking continues; Networking Reception at Ambassador's residence (TBC). Tuesday, September 24, Copenhagen/Oslo Public Sector Roundtable incl. light lunch; Travel to Oslo; Networking Reception at Ambassador's residence including Norway Country Briefing (TBC). Wednesday, September 25, Oslo/Stockholm Public Sector Roundtable; Networking Lunch with Participant Elevator Pitches; Matchmaking appointments; Depart for Stockholm. Thursday, September 26, Stockholm Welcome and Sweden Country Briefing; Participant Elevator Pitches followed by matchmaking appointments; Networking Lunch; Matchmaking continues; Networking Reception at Ambassador's residence (TBC). Friday, September 27 Public Sector Roundtable; Mission concludes and Participants Depart. Participation Requirements

    All parties interested in participating in the trade mission must complete and submit an application package for consideration by the U.S. Department of Commerce. All applicants will be evaluated on their ability to meet certain conditions and best satisfy the selection criteria as outlined below. A minimum of 10 and maximum of 12 firms and/or trade associations will be selected to participate in the mission from the applicant pool.

    Fees and Expenses

    If, and when, an applicant is selected to participate on a particular mission, a payment to the Department of Commerce in the amount of the designated participation fee is required. Upon notification of acceptance to participate, those selected have 5 business days to submit payment or the acceptance may be revoked. The participation fee for the Business Development Mission will be $3,800.00 for small or medium-sized enterprises (SME); and $4,800.00 for large firms or trade associations. The fee for each additional firm representative (large firm or SME/trade organization) is $1,000. Expenses for travel, lodging, meals, and incidentals will be the responsibility of each mission participant. Interpreter and driver services can be arranged for additional cost. Delegation members will be able to take advantage of U.S. Embassy rates for hotel rooms.

    Timeframe for Recruitment and Application

    Recruitment for the mission will begin immediately and conclude no later than June 14, 2019. The U.S. Department of Commerce will review applications and make selection decisions on a rolling basis beginning September 10, 2018 until the maximum of 12 participants is selected. Applications received after June 14, 2019, will be considered only if space and scheduling constraints permit.

    Contacts USA Gemal Brangman, Project Officer, Trade Promotion Programs, Washington, DC, Tel: 202-482-3773, [email protected] Pompeya Lambrecht, Senior International Trade Specialist, Northern Virginia—USEAC, Tel: 703-235-0102, [email protected] Sheryl Hitomi, International Trade Specialist, San Jose—USEAC, Tel: 408-535-2757, [email protected] Denmark Aleksander Moos, Commercial Specialist, Tel: + 45 33 41 73 15, [email protected] Norway Heming Bjorna, Senior Commercial Specialist, Tel: + 47 21 30 88 66, [email protected] Sweden Tuula Ahlstrom, Senior Commercial Specialist, Tel: + 46 8 783 5346, [email protected] Tiara Hampton-Diggs, Program Specialist for Trade Promotion Programs.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22097 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DR-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XG506 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to In-Water Demolition and Construction Activities Associated With a Harbor Improvement Project in Statter Harbor, Alaska AGENCY:

    National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice; proposed incidental harassment authorization; request for comments on proposed authorization and possible renewal.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS has received a request from the City of Juneau for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to harbor improvement projects in Statter Harbor, Alaska. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to incidentally take marine mammals during the specified activities. NMFS is also requesting comments on a possible one-year renewal that could be issued under certain circumstances and if all requirements are met, as described in Request for Public Comments at the end of this notice. NMFS will consider public comments prior to making any final decision on the issuance of the requested MMPA authorizations and agency responses will be summarized in the final notice of our decision.

    DATES:

    Comments and information must be received no later than November 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments should be addressed to Jolie Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. Physical comments should be sent to 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 and electronic comments should be sent to [email protected]

    Instructions: NMFS is not responsible for comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. Comments received electronically, including all attachments, must not exceed a 25-megabyte file size. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel or Adobe PDF file formats only. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted online at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/node/23111 without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sara Young, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401. Electronic copies of the application and supporting documents, as well as a list of the references cited in this document, may be obtained online at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/incidental-take-authorizations-construction-activities. In case of problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed above.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    The MMPA prohibits the “take” of marine mammals, with certain exceptions. 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 incidental take authorization may be provided to the public for review.

    Authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s) and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for taking for subsistence uses (where relevant). Further, NMFS must prescribe the permissible methods of taking and other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on the affected species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on the availability of such species or stocks for taking for certain subsistence uses (referred to in shorthand as “mitigation”); and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings are set forth.

    The NDAA (Pub. L. 108-136) removed the “small numbers” and “specified geographical region” limitations indicated above and amended the definition of “harassment” as it applies to a “military readiness activity.” The definitions of all applicable MMPA statutory terms cited above are included in the relevant sections below.

    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 IHA) with respect to potential impacts on the human environment.

    This action is consistent with categories of activities identified in Categorical Exclusion B4 (IHAs 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 preliminarily determined that the issuance of the proposed IHA qualifies to be categorically excluded from further NEPA review.

    We will review all comments submitted in response to this notice prior to concluding our NEPA process or making a final decision on the IHA request.

    Summary of Request

    On February 12, 2018, NMFS received a request from the City of Juneau for an IHA to take marine mammals incidental to harbor improvement projects in Statter Harbor, Alaska. The original application covered three years of potential work and was revised to one year of work on March 9, 2018. A series of exchanges regarding acoustic analyses continued until a meeting was held on June 21, 2018. An additional revision was received on August 8, 2019. The application was deemed adequate and complete on September 18, 2018. The City of Juneau's request is for take of a small number of harbor seal, harbor porpoise, humpback whale, and Steller sea lion by Level B harassment and Level A harassment. Neither the City of Juneau nor NMFS expects serious injury or mortality to result from this activity and, therefore, an IHA is appropriate.

    Description of Proposed Activity Overview

    The harbor improvements described in the application include demolition and disposal of the existing boat launch ramp and timber haulout pier, dredging of the planned harbor basin with offshore disposal, excavation of bedrock within the basin by blasting from a temporary fill pad, and construction of a mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) wall.

    Dates and Duration

    Work is expected to occur between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019. The expected allocation of days for each activity is as follows: Two to ten days of vibratory pile removal, 30-45 days of dredging and dredge disposal, 15 days of in-water fill placement and removal, and two days of blasting. In winter months, shorter 8-hour to 10-hour workdays in available daylight are anticipated. To be conservative, 12-hour work days were used to analyze construction noise. The daily construction window for blasting and dredging will begin no sooner than 30 minutes after sunrise to allow for initial marine mammal monitoring to take place and will end 30 minutes before sunset to allow for post-activity monitoring.

    Specific Geographic Region

    The proposed activities would occur at Statter Harbor in Auke Bay, Alaska which is in the southeast portion of the state. See Figures 1 and 4 in the application for detailed maps of the project area. Statter Harbor is located at the most northeasterly point of Auke Bay.

    Detailed Description of Specific Activity

    Demolition and Disposal—Work proposed for 2019 includes demolition and disposal of the existing 16-foot (ft) (4.9-meter (m)) by 200-ft (61-meter) concrete boat launch ramp and planks, an 8-ft (2.4-m) by 240-ft (73.2-m) boarding float, four 12.75-inch (in) (3.2-decimeter) diameter steel pipe piles, 1,152 square feet (ft) (107.0 square m) of timber boat haulout pier, and 16 12-in to 16-in creosote-treated timber piles.

    Demolition of the existing timber boat haulout pier and boat launch ramp will be performed with track excavators, loaders, cranes, barges, crane dead-pulling (preferred method), vibratory hammer (if needed), various hand tools, and labor forces. Existing piles will be removed via dead-pulling with a crane if possible, or, if not, a vibratory hammer will be used. Vibratory pile removal will generally consist of clamping the vibratory hammer to the pile and vibrating the hammer while extracting to a point where the pile is temporarily secured and removal can be completed with crane line rigging under tension. The pile is then completely removed from the water by hoisting with crane line rigging and placing on the uplands or deck of the barge. The applicant will dispose of demolished items in accordance with all Federal, state, and local regulations.

    Based on the characterization of work described below, we expect take of marine mammals may result from some combination of vibratory pile removal, dredging, and blasting activities.

    Dredging and Dredge Disposal

    The project includes 24,300 cubic yards (yd3)(18,578.7 cubic meters (m3)) of dredging in the existing harbor. When the material is removed from the ground it will bulk up in the barge due to increased water content and fluff. To account for this a conservative bulking factor of 1.25 was applied to the dredged volume, resulting in up to 30,375 yd3(23,223.4m3) of material to be disposed. Dredging will be performed by either an excavator or a crane with clamshell from a flat deck or derrick barge. The barge will be fixed in place to allow the excavator access to an area and periodically repositioned to gain access to new areas.

    Once material is removed from the seafloor, it will be placed into a second belly dump dredge barge where the material will be dewatered and then be towed by a tug to the disposal site to be deposited. The target location for disposal of material was provided to the applicant by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) just outside of the harbor at latitude 58°22′22.08″ N and 134°39′49.32″ W. Based on the nature of dredge disposal activity, substrate placed on a small barge and towed to a disposal site, we do not consider dredge disposal an activity that could result in take of marine mammals and do not consider it further. Because the dredging activity is producing sound underwater at levels likely audible to marine mammals and the sound source is concentrated underwater in a region with resident marine mammals it has the potential harass marine mammals and was considered further in our analysis.

    Blasting and Excavation

    A geotechnical investigation including borehole samples and test probing was performed by PND Engineers in 2016 and revealed shallow bedrock within the harbor basin. The design depth necessary for safe navigation is 16 ft (4.9 m) below mean lower low water (MLLW) with an additional 1-ft (0.3-m) considered as potential additional depth needed to dredge, also termed overdredge allowance. Test probing showed that the top-of-rock elevations within the dredge basin range from approximately 4 ft below MLLW to depths greater than the design elevation (17 ft (5.2 m) below MLLW with overdredge allowance).

    During construction the dredging will be conducted first to remove the overburden from the bedrock. A survey will then be conducted to determine the exact extent of bedrock to be removed. The estimated amount of rock excavation is 1,761 yd3(2,000 yd3(1,529.1 m3) permitted volume to account for uncertainty) based on preconstruction surveys. Temporary fill to confine the blast will be placed using conventional construction equipment. A fill is poured over the area where blasting is planned and then the hole for the charges are made beginning in the fill layer. Approximately half of the fill for this temporary pad will be placed above the water line.

    Alaska Seismic and Environmental prepared a General Blast Plan and Analysis and sound pressure level (SPL) and sound exposure level (SEL) Isopleth Distances report (Appendix C of the application) detailing the bedrock removal plan and how the exclusion zones for each hearing group were determined. The selected methodology for the blast is to perform two blasts, one per day on two separate days. Each blast will be approximately one (1) second in duration. Both blasts will consist of many detonations separated by some small number of milliseconds delay. The number of charges will vary depending on conditions after overburden is removed but is anticipated to be between 50 and 75 holes with charges per blast. Individual charge size will depend on conditions after holes are drilled; maximum charge size (explosive weight) detonated per each 8-millisecond delay period will be limited to 93.5 pounds (42.4 kilograms).

    Individual charge amounts and other hole-loading details will be determined by the contractor's blaster-in-charge and blasting consultant after holes are drilled. This allows for safe and appropriate loading decisions to be made based on rock features such as voids, seams, fractures, and other discontinuities encountered during drilling.

    After blasting, the temporary fill will be removed with excavators, loaded into dump trucks, and stockpiled in the uplands to be reused during the MSE wall construction. The blasted material will be excavated, separated from the temporary fill, and hauled offsite to an uplands disposal site.

    MSE Wall In-Water Fill Placement and Removal

    The MSE wall will be constructed with track excavators, loaders, vibratory drum rollers, dump trucks, various hand tools, and labor forces. Excavated material will be placed into dump trucks and hauled offsite. The concrete retaining wall blocks will be set in place one course at a time. Imported fill will be delivered by dump truck, spread behind the blocks in lifts, and compacted with vibratory rollers to meet design grades and compaction requirements. A layer of geotextile fabric will be placed behind the wall on the compacted fill with each course of blocks. A total of 6,800 yd3 (5,199 m3) of shot rock material will be placed below the high tide line (HTL) behind the MSE wall.

    A 5-ft (1.5-m) thick armored dredge basin slope will require an additional 650 yd3(497 m3) of armor rock material, and a lower 2-ft (0.6-m) thick slope will require an additional 1,350 yd3(1,032.1 m3) of material. Total fill material placed below the HTL is not expected to exceed 8,800 yd3(6,728.1 m3). All work in intertidal zones will be performed during low tides so that all material will be placed above current water levels. Because all material will be placed above current water levels, we do not expect take of marine mammals from this activity.

    Proposed mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures are described in detail later in this document (please see Proposed Mitigation and Proposed Monitoring and Reporting).

    Description of Marine Mammals in the Area of Specified Activities

    Seven species of marine mammal have been documented in southeast Alaska waters in the vicinity of Statter Harbor. These species are: harbor seal, harbor porpoise, Dall's porpoise, killer whale, humpback whale, minke whale, and Steller sea lion. Of these species, only three are known to occur in Statter Harbor: harbor seal, Steller sea lion, and humpback whale.

    Sections 3 and 4 of the application summarize available information regarding status and trends, distribution and habitat preferences, and behavior and life history, of the potentially affected species. Additional information regarding population trends and threats may be found in NMFS's Stock Assessment Reports (SAR; https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/draft-marine-mammal-stock-assessment-reports) and more general information about these species (e.g., physical and behavioral descriptions) may be found on NMFS's website (https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/find-species).

    Table 1 lists all species with expected potential for occurrence in Statter Harbor and summarizes information related to the population or stock, including regulatory status under the MMPA and 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 and annual serious injury and mortality from anthropogenic sources are included here as gross indicators of the status of the species and other threats.

    Marine mammal abundance estimates presented in this document represent the total number of individuals that make up a given stock or the total number estimated within a particular study or survey area. NMFS's stock abundance estimates for most species represent the total estimate of individuals within the geographic area, if known, that comprises that stock. For some species, this geographic area may extend beyond U.S. waters. All managed stocks in this region are assessed in NMFS's U.S. Alaska Region Draft 2018 SAR (Muto et al, 2018). All values presented in Table 1 are the most recent available at the time of publication and are available in the Draft 2018 SAR (Muto et al, 2018).

    Table 1—Species With the Potential to Occur in Statter Harbor Common name Scientific name Stock ESA/MMPA status; Strategic
  • (Y/N) 1
  • Stock abundance
  • (CV, Nmin, most recent abundance survey) 2
  • PBR Annual M/SI 3
    Order Cetartiodactyla—Cetacea—Superfamily Mysticeti (baleen whales) Family Balaenopteridae (rorquals) Humpback whale Megaptera noveangliae Central North Pacific E,D,Y 10,103 (0.3, 7,891, 2006) 83 26 Minke whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata Alaska -; N N/A Und 0 Superfamily Odontoceti (toothed whales, dolphins, and porpoises) Family Delphinidae Killer whale Orcinus orca Northern Resident -; N 261 (N/A, 261, 2011) 1.96 0 Killer whale Orcinus orca Gulf of Alaska transient -; N 587 (N/A, 587, 2012) 5.87 1 Killer whale Orcinus orca West Coast Transient -; N 243 (N/A, 243, 2009) 2.4 0 Family Phocoenidae (porpoises) Harbor porpoise Phocoena phocoena Southeast Alaska -; Y 975 (0.14, 872, 2012) 8.7 34 Dall's porpoise Phocoenoides dalli Alaska -; N 83,400 (0.097, N/A, 1991) Und 38 Order Carnivora—Superfamily Pinnipedia Family Otariidae (eared seals and sea lions) Steller sea lion Eumetopias jubatus Western DPS E/D; Y 54,267 (N/A; 54,267, 2017) 326 252 Steller sea lion Eumetopias jubatus Eastern DPS T/D; Y 41,638 (N/A, 41,638, 2015) 2498 108 Family Phocidae (earless seals) Harbor seal Phoca vitulina Lynn Canal -; N 9,478 (N/A, 8,605, 2011) 155 50 1 Endangered Species Act (ESA) status: Endangered (E), Threatened (T)/MMPA status: Depleted (D). A dash (-) indicates that the species is not listed under the ESA or designated as depleted under the MMPA. Under the MMPA, a strategic stock is one for which the level of direct human-caused mortality exceeds PBR or which is determined to be declining and likely to be listed under the ESA within the foreseeable future. Any species or stock listed under the ESA is automatically designated under the MMPA as depleted and as a strategic stock. 2 NMFS marine mammal stock assessment reports online at: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/sars/. CV is coefficient of variation; Nmin is the minimum estimate of stock abundance. In some cases, CV is not applicable. 3 These values, found in NMFS's SARs, represent annual levels of human-caused mortality plus serious injury from all sources combined (e.g., commercial fisheries, ship strike). Annual M/SI often cannot be determined precisely and is in some cases presented as a minimum value or range. Note: Italicized species are not expected to be taken or proposed for authorization.

    All species that could potentially occur in the proposed survey areas are included in Table 1. It is unlikely the species italicized above in Table 1 are likely to venture far enough into the harbor to enter the acoustic isopleths where we expect take to occur. The spatial occurrence of minke whale and Dall's porpoise is such that take is not expected to occur, and they are not discussed further beyond the explanation provided here. While these species have been sighted in southeast Alaska more broadly, these sightings have been recorded for areas closer to the ocean. Auke Bay is separated from the Pacific by multiple barrier islands and Statter Harbor is located in the most inland section of the bay, making the occurrence of species infrequently sighted farther seaward even less likely. Killer whales are not known to occur frequently in Auke Bay, although they have been sighted infrequently, with no obvious temporal pattern to the sightings. While it is possible killer whales could enter Auke Bay during work, it is unlikely they would continue as far inland as Statter Harbor. If killer whales did venture into Statter Harbor to a distance where acoustic exposure would be a concern, they would be easily identifiable to observers stationed in the harbor for mitigation and monitoring purposes and a shutdown would be ordered. Therefore, take of killer whales from these activities is unlikely to occur and they are not considered further in this document. The work proposed in Statter Harbor is in a very sheltered and inland harbor with a consistent sightings record of the three species considered further: Steller sea lion, humpback whale, and harbor seal. Harbor porpoise, while infrequently sighted near Statter Harbor, are considered further as their fast swim speeds and small size make detection to implement mitigation measures difficult. The species for which take is anticipated are described below.

    Humpback whale

    Humpbacks that breed around the main Hawaiian Islands have been observed in summer feeding grounds throughout the North Pacific. The majority of the humpbacks found in Southeast Alaska and northern British Columbia have migrated from Hawaii for foraging opportunities and belong to the Hawaii DPS (Bettridge et al, 2015). Wade et al. (2016) estimated that 93.9 percent of the humpbacks encountered in Southeast Alaska and Northern British Columbia are from the Hawaii DPS, with the remaining percentage of humpbacks coming from the Mexico DPS.

    While in their Alaskan feeding grounds, humpback whales prey on a variety of euphausiids and small schooling fishes including herring, smelt, capelin, sandlance, juvenile pollock, and salmon smolts (Kawamura 1980, Krieger and Wing 1986, Witteveen et al. 2008, Straley et al. 2017, Chenoweth et al. 2017). Herring targeted by Southeast Alaska whales in Lynn Canal during 2007-2009 winters were lipid-rich, with energy content ranging from 7.3-10.0 kJ/gram (Vollenweider et al. 2011). The local distribution of humpbacks in Southeast Alaska appears to be correlated with the density and seasonal availability of prey, particularly herring and euphausiids (Moran et al. 2017). Important feeding areas include Glacier Bay and adjacent portions of Icy Strait, Stephens Passage/Frederick Sound, Seymour Canal, Lynn Canal, and Sitka Sound and these areas have been included in the designation of a Biologically Important Area for humpbacks in the Gulf of Alaska. During autumn and winter, the non-breeding season, humpbacks remaining in Southeast Alaska target areas where herring and eulachon are abundant, such as Seymour Canal, Berners Bay, Auke Bay, Lynn Canal, and Stephens Passage (Krieger and Wing 1986, Moran et al. 2017). Over 2,940 and 2,019 humpback whale foraging-days were documented in Lynn Canal alone in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 winter seasons, respectively (Moran et al. 2017).

    Fidelity to feeding grounds by individual humpbacks is well documented; interchange between Alaskan feeding grounds is rare (Witteveen and Wynne 2017). Long-term research and photo-identification efforts have documented individual humpbacks that have returned to the same feeding grounds for as many 45 years (Straley 2017, Witteveen and Wynne 2017, Gabriele et al. 2017). Based on fluke pattern identification, Krieger, Baker and Wing identified 189 unique whales in the Juneau to Glacier Bay and Seymour Canal area (Krieger et al. 1986). In recent years, 179 individual humpback whales were identified from the Juneau area, based upon fluke photographs taken between 2006 and 2014 (Teerlink 2017). Humpback whales occur in the project area intermittently year-round. Auke Bay and Statter Harbor are thought to have certain habitat features that attract humpback whales in recent years. The aggregation of herring in inner Auke Bay provide a habitat where whales may make energetic decisions to exploit small volumes of fish and rest to conserve energy between foraging opportunities.

    Humpback whales utilize habitats in the project area intermittently. The breakwater and other dock structures appear to serve as fish-attracting devices, where forage fish (herring, capelin, sandlance, pollock, and juvenile salmon) aggregate and are targeted by diving humpback whales. Two humpback whales in recent years have also targeted a shallow trough off the east end of the Statter Harbor breakwater for deeper diving foraging excursions targeting herring and possibly juvenile pollock (Ridgway pers. observ.). Some individual whales enter Auke Bay through the north Coghlan Island entrance and conduct a pattern of exploitation or “browsing” in the bay and inner harbor. In this area some whales lunge feed and gulp massive volumes of feed in seawater immediately adjacent to or rubbing against boats, docks and other structures in deep to shallow waters throughout the action area. These whales have been observed continuing a pattern search alongshore to Auke Creek and up Fritz Cove, where they have been seen lunge feeding in small coves and gullies in shallow water to aggregate schooling fish.

    Because humpback whale individuals of different DPS origin are indistinguishable from one another in Alaska (unless fluke patterns are linked to the individual in both feeding and breeding ground), the frequency of occurrence of animals by DPS is only estimated using the DPS ratio, based upon the assumption that the ratio is consistent throughout the Southeast Alaska region (Wade et al. 2016).

    Harbor seals

    The Lynn Canal/Stephens Passage stock is found in the project area waters. The current population estimate for the Lynn Canal/Stephens Passage stock is 9,478 individuals, and the 5-year trend estimate is −176. The probability of decrease of this stock is 0.71, indicating that evidence suggests that the stock is declining, however 9 of the 12 Alaska harbor seal stocks are showing a trend of increasing populations (Muto et al. 2018). Typically harbor seals will stay within 16 miles (25 km) of shore, but they have been found up to 62 miles (100 km) from the shore (Klinkhart et al. 2008). Harbor seal movement is highly variable, with no seasonal patterns identified.

    Harbor seals use a variety of terrestrial sites to haul out for resting (year-round), pupping (May-July), and molting (August-September) including tidal and intertidal reefs, beaches, sand bars, and glacial/sea ice (Sease 1992; Klinkhart et al. 2008). Some sites have traditional/historic value for pupping and molting while others are used as temporary resting sites during seasonal foraging trips.

    Harbor seals are residents of the project area and observed within the harbor on a regular basis and can be found within the immediate project vicinity on a daily basis. Over the last three winters, a group of up to 12 harbor seals has been observed in inner Statter Harbor near the harbormaster building along with 1-2 dispersed seals near the Auke Creek shoreline (Kate Wynne pers. observ.). Additionally, other counts from 2014-2016 recorded 2-16 animals within Statter Harbor. Up to 52 individual seals have been photographed simultaneously hauled out on the nearby dock at Fishermen's Bend, located in the northwest corner of Statter harbor (Ridgway unpubl. Data). It is assumed that the majority of animals that haul out on the nearby floats at Fishermen's Bend are likely to go under water and resurface throughout the duration of the project. However, further clarification on the number of individual seals likely to occur in the project area is difficult as harbor seals are not easily identifiable at an individual level.

    Steller Sea Lions

    The Steller sea lion was listed as a threatened species under the ESA in 1990 following declines of 63 percent on certain rookeries since 1985 and declines of 82 percent since 1960 (55 FR 12645). In 1997, two DPSs of Steller sea lion were identified based on differences in genetics, distribution, phenotypic traits, and population trends: the Western DPS and Eastern DPS (Fritz et al. 2013).

    The Eastern DPS (eDPS) is commonly found in the project area waters and were most recently surveyed in Southeast Alaska in June-July of 2015. The current population estimate for the eDPS is 71,562 individuals of which 52,139 are non-pups and 19,423 are pups. In Southeast Alaska the estimated total abundance is 28,594 individuals of which 20,756 are non-pups and 7,838 are pups. The eDPS has been increasing between 1990 to 2015 with an estimated annual increase of 4.76 percent for pups and 2.84 percent for non-pups. (Muto et al. 2018) The Western DPS (wDPS) is found infrequently in the project area waters, but have been sighted previously. The current abundance estimate for the U.S. portion of the wDPS is 50,983 of which 12,492 were pups and 38,491 were non-pups. This is the minimum estimate for only the U.S. portion of the wDPS. It is the minimum count because the counts were not corrected for animals at sea during the survey. The overall trend for the wDPS in Alaska is an annual increase of 1.94 percent for non-pups and 1.87 percent for pups. (Muto et al. 2018)

    There is no critical habitat designated for Steller sea lions within the action area. The action area is located approximately 12 nautical miles (22.22 kilometers) from around Benjamin Island, well outside of the 3,000-ft (914.4-m) designated critical habitat boundary designation.

    Steller sea lions occur in Auke Bay in winter on an intermittent basis, but their genetic and stock-designation identities are rarely known: individuals are indistinguishable unless sea lions are branded (and the brand is observed). Satellite-tagged individual animals from the Benjamin Island haulout and Auke Bay were observed multiple times between November 2010 and January 2011 (Fadely 2011), and the Auke Bay boating community frequently observes Steller sea lions moving to and from the haulout complex into Auke Bay.

    From 2013-2017, Steller sea lions have been documented in Auke Bay travelling as individuals or in herds of 50 to an estimated 120+ animals, during every month of the winter season. During winter 2015-2016, Steller sea lions foraged aggressively on young herring and 1-2-year-old Walleye pollock for over 20 days, continuously. Some sea lions were also observed consuming small flatfish, likely yellowfin sole, harvested from the seafloor (depth 25-45 m), during this period. While no sea lions were observed hauled out on beaches or structures in the harbor, large rafts of 20-50 animals formed and rested in the outer harbor area between foraging bouts. Simultaneous surface counts of 121 individual sea lions suggests that likely upwards of 200 animals or more were targeting prey in Statter Harbor during herring aggregation events. These 121 to 200 animals comprise roughly 20 to 30 percent of the animals typically found at the Benjamin Island and Little Island haulout complexes during winter months. (Ridgway pers. observ.)

    Only three individual, branded wDPS Steller sea lions have been observed at Benjamin Island, the closest haulout, from 2003-2006 with a maximum of 3 sightings per individual. No branded wDPS individuals have been observed in the ADF&G surveys from 2007-2016. The 2007 ADF&G surveys offer the most abundant data for Steller sea lion counts at Benjamin Island. A total of 11 surveys were conducted between January and July 2017, ranging from 0-768 Steller sea lions, with an average count of 404 individuals. In 2007 no wDPS animals were observed. While it is possible an individual from the wDPS may be at the Benjamin Island haulout, it is rare, and none have been documented at this haulout for the last decade (Jemison pers. comm. 2017).

    Although recent data in the northern part of the eastern DPS indicate movement of western sea lions east of the 144° line, the mixed part of the range remains small (Jemison et al. 2013). Based on observations by ADF&G over the last decade this project is unlikely to impact wDPS individuals. A recent IHA application for the Haines Ferry Terminal indicated that using branded animal ratios, a conservative estimate of 1.6 percent eDPS individuals may occur at the Gran Point haulout based on personal communication the applicant had with the Alaska Regional Office (shown in Figure 5 in the application). To be conservative it is assumed that 2 percent of the Steller sea lions at in this project area may be from the wDPS.

    Harbor Porpoise

    In Alaska, harbor porpoises are currently divided into three stocks, based primarily on geography: (1) The Southeast Alaska stock—occurring from the northern border of British Columbia to Cape Suckling, Alaska, (2) the Gulf of Alaska stock—occurring from Cape Suckling to Unimak Pass, and (3) the Bering Sea stock—occurring throughout the Aleutian Islands and all waters north of Unimak Pass. Only the Southeast Alaska stock is considered in this proposed IHA because the other stocks are not found in the geographic area under consideration.

    There are no subsistence uses of this species; however, as noted above, entanglement in fishing gear contributes to human-caused mortality and serious injury. Muto et al. (2018) also reports harbor porpoise are vulnerable to physical modifications of nearshore habitats resulting from urban and industrial development (including waste management and nonpoint source runoff) and activities such as construction of docks and other over-water structures, filling of shallow areas, dredging, and noise (Linnenschmidt et al., 2013).

    Information on harbor porpoise abundance and distribution in Auke Bay has not been systematically collected. While sightings of harbor porpoise in Statter Harbor are rare, they are an inconspicuous species, often traveling alone or in pairs, difficult for marine mammal observers to sight, making any approach to a monitoring zone potentially difficult to detect. The applicant did not request authorization of take of harbor porpoise because they are not known to regularly occur in the vicinity of the project site. However, because the species has been rarely observed in the area and due to the difficulty of implementing mitigation sufficient to avoid incidental take of animals that do occur in the area, we have determined it appropriate to propose authorization of take of harbor porpoise

    Marine Mammal Hearing

    Hearing is the most important sensory modality for marine mammals underwater, and exposure to anthropogenic sound can have deleterious effects. To appropriately assess the potential effects of exposure to sound, it is necessary to understand the frequency ranges marine mammals are able to hear. Current data indicate that not all marine mammal species have equal hearing capabilities (e.g., Richardson et al., 1995; Wartzok and Ketten, 1999; Au and Hastings, 2008). To reflect this, Southall et al. (2007) recommended that marine mammals be divided into functional hearing groups based on directly measured or estimated hearing ranges on the basis of available behavioral response data, audiograms derived using auditory evoked potential techniques, anatomical modeling, and other data. Note that no direct measurements of hearing ability have been successfully completed for mysticetes (i.e., low-frequency cetaceans). Subsequently, NMFS (2018) described generalized hearing ranges for these marine mammal hearing groups. Generalized hearing ranges were chosen based on the approximately 65 decibels (dB) threshold from the normalized composite audiograms, with the exception for lower limits for low-frequency cetaceans where the lower bound was deemed to be biologically implausible and the lower bound from Southall et al. (2007) retained. The functional groups and the associated frequencies are indicated below (note that these frequency ranges correspond to the range for the composite group, with the entire range not necessarily reflecting the capabilities of every species within that group):

    • Low-frequency cetaceans (mysticetes): generalized hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 7 hertz (Hz) and 35 kilohertz (kHz);

    • Mid-frequency cetaceans (larger toothed whales, beaked whales, and most delphinids): generalized hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 150 Hz and 160 kHz;

    • High-frequency cetaceans (porpoises, river dolphins, and members of the genera Kogia and Cephalorhynchus; including two members of the genus Lagenorhynchus, on the basis of recent echolocation data and genetic data): generalized hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 275 Hz and 160 kHz.

    • Pinnipeds in water; Phocidae (true seals): generalized hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 50 Hz to 86 kHz;

    • Pinnipeds in water; Otariidae (eared seals): generalized hearing is estimated to occur between 60 Hz and 39 kHz.

    The pinniped functional hearing group was modified from Southall et al. (2007) on the basis of data indicating that phocid species have consistently demonstrated an extended frequency range of hearing compared to otariids, especially in the higher frequency range (Hemilä et al., 2006; Kastelein et al., 2009; Reichmuth and Holt, 2013).

    For more detail concerning these groups and associated frequency ranges, please see NMFS (2018) for a review of available information. Four marine mammal species (two cetacean and two pinniped (one otariid and one phocid) species) have the reasonable potential to co-occur with the proposed survey activities. Please refer to Table 1. Of the cetacean species that may be present, humpback whales are classified as low-frequency cetaceans, and harbor porpoise are classified as high-frequency cetaceans.

    Potential Effects of Specified Activities on Marine Mammals and Their Habitat

    This section includes a summary and discussion of the ways that components of the specified activity may impact marine mammals and their habitat. The Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment section later in this document includes a quantitative analysis of the number of individuals that are expected to be taken by this activity. The Negligible Impact Analysis and Determination section considers the content of this section, the Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment section, and the Proposed Mitigation section, to draw conclusions regarding the likely impacts of these activities on the reproductive success or survivorship of individuals and how those impacts on individuals are likely to impact marine mammal species or stocks.

    Description of Sound

    Sound travels in waves, the basic components of which are frequency, wavelength, velocity, and amplitude. Frequency is the number of pressure waves that pass by a reference point per unit of time and is measured in Hz or cycles per second. Wavelength is the distance between two peaks of a sound wave; lower frequency sounds have longer wavelengths than higher frequency sounds. Amplitude is the height of the sound pressure wave or the `loudness' of a sound and is typically measured using the dB scale. A dB is the ratio between a measured pressure (with sound) and a reference pressure (sound at a constant pressure, established by scientific standards). It is a logarithmic unit that accounts for large variations in amplitude; therefore, relatively small changes in dB ratings correspond to large changes in sound pressure. When referring to SPLs(the sound force per unit area), sound is referenced in the context of underwater sound pressure to one microPascal (μPa). One pascal is the pressure resulting from a force of one newton exerted over an area of one square meter. The source level (SL) represents the sound level at a distance of 1 m from the source (referenced to 1 μPa). The received level is the sound level at the listener's position. Note that all underwater sound levels in this document are referenced to a pressure of 1 µPa and all airborne sound levels in this document are referenced to a pressure of 20 µPa.

    Root mean square (rms) is the quadratic mean sound pressure over the duration of an impulse. Rms is calculated by squaring all of the sound amplitudes, averaging the squares, and then taking the square root of the average (Urick 1983). Rms accounts for both positive and negative values; squaring the pressures makes all values positive so that they may be accounted for in the summation of pressure levels (Hastings and Popper 2005). This measurement is often used in the context of discussing behavioral effects, in part because behavioral effects, which often result from auditory cues, may be better expressed through averaged units than by peak pressures.

    When underwater objects vibrate or activity occurs, sound-pressure waves are created. These waves alternately compress and decompress the water as the sound wave travels. Underwater sound waves radiate in all directions away from the source (similar to ripples on the surface of a pond), except in cases where the source is directional. The compressions and decompressions associated with sound waves are detected as changes in pressure by aquatic life and man-made sound receptors such as hydrophones.

    Even in the absence of sound from the specified activity, the underwater environment is typically loud due to ambient sound. Ambient sound is defined as environmental background sound levels lacking a single source or point (Richardson et al., 1995), and the sound level of a region is defined by the total acoustical energy being generated by known and unknown sources. These sources may include physical (e.g., waves, earthquakes, ice, atmospheric sound), biological (e.g., sounds produced by marine mammals, fish, and invertebrates), and anthropogenic sound (e.g., vessels, dredging, aircraft, construction). A number of sources contribute to ambient sound, including the following (Richardson et al., 1995):

    Wind and waves: The complex interactions between wind and water surface, including processes such as breaking waves and wave-induced bubble oscillations and cavitation, are a main source of naturally occurring ambient noise for frequencies between 200 Hz and 50 kilohertz (kHz) (Mitson 1995). In general, ambient sound levels tend to increase with increasing wind speed and wave height. Surf noise becomes important near shore, with measurements collected at a distance of 8.5 km from shore showing an increase of 10 dB in the 100 to 700 Hz band during heavy surf conditions;

    Precipitation: Sound from rain and hail impacting the water surface can become an important component of total noise at frequencies above 500 Hz, and possibly down to 100 Hz during quiet times;

    Biological: Marine mammals can contribute significantly to ambient noise levels, as can some fish and shrimp. The frequency band for biological contributions is from approximately 12 Hz to over 100 kHz; and

    Anthropogenic: Sources of ambient noise related to human activity include transportation (surface vessels and aircraft), dredging and construction, oil and gas drilling and production, seismic surveys, sonar, explosions, and ocean acoustic studies. Shipping noise typically dominates the total ambient noise for frequencies between 20 and 300 Hz. In general, the frequencies of anthropogenic sounds are below 1 kHz and, if higher frequency sound levels are created, they attenuate rapidly (Richardson et al., 1995). Sound from identifiable anthropogenic sources other than the activity of interest (e.g., a passing vessel) is sometimes termed background sound, as opposed to ambient sound.

    The sum of the various natural and anthropogenic sound sources at any given location and time—which comprise “ambient” or “background” sound—depends not only on the source levels (as determined by current weather conditions and levels of biological and shipping activity) but also on the ability of sound to propagate through the environment. In turn, sound propagation is dependent on the spatially and temporally varying properties of the water column and sea floor, and is frequency-dependent. As a result of the dependence on a large number of varying factors, ambient sound levels can be expected to vary widely over both coarse and fine spatial and temporal scales. Sound levels at a given frequency and location can vary by 10-20 dB from day to day (Richardson et al., 1995). The result is that, depending on the source type and its intensity, sound from the specified activity may be a negligible addition to the local environment or could form a distinctive signal that may affect marine mammals.

    Description of Sounds Sources

    In-water construction activities associated with the project would include vibratory pile removal, dredging, and blasting. Sound sources can be divided into broad categories based on various criteria or for various purposes. With regard to temporal properties, sounds are generally considered to be either continuous or transient (i.e., intermittent). Continuous sounds are simply those whose sound pressure level remains above ambient sound during the observation period (ANSI, 2005). Intermittent sounds are defined as sounds with interrupted levels of low or no sound (NIOSH, 1998). Sound sources may also be categorized based on their potential to damage hearing. The sounds produced by these activities fall into one of two general sound types: Impulsive and non-impulsive (defined in the following). The distinction between these two sound types is important because they have differing potential to cause physical effects, particularly with regard to hearing (e.g., Ward 1997 in Southall et al., 2007). Please see Southall et al. (2007) for an in-depth discussion of these concepts.

    Impulsive sound sources (e.g., explosions, gunshots, sonic booms, impact pile driving) are by definition intermittent, and produce signals that are brief (typically considered to be less than one second), broadband, atonal transients (ANSI 1986; Harris 1998; NIOSH 1998; ISO 2003; ANSI 2005) and occur either as isolated events or repeated in some succession. Impulsive sounds are all characterized by a relatively rapid rise from ambient pressure to a maximal pressure value followed by a rapid decay period that may include a period of diminishing, oscillating maximal and minimal pressures, and generally have an increased capacity to induce physical injury as compared with sounds that lack these features.

    Non-impulsive sounds can be tonal, narrowband, or broadband, brief or prolonged, and may be either continuous or intermittent (ANSI 1995; NIOSH 1998). Some of these non-impulsive sounds can be transient signals of short duration but without the essential properties of impulses (e.g., rapid rise time). Examples of non-impulsive sounds include those produced by vessels, aircraft, machinery operations such as drilling or dredging, vibratory pile driving, and active sonar systems. The duration of such sounds, as received at a distance, can be greatly extended in a highly reverberant environment.

    The use of explosives for two days of blasting, is considered an impulsive sound, which is characterized by a short duration, abrupt onset, and rapid decay. Exposure to high intensity sound may result in behavioral reactions and auditory effects such as a noise-induced threshold shift—an increase in the auditory threshold after exposure to noise (Finneran et al., 2005). The proposed project also includes the use of various low-level non-impulsive acoustic sources including dredging, that would consistently emit noise for an extended period of time (up to 45 days) and increase vessel traffic in the vicinity of a small harbor. The source levels as well as impacts from dredging and fill placement activities are sources with generally lower source levels than many other sources we consider and are not thought to be dissimilar to ambient noise levels in an area with sustained anthropogenic activity and vessel traffic, such as Statter Harbor, and may range from having the potential to cause Level B harassment to exposure to noise that does not result in harassment. Here, we make conservative assessments of the potential to harass marine mammals incidental to the project and, in the Estimated Take section, accordingly propose to authorize take, by Level B harassment only for some of these lesser known sources.

    Acoustic Impacts

    Anthropogenic sounds cover a broad range of frequencies and sound levels and can have a range of highly variable impacts on marine life, from none or minor to potentially severe responses, depending on received levels, duration of exposure, behavioral context, and various other factors. The potential effects of underwater sound from active acoustic sources can potentially result in one or more of the following; temporary or permanent hearing impairment, non-auditory physical or physiological effects, behavioral disturbance, stress, and masking (Richardson et al., 1995; Gordon et al., 2004; Nowacek et al., 2007; Southall et al., 2007; Gotz et al., 2009). The degree of effect is intrinsically related to the signal characteristics, received level, distance from the source, and duration of the sound exposure. In general, sudden, high level sounds can cause hearing loss, as can longer exposures to lower level sounds. Temporary or permanent loss of hearing will occur almost exclusively for noise within an animal's hearing range. We first describe specific manifestations of acoustic effects before providing discussion specific to the City of Juneau's construction activities.

    Richardson et al. (1995) described zones of increasing intensity of effect that might be expected to occur, in relation to distance from a source and assuming that the signal is within an animal's hearing range. First is the area within which the acoustic signal would be audible (potentially perceived) to the animal, but not strong enough to elicit any overt behavioral or physiological response. The next zone corresponds with the area where the signal is audible to the animal and of sufficient intensity to elicit behavioral or physiological responsiveness. Third is a zone within which, for signals of high intensity, the received level is sufficient to potentially cause discomfort or tissue damage to auditory or other systems. Overlaying these zones to a certain extent is the area within which masking (i.e., when a sound interferes with or masks the ability of an animal to detect a signal of interest that is above the absolute hearing threshold) may occur; the masking zone may be highly variable in size.

    We describe the more severe effects (i.e., permanent hearing impairment, certain non-auditory physical or physiological effects) only briefly as we do not expect that there is a reasonable likelihood that the City of Juneau's activities may result in such effects (see below for further discussion). Marine mammals exposed to high-intensity sound, or to lower-intensity sound for prolonged periods, can experience hearing threshold shift (TS), which is the loss of hearing sensitivity at certain frequency ranges (Kastak et al., 1999; Schlundt et al., 2000; Finneran et al., 2002, 2005b). TS can be permanent (PTS), in which case the loss of hearing sensitivity is not fully recoverable, or temporary (TTS), in which case the animal's hearing threshold would recover over time (Southall et al., 2007). Repeated sound exposure that leads to TTS could cause PTS. In severe cases of PTS, there can be total or partial deafness, while in most cases the animal has an impaired ability to hear sounds in specific frequency ranges (Kryter 1985).

    When PTS occurs, there is physical damage to the sound receptors in the ear (i.e., tissue damage), whereas TTS represents primarily tissue fatigue and is reversible (Southall et al., 2007). In addition, other investigators have suggested that TTS is within the normal bounds of physiological variability and tolerance and does not represent physical injury (e.g., Ward 1997). Therefore, NMFS does not consider TTS to constitute auditory injury.

    Relationships between TTS and PTS thresholds have not been studied in marine mammals—PTS data exists only for a single harbor seal (Kastak et al., 2008)—but are assumed to be similar to those in humans and other terrestrial mammals. PTS typically occurs at exposure levels at least several dB above that which induces mild TTS: a 40-dB threshold shift approximates PTS onset; e.g., Kryter et al., 1966; Miller, 1974), whereas a 6-dB threshold shift approximates TTS onset (e.g., Southall et al., 2007). Based on data from terrestrial mammals, a precautionary assumption is that the PTS thresholds for impulse sounds (such as bombs) are at least 6 dB higher than the TTS threshold on a peak-pressure basis and PTS cumulative sound exposure level thresholds are 15 to 20 dB higher than TTS cumulative sound exposure level thresholds (Southall et al., 2007). Given the higher level of sound or longer exposure duration necessary to cause PTS as compared with TTS, it is considerably less likely that PTS could occur.

    TTS is the mildest form of hearing impairment that can occur during exposure to sound (Kryter 1985). While experiencing TTS, the hearing threshold rises, and a sound must be at a higher level in order to be heard. In terrestrial and marine mammals, TTS can last from minutes or hours to days (in cases of strong TTS). In many cases, hearing sensitivity recovers rapidly after exposure to the sound ends. Few data on sound levels and durations necessary to elicit mild TTS have been obtained for marine mammals.

    Marine mammal hearing plays a critical role in communication with conspecifics, and interpretation of environmental cues for purposes such as predator avoidance and prey capture. Depending on the degree (elevation of threshold in dB), duration (i.e., recovery time), and frequency range of TTS, and the context in which it is experienced, TTS can have effects on marine mammals ranging from discountable to serious. For example, a marine mammal may be able to readily compensate for a brief, relatively small amount of TTS in a non-critical frequency range that occurs during a time where ambient noise is lower and there are not as many competing sounds present. Alternatively, a larger amount and longer duration of TTS sustained during a time when communication is critical for successful mother/calf interactions could have more serious impacts.

    Currently, TTS data only exist for four species of cetaceans (bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas), harbor porpoise, and Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocoena asiaeorientalis) and three species of pinnipeds (northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris), harbor seal, and California sea lion (Zalophus californianus)) exposed to a limited number of sound sources (i.e., mostly tones and octave-band noise) in laboratory settings (e.g., Finneran et al., 2002; Nachtigall et al., 2004; Kastak et al., 2005; Lucke et al., 2009; Popov et al., 2011). In general, harbor seals (Kastak et al., 2005; Kastelein et al., 2012a) and harbor porpoises (Lucke et al., 2009; Kastelein et al., 2012b) have a lower TTS onset than other measured pinniped or cetacean species. Additionally, the existing marine mammal TTS data come from a limited number of individuals within these species. There are no data available on noise-induced hearing loss for mysticetes. For summaries of data on TTS in marine mammals or for further discussion of TTS onset thresholds, please see Finneran (2015).

    Physiological Effects

    In addition to PTS and TTS, there is a potential for non-auditory physiological effects or injuries that theoretically might occur in marine mammals exposed to high level underwater sound or as a secondary effect of extreme behavioral reactions (e.g., change in dive profile as a result of an avoidance reaction) caused by exposure to sound. These impacts can include neurological effects, bubble formation, resonance effects, and other types of organ or tissue damage (Cox et al., 2006; Southall et al., 2007; Zimmer and Tyack 2007). The City of Juneau's activities involve the use of devices such as explosives, which has been associated with these types of effects. The underwater explosion will send a shock wave and blast noise through the water, release gaseous by-products, create an oscillating bubble, and cause a plume of water to shoot up from the water surface. The shock wave and blast noise are of most concern to marine animals. The effects of an underwater explosion on a marine mammal depends on many factors, including the size, type, and depth of both the animal and the explosive charge; the depth of the water column; and the standoff distance between the charge and the animal, as well as the sound propagation properties of the environment. Potential impacts can range from brief effects (such as behavioral disturbance), tactile perception, physical discomfort, slight injury of the internal organs and the auditory system, to death of the animal (Yelverton et al., 1973; DoN, 2001). Non-lethal injury includes slight injury to internal organs and the auditory system; however, delayed lethality can be a result of individual or cumulative sublethal injuries (DoN, 2001). Immediate lethal injury would be a result of massive combined trauma to internal organs as a direct result of proximity to the point of detonation (DoN 2001). Generally, the higher the level of impulse and pressure level exposure, the more severe the impact to an individual.

    Injuries resulting from a shock wave take place at boundaries between tissues of different density. Different velocities are imparted to tissues of different densities, and this can lead to their physical disruption. Blast effects are greatest at the gas-liquid interface (Landsberg 2000). Gas-containing organs, particularly the lungs and gastrointestinal (GI) tract, are especially susceptible (Goertner 1982; Hill 1978; Yelverton et al., 1973). In addition, gas-containing organs including the nasal sacs, larynx, pharynx, trachea, and lungs may be damaged by compression/expansion caused by the oscillations of the blast gas bubble. Intestinal walls can bruise or rupture, with subsequent hemorrhage and escape of gut contents into the body cavity. Less severe GI tract injuries include contusions, petechiae (small red or purple spots caused by bleeding in the skin), and slight hemorrhaging (Yelverton et al., 1973).

    Because the ears are the most sensitive to pressure, they are the organs most sensitive to injury (Ketten 2000). Sound-related damage associated with blast noise can be theoretically distinct from injury from the shock wave, particularly farther from the explosion. If an animal is able to hear a noise, at some level it can damage its hearing by causing decreased sensitivity (Ketten 1995). Sound-related trauma can be lethal or sublethal. Lethal impacts are those that result in immediate death or serious debilitation in or near an intense source and are not, technically, pure acoustic trauma (Ketten 1995). Sublethal impacts include hearing loss, which is caused by exposures to perceptible sounds. Severe damage (from the shock wave) to the ears includes tympanic membrane rupture, fracture of the ossicles, damage to the cochlea, hemorrhage, and cerebrospinal fluid leakage into the middle ear. Moderate injury implies partial hearing loss due to tympanic membrane rupture and blood in the middle ear. Permanent hearing loss also can occur when the hair cells are damaged by one very loud event, as well as by prolonged exposure to a loud noise or chronic exposure to noise. The level of impact from blasts depends on both an animal's location and, at outer zones, on its sensitivity to the residual noise (Ketten 1995).

    The above discussion concerning underwater explosions only pertains to open water detonations in a free field without mitigation. Therefore, given the low weight of the charges and small size of the detonation relative to large open water detonations in conjunction with monitoring and mitigation measures discussed below, The City of Juneau's two blasting events are not likely to have injury or mortality effects on marine mammals in the project vicinity. Instead, NMFS considers that The City of Juneau 's blasts are most likely to cause behavioral harassment and may cause TTS in a few individual marine mammals, as discussed below.

    Behavioral Effects

    Behavioral disturbance may include a variety of effects, including subtle changes in behavior (e.g., minor or brief avoidance of an area or changes in vocalizations), more conspicuous changes in similar behavioral activities, and more sustained and/or potentially severe reactions, such as displacement from or abandonment of high-quality habitat. Behavioral responses to sound are highly variable and context-specific and any reactions depend on numerous intrinsic and extrinsic factors (e.g., species, state of maturity, experience, current activity, reproductive state, auditory sensitivity, time of day), as well as the interplay between factors (e.g., Richardson et al., 1995; Wartzok et al., 2003; Southall et al., 2007; Weilgart, 2007; Archer et al., 2010). Behavioral reactions can vary not only among individuals but also within an individual, depending on previous experience with a sound source, context, and numerous other factors (Ellison et al., 2012), and can vary depending on characteristics associated with the sound source (e.g., whether it is moving or stationary, number of sources, distance from the source). Please see Appendices B-C of Southall et al. (2007) for a review of studies involving marine mammal behavioral responses to sound.

    Habituation can occur when an animal's response to a stimulus wanes with repeated exposure, usually in the absence of unpleasant associated events (Wartzok et al., 2003). Animals are most likely to habituate to sounds that are predictable and unvarying. It is important to note that habituation is appropriately considered as a “progressive reduction in response to stimuli that are perceived as neither aversive nor beneficial,” rather than as, more generally, moderation in response to human disturbance (Bejder et al., 2009). The opposite process is sensitization, when an unpleasant experience leads to subsequent responses, often in the form of avoidance, at a lower level of exposure. As noted, behavioral state may affect the type of response. For example, animals that are resting may show greater behavioral change in response to disturbing sound levels than animals that are highly motivated to remain in an area for feeding (Richardson et al., 1995; NRC 2003; Wartzok et al., 2003). Controlled experiments with captive marine mammals have showed pronounced behavioral reactions, including avoidance of loud sound sources (Ridgway et al., 1997; Finneran et al., 2003). Observed responses of wild marine mammals to loud, intermittent sound sources (typically seismic airguns or acoustic harassment devices) have been varied but often consist of avoidance behavior or other behavioral changes suggesting discomfort (Morton and Symonds 2002; see also Richardson et al., 1995; Nowacek et al., 2007).

    Available studies show wide variation in response to underwater sound; therefore, it is difficult to predict specifically how any given sound in a particular instance might affect marine mammals perceiving the signal. If a marine mammal does react briefly to an underwater sound by changing its behavior or moving a small distance, the impacts of the change are unlikely to be significant to the individual, let alone the stock or population. However, if a sound source displaces marine mammals from an important feeding or breeding area for a prolonged period, impacts on individuals and populations could be significant (e.g., Lusseau and Bejder 2007; Weilgart 2007; NRC 2005). This highlights the importance of assessing the context of the acoustic effects alongside the received levels anticipated. Severity of effects from a response to an acoustic stimuli can likely vary based on the context in which the stimuli was received, particularly if it occurred during a biologically sensitive temporal or spatial point in the life history of the animal. There are broad categories of potential response, which we describe in greater detail here, that include alteration of dive behavior, alteration of foraging behavior, effects to breathing, interference with or alteration of vocalization, avoidance, and flight.

    Changes in dive behavior can vary widely, and may consist of increased or decreased dive times and surface intervals as well as changes in the rates of ascent and descent during a dive (e.g., Frankel and Clark 2000; Costa et al., 2003; Ng and Leung 2003; Nowacek et al., 2004; Goldbogen et al., 2013a,b). Variations in dive behavior may reflect interruptions in biologically significant activities (e.g., foraging) or they may be of little biological significance. The impact of an alteration to dive behavior resulting from an acoustic exposure depends on what the animal is doing at the time of the exposure and the type and magnitude of the response.

    Disruption of feeding behavior can be difficult to correlate with anthropogenic sound exposure, so it is usually inferred by observed displacement from known foraging areas, the appearance of secondary indicators (e.g., bubble nets or sediment plumes), or changes in dive behavior. As for other types of behavioral response, the frequency, duration, and temporal pattern of signal presentation, as well as differences in species sensitivity, are likely contributing factors to differences in response in any given circumstance (e.g., Croll et al., 2001; Nowacek et al., 2004; Madsen et al., 2006; Yazvenko et al., 2007). A determination of whether foraging disruptions incur fitness consequences would require information on or estimates of the energetic requirements of the affected individuals and the relationship between prey availability, foraging effort and success, and the life history stage of the animal.

    Variations in respiration naturally vary with different behaviors and alterations to breathing rate as a function of acoustic exposure can be expected to co-occur with other behavioral reactions, such as a flight response or an alteration in diving. However, respiration rates in and of themselves may be representative of annoyance or an acute stress response. Various studies have shown that respiration rates may either be unaffected or could increase, depending on the species and signal characteristics, again highlighting the importance in understanding species differences in the tolerance of underwater noise when determining the potential for impacts resulting from anthropogenic sound exposure (e.g., Kastelein et al., 2001, 2005b, 2006; Gailey et al., 2007).

    Marine mammals vocalize for different purposes and across multiple modes, such as whistling, echolocation click production, calling, and singing. Changes in vocalization behavior in response to anthropogenic noise can occur for any of these modes and may result from a need to compete with an increase in background noise or may reflect increased vigilance or a startle response. For example, in the presence of potentially masking signals, humpback whales and killer whales have been observed to increase the length of their songs (Miller et al., 2000; Fristrup et al., 2003; Foote et al., 2004), while right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) have been observed to shift the frequency content of their calls upward while reducing the rate of calling in areas of increased anthropogenic noise (Parks et al., 2007b). In some cases, animals may cease sound production during production of aversive signals (Bowles et al., 1994).

    Avoidance is the displacement of an individual from an area or migration path because of the presence of a sound or other stressors, and is one of the most obvious manifestations of disturbance in marine mammals (Richardson et al., 1995). For example, gray whales (Eschrictius robustus) are known to change direction—deflecting from customary migratory paths—in order to avoid noise from seismic surveys (Malme et al., 1984). Avoidance may be short-term, with animals returning to the area once the noise has ceased (e.g., Bowles et al., 1994; Goold, 1996; Stone et al., 2000; Morton and Symonds, 2002; Gailey et al., 2007). Longer-term displacement is possible, however, which may lead to changes in abundance or distribution patterns of the affected species in the affected region if habituation to the presence of the sound does not occur (e.g., Blackwell et al., 2004; Bejder et al., 2006; Teilmann et al., 2006).

    A flight response is a dramatic change in normal movement to a directed and rapid movement away from the perceived location of a sound source. The flight response differs from other avoidance responses in the intensity of the response (e.g., directed movement, rate of travel). Relatively little information on flight responses of marine mammals to anthropogenic signals exist, although observations of flight responses to the presence of predators have occurred (Connor and Heithaus 1996). The result of a flight response could range from brief, temporary exertion and displacement from the area where the signal provokes flight to, in extreme cases, marine mammal strandings (Evans and England 2001). However, it should be noted that response to a perceived predator does not necessarily invoke flight (Ford and Reeves 2008), and whether individuals are solitary or in groups may influence the response.

    Behavioral disturbance can also impact marine mammals in more subtle ways. Increased vigilance may result in costs related to diversion of focus and attention (i.e., when a response consists of increased vigilance, it may come at the cost of decreased attention to other critical behaviors such as foraging or resting). These effects have generally not been demonstrated for marine mammals, but studies involving fish and terrestrial animals have shown that increased vigilance may substantially reduce feeding rates (e.g., Beauchamp and Livoreil 1997; Fritz et al., 2002; Purser and Radford 2011). In addition, chronic disturbance can cause population declines through reduction of fitness (e.g., decline in body condition) and subsequent reduction in reproductive success, survival, or both (e.g., Harrington and Veitch, 1992; Daan et al., 1996; Bradshaw et al., 1998). However, Ridgway et al. (2006) reported that increased vigilance in bottlenose dolphins exposed to sound over a five-day period did not cause any sleep deprivation or stress effects.

    Many animals perform vital functions, such as feeding, resting, traveling, and socializing, on a diel cycle (24-hour cycle). Disruption of such functions resulting from reactions to stressors such as sound exposure are more likely to be significant if they last more than one diel cycle or recur on subsequent days (Southall et al., 2007). Consequently, a behavioral response lasting less than one day and not recurring on subsequent days is not considered particularly severe unless it could directly affect reproduction or survival (Southall et al., 2007). Note that there is a difference between multi-day substantive behavioral reactions and multi-day anthropogenic activities. For example, just because an activity lasts for multiple days does not necessarily mean that individual animals are either exposed to activity-related stressors for multiple days or, further, exposed in a manner resulting in sustained multi-day substantive behavioral responses.

    Stress Response

    An animal's perception of a threat may be sufficient to trigger stress responses consisting of some combination of behavioral responses, autonomic nervous system responses, neuroendocrine responses, or immune responses (e.g., Seyle 1950; Moberg 2000). In many cases, an animal's first and sometimes most economical (in terms of energetic costs) response is behavioral avoidance of the potential stressor. Autonomic nervous system responses to stress typically involve changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and gastrointestinal activity. These responses have a relatively short duration and may or may not have a significant long-term effect on an animal's fitness.

    Neuroendocrine stress responses often involve the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal system. Virtually all neuroendocrine functions that are affected by stress—including immune competence, reproduction, metabolism, and behavior—are regulated by pituitary hormones. Stress-induced changes in the secretion of pituitary hormones have been implicated in failed reproduction, altered metabolism, reduced immune competence, and behavioral disturbance (e.g., Moberg 1987; Blecha 2000). Increases in the circulation of glucocorticoids are also equated with stress (Romano et al., 2004).

    The primary distinction between stress (which is adaptive and does not normally place an animal at risk) and “distress” is the cost of the response. During a stress response, an animal uses glycogen stores that can be quickly replenished once the stress is alleviated. In such circumstances, the cost of the stress response would not pose serious fitness consequences. However, when an animal does not have sufficient energy reserves to satisfy the energetic costs of a stress response, energy resources must be diverted from other functions. This state of distress will last until the animal replenishes its energetic reserves sufficient to restore normal function.

    Relationships between these physiological mechanisms, animal behavior, and the costs of stress responses are well studied through controlled experiments and for both laboratory and free-ranging animals (e.g., Holberton et al., 1996; Hood et al., 1998; Jessop et al., 2003; Krausman et al., 2004; Lankford et al., 2005). Stress responses due to exposure to anthropogenic sounds or other stressors and their effects on marine mammals have also been reviewed (Fair and Becker 2000; Romano et al., 2002b) and, more rarely, studied in wild populations (e.g., Romano et al., 2002a). For example, Rolland et al. (2012) found that noise reduction from reduced ship traffic in the Bay of Fundy was associated with decreased stress in North Atlantic right whales. These and other studies lead to a reasonable expectation that some marine mammals will experience physiological stress responses upon exposure to acoustic stressors and that it is possible that some of these would be classified as “distress.” In addition, any animal experiencing TTS would likely also experience stress responses (NRC, 2003).

    Acoustic Effects, Underwater

    The effects of sounds from The City of Juneau's proposed activities might include one or more of the following: Temporary or permanent hearing impairment, non-auditory physical or physiological effects, behavioral disturbance, and masking (Richardson et al., 1995; Gordon et al., 2003; Nowacek et al., 2007; Southall et al., 2007). The effects of pile removal or dredging on marine mammals are dependent on several factors, including the type and depth of the animal; the pile size and type, and the intensity and duration of the pile removal or dredging sound; the substrate; the standoff distance between the pile and the animal; and the sound propagation properties of the environment. Impacts to marine mammals from pile removal and dredging activities are expected to result primarily from acoustic pathways. As such, the degree of effect is intrinsically related to the frequency, received level, and duration of the sound exposure, which are in turn influenced by the distance between the animal and the source. The further away from the source, the less intense the exposure should be. The substrate and depth of the habitat affect the sound propagation properties of the environment. The characteristics of dredging noise are such that there is a clear impulse peak, from the impact of the dredge making contact with the substrate, but then there is a prolonged period of sound which is the noise of the continual operation of the dredge delving the sediment. As such, we have chosen to consider the characteristics noise as a continuous source despite the impulse at the beginning of the waveform characterizing dredging noise. In addition, substrates that are soft (e.g., sand) would absorb or attenuate the sound more readily than hard substrates (e.g., rock), which may reflect the acoustic wave. Soft porous substrates would also likely require less time to extract the pile or dredge the substrate, and possibly less forceful equipment, which would ultimately decrease the intensity of the acoustic source.

    In the absence of mitigation, impacts to marine species could be expected to include physiological and behavioral responses to the acoustic signature (Viada et al., 2008). Potential effects from impulsive sound sources like blasting can range in severity from effects such as behavioral disturbance to temporary or permanent hearing impairment (Yelverton et al., 1973). Due to the nature of the sounds involved in the project, behavioral disturbance is the most likely effect from the proposed activity. Marine mammals exposed to high intensity sound repeatedly or for prolonged periods can experience hearing threshold shifts. PTS constitutes injury, but TTS does not (Southall et al., 2007). Due to the use mitigation measures discussed in detail in the Proposed Mitigation Section, it is unlikely but possible that PTS could occur from blasting.

    Disturbance Reactions

    Responses to continuous sound, such as vibratory pile installation, have not been documented as well as responses to intermittent sounds. With pile removal as well as dredging activities, it is likely that the onset of sound sources could result in temporary, short-term changes in an animal's typical behavior and/or avoidance of the affected area. These behavioral changes may include (Richardson et al., 1995): Changing durations of surfacing and dives, number of blows per surfacing, or moving direction and/or speed; reduced/increased vocal activities; changing/cessation of certain behavioral activities (such as socializing or feeding); visible startle response or aggressive behavior (such as tail/fluke slapping or jaw clapping); avoidance of areas where sound sources are located; and/or flight responses (e.g., pinnipeds flushing into water from haulouts or rookeries). Pinnipeds may increase their haul out time, possibly to avoid in-water disturbance (Thorson and Reyff 2006). If a marine mammal responds to a stimulus by changing its behavior (e.g., through relatively minor changes in locomotion direction/speed or vocalization behavior), the response may or may not constitute taking at the individual level, and is unlikely to affect the stock or the species as a whole. However, if a sound source displaces marine mammals from an important feeding or breeding area for a prolonged period, impacts on animals, and if so potentially on the stock or species, could potentially be significant (e.g., Lusseau and Bejder 2007; Weilgart 2007).

    The biological significance of many of these behavioral disturbances is difficult to predict, especially if the detected disturbances appear minor. However, the consequences of behavioral modification could be biologically significant if the change affects growth, survival, or reproduction. Significant behavioral modifications that could potentially lead to effects on growth, survival, or reproduction include:

    • Drastic changes in diving/surfacing patterns (such as those thought to cause beaked whale stranding due to exposure to military mid-frequency tactical sonar);

    • Longer-term habitat abandonment due to loss of desirable acoustic environment; and

    • Longer-term cessation of feeding or social interaction.

    The onset of behavioral disturbance from anthropogenic sound depends on both external factors (characteristics of sound sources and their paths) and the specific characteristics of the receiving animals (hearing, motivation, experience, demography) and is difficult to predict (Southall et al., 2007).

    Auditory Masking

    Sound can disrupt behavior through masking, or interfering with, an animal's ability to detect, recognize, or discriminate between acoustic signals of interest (e.g., those used for intraspecific communication and social interactions, prey detection, predator avoidance, navigation) (Richardson et al., 1995). Masking occurs when the receipt of a sound is interfered with by another coincident sound at similar frequencies and at similar or higher intensity, and may occur whether the sound is natural (e.g., snapping shrimp, wind, waves, precipitation) or anthropogenic (e.g., shipping, sonar, seismic exploration) in origin. The ability of a noise source to mask biologically important sounds depends on the characteristics of both the noise source and the signal of interest (e.g., signal-to-noise ratio, temporal variability, direction), in relation to each other and to an animal's hearing abilities (e.g., sensitivity, frequency range, critical ratios, frequency discrimination, directional discrimination, age or TTS hearing loss), and existing ambient noise and propagation conditions.

    Under certain circumstances, marine mammals experiencing significant masking could also be impaired from maximizing their performance fitness in survival and reproduction. Therefore, when the coincident (masking) sound is man-made, it may be considered harassment when disrupting or altering critical behaviors. It is important to distinguish TTS and PTS, which persist after the sound exposure, from masking, which occurs during the sound exposure. Because masking (without resulting in TS) is not associated with abnormal physiological function, it is not considered a physiological effect, but rather a potential behavioral effect.

    The frequency range of the potentially masking sound is important in determining any potential impacts. For example, low-frequency signals may have less effect on high-frequency echolocation sounds produced by odontocetes but are more likely to affect detection of mysticete communication calls and other potentially important natural sounds such as those produced by surf and some prey species. The masking of communication signals by anthropogenic noise may be considered as a reduction in the communication space of animals (e.g., Clark et al., 2009) and may result in energetic or other costs as animals change their vocalization behavior (e.g., Miller et al., 2000; Foote et al., 2004; Parks et al., 2007b; Di Iorio and Clark 2009; Holt et al., 2009). Masking can be reduced in situations where the signal and noise come from different directions (Richardson et al., 1995), through amplitude modulation of the signal, or through other compensatory behaviors (Houser and Moore 2014). Masking can be tested directly in captive species (e.g., Erbe 2008), but in wild populations it must be either modeled or inferred from evidence of masking compensation. There are few studies addressing real-world masking sounds likely to be experienced by marine mammals in the wild (e.g., Branstetter et al., 2013).

    Masking affects both senders and receivers of acoustic signals and can potentially have long-term chronic effects on marine mammals at the population level as well as at the individual level. Low-frequency ambient sound levels have increased by as much as 20 dB (more than three times in terms of SPL) in the world's ocean from pre-industrial periods, with most of the increase from distant commercial shipping (Hildebrand 2009). All anthropogenic sound sources, but especially chronic and lower-frequency signals (e.g., from vessel traffic), contribute to elevated ambient sound levels, thus intensifying masking.

    Anticipated Effects on Habitat

    The proposed activities at the project area would not result in permanent negative impacts to habitats used directly by marine mammals, but may have potential short-term impacts to food sources such as forage fish and may affect acoustic habitat. There are no known foraging hotspots or other ocean bottom structure of significant biological importance to marine mammals present in the marine waters of the project area during the construction window other than the occurrence of the foraging BIA for humpback whales. While humpbacks are known to feed in Statter Harbor, this is a small portion of the overall area designated as important. The small portion of the BIA affected by the construction noise, in conjunction with the short temporal scale of construction activity (57 days, only in daylight hours) make it unlikely the effects of the construction will significantly alter the foraging habitat of humpbacks in southeast Alaska. Therefore, the main impact issue associated with the proposed activity would be temporarily elevated sound levels and the associated direct effects on marine mammals, as discussed previously in this document. The primary potential acoustic impacts to marine mammal habitat are associated with elevated sound levels produced by pile removal, dredging, and blasting in the area. However, other potential impacts to the surrounding habitat from physical disturbance are also possible.

    In-Water Construction Effects on Potential Prey (Fish)

    Construction activities would produce continuous (i.e., vibratory pile removal and dredging) and pulsed (blasting) sounds. Fish react to sounds that are especially strong and/or intermittent low-frequency sounds. Short duration, sharp sounds can cause overt or subtle changes in fish behavior and local distribution. Hastings and Popper (2005) identified several studies that suggest fish may relocate to avoid certain areas of sound energy. Additional studies have documented effects of impulsive sounds such as pile driving on fish, although several are based on studies in support of large, multiyear bridge construction projects (e.g., Scholik and Yan 2001, 2002; Popper and Hastings 2009). Sound pulses at received levels of 160 dB may cause subtle changes in fish behavior. SPLs of 180 dB may cause noticeable changes in behavior (Pearson et al., 1992; Skalski et al., 1992). SPLs of sufficient strength have been known to cause injury to fish and fish mortality.

    The most likely impact to fish from pile removal and dredging activities at the project area would be temporary behavioral avoidance of the area. The duration of fish avoidance of this area after pile driving stops is unknown, but a rapid return to normal recruitment, distribution and behavior is anticipated. While impacts from blasting to fish are more severe, including barotrauma and mortality, the blast will last approximately one second on each of two days, making the duration of this impact short term. In general, impacts to marine mammal prey species are expected to be minor and temporary due to the short timeframe for the project.

    Effects on Potential Foraging Habitat

    The area likely impacted by the project is relatively small compared to the available habitat in Auke Bay (e.g., most of the impacted area is limited near the northwest corner of the bay). Avoidance by potential prey (i.e., fish) of the immediate area due to the temporary loss of this foraging habitat is also possible. The duration of fish avoidance of this area after construction activity stops is unknown, but a rapid return to normal recruitment, distribution and behavior is anticipated. Any behavioral avoidance by fish of the disturbed area would still leave significantly large areas of fish and marine mammal foraging habitat in the nearby vicinity in Auke Bay.

    The duration of the construction activities is relatively short. The construction window is for a maximum of 57 days and each day, construction activities would occur for less than half of the day. Impacts to habitat and prey are expected to be minimal based on the short duration of activities.

    In summary, given the short daily duration of sound associated with individual construction activities and the relatively small areas being affected, the proposed actions are not likely to have a permanent, adverse effect on any fish habitat, or populations of fish species. Thus, any impacts to marine mammal habitat are not expected to cause significant or long-term consequences for individual marine mammals or their populations.

    Estimated Take

    This section provides an estimate of the number of incidental takes proposed for authorization through this IHA, which will inform both NMFS' consideration of “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, section 3(18) of the MMPA defines “harassment” as: Any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A harassment); or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering (Level B harassment).

    Authorized takes would primarily be by Level B harassment, as use of the explosives, vibratory pile removal, and dredging has the potential to result in disruption of behavioral patterns for individual marine mammals. There is also some potential for auditory injury and (Level A harassment) to result from blasting, primarily for high frequency species and phocids because predicted auditory injury zones are larger than for low-frequency species and otariids. The proposed mitigation and monitoring measures are expected to minimize the severity of such taking to the extent practicable.

    As described previously, no mortality is anticipated or proposed to be authorized for this activity. Below we describe how the take is estimated.

    Generally speaking, 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. We note that while these basic factors can contribute to a basic calculation to provide an initial prediction of takes, additional information that can qualitatively inform take estimates is also sometimes available (e.g., previous monitoring results or average group size). Below, we describe the factors considered here in more detail and present the proposed take estimate.

    Acoustic Thresholds

    Using the best available science, NMFS has developed 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). Thresholds have also been developed to identify the pressure levels above which animals may incur different types of tissue damage from exposure to pressure waves from explosive detonation.

    Level B Harassment for non-explosive sources—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 source (e.g., frequency, predictability, duty cycle), the environment (e.g., bathymetry), and the receiving animals (hearing, motivation, experience, demography, behavioral context) and can be difficult to predict (Southall et al., 2007, Ellison et al., 2012). Based on what the available science indicates and the practical need to use a threshold based on a factor that is both predictable and measurable for most activities, NMFS uses a generalized acoustic threshold based on received level to estimate the onset of behavioral harassment. This threshold is not applied to single detonations as the sound is instantaneous in nature such that a behavioral harassment is not expected to result, although TTS may occur. NMFS predicts that marine mammals are likely to be behaviorally harassed in a manner we consider Level B harassment when exposed to underwater anthropogenic noise above received levels of 120 dB re 1 μPa (rms) for continuous (e.g., vibratory pile-driving, drilling) and above 160 dB re 1 μPa (rms) for intermittent (e.g., impact pile driving) sources.

    The City of Juneau's proposed activity includes the use of continuous sounds (vibratory pile removal, dredging) and therefore the 120 dB re 1 μPa (rms) threshold for behavioral harassment is applicable. While the proposed activity also includes impulsive sounds (blasting), the 160 dB re 1 1 μPa (rms) threshold for behavioral harassment is not applicable, as behavioral harassment is not expected from single detonation events, although TTS is possible.

    Level A harassment for non-explosive sources—NMFS' Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing (Version 2.0) (Technical Guidance, 2018) 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 City of Juneau's proposed activity includes the use non-impulsive (dredging, vibratory pile removal) sources.

    These thresholds are provided in the table below. The references, analysis, and methodology used in the development of the thresholds are described in NMFS 2018 Technical Guidance, which may be accessed at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/acoustics/guidelines.htm.

    Table 2—Thresholds Identifying the Onset of Permanent Threshold Shift Hearing group PTS onset acoustic thresholds * Impulsive Non-impulsive Low-Frequency (LF) Cetaceans Cell 1: L pk,flat: 219 dB; L E,LF,24h: 183 dB Cell 2: L E,LF,24h: 199 dB. Mid-Frequency (MF) Cetaceans Cell 3: L pk,flat: 230 dB; L E,MF,24h: 185 dB Cell 4: L E,MF,24h: 198 dB. High-Frequency (HF) Cetaceans Cell 5: L pk,flat: 202 dB; L E,HF,24h: 155 dB Cell 6: L E,HF,24h: 173 dB. Phocid Pinnipeds (PW) (Underwater) Cell 7: L pk,flat: 218 dB; L E,PW,24h: 185 dB Cell 8: L E,PW,24h: 201 dB. Otariid Pinnipeds (OW) (Underwater) Cell 9: L pk,flat: 232 dB; L E,OW,24h: 203 dB Cell 10: L E,OW,24h: 219 dB. * 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 (L pk) has a reference value of 1μPa, and cumulative sound exposure (L E) 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.

    Explosive sources—Based on the best available science, NMFS uses the acoustic and pressure thresholds indicated in Table 3 to predict the onset of behavioral harassment, PTS, tissue damage, and mortality.

    EN17OC18.026 Ensonified Area

    Here, we describe operational and environmental parameters of the activity that will feed into identifying the area ensonified above the acoustic thresholds, which include source levels and transmission loss coefficient.

    Vibratory removal—The closest known measurements of vibratory pile removal similar to this project are from the Kake Ferry Terminal project for vibratory extraction of an 18-in steel pile. The extraction of 18-in steel pipe pile using a vibratory hammer resulted in underwater noise levels reaching 156.2 dB RMS at 7 m (Denes et al. 2016). The pile diameters for the proposed project are smaller, thus the use of noise levels associated with the pile extraction at Kake may be somewhat conservative. For timber pile removal, the Seattle Pier 62/63 sound source verification report contains an appendix with source measurements at different distances for 63 individual pile removals (WSDOT, 2015). When the data are normalized to 10 m, the median source level is 152 dB RMS at 10 m.

    Dredging—For dredging, sound source data was used from bucket dredging operations in Cook Inlet, Alaska (Dickerson et al. 2001). Dredging in that project consisted of six distinct events, including the bucket striking the channel bottom, bucket digging, winch in/out as the bucket is lowered/raised, dumping of the material on the barge and emptying the barge at the disposal site. Although the waveform of the bucket strike has a high peak sound pressure with rapid rise time and rapid decay (characteristics typical of an impulsive sound source), the duration of the source signal was longer than what is often considered for an impulsive sound source, about 50 seconds, which is the approximate duration of one continuous noise signal from the dredging equipment. The events following the initial waveform impulse were of longer duration and were non-impulsive in form and therefore dredging was analyzed as a continuous source. Dickerson et al (2001) took 104 SPL RMS measurements for the first five distinct phases of the dredging cycle and averaged them, including the impulse in the waveform of the dredge making contact with the substrate. These averages were distance corrected to determine an average SPL of 150.5 dB RMS at 1 m for the bucket dredging process, with an assumed maximum duration of up to 50 seconds, of non-impulsive, continuous noise.

    Blasting—Historic data from an analog project were analyzed to create a conservative attenuation model for anticipated pressure levels from confined blasting in drilled shafts in underwater bedrock. Sound pressure data from the analog project was analyzed to compare source pressure levels to received impulse levels (Alaska Seismic, 2018). These models were used to predict distances to the peak level and impulse thresholds summarized above in Table 3. Cumulative source levels from the analog project were used in conjunction with the NMFS 2018 updated User Spreadsheet Tool for predicting threshold shift isopleths for multiple detonations, after being corrected to a 1-m reference source level. The median of 10 measurements, consisting of detonations ranging from 19 to 78 individual holes for the detonation, resulted in a source level of 227.98 dB single shot SEL.

    When the NMFS Technical Guidance (2016) was published, in recognition of the fact that ensonified area/volume could be more technically challenging to predict because of the duration component in the new thresholds, NMFS developed a User Spreadsheet that includes tools to help predict a simple isopleth that can be used in conjunction with marine mammal density or occurrence to help predict takes. We note that because of some of the assumptions included in the methods used for these tools, we anticipate that isopleths produced are typically going to be overestimates of some degree, which may result in some degree of overestimate of Level A harassment take. However, these tools offer the best way to predict appropriate isopleths when more sophisticated 3D modeling methods are not available, and NMFS continues to develop ways to quantitatively refine these tools, and will qualitatively address the output where appropriate. For stationary sources, the NMFS User Spreadsheet predicts the closest distance at which, if a marine mammal remained at that distance the whole duration of the activity, it would not incur PTS. Inputs used in the User Spreadsheet, and the resulting isopleths are reported below.

    Table 4—NMFS User Spreadsheet Inputs Spreadsheet tab used Timber removal A.1:
  • Vibratory
  • pile driving
  • Steel removal A.1:
  • Vibratory
  • pile driving
  • Dredging A:
  • Stationary:
  • non-impulsive,
  • continuous
  • Blasting E.2:
  • Explosives:
  • impulsive,
  • intermittent
  • (multiple
  • detonations)
  • Source Level (Single Strike/shot SEL) 227.975 Source Level (RMS SPL) 152 156.2 150.5 Weighting Factor Adjustment (kHz) 2.5 2.5 2 1 (a) Number of strikes/detonations in 1 h 1 (a) Activity Duration (h) within 24-h period 11 1 Propagation (xLogR) 15 15 15 20 Distance of source level measurement (m) + 10 7 1 # of piles/shots in a 24 h period 16 4 1 Duration to drive (remove) a single pile (min) 20 20

    When using the inputs from Table 4, the outputs generated are summarized below in Table 5.

    Table 5—NMFS User Spreadsheet Generated Outputs [User Spreadsheet Output] Source type PTS Isopleth (meters) Low-frequency
  • cetaceans
  • High-frequency
  • cetaceans
  • Phocid
  • pinnipeds
  • Otariid
  • pinnipeds
  • Timber removal 5.2 7.7 3.2 0.2 Steel Removal 2.8 4.1 1.7 0.1 Dredging 0.7 0.6 0.4 0.0 Blasting (SELcum) * 176 59.1 71.4 10.1 Blasting (PK) * 22.1 156.5 24.8 4.9 TTS Isopleth (meters) Blasting (SEL cum) * 989.8 332.3 401.7 56.9 Blasting (PK) * 44.1 312.2 49.5 9.9 Level B Behavioral Harassment Isopleth (meters) Timber removal 1359.36 Steel removal 1813.14 Dredging 107.98 * Impulsive sounds have a dual metric threshold (SELcum and PK). Metric producing the largest isopleth should be used.
    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. Reliable densities are not available for Statter Harbor or the Auke Bay area. Generalized densities for the North Pacific would not be applicable given the high variability in occurrence and density at specific inlets and harbors. Therefore, the applicant consulted opportunistic sightings data from oceanographic surveys in Auke Bay and sightings from Auke Bay Marine Station observation pier for this specific harbor to arrive at a number of animals expected to occur within the harbor per day. For humpback whales, it is assumed that a maximum of two animals per day are likely to be seen in the harbor. For Steller sea lions, the potential maximum daily occurrence of animals is 121 individuals within the harbor. For harbor seals, the maximum daily occurrence of animals is 52 individuals.

    Take Calculation and Estimation

    Here we describe how the information provided above is brought together to produce a quantitative take estimate.

    Because reliable densities are not available, the applicant requests take based on the above mentioned maximum number of animals that may occur in the harbor per day multiplied by the number of days of the activity. The applicant varied these calculations based on certain factors.

    Humpback whale—Based on the size of the harassment zone for dredging, in combination with the Proposed Mitigation outlined below, the applicant does not expect humpback whales to approach the dredging vessel and therefore is not requesting take of humpback whales from dredging. Because of the nature of blasting, there is no behavioral threshold associated with the activity, but TTS, which is a form of Level B harassment take, may occur. With a maximum take of two animals per day, multiplied by a maximum of 10 days of pile removal and two days of blasting (TTS), the applicant requests authorization of 24 Level B harassment takes of humpback whale.

    Steller sea lion—It is estimated that a maximum of 121 Steller sea lions may be seen in Statter Harbor within one day. A maximum take of 121 animals per day for 10 days of pile removal is 1,210 Steller sea lions. Given the size of the Level B zone for dredging (108 m), it is possible Steller sea lions may approach the source vessel. However, given the small size of the zone, the applicant reduced the number of animals expected to be taken daily from dredging by 50 percent, to 60 Steller sea lions daily. A maximum of 60 takes per day for 45 days of dredging is 2,700 takes of Steller sea lion. For blasting, which is confined to the inner harbor, the TTS zone (57 m) is even smaller than the size of the dredging zone. Therefore, if the same maximum of 60 Stellers is assumed to be within the zone for two days of blasting, the result is a potential take of 120 Steller sea lions. No more than 20 of those Steller sea lions are assumed to be within range of the PTS blasting isopleths, with the remaining 100 takes potentially occurring in the TTS isopleth. While it is conservative to assume 20 Steller sea lions may occur within 10 meters of the blast source, they are regularly seen in the area and the explosives need to be detonated within a certain number of hours after being planted. It is possible that Stellers could approach the source and the detonation could no longer be delayed, exposing Steller sea lions to sound levels that may induce PTS. This adds to a total of 4,030 takes of Steller sea lion.

    Harbor seal—The largest known group size to occur in Statter Harbor is 52 individuals, which is the maximum number of takes per day used in the take estimation section for harbor seals. For 10 days of pile removal, using an assumed rate of 52 individuals per day, the potential take of harbor seals is 520. For 45 days of dredging, the estimated daily take was reduced by half due to the small size of the isopleth, resulting in an estimate of 1,170 takes. For blasting, it is assumed no more than 11 harbor seals would enter the inner harbor on a given day and therefore could occur within 71 meters of the blasting source. This results in a potential 22 Level A harassment takes of harbor seal due to blasting across two days. For the TTS blasting zone, which is 400 meters, 52 harbor seals could occur in the harbor area and were used to estimate a potential 104 TTS takes of harbor seal across two days of blasting. Summed together, this would result in 1,186 takes of harbor seal.

    Harbor porpoise—Very little is known about likelihood of occurrence of harbor porpoise in Statter Harbor but, as noted previously, they are rarely observed in the area and we assume that may occur, while their cryptic nature makes it difficult to mitigate all potential for take. If it is assumed one pair could be sighted per day for 10 days of pile removal, this would result in potential take of 20 harbor porpoise. If the same methodology is applied, assuming a pair per two days on 45 days of dredging because of the infrequency of harbor porpoise and the size of the isopleth, this would result in take of 44 estimated harbor porpoise. For two days of blasting, it is assumed two harbor porpoise may occur each day in the TTS zone, for four total TTS takes, and one pair on each day may appear in the PTS zone, resulting in four Level A harassment takes of harbor porpoise.

    The total number of takes proposed are summarized in Table 6 below.

    Table 6—Takes Proposed to be Authorized Takes from
  • pile removal
  • Takes from
  • dredging
  • TTS takes
  • from blasting
  • PTS takes
  • from blasting
  • Total level B
  • harassment
  • takes
  • Total level A
  • harassment
  • takes
  • Humpback whale 20 0 4 0 24 0 Steller sea lion 1,210 2,700 100 20 4,010 20 Harbor seal 520 1,170 104 22 1,794 22 Harbor porpoise 20 44 4 4 68 4
    Proposed Mitigation

    In order to issue an IHA under Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA, NMFS must set forth the permissible methods of taking pursuant to such activity, and other means of effecting the least practicable impact on such species or stock and its habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on the availability of such species or stock for taking for certain subsistence uses (latter not applicable for this action). NMFS regulations require applicants for incidental take authorizations to include information about the availability and feasibility (economic and technological) of equipment, methods, and manner of conducting such activity or other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact upon the affected species or stocks and their habitat (50 CFR 216.104(a)(11).

    In evaluating how mitigation may or may not be appropriate to ensure the least practicable adverse impact on species or stocks and their habitat, as well as subsistence uses where applicable, we carefully consider two primary factors:

    (1) The manner in which, and the degree to which, the successful implementation of the measure(s) is expected to reduce impacts to marine mammals, marine mammal species or stocks, and their habitat. This considers the nature of the potential adverse impact being mitigated (likelihood, scope, range). It further considers the likelihood that the measure will be effective if implemented (probability of accomplishing the mitigating result if implemented as planned) the likelihood of effective implementation (probability implemented as planned); and

    (2) the practicability of the measures for applicant implementation, which may consider such things as cost, impact on operations, and, in the case of a military readiness activity, personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the military readiness activity.

    In addition to the measures described later in this section, the City of Juneau will employ the following standard mitigation measures:

    • Conduct a briefing between construction supervisors and crews and the marine mammal monitoring team prior to the start of construction, and when new personnel join the work, to explain responsibilities, communication procedures, marine mammal monitoring protocol, and operational procedures;

    • For in-water and over-water heavy machinery work, if a marine mammal comes within 10 m, operations must cease and vessels must reduce speed to the minimum level required to maintain steerage and safe working conditions. This 10 m shutdown encompasses the Level A harassment zone for pile removal and dredging and therefore this requirement is not listed separately.

    • Work may only occur during daylight hours, when visual monitoring of marine mammals can be conducted;

    • For those marine mammals for which Level B harassment take has not been requested, pile removal and dredging will shut down immediately when the animals are sighted approaching the monitoring zones;

    • If take reaches the authorized limit for an authorized species, activity for which take is authorized will be stopped as these species approach the monitoring zones to avoid additional take of them.

    The following measures would apply to The City of Juneau's mitigation requirements:

    Establishment of Monitoring Zones for Level B— The City of Juneau will establish Level B monitoring zones or zones of influence (ZOI) which are areas where SPLs are equal to or exceed the 120 dB rms threshold during vibratory removal and dredging. Similar harassment monitoring zones will be established for the TTS isopleths associated with each functional hearing group for blasting activities. Monitoring zones provide utility for observing by establishing monitoring protocols for areas adjacent to the shutdown zones. Monitoring zones enable observers to be aware of and communicate the presence of marine mammals in the project area outside the shutdown zone and thus prepare for a potential cease of activity should the animal enter the shutdown zone. The Level B monitoring zones are depicted in Table 7.

    Table 7—Shutdown and Monitoring Zones Source Monitoring zones High frequency cetacean Low frequency ceteacean Phocid Otariid Shutdown zones All species Vibratory Removal—Steel 1,820 m 1,820 m 1,820 m 1,820 m 10 m Vibratory Removal—Timber 1,360 m 1,360 m 1,360 m 1,360 m 10 m Dredging 110 m 110 m 110 m 110 m 10 m Blasting (PTS) 160 m 180 m 80 m 10 m 10 m Blasting (TTS) 340 m 990 m 410 m 60 m 10 m As shown, the largest Level B zone is equal to 1,820 m, making it unlikely that PSOs would be able to view the entire harassment area. Due to this, Level B exposures will be recorded and extrapolated based upon the number of observed take and the percentage of the Level B harassment zone that was not visible.

    Pre-Activity Monitoring—Prior to the start of daily in-water activity, or whenever a break in activity of 30 minutes or longer occurs, the observer will observe the shutdown and monitoring zones for a period of 30 minutes. The shutdown zone will be cleared when a marine mammal has not been observed within the zone for that 30-minute period. If a marine mammal is observed within the shutdown zone, activity cannot proceed until the animal has left the zone or has not been observed for 15 minutes. If the Level B harassment zone has been observed for 30 minutes and non-permitted species are not present within the zone, activity can commence and work can continue even if visibility becomes impaired within the Level B zone. When a marine mammal permitted for Level B take is present in the Level B harassment zone, activities may begin and Level B take will be recorded. As stated above, if the entire Level B zone is not visible at the start of construction, activity can begin. If work ceases for more than 30 minutes, the pre-activity monitoring of both the Level B and shutdown zone will commence.

    For blasting, the TTS zone will be monitored for a minimum of 30 minutes prior to detonating the blasts. If a marine mammal is sighted within the TTS zone, blasting will be delayed until the zone is clear of marine mammals for 30 minutes. This will continue as long as practicable within the constraints of the blasting design but not beyond sunset on the same day as the charges cannot lay dormant for more than 24 hours, which may force the detonation of the blast in the presence of marine mammals. Charges will be laid as early as possible in the morning.

    Based on our evaluation of the applicant's proposed measures, NMFS has preliminarily determined that the proposed mitigation measures provide the means 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.

    Proposed Monitoring and Reporting

    In order to issue an IHA for an activity, Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA states that NMFS must set forth, requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking. The MMPA implementing regulations at 50 CFR 216.104 (a)(13) indicate that requests for authorizations must include the suggested means of accomplishing the necessary monitoring and reporting that will result in increased knowledge of the species and of the level of taking or impacts on populations of marine mammals that are expected to be present in the proposed action area. Effective reporting is critical both to compliance as well as ensuring that the most value is obtained from the required monitoring.

    Monitoring and reporting requirements prescribed by NMFS should contribute to improved understanding of one or more of the following:

    • Occurrence of marine mammal species or stocks in the area in which take is anticipated (e.g., presence, abundance, distribution, density);

    • Nature, scope, or context of likely marine mammal exposure to potential stressors/impacts (individual or cumulative, acute or chronic), through better understanding of: (1) Action or environment (e.g., source characterization, propagation, ambient noise); (2) affected species (e.g., life history, dive patterns); (3) co-occurrence of marine mammal species with the action; or (4) biological or behavioral context of exposure (e.g., age, calving or feeding areas);

    • Individual marine mammal responses (behavioral or physiological) to acoustic stressors (acute, chronic, or cumulative), other stressors, or cumulative impacts from multiple stressors;

    • How anticipated responses to stressors impact either: (1) Long-term fitness and survival of individual marine mammals; or (2) populations, species, or stocks;

    • Effects on marine mammal habitat (e.g., marine mammal prey species, acoustic habitat, or other important physical components of marine mammal habitat); and

    • Mitigation and monitoring effectiveness.

    Visual Monitoring

    Monitoring would be conducted 30 minutes before, during, and 30 minutes after construction activities. In addition, observers must record all incidents of marine mammal occurrence, regardless of distance from activity, and must document any behavioral reactions in concert with distance from construction activities.

    PSOs would be land-based observers. Observers will be stationed at locations that provide adequate visual coverage for shutdown and monitoring zones. Potential observation locations are depicted in Figures 2 and 3 of the applicant's Marine Mammal Mitigation and Monitoring Plan. A minimum of one observer would be placed at a vantage point providing total coverage of the monitoring zones and for observation zones larger than 500 m, at least one other additional observer will be placed at the outermost float or other similar vantage point in order to observe the extend observation zone. Optimal observation locations will be selected based on visibility and the type of work occurring. All PSOs would be trained in marine mammal identification and behaviors and are required to have no other project-related tasks while conducting monitoring. In addition, monitoring will be conducted by qualified observers, who will be placed at the best vantage point(s) practicable to monitor for marine mammals and implement shutdown/delay procedures when applicable by calling for the shutdown to the hammer operator. Monitoring of construction activities must be conducted by qualified PSOs (see below), who must have no other assigned tasks during monitoring periods. The applicant must adhere to the following conditions when selecting observers:

    • Independent PSOs must be used (i.e., not construction personnel).

    • At least one PSO must have prior experience working as a marine mammal observer during construction activities.

    • Other PSOs may substitute education (degree in biological science or related field) or training for experience.

    • Where a team of three or more PSOs are required, a lead observer or monitoring coordinator must be designated. The lead observer must have prior experience working as a marine mammal observer during construction.

    • The applicant must submit PSO CVs for approval by NMFS.

    The applicant must ensure that observers have the following additional qualifications:

    • Ability to conduct field observations and collect data according to assigned protocols.

    • Experience or training in the field identification of marine mammals, including the identification of behaviors.

    • Sufficient training, orientation, or experience with the construction operation to provide for personal safety during observations.

    • Writing skills sufficient to prepare a report of observations including but not limited to the number and species of marine mammals observed; dates and times when in-water construction activities were conducted; dates, times, and reason for implementation of mitigation (or why mitigation was not implemented when required); and marine mammal behavior.

    • Ability to communicate orally, by radio or in person, with project personnel to provide real-time information on marine mammals observed in the area as necessary.

    A draft marine mammal monitoring report would be submitted to NMFS within 90 days after the completion of construction activities. It will include an overall description of work completed, a narrative regarding marine mammal sightings, and associated PSO data sheets. Specifically, the report must include:

    • Date and time that monitored activity begins or ends;

    • Construction activities occurring during each observation period;

    • Weather parameters (e.g., percent cover, visibility);

    • Water conditions (e.g., sea state, tide state);

    • Species, numbers, and, if possible, sex and age class of marine mammals;

    • Description of any observable marine mammal behavior patterns, including bearing and direction of travel and distance from construction activity;

    • Distance from construction activities to marine mammals and distance from the marine mammals to the observation point;

    • Locations of all marine mammal observations; and

    • Other human activity in the area.

    If no comments are received from NMFS within 30 days, the draft final report will constitute the final report. If comments are received, a final report addressing NMFS comments must be submitted within 30 days after receipt of comments.

    In the unanticipated event that the specified activity clearly causes the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by the IHA (if issued), such as a serious injury or mortality, The City of Juneau would immediately cease the specified activities and report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the Alaska Regional Stranding Coordinator. The report would include the following information:

    • Description of the incident;

    • Environmental conditions (e.g., Beaufort sea state, 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 would not resume until NMFS is able to review the circumstances of the prohibited take. NMFS would work with The City of Juneau to determine what is necessary to minimize the likelihood of further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. The City of Juneau would not be able to resume their activities until notified by NMFS via letter, email, or telephone.

    In the event that The City of Juneau discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead PSO determines that the cause of the injury or death is unknown and the death is relatively recent (e.g., in less than a moderate state of decomposition as described in the next paragraph), the City of Juneau would immediately report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the Alaska Regional Stranding Coordinator. The report would include the same information identified in the paragraph above. Activities would be able to continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident. NMFS would work with the City of Juneau to determine whether modifications in the activities are appropriate.

    In the event that the City of Juneau discovers an injured or dead marine mammal and the lead PSO 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), the City of Juneau would report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the NMFS Alaska Stranding Hotline and/or by email to the Alaska Regional Stranding Coordinator, within 24 hours of the discovery. The City of Juneau would provide photographs, video footage (if available), or other documentation of the stranded animal sighting to NMFS and the Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator.

    Negligible Impact Analysis and Determination

    NMFS has defined negligible impact as an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (50 CFR 216.103). A negligible impact finding is based on the lack of likely adverse effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (i.e., population-level effects). An estimate of the number of takes alone is not enough information on which to base an impact determination. In addition to considering estimates of the number of marine mammals that might be “taken” through harassment, NMFS considers other factors, such as the likely nature of any responses (e.g., intensity, duration), the context of any responses (e.g., critical reproductive time or location, migration), as well as effects on habitat, and the likely effectiveness of the mitigation. We also assess the number, intensity, and context of estimated takes by evaluating this information relative to population status. Consistent with the 1989 preamble for NMFS's implementing regulations (54 FR 40338; September 29, 1989), the impacts from other past and ongoing anthropogenic activities are incorporated into this analysis via their impacts on the environmental baseline (e.g., as reflected in the regulatory status of the species, population size and growth rate where known, ongoing sources of human-caused mortality, or ambient noise levels).

    As stated in the proposed mitigation section, shutdown zones equal to or exceeding Level A isopleths shown in Table 7 for all activities other than blasting will be implemented. Serious injury or mortality is not anticipated nor authorized. Behavioral responses of marine mammals to pile removal and dredging, if any, are expected to be mild and temporary due to the short term duration of the noise produced by the source as well as the relatively low source levels when compared with ambient levels in an area with high levels of anthropogenic activity. Given the short duration of noise-generating activities per day and that pile removal and dredging would occur for 55 days, any harassment would be temporary. The blasting is only proposed to occur across 2 days, with one blast scheduled on each day. In addition, the project includes generally low level sound sources, such as dredging and removal of piles much smaller than those frequently used in other construction projects. In addition, for all species except humpbacks, there are no known biologically important areas near the project zone that would be impacted by the construction activities. The region of Statter Harbor where the project will take place is located in a developed harbor area with regular marine vessel traffic. Although there is a resident harbor seal population, the area proposed for construction is not known to be of important biological significance such as used for breeding or foraging. In summary and as described above, the following factors primarily support our preliminary 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 is anticipated or authorized;

    • There are no known biologically important areas within the project area;

    • The City of Juneau would implement mitigation measures such as shut down zones for all in-water and over-water activities;

    • Monitoring reports from similar work in Alaska have documented little to no effect on individuals of the same species impacted by the specified activities;

    Based on the analysis contained herein of the likely effects of the specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into consideration the implementation of the proposed monitoring and mitigation measures, NMFS preliminarily finds that the total marine mammal take from the proposed activity will have a negligible impact on all affected marine mammal species or stocks.

    Small Numbers

    As noted above, only small numbers of incidental take may be authorized under Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (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.

    Table 8 below shows take as a percent of population for each of the species listed above.

    Table 8—Summary of the Estimated Numbers of Marine Mammals Potentially Exposed to Level A and Level B Sound Levels Species DPS/Stock Proposed number of level B takes by stock Proposed number of level A takes by stock Stock
  • abundance
  • Percent of population1
    Steller sea lion Eastern DPS 3,930 20 41,638 9.5 Western DPS 80 0 53,303 0.15 Harbor seal Lynn Canal 1,794 22 9,478 19 Harbor porpoise Southeast Alaska 68 4 975 6.67 Humpback whale Central North Pacific Stock 24 0 10,103 0.24 Total 5,897 46 N/A N/A

    Table 8 presents the number of animals that could be exposed to received noise levels that may result in Level A or Level B take for the proposed work at Statter Harbor. Our analysis shows that less than one third of the best available population estimate of each affected stock could be taken. Therefore, the numbers of animals authorized to be taken for all species would be considered small relative to the relevant stocks or populations even if each estimated taking occurred to a new individual—an extremely unlikely scenario. For pinnipeds, especially harbor seals and Steller sea lions, occurring in the vicinity of the project site, there will almost certainly be some overlap in individuals present day-to-day, and these takes are likely to occur only within some small portion of the overall regional stock.

    Based on the analysis contained herein of the proposed activity (including the proposed mitigation and monitoring measures) and the anticipated take of marine mammals, NMFS preliminarily finds that small numbers of marine mammals will be taken relative to the population size of the affected species or stocks.

    Unmitigable Adverse Impact Analysis and Determination

    There are no relevant subsistence uses of the affected marine mammal stocks or species implicated by this action. The proposed project is not known to occur in an important subsistence hunting area. It is a developed area with regular marine vessel traffic and the project is one year of a multi-year harbor improvement effort that is already underway. The work at this harbor has been publicized and public input has been solicited on the overall improvement.

    Based on the description of the specified activity, the measures described to minimize adverse effects on the availability of marine mammals for subsistence purposes, and the proposed mitigation and monitoring measures, NMFS has preliminarily determined that there will not be an unmitigable adverse impact on subsistence uses from the City of Juneau's proposed activities.

    Endangered Species Act (ESA)

    Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires that each Federal agency insure that any action it authorizes, funds, or carries out is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat. To ensure ESA compliance for the issuance of IHAs, NMFS consults internally, in this case with the NMFS Alaska Regional Office, whenever we propose to authorize take for endangered or threatened species.

    NMFS is proposing to authorize take of western DPS Steller sea lions and potentially Mexico DPS humpback whales, which are listed under the ESA. We have requested initiation of Section 7 consultation for the issuance of this IHA. NMFS will conclude the ESA consultation prior to reaching a determination regarding the proposed issuance of the authorization.

    Proposed Authorization

    As a result of these preliminary determinations, NMFS proposes to issue an IHA to the City of Juneau for conducting harbor improvement activities in Statter Harbor, Alaska, provided the previously mentioned mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements are incorporated. This section contains a draft of the IHA itself. The wording contained in this section is proposed for inclusion in the IHA (if issued).

    1. This Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) is valid from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019.

    2. This IHA is valid only for in-water construction activities associated with improvements in Statter Harbor, Alaska.

    3. General Conditions

    (a) A copy of this IHA must be in the possession of the City of Juneau, its designees, work crew, and marine mammal monitoring personnel operating under the authority of this IHA.

    (b) The species authorized for taking are humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus), and harbor seal (Phoca vitulina).

    (c) The taking, by Level A and Level B harassment, is limited to the species listed in condition 3(b). See Table 9 for numbers of take authorized.

    (d) For those marine mammals for which take has not been requested, in-water activities must shut down immediately when the animals are sighted.

    (e) The taking by serious injury or death of any species of marine mammal is prohibited and may result in the modification, suspension, or revocation of this IHA.

    (f) The City of Juneau must conduct briefings between construction supervisors and crews, marine mammal monitoring team, and the City of Juneau staff prior to the start construction activity, and when new personnel join the work, in order to explain responsibilities, communication procedures, marine mammal monitoring protocol, and operational procedures.

    (g) Work may only occur during daylight hours.

    4. Mitigation Measures

    The holder of this Authorization is required to implement the following mitigation measures:

    (a) Shutdown Measures.

    (i) The City of Juneau must implement shutdown measures if the number of any allotted marine mammal takes reaches the limit under the IHA and if such marine mammals are sighted within the vicinity of the project area and are approaching their respective Level A or Level B monitoring zone.

    (ii) If a marine mammal comes within 10 meters of in-water, heavy machinery work, operations must cease and vessels must reduce speed to the minimum level required to maintain steerage and safe working conditions. Construction crew members can enforce this shutdown zone.

    (b) The City of Juneau must establish Level A and Level B monitoring zones as shown in Table 10.

    (c) The City of Juneau must monitor the zone for 30 minutes prior to blasting to establish that the monitoring zone is clear of marine mammals as long as practicable. Blasting-related activity must be conducted in daylight hours.

    5. Monitoring

    The holder of this Authorization is required to conduct marine mammal monitoring during construction activities. Monitoring and reporting must be conducted in accordance with the Monitoring Plan.

    (a) Pre-Activity Monitoring

    (i) Prior to the start of daily in-water construction activity, or whenever a break in construction activity of 30 minutes or longer occurs, the observer(s) must observe the shutdown and monitoring zones for a period of 30 minutes.

    (ii) The shutdown zone must be cleared when a marine mammal has not been observed within that zone for that 30-minute period.

    (iii) If a marine mammal is observed within the shutdown zone, activities can proceed if the animal is observed leaving the zone or has not been observed for 30 minutes, even if visibility of Level B zone is impaired.

    (iv) If the Level B harassment zone has been observed for 30 minutes and species for which take is not authorized are not present within the zone, in-water construction can commence and work can continue even if visibility becomes impaired within the Level B zone.

    (v) When a marine mammal permitted for Level B take is present in the Level B harassment zone, pile removal and dredging activities may begin and or continue and Level B take must be recorded.

    (vi) If the entire Level B zone is not visible while work continues, exposures must be recorded and extrapolated based upon the amount of total observed exposures and the percentage of the Level B zone that was not visible.

    (b) Monitoring must be conducted by qualified protected species observers (PSOs), with minimum qualifications as described previously in the Monitoring and Reporting section.

    (i) Two observers must be on site to actively observe the shutdown and monitoring zones during all pile removal and dredging.

    (ii) Observers must use their naked eye with the aid of binoculars, and/or a spotting scope during all construction activities.

    (iii) Monitoring location(s) must be identified with the following characteristics:

    1. Unobstructed view of activity being conducted;

    2. Unobstructed view of all water within the Level A zone (if applicable) and as much of the Level B harassment zone as possible.

    (c) If environmental conditions restrict the PSOs ability to observe within the marine mammal shutdown zone (e.g., excessive wind or fog), construction activities must cease. Work must not be initiated until the entire shutdown zone is visible.

    (d) Marine mammal location must be determined using a rangefinder and a GPS or compass.

    (e) Ongoing in-water work may be continued during periods when conditions such as low light, darkness, high sea state, fog, ice, rain, glare, or other conditions prevent effective marine mammal monitoring of the entire Level B harassment zone. PSOs would continue to monitor the visible portion of the Level B harassment zone throughout the duration of construction activities.

    (f) Post-activity monitoring must be conducted for 30 minutes beyond the cessation of construction activities at end of day.

    6. Reporting

    The holder of this Authorization is required to:

    (a) Submit a draft report on all monitoring conducted under the IHA within ninety calendar days of the completion of marine mammal monitoring This report must detail the monitoring protocol, summarize the data recorded during monitoring, and estimate the number of marine mammals that may have been harassed, including the total number extrapolated from observed animals across the entirety of relevant monitoring zones A final report must be prepared and submitted within thirty days following resolution of comments on the draft report from NMFS. This report must contain the following:

    (i) Date and time a monitored activity begins or ends;

    (ii) Construction activities occurring during each observation period;

    (iii) Record of implementation of shutdowns, including the distance of animals to the activity and description of specific actions that ensued and resulting behavior of the animal, if any;

    (iv) Weather parameters (e.g., percent cover, visibility);

    (v) Water conditions (e.g., sea state, tide state);

    (vi) Species, numbers, and, if possible, sex and age class of marine mammals;

    (vii) Description of any observable marine mammal behavior patterns;

    (viii) Distance from construction activities to marine mammals and distance from the marine mammals to the observation point;

    (ix) Locations of all marine mammal observations; and

    (x) Other human activity in the area;

    (b) Reporting injured or dead marine mammals:

    (i) In the unanticipated event that the specified activity clearly causes the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by this IHA, such as a serious injury or mortality, The City of Juneau must immediately cease the specified activities and report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the Alaska Regional Stranding Coordinator, NMFS. The report must include the following information:

    1. Time and date of the incident;

    2. Description of the incident;

    3. Environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction, Beaufort sea state, cloud cover, and visibility);

    4. Description of all marine mammal observations and active sound source use in the 24 hours preceding the incident;

    5. Species identification or description of the animal(s) involved;

    6. Fate of the animal(s); and

    7. Photographs or video footage of the animal(s). Activities must not resume until NMFS is able to review the circumstances of the prohibited take. NMFS must work with the City of Juneau to determine what measures are necessary to minimize the likelihood of further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. The City of Juneau may not resume their activities until notified by NMFS.

    (ii) In the event that the City of Juneau discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead observer determines that the cause of the injury or death is unknown and the death is relatively recent (e.g., in less than a moderate state of decomposition), the City of Juneau must immediately report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the Alaska Regional Stranding Coordinator, NMFS. The report must include the same information identified in 6(b)(i) of this IHA. Activities may continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident. NMFS must work with the City of Juneau to determine whether additional mitigation measures or modifications to the activities are appropriate.

    (iii) In the event that the City of Juneau discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead observer determines that the injury or death is not associated with or related to the activities authorized in the IHA (e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced decomposition, or scavenger damage), the City of Juneau must report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the Alaska Regional Stranding Coordinator, NMFS, within 24 hours of the discovery. The City of Juneau must provide photographs, video footage, or other documentation of the stranded animal sighting to NMFS.

    7. Authorization

    This Authorization may be modified, suspended or withdrawn if the holder fails to abide by the conditions prescribed herein, or if NMFS determines the authorized taking is having more than a negligible impact on the species or stock of affected marine mammals.

    Table 9—Authorized Take Numbers, by Species/Stocks Species DPS/Stock Level A takes Level B takes Steller sea lion Eastern DPS 20 3,930 Western DPS 0 80 Harbor seal Lynn Canal 22 1,794 Harbor porpoise Southeast Alaska 4 68 Humpback whale Hawaii DPS/Central North Pacific Stock 0 24 Total 46 5,897 Table 10—Monitoring Zones in Meters (m) Source Monitoring zones High frequency
  • cetacean
  • Low frequency
  • cetacean
  • Phocid Otariid Shutdown zones All species
    Vibratory Removal—Steel 1,820 m 1,820 m 1,820 m 1,820 m 10 m Vibratory Removal—Timber 1,360 m 1,360 m 1,360 m 1,360 m 10 m Dredging 110 m 110 m 110 m 110 m 10 m Blasting (PTS) 160 m 180 m 80 m 10 m 10 m Blasting (TTS) 340 m 990 m 410 m 60 m 10 m
    Request for Public Comments

    We request comment on our analyses, the proposed authorization, and any other aspect of this Notice of Proposed IHA for the proposed harbor improvement activities. We also request comment on the potential for renewal of this proposed IHA as described in the paragraph below. Please include with your comments any supporting data or literature citations to help inform our final decision on the request for MMPA authorization.

    On a case-by-case basis, NMFS may issue a second one-year IHA without additional notice when (1) another year of identical or nearly identical activities as described in the Specified Activities section is planned or (2) the activities would not be completed by the time the IHA expires and a second IHA would allow for completion of the activities beyond that described in the Dates and Duration section, provided all of the following conditions are met:

    • A request for renewal is received no later than 60 days prior to expiration of the current IHA;

    • The request for renewal must include the following:

    (1) An explanation that the activities to be conducted beyond the initial dates either are identical to the previously analyzed activities or include changes so minor (e.g., reduction in pile size) that the changes do not affect the previous analyses, take estimates, or mitigation and monitoring requirements; and

    (2) A preliminary monitoring report showing the results of the required monitoring to date and an explanation showing that the monitoring results do not indicate impacts of a scale or nature not previously analyzed or authorized; and

    • Upon review of the request for renewal, the status of the affected species or stocks, and any other pertinent information, NMFS determines that there are no more than minor changes in the activities, the mitigation and monitoring measures remain the same and appropriate, and the original findings remain valid.

    Dated: October 11, 2018. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22604 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Estimating Economic Burden of Vibrio parahaemolyticus in Washington State Aquaculture 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 December 17, 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 Amy Freitag at 443-258-6066 or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Abstract

    The National Ocean Service (NOS) proposed a new collection in order to pursue three of the strategic goals of the NOAA Office of Aquaculture: To advance understanding of the interactions of aquaculture and the environment; to increase the supply of nutritious, safe, high-quality domestic seafood; develop and use socioeconomic and business research to advance domestic aquaculture. NOS proposes to estimate the costs associated with reported Vibrio illnesses, which is a demand expressed in a number of industry settings. Washington State Department of Health expressed desire for this information in order to more accurately plan their budgets.

    Management agency staff, restaurant staff, and oyster farm staff will be asked to help develop a model of what kind of expenditures accrue during a response to a reported Vibrio illness and estimate the value of those expenditures. The results of the project will be used to develop a model to estimate the full suite of costs of seafood-borne illness and will provide an estimate for agency and business budget planners.

    II. Method of Collection

    The data collection will take place over a three to four month period and will be comprised of a questionnaire or set of interview questions to be completed by the respondent. Respondents will each have the option to respond via email, phone, or in-person, whichever they prefer.

    III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 0648-xxxx.

    Form Number(s): None.

    Type of Review: Regular submission (new information collection).

    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit; state, local, or tribal government.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 50.

    Estimated Time per Response: 1 hour.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 50 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $0 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: October 12, 2018. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22574 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-JE-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: Environmental Compliance Questionnaire for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Notice of Federal Funding Opportunity Applicants.

    OMB Control Number: 0648-0538.

    Form Number(s): None.

    Type of Request: Regular (O and extension of a currently approved information collection).

    Number of Respondents: 736.

    Average Hours per Response: 4 hours.

    Burden Hours: 1,030.

    Needs and Uses: This request is for a revision and extension of a currently approved information collection through the Environmental Compliance Questionnaire for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Federal Financial Assistance Applicants (Questionnaire). This Questionnaire is used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to collect information about proposed activities for the purpose of complying with the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA,” 42 U.S.C. 4321-4370) and other environmental compliance requirements associated with proposed activities. NEPA requires federal agencies to complete an environmental analysis for all major federal actions, including funding non-federal activities through federal financial assistance awards where federal participation in the funded activity is expected to be significant. The Questionnaire is used in conjunction with NOAA Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).

    The NOFO will indicate the specific questions to which an applicant must respond in one of three ways: (1) The applicable questions are inserted directly into the NOFO with reference to the OMB Control Number (0648-0538) for this form; (2) the NOFO will specify which questions (e.g., 1, 2) an applicant must answer, with the entire OMB-approved Questionnaire attached to the NOFO; or (3) applicants to be recommended for funding will be required to answer relevant questions from the Questionnaire. The federal program officer will determine which questions are relevant to each specific applicant. Answers must be provided before the application can be submitted for final funding approval.

    This Questionnaire has been revised to (1) remove repetitive questions; (2) revise specific questions to use plain language; and (3) add questions that would be helpful to a wider range of NOAA programs.

    Affected Public: Business or other for profit organizations; individuals or households; not-for-profit institutions; state, local, or tribal government; and Federal government.

    Frequency: On occasion.

    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.

    Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22573 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-NW-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Solicitation for Members of the NOAA Science Advisory Board AGENCY:

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), Department of Commerce (DOC).

    ACTION:

    Notice of solicitation for members of the NOAA Science Advisory Board.

    SUMMARY:

    NOAA is soliciting nominations for members of the NOAA Science Advisory Board (SAB). The SAB is the only Federal Advisory Committee with the responsibility to advise the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans, Atmosphere, and NOAA Administrator on long- and short-range strategies for research, education, and application of science to resource management and environmental assessment and prediction. The SAB consists of approximately fifteen members reflecting the full breadth of NOAA's areas of responsibility and assists NOAA in maintaining a complete and accurate understanding of scientific issues critical to the agency's missions.

    DATES:

    Nominations should be sent to the web address specified below and must be received by November 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Applications should be submitted electronically to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Cynthia Decker, Executive Director, Science Advisory Board, NOAA, Rm. 11230, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910. (Phone: 301-734-1156, Fax: 301-713-1459, Email: [email protected]); or visit the NOAA SAB website at http://www.sab.noaa.gov.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    At this time, individuals are sought with expertise in cloud computing, artificial intelligence and data management; weather modeling and data assimilation; remote/autonomous sensing technology; ocean exploration science and technology; and omics science. Individuals with expertise in other NOAA mission areas are also welcome to apply.

    Composition and Points of View: The Board will consist of approximately fifteen members, including a Chair, designated by the Under Secretary in accordance with FACA requirements.

    Members will be appointed for three-year terms, renewable once, and serve at the discretion of the Under Secretary. If a member resigns before the end of his or her first term, the vacancy appointment shall be for the remainder of the unexpired term, and shall be renewable twice if the unexpired term is less than one year. Members will be appointed as special government employees (SGEs) and will be subject to the ethical standards applicable to SGEs. Members are reimbursed for actual and reasonable travel and per diem expenses incurred in performing such duties but will not be reimbursed for their time. As a Federal Advisory Committee, the Board's membership is required to be balanced in terms of viewpoints represented and the functions to be performed as well as the interests of geographic regions of the country and the diverse sectors of U.S. society.

    The SAB meets in person three times each year, exclusive of teleconferences or subcommittee, task force, and working group meetings. Board members must be willing to serve as liaisons to SAB working groups and/or participate in periodic reviews of the NOAA Cooperative Institutes and overarching reviews of NOAA's research enterprise.

    Nominations: Interested persons may nominate themselves or third parties.

    Applications: An application is required to be considered for Board membership, regardless of whether a person is nominated by a third party or self-nominated. The application package must include: (1) The nominee's full name, title, institutional affiliation, and contact information; (2) the nominee's area(s) of expertise; (3) a short description of his/her qualifications relative to the kinds of advice being solicited by NOAA in this Notice; and (4) a current resume (maximum length four [4] pages).

    Dated: October 11, 2018. David Holst, Chief Financial Officer/Administrative Officer, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22637 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-KD-P
    COMMITTEE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF TEXTILE AGREEMENTS Request for Public Comment on a Commercial Availability Request Under the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement AGENCY:

    Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA).

    ACTION:

    Request for public comments concerning a request for modification of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) rules of origin for certain textile and apparel products.

    SUMMARY:

    The Government of the United States received a request from the Government of Korea, submitted on September 24, 2018, to initiate consultations under the KORUS. The Government of Korea is requesting that the United States and Korea (“the Parties”) consider revising the rules of origin for certain yarns, woven fabrics, and knit apparel to address availability of supply of fibers and yarns in the territories of the Parties. The President of the United States may proclaim a modification to the KORUS rules of origin for textile and apparel products after the United States reaches an agreement with the Government of Korea on a modification under the KORUS to address issues of availability of supply of fibers, yarns, or fabrics in the territories of the Parties. CITA hereby solicits public comments on this request, in particular with regard to whether certain fibers, yarns, and knit fabrics can be supplied by the U.S. domestic industry in commercial quantities in a timely manner.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted by November 16, 2018 to the Chairman, Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements, Room 30003, United States Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Maria D'Andrea-Yothers, Office of Textiles and Apparel, U.S. Department of Commerce, (202) 482-1550.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Authority: Section 202(o)(3)(C) of the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (19 U.S.C. 3805 note) (KORUS Implementation Act); Executive Order 11651 of March 3, 1972, as amended.

    Background: Article 4.2.3 of the KORUS provides that, on the request of either Party, the Parties shall consult to consider whether the rules of origin applicable to a particular textile or apparel good should be revised to address issues of availability of supply of fibers, yarns, or fabrics in the territories of the Parties. In the consultations, pursuant to Article 4.2.4 of the KORUS, each Party shall consider all data presented by the other Party that demonstrate substantial production in its territory of a particular fiber, yarn, or fabric. The Parties shall consider that there is substantial production if a Party demonstrates that its domestic producers are capable of supplying commercial quantities of the fiber, yarn, or fabric in a timely manner. The KORUS Implementation Act provides the President with the authority to proclaim as part of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, modifications to the KORUS rules of origin set out in Annex 4-A of the KORUS as are necessary to implement an agreement with Korea under Article 4.2.5 of the KORUS, subject to the consultation and layover requirements of Section 104 of the KORUS Implementation Act. See Section 202(o)(3)(C)(iii) of the KORUS Implementation Act.

    Executive Order 11651 established CITA to supervise the implementation of textile trade agreements and authorizes the Chairman of CITA to take actions or recommend that appropriate officials or agencies of the United States take actions necessary to implement textile trade agreements. 37 FR 4699 (March 4, 1972), reprinted as amended in 7 U.S.C. Sec. 1854 note. The Government of the United States received a request from the Government of Korea, submitted on September 24, 2018, requesting that the United States consider whether the KORUS rule of origin for certain yarns, woven fabrics, and knit apparel should be modified to allow the use of certain fibers and yarns that are not originating under the KORUS. The fibers and yarns subject to this request, and their specific end-uses, are described below.

    Item No. Input product description Input product
  • classification,
  • Harmonized Tariff
  • Schedule of the U.S.
  • (HTSUS)
  • End-use product description End-use
  • product
  • classification
  • (HTSUS)
  • 1 Certain viscose rayon staple fibers 5504.10 or 5507.00 Cotton yarn (other than sewing thread), containing less than 85% by weight of cotton, not put up for retail sale 5206 2 Certain textured and non-textured cuprammonium rayon filament yarns 5403.39 Woven fabrics of artificial filament yarn, including woven fabrics obtained from materials of HTSUS heading 5405 5408 3 Certain cashmere yarn 5108 Sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted 6110 Other made-up clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted 6117 Knitted or crocheted parts of garments or of clothing accessories 6117

    CITA is soliciting public comments regarding this request, particularly with respect to whether the fibers and yarns described above can be supplied by the U.S. domestic industry in commercial quantities in a timely manner. Comments must be received no later than November 16, 2018.

    Interested persons are invited to submit such comments or information electronically to [email protected], and/or in hard copy to: Chairman, Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements, Room 30003, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230.

    If comments include business confidential information, commenters must submit a business confidential version in hard copy to the Chairman of CITA, and also provide a public version, either in hard copy or electronically. CITA will protect any information that is marked business confidential from disclosure to the full extent permitted by law. All public versions of the comments will be posted on OTEXA's website for Commercial Availability proceedings under KORUS: https://otexa.trade.gov/ca/ca_Korea.htm.

    Terry Labat, Acting Chairman, Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22610 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION Sunshine Act Meetings FEDERAL REGISTER CITATION OF PREVIOUS ANNOUNCEMENT:

    Vol. 83, No. 197, Thursday, October 11, 2018, page 51450.

    PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED TIME AND DATE OF THE MEETING:

    10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 17, 2018.

    CHANGES IN THE MEETING:

    Meeting postponed.

    CONTACT PERSON FOR MORE INFORMATION:

    Rockelle Hammond, Office of the Secretariat, Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814, (301) 504-6833.

    Dated: October 15, 2018. Alberta E. Mills, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22731 Filed 10-15-18; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 6355-01-P
    CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Application Package for Employers of National Service Enrollment Form and Employers of National Service Annual Survey AGENCY:

    Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

    ACTION:

    Notice of information collection; request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has submitted a public information collection request (ICR) entitled Employers of National Service Enrollment Form and Annual Survey for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted to the individual and office listed in the ADDRESSES section by December 17, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by the title of the information collection activity, by any of the following methods:

    (1) By mail sent to: Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of the CPO; Attention: Sharron A. Walker-Tendai, 250 E Street SW, Washington, DC, 20525.

    (2) By hand delivery or by courier to the CNCS mailroom at the mail address given in paragraph (1) above, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.

    (3) Electronically through www.regulations.gov.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice may be made available to the public through regulations.gov. For this reason, please do not include in your comments information of a confidential nature, such as sensitive personal information or proprietary information. If you send an email comment, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the internet. Please note that responses to this public comment request containing any routine notice about the confidentiality of the communication will be treated as public comment that may be made available to the public notwithstanding the inclusion of the routine notice.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sharron A. Walker-Tendai, 202-606-6930, or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title of Collection: Employers of National Service Enrollment Form and Employers of National Service Annual Survey.

    OMB Control Number: 3045-0175.

    Type of Review: Renewal and addition of second instrument.

    Respondents/Affected Public: Any organization that seeks to be or is an Employer of National Service program, including businesses, nonprofits, institutions of higher education, school districts, state/local governments, and federal agencies.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 1,180.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 490.

    Abstract: This is a request to renew the Employers of National Service Enrollment Form and add an additional related instrument, the Employers of National Service Annual Survey. Organizations from all sectors either seeking to become or already established Employers of National Service will be filling out these forms, including businesses, nonprofits, institutions of higher education, school districts, state/local governments, and federal agencies. The key purpose of the enrollment form is to document what the organization is committing to doing as an Employer of National Service and provide contact information to CNCS. The information gathered on the enrollment form will also allow CNCS to display the organization's information accurately online as a resource for job seekers. It will also enable CNCS to speak to the diversity within the program's membership, both for internal planning and external audience use. The purpose of the survey form is to track what actions an employer has taken in the past year, gather stories of success or impact, collect quantitative hiring data relating to AmeriCorps and Peace Corps alumni, and provide organizations with an opportunity to update their contact and location data. The information will be collected electronically via our website. CNCS also seeks to continue using the currently approved information collection until the revised information collection is approved by OMB. The currently approved information collection is due to expire on March 31, 2019.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval. Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and (e) estimates of capital or start-up costs and costs of operation, maintenance, and purchase of services to provide information. Burden means the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, disclose or provide information to or for a Federal agency. This includes the time needed to review instructions; to develop, acquire, install and utilize technology and systems for the purpose of collecting, validating and verifying information, processing and maintaining information, and disclosing and providing information; to train personnel and to be able to respond to a collection of information, to search data sources, to complete and review the collection of information; and to transmit or otherwise disclose the information. All written comments will be available for public inspection on regulations.gov.

    Dated: October 10, 2018. Sharron Walker-Tendai, Program Support Specialist.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22636 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6050-28-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID: DoD-2018-OS-0076] Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice of a new system of records.

    SUMMARY:

    The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) proposes to establish a new system of records, “Personnel Vetting Records System,” DUSDI 02-DoD. The system supports the Department of Defense (DoD) in conducting end-to-end personnel security, fitness, suitability, and credentialing processes, including application and questionnaire submission, investigations, adjudications, and continuous vetting activities. The Personnel Vetting Records System integrates DoD information technology capabilities developed to support the execution of federal background investigation activities, including: Investigations and determinations of eligibility for access to classified national security information, eligibility to occupy a sensitive position, and for access to special access programs; suitability for federal employment; fitness of contractor personnel to perform work for or on behalf of the U.S. Government, and Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-12 determinations for Personal Identity Verification (PIV) credentials to gain logical or physical access to government facilities and systems. The Personnel Vetting Records System also supports: submissions of adverse personnel information; verification of investigation and adjudicative history and status; support of continuous evaluation (CE); and insider threat detection, prevention, and mitigation activities. The system may also be used as a management tool for statistical analyses; tracking, reporting, and evaluating program effectiveness; and conducting research related to personnel vetting.

    DATES:

    This SORN, with the exception of routine uses, is effective on October 17, 2018. Routine Uses will be effective November 16, 2018. Comments will be accepted on or before November 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

    * Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

    Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    * Mail: Department of Defense, Office of the Chief Management Officer, Directorate of Oversight and Compliance, 4800 Mark Center Drive, Mailbox #24, Suite 08D09, Alexandria, VA 22350-1700.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Mark Nehmer, Technical Director, Defense Security Enterprise/Federal Vetting Enterprise Program Executive Office, Building 600, 10th Street, Ft. George G. Meade, MD 20755; by email at [email protected] or by phone at (301) 833-3488.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The OSD is proposing to establish a system of records that will be integral to the Federal Government's need to conduct background investigations and make vetting decisions for persons who are proposed for new or continuing access to classified national security information, eligibility to positions with sensitive duties, enlistment or appointment into a military service, federal employment, assignment to contractual duties in support of federal requirements, or physical or logical access to U.S. Government systems or facilities.

    As background, in January 2016 the Federal Government announced a series of changes to modernize and strengthen how the Federal Government performs and safeguards background investigations for federal employees, military personnel, and contractor personnel. The changes resulted from a review conducted by the interagency Performance Accountability Council (PAC) to re-examine reforms to the federal background investigations process, assess additional enhancements to further secure information networks and systems, and determine improvements that could be made to the way the Federal Government conducts background investigations for suitability, security, and credentialing (SSC).

    One of the actions resulting from the PAC review was a direction to leverage expertise at the DoD for processing background investigations and protecting against threats. DoD was therefore assigned the responsibility to design, build, test, operate, and secure the National Background Investigation System (NBIS), a federal government-wide information technology system for conducting federal SSC investigations and adjudications. Specific direction for the Secretary of Defense to design, develop, deploy, operate, secure, defend, and continuously update and modernize, as necessary, vetting information technology systems is stated in subsection 2.6(b) of Executive Order 13467, as amended by Executive Order 13764, issued on January 23, 2017. Requirements for NBIS elements and enhancements were also passed into law by the National Defense Authorization Acts for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 (Pub. L. 114-328, paragraph 951(f)(1), and Pub. L. 115-91, paragraph 925(f)(1), respectively).

    This Privacy Act system of records consists of background investigation information collected, created, and compiled in connection with authorized personnel security background investigations, adjudications, and continuous vetting activities conducted by the DoD.

    The OSD notices for systems of records subject to the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, are published in the Federal Register and are available from the address in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or at the Defense Privacy, Civil Liberties, and Transparency Division website at https://defense.gov/privacy.

    The proposed systems reports, as required by of the Privacy Act, as amended, were submitted on September 5, 2018, to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pursuant to Section 6 to OMB Circular No. A-108, “Federal Agency Responsibilities for Review, Reporting, and Publication under the Privacy Act,” revised December 23, 2016 (December 23, 2016, 81 FR 94424).

    Dated: October 11, 2018. Shelly E. Finke, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. SYSTEM NAME AND NUMBER:

    Personnel Vetting Records System, DUSDI 02-DoD.

    SECURITY CLASSIFICATION:

    Unclassified and Classified. This system of records consists of linked information systems and records that support DoD's personnel security, suitability, fitness, and credentialing processes. Some of these systems may contain classified information.

    SYSTEM LOCATION:

    Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), DISA Defense Enterprise Computing Center (DECC), 3990 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43213-1152.

    SYSTEM MANAGER(S):

    Mr. Mark Nehmer, Technical Director, Defense Security Enterprise/Federal Vetting Enterprise Program Executive Office, Building 600, 10th Street, Ft. George G. Meade, MD 20755; by email at [email protected] or by phone at (301) 833-3488.

    AUTHORITY FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE SYSTEM:

    10 U.S.C. 137, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; 10 U.S.C. 504, Persons Not Qualified; 10 U.S.C. 505, Regular components: Qualifications, term, grade; Atomic Energy Act of 1954, 60 Stat. 755; Public Law 108-458, The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (50 U.S.C. 401 note); Public Law 114-92, Section 1086, National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, Reform and Improvement of Personnel Security, Insider Threat Detection and Prevention, and Physical Security (10 U.S.C. 1564 note); Public Law 114-328, Section 951 (NDAA for FY2017), Enhanced Security Programs for Department Defense Personnel and Innovation Initiatives (10 U.S.C. 1564 note); Public Law 115-91, Section 925, (NDAA for FY2018) Background and Security Investigations for Department of Defense Personnel (10 U.S.C. 1564 note); 5 U.S.C. 9101, Access to Criminal History Records for National Security and Other Purposes; Executive Order (E.O.) 13549, as amended, Classified National Security Information Program for State, Local, Tribal, and Private Sector Entities; E.O. 12333, as amended, United States Intelligence Activities; E.O. 12829, as amended, National Industrial Security Program; E.O. 10865, as amended, Safeguarding Classified Information Within Industry; E.O. 13467, as amended, Reforming Processes Related to Suitability for Government Employment, Fitness for Contractor Employees, and Eligibility for Access to Classified National Security Information; E.O. 12968, as amended, Access to Classified Information; E.O. 13470, Further Amendments to Executive Order 12333; E.O. 13488, as amended, Granting Reciprocity on Excepted Service and Federal Contractor Employee Fitness and Reinvestigating Individuals in Positions of Public Trust; E.O. 13526, Classified National Security Information; E.O. 13741, Amending Executive Order 13467, To Establish the Roles and Responsibilities of the National Background Investigations Bureau and Related Matters; E.O. 13764, Amending the Civil Service Rules; DoD Manual 5200.02, Procedures for the DoD Personnel Security Program (PSP); DoD Instruction (DoDI) 1400.25, Volume 731, DoD Civilian Personnel Management System: Suitability and Fitness Adjudication for Civilian Employees; DoDI 5200.46, DoD Investigative and Adjudicative Guidance for Issuing the Common Access Card (CAC); Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 12: Policy for a Common Identification Standard for Federal Employees and Contractors; Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 201-2, Personal Identity Verification (PIV) of Federal Employees and Contractors; and E.O. 9397 (SSN), as amended.

    PURPOSE(S) OF THE SYSTEM:

    This system of records allows DoD to conduct end-to-end personnel security, suitability, fitness, and credentialing processes, including application and questionnaire submission, investigations, adjudications, and continuous vetting (including continuous evaluation) activities.

    DoD developed the information technology capabilities that contribute to the Personnel Vetting Records System to support federal background investigation processes pursuant to Executive Order 13467, as amended, and Section 925 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2018. The Personnel Vetting Records System integrates information technology capabilities to conduct background investigations activities including: investigations and determinations of eligibility for access to classified national security information, and for access to special access programs; suitability for federal employment; fitness of contractor personnel to perform work for or on behalf of the U.S. Government; and Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-12 determinations for Personal Identity Verification (PIV) credentials to gain logical or physical access to government facilities and systems. The Personnel Vetting Records System also supports: submissions of adverse personnel information; verification of investigation and adjudicative history and status; continuous evaluation; and insider threat detection, prevention, and mitigation activities.

    Records in the information systems covered by this system notice may also be used as a management tool for statistical analyses; tracking, reporting, and evaluating program effectiveness; and conducting research related to personnel vetting. This system notice does not cover personnel vetting records (including investigation and adjudication records) collected or retained separately by those DoD Components with specific personnel vetting authorities and that conduct their own investigations and vetting, or by non-DoD agencies.

    CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE SYSTEM:

    Personnel for whom DoD conducts or adjudicates background investigations for security, suitability, fitness, and credentialing. This includes Armed Forces personnel; DoD and U.S. Coast Guard civilian personnel, DoD contractor personnel and consultants, and applicants for those positions; civilian employees, contractor personnel and consultants, and applicants for those positions, working for or on behalf of other federal agencies and offices, for whom DoD conducts background investigations; other government personnel who have authorized access to the system for reciprocity purposes; “affiliated” personnel (e.g., Non-Appropriated Fund employees, Red Cross volunteers and staff, USO personnel, and congressional staff members); and other individuals (including contractor personnel of other government entities and foreign nationals) requiring a DoD determination for fitness, HSPD-12 access, access to classified national security information, Sensitive Compartmented Information, and/or assignment to a position with sensitive duties; and officials or employees of State, local, tribal and private sector entities sponsored for access to classified information by a federal agency.

    CATEGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:

    Name (current, former and alternate names); Social Security Number (SSN); DoD Identification Number (DoD ID Number); date of birth; place of birth; height; weight; hair and eye color; gender; sex; mother's maiden name; residential history, phone numbers, and email addresses; employment history; military records and discharge information; selective service registration record; educational data, including conduct records and degrees earned; names of relatives, associates and references with their contact information; country(ies) of citizenship; travel, immigration, and passport information; mental health history; records related to drug and/or alcohol use; financial record information; information from the Internal Revenue Service pertaining to income tax returns; bureau of vital statistics records (e.g., birth certificate, death certificate, marriage application and license); credit reports; prior security clearance and investigative information; type of DoD affiliation; employing activity; current employment status; position sensitivity; personnel security investigative basis; status of current adjudicative action; security clearance eligibility status and access status; self-reported information; eligibility recommendations or decisions made by an appellate authority; inadvertent disclosure briefing and agreement; non-disclosure execution dates; indoctrination date(s); level(s) of access granted; briefing/debriefing date(s) and reasons for briefing/debriefing; and other biographical information as required during the course of a background investigation.

    Records documenting the outcomes of investigations and adjudications conducted by other Federal investigative organizations (e.g., U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), etc.) and locator references to such investigations. Entries documenting fitness determinations, HSPD-12 access, continuous vetting adverse information flags, or counter insider threat reports of the subject.

    Name, date and place of birth, social security number, country of citizenship, criminal history and prior security clearance and investigative information for spouse or cohabitant(s); the name and marriage information for current and/or former spouse(s); the country(ies) of citizenship, name, date and place of birth, contact information (e.g., phone numbers, email addresses), and address for relatives.

    Reports from pre-employment screening, such as counterintelligence screening or military accessions vetting; results of subject and reference interviews conducted during the course of background investigations, continuous evaluation, counter insider threat, counterintelligence screening, security incident resolution, or program access requests.

    Information detailing agency investigation requests including type of investigation requested, tracking codes, and requesting officials' contact information.

    Polygraph reports, polygraph charts, polygraph tapes and recordings in other forms, and notes from polygraph interviews or activities related to polygraph interviews.

    Biometric information including but not limited to images and fingerprints; criminal and civil fingerprint history information.

    Foreign contact, affections, associates (e.g., family members, friends or social contacts), travel, and activities information, including names of individuals known, dates, country(ies) of citizenship, country(ies) of residence, type and nature or contact, financial interests, assets, benefits from foreign governments, countries and dates of arrival and departure for U.S. border crossings; association records; information on loyalty to the United States.

    Criminal history information, including information contained in local, state, military, Federal, and foreign criminal justice agency records and local, state, military, and Federal civil and criminal court records. Information about affiliation with known criminal and/or terrorist organizations.

    Records concerning civil or administrative proceedings, (for example, bankruptcy records, civil lawsuits, Merit System Protection Board), including information contained in local, state, military, Federal, and foreign courts and agency records.

    Information about and evidence of unauthorized use or misuse of information technology systems.

    Information aggregated in counter-insider threat inquiries or investigations, including payroll information, travel vouchers, benefits information, equal employment opportunity complaints, performance evaluations, disciplinary files, training records, substance abuse and mental health records of individuals undergoing law enforcement action or presenting an identifiable imminent threat, counseling statements, outside work and activities requests, and personal contact records; particularly sensitive or protected information, including information held by special access programs, law enforcement, inspector general, or other investigative sources or programs. Access to such information may require additional approval by the senior official who is responsible for managing and overseeing the program; information related to reports regarding harassment or discrimination.

    Information collected through user activity monitoring, which is the technical capability to observe and record the actions and activities of all users, at any time, on a computer network controlled by a government agency in order to deter, detect, and/or mitigate insider threats as well as to support authorized investigations. Such information may include key strokes, screen captures, and content transmitted via email, chat, or data import or export.

    Agency or Component summaries of reports, and full reports, about potential insider threats from records of usage of government telephone systems, including the telephone number initiating the call, the telephone number receiving the call, and the date and time of the call.

    U.S. and foreign finance and real estate information that consists of names of financial institutions, number of accounts held, monthly and year-end account balances for bank and investment accounts, address, year of purchase and price, capital investment costs, lease or rental information, year of lease or rental, monthly payments, deeds, lender/loan information and foreclosure history; information on owned and leased vehicles, boats, airplanes and other U.S. and foreign assets that include type, make, model, year, plate or identification number, year leased, monthly rental payment; year of purchase and price, and fair market value; information pertaining to large or suspicious currency transactions; U.S. and foreign mortgages, loans, and liabilities information that consist of type of loan, names and addresses of creditors, original balance, monthly and year-end balance, monthly payments, and payment history.

    Publicly available electronic information about or generated by a covered individual (e.g., public records, civil court records, social media content, news articles, and web blog information).

    Results of record checks and data analyses for purposes of improving all types of investigations, reinvestigations, or continuous evaluation with respect to efficiency or cost-effectiveness.

    RECORD SOURCE CATEGORIES:

    Information contained in this system is obtained from the individual (e.g. SF-85, Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions; SF-85P, Questionnaire for Public Trust Positions; SF-86, Questionnaire for the National Security Positions; or self-reported information provided in other forms, such as interviews); DoD personnel and other record systems (e.g. Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System; Defense Civilian Personnel Data System; Electronic Military Personnel Record System, Department of Defense (DoD) Insider Threat Management and Analysis Center (DITMAC) and DoD Component Insider Threat Records System, etc.); continuous evaluation records; DoD and Federal investigative and adjudicative facilities/organizations; other Federal agency records and/or systems of records (as authorized by their routine use clauses in system of records notices) that provide security-relevant information; and security managers, security officers, or other officials requesting or sponsoring an individual for security eligibility, suitability, fitness or credentialing determination, or determinations concerning access to facilities. Additional information may be obtained from Federal, State, local, or tribal government entities, including information from criminal or civil investigations, courts, law enforcement agencies, agencies authorized to collect information concerning citizenship, probation officials, prison officials, information technology officials, and security representatives. Information also may be obtained from other publicly available information sources, commercial data providers (e.g., credit reporting companies and online news sources), past and present employers, personal references and associates, relatives, neighbors, education institutions, subject's personal financial records, military service records, travel records, medical records, and unsolicited sources.

    ROUTINE USES OF RECORDS MAINTAINED IN THE SYSTEM, INCLUDING CATEGORIES OF USERS AND THE PURPOSES OF SUCH USES:

    In addition to disclosures generally permitted under 5 U.S.C. 552a(b) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, the records contained herein, may specifically be disclosed outside the DoD as a routine use pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(3) as follows:

    a. To Federal, State, and local government agencies, if necessary, to obtain information from them which will assist DoD in conducting studies and analyses in support of evaluating and improving the effectiveness of personnel security, suitability, and credentialing programs and methodologies.

    b. To the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Office of Personnel Management personnel to help ensure the accuracy and completeness of FBI, OPM, and DoD records.

    c. To the Office of Personnel Management, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and other federal government agencies responsible for conducting background investigations, continuous evaluation, and continuous vetting in order to provide them with information relevant to their inquiries and investigations.

    d. To designated officers and employees of Federal, State, local, territorial, tribal, international, or foreign agencies, or other public authorities, or to other offices or establishments in the executive, legislative, or judicial branches of the Federal Government, in connection with the hiring or retention of an employee, the conduct of a suitability, credentialing, or security investigation, the classifying of jobs, the letting of a contract, or the issuance of a license, grant or other benefit by the requesting agency, to the extent that the information is relevant and necessary to the requesting agency's decision on the matter and the Department deems appropriate.

    e. To designated officers and employees of agencies, offices, and other establishments in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government or the Government of the District of Columbia having a need to investigate, evaluate, or make a determination regarding loyalty to the United States; qualification, suitability, or fitness for Government employment or military service; eligibility for logical or physical access to federally-controlled facilities or information systems; eligibility for access to classified information or to hold a sensitive position; qualification or fitness to perform work for or on behalf of the Government under contract, grant, or other agreement; or access to restricted areas.

    f. To an element of the U.S. Intelligence Community as identified in E.O. 12333, as amended, for use in intelligence activities for the purpose of protecting the United States national security interests.

    g. To an agency, office, or other establishment in the executive, legislative, or judicial branches of the Federal Government in response to its request, in connection with its current employee's, contractor employee's, or military member's retention; loyalty; qualifications, suitability, or fitness for employment; eligibility for logical or physical access to federally-controlled facilities or information systems; eligibility for access to classified information or to hold a sensitive position; qualifications or fitness to perform work for or on behalf of the Government under contract, grant, or other agreement; or access to restricted areas.

    h. To contractors, grantees, or volunteers performing or working on a contract, service, grant, cooperative agreement, or assignment for the Federal Government, when necessary to accomplish an agency function related to this system of records. Such recipients shall be required to comply with the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended.

    i. To the appropriate Federal, State, local, tribal, foreign, or other public authority in the event of a natural or manmade disaster. The record will be used to provide leads to assist in locating missing subjects or assist in determining the health and safety of the subject. The record will also be used to assist in identifying victims and locating any surviving next of kin.

    j. For agencies that use adjudicative support services of another agency, at the request of the original agency, the information may be furnished to the agency providing the adjudicative support.

    k. To a federal, state, or local agency maintaining civil, criminal, or other relevant enforcement information or other pertinent information, such as current licenses, if necessary to obtain information relevant to a decision concerning the hiring or retention of an employee, the issuance of a security clearance, the letting of a contract, or the issuance of a license, grant, or other benefit.

    l. To any source from which information is requested in the course of an investigation, to the extent necessary to identify the individual under investigation, inform the source of the nature and purpose of the investigation, and to identify the type of information requested.

    m. To contractors whose employees require fitness determinations, or eligibility for access to classified national security information, for the purpose of ensuring that the employer is appropriately informed about the status of the employee's application for a fitness or eligibility determination.

    n. To provide information to a congressional office from the record of an individual in response to an inquiry from the congressional office made at the request of that individual. However, the investigative file, or parts thereof, will only be released to a congressional office if DoD receives a notarized authorization or signed statement under 28 U.S.C. 1746 from the subject of the investigation.

    o. To the Director of National Intelligence, as Security Executive Agent, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, as Suitability Executive Agent or Credentialing Executive Agent, or their assignee, to perform any functions authorized by law or executive order in support of personnel security programs, suitability, and/or credentialing. Examples include the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act and E.O. 13741—Amending Executive Order 13467 To Establish the Roles and Responsibilities of the National Background Investigations Bureau and Related Matters.

    p. To the White House to obtain approval of the President of the United States regarding certain military personnel officer actions as provided for in DoD Instruction 1320.04, Military Officer Actions Requiring Approval of the President, Secretary of Defense or the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Approval, or Confirmation by the Senate.

    q. To the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for use in alien admission and naturalization inquiries.

    r. For the Merit Systems Protection Board —To disclose information to officials of the Merit Systems Protection Board or the Office of the Special Counsel, when requested in connection with appeals, special studies of the civil service and other merit systems, review of applicable agency rules and regulations, investigations of alleged or possible prohibited personnel practices, and such other functions, e.g., as promulgated in 5 U.S.C. 1205 and 1206, or as may be authorized by law.

    s. To disclose information to an agency Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) office or to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission when requested in connection with investigations into alleged or possible discriminatory practices in the Federal sector, or in the processing of a Federal sector EEO complaint.

    t. To disclose information to the Federal Labor Relations Authority or its General Counsel when requested in connection with investigations of allegations of unfair labor practices or matters before the Federal Service Impasses Panel.

    u. To another Federal agency's Office of Inspector General when DoD becomes aware of an indication of misconduct or fraud during the applicant's submission of the standard forms.

    v. To another Federal agency's Office of Inspector General in connection with its inspection or audit activity of the investigative or adjudicative processes and procedures of its agency as authorized by the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, exclusive of requests for civil or criminal law enforcement activities.

    w. To a Federal agency or state unemployment compensation office upon its request in order to adjudicate a claim for unemployment compensation benefits when the claim for benefits is made as the result of a qualifications, suitability, fitness, security, identity credential, or access determination.

    x. To appropriately cleared individuals in Federal agencies, to determine whether information obtained in the course of processing the background investigation is or should be classified.

    y. To the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for inclusion in its Scattered Castles system in order to facilitate reciprocity of background investigations and security clearances within the intelligence community or assist agencies in obtaining information required by the Federal Investigative Standards.

    z. To the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for the purpose of addressing civilian pay and leave, benefits, retirement deduction, and any other information necessary for the OPM to carry out its legally authorized government-wide personnel management functions and studies.

    aa. A record from this system may be disclosed as a routine use outside the DoD or the U.S. Government for the purpose of counterintelligence, counterterrorism, and homeland defense activities authorized by U.S. Law or Executive Order or for the purpose of enforcing laws which protect the national security of the United States; this includes disclosure to Executive Branch Agency insider threat, counterintelligence, and counterterrorism officials to fulfill their responsibilities under applicable Federal law and policy, including but not limited to E.O. 12333, 13587 and the National Insider Threat Policy and Minimum Standards.

    bb. To the appropriate Federal, State, local, territorial, tribal, foreign, or international law enforcement authority or other appropriate entity where a record, either alone or in conjunction with other information, indicates a violation or potential violation of law, whether criminal, civil, or regulatory in nature, and whether arising by general statute or by regulation, rule, or order issued pursuant thereto. The relevant records in the system of records may be referred, as a routine use, to the agency concerned and charged with the responsibility of investigating or prosecuting such violation or charged with enforcing or implementing the statute, rule, regulation, or order issued pursuant thereto.

    cc. To any component of the Department of Justice for the purpose of representing DoD, or its components, officers, employees, or members in pending or potential litigation to which the record is pertinent.

    dd. In an appropriate proceeding before a court, grand jury, or administrative or adjudicative body or official (including to another Federal agency or party in litigation in such a proceeding, as well as to the administrative or adjudicative body or official), when the DoD or other Agency representing the DoD determines that the records are relevant and necessary to the proceeding; or in an appropriate proceeding before an administrative or adjudicative body when the adjudicator determines the records to be relevant to the proceeding.

    ee. To the National Archives and Records Administration for the purpose of records management inspections conducted under the authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906.

    ff. To appropriate agencies, entities, and persons when (1) the DoD suspects or has confirmed that there has been a breach of the system of records; (2) the DoD has determined that as a result of the suspected or confirmed breach there is a risk of harm to individuals, the DoD (including its information systems, programs, and operations), the Federal Government, or national security; and (3) the disclosure made to such agencies, entities, and persons is reasonably necessary to assist in connection with the DoD's efforts to respond to the suspected or confirmed breach or to prevent, minimize, or remedy such harm.

    gg. To another Federal agency or Federal entity, when the DoD determines that information from this system of records is reasonably necessary to assist the recipient agency or entity in (1) responding to a suspected or confirmed breach or (2) preventing, minimizing, or remedying the risk of harm to individuals, the recipient agency or entity (including its information systems, programs and operations), the Federal Government, or national security, resulting from a suspected or confirmed breach.

    POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR STORAGE OF RECORDS:

    Records are maintained in paper and electronic storage media, in accordance with the safeguards below.

    POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR RETRIEVAL OF RECORDS:

    Information is retrieved by SSN, case number, DoD ID number, name, date of birth, state and/or country of birth, or some combination thereof.

    POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR RETENTION AND DISPOSAL OF RECORDS:

    Draft Records Retention/Disposition Schedule is currently in development, pending submission to and approval from the Archivist of the United States, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Unscheduled NBIS records will be treated as permanent until receipt of retention/disposition instruction approval from the Archivist of the United States, NARA.

    ADMINISTRATIVE, TECHNICAL, AND PHYSICAL SAFEGUARDS:

    The system is protected against compromise of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and cyberattack by the full suite of defenses and sensors of the DoD cybersecurity perimeter. Electronic data is encrypted where it is stored, and network traffic is encrypted based on the type of user traffic and risk to PII data. User access to data is protected using Identity and Access Management with multifactor authentication that will only allow an authenticated and authorized user to access or manipulate the specific records based on user role and permissions. The system audits access to information. Paper records are contained and stored in safes and locked filing cabinets that are located in a secure area with access only by authorized personnel. Physical entry is restricted by the use of locks, guards, and administrative procedures. All individuals granted access to the system must complete Information Assurance and Privacy Act training before initially accessing the system and annually thereafter, and these users must have also been adjudicated as being eligible for system access through the information technology credentialing and/or security clearance eligibility process.

    RECORD ACCESS PROCEDURES:

    Individuals seeking information about themselves contained in this system should address written inquiries to the Defense Security Service, Office of FOIA and PA, 27130 Telegraph Road, Quantico, VA 22134-2253. Requests for vetting records not covered by this system notice, including vetting records maintained by other DoD Components and other federal agencies, should be addressed to those DoD Components and federal agencies.

    Signed, written requests should contain the requester's full name (and any alias and/or alternate names used), SSN, DoD ID Number (if available), and date and place of birth.

    In addition, the requester must provide either a notarized statement or an unsworn declaration made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. 1746, in the following format:

    If executed outside the United States: “I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date). (Signature).”

    If executed within the United States, its territories, possessions, or commonwealths: “I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date). (Signature).” Attorneys or other persons acting on behalf of an individual must provide written authorization from that individual for their representative to act on their behalf.

    Note: Information generated, authored, or compiled by another Government agency that is relevant to the purpose of the record may be incorporated into the record. In such instances that information will be referred to the originating entity for direct response to the requester, or contact information and record access procedures for the other agency will be provided to the requester.

    CONTESTING RECORD PROCEDURES:

    The Department of Defense rules for accessing records, contesting contents, and appealing initial agency determinations are contained in 32 CFR part 310; or may be obtained from the system manager.

    NOTIFICATION PROCEDURES:

    Individuals seeking to determine whether information about themselves is contained in this system should address written inquiries to Defense Security Service, Office of FOIA and PA, 27130 Telegraph Road, Quantico, VA 22134-2253. Requests for vetting records not covered by this systems notice, including vetting records maintained by other DoD Components and other federal agencies, should be addressed to those DoD Components and federal agencies.

    Signed, written requests should contain the requester's full name, telephone number, street address, email address, and name and number of this system of records notice.

    In addition, the requester must provide either a notarized statement or an unsworn declaration made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. 1746, in the following format:

    If executed outside the United States: “I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date). (Signature).”

    If executed within the United States, its territories, possessions, or commonwealths: “I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date). (Signature).”

    EXEMPTIONS CLAIMED FOR THE SYSTEM:

    The DoD is exempting records maintained in DUSDI 02-DoD “Personnel Vetting Records System,” from subsections (c)(3), (d)(1), (d)(2), (d)(3), (d)(4), and (e)(1) of the Privacy Act pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1), (2), (3), (5), (6), and (7). In addition, in the course of carrying out personnel vetting, including records checks for continuous vetting, exempt records from other systems of records may in turn become part of the records maintained in this system. To the extent that copies of exempt records from those other systems of records are maintained in this system, the Department also claims the same exemptions for the records from those other systems that are maintained in this system, as claimed for the original primary system of which they are a part.

    An exemption rule for this system has been promulgated in accordance with requirements of 5 U.S.C. 553(b) (1), (2), and (3), (c) and (e) and published in 32 CFR part 310. For additional information contact the system manager.

    HISTORY:

    None.

    [FR Doc. 2018-22508 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No.: ED-2018-ICCD-0104] Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Recent Graduates Employment and Earnings Survey (RGEES) Standards and Survey Form AGENCY:

    Federal Student Aid (FSA), Department of Education (ED).

    ACTION:

    Notice

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, ED is proposing an extension of an existing information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before December 17, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    To access and review all the documents related to the information collection listed in this notice, please use http://www.regulations.gov by searching the Docket ID number ED-2018-ICCD-0104. Comments submitted in response to this notice should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov by selecting the Docket ID number or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. Please note that comments submitted by fax or email and those submitted after the comment period will not be accepted. Written requests for information or comments submitted by postal mail or delivery should be addressed to the Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 550 12th Street SW, PCP, Room 9086, Washington, DC 20202-0023.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Beth Grebeldinger, 202-377-4018.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department of Education (ED), in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps the Department assess the impact of its information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand the Department's information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. ED is soliciting comments on the proposed information collection request (ICR) that is described below. The Department of Education is especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the Department; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Department minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology. Please note that written comments received in response to this notice will be considered public records.

    Title of Collection: Recent Graduates Employment and Earnings Survey (RGEES) Standards and Survey Form.

    OMB Control Number: 1845-0138.

    Type of Review: An extension of an existing information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: Individuals or Households.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 22,123.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 7,374.

    Abstract: The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the U.S. Department of Education (Department) is required by regulation to develop an earnings survey to support gainful employment (GE) program evaluations. The regulations specify that the Secretary of Education will publish in the Federal Register the survey and the standards required for its administration. NCES has developed the Recent Graduates Employment and Earnings Survey (RGEES) Standards and Survey Form. The RGEES can be used in a debt-to-earnings (D/E) ratio appeal under the GE regulations as an alternative to the Social Security administration earnings data.

    Institutions that choose to submit alternate earnings appeal information will survey all Title IV funded students who graduated from GE programs during the same period that the Department used to calculate the D/E ratios, or a comparable period as defined in 668.406(b)(3) of the regulations. The survey will provide an additional source of earnings data for the Department to consider before determining final D/E ratios for programs subject to the gainful employment regulations. Programs with final D/E ratios that fail to meet the minimum threshold may face sanctions, including the possible loss of Title IV federal student financial aid program funds.

    Dated: October 11, 2018. Kate Mullan, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22520 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Application to Pilot; Federal Student Aid's Next Generation Financial Services Environment—Payment Vehicle Account Program Pilot AGENCY:

    Federal Student Aid, Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Education's Federal Student Aid office is issuing a Notice inviting Applications from parties to implement a Pilot of a Payment Vehicle Account Program.

    DATES:

    Applications Available: October 17, 2018.

    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: November 7, 2018.

    In-Person Presentations for Applications selected to Present (45 minutes) and Discussion Session (45 minutes): November 21, 2018 to November 28, 2018.

    Intended Award Date: December 5, 2018.

    Individuals with disabilities who need an accommodation or auxiliary aid in connection with the Application (“Application”) process should email [email protected] If the Department of Education (“Department”) provides an accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability in connection with the Application process, the individual's Application remains subject to all other requirements and limitations in this Notice (“Notice”).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Please email [email protected] You may also contact Dr. Charles Patterson, Project Advisor at (202) 377-4133, or Emily Malone, Project Advisor at (202) 377-4624.

    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Full Text of Announcement Summary of Payment Vehicle Account Program Pilot

    Federal Student Aid (FSA), an office of the United States Department of Education, intends to enter into one or more Cooperative Agreements (“Cooperative Agreement”) for a Program Pilot (“Pilot”). This Pilot is intended to guide the establishment and delivery of a student-focused electronic Payment Vehicle Account Program (“Program”). This Payment Vehicle Account (“Payment Vehicle Account”) will have direct connectivity, through integration with FSA's myStudentAid Super Portal Mobile App (“Super Portal Mobile App”), to a robust set of app functionalities that are important to help students pursue, finance, and complete their postsecondary education.

    In the first phase of the selection process for this Pilot, FSA is inviting interested parties to submit Applications to enter into Cooperative Agreements to serve as Pilot Implementer(s) (“Pilot Implementer(s)”) in FSA's Payment Vehicle Account Program. FSA will, at its sole discretion, select one or more parties to serve as Pilot Implementer(s) of the Pilot. The Department has determined that a Cooperative Agreement is the appropriate vehicle for this Pilot, because FSA is not acquiring property or services for the direct benefit or use of the Government (“Government”). Rather, FSA is transferring a thing of value (including, and of importance, the authority to use the FSA brand) to the recipient to carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by law, which is to improve service to students and other participants in the student financial assistance programs.

    FSA will select one or more eligible Applicants that meet the Program Pilot Requirements set forth in this Notice to serve as Pilot Implementer(s), based upon the selection criteria and using the process set forth in Sections IV and V of this Notice.

    Using one or more Cooperative Agreements, FSA will authorize one or more Pilot Implementer(s) to utilize the FSA brand in connection with piloting a Payment Vehicle Account. The Pilot Implementer(s) will, thus, be supported and required to establish a Payment Vehicle Account, and will agree to abide by customer-friendly terms and conditions as defined and updated at FSA's sole discretion. The Pilot is intended to run through December 2020, but may be extended, expanded, or terminated at the sole discretion of FSA. The term of the Cooperative Agreement will be for the duration of the Pilot, plus 12 months thereafter.

    The Pilot will be administered at multiple Schools (“School”) that volunteer to participate and are selected by FSA in consultation with the Pilot Implementer(s). Evaluation of the Pilot will be conducted by an independent party using a mixed methods research protocol, which combines quantitative and qualitative assessments to measure benefits and perceptions of Program utility, efficiency, and ease of use by Customers (“Customer”) and Schools.

    The Government will not make payments to the Pilot Implementer(s) for any aspect of the Pilot. The Pilot Implementer(s) may not charge any fees to participating Customers for any aspect of the Payment Vehicle Account or any other activity in association with the Pilot. Additionally, the Pilot Implementer(s) must ensure that, for participating Schools, the debit fee rate or an interchange rate (including for tuition, fees, and School-owned merchants such as bookstores, cafeterias, etc.) will be assessed at $0 or 0 percent.

    Student participation in the Pilot is voluntary. The Pilot Implementer(s) and Pilot Participant(s) (“Pilot Participant(s)”) must have policies to protect the security and privacy of the personal and private information of Customers who elect to participate in the Program. See Section I and Subsection Privacy of Customer Information and Restrictions on Marketing Use, for more information.

    All personal and related transaction information is the property of the participating Customer and named Issuing Financial Services Institution (“Issuing Financial Services Institution”) of the Payment Vehicle Account as required by Federal and State laws that apply to financial services institutions. Any use of participating Customer-specific Payment Vehicle Account information must be authorized with explicit participating Customer opt-in methods on a by-occurrence basis, and not through general or blanket opt-in methods. Under the Cooperative Agreement, the Pilot Implementer(s) will be required to provide noncustomer specific, aggregated or disaggregated Program-related information to FSA by way of reports that ensure the anonymity of participating Customers.

    I. Opportunity Description

    Definitions: For purposes of this Notice and the Pilot, the following definitions apply:

    Application is the document completed by entities that wish to be considered as Pilot Implementers.

    Co-brand is a strategic alliance of multiple brands, which will include the FSA brand and may include the brand of the Issuing Financial Services Institution and Payment Brand.

    Cooperative Agreement is the legal instrument that will establish the relationship between the Department and the Pilot Implementer(s).

    Customer is any person who is attending or associated with a School and received title IV aid from FSA.

    Department refers to the U.S. Department of Education.

    Government refers to the United States Federal government acting through the U.S. Department of Education and its Federal Student Aid office, and other authorized agencies.

    Issuing Financial Services Institution is the financial services institution that issues the Payment Vehicle Account to participating FSA Customers.

    myMoney Tile is a tile within the Super Portal Mobile App through which the Vendor Mobile App is launched.

    NextGen refers to FSA's Next Generation Financial Services Environment, a new digital engagement services and payments platform developed by FSA to ensure FSA Customers enjoy a world-class customer experience throughout their education finance journey.

    Notice is this announcement of the opportunity for parties to pilot a Payment Vehicle Account Program.

    Payment Brand is a payment network or clearing authority ensuring funds are settled between the merchant's bank and the Issuing Financial Services Institution.

    Payment Vehicle Account is an account established by the Payment Vehicle Account Program for participating Customers to receive their credit balance funds for title IV Federal aid and other student aid, which may also be used to conduct other transactions through both a physical and virtual card. The participating Customer is the owner of the Payment Vehicle Account.

    Payment Vehicle Account Product (or Product) represents the features, functionality, and attributes of the Payment Vehicle Account as provided by the selected Pilot Implementer(s) and Pilot Participant(s).

    Payment Vehicle Account Program (or Program) is the complete set of offerings, features, and benefits of the Payment Vehicle Account including: Payment capability, Vendor Mobile App, participating customer enrollment/engagement, and other content or tools. It is managed by the Pilot Implementers through the process outlined in this Notice.

    Pilot is the initial and test phase of the Payment Vehicle Account Program.

    Pilot Implementer(s) is a party that works directly with FSA by way of a Cooperative Agreement and is responsible for providing a turnkey Payment Vehicle Account Program solution that includes at least the combination of an Issuing Financial Services Institution, Processor, Payment Brand and Product. A Pilot Implementer must be an Issuing Financial Services Institution, Processor, or Payment Brand. Note: A Pilot Implementer may also be a Pilot Participant.

    Pilot Participant(s) is a party that works directly with the Pilot Implementer(s) under a contract or other appropriate teaming arrangement to implement the Payment Vehicle Account Program and may be either the Payment Brand, Issuing Financial Services Institution, or Processor. Note: A Pilot Implementer may also be a Pilot Participant.

    Processor is the company that processes transactions from a merchant through the Payment Brand and Issuing Financial Services Institution and processes Payment Vehicle Account statements.

    Schools are institutions of higher education, such as postsecondary schools, vocational schools, universities, and colleges that have a Program Participation Agreement with the Department under which their students may receive Federal student loans under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.

    Super Portal Mobile App is FSA's myStudentAid Super Portal Mobile App, a key component of the NextGen digital platform that contains numerous tiles, one of which is the myMoney Tile.

    Vendor Mobile App is the app provided by the Pilot Implementer(s) through which participating Customers can interface with the Issuing Financial Services Institution to manage and self-service their Payment Vehicle Accounts. It is launched via the myMoney Tile residing in the FSA Super Portal Mobile App.

    Background

    FSA is undertaking transformative measures to establish the Next Generation Financial Services Environment (“NextGen”) to ensure FSA Customers enjoy a world-class customer experience throughout their education finance journey. The size and scale of FSA's consumer loan portfolio operations are on par with the largest lenders in the United States, including:

    • Approximately 42 million Customers across the student-lending lifecycle.

    • A total lending portfolio of over $1.4 trillion in outstanding principal and interest balances.

    • Annual originations of over 17 million student loans.

    • Annual processing of nearly 250 million payment transactions.

    • Annually processing of 50+ million disbursements totaling more than $125 billion.

    FSA's Next Generation Financial Services Environment digital platform, along with an omni-channel customer engagement strategy and commitment to enhanced FSA branding, intends to provide easy, seamless, and more frequent customer interactions. Mobile-first, mobile-complete, and mobile-continuous digital customer service will drive short- and long-term positive outcomes for students and provide better value to taxpayers.

    Payment Vehicle Account Program Pilot Overview: The FSA Payment Vehicle Account Program is designed to: Provide a no-fee Payment Vehicle Account to participating Customers; streamline the Schools' processing of credit balance funds for title IV Federal student aid and other student aid; and kick-start and continuously promote the interaction between FSA and its Customers via FSA's myStudentAid Super Portal Mobile App, which will bring into greater focus that the Federal Government, through FSA, is the originating source of the student's Federal student aid. Increased, repeat, and positive interactions with FSA and the Customer may help to establish a stronger relationship and in turn help ensure that FSA is the first place Customers turn to for information about their Federal student aid.

    FSA's Super Portal Mobile App, which was fully launched on October 1, 2018, is a component of NextGen's mobile-first, mobile-complete, and mobile-continuous digital customer service strategy. The Super Portal Mobile App features the new and improved Mobile FAFSA® and other student aid resources. FSA plans to include capabilities and functionalities for FSA's Customers to not only manage their student aid but to also receive proactive engagement and financial literacy guidance. Financial literacy guidance will provide the Customer with increased access to educational materials related to a Customer's Federal student aid obligations and options, which are intended to allow students to make more informed and effective financial decisions. To integrate the Payment Vehicle Account Program into the NextGen digital platform, a tile within the Super Portal Mobile App labeled myMoney (“myMoney Tile”) will launch the Pilot Implementer(s)'s Vendor Mobile Account App (“Vendor Mobile App”). The following representation is for illustrative purposes only:

    EN17OC18.025

    FSA will execute a Cooperative Agreement with one or more Pilot Implementer(s) to conduct the Pilot. The Pilot will be a “test-and-learn” phase for FSA to assess, based on the experience of the Pilot Implementer(s), potential strengths and challenges of introducing a Payment Vehicle Account program that will inform efforts to potentially take such programs to scale. Applications for Pilot Implementer(s) will be accepted as described in this Notice.

    FSA seeks Pilot Implementer(s) who will coordinate with other Pilot Participant(s) to drive technology innovation in payment services, deliver world-class customer service, and recognize the benefits such an opportunity provides. The principal purpose of these agreements is to accomplish a public purpose authorized by 34 CFR 668.164 and, in accordance with 20 U.S.C. 1018(a)(2)(A), “to improve service to students and other participants in the student financial assistance programs.” As detailed further throughout, we expect there will be substantial interaction and involvement between FSA and the selected Pilot Implementer(s) when implementing and operating the Pilot.

    FSA will oversee and monitor the Pilot and all associated activities, including the use of the FSA brand. Pilot Implementer(s) will provide reports regularly, so that FSA can ensure that the Pilot Implementer(s) are properly carrying out the Cooperative Agreement. FSA sets the requirements that Pilot Implementer(s) must adhere to for the use of the FSA-branded Program, including those regarding the marketing of data associated with the Payment Vehicle Account.

    Rationale for the Program

    Eligible colleges and universities receive FSA student financial aid funds directly from the Department and then apply these funds to student accounts to cover the cost of tuition and fees. These Schools are required to provide the credit balance funds to students in a transparent, timely, and cost-effective manner, at least parts of which are at no cost to the student. (34 CFR 668.164). This Pilot would be a completely no-cost solution for participating Customers.

    To provide credit balance funds, Schools use a variety of methods including: Depositing the funds onto a payment card, electronic funds transfer using the Automated Clearing House (ACH) process, drafting manual checks, and even cash disbursements.

    Through the Cooperative Agreement, FSA seeks to support and stimulate a Payment Vehicle Account Program that provides the following:

    An optional and consistent credit balance fund payment method—FSA Customers need a robust, no-fee method that provides easy access to credit balance funds for title IV Federal student financial aid and other student aid. Schools need a no-fee, simplified, and consistent method to administer credit balance funds.

    Reduce the burden on Schools—The Program would remove the burden on Schools to negotiate with third parties for credit balance fund disbursement products.

    Student privacy and data protections—The Program would provide clear and consistent guidance with respect to specific participating Customer privacy and protection issues such as those related to Payment Vehicle Account Product (“Product”) cross-marketing.

    Provide a financial services institution transaction account to students without such accounts—The Program would provide a financial services institution transaction account to low-income students who might otherwise find it difficult to establish such an account.1

    1 According to the 2015 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, the unbanked and underbanked rates for lower-income households were higher as compared to households with higher incomes. When citing reasons why households were unbanked, an estimated 57.4 percent of unbanked households cited the reason “do not have enough money to keep in the account” and an estimated 27.7 percent cited the reason “account fees too high.”

    Importance of the Program: Receiving Federal student aid may be the first encounter a student has with a financial services product, as well as his or her first experience with the Government. As such, the FSA Payment Vehicle Account Program presents a unique opportunity for FSA and the Government to demonstrate a positive customer experience, and to bring into focus for the student that the Federal Government, through FSA, is the originating source of their Federal student aid. Bringing an understanding of the originating source into focus for the student is important because it helps to ensure that FSA is the first place Customers turn for information regarding their Federal student aid, which in turn ensures that the Customer receives the most accurate and trustworthy information regarding their aid.

    Program Goals

    The Program is seeking to accomplish the following:

    Payment Vehicle Account—Provide an economically advantageous no-fee Payment Vehicle Account for participating FSA Customers to receive their credit balance funds for title IV Federal student financial aid and other student aid, and conduct financial transactions with both physical and virtual card features. The Payment Vehicle Account could become the primary payment utility vehicle for FSA Customers to receive both FSA funds and non-FSA funds, which may originate from Schools, grant providers, employers, family members, or other third-party sources.

    Digital experience—Utilize state-of-the-art digital technology via the Vendor Mobile App to interact with participating Customers that is consistent, convenient, relevant, simple, and secure.

    Customer engagement—Provide an FSA-branded customer experience for FSA Customers and Schools that promotes engagement and frequent use of the Vendor Mobile App.

    Process improvement—Achieve greater operational efficiency and flexibility with Federal student loan and grant fund administration for Schools and FSA.

    Technology innovation—Establish an agile technology platform where innovation and flexibility are hallmarks of how new capabilities and features should be deployed for continuous improvement to customer experience and responsiveness to mandated policies, procedures, and laws. Technology exists to accomplish this, and more, for the overall benefit of FSA Customers and taxpayers.

    To meet FSA's stated objectives, the Program will require a unique combination of product features and enhanced digital services via the Vendor Mobile App working in conjunction with the FSA Super Portal Mobile App. The Payment Vehicle Account must operate using “eBanking” features at its best.

    School Selection

    In the second phase of the selection process for this Pilot, which will be conducted at a later date, FSA will reach out to Schools to gauge their interest in participating in the Pilot. Of the Schools that confirm interest in participating in the Pilot, FSA, by way of committee, will make individualized determinations about which Schools to invite to participate. FSA will consider input from the Pilot Implementer(s) when making these determinations. FSA will directly notify those Schools that it selects to participate.

    Program Pilot Requirements: Parties applying to be Pilot Implementers must address the following items in their Applications:

    Pilot Implementer(s)'s Duties & Responsibilities:

    The Pilot Implementer(s) must provide a Payment Vehicle Account for eligible participating Customers and students currently enrolled in postsecondary education who receive Federal student financial aid. Eligible Customers are borrowers that are eligible for Title IV funds and attend a participating school location. The Pilot will include multiple Schools where FSA Customers will be offered the Payment Vehicle Account as a new option to receive credit balance funds for title IV Federal aid and other student aid. Subject to change at FSA's sole discretion, the Pilot will include multiple School site locations.

    As noted above, FSA will consider input from the Pilot Implementer(s) when selecting Schools for the Pilot. A Pilot Implementer will be responsible for executing an agreement with one or more of the School(s) selected for the Pilot. FSA will work with the Pilot Implementer(s) and School(s) to structure the basis of this agreement.

    The Program Pilot requirements create a relationship between the participating Schools and the selected Pilot Implementer(s) that will be defined as a Tier 2 arrangement under the Department's Cash Management Rules. Thus, compliance with 34 CFR 668.164(d)(4)(i) and 34 CFR 668.164(f)(4) is required. The Pilot Implementer(s) must deliver a full turnkey solution. When submitting an Application in response to this Notice, a prospective Pilot Implementer shall set forth a narrative describing how it will assume the duties and responsibilities of overall Pilot implementation.

    Prospective Pilot Implementer(s) must fully describe which Pilot Participant(s) will provide the following functional activities: Product Design, Payment Brand (“Payment Brand”), Issuing Financial Services Institution, Processor (“Processor”), Program marketing to Customers, and Program interface with and training for Schools.

    Customer Journeys

    The Pilot Implementer(s)'s understanding of FSA Customer journeys is critical to the success of the Program. Therefore, applicants must provide journey mapping throughout the customer lifecycle to communicate an understanding of the touchpoints and outcomes for each of the following stages: Awareness, reach, acquisition, usage, customer support, retention, financial literacy, and high customer satisfaction with the Payment Vehicle Account Product.

    Features and Functionality

    Enrollment and Setup. Pilot Implementer(s) must provide Payment Vehicle Account application, set-up, activation, and usage, with no requirement for a Customer credit check. Pilot Implementer(s) must provide Payment Vehicle Account disclosures, subject to FSA approval. Participating Customers must receive both a physical card and a virtual card controlled via the Vendor Mobile App. The Payment Vehicle Account must function as a complete transaction account, providing zero Customer liability (for theft, lost card, and fraud), charge-back rights, and have funds protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Pilot Implementer(s) must manage enrollment and communicate with FSA participating Customers about Payment Vehicle Account activation for new Payment Vehicle Accounts. Students are not required to participate in the Payment Vehicle Account Program. Customer participation is strictly voluntary.

    Funding by Schools. Schools must directly fund the participating Customer's Payment Vehicle Account with the Customer's credit balance funds and communicate with the participating Customer about the status of the credit balance fund and timing, as they currently do with other credit balance fund processes. Schools may provide both the FSA portion as well as other money, such as State and institutional aid funds, to the Payment Vehicle Account. Participating Customers must have the ability to use the Vendor Mobile App to verify that funds are available prior to use of the account. To ensure proper Payment Vehicle Account funding, the Pilot Implementer(s) must work with the Schools to efficiently deposit credit balance funds for title IV Federal aid and other student aid to the participating Customer's activated Payment Vehicle Account.

    Funds In/Out. Methods for transferring funds using the Vendor Mobile App must include: Direct deposit, remote deposit capture, Automatic Teller Machine (ATM), ACH, merchant-based deposits, debit, one-time or recurring e-payments (specifically to include a payment for repayment of Federal student aid), and electronically generated paper checks to pay for products and services that do not accept electronic payments. Funds may be sourced from various third parties, such as School financial aid offices, retail locations, employers, peer-to-peer, parents, etc.

    Acceptance. The Payment Vehicle Account must demonstrate the ability to be accepted at a wide variety of merchants, both on and off campus, and at any merchant accepting electronic payments and for e-commerce transactions. The acceptance process must allow for swipe, chip, PIN, and contactless payments for physical cards while the Vendor Mobile App must allow for contactless payments from iOS and Android smartphones.

    ATMs and Bank/Credit Union Cash. The physical card and companion Vendor Mobile App must be compatible with commercial ATM standards to allow ATM cash withdrawals. A comprehensive no-fee “in-network” ATM capability must be available as well as a no-fee “out-of-network.” More specifically, the Pilot Implementer must ensure convenient access to the funds in the financial account through a surcharge-free national or regional ATM network that has ATMs sufficient in number and housed and serviced such that title IV funds are reasonably available to students, including at the times the institution or its third-party servicer makes direct payments into the financial accounts of those students. Additional no-fee cash locations are encouraged, such as over-the-counter branch withdrawals.

    Vendor Mobile App. The Vendor Mobile App must allow for real-time interface with the FSA Super Portal Mobile App. Primary features of the Vendor Mobile App include, but are not limited to: Robust customer self-service controls, such as card on/off, account status, current balance, eReceipts, statements, limits/budgeting, history; the participating Customer's ability to manage spending by geographic location or merchant code or dollar amount; ATM locator; and direct connectivity to the payment authorization stream for real-time transaction alerts, fraud alerts, travel alerts and user level alerts.

    Overdraft/NSF. Pilot Implementer(s) must ensure that no overdraft or insufficient funds fees will be charged as a result of this service. The Payment Vehicle Account must demonstrate the ability to ensure protection against overdrafts and any overdraft fees.

    Card Features and Additional Attributes. The selected Pilot Implementer(s) will be invited to provide details regarding potential additional benefits that may be relevant for students and be provided at no cost to the participating Customer, such as: Purchase protection, extended warranty, roadside assistance, travel assistance, lost/delayed baggage protection, identity theft protection, credit report monitoring, car rental insurance, and interest paid on funds balances.

    Customer Service

    General. The Payment Vehicle Account must have omni-channel customer support to include: Online self-service via the Vendor Mobile Account; web; Interactive voice response (IVR); and live agent assistance via phone, chat, email, and Short Message Service (SMS). Customer service must account for exceptional peak period coverage for call center staffing at the beginning of each semester when loans are disbursed, and exceptional customer “make good” arrangements must be in place with regard to fraud or other Payment Vehicle Account issues. Customer service must also provide for highly responsive and effective error resolution, complaint management processes and warm transferability between Schools (if feasible), FSA, and Pilot Implementer(s)'s call centers. To support participating FSA Customers, Schools, and FSA Administrators, the Payment Vehicle Account requires a robust customer service program to resolve Payment Vehicle Account-related issues, inquiries, fraud (including suspicious activity notifications), chargebacks, and disputes. The Pilot Implementer(s) are responsible for card issuance, replacement, cancellation, card issuance infrastructure, and other items as appropriate to provide physical and virtual cards.

    Support Levels. The Pilot Implementer(s) must operate full levels of support for Payment Vehicle Account servicing for participating FSA Customers. First-level support is responsible for: How contacts will be accepted into digital, online, or live support operations; problem triage determination and appropriate action; and contact transfer to second-level support or other appropriate resources as designed in the customer journey. For Payment Vehicle Account servicing and issues related to fraud or misallocation of funds, the Pilot Implementer(s) will provide first-level support for participating Customers with connection points to second- and third-level support via FSA-staffed call centers or other resources for questions outside of the Program's mandate.

    myMoney Tile and Vendor Mobile App: The selected Pilot Implementer(s) will provide the companion Vendor Mobile App, which will launch behind the myMoney Tile located in the FSA Super Portal Mobile App. Thus, the Vendor Mobile App must be designed to integrate with the existing framework of the Super Portal Mobile App. The Vendor Mobile App must be a free download and must support Android phones, iOS phones, and all versions that the Super Portal Mobile App supports. Maintenance must follow Android and iOS update protocols maintaining backward and future compatibility. The Vendor Mobile App must be compliant with applicable accessibility standards. The Pilot Implementer(s) must ensure technical and operational feasibility of the Payment Vehicle Account and Vendor Mobile App by testing required functionality and specifications before the launch of the Pilot. The Vendor Mobile App must implement security protocols to protect mobile Payment Vehicle Accounts.

    Program Training

    The Pilot Implementer(s) will be responsible for Program training and collaborating with the School, as appropriate. The Pilot Implementer(s) will also be responsible for creating awareness programs and providing any necessary training for Schools. The Pilot Implementer(s) will determine the process and appropriate level of customization needed for Pilot implementation at Schools and will be responsible for training Customers on benefits and use of the Payment Vehicle Account. The Pilot Implementer(s) will coordinate with FSA customer service to coordinate procedures and to ensure knowledge transfer to effect world-class customer service among various service-level tiers.

    Program Communication and Branding

    The Pilot Implementer(s) are responsible for developing and executing a communication campaign for each School participating in the Pilot for the purpose of effectively promoting the Payment Vehicle Account to FSA Customers. The campaign must provide information that will help Schools and potential Customers understand the Program. Plastics, Vendor Mobile App, and all customer-facing communications should be FSA Co-branded (“Co-brand”). Customer service call centers should answer the phone with FSA Co-brand acknowledgement. Additionally, the Payment Vehicle Account card design(s) and all communication materials should be unique and appealing to the student market. FSA must concur with all Payment Vehicle Account Program communication campaigns.

    Privacy of Customer Information and Restrictions on Marketing Use

    The Pilot Implementer(s) are responsible for having policies to protect the security and privacy of the personal and private information of Customers who elect to participate in the Program. Participating Customer data associated with the Payment Vehicle Account will be restricted as to any marketing use. Pilot Implementer(s) may not use participating Customer data for marketing purposes without explicit permission from the Customer. Any use of the Payment Vehicle Account/participating Customer data to offer other financial relationships can only be requested by the Pilot Implementer(s) and granted by the participating Customer on a specific individual case-by-case basis. As such, any use of Payment Vehicle Account information for marketing purposes may be authorized only with explicit opt-in (on a by-occurrence only basis and not through general/blanket opt-in or through any opt-out methods) by the participating Customer. Any participating Customer data used by the Pilot Implementer(s) or Pilot Participants for purposes other than administering the Program Pilot, such as offering other financial relationships and marketing use after explicit opt-in, must be data the Pilot Implementer(s) or Pilot Participants receive directly from the participating Customer and not from participating Schools.

    Under the Cooperative Agreement, the Pilot Implementer(s) will be obligated to provide noncustomer specific aggregated Program-related information to FSA. Additionally, FSA will not receive any individual Customer records or other individually-identifiable information from other entities involved in the Pilot, including but not limited to Program Participant(s) or Schools. These restrictions on data ownership and use will continue after the expiration of the Pilot and in perpetuity.

    Reporting

    Pilot Implementers will not share Customer-level specific data with FSA nor will FSA share Customer-level specific data with Pilot Implementers. Pilot Implementers will provide reports to FSA containing only aggregate data for purposes of FSA's monitoring of compliance and Program progress.

    To ensure anonymity of participating Customers and that data remain in the aggregate, reports will only be provided to FSA when the report methodology provides strict assurance of customer identity anonymity through statistical analysis or expert analysis. The Pilot Implementer(s) must provide to FSA a set of aggregated information reports, at regular intervals, to assist in the monitoring and oversight of the Program. FSA will utilize these aggregated information reports to ensure that the Pilot Implementer(s) are adhering to their obligations under the Cooperative Agreement. FSA will maintain the right to request additional Program-related reports, and on a frequency as determined by FSA.

    At a minimum, the Pilot Implementer(s) must provide reports to FSA at regular intervals, to be determined by FSA after taking into consideration the selected Pilot Implementer(s) recommendations. Reporting intervals and report type classification is subject to change based on reporting needs. Reporting will include but is not limited to: Vendor Mobile App reports showing aggregated usage (page views, downloads, tile views, etc.) and complaints captured through the FSA Feedback System; a copy of the quality assurance program and related reports; call center activity reports; and complaint management reports for: Dispute requests, chargebacks, fraud, etc. Aggregated spending reports categorized by merchant type will also be required. The Pilot Implementer(s) are also responsible for reports for key performance indicators and lost and stolen card reporting.

    Additionally, the Pilot Implementer will provide FSA with detailed periodic market research reports relative to participating Customers and Schools to gauge Program status and participating School/Customer satisfaction and perception.

    Participating Customers must be provided with a complete report of their monthly statement showing all purchases, deposits, and other Payment Vehicle Account activity. Pilot Implementers are encouraged but not required to include a Payment Vehicle Account feature that provides a monthly and annual budget summary statement breaking down categories of spending.

    Security

    Pilot Implementer(s) must protect participating Customer data and participating Customer privacy using industry-leading technologies and methods. Payment Vehicle Account security methods must allow for Customer-operated account management controls with direct access to the payment authorization stream that enables participating Customers to activate Payment Vehicle Account alerts and Customer-driven account and information control features. Pilot Implementer(s) must ensure that high-level data security protocols are employed including: Encryption of data in transit and at rest; and security authorization and testing to thwart hacking or data intrusion in accordance with payment card industry standards, other relevant regulations, and state-of-the art practices. Payment Vehicle Account security must maintain a high order of commercial security standards including: Lost/stolen cards reporting; fraud prevention and alerts; mobile PIN reset; suspicious activity notifications; and the use of standard payment brand chip and PIN, and appropriate tokenization.

    Program Governance

    Quality Control. The Pilot Implementer(s) will establish and execute a Quality Control Plan that ensures all requirements and performance standards in the Cooperative Agreement are met. The Quality Control Plan must incorporate functional and physical configuration audits. The performance requirements and standards outlined must minimally include: Document control, records management, corrective action management, internal audits/self-assessments, monitoring, training, management of teaming partners, vendors and other third parties, and performance metrics through collection of data analytics to evaluate system trends. The Quality Control Plan must be reviewed and updated at least annually or when a significant change occurs. This plan, and compliance with it, may be audited by FSA at any time.

    Risk Management. The Pilot Implementer(s) will establish a dynamic, robust, and forward-thinking risk management plan designed to identify, assess, manage, and monitor risks. It must incorporate reporting, monitoring, and process impact analysis. This Quality Control Plan analysis must include, at a minimum: A clear process for the identification, assessment, management, and monitoring of risks; a complete risk register with risks identified and assessed; mitigation plans for management of high and medium risks; clear monitoring and escalation processes with supporting reports; and a robust issues log with specific corrective action plans. The risk management plan must be reviewed and updated at least quarterly or when a significant event occurs. The plan may be audited by FSA at any time.

    Pilot Implementers must provide a list of reports generated throughout the Pilot Implementer's and Pilot Participant's security, compliance, and governance operations. All Pilot Implementers must allow FSA, or its designated agent, to inspect any risk, compliance, security, assessment, or penetration testing report relevant to the systems, processes, and services performing servicing.

    Compliance. The Pilot Implementer(s) must agree to abide by all applicable rules and laws including, but not limited to: Federal and State rules and laws governing financial services institutions, privacy rules and laws, consumer laws, and relevant Payment Vehicle Account set-up and operational rules. The Pilot Implementer(s) must maintain compliance with all Federal and State requirements governing financial services institutions, including adhering to industry best practice with relation to cyber security measures. Under the Cooperative Agreement, the Pilot Implementer(s) will be required to abide by a specific list of relevant laws, rules, and regulations. Additionally, FSA may require the Pilot Implementer(s) to work with the School(s) to audit the participating Customer list to validate that only individuals eligible for title IV financial aid, at the time of Payment Vehicle Account inception, are participating in the Payment Vehicle Account Program.

    Timeline and Project Plan

    The Pilot is intended to go live within 60 days of signing of the Cooperative Agreement, and to conclude in December 2020, or earlier, at the sole determination of FSA. As stated above, the Payment Vehicle Account Program Pilot may be extended, or terminated early, at the sole discretion of FSA.

    In the event a Pilot Implementer or Pilot Participant voluntarily withdraws from the Payment Vehicle Account program, or FSA elects to remove the party, the Pilot Implementer shall ensure the participating Customer is not charged a fee nor have funds frozen as part of transitioning his or her service to another provider or solution at FSA's discretion and timeline.

    The Pilot Implementer(s) must submit a high-level project plan that adheres to the Department's projected target live date of 60 days after signing the Cooperative Agreement. The Pilot project's schedule must indicate when specific Product features will be completed and available for use by FSA Customers and provide a narrative with the project plan to highlight when Product features exceed requirements.

    Innovation Strategies

    FSA encourages the Pilot Implementer(s) to continually recommend new strategies and identify innovative enhancements regarding the Program such that the Program remains state-of-the-art. This should include defining the process for ongoing collaboration with FSA and innovation, and coordinating the prioritization of enhancements.

    Investment

    During its evaluation for selection of potential Pilot Implementer(s), the Department will consider the applicant's proposed investment to fund Program Pilot development, implementation, and ongoing management in furtherance of the Pilot's intended goals. Pilot Implementer(s) must provide estimates of expected monetary and nonmonetary investments.

    Cost and Fee Schedule

    The Pilot Implementer(s) may not impose any costs or fees on participating Customers or Schools related to the Pilot of the Payment Vehicle Account Program, including but not limited to: Account activation, account closure, account dormancy, balance inquiry, funds load/reload, card swipe, customer service, deposit item return, electronic generated checks, emergency cash advances, access to account information, foreign transactions, in-network ATM withdrawals/deposits, out-of-network ATM withdrawals/deposits, insufficient funds, lost or stolen card reporting, maintenance or residency, membership, overdraft, peer-to-peer loads, replacement card, stop payment, and use of alternative cash locations (bank/credit union tellers or merchants). No costs or fees of any kind may be imposed on participating Customers.

    The Pilot Implementer(s) must work with the Pilot Participant(s) to ensure that, for participating Schools, the debit fee rate, or interchange rate (including for tuition, fees, and School-owned merchants such as bookstores, cafeterias, etc.) will be assessed at $0 or 0 percent (or, if debit fees or interchange fees are charged, that such costs are reimbursed to Schools). Other transactions for non-School merchants may be assessed at standard debit fee or interchange rates. Specifics of the payment flows between Participants will be left to the Pilot Implementer(s) to determine.

    In association with the Program Pilot, the Government will make no payment of any kind to a Pilot Implementer or any other entity under the Cooperative Agreement. The Government will not accept any payment from a Pilot Implementer or any other entity under the cooperative agreement.

    Proposed Pilot Assessment Plan

    The Pilot will assess how and how well the Payment Vehicle Account Program is implemented, including how Schools and Customers respond to it. The assessment will use a mixed-methods research approach with both quantitative and qualitative elements. The implementation measures will include, but will not be limited to: Application click rates, downloads, page views, student acceptance rates and satisfaction, and product usage. These will be compared or benchmarked to those of other financial products to gain perspective on responsiveness. In addition, surveys or interviews will be conducted to examine such issues as implementation challenges and funding sources.

    For example, FSA will determine if the Pilot is meeting its Payment Vehicle Account objective by examining Program adoption rates. Whether the Program offers a state-of-the art digital experience and technology innovation will be assessed in two ways: Through customer satisfaction ratings and by comparing the technology at and throughout implementation to that used in comparable financial products, including new features introduced. The customer engagement objective will be assessed by customer satisfaction ratings and Program usage. Process improvement will be assessed with School feedback and satisfaction ratings, and the strengths and challenges reported by the Pilot Implementer(s) and the Schools.

    In evaluating the Pilot Implementer(s)' performance under the Cooperative Agreement, FSA will engage the assistance of a qualified party or organization.

    Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking: Under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) and the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, the Department generally offers interested parties the opportunity to comment on proposed selection criteria, definitions, and other requirements. This is the first competition under 20 U.S.C. 1018 and 34 CFR 668.164(d)(3). With regard to these selection criteria, definitions and other requirements, we are waiving rulemaking consistent with section 437(d)(1) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), 20 U.S.C. 1232(d)(1).

    Program Authority: 34 CFR 668.164(d)(3); 20 U.S.C. 1018.

    II. Applicant Eligibility Information Eligible Applicants

    In order to qualify as Pilot Implementers for the Payment Vehicle Account opportunity, interested applicants must demonstrate that they have the capability to meet the Program Pilot requirements by the implementation date, as outlined in this Notice. Furthermore, applicants are encouraged to submit Applications for Pilot Implementer which offer solutions that exceed the stipulated requirements.

    FSA will select one or more applicants to become the Pilot Implementer(s). The Pilot Implementer(s) will be responsible, via a Cooperative Agreement, for providing a turnkey solution for the Pilot.

    Coordination

    Pilot Implementer(s) must be willing and able to work with other entities affiliated with the Government, as well as other organizations that might conduct activities integral to the success of the Program. Additionally, to maximize testing and learning results, FSA may select multiple Pilot Implementers. If more than one Pilot Implementer is selected, each selected Pilot Implementer will carry out a unique Pilot at their assigned specific participating School or Schools rather than FSA requiring multiple Pilot Implementers to coordinate activities at the same School location(s).

    III. Application Format

    We recommend that applicants respond to this Notice (1) using 12 point, Times New Roman font, and (2) limit their Applications to 30 total pages, single-sided. This allows for up to 18 pages for selection criteria and up to 12 pages of supporting exhibits.

    Applications submitted in response to this Notice must include the following general information: Applicant's name and address; and the representative's name, contact phone number, and email address. Applications should also follow the format as detailed in the following Section IV, Application Selection Criteria, of this Notice for: Strategic Fit and Technical Capability; Past Performance and References; and Investment. FSA also encourages Pilot applicant(s) to set forth innovative ideas for accomplishing the objectives of the Pilot. Innovative ideas should be included when responding to the criterion for Strategic Fit and Technical Capability.

    IV. Application Selection Criteria

    FSA will evaluate Applications to determine which applicants it will invite to make in-person presentations based on the criteria described below. An applicant's ability to meet the Strategic Fit and Technical Capability selection criterion is most critical and, thus, will be the most heavily weighted selection criterion factor. Suggested page limits for applicants' responses to each criterion are noted in parentheses below.

    (a) Strategic Fit and Technical Capability (up to 10 pages) (70 Points)

    In determining strategic fit and technical capability, including an applicant's privacy and security policies and capabilities, FSA will evaluate: How well an applicant understands and fulfills the objectives and requirements of Section I and the Subsection titled Program Pilot Requirements, the capability of the applicant to meet those objectives and requirements, and how innovative its technical ideas are. Please note that all Program Pilot requirements will be evaluated as part of this selection criterion with the exception of the Investment requirement, which will receive independent consideration as described below.

    (b) Quality of Past Performance and References (up to four pages) (10 Points)

    The Department will consider the relevance and quality of each applicant's past performance. FSA requires each applicant to provide at least three references, but we will consider no more than five references, for each applicant. All references must relate to payment program-type projects. References may relate to the proposing Pilot Implementer(s) or Pilot Participants included in an Application.

    For all references, the proposing Pilot Implementer(s) must provide the following information: Name of reference organization, project type, specific operating entities involved in the work, specific product/service, period of performance, and geographic reach. Additionally, for all references, the proposing Pilot Implementer must provide the contact information for the project officer (or equivalent), which must include the individual's name, telephone number, and email address.

    For each reference, the proposing Pilot Implementer(s) must highlight how the previous experience exemplifies exceptional capabilities and high-quality outcomes in delivering and/or developing successful payment solutions. This may include, but is not limited to, providing details related to: Data security, program scale, overcoming functional and organizational challenges, delivered successful solutions (e.g., improved customer service, lowered operational costs, increased digital interactions, improved customer adoption rate, and increased utilization), and development timeline and costs.

    FSA will make commercially reasonable efforts to contact all provided references in order to verify the accuracy of the information provided. It is extremely important that references be advised that FSA may be contacting them. Additionally, FSA will seek the following information about the Pilot Implementer(s) from references: The record of performance according to specifications, including standards of good workmanship; The record of controlling and forecasting costs; the adherence to contract schedules, including the administrative aspects of performance; the record of managing the operations and performance of subcontractors; the reputation for reasonable, cooperative behavior, and commitment to Customer satisfaction; and the general professional concern for the interest of the Customer.

    Additionally, FSA may consider other relevant past performance information on applicants, including but not limited to databases, such as the U.S. Government Past Performance Information Retrieval System or other available Government sources.

    (c) Investment (up to four pages) (20 Points)

    As noted in the section titled Program Pilot Requirements above, an application must include total anticipated Pilot investment, split into monetary and nonmonetary investments. An applicant's responses to this selection criterion must explain how the applicant's proposed investment will sufficiently fund the development, implementation, and ongoing management and stated goals of the Program Pilot.

    V. Application Selection Process

    Estimated Number of Selected Applicants: One or More.

    A three-person panel established by FSA will review Applications and select a limited number of applicants to attend an in-person presentation and discussion session at FSA headquarters. Sessions will be conducted at the U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, 830 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. FSA will directly notify selected applicants to schedule their sessions. Each selected applicant will be given an individualized session with the three-person review panel (plus other FSA parties or other Federal personnel in attendance). Forty-five minutes will be dedicated to the applicant's presentation with a 45-minute question-and-answer discussion to follow. During the session, applicants are not restricted to Application materials and will be permitted to present additional documents and information. The sessions will be recorded via video, note taking, and/or summary statements. Following all sessions, the three-person panel will determine the selected Pilot Implementer(s) and notify all applicants that they have either been selected or not selected to enter into a Cooperative Agreement to Pilot the Payment Vehicle Account Program.

    VI. Application and Submission Information Other Submission Requirements

    Interested entities must submit an Application in order to be considered. If an applicant is not able to currently provide all elements of the Program, the applicant should provide a timeline for when those items could be implemented.

    Applications may be submitted electronically or in paper format by mail or hand delivery. We will not consider any Application that does not comply with the Application submission deadline requirements.

    Proprietary Information

    Given the types of information requested for this Pilot, Applications may include business information that applicants consider proprietary. In 34 CFR 5.11, we define “business information” and describe the process we use in determining whether any of that information is proprietary and, thus, protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552, as amended). Consistent with Executive Order 12600, applicants should designate in their Applications any information that they believe is exempt from disclosure under Exemption 4. Applicants should list the page number or numbers on which we can find this information in the appropriate Appendix section of their Applications. For additional information, please see 34 CFR 5.11(c).

    Electronic Submission of Applications

    If you choose to submit your Application electronically, which is the preferred delivery method, email your Application to [email protected] Please note the following:

    • You must complete the electronic submission of your Application by 4:30 p.m., Eastern Time, on November 7, 2018.

    • If you choose to submit documents electronically, you must submit all documents, including any narrative sections and all other attachments to your Application as files in a portable document format (PDF) only. If you upload a file type other than a PDF or submit a password-protected file, we will not review that material.

    • Prior to submitting your Application electronically, you may wish to print a copy of it for your records.

    • We may request that you provide us original signatures on other documents at a later date.

    • FSA email systems can only accept incoming files with attachments smaller than 25 MB. If your entire Application package is larger than 25 MB, please send multiple emails with appropriate designations in the subject line and body of the email indicating how many total emails will be sent with submission of your Application.

    Deadline Date Extension in Case of System Unavailability

    If you are prevented from electronically submitting your Application on the deadline date because [email protected] was unavailable, we will grant you an extension of one business day to enable you to transmit your Application electronically, by mail, or by hand delivery. We will grant this extension if:

    [email protected] was unavailable for 60 minutes or more between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Eastern Time, on the deadline date; or

    [email protected] was unavailable for any period of time between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., Eastern Time, on the deadline date.

    We must acknowledge and confirm these periods of unavailability before granting you an extension. To request this extension or to confirm our acknowledgment of any system unavailability, you may email [email protected] or call the Project Advisors listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in this Notice.

    Extensions referred to in this Section apply only to the unavailability of [email protected] If [email protected] is available, and, for any reason, you are unable to submit your Application electronically, you may submit your Application in paper format by mail or hand delivery in accordance with the instructions in this Notice.

    Submission of Paper Copies of Applications by Mail: If you submit your Application in paper format by mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier), you must mail the original and two copies of your Application, on or before the Application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: Program Administrator for the FSA Payment Vehicle Account Program, U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, 830 First Street NE, UCP 111G5, Washington, DC 20002.

    You must show proof of mailing consisting of one of the following:

    (i) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark.

    (ii) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the U.S. Postal Service.

    (iii) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial carrier.

    (iv) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

    If you mail your Application through the U.S. Postal Service, note that the Department does not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:

    (i) A private metered postmark.

    (ii) A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service.

    If your Application is postmarked after the Application deadline date, we will not consider your Application. Note: The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a dated postmark. Before relying on this method, you should check with your local post office.

    Submission of Paper Copies of Applications by Hand Delivery

    If you submit your Application in paper format by hand delivery, you (or a courier service) must deliver the original and two copies of your Application by hand, on or before the deadline date, to the Department at the following address: Program Administrator for the FSA Payment Vehicle Account Program, U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, 830 First Street NE, UCP 111G5, Washington, DC 20002. The Department accepts hand deliveries daily between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Eastern Time, except Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.

    VII. Other Information

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the Project Advisors listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in this Notice.

    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. You may access the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations via the Federal Digital System at: www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or PDF. To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.

    You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.

    Dated: October 12, 2018. James F. Manning, Acting Chief Operating Officer, Federal Student Aid.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22646 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Procedures for Conducting Electric Transmission Congestion Studies AGENCY:

    Office of Electricity, Department of Energy (DOE).

    ACTION:

    Notice of reopening of public comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Energy (Department or DOE) is reopening for 15 days the comment period for its proposed procedures for conducting electric transmission studies. DOE published a notice of procedures for studies and request for written comments on August 23, 2018, with a 45-day comment period. This notice reopens the comment period for an additional 15 days, and any comments received before November 1, 2018 will be deemed timely submitted.

    DATES:

    DOE is reopening the comment period for the “Procedures for Conducting Electric Transmission Congestion Studies” published on August 23, 2018 (83 FR 42627). The public comment period closed on October 9, 2018. Public comments are due not later than November 1, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit written comments to [email protected], or by mail to the Office of Electricity, OE-20, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585. The following electronic file formats are acceptable: Microsoft Word (.doc), Corel Word Perfect (.wpd), Adobe Acrobat (.pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), plain text (.txt), Microsoft Excel (.xls), and Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt).

    Delivery of the U.S. Postal Service mail to DOE may be delayed by several weeks due to security screening. DOE, therefore, encourages those wishing to comment to submit their comments electronically by email. If comments are submitted by regular mail, the Department requests that they be accompanied by a CD containing electronic files of the submission.

    The Department intends to use only data that are publicly available for this study. Accordingly, please do not submit information that you believe is or should be protected from public disclosure. DOE is responsible for the final determination concerning disclosure or nondisclosure of information submitted to DOE and for treating the information in accordance with the Department's Freedom of Information Act regulations (10 CFR 1004.11). All comments received by DOE regarding the congestion study will be posted on http://energy.gov/oe/congestion-study for public review.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    David Meyer, DOE Office of Electricity, (202) 586-3876, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On August 23, 2018, DOE published “Procedures for Conducting Electric Transmission Congestion Studies” and requested written comment by October 9, 2018. (83 FR 42647). DOE is reopening the comment period for an additional 15 days. Written comments must now be received not later than November 1, 2018, and any comments received by November 1, 2018 will be deemed timely submitted.

    DOE recognizes that some commenters may wish to draw upon or point to studies or analyses that are now in process and may not be completed. DOE requests that commenters submit such materials as they become available. All comments and information received will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov and at http://energy.gov/oe/congestion-study . DOE emphasizes that materials submitted after December 31, 2018, will not be included in the study.

    Signed in Washington, DC, on October 9, 2018. Catherine Jereza, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Transmission Planning and Technical Assistance, Office of Electricity, U.S. Department of Energy.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22648 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 14633-001] New England Hydropower Company, LLC; Notice of Application Tendered for Filing With the Commission and Soliciting Additional Study Requests

    Take notice that the following hydroelectric application has been filed with the Commission and is available for public inspection.

    a. Type of Application: Exemption from Licensing.

    b. Project No.: 14633-001.

    c. Date Filed: October 1, 2018.

    d. Applicant: New England Hydropower Company, LLC (NEHC).

    e. Name of Project: Albion Dam Hydroelectric Project.

    f. Location: On the Blackstone River, near the Towns of Cumberland and Lincoln, Providence County, Rhode Island. No federal or tribal lands would be occupied by project works or located within the project boundary.

    g. Filed Pursuant to: Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, 16 U.S.C. 2705, 2708 (2012), amended by the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013, Public Law 113-23, 127 Stat. 493 (2013).

    h. Applicant Contact: Mr. Michael C. Kerr, 100 Cummings Center, Suite 451C, Beverly, MA 01915; phone (978) 360-2547 or email at [email protected]

    i. FERC Contact: John Ramer, phone: (202) 502-8969 or email at [email protected]

    j. Cooperating Agencies: Federal, state, local, and tribal agencies with jurisdiction and/or special expertise with respect to environmental issues that wish to cooperate in the preparation of the environmental document should follow the instructions for filing such requests described in item (l) below. Cooperating agencies should note the Commission's policy that agencies that cooperate in the preparation of the environmental document cannot also intervene. See 94 FERC 61,076 (2001).

    k. Pursuant to section 4.32(b)(7) of the Commission's regulations, if any resource agency, Indian Tribe, or person believes that an additional scientific study should be conducted in order to form an adequate factual basis for a complete analysis of the application on its merit, the resource agency, Indian Tribe, or person must file a request for a study with the Commission not later than 60 days from the date of filing of the application, and serve a copy of the request on the applicant.

    l. Deadline for filing additional study requests and requests for cooperating agency status: December 10, 2018.

    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file additional study requests and requests for cooperating agency status using the Commission's eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected], (866) 208-3676 (toll free), or (202) 502-8659 (TTY). In lieu of electronic filing, please send a paper copy to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426. The first page of any filing should include docket number P-14633-001.

    m. This application is not ready for environmental analysis at this time.

    n. The proposed Albion Dam Hydroelectric Project would consist of: (1) An approximately 266-foot-long existing concrete gravity dam with an ogee spillway; (2) an existing 33.6-acre impoundment with a normal storage capacity of 235 acre-feet at an operating elevation of approximately 87.0 feet North American Vertical Datum of 1988; (3) a new 51-foot-long, 45.75-foot-wide intake canal; (4) two new 14-foot-wide, 10.4-foot-high hydraulically-powered sluice gates, equipped with a 29-foot-wide, 12-foot-high steel trashrack with 9-inch clear-bar spacing; (5) a new 30-foot-long, 32.5-foot-wide, 11.0-foot-high concrete penstock; (6) a new 50-foot-long, 24-foot-wide, 18-foot-high concrete powerhouse containing two new 24.6-foot-long, 13.5-foot-diameter Archimedes Screw turbine-generator units, with a total installed capacity of 420 kilowatts, each contained in a new 15-foot-wide steel trough; (7) a new 50-foot-long concrete tailrace; (8) a new step-up transformer and 500-foot-long, above-ground transmission line connecting the project to the distribution system owned by Narragansett Electric Company; (9) a new access road; and (10) appurtenant facilities. The existing Albion Dam and appurtenant works are owned by the State of Rhode Island.

    NEHC proposes to operate the project in a run-of-river mode with an estimated annual energy production of approximately 2,034 megawatt-hours.

    o. A copy of the application is available for review at the Commission in the Public Reference Room or may be viewed on the Commission's website at http://www.ferc.gov using the eLibrary link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, contact FERC Online Support. A copy is also available for inspection and reproduction at the address in item h above.

    You may also register online at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp to be notified via email of new filings and issuances related to this or other pending projects. For assistance, contact FERC Online Support.

    p. Procedural Schedule: The application will be processed according to the following preliminary schedule. Revisions to the schedule will be made as appropriate (e.g., if there are no deficiencies and/or scoping is waived, the schedule would be shortened).

    Issue Deficiency/AIR Letter January 2019. Issue Notice of Acceptance/Ready for Environmental Analysis April 2019. Issue Notice of the Availability of Environmental Assessment August 2019. Dated: October 11, 2018. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-22609 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket Nos. CP18-102-000 and CP18-103-000] Cheyenne Connector, LLC and Rockies Express Pipeline LLC; Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review of the Cheyenne Connector Pipeline and Cheyenne Hub Enhancement Projects

    On March 5, 2018, Cheyenne Connector, LLC and Rockies Express Pipeline LLC (“applicants”) filed an application in Docket Nos. CP18-102-000 and CP18-103-000 requesting a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity pursuant to Section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act to construct and operate certain natural gas pipeline facilities. The proposed projects are known as the Cheyenne Connector Pipeline and Cheyenne Hub Enhancement Projects (Projects), and would include new natural gas pipeline, metering, and compression facilities to transport about 600 million cubic feet per day.

    On March 19, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) issued its Notice of Application for the Projects. Among other things, that notice alerted agencies issuing federal authorizations of the requirement to complete all necessary reviews and to reach a final decision on a request for a federal authorization within 90 days of the date of issuance of the Commission staff's Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Project. This instant notice identifies the FERC staff's planned schedule for the completion of the EA for the Project.

    Schedule for Environmental Review Issuance of EA December 18, 2018 90-day Federal Authorization Decision Deadline March 18, 2019

    If a schedule change becomes necessary, additional notice will be provided so that the relevant agencies are kept informed of the Projects' progress.

    Project Description

    The Projects include approximately 70 miles of 36-inch-diameter pipeline, three associated mainline valves, and other ancillary facilities; five meter and regulating stations; one new approximately 32,100 horsepower Cheyenne Hub Booster Compressor Station; and enhancements to modify the existing Cheyenne Hub interconnect facilities in Weld County, Colorado.

    Background

    On May 3, 2018, the Commission issued a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Cheyenne Connector Pipeline and Cheyenne Hub Enhancement Projects and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues (NOI). The NOI was sent to affected landowners; federal, state, and local government agencies; elected officials; environmental and public interest groups; Native American tribes; other interested parties; and local libraries and newspapers. In response to the NOI, the Commission received comments from: DCP Midstream, LP, Teamsters National Pipeline LMCP, Colorado Interstate Pipeline, L.L.C., Anadarko Energy Service