Federal Register Vol. 83, No.53,

Federal Register Volume 83, Issue 53 (March 19, 2018)

Page Range11845-12112
FR Document

83_FR_53
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
83 FR 11959 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Boundary and Annexation SurveyPDF
83 FR 12106 - Requirements for Submissions Requesting Exclusions From the Remedies Instituted in Presidential Proclamations Adjusting Imports of Steel Into the United States and Adjusting Imports of Aluminum Into the United States; and the Filing of Objections to Submitted Exclusion Requests for Steel and AluminumPDF
83 FR 12020 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Receipt of Two Applications for Incidental Take Permits; Availability of Low-Effect Proposed Habitat Conservation Plans and Associated Documents; Polk County, FLPDF
83 FR 12074 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Regulation ProjectPDF
83 FR 12074 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 1028PDF
83 FR 11876 - Inflation Adjustment of Civil Monetary PenaltiesPDF
83 FR 12080 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 8896PDF
83 FR 12010 - Hearing Procedures; Notice of AvailabilityPDF
83 FR 12023 - Notice of Realty Action: Recreation and Public Purposes Act Classification for the Conveyance of Public Land in Washington County, UtahPDF
83 FR 12022 - Notice of Realty Action: Recreation and Public Purposes Act Classification; Washington County, UTPDF
83 FR 11903 - Proposed California Federal Milk Marketing OrderPDF
83 FR 12015 - Privacy Act of 1974; System of RecordsPDF
83 FR 11869 - Hispanic-Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities (HSACU) Certification ProcessPDF
83 FR 12041 - Submission for Review: Establishment Information Form, DD 1918, Wage Data Collection Form, DD 1919, Wage Data Collection Continuation Form, DD 1919C, 3206-0036PDF
83 FR 12080 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 8717PDF
83 FR 12025 - Notice Pursuant to The National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993-Cooperative Research Group on Particle Sensor Performance and DurabilityPDF
83 FR 11996 - Meeting of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Capital Financing Advisory BoardPDF
83 FR 12076 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 8932PDF
83 FR 12026 - Notice Pursuant to The National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993-Cooperative Research Group on Separation Technology Research Program-Phase 2PDF
83 FR 12029 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection; Comments Requested; NewPDF
83 FR 12062 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 12061 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 12044 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 12057 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 12058 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 12070 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 12069 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 12075 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 1099-GPDF
83 FR 12078 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 12026 - Notice Pursuant to The National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993-Heterogeneous System Architecture FoundationPDF
83 FR 12081 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 8820.PDF
83 FR 12026 - Notice Pursuant to The National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993-American Society of Mechanical EngineersPDF
83 FR 12077 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 4810PDF
83 FR 12079 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 8621PDF
83 FR 11954 - Codex Alimentarius Commission: Meeting of the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and SamplingPDF
83 FR 12076 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Regulation ProjectPDF
83 FR 12075 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 3949-APDF
83 FR 11905 - Investment Company Liquidity DisclosurePDF
83 FR 11989 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; U.S. Caribbean Commercial Fishermen CensusPDF
83 FR 11967 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 11968 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; International Dolphin Conservation ProgramPDF
83 FR 11991 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 12011 - Notice of Availability of a Final Environmental Assessment for the Otay Mesa USDA Plant Inspection StationPDF
83 FR 11952 - Control Date for the Northeast Multispecies Charter/Party Fishery; Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management PlanPDF
83 FR 11968 - Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Confined Blasting Operations in the East Channel by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers During the Tampa Harbor Big Bend Channel Expansion Project in Tampa Harbor, Tampa, FloridaPDF
83 FR 12030 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Extension of a Currently Approved Collection; Comments Requested: National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)PDF
83 FR 12024 - Cast Iron Soil Pipe Fittings From China; Scheduling of the Final Phase of Countervailing Duty and Anti-Dumping Duty InvestigationsPDF
83 FR 12009 - Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding CompaniesPDF
83 FR 12073 - Request for Comments on the Renewal of a Previously Approved Information Collection: Seamen's Claims, Administrative Action and LitigationPDF
83 FR 12073 - Request for Comments on the Renewal of a Previously Approved Information Collection: Application for Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws for Small Passenger VesselsPDF
83 FR 12003 - Pershing County Water Conservation District, Nevada; Notice of Application Accepted For Filing, Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and ProtestsPDF
83 FR 12001 - BP America Inc., BP Corporation North America Inc., BP America Production Company, and BP Energy Company; Updated Notice of Designation of Commission Staff as Non-DecisionalPDF
83 FR 12004 - Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission; Notice of Request for Partial WaiverPDF
83 FR 12006 - Dominion Energy Transmission, Inc.; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Sweden Valley Project, and Request for Comments on Environmental IssuesPDF
83 FR 12008 - Scott's Mill Hydro, LLC; Notice of Intent To File License Application, Filing of Pre-Application Document, Approving Use of the Traditional Licensing ProcessPDF
83 FR 12005 - Alabama Power Company; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing, Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and ProtestsPDF
83 FR 12005 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
83 FR 12004 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
83 FR 12001 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
83 FR 12003 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
83 FR 12034 - Advisory Committee for Geosciences; Notice of MeetingPDF
83 FR 11960 - Certain Uncoated Groundwood Paper From Canada: Preliminary Affirmative Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value, Postponement of Final Determination, and Extension of Provisional MeasuresPDF
83 FR 11966 - Certain Tissue Paper Products From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2016-2017PDF
83 FR 11964 - Carbon and Certain Alloy Steel Wire Rod From Brazil: Rescission of 2016 Countervailing Duty Administrative ReviewPDF
83 FR 11965 - Carbon and Certain Alloy Steel Wire Rod From Brazil: Rescission of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2016-2017PDF
83 FR 11963 - Large Residential Washers From Mexico: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2016-2017PDF
83 FR 11959 - Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags From Malaysia: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2016-2017PDF
83 FR 12070 - Notice of Public MeetingPDF
83 FR 11991 - Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingsPDF
83 FR 11990 - Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingPDF
83 FR 11989 - Caribbean Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingPDF
83 FR 11997 - Notice of Request for Information (RFI) on Critical Water Issues Prize CompetitionPDF
83 FR 12027 - David A. Ruben, M.D.; Decision and OrderPDF
83 FR 12029 - Notice of Proposed Administrative Settlement Agreement Under the Clean Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability ActPDF
83 FR 12030 - Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability ActPDF
83 FR 11993 - Ombudsman SurveyPDF
83 FR 11889 - Marine Casualty Reporting Property Damage ThresholdsPDF
83 FR 11867 - Revision of Delegation of Authority for the State Executive Director (SED) for the Farm Loan ProgramsPDF
83 FR 11883 - Safety Zone; Pittsburgh Pirates Fireworks, Allegheny River, Pittsburgh, PAPDF
83 FR 12071 - Fiscal Year 2017 Low or No Emission Grant Program Project SelectionsPDF
83 FR 11881 - Special Local Regulation; Clinch River, Oak Ridge, TNPDF
83 FR 12015 - National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; Notice of MeetingsPDF
83 FR 12015 - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
83 FR 12014 - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
83 FR 12014 - National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
83 FR 12013 - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
83 FR 12014 - Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
83 FR 12063 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Miami International Securities Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend Its Fee SchedulePDF
83 FR 12044 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; MIAX PEARL, LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend the MIAX PEARL Fee SchedulePDF
83 FR 12058 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change to a Proposal To Amend Rule 1079, FLEX Index, Equity and Currency Options and Rule 1059, Accommodation TransactionsPDF
83 FR 12066 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Transaction Fees at Section VIIIPDF
83 FR 12054 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE American LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Amending the NYSE American Company Guide To Require That Listed Companies Provide Notice to the Exchange of Announcements of Dividends or Stock Distributions at Least Ten Minutes in Advance of Public ReleasePDF
83 FR 12052 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; LCH SA; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Relating to End of Day Price ContributionPDF
83 FR 12033 - Notice of Intent To Grant Exclusive Patent LicensePDF
83 FR 12036 - University of Massachusetts at Lowell; University of Massachusetts at Lowell Research ReactorPDF
83 FR 12082 - Agency Information Collection Activity: Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion (Documents and Information Required for Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology Grant) and Scoring Criteria for SAH Assistive Technology GrantsPDF
83 FR 12081 - Agency Information Collection Activity Under OMB Review: Agency Information Collection Activity: NVSBE Post-Engagement SurveyPDF
83 FR 12082 - Agency Information Collection Activity Under OMB Review: DoD Referral to Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES)PDF
83 FR 12083 - Agency Information Collection Activity Under OMB Review: Application for Cash Surrender or Policy LoanPDF
83 FR 12012 - Notice for Request for Generic Clearance; Agency Information Collection Request; 30-Day Public Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 11955 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request-Farm to School Census and Comprehensive ReviewPDF
83 FR 12032 - Methylene Chloride Standard; Extension of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Approval of Information Collection (Paperwork) RequirementsPDF
83 FR 12034 - Holtec International's HI-STORE Consolidated Interim Storage Facility for Interim Storage of Spent Nuclear FuelPDF
83 FR 12010 - Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding CompaniesPDF
83 FR 12031 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Hazardous Energy Control StandardPDF
83 FR 12025 - Cast Iron Soil Pipe From ChinaPDF
83 FR 12034 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 12061 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 12042 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 12000 - Notice of Application; ETG Acquisition Corp.PDF
83 FR 12002 - Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation Alaska LNG ProjectPDF
83 FR 12009 - Notice of Request Under Blanket Authorization; Columbia Gas Transmission, LLCPDF
83 FR 11875 - General PoliciesPDF
83 FR 11845 - Restructuring of Regulations on the Importation of Plants for PlantingPDF
83 FR 12042 - New Postal ProductPDF
83 FR 11994 - Privacy Act of 1974; System of RecordsPDF
83 FR 11887 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; West Virginia; Removal of Source-Specific Requirements for Permanently Shutdown FacilitiesPDF
83 FR 11946 - Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; South Dakota; Regional Haze 5-Year Progress Report State Implementation PlanPDF
83 FR 12086 - Consolidated Cruise Ship Security RegulationsPDF
83 FR 11873 - Airworthiness Directives; Pacific Aerospace Limited AirplanesPDF
83 FR 11933 - Air Plan Approval; Connecticut; Infrastructure State Implementation Plan Requirements; Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permit Program RevisionsPDF
83 FR 11884 - Air Plan Approval; Vermont; Nonattainment New Source Review and Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permit Program Revisions; Infrastructure Requirements for National Ambient Air Quality StandardsPDF
83 FR 11944 - Approval of California Air Plan Revisions, Antelope Valley Air Quality Management DistrictPDF
83 FR 11903 - Airworthiness Directives; Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam srl AirplanesPDF
83 FR 11871 - Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company AirplanesPDF
83 FR 11922 - Freedom of Information Act RegulationsPDF
83 FR 11927 - Air Plan Approval; Oregon; Regional Haze Progress ReportPDF

Issue

83 53 Monday, March 19, 2018 Contents Editorial Note:

In the Federal Register Table of Contents for Thursday, March 15, 2018, the entry for Separate Part III, Presidential Documents, consisting of FR Documents 2018-05477, 2018-05478, and 2018-05479, was omitted.

Agricultural Marketing Agricultural Marketing Service PROPOSED RULES Marketing Orders: California Federal Milk, 11903 2018-05543 Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Agricultural Marketing Service

See

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

See

Farm Service Agency

See

Food and Nutrition Service

See

Food Safety and Inspection Service

See

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Animal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service RULES Importation of Plants for Planting, 11845-11867 2018-05424 Antitrust Division Antitrust Division NOTICES Changes Under the National Cooperative Research and Production Act: American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 12026 2018-05517 Heterogeneous System Architecture Foundation, 12026 2018-05519 Southwest Research Institute—Cooperative Research Group on Particle Sensor Performance and Durability, 12025-12026 2018-05536 Southwest Research Institute—Cooperative Research Group on Separation Technology Research Program—Phase 2, 12026 2018-05533 Census Bureau Census Bureau NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Boundary and Annexation Survey, 11959 C1--2018--04514 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Consolidated Cruise Ship Security Regulations, 12086-12104 2018-05394 Marine Casualty Reporting Property Damage Thresholds, 11889-11902 2018-05467 Safety Zones: Pittsburgh Pirates Fireworks, Allegheny River, Pittsburgh, PA, 11883-11884 2018-05465 Special Local Regulations: Clinch River, Oak Ridge, TN, 11881-11883 2018-05461 Commerce Commerce Department See

Census Bureau

See

Industry and Security Bureau

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

See

Patent and Trademark Office

Defense Department Defense Department NOTICES Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 11994-11996 2018-05422 Drug Drug Enforcement Administration NOTICES Decisions and Orders: David A. Ruben, M.D., 12027-12029 2018-05471 Education Department Education Department NOTICES Meetings: Historically Black Colleges and Universities Capital Financing Board, 11996-11997 2018-05535 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

NOTICES Requests for Information: Critical Water Issues Prize Competition, 11997-12000 2018-05472
Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Vermont; Nonattainment New Source Review and Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permit Program Revisions; Infrastructure Requirements for National Ambient Air Quality Standards, 11884-11887 2018-05317 West Virginia; Removal of Source-Specific Requirements for Permanently Shutdown Facilities, 11887-11889 2018-05404 PROPOSED RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: California; Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District, 11944-11946 2018-05286 Connecticut; Infrastructure State Implementation Plan Requirements; Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permit Program Revisions, 11933-11944 2018-05318 Oregon; Regional Haze Progress Report, 11927-11933 2018-04931 South Dakota; Regional Haze 5-Year Progress Report State Implementation Plan, 11946-11952 2018-05398 Executive Office Executive Office for Immigration Review NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 12029 2018-05532 Farm Service Farm Service Agency RULES Revision of Delegation of Authority for State Executive Director for Farm Loan Programs, 11867-11869 2018-05466 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: Pacific Aerospace Limited Airplanes, 11873-11875 2018-05355 The Boeing Company Airplanes, 11871-11873 2018-05016 PROPOSED RULES Airworthiness Directives: Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam srl Airplanes, 11903-11905 2018-05138 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Applications: Alabama Power Co., 12005-12006 2018-05492 ETG Acquisition Corp., 12000-12001 2018-05428 Pershing County Water Conservation District, NV, 12003 2018-05497 Scott's Mill Hydro, LLC, 12008-12009 2018-05493 Combined Filings, 12001, 12003-12005 2018-05488 2018-05489 2018-05490 2018-05491 Designation of Commission Staff as Non-Decisional: BP America, Inc.; BP Corp. North America, Inc.; BP America Production Co.; and BP Energy Co., 12001-12002 2018-05496 Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Dominion Energy Transmission, Inc.; Sweden Valley Project, 12006-12008 2018-05494 Environmental Reviews: Alaska Gasline Development Corp.; Alaska LNG Project, 12002 2018-05427 Requests for Partial Waivers: Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission, 12004 2018-05495 Requests Under Blanket Authorizations: Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC, 12009 2018-05426 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System NOTICES Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding Companies, 12009-12010 2018-05437 2018-05501 Federal Transit Federal Transit Administration NOTICES Fiscal Year 2017 Low or No Emission Grant Program Project Selections, 12071-12072 2018-05464 Financial Crimes Financial Crimes Enforcement Network RULES Inflation Adjustment of Civil Monetary Penalties, 11876-11881 2018-05550 Financial Stability Financial Stability Oversight Council NOTICES Hearing Procedures, 12010-12011 2018-05548 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service NOTICES Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Polk County, FL: Applications for Incidental Take Permits; Availability of Low-Effect Proposed Habitat Conservation Plans and Associated Documents, 12020-12022 2018-05592 Food and Nutrition Food and Nutrition Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Farm to School Census and Comprehensive Review, 11955-11959 2018-05440 Food Safety Food Safety and Inspection Service NOTICES Meetings: Codex Alimentarius Commission Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling, 11954-11955 2018-05514 Foreign Assets Foreign Assets Control Office RULES Inflation Adjustment of Civil Monetary Penalties, 11876-11881 2018-05550 General Services General Services Administration NOTICES Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Otay Mesa USDA Plant Inspection Station, 12011-12012 2018-05506 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

National Institutes of Health

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 12012-12013 2018-05441
Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

NOTICES Privacy Act; System of Records, 12015-12020 2018-05542
Industry Industry and Security Bureau RULES Requirements for Submissions Requesting Exclusions From the Remedies Instituted in Presidential Proclamations Adjusting Imports of Steel and Aluminum Into the United States; and the Filing of Objections to Submitted Exclusion Requests, 12106-12112 2018-05761 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Land Management Bureau

Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 12074-12081 2018-05512 2018-05513 2018-05515 2018-05516 2018-05518 2018-05520 2018-05521 2018-05534 2018-05538 2018-05549 2018-05555 2018-05556 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Carbon and Certain Alloy Steel Wire Rod From Brazil, 11964-11966 2018-05483 2018-05484 Certain Tissue Paper Products From the People's Republic of China, 11966-11967 2018-05485 Large Residential Washers From Mexico, 11963-11964 2018-05482 Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags From Malaysia, 11959-11960 2018-05481 Determinations of Sales at Less Than Fair Value: Certain Uncoated Groundwood Paper From Canada, 11960-11963 2018-05486 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Cast Iron Soil Pipe Fittings From China, 12024-12025 2018-05502 Cast Iron Soil Pipe From China, 12025 2018-05435 Justice Department Justice Department See

Antitrust Division

See

Drug Enforcement Administration

See

Executive Office for Immigration Review

See

Justice Programs Office

NOTICES Proposed Administrative Settlement Agreements Under CERCLA, 12029-12030 2018-05470 Proposed Consent Decrees Under CERCLA, 12030 2018-05469
Justice Programs Justice Programs Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: National Crime Victimization Survey, 12030-12031 2018-05503 Labor Department Labor Department See

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Hazardous Energy Control Standard, 12031-12032 2018-05436
Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Realty Actions: Recreation and Public Purposes Act Classification for Conveyance of Public Land in Washington County, UT, 12023 2018-05546 Recreation and Public Purposes Act Classification; Washington County, UT, 12022 2018-05544 Maritime Maritime Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Application for Waiver of Coastwise Trade Laws for Small Passenger Vessels, 12073-12074 2018-05498 Seamen's Claims, Administrative Action and Litigation, 12073 2018-05499 Millenium Millennium Challenge Corporation PROPOSED RULES Freedom of Information Act Regulations, 11922-11927 2018-04993 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NOTICES Exclusive Patent Licenses; Approvals, 12033-12034 2018-05447 National Archives National Archives and Records Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 12034 2018-05432 National Institute Food National Institute of Food and Agriculture RULES Hispanic-Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities Certification Process, 11869-11871 2018-05541 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Meetings: Center for Scientific Review, 12014 2018-05454 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 12013-12014 2018-05455 2018-05456 National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, 12014 2018-05457 National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 12014-12015 2018-05458 2018-05459 National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 12015 2018-05460 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration PROPOSED RULES Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan: Control Date for Northeast Multispecies Charter/Party Fishery, 11952-11953 2018-05505 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 11967-11968, 11991 2018-05507 2018-05509 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: International Dolphin Conservation Program, 11968 2018-05508 U.S. Caribbean Commercial Fishermen Census, 11989 2018-05510 Meetings: Caribbean Fishery Management Council, 11989-11990 2018-05474 Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, 11990-11991 2018-05475 Pacific Fishery Management Council, 11991-11992 2018-05476 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities: Confined Blasting Operations in East Channel by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers During Tampa Harbor Big Bend Channel Expansion Project in Tampa Harbor, Tampa, FL, 11968-11989 2018-05504 National Science National Science Foundation NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee for Geosciences, 12034 2018-05487 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES License Applications: Holtec International's HI-STORE Consolidated Interim Storage Facility for Interim Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel, 12034-12036 2018-05438 University of Massachusetts at Lowell; Research Reactor, 12036-12041 2018-05446 Occupational Safety Health Adm Occupational Safety and Health Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Methylene Chloride Standard, 12032-12033 2018-05439 Patent Patent and Trademark Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Ombudsman Survey, 11993-11994 2018-05468 Personnel Personnel Management Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 12041-12042 2018-05539 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 12042 2018-05423 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission PROPOSED RULES Investment Company Liquidity Disclosure, 11905-11921 2018-05511 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 12042-12044, 12057-12058, 12061-12063, 12069-12070 2018-05430 2018-05431 2018-05522 2018-05523 2018-05524 2018-05525 2018-05526 2018-05527 2018-05528 2018-05529 2018-05530 2018-05531 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: LCH SA, 12052-12054 2018-05448 Miami International Securities Exchange, LLC, 12063-12066 2018-05453 MIAX PEARL, LLC, 12044-12052 2018-05452 Nasdaq PHLX, LLC, 12058-12060, 12066-12069 2018-05450 2018-05451 NYSE American, LLC, 12054-12057 2018-05449 State Department State Department NOTICES Meetings: Preparation for 105th Session of International Maritime Organization's Legal Committee, 12070 2018-05480 Susquehanna Susquehanna River Basin Commission RULES General Policies, 11875-11876 2018-05425 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Transit Administration

See

Maritime Administration

Treasury Treasury Department See

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

See

Foreign Assets Control Office

See

Internal Revenue Service

RULES Inflation Adjustment of Civil Monetary Penalties, 11876-11881 2018-05550
Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Application for Cash Surrender or Policy Loan, 12083 2018-05442 Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion (Documents and Information Required for Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology Grant) and Scoring Criteria for SAH Assistive Technology Grants, 12082-12083 2018-05445 DoD Referral to Integrated Disability Evaluation System, 12082 2018-05443 NVSBE Post-Engagement Survey, 12081-12082 2018-05444 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Homeland Security Department, Coast Guard, 12086-12104 2018-05394 Part III Commerce Department, Industry and Security Bureau, 12106-12112 2018-05761 Reader Aids

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

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83 53 Monday, March 19, 2018 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 7 CFR Parts 318, 319, 330, 340, 360, and 361 [Docket No. APHIS-2008-0011] RIN 0579-AD75 Restructuring of Regulations on the Importation of Plants for Planting AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are restructuring the regulations governing the importation of plants for planting. In the new structure, restrictions on the importation of specific types of plants for planting will no longer be found in the regulations, but instead will be found in the Plants for Planting Manual. We will make changes to the restrictions in the manual after taking public comment through notices published in the Federal Register. As part of this restructuring, we are grouping together restrictions in the plants for planting regulations that apply to the importation of most or all plants for planting, and we are adding general requirements for the development of integrated pest risk management measures that we may use to mitigate the risk associated with the importation of a specific type of plants for planting. We are also amending our foreign quarantine regulations to remove various provisions regarding the importation of specific types of plants for planting that are not currently subject to the general plants for planting regulations; these provisions will also be found in the Plants for Planting Manual. This action does not make any major changes to the restrictions that currently apply to the importation of plants for planting. These changes will make restrictions on the importation of specific types of plants for planting easier for readers to find and less cumbersome for us to change.

DATES:

Effective April 18, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Shailaja Rabindran, Assistant Director, Plants for Planting Policy, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 851-2167.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Under the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.), the Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to take such actions as may be necessary to prevent the introduction and spread of plant pests and noxious weeds within the United States. The Secretary has delegated this authority to the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

The regulations in 7 CFR part 319 prohibit or restrict the importation of plants and plant products into the United States to prevent the introduction of plant pests that are not already established in the United States or plant pests that may be established but are under the official control of an eradication or containment program.

The regulations in “Subpart—Plants for Planting,” §§ 319.37 through 319.37-14 (referred to below as the regulations), restrict the importation of plants for planting. The term plants for planting is defined in § 319.37-1 as “plants intended to remain planted, to be planted or replanted.” Plant is defined in that section as “any plant (including any plant part) capable of propagation, including a tree, a tissue culture, a plantlet culture, pollen, a shrub, a vine, a cutting, a graft, a scion, a bud, a bulb, a root, and a seed.”

On April 25, 2013, we published in the Federal Register (78 FR 24634-24663, Docket No. APHIS-2008-0011) a proposal 1 to revise the plants for planting regulations and make several related changes to the foreign quarantine notices in 7 CFR part 319. Briefly, we proposed to do the following:

1 To view the proposed rule, extensions of comment period, supporting document, and the comments we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2008-0011.

• Remove provisions from other subparts in 7 CFR part 319 that regulate the importation of plants for planting and thus consolidate the requirements for importation of all plants for planting under the plants for planting regulations.

• Add most of the plants for planting that are listed as prohibited in § 319.37-2(a) to the list of plants for planting whose importation is not authorized pending pest risk analysis (NAPPRA) in accordance with current § 319.37-2a. We proposed to characterize the other prohibitions as restrictions, rather than prohibitions, and to list them as such in the Plants for Planting Manual. This manual is currently used by importers and inspectors as a reference regarding restrictions on the importation of plants for planting.

• Within the plants for planting regulations, group together the requirements that apply to the importation of all or most plants for planting.

• Move restrictions on the importation of specific types of plants for planting from the regulations to the Plants for Planting Manual. We proposed to revise how we change these restrictions. We proposed to publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing our determination that it is necessary to add, change, or remove restrictions on the importation of a specific type of plants for planting and make available a document describing those restrictions and why they are necessary. We would allow for public comment on the notice and the document it makes available. We would then respond to any comments we receive in a second notice published in the Federal Register, and implement the restrictions if our determination remains unchanged.

• Remove several lists of approved items (for example, the lists of approved growing media, packing materials, and ports of entry) from the regulations and instead provide these lists to the public in the Plants for Planting Manual. We proposed to update these lists, when necessary, using the same double-notice process we are proposing to use to update restrictions on the importation of specific types of plants for planting.

• Establish a framework for the use of integrated pest risk management measures (IPRMM) in the production of specific types of plants for planting for importation into the United States, when the pest risk associated with the importation of a type of plants for planting can only be addressed through the use of integrated measures.

• Make several minor changes to the regulations to improve their clarity and reflect current program operations.

We did not propose to make major changes to the restrictions that currently apply to the importation of plants for planting. The proposal was directed towards making the regulations easier to use and to implement.

Comments on the proposed rule were required to be received on or before June 24, 2013. We reopened and extended the deadline for comments until September 10, 2013, in a document published in the Federal Register on July 12, 2013 (78 FR 41866-41867, Docket No. APHIS-2008-0011). We reopened and extended the deadline for comments a second time, until January 30, 2014, in a document published in the Federal Register on December 31, 2013 (78 FR 79636-79637, Docket No. APHIS-2008-0011). In the latter document, we asked specifically for comments regarding whether to base the framework for the use of IPRMM on regional or international standards. We also asked for specific comments regarding the risk posed when plant brokers purchase and move plants for planting after they leave their place of production and before they are exported to the United States.

We received 17 comments by the January 30, 2014, close of the comment period. They were from producer organizations, State departments of agriculture, a foreign national plant protection organization, an environmental protection organization, and private citizens. They are discussed below by topic.

Scope of the Proposed Rule

Two commenters expressed concern about the length and complexity of the proposed rule, stating that it should have been broken into separate, smaller regulatory actions.

Many of the changes in the proposed rule were dependent on each other, and making one or two at a time would have left the regulations in an unsettled state. In addition, proposing the changes in separate chunks would have made the overall process of restructuring the regulations take much longer.

Plants for Planting Manual

One commenter stated that the updated Plants for Planting Manual should be made available for review prior to the publication of the final rule.

We will make the updated manual available upon the effective date of the final rule. Making it available earlier, when the final rule is not effective and the current version of the manual is still in use, could create confusion.

Another commenter stated that navigation of and access to the manual should be as open and easy as possible, and that stakeholders should be notified of changes.

We agree. As part of this regulatory process, we have undertaken a wholesale revision of the Plants for Planting Manual to make it easier to use. The new version of the manual will be maintained at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/manuals/ports/downloads/plants_for_planting.pdf. Stakeholders can keep abreast of updates to the Plants for Planting Manual through the APHIS Stakeholder Registry; interested parties can sign up for email notifications at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAAPHIS/subscriber/new. Finally, whenever we determine that we need to add, change, or remove phytosanitary restrictions in the Plants for Planting Manual to address the risk posed by imported plants for planting, we will publish a notice in the Federal Register requesting public comment.

Consolidation of Plants for Planting Provisions

We proposed to move provisions from other subparts in 7 CFR part 319 that regulate the importation of plants for planting and consolidate all requirements for importation of plants for planting in a single location.

One commenter requested clarification on whether we were limiting the plants for planting regulations to cover only some plants for planting, or whether we were clarifying that plants for planting rules do not apply to plants not for planting.

We are neither limiting the plants for planting regulations nor clarifying as the commenter suggests, but rather making sure that all plants for planting are imported in accordance with the plants for planting regulations. Subparts of 7 CFR part 319 not specifically about plants for planting had contained some provisions regulating plants for planting. For example, the sugarcane regulations in § 319.15 regulate the importation of all sugarcane plants and plant parts, whether they are for planting or not.

We proposed to remove provisions in those other subparts that applied to plants for planting and put them in the Plants for Planting Manual or to change those subparts to explicitly indicate that they did not apply to plants for planting, when applicable. For example, we proposed to amend the subpart regulating the importation of cut flowers in 7 CFR part 319 to explicitly indicate that such flowers must not be for planting.

One commenter stated that inspectors should keep the possibility of planting in mind when conducting inspections.

We agree. The definition of plant in this final rule includes any plant or plant part that is capable of propagation. This definition affords our inspectors discretion to determine whether a plant or plant part that is capable of propagation and offered for importation should be considered a plant for planting.

Definitions

We proposed to retain many of the current definitions in § 319.37-1 and add a few new ones. We received comments on three of these definitions.

The definition of from specifies that an article is considered to be “from” any country or locality where it was grown, with exceptions for articles imported to Canada and subsequently re-exported to the United States under certain conditions. These conditions are specified in subparagraphs (1) through (4) of the definition. We proposed to change the terminology in the definition to reflect the proposal but did not propose any substantive modifications.

One commenter asked that we further clarify current subparagraph (3) in the definition of from. Under this subparagraph, to be considered from Canada, an article must not have been grown in a country or locality which would subject it to postentry quarantine in the United States, unless it was grown in Canada under equivalent postentry quarantine conditions. The commenter understood this provision to mean that such articles would be subject to two post-entry quarantines, one in Canada following importation from the country in which it was grown, the other in the United States following importation from Canada. The commenter stated that if Canada and the United States fully harmonize their postentry quarantine requirements, the article should be allowed to be imported directly from Canada into the United States, without a second postentry quarantine.

We agree. Should such harmonization occur, we will initiate rulemaking accordingly.

With respect to current paragraph (4) in the definition of from, which requires plants for planting to not be imported in growing media in order to be considered “from” Canada, another commenter stated that we should allow the importation of plants for planting produced in APHIS programs for the importation of plants in growing media but imported into Canada before movement to the United States to be considered “from” Canada.

We understand the commenter to be referring to plants in growing media that are produced in one of two manners: Either (1), the plants have been grown in the United States, exported to Canada for finishing, then subsequently offered for importation back into the United States, or (2), the plants have been produced in a third country under conditions that would make the articles eligible for importation into the United States, exported to Canada, then subsequently offered for importation into the United States. With regard to the first class of articles, we are currently in discussions with the national plant protection organization (NPPO) of Canada regarding the importation of such articles into the United States, and will take appropriate follow-up action based on this dialogue.

With regard to the second class of articles, our evaluation will be on a case-by-case basis based on the safeguards applied to the articles within Canada.

We proposed to establish a new definition of the term place of production. The proposed definition indicated that the term may include “a production site that is separately managed for phytosanitary purposes.” One commenter stated that we should modify this definition to be consistent with the definition in International Plant Protection Convention's (IPPC) Glossary of Phytosanitary Terms,2 which refers to multiple production sites.

2 International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No. 5. To view this and other ISPMs on the internet, go to http://www.ippc.int/ and click on the “Adopted Standards” link under the “Core activities” heading.

We based our proposed definition on the IPPC definition; the inconsistency was inadvertent. We have corrected the definition in this final rule.

We proposed to define plants for planting as: “Regulated plants (including any plant parts) that are for planting or capable of being planted.” This proposed definition differs from the IPPC definition of that term. One commenter suggested that IPPC signatories, such as the United States, should use the IPPC definitions, or submit proposed revisions to those definitions to the IPPC.

Although we intended to use a version of the definition of plants for planting not substantively different from the IPPC's, the definition in our proposed rule did not include the intended use of the article. After reviewing our proposed definition in light of the commenter's concerns, we determined that the IPPC definition, “plants intended to remain planted, to be planted, or replanted,” emphasizes the intended use of the article, and that this is an important distinction. Intended use has long played a role in our determining whether a specific article is a plant for planting; for example, it is our basis for determining whether to regulate a commercial consignment of potato tubers, which are articles capable of propagation, as plants for planting. Accordingly, in this final rule, we have decided to use the IPPC definition of plants for planting, which had been in the previous regulations.

Moving Prohibited Taxa to the NAPPRA Category

In § 319.37-2 of the regulations, paragraphs (a) and (b) currently list several taxa of plants for planting as prohibited. We proposed to remove these lists from the regulations and add most of these taxa to the NAPPRA lists.

One commenter asked for clarification on what plants or groups of prohibited plants would not be added to the NAPPRA lists.

The NAPPRA category lists taxa of plants for planting that are not authorized for importation pending pest risk analysis, as well as the parts of those plants that are subject to NAPPRA. We proposed to add those taxa listed in § 319.37-2 as prohibited articles to the NAPPRA list if they were listed in § 319.37-2 without any additional conditions. Some of the prohibited taxa in § 319.37-2 had additional conditions regarding their prohibited status, e.g., the articles were prohibited importation only if they were a certain size or age, or only if they were imported in pulp. Those prohibitions can more accurately be characterized as restrictions on the importation of plants for planting, rather than outright prohibitions. Accordingly, we are characterizing them as such and moving the restrictions to the Plants for Planting Manual.

One commenter asked how the proposal to add the prohibited taxa to the NAPPRA list would affect any pest risk analyses (PRAs) that had been done for the taxa. Another asked why we chose to add the prohibited taxa to the NAPPRA category given that PRAs have presumably already been done for these plants, and their pest risk considered such that we prohibited their importation into the United States.

To answer the former commenter, any new PRAs conducted regarding taxa on the NAPPRA list supersede previously conducted PRAs.

To answer the latter commenter, although pest risk information led us to prohibit the importation of the taxa listed in § 319.37-2, this information may change. For example, a foreign country may undertake eradication efforts to combat a particular pest, or new measures may become available to mitigate the risk associated with the pest. Additionally, the quarantine significance of a particular pest may be reevaluated based on new scientific information, or the introduction and dissemination of that pest within the United States. Adding the prohibited taxa to the NAPPRA category allows us to reexamine the risk in light of these possible changes.

Rather than simply add the current prohibited taxa to the NAPPRA category, one commenter asked that we propose to add the taxa to the NAPPRA category through an additional regulatory action and opportunity for public comment.

We do not believe it would be appropriate or necessary to request additional public comment on the addition of prohibited taxa to the NAPPRA list. When we added those taxa to the prohibited list based on their quarantine pest risk, we took public comment through the rulemaking process. Additionally, we afforded the public an opportunity to comment on the addition of the taxa to the NAPPRA list during the comment period associated with the proposed rule.

One commenter asked where information about the taxa of plants for planting that are NAPPRA would be found. Specifically, the commenter asked whether the information would be maintained both on the Plants for Planting website and in the Plants for Planting Manual.

The information will be maintained solely in the Plants for Planting Manual; the Plants for Planting website will indicate this and link to the manual. Maintaining the list in two different places could result in discrepancies between the two lists. We have reformatted the lists based on this decision to move them to the Plants for Planting Manual.

Previously, we had maintained two NAPPRA lists on the internet, one of taxa that we have determined to be quarantine pests and another of taxa that we have determined to be hosts of a quarantine pest. In adding the NAPPRA taxa to the Plants for Planting Manual, however, we discovered that a clearer and more user-friendly format was simply to list all NAPPRA taxa alphabetically in one list. As such, we have made a slight change to proposed paragraph (a) of § 319.37-4. The paragraph had stated that there are two lists of NAPPRA plants for planting. It now indicates that there are two categories of NAPPRA plants for planting.

Permits

We proposed to move the current permit requirements from § 319.37-3 to § 319.37-5 and make a few changes. One of the changes we proposed was to change how the current permit requirements are presented. Rather than indicate which lots of plants for planting must be imported with a permit, we proposed to indicate that all lots of plants for planting must be imported with a permit, with exceptions listed in the Plants for Planting Manual.

One commenter stated that the new proposal appeared to require permits for all plants, while the previous regulations exempted lots of 13 or fewer plants. The commenter requested further explanation and the opportunity for public comment on this change. Another commenter supported what the commenter believed was our proposal to require permits for lots containing 12 or fewer plants. The regulations exempted, among other things, lots of 13 or more plants from the permit requirement if they are composed of seeds of herbaceous plants, precleared bulbs of a taxon approved by APHIS for preclearance, or sterile cultures of orchid plants. One commenter stated that bulbs should not be required to be accompanied by a permit, and asked us to confirm that existing bulb import programs (which do not involve the issuance of permits) would remain in place.

We did not propose to remove or otherwise alter any exemptions from permitting for plants for planting. We merely proposed to move the exemptions from the regulations to the Plants for Planting Manual. We believe the Plants for Planting Manual affords us an opportunity to present the exemptions more clearly, and in a manner that is more accessible to the general public.

The requirement that lots of 13 or more plants be accompanied by a permit also exempted lots of any size if they were from Canada. One commenter asked whether we should continue to allow plants to be imported from Canada without a permit, as this could leave a substantial gap in our information about what plants we import and where they are from. The commenter noted that 95 percent of imported woody shrubs and trees come from Canada.

The exemption is long-standing and has not resulted in the introduction of quarantine plant pests into the United States. Removing it in the absence of demonstrable quarantine plant pest risk is not justified.

One commenter stated that the new regulations should reflect the adoption of controlled import permits (CIP).

We agree. After the proposed rule to revise the plants for planting regulations was published, we published a final rule on May 2, 2013 (78 FR 25565-25572, Docket No. APHIS-2008-0055) establishing provisions in a new § 319.6 for the issuance of CIPs for articles otherwise prohibited or restricted from importation, including plants for planting. The May 2013 final rule made several changes to the plants for planting regulations as part of establishing the CIP provisions. We are incorporating most of those changes into the revision of the plants for planting regulations in this final rule, and have made corresponding changes to proposed §§ 319.37-1, 319.37-4, 319.37-5, and 319.37-23.

We are not incorporating one provision of the final rule that implemented CIPs, which required plants for planting imported into postentry quarantine to be accompanied by a CIP. When we implemented that final rule, we discovered that it had inadvertently changed the regulatory status of plants for planting that are subject to postentry quarantine from restricted articles to prohibited articles. This caused significant confusion among stakeholders, and had the unintended effect of significantly restructuring our postentry quarantine programs by exempting plants for planting intended for postentry quarantine from the general requirements of the regulations. As a result, operationally, we have not required CIPs for plants for planting intended for postentry quarantine for several years.

One commenter made the general comment that permits should only be required when the importation of the plant is prohibited or allowed under certain prescribed conditions. For other plants for planting that are allowed entry, import requirements should be communicated in a general manner to exporting countries to allow NPPOs to process and distribute the information to their inspectors as well as their stakeholders.

When we consider the plant pest risk associated with the importation of plants for planting, we must consider both the risk posed by the articles and the risk posed by the person importing the articles. Requiring prospective importers to apply for a permit allows us to deny or revoke permits to applicants who have failed to honor APHIS plant import regulations in the past or who otherwise appear to pose a risk of noncompliance. We discuss this at greater length in a final rule that we published in the Federal Register (79 FR 19805-19812, Docket No. APHIS-2011-0085) on April 10, 2014. That rule amended, among other things, the conditions under which plants for planting permit applications are denied within APHIS.

On a related matter, the April 2014 rule also amended the conditions under which plants for planting permits are revoked within APHIS. Those amended conditions are retained in this final rule.

Phytosanitary Certificates

We proposed to move the requirements for phytosanitary certificates from § 319.37-4 to § 319.37-6. In moving them, we proposed to remove three paragraphs in current § 319.37-4 that describe programs under which a phytosanitary certificate is not required, and replace them with general standards that encompass these three current programs and allow for the development of future programs. Specifically, we proposed to state that that the Administrator may authorize the importation of some types of plants for planting without a phytosanitary certificate if the plants for planting are accompanied by equivalent documentation agreed upon by the Administrator and the NPPO of the exporting country as sufficient to establish the origin, identity, and quarantine pest status of the plants.

One commenter stated that the requirement to identify place of origin on documentation that substitutes for a phytosanitary certificate would be unworkable in the context of the Canadian greenhouse certification program, which had been set out in paragraph (c) of § 319.37-4. The commenter pointed out that, under that program, Canadian producers were not currently required to document the origin of the plants exported under this program. Implementing this change, the commenter stated, would create a new administrative burden for program participants.

It was not our intention to create new burdens for participants in this program, but rather to put in place general language that could encompass all the current and future programs under which phytosanitary certificates are not required.

In this final rule, we are changing proposed § 319.37-6 to indicate that the Administrator may authorize the importation of types of plants for planting without a phytosanitary certificate if the plants for planting are accompanied by equivalent documentation agreed upon by the Administrator and the NPPO of the exporting country as sufficient to establish the eligibility of the plants for importation into the United States. We believe this will accommodate the Canadian greenhouse-grown plant program and address the commenter's concern.

Marking and Identity

We proposed to move § 319.37-10, which contained requirements for marking and identity of imported plants for planting, to proposed § 319.37-7 and make minor changes to it.

One commenter noted that proposed § 319.37-7(a) would require any imported plants for planting to be marked with the number of the written permit authorizing the importation, if one was required. The commenter stated that it was unclear whether every individual plant would have to be marked or if the mark applied to the whole consignment of plants. The commenter expressed concern about the administrative burden that would result if each individual plant were required to be marked, and asked for clarification.

We intend for each consignment of plants for planting to be marked with the permit number, not each individual plant. We have changed the text of § 319.37-7 to reflect this.

One commenter stated that some requirements in the section appeared to be new. The commenter recommended that the requirements be moved to the Plants for Planting Manual, since they are modified by the ports from time to time, in recognition of changing trade and shipping patterns and to improve the inspection process.

Except for some terminology changes, the requirements in proposed § 319.37-7 were identical to current § 319.37-10, which has been in place for decades. We are not aware of these requirements being modified at the ports of entry; they represent a minimum amount of information that should be conveyed about every consignment of plants for planting for the purposes of identification and, if a pest is found at port-of-entry inspection, for traceback.

Ports of Entry

The regulations governing ports of entry for imported plants for planting were found in § 319.37-14. We proposed to move them to § 319.37-8 and make some changes. The regulations had stated that any regulated article required to be imported under a written permit pursuant to § 319.37-3(a)(1) through (6) must be imported or offered for importation at a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plant inspection station. We proposed to indicate instead that any plants for planting required to be imported under a written permit pursuant to proposed § 319.37-5(a), if not precleared, may be imported or offered for importation only at a USDA plant inspection station listed in the Plants for Planting Manual.

One commenter noted that the proposed provision did not precisely parallel the previous regulations, in that the current language only requires certain plants for planting that must be imported under a written permit to enter at a USDA plant inspection station, while the proposed language would have required all plants for planting that must be accompanied by a permit to enter at a USDA plant inspection station. The commenter stated that the revised regulations should be consistent with the previous regulations.

We agree with the commenter. We had intended to propose language substantively identical to the scope of the previous requirements, which had required plants for planting that must be imported under a written permit, if not precleared, to be imported or offered for importation only at a plant inspection station, with limited exceptions. Our intent was not to remove any of these exceptions.

Accordingly, we have revised the proposed language to state that any plants for planting required to be imported under a written permit in accordance with § 319.37-5(a), if not precleared, must be imported or offered for importation only at a plant inspection station, unless the Plants for Planting Manual indicates otherwise. The Plants for Planting Manual will list the conditions under which an imported plant for planting does not have to be offered for importation at a plant inspection station. This change will preserve the status quo while allowing more flexibility to change these conditions in the future should a change be warranted.

Growing Media

Proposed § 319.37-10 set out requirements for the importation of plants for planting in growing media. It was based on previous § 319.37-8, but we proposed to revise the current regulations to move restrictions on the importation of specific types of plants for planting from the regulations to the Plants for Planting Manual and to add a notice-based process for updating the list of approved growing media.

One commenter expressed concern that our proposed regulations did not specifically allow the importation of plants for planting grown in agar or agar-like tissue culture medium. The commenter asked us to confirm that no new restrictions are part of this revision with respect to plants for planting that are currently allowed into the United States in agar or agar-like growing media.

We did not propose to make any changes to the current provisions regarding the importation of plants for planting in agar or agar-like growing media; we simply proposed to move them to the Plants for Planting Manual.

One commenter asked that we change the current restrictions to allow the importation of tissue culture plants that have been produced in completely sterile conditions but are contained in sterile peat, rather than in transparent agar or other tissue culture media.

As we did not propose to make any changes to the current restrictions on the importation of plants for planting in growing media, making such a change would be outside the scope of this final rule. However, the changes we are making in this final rule will allow for more timely addition of this exemption to the Plants for Planting Manual, should we determine that the requested change is warranted.

Streamlined Process for Changes To Import Restrictions

Several commenters had questions about the streamlined process we proposed in § 319.37-20 for making changes to the Plants for Planting Manual.

One commenter asked to confirm that the process will apply to requests from foreign trading partners seeking to export new types of plants for planting in growing media to the United States.

The process will be used to make all changes to the restrictions on the importation of specific types of plants for planting, including importation of any specific type of plants for planting in growing media.

One commenter expressed concern regarding whether changes to the Plants for Planting Manual would be readily evident to stakeholders. The commenter also asked that sufficient time be provided for comments from stakeholders, and inquired whether there will be additional notification through the PPQ Stakeholder Registry to advise stakeholders of changes. Another commenter stated that it is the commenter's understanding that the comment period will typically be 60 days.

The second commenter is correct. We will typically provide for a comment period of 60 days on notices to change restrictions in the Plants for Planting Manual, and we have the option of extending the comment period upon request. We will provide notice of all changes we propose and all changes we make to the Plants for Planting Manual through the Stakeholder Registry.

One commenter expressed concern that making it easier to propose to change the requirements for importing specific types of plants for planting could result in a very large number of proposals being posted at one time, overwhelming a stakeholder's resources to respond by posted deadlines. The commenter asked how the process will be managed to facilitate stakeholder input.

Stakeholders will still have the opportunity to submit comments on proposed changes. Making the restrictions on the importation of planting for planting easier to update may result in more updates, but we hope that they will also be smaller in scope than our periodic amendments to the regulations have been. Wherever possible, we will avoid requesting comment on many actions at once. We also have the option of extending comment periods if stakeholders indicate they are unable to provide input on any changes within the initial comment period.

Integrated Pest Risk Management Measures

We proposed to set out a framework for the development of integrated pest risk management measures (IPRMM) for the importation of plants for planting in § 319.37-21. The framework covered pest management and traceability at the place of production; administration of the program by APHIS and the NPPO of the supporting country; the responsibilities of plant brokers; audits of the program; and actions to take in case of noncompliance.

In the past, we have referred to these programs as “systems approaches.” We stated in the proposed rule that the term “integrated pest risk management measures” in the plants for planting regulations is consistent with the North American Plant Protection Organization's (NAPPO) Regional Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (RSPM) No. 24 and ISPM No. 36 and industry terminology. The term also emphasizes the fact that such programs involve multiple measures, each of which plays a necessary part for a comprehensive approach to managing pest risk.

One commenter stated that IPRMM were not defined as being composed of multiple separate measures that act synergistically to mitigate plant pest risk. The commenter stated that the elements of separate action and synergistic effects have long been a foundational principle of systems approaches. The commenter asked that we state explicitly in the regulations that the agency will incorporate the elements of separate action and synergistic effects into its requirements for integrated pest risk management programs.

In an IPRMM, every measure may be necessary to prevent the plants from being infested by a particular pest, rather than the measures having separate, synergistic effects as in a classic systems approach. The program for production of Pelargonium and Solanum spp. free of Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, which had been specified in § 319.37-5(r)(3) of the plants for planting regulations, is an example of an IPRMM; each of the production practices in the paragraph must be followed or there will be a significant risk of introduction of the pathogen into the production site. Therefore, although some IPRMM are likely to incorporate the effects of separate action and synergistic effects, it would be inappropriate to state that we will incorporate these into every IPRMM. However, where we can achieve such effects, we will consider them as we design our programs.

The proposed rule stated that we would require plants for planting to be imported in accordance with IPRMM when appropriate. Several commenters asked for further information about when we might consider IPRMM appropriate for the importation of plants for planting and whether we would require them for every type of imported plants for planting, or if there would be exceptions. One commenter asked whether certain host/pest associations would be subject to IPRMM, and stated that they seemed to be most valuable for asymptomatic, cryptic, or seasonally symptomatic pests and pathogens.

Other commenters made recommendations about when we should employ such measures. One stated that they should be employed for all plants for planting to maintain a high level of protection. Two commenters stated that other mitigation strategies may be appropriate, depending on the circumstances.

We did not intend that IPRMM would be used for all imported plants for planting. Such measures, properly implemented, can provide a high level of protection against pests that are otherwise difficult to detect or that pose a high risk. However, an IPRMM approach is not necessary for all types of imported plants for planting. For plants for planting covered by the inspection and certification program that had been found in § 319.37-5(a), for example, a simple inspection is sufficient to assure freedom from quarantine pests.

Our goal is to establish the least restrictive measures for the importation of plants for planting that will prevent the introduction of quarantine pests into the United States. The IPRMM framework described in proposed § 319.37-21 is a means to achieve that goal, but it will not be the only means we use.

In response to these comments, we have changed the introductory text of proposed § 319.37-21 to indicate that IPRMM will be developed when such measures are necessary to mitigate risk.

We stated in the proposed rule that our IPRMM framework was based on RSPM No. 24 and was consistent with the IPPC's ISPM No. 36, both of which address plants for planting.

One commenter supported basing our proposed measures on RSPM No. 24. Other commenters stated that they should be based on ISPM No. 36. Those commenters stated that using the international standard would make it easier for growers and exporters to adopt and meet a single standard that is applied globally. They also favored the approach of ISPM No. 36, which incorporates some general baseline measures for growing plants for planting and offers the ability to develop pest-specific measures should they prove necessary. One of these commenters stated that the RSPM is far more specific in its requirements than the ISPM, and that the specificity is not appropriate and will not encourage participation. The minimal components that are part of the general standards in the ISPM, this commenter stated, would encourage producers to adopt the measures; the RSPM has the potential to be complex and burdensome on growers.

We believe that some of these comments may have arisen from confusion about the applicability of IPRMM. We would only require plants for planting to be imported under these measures if the risk warrants it; these will not be general requirements for exporting plants for planting to the United States.

In that sense, our regulatory approach is similar to that of ISPM No. 36. As revised by this final rule, the regulations will contain general standards for the importation of plants for planting, and restrictions on the importation of specific types of plants for planting will be found in the Plants for Planting Manual. The framework in § 319.37-21 is simply one way we plan to address the risks associated with specific types of imported plants for planting.

One commenter noted that the NAPPO Plants for Planting Panel that authored RSPM No. 24 subsequently compared the NAPPO and IPPC standards and recommended the following: “In light of the many similarities with ISPM 36, maintaining RSPM 24 may well cause confusion for NAPPO countries trying to implement both standards and [we recommend] that RSPM 24 not be maintained.”

The quote provided by the commenter is correct. However, the comparison document was not the final word from NAPPO but was intended to be the subject of further discussion. In fact, NAPPO made the decision to maintain RSPM No. 24, incorporating references to ISPM No. 36.3 The RSPM was most recently revised in August 2013. As the document noted, the two standards are very similar, but the NAPPO Plants for Planting Panel concluded that the differences were significant enough to maintain two separate standards.

3 See http://www.nappo.org/files/3414/3895/8942/RSPM24-Revision-01-08-13-e.pdf for a discussion.

One commenter stated that we should pilot ISPM No. 36 with high-volume plants for planting trading partners as the first step in reducing the largely unmitigated risks of such trade.

As stated earlier, we only intend to require IPRMM in response to an identified pest risk. However, we believe the general practices in ISPM No. 36 are baseline practices for anyone who wishes to maintain a successful plants for planting production facility.

One commenter stated that we should indicate in the regulations that we will rely on the Annex to ISPM No. 36 when evaluating pest risk and on section 2.2.1.2 and Appendix 1 to the standard in developing mitigation measures.

We do not believe specific references in the regulations to these sections of ISPM No. 36 are necessary. As a signatory to the IPPC, we are committed to taking actions that are consistent with any relevant ISPMs. In addition, the specific sections of the ISPM may change or be removed, meaning we would have to change our regulations to reflect that. One goal of this rulemaking is to reduce the number of changes we have to make to keep the regulations current so including references to specific sections of the ISPM would be counterproductive.

One commenter noted two differences between ISPM No. 36 and RSPM No. 24:

• ISPM No. 36 does not exclude plants as pests, while RSPM No. 24 does.

• ISPM No. 36 excludes seeds from consideration, while RSPM No. 24 does not.

The commenter expressed openness to including plants as pests in IPRMM, and felt that seeds should be excluded.

The aim of IPRMM is to prevent the introduction of quarantine pests via the importation of plants for planting. A plant that was itself a quarantine pest could not have measures applied to it to prevent it from being a quarantine pest, meaning that it is appropriate to exclude pest plants from IPRMM. However, if we identify a seed-borne pathogen as a pest, we may need to develop IPRMM to ensure that the pathogen is not present in imported seed. Therefore, we are making no changes in response to these comments.

One commenter encouraged us to implement IPRMM so that any enterable type of plants for planting grown under those measures will also be allowed entry into the United States in approved growing media. The commenter pointed out that it is currently our policy to conduct pest risk assessments each time a country requests authorization to import a taxon of plants for planting in approved growing media into the United States, even if the same taxon is already authorized importation into the United States, if it is bare-rooted. The commenter stated that, after the final rule has been published, a pest risk assessment for every new plant and growing media combination should not be a mandatory requirement anymore, and that instead an approved IPRMM system will allow a currently enterable plant to be imported in growing media.

As plants in growing media pose different risks than plants not in growing media, we will continue to consider the risk they pose separately. We would need to identify the pests that could be introduced in growing media and develop separate mitigations for them, as we do now. However, we are open to the possibility of IPRMM for plants in growing media that could address all types of quarantine pests that could be associated with a type of plants for planting.

One commenter asked us to establish clear criteria for the approval of IPRMM so that the NPPO of an exporting country, along with the NPPO's stakeholders, can evaluate whether a proposed use of IPRMM will be feasible. The commenter noted that the proposed rule did not specify a timeframe for the approval process for IPRMM.

We will develop IPRMM in consultation with foreign NPPOs that desire to export plants for planting to the United States. We do not want to put in place requirements that an exporting country cannot meet; where difficulties arise, we will work with exporting countries to find equivalent mitigations. The framework for IPRMM is open to the use of any means to effectively mitigate the pest risk, as it allows places of production and NPPOs to come up with pest management plans for their facilities.

As with our other programs for importation of plants and plant products, the time necessary to develop and approve a set of IPRMM will vary with the number of pests that must be mitigated and the complexity of the mitigations that are necessary.

One commenter stated that the current regulations for importation of plants in growing media in § 319.37-8 require that APHIS and the NPPO of the exporting country establish a written agreement for enforcement of the regulations, which is reflected through a bilateral workplan. The commenter asked whether the workplans would be replaced by IPRMM or would continue to exist in parallel with such measures.

We are not making any changes to our existing use of workplans to help implement the plants for planting regulations. When we develop IPRMM, it is likely that a workplan will be necessary to implement them.

Paragraph (a) of proposed § 319.37-21 describes the responsibilities of the place of production. It refers to documentation required under proposed paragraph (a)(5), which required documentation of program procedures being maintained by the place of production and available to the NPPO of the exporting country and APHIS upon request.

One commenter suggested that this reference should be to proposed paragraph (a)(6), which requires recordkeeping, rather than (a)(5).

We believe the documentation of program procedures maintained by places of production should be available to the NPPO of the exporting country and APHIS, but so should records required under paragraph (a)(6), as the commenter suggests. In this final rule, the reference includes both paragraphs.

Paragraph (a)(4) of proposed § 319.37-21 set out requirements for approved places of production to maintain traceability. We proposed that the system would at a minimum have to account for:

• The origin and pest status of mother stock;

• The year of propagation and the place of production of all plant parts that make up the plants for planting intended for export;

• Geographic location of the place of production;

• Location of plants for planting within the place of production;

• The plant taxon; and

• The purchaser's identity.

One commenter stated that the requirements for traceability in RSPM No. 24 are far too prescriptive, often beyond the capacity of a grower. The commenter stated that it is impossible, for many faster‐growing crops, to keep records on the location of plants for planting within the place of production. Within greenhouse production, the commenter stated that the limitations of space, timing of turns, and modern production practices would make it nearly impossible and certainly too costly to accomplish this level of traceability. The commenter added that in nursery production there are often multiple growing operations involved with producing a marketable crop, typically many iterations away from mother stock. In the commenter's opinion, the reality of pest and pathogen dispersal make it overwhelmingly unlikely that information connecting a plant to mother stock would be of any value and would be costly far beyond its utility. The commenter stated that the same general concern about being overly specific applies to many of the prescriptive elements in this section.

We disagree with the commenter that these requirements are unrealistic. Knowing where in the production facility plants are located, for example, is not only necessary to maintain phytosanitary security but also to fulfill orders. Records of the mother stock used to produce plants allows for tracking which stock is most successful, as well as providing traceability in the event of a pest outbreak. A well-maintained place of production will keep these records as a means to ensure that its plants grow well so that orders can be fulfilled safely and efficiently.

ISPM No. 36 supports our judgment. The standard indicates in section 2.1.1 that the following conditions (among others) should be included in the approval process for producers seeking to use the general integrated measures:

• Maintaining an updated plan of the place of production as well as keeping records of when, where and how plants for planting were produced, treated, stored or prepared for movement from the place of production (including information on all plant species at the place of production and the type of plant material such as cuttings, in vitro cultures, bare root plants).

• Keeping records for a period determined by the NPPO of the exporting country that verify where and how plants for planting were purchased, stored, produced, distributed and any other relevant information on their plant health status.

These are substantively identical to the traceability requirements in proposed paragraph (a)(4).

However, we have reviewed the proposed traceability requirements and determined that they may not all need to be in place for every set of IPRMM. Different pests will require different levels and types of traceability. Therefore, this final rule indicates that, depending on the nature of the quarantine pest, the system may need to include those traceability elements. This change will ensure that our traceability requirements in IPRMM are not unnecessarily restrictive.

Paragraph (c)(1) of proposed § 319.37-21 required the NPPO of the exporting country to provide APHIS with information about, among other things, the pests associated with the plant, including prevalence, distribution, and damage potential. One commenter asked how the exporting country can assess the potential damage that might occur in the United States.

If the exporting country has information about the damage a plant pest causes in that country, we can use it to inform our assessment of the potential damage the pest can cause in the United States. Requesting such information is consistent with the requirements for requests to change the general requirements for importing a plant or plant product into the United States in § 319.5.

Paragraph (d) of proposed § 319.37-21 addressed the responsibilities of plant brokers trading in plants for planting for export that are produced in accordance with IPRMM. We proposed to require plant brokers to be approved by the NPPO of the exporting country or its designee. Under the proposed rule, plant brokers would have to ensure the traceability of consignments from an approved place of production or production site and maintain the phytosanitary status of the plants in a manner equivalent to an approved place of production from purchase, storage, and transportation to the export destination. Brokers would also have to document their processes for verifying status and maintaining traceability.

We received several comments on these provisions. One commenter opposed the proposed requirements for plant brokers, stating that they were overly restrictive and should be rewritten in consultation with industry. The commenter specifically opposed the requirements that brokers maintain the phytosanitary status and traceability of their plants, stating that brokers are likely commingling material from several places of production. The commenter supported the approach of ISPM No. 36, which limits integrated measures to the place of production.

Five commenters supported the proposed provisions. One stated that brokers play an extremely important role in ensuring the integrity of the proposed measures and that consignments of plants that have been produced under different IPRMM or outside any such measures cannot be allowed to be mixed because such mixing would undermine the system. Another stated that, in the commenter's experience, sales demands or lack of inventory lead to substitutions by brokers, especially if untrained employees are responsible for fulfilling orders, and supported the requirements as an effort to ensure that careful consideration is given to the role and responsibilities of brokers in the importation process.

We are retaining the proposed provisions for plant brokers in this final rule. We agree with the latter commenters that the step of the export chain after the plants leave the place of production and before they are exported is crucial to ensuring the success of IPRMM. For example, if a plant was produced in accordance with measures designed to exclude an insect pest, it would need to be secured to prevent infestation after it left the production site. In particular, commingling the plants for planting with plants for planting not produced in accordance with IPRMM could result in infested plants being exported to the United States. Brokers have a responsibility to maintain such security.

One commenter stated that we should prohibit plant brokers from commingling plants from various sources.

The requirement that plant brokers maintain the phytosanitary status of their plants will prevent plant brokers from commingling plants for planting produced in accordance with IPRMM and plants not produced in accordance with such measures. However, there is no phytosanitary risk-based reason to prohibit plant brokers from commingling plants for planting produced in accordance with IPRMM from different places of production. The places of production with commingled plants assume a risk that, if a pest is detected at the port of entry, and, depending on the biology of the pest, it is necessary to destroy, treat, or re-export the shipment, all the plants in the shipment would be affected.

One commenter asked whether plant brokers are considered plant exporters. Another asked whether brokers who take possession of plants for planting at U.S. ports would be covered by proposed paragraph (d).

We do not know the distinction the first commenter intends between the terms “plant broker” and “plant exporter.” In response to the second comment, brokers who take possession of plants for planting at U.S. ports would not be covered by the IPRMM. However, these two comments indicate to us that we need to define the term “plant broker” more clearly. RSPM No. 24 includes a definition that reads as follows: “An entity that purchases or takes possession of plants for planting from an approved place of production for the purpose of exporting those plants without further growing beyond maintaining the plants until export.” In this final rule, we are adding this definition of plant broker to § 319.37-2 to provide further clarity.

One commenter asked about the rationale for requiring plant brokers to be officially approved, noting that such a requirement does not exist currently when exporting plants for planting to the United States. The commenter stated that such a requirement could be a barrier to trade, preventing brokers from taking advantage of export opportunities. The commenter recommended that certification of traceability be left to the NPPO of the exporting country.

As discussed earlier, we will only use IPRMM when the pest risk warrants doing so. Pests for which such measures will be developed will likely be high-risk, difficult or impossible to detect through visual inspection, or both. In such cases, we believe plant brokers must be approved by the NPPO of the exporting country. This will ensure additional accountability in the context of the IPRMM. As noted later in the framework, a plant broker could be suspended from participating in an IPRMM program if he or she was found to have failed to meet the program requirements. In order to be suspended, the plant broker must first be approved.

It is important to note again that approval of plant brokers by the NPPO of the exporting country will not be a general requirement for the importation of all plants for planting, just those whose importation will be subject to IPRMM. Plant brokers who, for whatever reason, cannot or do not want to get approval from their NPPO to act as plant brokers in IPRMM programs will be able to participate in the export of other plants. To make this clear, this final rule modifies proposed paragraph (d) to indicate that the requirements for plant brokers only apply when they trade in plants for planting produced in accordance with IPRMM.

One commenter asked how traceback would affect plant brokers and approved production sites or places of production if a pest was detected at the port of entry in a consignment of plants for planting produced in accordance with IPRMM. The commenter asked how traceback would function to decide at which point the system failed, and whether the place of production or the broker would be held responsible. The commenter also asked what remedies would be applied if the broker was not approved.

Under our current regulations and in accordance with international standards, when a pest is detected at the port of entry in exported plants for planting, the NPPO of the exporting country conducts traceback to determine where phytosanitary security may have been compromised. This would continue to be the case for any plants for planting produced in accordance with IPRMM. Responsibility would be determined based on the investigation. Any place of production or plant broker not meeting the conditions of the IPRMM would be suspended. If a broker is not approved to participate in the IPRMM program, APHIS and the NPPO of the exporting country would work together to determine whether tighter controls should be applied.

As noted earlier, the proposed plant broker requirements included a requirement that the brokers maintain the phytosanitary status of the plants in a manner equivalent to an approved place of production from purchase, storage, and transportation to the export destination. We also proposed to require plant brokers to document their process for verifying status.

One commenter asked how a broker would write up a “place of production” manual and audit it.

We believe the wording of the proposed requirement may have created some confusion. We do not intend for plant brokers to maintain the phytosanitary status of plants exactly as a place of production would, but rather to ensure that the plants remain free of the pests of concern after they leave the place of production. For example, if the pest of concern is an insect pest, the place of production may be required to have double-entry doors, trapping and monitoring, or other such mitigations. The plant broker may be able to secure the plants simply by keeping them in a sealed container or making sure they are covered with insect-proof mesh at all times. To make this clear, we are removing the words “in a manner” from the proposed text, so that the broker is required to maintain the phytosanitary status of the plants after they leave the place of production but not necessarily to use the same methods as the place of production to do so.

Paragraph (e) of proposed § 319.37-21 set out requirements for external audits of IPRMM. Paragraph (e)(1) set out provisions for APHIS audits.

One commenter stated that it is considered the responsibility of the NPPO of the exporting country to verify compliance, not the importing country, under the IPPC. The commenter also objected to the idea that APHIS would audit the performance of the NPPO of the exporting country.

We agree with the commenter. The proposed requirements indicated that APHIS or its designee will periodically audit the system to ensure that it continues to meet the stated objectives, but the performance of the NPPO will not be audited. In the proposed rule, we indicated that post-approval audits will include inspection of imported plants for planting, site visits, and review of the IPRMM and internal audit processes of both the place of production and the NPPO of the exporting country. We are indicating in this final rule that such audits may include those things, as we so require, to allow for more leeway to choose the appropriate level of auditing.

Paragraph (f) of proposed § 319.37-21 set out a framework for determining actions in case of noncompliance. It stated that regulatory responses to program failures will be based on existing bilateral agreements and that APHIS will specify the consequences of noncompliance to the NPPO of the exporting country.

One commenter stated that we should incorporate the strongest penalties listed in ISPM No. 36, RSPM No. 24, and the proposal, wherever they may happen to be found, into the final regulations.

We understand the commenter's concerns about the potential consequences of noncompliance. However, as different IPRMM will necessarily have different points of concern and potential noncompliance, we believe it will be simpler and more flexible to determine the actions we take in case of noncompliance within the individual IPRMM.

Postentry Quarantine

We proposed to set out requirements for postentry quarantine in § 319.37-23. Under current § 319.37-7, certain taxa of plants for planting are required to be grown in postentry quarantine in order to determine whether they are infested with quarantine pests, typically pathogens. Section 319.37-7 also provides a framework of requirements under which postentry quarantine must be conducted and completed. We proposed to move the lists of taxa that must be grown in postentry quarantine that are currently found in paragraphs (a) and (b) of § 319.37-7 to the Plants for Planting Manual and update them with the streamlined process.

One commenter expressed concerns about the use of postentry quarantine. The commenter stated that the system has proved inadequate to prevent pests from escaping, as in the escape of citrus longhorned beetle (Anoplophora chinensis) at a nursery in Tukwila, WA. The commenter hoped that APHIS will shift from using postentry quarantine as a mitigation to the use of IPRMM.

We do intend to emphasize the use of IPRMM to address pest risks rather than postentry quarantine in the future. The restructuring of the plants for planting regulations will make it easier to do so.

We proposed to set out requirements for State postentry quarantine agreements in paragraph (b) of proposed § 319.37-23. Such requirements were previously found in paragraph (c) of § 319.37-7. We stated that there is no need to retain the level of detail regarding such agreements that is found in current paragraph (c), which sets out extensive requirements that States must meet in order to be sites for postentry quarantine; for example, the paragraph includes detailed requirements for State laws and regulations, duties of State inspectors, services APHIS agrees to provide, and provisions for termination of a State postentry quarantine agreement.

One commenter expressed concern about removing this detail, believing that the agreements could be subject to political pressure and other nonscientific factors during negotiation that could result in heightened pest risk.

We do not anticipate that anything will change as a result of removing the details, and, as the commenter noted, removing those details will allow us to tailor the agreements to specific circumstances.

Miscellaneous Changes

Proposed paragraph (c) of § 319.37-1 indicated that the importation of plants that are imported for processing, as determined by an inspector based on documentation accompanying the articles, is not subject to the plants for planting regulations. However, the importation of such plants may be subject to other regulations, and the proposed text could have given the impression that there were no further requirements for the importation of such plants. Therefore, in this final rule, we have changed the proposed paragraph to indicate that the importation of such plants is not subject to the plants for planting regulations but may be subject to regulations elsewhere in 7 CFR part 319, which contains the import quarantine notices.

Additionally, plants that are imported for consumption, as determined by an inspector based on documentation accompanying the articles, are similarly not subject to the plants for planting regulations. We have changed proposed paragraph (c) to reflect this as well.

In the same section, proposed paragraph (f) had indicated that common names of plants for planting may be given in parentheses after most scientific names, when common names are known. This was intended to refer to the Plants for Planting Manual, rather than the regulations themselves, since we were proposing to move taxa-specific restrictions and prohibitions to the manual. In this final rule, we clarify that paragraph (f) of § 319.37-1 pertains to the Plants for Planting Manual.

In the definitions section of this final rule, § 319.37-2, we are adding a definition of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for clarity. Adding this definition allows us to simplify the wording of the definition of Plant Protection and Quarantine Programs and reflects the use of the acronym “APHIS” throughout the subpart. Additionally, since the proposed rule was issued, we revised the definition of phytosanitary certificate within the plants for planting regulations. We are retaining this revised definition, with minor edits to reflect the structure of the revised subpart.

Finally, the revisions to the subpart make it necessary for us to update references and citations that appear elsewhere in our regulations in title 7. We are making these nonsubstantive updates in 7 CFR parts 318, 319, 330, 340, 360, and 361.

Therefore, for the reasons given in the proposed rule and in this document, we are adopting the proposed rule as a final rule, with the changes discussed in this document.

Executive Orders 12866 and 13771 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

This final rule has been determined to be not significant for the purposes of Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 and, therefore, has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. This rule is not expected to be an E.O. 13771 regulatory action because it is not significant under E.O. 12866. Further, APHIS considers this rule to be a deregulatory action under E.O. 13771 as it will facilitate access to information on import restrictions for specific types of plants for planting and create a more efficient process for amending import requirements.

In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 604, we have performed a final regulatory flexibility analysis, which is summarized below, regarding the economic effects of this rule on small entities. Copies of the full analysis are available on the Regulations.gov website (see footnote 1 in this document for a link to Regulations.gov) or by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

This analysis examines the potential economic impacts on small entities of a final rule to restructure the regulations contained in 7 CFR part 319 that govern the importation of plants for planting. This action will provide for more efficient application of these regulations, while not making any major changes to current import restrictions. Besides improving the clarity of these regulations, the rule will:

• Consolidate the requirements for importation of plants for planting into one subpart in 7 CFR part 319;

• Add most of the plants for planting that are listed as prohibited to the list of those whose importation is NAPPRA;

• Characterize the other prohibitions as restrictions, and add them to the Plants for Planting manual;

• Remove several lists of approved items (for example, approved growing media, packing materials, and ports of entry) from the regulations and instead provide these lists to the public in the Plants for Planting Manual;

• Move restrictions on the importation of specific types of plants for planting from the regulations to the Plants for Planting Manual;

• Establish a framework for the use of IPRMM where appropriate in the production of specific types of plants for planting for importation into the United States;

• Clarify postentry quarantine requirements; and

• Establish a process for making changes to import restrictions on specific types of plants for planting after taking public comment on notices published in the Federal Register, rather than by publishing proposed and final rules.

The changes will facilitate access to information on import restrictions for specific types of plants for planting, and create a more efficient process for amending import requirements. Importers of plants for planting can expect changes in import restrictions to be accomplished more than 4 months sooner than they would be through rulemaking. While nearly all importers of plants for planting that are directly affected by the rule are small, any associated costs will be modest, including instances in which phytosanitary certification are newly required.

Executive Order 12988

This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule: (1) Preempts all State and local laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule; (2) has no retroactive effect; and (3) does not require administrative proceedings before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This final rule contains no new reporting, recordkeeping, or third party disclosure requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

List of Subjects 7 CFR Part 318

Cotton, Cottonseeds, Fruits, Guam, Plant diseases and pests, Puerto Rico, Quarantine, Transportation, Vegetables, Virgin Islands.

7 CFR Part 319

Coffee, Cotton, Fruits, Imports, Logs, Plant diseases and pests, Plants for planting, Quarantine, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Rice, Vegetables.

7 CFR Part 330

Customs duties and inspection, Plant diseases and pests, Quarantine, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

7 CFR Part 340

Administrative practice and procedure, Biotechnology, Genetic engineering, Imports, Packaging and containers, Plant diseases and pests, Transportation.

7 CFR Part 360

Plants, Quarantine, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

7 CFR Part 361

Agricultural commodities, Imports, Labeling, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Seeds.

Accordingly, we are amending 7 CFR parts 318, 319, 330, 340, 360, and 361 as follows:

PART 318—STATE OF HAWAII AND TERRITORIES QUARANTINE NOTICES 1. The authority citation for part 318 continues to read as follows. Authority:

7 U.S.C. 7701-7772 and 7781-7786; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

2. Section 318.60 is amended by revising paragraph (c)(2) to read as follows:
§ 318.60 Notice of quarantine.

(c) Sand (other than clean ocean sand), soil, or earth around the roots of plants shall not be shipped, offered for shipment to a common carrier, received for transportation or transported by a common carrier, or carried, transported, moved, or allowed to be moved by any person from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands of the United States into or through any other State, Territory, or District of the United States: Provided, That the prohibitions of this section shall not apply to the movement of such products in either direction between Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands of the United States: Provided further, That such prohibitions shall not prohibit the movement of such products by the United States Department of Agriculture for scientific or experimental purposes, nor prohibit the movement of sand, soil, or earth around the roots of plants which are carried, for ornamental purposes, on vessels into mainland ports of the United States and which are not intended to be landed thereat, when evidence is presented satisfactory to the inspector of the Plant Protection and Quarantine Programs of the Department of Agriculture that such sand, soil, or earth has been so processed or is of such nature that no pest risk is involved, or that the plants with sand, soil, or earth around them are maintained on board under such safeguards as will preclude pest escape: And provided further, That such prohibitions shall not prohibit the movement of plant cuttings or plants that have been—

(1) Freed from sand, soil, and earth;

(2) Subsequently potted and established in sphagnum moss or other packing material approved under § 319.37-11 of this chapter that had been stored under shelter and had not been previously used for growing or packing plants;

(3) Grown thereafter in a manner satisfactory to an inspector of the Plant Protection and Quarantine Programs to prevent infestation through contact with sand, soil, or earth; and

(4) Certified by an inspector of the Plant Protection and Quarantine Programs as meeting the requirements of paragraphs (c)(1) through (3) of this section.

PART 319—FOREIGN QUARANTINE NOTICES 3. The authority citation for part 319 continues to read as follows: Authority:

7 U.S.C. 450, 7701-7772, and 7781-7786; 21 U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

§ 319.6 [Amended]
4. In § 319.6, paragraph (d)(4) is amended by removing the citation “§ 319.37-9” and adding the citation “§ 319.37-11” in its place. 5. Section 319.8 is amended as follows: a. By designating the current text of the section as paragraph (a); and b. By adding paragraph (b).

The addition reads as follows:

§ 319.8 Notice of quarantine.

(b) The importation of cotton plants (including any plant parts) that are for planting or capable of being planted is restricted in Subpart—Plants for Planting of this part.

§ 319.8-1 [Amended]
6. In § 319.8-1, the definition of cottonseed is amended by adding the words “and that is intended for processing or consumption” before the period. 7. Section 319.15 is amended as follows: a. By redesignating paragraph (b) as paragraph (c); and b. By adding a new paragraph (b).

The addition reads as follows:

§ 319.15 Notice of quarantine.

(b) The importation of sugarcane plants (including any plant parts) that are for planting or capable of being planted is restricted under Subpart—Plants for Planting of this part.

Subpart—Citrus Canker and Other Citrus Diseases [Removed] 8. Subpart—Citrus Canker and Other Citrus Diseases, consisting of § 319.19, is removed. 9. Section 319.24 is amended as follows: a. By redesignating paragraphs (b) through (d) as paragraphs (c) through (e), respectively; and b. By adding a new paragraph (b).

The addition reads as follows:

§ 319.24 Notice of quarantine.

(b) The importation of corn plants (including any plant parts) that are for planting or capable of being planted is restricted in Subpart—Plants for Planting of this part.

10. Subpart—Citrus Fruit, is amended by revising the first paragraph of the Note below the subpart heading that precedes § 319.28 to read as follows: Subpart—Citrus Fruit

Note 1 to Subpart—Citrus Fruit: Citrus plants for planting may be imported in accordance with Subpart—Plants for Planting of this part.

11. Section 319.28 is amended as follows: a. In paragraph (a)(4), by removing the words “§§ 319.37 through 319.37-27” and adding the words “§§ 319.37-1 through 319.37-23” in their place; b. In paragraph (b)(8) introductory text, by removing the words “port of entry identified in § 319.37-14” and adding the words “Customs designated port of entry indicated in 19 CFR 101.3(b)(1)” in their place; and c. By revising the OMB citation at the end of the section.

The revision reads as follows:

§ 319.28 Notice of quarantine. (Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control numbers 0579-0173 and 0579-0314)
12. Subpart—Plants for Planting, consisting currently of §§ 319.37 through 319.37-14, is revised to read as follows: Subpart—Plants for Planting Sec. 319.37-1 Notice of quarantine. 319.37-2 Definitions. 319.37-3 General restrictions on the importation of plants for planting. 319.37-4 Taxa of plants for planting whose importation is not authorized pending pest risk analysis. 319.37-5 Permits. 319.37-6 Phytosanitary certificates. 319.37-7 Marking and identity. 319.37-8 Ports of entry: Approved ports, notification of arrival, inspection, and refusal of entry. 319.37-9 Treatment of plants for planting; costs and charges for inspection and treatment; treatments applied outside the United States. 319.37-10 Growing media. 319.37-11 Packing and approved packing material. 319.37-12 through 319.37-19 [Reserved] 319.37-20 Restrictions on the importation of specific types of plants for planting. 319.37-21 Integrated pest risk management measures. 319.37-22 Trust fund agreements. 319.37-23 Postentry quarantine. Subpart—Plants for Planting
§ 319.37-1 Notice of quarantine.

(a) Under section 412(a) of the Plant Protection Act, the Secretary of Agriculture may prohibit or restrict the importation and entry of any plant or plant product if the Secretary determines that the prohibition or restriction is necessary to prevent the introduction into the United States or the dissemination within the United States of a plant pest or noxious weed.

(b) The Secretary has determined that it is necessary to designate the importation of certain taxa of plants for planting as not authorized pending pest risk analysis, as provided in § 319.37-4. The Secretary has determined that it is necessary to restrict the importation into the United States of all other plants for planting and to impose additional restrictions on the importation of specific types of plants for planting, in accordance with this subpart and as described in the Plants for Planting Manual.

(c) The importation of plants that are imported for processing or consumption, as determined by an inspector based on documentation accompanying the articles, is not subject to this subpart but may be subject to restrictions elsewhere in this part.

(d) The importation of taxa of plants for planting that are listed in parts 360 and 361 of this chapter is subject to the restrictions in those parts.

(e) The Plant Protection and Quarantine Programs also enforces regulations promulgated under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544) which contain additional prohibitions and restrictions on importation into the United States of plants for planting subject to this subpart (see 50 CFR parts 17 and 23).

(f) Within the Plants for Planting Manual, one or more common names of plants for planting may be given in parentheses after most scientific names (when common names are known) for the purpose of helping to identify the plants for planting represented by such scientific names; however, unless otherwise specified, a reference to a scientific name includes all plants for planting within the taxon represented by the scientific name regardless of whether the common name or names are as comprehensive in scope as the scientific name. When restrictions apply to the importation of a taxon of plants for planting for which there are taxonomic synonyms, those restrictions apply to the importation of all the synonyms of that taxon as well.

§ 319.37-2 Definitions.

The following definitions apply to this subpart:

Administrator. The Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, United States Department of Agriculture, or any other employee of the United States Department of Agriculture authorized to act in his or her stead.

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, United States Department of Agriculture.

Bulb. The portion of a plant commonly known as a bulb, bulbil, bulblet, corm, cormel, rhizome, tuber, or pip, and including fleshy roots or other underground fleshy growths, a unit of which produces an individual plant.

Consignment. A quantity of plants for planting being moved from one country to another and covered, when required, by a single phytosanitary certificate (a consignment may be composed of one or more lots or taxa).

Controlled import permit. A written or electronically transmitted authorization issued by APHIS for the importation into the United States of otherwise prohibited or restricted plant material for experimental, therapeutic, or developmental purposes, under controlled conditions as prescribed by the Administrator in accordance with § 319.6.

Earth. The softer matter composing part of the surface of the globe, in distinction from the firm rock, and including the soil and subsoil, as well as finely divided rock and other soil formation materials down to the rock layer.

From. Plants for planting are considered to be “from” any country or locality in which they are grown. Provided, That plants for planting imported into Canada from another country or locality shall be considered as being solely from Canada if they meet the following conditions:

(1) They are imported into the United States directly from Canada after having been grown for at least 1 year in Canada;

(2) They have never been grown in a country from which their importation would not be authorized pending pest risk analysis under § 319.37-4;

(3) They have never been grown in a country, other than Canada, from which it would be subject to certain restrictions on the importation of specific types of plants for planting under § 319.37-20, which are listed in the Plants for Planting Manual; Provided, that plants for planting that would be subject to postentry quarantine if imported into the United States may be imported from Canada after growth in another country if they were grown in Canada in postentry quarantine under conditions equivalent to those specified in the Plants for Planting Manual; and

(4) They were not imported into Canada in growing media.

Inspector. Any individual authorized by the Administrator or the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security, to enforce the regulations in this part.

Lot. A number of units of a single commodity, identifiable by its homogeneity of composition and origin, forming all or part of a consignment.

Mother stock. A group of plants from which plant parts are taken to produce new plants.

National plant protection organization (NPPO). The official service established by a government to discharge the functions specified by the International Plant Protection Convention.

Noxious weed. Any plant or plant product that can directly or indirectly injure or cause damage to crops (including plants for planting or plant products), livestock, poultry, or other interests of agriculture, irrigation, navigation, the natural resources of the United States, the public health, or the environment.

Official control. The active enforcement of mandatory phytosanitary regulations and the application of mandatory phytosanitary procedures with the objective of eradication or containment of quarantine pests.

Person. Any individual, partnership, corporation, association, joint venture, or other legal entity.

Phytosanitary certificate. A document, including electronic versions, that is related to a restricted article and is issued not more than 15 days prior to shipment of the restricted article from the country in which it was grown and that:

(1) Is patterned after the model certificate of the International Plant Protection Convention, a multilateral convention on plant protection under the authority of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO);

(2) Is issued by an official of a foreign national plant protection organization in one of the five official languages of the FAO;

(3) Is addressed to the national plant protection organization of the United States (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service);

(4) Describes the shipment;

(5) Certifies the place of origin for all contents of the shipment;

(6) Certifies that the shipment has been inspected and/or tested according to appropriate official procedures and is considered free from quarantine pests of the United States;

(7) Contains any additional declarations required in the Plants for Planting Manual; and

(8) Certifies that the shipment conforms with the phytosanitary requirements of the United States and is considered eligible for importation pursuant to the laws and regulations of the United States.

Place of production. Any premises or collection of fields operated as a single production or farming unit. This may include production sites that are separately managed for phytosanitary purposes.

Plant. Any plant (including any plant part) for or capable of propagation, including a tree, a tissue culture, a plantlet culture, pollen, a shrub, a vine, a cutting, a graft, a scion, a bud, a bulb, a root, and a seed.

Plant broker. An entity that purchases or takes possession of plants for planting from an approved place of production for the purpose of exporting those plants without further growing beyond maintaining the plants until export.

Plant pest. Any living stage of any of the following that can directly or indirectly injure, cause damage to, or cause disease in any plant or plant product: A protozoan, a nonhuman animal, a parasitic plant, a bacterium, a fungus, a virus or viroid, an infectious agent or other pathogen, or any article similar to or allied with any of these articles.

Plant Protection and Quarantine Programs. The organizational unit within APHIS that is delegated responsibility for enforcing provisions of the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.) and related legislation, quarantines, and regulations.

Planting. Any operation for the placing of plants in a growing medium, or by grafting or similar operations, to ensure their subsequent growth, reproduction, or propagation.

Plants for planting. Plants intended to remain planted, to be planted, or replanted.

Plants for Planting Manual. The document that contains restrictions on the importation of specific types of plants for planting, as provided in § 319.37-20, and other information about the importation of plants for planting as provided in this subpart. The Plants for Planting Manual is available on the internet at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/manuals/ports/downloads/plants_for_planting.pdf. or by contacting the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine, 4700 River Road, Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236.

Port of first arrival. The land area (such as a seaport, airport, or land border station) where a person, or a land, water, or air vehicle, first arrives after entering the territory of the United States, and where inspection of plants for planting is carried out by inspectors.

Preclearance. Phytosanitary inspection and/or clearance in the country in which the plants for planting were grown, performed by or under the regular supervision of APHIS.

Production site. A defined portion of a place of production utilized for the production of a commodity that is managed separately for phytosanitary purposes. This may include the entire place of production or portions of it. Examples of portions of places of production are a defined orchard, grove, field, greenhouse, screenhouse, or premises.

Quarantine pest. A plant pest or noxious weed that is of potential economic importance to the United States and not yet present in the United States, or present but not widely distributed and being officially controlled.

Regulated plant. A vascular or nonvascular plant. Vascular plants include gymnosperms, angiosperms, ferns, and fern allies. Gymnosperms include cycads, conifers, and gingko. Angiosperms include any flowering plant. Fern allies include club mosses, horsetails, whisk ferns, spike mosses, and quillworts. Nonvascular plants include mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and green algae.

Secretary. The Secretary of Agriculture, or any other officer or employee of the Department of Agriculture to whom authority to act in his/her stead has been or may hereafter be delegated.

Soil. The loose surface material of the earth in which plants, trees, and shrubs grow, in most cases consisting of disintegrated rock with an admixture of organic material and soluble salts.

Species (spp.). All species, clones, cultivars, strains, varieties, and hybrids of a genus.

State. Any of the several States of the United States, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Virgin Islands of the United States, or any other territory or possession of the United States.

State Plant Regulatory Official. The official authorized by the State to sign agreements with Federal agencies involving operations of the State plant protection agency.

Taxon (taxa). Any grouping within botanical nomenclature, such as family, genus, species, or cultivar.

Type of plants for planting. A grouping of plants for planting based on shared characteristics such as biological traits, morphology, botanical nomenclature, or risk factors.

United States. All of the States.

§ 319.37-3 General restrictions on the importation of plants for planting.

(a) The importation of certain taxa of plants for planting is not authorized pending pest risk analysis in accordance with § 319.37-4.

(b) General restrictions that apply to the importation of all plants for planting other than those whose importation is not authorized pending pest risk analysis are found in §§ 319.37-5 through 319.37-11.

(c) In accordance with § 319.37-20, the Administrator may impose restrictions on the importation of specific types of plants for planting. These restrictions are listed in the Plants for Planting Manual. Additional information on restrictions applicable to the importation of specific types of plants for planting can be found in §§ 319.37-20 through 319.37-23.

§ 319.37-4 Taxa of plants for planting whose importation is not authorized pending pest risk analysis.

(a) Determination by the Administrator. The importation of certain taxa of plants for planting poses a risk of introducing quarantine pests into the United States. Therefore, the importation of these taxa is not authorized pending the completion of a pest risk analysis, except as provided in paragraph (f) of this section. These taxa are listed in the Plants for Planting Manual. There are two categories of taxa whose importation is not authorized pending pest risk analysis: Taxa of plants for planting that are quarantine pests, and taxa of plants for planting that are hosts of quarantine pests. For taxa of plants for planting that have been determined to be quarantine pests, the list includes the names of the taxa. For taxa of plants for planting that are hosts of quarantine pests, the list includes the names of the taxa, the foreign places from which the taxa's importation is not authorized, and the quarantine pests of concern.

(b) Addition of taxa. A taxon of plants for planting may be added to one of the lists of taxa not authorized for importation pending pest risk analysis under this section as follows:

(1) Data sheet. APHIS will publish in the Federal Register a document that announces our determination that a taxon of plants for planting is either a quarantine pest or a host of a quarantine pest. This notice will make available a data sheet that details the scientific evidence APHIS evaluated in making the determination that the taxon is a quarantine pest or a host of a quarantine pest. The data sheet will include references to the scientific evidence that APHIS used in making the determination. In our notice, we will provide for a public comment period of a minimum of 60 days on our additions to the list.

(2) Response to comments. (i) APHIS will issue a notice after the close of the public comment period indicating that the taxon will be added to the list of taxa not authorized for importation pending pest risk analysis if:

(A) No comments were received on the data sheet;

(B) The comments on the data sheet revealed that no changes to the data sheet were necessary; or

(C) Changes to the data sheet were made in response to public comments, but the changes did not affect APHIS' determination that the taxon poses a risk of introducing a quarantine pest into the United States.

(ii) If comments present information that leads us to determine that the importation of the taxon does not pose a risk of introducing a quarantine pest into the United States, APHIS will not add the taxon to the list of plants for planting whose importation is not authorized pending pest risk analysis. APHIS will issue a notice giving public notice of this determination after the close of the comment period.

(c) Criterion for listing a taxon of plants for planting as a quarantine pest. A taxon will be added to the list of taxa whose importation is not authorized pending pest risk analysis if scientific evidence causes APHIS to determine that the taxon is a quarantine pest.

(d) Criteria for listing a taxon of plants for planting as a host of a quarantine pest. A taxon will be added to the list of taxa whose importation is not authorized pending pest risk analysis if scientific evidence causes APHIS to determine that the taxon is a host of a quarantine pest. The following criteria must be fulfilled in order to make this determination:

(1) The plant pest in question must be determined to be a quarantine pest; and

(2) The taxon of plants for planting must be determined to be a host of that quarantine pest.

(e) Removing a taxon from the list of taxa not authorized pending pest risk analysis. (1) Requests to remove a taxon from the list of taxa whose importation is not authorized pending pest risk analysis (NAPPRA) must be made in accordance with § 319.5. APHIS will conduct a pest risk analysis in response to such a request. The pest risk analysis will examine the risk associated with the importation of that taxon as well as measures available to mitigate that risk. The pest risk analysis may analyze importation of the taxon from a specific area, country, or countries, or from all areas of the world. The conclusions of the pest risk analysis will apply accordingly.

(2) If the pest risk analysis indicates that the taxon is a quarantine pest or a host of a quarantine pest and the Administrator determines that there are no measures available that adequately mitigate the risk of introducing a quarantine pest into the United States through the taxon's importation, we will continue to list the taxon as not authorized for importation pending pest risk analysis. We will publish a notice making the pest risk analysis available for comment. If comments cause us to change our determination, we will publish another notice in accordance with either paragraph (e)(3) or (4) of this section, as appropriate. If comments do not cause us to change our determination, we will publish a second notice responding to the comments and affirming our determination that the taxon should continue to be listed as NAPPRA.

(3) If the pest risk analysis supports a determination that importation of the taxon be allowed subject to taxon-specific restrictions, APHIS will publish a notice making the pest risk analysis available to the public for comment in accordance with the process in § 319.37-20(c).

(4) If the pest risk analysis supports a determination that importation of the taxon be allowed subject to the general restrictions of this subpart, APHIS will publish a notice announcing our intent to remove the taxon from the list of taxa whose importation is not authorized pending pest risk analysis and making the pest risk analysis supporting the taxon's removal available for public comment.

(i) APHIS will issue a notice after the close of the public comment period indicating that the importation of the taxon will be subject only to the general restrictions of this subpart if:

(A) No comments were received on the pest risk analysis;

(B) The comments on the pest risk analysis revealed that no changes to the pest risk analysis were necessary; or

(C) Changes to the pest risk analysis were made in response to public comments, but the changes did not affect the overall conclusions of the analysis and the Administrator's determination that the importation of the taxon does not pose a risk of introducing a quarantine pest into the United States.

(ii) If information presented by commenters indicates that the pest risk analysis needs to be revised, APHIS will issue a notice after the close of the public comment period indicating that the importation of the taxon will continue to be listed as not authorized pending pest risk analysis while the information presented by commenters is analyzed and incorporated into the pest risk analysis. APHIS will subsequently publish a new notice announcing the availability of the revised pest risk analysis.

(5) APHIS may also remove a taxon from the list of taxa whose importation is not authorized pending pest risk analysis when APHIS determines that the evidence used to add the taxon to the list was erroneous (for example, involving a taxonomic misidentification).

(f) Controlled import permits. Any plants for planting whose importation is not authorized pending pest risk analysis in accordance with this section may be imported or offered for entry into the United States if:

(1) Imported for experimental, therapeutic, or developmental purposes under the conditions specified in a controlled import permit issued in accordance with § 319.6;

(2) Imported at the National Plant Germplasm Inspection Station, Building 580, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center East, Beltsville, MD 20705 or through any USDA plant inspection station listed in the Plants for Planting Manual;

(3) Imported pursuant to a controlled import permit issued for such plants for planting and kept on file at the port of entry;

(4) Imported under conditions specified on the controlled import permit and found by the Administrator to be adequate to prevent the introduction into the United States of quarantine pests, i.e., conditions of treatment, processing, growing, shipment, disposal; and

(5) Imported with a controlled import tag or label securely attached to the outside of the container containing the plants for planting or securely attached to the plant itself if not in a container, and with such tag or label bearing a controlled import permit number corresponding to the number of the controlled import permit issued for such plants for planting.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 0579-0380)
§ 319.37-5 Permits.

(a)(1) Plants for planting may be imported or offered for importation into the United States only after issuance of a written permit by the Plant Protection and Quarantine Programs, except as provided in the Plants for Planting Manual. Exceptions from the requirement for a written permit will be added, changed, or removed in accordance with § 319.37-20.

(2) Plants for planting whose importation is subject to postentry quarantine, as listed in the Plants for Planting Manual, must also be imported under an importer postentry quarantine growing agreement in accordance with § 319.37-23(c).

(b) An application for a written permit should be submitted to the Plant Protection and Quarantine Programs (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine, Permits, Permit Unit, 4700 River Road, Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236) at least 30 days prior to arrival of the plants for planting at the port of entry. Application forms are available without charge from that address or on the internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/permits/ppq_epermits.shtml. The completed application shall include the following information:

(1) Name, address, and telephone number of the importer;

(2) The taxon or taxa and the approximate quantity of plants for planting intended to be imported;

(3) Country(ies) or locality(ies) where grown;

(4) Intended United States port of entry;

(5) Means of transportation, e.g., mail, airmail, express, air express, freight, airfreight, or baggage; and

(6) Expected date of arrival.

(c) A permit indicating the applicable conditions for importation under this subpart will be issued by Plant Protection and Quarantine Programs if, after review of the application, the plants for planting are deemed eligible to be imported into the United States under the conditions specified in the permit. However, even if such a permit is issued, the plants for planting may be imported only if all applicable requirements of this subpart are met and only if an inspector at the port of entry determines that no remedial measures pursuant to the Plant Protection Act are necessary with respect to the plants for planting.1

1 An inspector may hold, seize, quarantine, treat, apply other remedial measures to, destroy, or otherwise dispose of plants, plant pests, or other articles in accordance with sections 414, 421, and 434 of the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7714, 7731, and 7754).

(d) Any permit that has been issued may be revoked by an inspector or APHIS in accordance with § 319.7-4.

(e) Any plants for planting not required to be imported with a permit in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section may be imported or offered for importation into the United States only after issuance of an oral authorization for importation issued by an inspector at the port of entry.

(f) An oral authorization for importation of plants for planting shall be issued at a port of entry by an inspector only if all applicable requirements of this subpart are met, such plants for planting are eligible to be imported under an oral authorization, and an inspector at the port of entry determines that no measures pursuant to section 414 of the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7714) are necessary with respect to such plants for planting.

(g) Persons wishing to import plants for planting into the United States for experimental, therapeutic, or developmental purposes must apply for a controlled import permit in accordance with §§ 319.6 and 319.37-3.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control numbers 0579-0190, 0579-0285, and 0579-0319)
§ 319.37-6 Phytosanitary certificates.

(a) Phytosanitary certificates. Any plants for planting offered for importation into the United States must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate, except as described in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section. The phytosanitary certificate must identify the genus of the plants for planting it accompanies. When the importation of individual species or cultivars within a genus is restricted in accordance with § 319.37-20, the phytosanitary certificate must also identify the species or cultivar of the plants for planting it accompanies. Otherwise, identification of the species is strongly preferred, but not required. Intergeneric and interspecific hybrids must be designated by placing the multiplication sign “×” between the names of the parent taxa. If the hybrid is named, the multiplication sign may instead be placed before the name of an intergeneric hybrid or before the epithet in the name of an interspecific hybrid.

(b) Small lots of seed. Lots of seed may be imported without a phytosanitary certificate required by paragraph (a) of this section under the following conditions:

(1) The importation of the seed is authorized by a written permit issued in accordance with § 319.37-5.

(2) The seed is not listed as not authorized pending pest risk analysis, as provided in § 319.37-4; is not of any noxious weed species listed in part 360 of this chapter; is not subject to restrictions on specific types of plants for planting as provided in § 319.37-20; is not restricted under the regulations in parts 330 and 340 of this chapter; and meets the requirements of part 361 of this chapter.

(3) The seed meets the following packaging and shipping requirements:

(i) Each seed packet is clearly labeled with the name of the collector/shipper, the country of origin, and the scientific name at least to the genus, and preferably to the species, level;

(ii) There are a maximum of 50 seeds of 1 taxon (taxonomic category such as genus, species, cultivar, etc.) per packet; or a maximum weight not to exceed 10 grams of seed of 1 taxon per packet;

(iii) There are a maximum of 50 seed packets per shipment;

(iv) The seeds are free from pesticides;

(v) The seeds are securely packaged in packets or envelopes and sealed to prevent spillage;

(vi) The shipment is free from soil, plant material other than seed, other foreign matter or debris, seeds in the fruit or seed pod, and living organisms such as parasitic plants, pathogens, insects, snails, mites; and

(vii) At the time of importation, the shipment is sent to either the Plant Germplasm Quarantine Center in Beltsville, MD, or a USDA plant inspection station.

(c) Importation of other plants for planting without phytosanitary certificates. (1) The Administrator may authorize the importation of types of plants for planting without a phytosanitary certificate if the plants for planting are accompanied by equivalent documentation agreed upon by the Administrator and the NPPO of the exporting country as sufficient to establish the eligibility of the plants for importation into the United States. The documentation must be provided by the NPPO or refer to documentation provided by the NPPO. The documentation must be agreed upon before the plants for planting are exported from the exporting country to the United States.

(2) The Administrator may impose additional restrictions on the importation of plants for planting that are not accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate to ensure that the plants are appropriately identified and free of quarantine pests.

(3) The Plants for Planting Manual lists types of plants for planting that are not required to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate; the countries from which their importation without a phytosanitary certificate is authorized; the approved documentation of eligibility for importation; and any additional conditions on their importation.

(4) Types of plants for planting may be added to or removed from the list of plants for planting that are not required to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate in accordance with § 319.37-20. The requirements for importing types of plants for planting without a phytosanitary certificate may also be changed by a notice issued in accordance with § 319.37-20. The notice published for comment will describe the documentation agreed upon by the Administrator and the NPPO of the exporting country and any additional restrictions to be imposed on the importation of the type of plants for planting.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control numbers 0579-0142, 0579-0190, 0579-0285, and 0579-0319)
§ 319.37-7 Marking and identity.

(a) Any consignment of plants for planting for importation, other than by mail at the time of importation, or offer for importation into the United States shall plainly and correctly bear on the outer container (if in a container) or the plants for planting (if not in a container) the following information:

(1) General nature and quantity of the contents;

(2) Country and locality where grown;

(3) Name and address of shipper, owner, or person shipping or forwarding the plants for planting;

(4) Name and address of consignee;

(5) Identifying shipper's mark and number; and

(6) Number of written permit authorizing the importation, if one was required under § 319.37-5.

(b) Any consignment of plants for planting for importation by mail shall be plainly and correctly addressed and mailed to the Plant Protection and Quarantine Programs at a port of entry listed in the Plants for Planting Manual as approved to receive imported plants for planting, shall be accompanied by a separate sheet of paper within the package plainly and correctly bearing the name, address, and telephone number of the intended recipient, and shall plainly and correctly bear on the outer container the following information:

(1) General nature and quantity of the contents;

(2) Country and locality where grown;

(3) Name and address of shipper, owner, or person shipping or forwarding the plants for planting; and

(4) Number of written permit authorizing the importation, if one was required under § 319.37-5.

(c) Any consignment of plants for planting for importation (by mail or otherwise), at the time of importation or offer for importation into the United States shall be accompanied by an invoice or packing list indicating the contents of the consignment.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control numbers 0579-0190 and 0579-0319)
§ 319.37-8 Ports of entry: Approved ports, notification of arrival, inspection, and refusal of entry.

(a) Approved ports of entry. Any plants for planting required to be imported under a written permit in accordance with § 319.37-5(a), if not precleared, must be imported or offered for importation only at a USDA plant inspection station, unless the Plants for Planting Manual indicates otherwise. Ports of entry through which plants for planting must pass through before arriving at these USDA plant inspection stations are listed in the Plants for Planting Manual. All other plants for planting may be imported or offered for importation at any Customs designated port of entry indicated in 19 CFR 101.3(b)(1). Exceptions may be listed in § 330.104 of this chapter. Plants for planting that are required to be imported under a written permit that are also precleared in the country of export are not required to enter at an inspection station and may enter through any Customs port of entry. Exceptions may be listed in § 330.104 of this chapter.

(b) Notification upon arrival at the port of entry. Promptly upon arrival of any plants for planting at a port of entry, the importer shall notify the Plant Protection and Quarantine Programs of the arrival by such means as a manifest, Customs entry document, commercial invoice, waybill, a broker's document, or a notice form provided for that purpose.

(c) Inspection and treatment. Any plants for planting may be sampled and inspected by an inspector at the port of first arrival and/or under preclearance inspection arrangements in the country in which the plants for planting were grown, and must undergo treatment in accordance with part 305 of this chapter if treatment is ordered by the inspector. Any plants for planting found upon inspection to contain or be contaminated with quarantine pests that cannot be eliminated by treatment will be denied entry at the first United States port of arrival and must be destroyed or shipped to a point outside the United States.

(d) Disposition of plants for planting not in compliance with this subpart. The importer of any plants for planting denied entry for noncompliance with this subpart must, at the importer's expense and within the time specified in an emergency action notification (PPQ Form 523), destroy, ship to a point outside the United States, treat in accordance with part 305 of this chapter, or apply other safeguards to the plants for planting, as prescribed by an inspector, to prevent the introduction into the United States of quarantine pests. In choosing which action to order and in setting the time limit for the action, the inspector shall consider the degree of pest risk presented by the plant pest associated with the plants for planting, whether the plants for planting are a host of the pest, the types of other host materials for the pest in or near the port, the climate and season at the port in relation to the pest's survival range, and the availability of treatment facilities for the plants for planting.

(e) Removal of plants for planting from port of first arrival. No person shall remove any plants for planting from the port of first arrival unless and until notice is given to the collector of customs by the inspector that the plants for planting has satisfied all requirements under this subpart.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control numbers 0579-0190, 0579-0310, and 0579-0319)
§ 319.37-9 Treatment of plants for planting; costs and charges for inspection and treatment; treatments applied outside the United States.

(a) The services of a Plant Protection and Quarantine inspector during regularly assigned hours of duty and at the usual places of duty shall be furnished without cost to the importer.2 No charge will be made to the importer for Government-owned or -controlled special inspection facilities and equipment used in treatment, but the inspector may require the importer to furnish any special labor, chemicals, packing materials, or other supplies required in handling an importation under the regulations in this subpart. The Plant Protection and Quarantine Programs will not be responsible for any costs or charges, other than those indicated in this section.

2 Provisions relating to costs for other services of an inspector are contained in part 354 of this chapter.

(b) Any treatment performed in the United States on plants for planting must be performed at the time of importation into the United States. Treatment shall be performed by an inspector or under an inspector's supervision at a Government-operated special inspection facility, except that an importer may have such treatment performed at a nongovernmental facility if the treatment is performed at nongovernment expense under the supervision of an inspector and in accordance with part 305 of this chapter and in accordance with any treatment required by an inspector as an emergency measure in order to prevent the dissemination of any quarantine pests. However, treatment may be performed at a nongovernmental facility only in cases of unavailability of government facilities and only if, in the judgment of an inspector, the plants for planting can be transported to such nongovernmental facility without the risk of introduction into the United States of quarantine pests.

(c) Any treatment performed outside the United States must be monitored and certified by an APHIS inspector or an official from the NPPO of the exporting country. If monitored and certified by an official of the NPPO of the exporting country, then a phytosanitary certificate must be issued with the following declaration: “The consignment of (fill in taxon) has been treated in accordance with 7 CFR part 305.” During the entire interval between treatment and export, the consignment must be stored and handled in a manner that prevents any infestation by quarantine pests.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 0579-0190)
§ 319.37-10 Growing media.

(a) Any plants for planting at the time of importation or offer for importation into the United States shall be free of sand, soil, earth, and other growing media, except as provided in paragraph (b), (c), or (d) of this section.

(b) Plants for planting from Canada may be imported in any growing medium, except as restricted in the Plants for Planting Manual. Restrictions on growing media for specific types of plants for planting imported from Canada will be added, changed, or removed in accordance with § 319.37-20.

(c) Certain types of plants for planting growing solely in certain growing media listed in the Plants for Planting Manual may be imported established in such growing media. The Administrator has determined that the importation of the specified types of plants for planting in these growing media does not pose a risk of introducing quarantine pests into the United States. If the Administrator determines that a new growing medium may be added to the list of growing media in which imported plants for planting may be established, or that a growing medium currently listed for such purposes is no longer suitable for establishment of imported plants for planting, APHIS will publish in the Federal Register a notice that announces our proposed determination and requests comment on the change. After the close of the comment period, APHIS will publish another notice informing the public of the Administrator's decision on the change to the list of growing media in which imported types of plants for planting may be established.

(d) Certain types of plants for planting, as listed in the Plants for Planting Manual, may be imported when they are established in a growing medium approved by the Administrator and they are produced in accordance with additional requirements specified in the Plants for Planting Manual. Changes to the list of plants for planting that may be imported in growing media, and to the requirements for the importation of those types of plants for planting, will be made in accordance with § 319.37-20.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control numbers 0579-0190, 0579-0439, 0579-0454, 0579-0458, and 0579-0463)
§ 319.37-11 Packing and approved packing material.

(a) Plants for planting for importation into the United States must not be packed in the same container as plants for planting whose importation into the United States is not authorized pending pest risk analysis in accordance with § 319.37-4.

(b) Any plants for planting at the time of importation or offer for importation into the United States shall not be packed in a packing material unless the plants were packed in the packing material immediately prior to shipment; such packing material is free from sand, soil, or earth (except as designated in the Plants for Planting Manual); has not been used previously as packing material or otherwise; and is approved by the Administrator as not posing a risk of introducing quarantine pests. Approved packing materials are listed in the Plants for Planting Manual.

(c) If the Administrator determines that a new packing material may be added to the list of packing materials, or that a packing material currently listed should no longer be approved, APHIS will publish in the Federal Register a notice that announces our proposed determination and requests comment on the change. After the close of the comment period, APHIS will publish another notice informing the public of the Administrator's decision on the change to the list of approved packing materials.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 0579-0190)
§§ 319.37-12 through 319.37-19 [Reserved]
§ 319.37-20 Restrictions on the importation of specific types of plants for planting.

(a) Plant type-specific restrictions. In addition to the general restrictions in this subpart, the Administrator may impose additional restrictions on the importation of specific types of plants for planting necessary to effectively mitigate the risk of introducing quarantine pests into the United States through the importation of specific plants for planting. Additional restrictions may be placed on the importation of the entire plant or on certain plant parts. A list of the types of plants for planting whose importation is subject to additional restrictions, and the specific restrictions that apply to the importation of each type of plants for planting, may be found in the Plants for Planting Manual.

(b) Basis for changing restrictions. The Administrator may determine that it is necessary to add, change, or remove restrictions on the importation of a specific type of plants for planting, based on the risk of introducing a quarantine pest through the importation of that type of plants for planting. The Administrator will make this determination based on the findings of a pest risk analysis or on other scientific evidence.

(c) Process for adding, changing, or removing restrictions. Restrictions on the importation of a specific type of plants for planting beyond the general restrictions in §§ 319.37-5 through 319.37-11 will be changed through the following process:

(1) Document describing restrictions. APHIS will publish in the Federal Register a notice that announces our proposed determination that it is necessary to add, change, or remove restrictions on the importation of a specific type of plants for planting. This notice will make available for public comment a document describing the restrictions that the Administrator has determined are necessary and how these restrictions will mitigate the risk of introducing quarantine pests into the United States.

(2) Response to comments. APHIS will issue a second notice after the close of the public comment period on the notice described in paragraph (c)(1) of this section. This notice will inform the public of the specific restrictions, if any, that the Administrator has determined to be necessary in order to mitigate the risk of introducing quarantine pests into the United States through the importation of the type of plants for planting. In response to the public comments submitted, the Administrator may implement the restrictions described in the document made available by the initial notice, amend the restrictions in response to public comment, or determine that changes to the restrictions on the importation of the type of plants for planting are unnecessary.

(d) Previously imposed restrictions on specific types of plants for planting. Types of plants for planting whose importation was subject to specific restrictions by specific regulation as of April 18, 2018, will continue to be subject to those restrictions, except as changed in accordance with the process specified in paragraph (c) of this section. The restrictions are found in the Plants for Planting Manual.

§ 319.37-21 Integrated pest risk management measures.

If a type of plants for planting is a host of a quarantine pest or pests, APHIS may require the type of plants for planting to be produced in accordance with integrated pest risk management measures as a condition of importation. This section sets out a general framework for integrated pest risk management measures. When APHIS determines that integrated measures are necessary to mitigate risk, APHIS will use this framework to develop integrated pest risk management measures that mitigate the quarantine pest risks associated with that type of plants for planting through the process described in § 319.37-20.

(a) Responsibilities of the place of production. The place of production is responsible for identifying, developing, and implementing procedures that meet the requirements of both the NPPO of the exporting country and APHIS. Participants in the export program must be approved by the NPPO or its designee and APHIS. Approval will be conferred by the NPPO or its designee and APHIS after the participant meets the conditions required for integrated pest risk management. Approval will be withdrawn if the participant fails to meet the conditions at any time. All documentation required under paragraphs (a)(5) and (6) of this section will be maintained by the exporting place of production and made available to official representatives of the NPPO of the exporting country and APHIS upon request. The place of production must be open to necessary and reasonable audit, monitoring, and evaluation of compliance by the NPPO of the exporting country and APHIS. The management of the place of production will be responsible for complying with the integrated pest risk management measures. Management must specify the roles and responsibilities of its personnel to perform program activities. The place of production must notify the NPPO of the exporting country of deficiencies detected during internal audits. The NPPO of the exporting country will be responsible for ensuring that the place of production is in compliance with the integrated pest risk management measures.

(1) Pest management program. The place of production must develop and implement an approved pest management program that contains ongoing pest monitoring and procedures for the exclusion and control of plant pests. The place of production must obtain material used to produce plants for planting from sources that are free of quarantine pests and that are approved by the NPPO of the exporting country and APHIS. All sources of plants for planting and the phytosanitary status of those plants must be well-documented and the program for producing plants for planting carefully monitored.

(2) Training. A training program approved by the NPPO of the exporting country and APHIS must be established, documented, and regularly conducted at the place of production. The training program must ensure that all those involved in the export program possess specific knowledge related to the relevant components of the program and a general understanding of its requirements.

(3) Internal audits. The place of production must perform, or designate parties to perform internal audits that ensure that a plan approved and documented by APHIS and the NPPO of the exporting country is being followed and is achieving the appropriate level of pest management.

(4) Traceability. The place of production must implement a procedure approved by APHIS and the NPPO of the exporting country or its designee that documents and identifies plants from propagation through harvest and sale to ensure that plants can be traced forward and back from the place of production. Depending on the nature of the quarantine pests, the system may need to account for:

(i) The origin and pest status of mother stock;

(ii) The year of propagation and the place of production of all plant parts that make up the plants for planting intended for export;

(iii) Geographic location of the place of production;

(iv) Location of plants for planting within the place of production;

(v) The plant taxon; and

(vi) The purchaser's identity.

(5) Documentation of program procedures. The place of production must develop a manual approved by the NPPO of the exporting country and APHIS that guides the place of production's operation and that includes the following components:

(i) Administrative procedures (including roles and responsibilities and training procedures);

(ii) Pest management plan;

(iii) Place of production internal audit procedures;

(iv) Management of noncompliant product or procedures;

(v) Traceability procedures; and

(vi) Recordkeeping systems.

(6) Records. A place of production must maintain records on its premises as specified by APHIS and the NPPO of the exporting country. These records must be made available to APHIS and the NPPO of the exporting country upon request. These documents include all the elements described in this paragraph (a) and copies of all internal and external audit documents and reports.

(b) Responsibilities of APHIS and the NPPO of the exporting country. APHIS and the NPPO of the exporting country are responsible for collaborating to establish program requirements, including workplans and compliance agreements as necessary, for recognizing and implementing particular import programs. Technically justified modifications to the program may be negotiated. The administration of program requirements must include such elements as clarification of terminology, testing and retesting requirements, eligibility, the nomenclature of certification levels, horticultural management, isolation and sanitation requirements, inspection, documentation, identification and labeling, quality assurance, noncompliance and remedial measures, and postentry quarantine requirements. The criteria for approving, suspending, removing, and reinstating approval for a particular program should be jointly developed and agreed upon by APHIS and the NPPO of the exporting country. Information should be exchanged between APHIS and the NPPO of the exporting country through officially designated points of contact.

(c) Responsibilities of the NPPO of the exporting country. (1) The NPPO of the exporting country must provide sufficient information to APHIS to support the evaluation and acceptance of export programs. This may include:

(i) Specific identification of the commodity, place of production, and expected volume and frequency of consignments;

(ii) Relevant production, harvest, packing, handling, and transport details;

(iii) Pests associated with the plant including prevalence, distribution, and damage potential;

(iv) Risk management measures proposed for a pest management program; and

(v) Relevant efficacy data.

(2) A phytosanitary certificate should be issued by the NPPO of the exporting country unless APHIS and the NPPO of the exporting country agree to use other documentation in accordance with § 319.37-6(c).

(3) Other responsibilities of the NPPO of the exporting country include:

(i) Establishing and maintaining compliance agreements as necessary;

(ii) Oversight and enforcement of program provisions;

(iii) Arrangements for monitoring and audit; and

(iv) Maintaining appropriate records.

(d) Responsibilities of plant brokers trading in plants for planting produced in accordance with integrated pest risk management measures. Plant brokers trading in plants for planting produced in accordance with integrated pest risk management measures must be approved by the NPPO of the exporting country or its designee. The list of plant brokers must be provided to APHIS upon request. Approval may only be conferred by the NPPO or its designee after the participant demonstrates that it can meet the requirements of this paragraph (d). Approval must be withdrawn if the participant fails to meet the conditions at any time. Plant brokers must ensure the traceability of export consignments to an approved place of production or production site. Brokers must maintain the phytosanitary status of the plants equivalent to an approved place of production from purchase, storage, and transportation to the export destination. Plant brokers must document these processes for verifying status and maintaining traceability.

(e) External audits. APHIS and the NPPO of the exporting country will agree to the requirements for external audits.

(1) APHIS audits. APHIS will evaluate the integrated pest risk management measures of the NPPO of the exporting country before acceptance. This could consist of documentation review, site visits, and inspection and testing of plants produced under the system. Following approval, APHIS or its designee will monitor and periodically audit the system to ensure that it continues to meet the stated objectives. Audits will include inspection of imported plants for planting, site visits, and review of the integrated pest risk management measures and internal audit processes of the place of production and the NPPO of the exporting country.

(2) Audits by the NPPO of the exporting country. The NPPO must arrange for audits of the exporting system. Audits may be conducted by the NPPO or its designee and may consist of inspection and testing of plants for planting and the documentation and management practices as they relate to the program. Audits should verify that:

(i) The places of production in the program are free of quarantine pests;

(ii) Program participants are complying with the specified standards;

(iii) The integrated pest management measures continue to meet APHIS requirements; and

(iv) Arrangements with designees are complied with.

(f) Noncompliance. (1) The exporting NPPO must notify APHIS of noncompliance within the integrity of the system or noncompliance by a place of production that affects the phytosanitary integrity of the commodity. The requirements for notification will be determined between the NPPO of the exporting country and APHIS.

(2) Regulatory responses to program failures will be based on existing bilateral agreements. Contingency plans may be established in advance to ensure that alternative measures are available in the event that all or part of a program fails. APHIS will specify the consequences of noncompliance to the NPPO of the exporting country. The NPPO must specify the consequences of noncompliance to the participants in the program. These may vary depending on the nature and severity of the infraction. In addition, remedial measures should be specified to enable a suspended or decertified place of production or plant broker to become eligible for reinstatement or recertification.

(3) Places of production or plant brokers that do not meet the conditions of the program must be suspended. Plants for planting must not be exported from a place of production or a plant broker that has failed to meet the program requirements.

(4) The effectiveness of remedial measures taken must be verified before reinstatement to the program by the exporting NPPO and, where appropriate, by APHIS.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 0579-0190)
§ 319.37-22 Trust fund agreements.

If APHIS personnel need to be physically present in an exporting country or region to facilitate the exportation of plants for planting and APHIS services are to be funded by the NPPO of the exporting country or a private export group, then the NPPO or the private export group must enter into a trust fund agreement with APHIS that is in effect at the time APHIS' services are needed. Under the agreement, the NPPO of the exporting country or the private export group must pay in advance all estimated costs that APHIS expects to incur in providing inspection services in the exporting country. These costs will include administrative expenses incurred in conducting the services and all salaries (including overtime and the Federal share of employee benefits), travel expenses (including per diem expenses), and other incidental expenses incurred by the inspectors in performing services. The agreement must require the NPPO of the exporting country or region or a private export group to deposit a certified or cashier's check with APHIS for the amount of those costs, as estimated by APHIS. The agreement must further specify that, if the deposit is not sufficient to meet all costs incurred by APHIS, the NPPO of the exporting country or a private export group must deposit with APHIS, before the services will be completed, a certified or cashier's check for the amount of the remaining costs, as determined by APHIS. After a final audit at the conclusion of each shipping season, any overpayment of funds would be returned to the NPPO of the exporting country or region or a private export group, or held on account.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 0579-0190)
§ 319.37-23 Postentry quarantine.

(a) Postentry quarantine. One specific restriction that may be placed upon the importation of a type of plants for planting in accordance with § 319.37-20 is that it be grown in postentry quarantine. The Plants for Planting Manual lists the taxa required to be imported into postentry quarantine. Plants for planting grown in postentry quarantine must be grown under postentry quarantine conditions specified in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section, and may be imported or offered for importation into the United States only:

(1) If destined for a State that has completed a State postentry quarantine agreement with APHIS in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section;

(2) If an importer postentry quarantine growing agreement has been completed and submitted to Plant Protection and Quarantine in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section. The agreement must be signed by the person (the importer) applying for the importation of the plants for planting in accordance with § 319.6; and,

(3) If Plant Protection and Quarantine has determined that the completed postentry quarantine growing agreement fulfills the applicable requirements of this section and that services by State inspectors are available to monitor and enforce the postentry quarantine.

(b) State postentry quarantine agreement. Plants for planting required to undergo postentry quarantine in accordance with § 319.37-20 may only be imported if destined for postentry quarantine growing in a State which has entered into a written agreement with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, signed by the Administrator or his or her designee and by the State Plant Regulatory Official. In accordance with the laws of individual States, inspection and other postentry quarantine services provided by a State may be subject to charges imposed by the State. A list of States that have entered into a postentry quarantine agreement in accordance with this paragraph can be found in the Plants for Planting Manual.

(c) Importer postentry quarantine growing agreements. Any plants for planting required to be grown under postentry quarantine conditions, as well as any increase therefrom, shall be grown in accordance with an importer postentry quarantine growing agreement signed by the person (the importer) applying for a written permit in accordance with § 319.37-5 for importation of the plants for planting and submitted to Plant Protection and Quarantine. On each importer postentry quarantine growing agreement, the person shall also obtain the signature of the State Plant Regulatory Official for the State in which plants for planting covered by the agreement will be grown. The importer postentry quarantine growing agreement shall specify the kind, number, and origin of plants to be imported; the conditions specified in the Plants for Planting Manual under which the plants for planting will be grown, maintained, and labeled; and the reporting requirements in the case of abnormal or dead plants for planting. The agreement shall certify to APHIS and to the State in which the plants for planting are grown that the signer of the agreement will comply with the conditions of the agreement for the postentry quarantine growing period prescribed for the type of plants for planting in the Plants for Planting Manual.

(d) Applications for permits. A completed importer postentry quarantine agreement shall accompany the application for a written permit for plants for planting required to be grown under postentry quarantine conditions. Importer postentry quarantine agreement forms are available without charge from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine, Permit Unit, 4700 River Road, Unit 136, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236 or on the internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/permits/ppq_epermits.shtml.

(e) Inspector-ordered disposal, movement, or safeguarding of plants for planting; costs and charges, civil and criminal liabilities—(1) Growing at unauthorized sites. If an inspector determines that any plants for planting subject to the postentry quarantine growing requirements of this section, or any increase therefrom, is being grown at an unauthorized site, the inspector may file an emergency action notification (PPQ Form 523) with the owner of the plants for planting or the person who owns or is in possession of the site on which the plants for planting is being grown. The person named in the PPQ Form 523 must, within the time specified in PPQ Form 523, sign a postentry quarantine growing agreement, destroy, ship to a point outside the United States, move to an authorized postentry quarantine site, and/or apply treatments or other safeguards to the plants for planting, the increase therefrom, or any portion of the plants for planting or the increase therefrom, as prescribed by an inspector to prevent the introduction of quarantine pests into the United States. In choosing which action to order and in setting the time limit for the action, the inspector shall consider the degree of pest risk presented by the quarantine pests associated with the type of plants for planting (including increase therefrom), the types of other host materials for the pest in or near the growing site, the climate and season at the site in relation to the pest's survival, and the availability of treatment facilities.

(2) Growing at authorized sites. If an inspector determines that any plants for planting, or any increase therefrom, grown at a site specified in an authorized postentry quarantine growing agreement is being grown contrary to the provisions of this section, including in numbers greater than the number approved by the postentry quarantine growing agreement, or in a manner that otherwise presents a risk of introducing quarantine pests into the United States, the inspector shall issue an emergency action notification (PPQ Form 523) to the person who signed the postentry quarantine growing agreement. That person shall be responsible for carrying out all actions specified in the emergency action notification. The emergency action notification may extend the time for which the plants for planting and the increase therefrom must be grown under the postentry quarantine conditions specified in the authorized postentry quarantine growing agreement, or may require that the person named in the notification must destroy, ship to a point outside the United States, or apply treatments or other safeguards to the plants for planting, the increase therefrom, or any portion of the plants for planting or the increase therefrom, within the time specified in the emergency action notification. In choosing which action to order and in setting the time limit for the action, the inspector shall consider the degree of pest risk presented by the quarantine pests associated with the type of plants for planting (including increase therefrom), the types of other host materials for the pest in or near the growing site, the climate and season at the site in relation to the pest's survival, and the availability of treatment facilities.

(3) Costs and charges. All costs pursuant to any action ordered by an inspector in accordance with this section shall be borne by the person who signed the postentry quarantine growing agreement covering the site where the plants for planting were grown, or if no such agreement was signed, by the owner of the plants for planting at the growing site.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 0579-0190)
13. Section 319.40-2 is amended by revising paragraph (c) to read as follows:
§ 319.40-2 General prohibitions and restrictions; relation to other regulations.

(c) Regulation of articles imported for propagation or human consumption. The requirements of this subpart do not apply to regulated articles that are allowed importation in accordance with Subpart—Plants for Planting of this part or to regulated articles imported for human consumption that are allowed importation in accordance with Subpart—Fruits and Vegetables of this part.

14. Section 319.41 is amended as follows: a. By redesignating paragraph (d) as paragraph (e); and b. By adding a new paragraph (d).

The addition reads as follows:

§ 319.41 Notice of quarantine.

(d) The importation of plants (including any plant parts) of any of the taxa listed in paragraph (b) of this section that are for planting or capable of being planted is restricted under

Subpart—Plants for Planting of this part.
§ 319.41a [Amended]
15. In § 319.41a, paragraph (b) is amended by removing the citation “§ 319.37-4(a)” and adding the citation “§ 319.37-6(a)” in its place.
16. Section 319.55 is amended as follows: a. By revising paragraphs (a) and (b); b. By redesignating paragraph (d) as paragraph (e); and c. By adding a new paragraph (d).

The revisions and addition read as follows:

§ 319.55 Notice of quarantine.

(a) The fact has been determined by the Secretary of Agriculture, and notice is hereby given:

(1) That injurious fungal diseases of rice, including downy mildew (Sclerospora macrospora), leaf smut (Entyloma oryzae), blight (Oospora oryzetorum), and glume blotch (Melanomma glumarum), as well as dangerous insect pests, new to and not heretofore widely prevalent or distributed within and throughout the United States, exist, as to one or more of such diseases and pests, in Europe, Asia, Africa, Central America, South America, and other foreign countries and localities, and may be introduced into this country through importations of rice straw and rice hulls; and

(2) That the unrestricted importation of rice straw and rice hulls may result in the entry into the United States of the injurious plant diseases heretofore enumerated, as well as insect pests.

(b) To prevent the introduction into the United States of the plant pests and diseases indicated above, the Secretary has determined that it is necessary to restrict the importation of rice straw and rice hulls from all foreign locations, except as otherwise provided in this subpart.

(d) The importation of seed or paddy rice is restricted under Subpart—Plants for Planting of this part.

§ 319.55-2 [Amended]
17. Section 319.55-2 is amended by removing the words “seed or paddy rice from Mexico or” and the words “from any country”.
§ 319.55-3 [Amended]
18. Section 319.55-3 is amended as follows: a. By removing paragraph (a) and redesignating paragraphs (b), (c), and (d) as paragraphs (a), (b), and (c), respectively; b. In newly redesignated paragraph (a), by removing the words “from all foreign countries”; and c. In newly redesignated paragraph (b), by removing the words “seed or paddy rice,” and by removing the comma after the word “straw”.
§ 319.55-6 [Amended]
19. Section 319.55-6 is amended as follows: a. By removing and reserving paragraph (a); b. By redesignating paragraphs (c)(1) and (2) as paragraphs (b)(3) and (4), respectively; and c. By removing the designation and heading of paragraph (c). 20. Section 319.55-7 is revised as follows:
§ 319.55-7 Importations by mail.

Importations of rice straw and rice hulls may be made by mail or cargo, provided that a permit has been issued for the importation in accordance with §§ 319.7 through 319.7-5 and all conditions of the permit are met.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 0579-0049)
§ 319.56-10 [Amended]
21. In § 319.56-10, paragraph (a)(2) is amended by removing the words “§ 319.37-2 of this part” and adding the citation “§ 319.37-20” in their place.
§ 319.56-11 [Amended]
22. In § 319.56-11, paragraph (b)(3) is amended by removing the words “§§ 319.37 through 319.37-14 of this part” and adding the words “§§ 319.37-1 through 319.37-23” in their place.
§ 319.59-1 [Amended]
23. In § 319.59-1, the definition of grain is amended by adding the words “and not for planting” before the period. 24. Section 319.59-2 is amended as follows: a. By removing and reserving paragraph (a); b. In paragraph (b) introductory text, by removing the words “Triticum spp. plants, articles” and adding the word “Articles” in their place; c. In paragraph (b)(1), by removing the words “§ 319.37-14 of this part” and adding the words “accordance with § 319.37-8(a)” in their place; and d. By adding paragraph (c).

The addition reads as follows:

§ 319.59-2 General import prohibitions; exceptions.

(c) The importation of any host crops (including seed and any other plant parts) that are for planting or capable of being planted is restricted under Subpart—Plants for Planting of this part.

25. Section 319.59-3 is amended by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
§ 319.59-3 Articles prohibited importation pending risk evaluation.

(a) The following articles of Triticum spp. (wheat) or of Aegilops spp. (barb goatgrass, goatgrass): Straw (other than straw, with or without heads, which has been processed or manufactured for use indoors, such as for decorative purposes or for use in toys); chaff; and products of the milling process (i.e., bran, shorts, thistle sharps, and pollards) other than flour.

§ 319.59-4 [Amended]
26. In § 319.59-4, paragraph (a)(2) is amended by removing the word “seed,”.
§ 319.69a [Amended]
27. In § 319.69a, paragraph (c) is amended by removing the citation “§ 319.37-9” and adding the citation “§ 319.37-11” in its place.
§ 319.73-1 [Amended]
28. In § 319.73-1, the definition of unroasted coffee is amended by adding the words “intended for processing” before the period. 29. Section 319.73-2 is amended by revising paragraphs (a)(2) and (b) to read as follows:
§ 319.73-2 Products prohibited importation.

(a) * * *

(2) Coffee leaves; and

(b) The importation of any coffee plants (including bare seeds, seeds in pulp, and any other plant parts) that are for planting or capable of being planted is restricted under Subpart—Plants for Planting of this part.

§ 319.74-1 [Amended]
30. In § 319.74-1, the definition of cut flower is amended by adding the words “and not for planting” after the word “state”.
§ 319.75 [Amended]
31. In § 319.75, paragraph (c)(2) is amended by removing the citation “§ 319.37-14” and adding the words “accordance with § 319.37-8(a)” in its place.
§ 319.75-1 [Amended]
32. Section 319.75-1 is amended by removing the definition of nursery stock. 33. Section 319.75-2 is amended by revising footnote 1 to read as follows:
§ 319.75-2 Restricted articles.1

1 The importation of restricted articles may be subject to prohibitions or restrictions under other provisions of 7 CFR part 319. For example, fresh whole chilies (Capsicum spp.) and fresh whole red peppers (Capsicum spp.) from Pakistan are prohibited from being imported into the United States under the provisions of Subpart—Fruits and Vegetables of this part, and the importation of any restricted articles that are for planting or capable of being planted is restricted under Subpart—Plants for Planting of this part.

§ 319.75-8 [Amended]
34. Section 319.75-8 is amended by removing the words “port of entry identified in § 319.37-14 of this part” and adding the words “Customs designated port of entry indicated in 19 CFR 101.3(b)(1)” in their place.
§ 319.75-9 [Amended]
35. In § 319.75-9, paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) are amended by removing the words “nursery stock, plant,” and the words “root, bulb,” each time they occur.
§ 319.77-2 [Amended]
36. Section 319.77-2 is amended as follows: a. In the introductory text, by removing the words “through (g)” and adding the words “through (e)” in their place; and b. By removing paragraphs (b) and (c) and redesignating paragraphs (d) through (h) as (b) through (f), respectively. 37. Section 319.77-4 is amended as follows: a. By revising footnote 1; b. In paragraphs (a)(1) introductory text and (a)(2) introductory text, by removing the words “, trees with roots, and shrubs with roots and persistent woody stems” each time they occur; and c. In paragraphs (a)(2)(i) and (ii), by removing the words “or shrubs” each time they occur.

The revision reads as follows:

§ 319.77-4 Conditions for the importation of regulated articles.

(a) Trees and shrubs. 1

1 Trees and Shrubs from Canada may be subject to additional restrictions under “Subpart—Logs, Lumber, and Other Unmanufactured Wood Articles” (§§ 319.40-1 through 319.40-11).

PART 330—FEDERAL PLANT PEST REGULATIONS; GENERAL; PLANT PESTS; SOIL, STONE, AND QUARRY PRODUCTS; GARBAGE 38. The authority citation for part 330 continues to read as follows: Authority:

7 U.S.C. 450, 7701-7772, 7781-7786, and 8301-8317; 21 U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

§ 330.300a [Amended]
39. In § 330.300a, footnote 1 is amended by removing the words “by § 319.37-5” and adding the words “under §§ 319.37-1 through 319.37-23” in their place. 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 40. The authority citation for part 340 continues to read as follows: Authority:

7 U.S.C. 7701-7772 and 7781-7786; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

§ 340.0 [Amended]
41. In § 340.0, footnote 1 is amended as follows: a. By removing the words “Nursery Stock, Plants, Roots, Bulbs, Seeds, and Other Plant Products” and adding the words “Plants for Planting” in their place; b. By removing the citation “7 CFR 319.37-3” and adding the words “§ 319.37-5 of this chapter” in its place; c. By removing the words “nursery stock” both times they appear and adding the words “plants for planting” in their place; and d. By removing the words “stock is” and adding the words “plants are” in their place.
§ 340.4 [Amended]
42. In § 340.4, paragraph (f)(11)(i) is amended by removing the citation “§ 319.37-14” and adding the words “accordance with § 319.37-8(a)” in its place.
§ 340.7 [Amended]
43. In § 340.7, paragraph (b) introductory text is amended by removing the citation “§ 319.37-14” and adding the words “accordance with § 319.37-8(a)” in its place. PART 360—NOXIOUS WEED REGULATIONS 44. The authority citation for part 360 continues to read as follows: Authority:

7 U.S.C. 7701-7772 and 7781-7786; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

§ 360.400 [Amended]
45. In § 360.400, paragraph (a)(2) is amended by removing the citation “§ 319.37-6” and adding the words “§ 319.37-9(c) of this chapter” in its place, and by removing the citation “§ 319.37-13(c)” and adding the citation “§ 319.37-9(c)” in its place. PART 361—IMPORTATION OF SEED AND SCREENINGS UNDER THE FEDERAL SEED ACT 46. The authority citation for part 361 continues to read as follows: Authority:

7 U.S.C. 1581-1610; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

§ 361.2 [Amended]
47. In § 361.2, paragraph (d) is amended by removing the words “restrictions of § 319.37-3(a)(7)” and adding the words “permit requirements of § 319.37-5 of this chapter” in their place. Done in Washington, DC, this 9th day of March 2018. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-05424 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Farm Service Agency 7 CFR Part 761 Revision of Delegation of Authority for the State Executive Director (SED) for the Farm Loan Programs AGENCY:

Farm Service Agency, Department of Agriculture (USDA).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This document amends the delegations of authority from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) Deputy Administrator of Farm Loan Programs (FLP). The change will specify that the Deputy Administrator redelegates certain authority to the State Executive Directors (SED). The change will also specify that SEDs may redelegate the authority to a Farm Loan Chief, Farm Loan Specialist, District Director, Farm Loan Manager, Senior Farm Loan Officer, Farm Loan Officer, Loan Analyst, Loan Resolution Specialist, or Program Technician to perform loan activities. This will ensure that certain loan documents can be signed off locally instead of requiring the FLP Deputy Administrator to have to sign off on certain loan documents.

DATES:

Effective: March 19, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Bruce Mair; telephone: (202) 720-1645. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication should contact the USDA Target Center at (202) 720-2600.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

FSA makes and services a variety of direct and guaranteed loans to the nation's farmers and ranchers who are unable to obtain private commercial credit at reasonable rates and terms. FSA also provides direct loan customers with credit counseling and supervision to enhance their opportunity for success. FSA direct and guaranteed loan applicants are often beginning farmers and socially disadvantaged farmers who do not qualify for conventional loans because of insufficient net worth or established farmers who have suffered financial setbacks due to natural disasters or economic downturns. FSA tailors direct and guaranteed loans to a customer's needs and may be used to buy farmland and to finance agricultural production.

The Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act of 1972, as amended, (CONACT) (7 U.S.C. 1921-2009dd-7)) authorizes FSA's Direct and Guaranteed Farm Loan Programs.

Redelegation to and by SEDs

As part of loan servicing, various real estate documents must be signed by FSA and the files must be on public record in certain states. Some of the real estate documents that FSA signs include, but are not limited to, lien satisfactions, partial releases, and subordinations. FSA's intent has always been for the real estate documents to be signed by FSA officials at the local level. In the past, the regulations in 7 CFR part 1900 included specific wording concerning which employees were delegated with signature authority. In 2007, when FSA streamlined the FLP regulations, 7 CFR 761.1 broadened the regulatory text concerning FLP delegations, but the original intent as to who would have the authority to sign the real estate documents did not change. FSA recently determined that more specificity in 7 CFR 761.1 regarding the delegation of authority would be helpful and is therefore revising the regulation.

FSA is amending the regulation in 7 CFR part 761 regarding the delegation of authority for the Deputy of Administrator of FLP to specify that the Deputy Administrator of FLP redelegates certain loan making and servicing authority to SEDs and when there is no loss to FSA, the SEDs may redelegate the authority to the Farm Loan Chief, Farm Loan Specialist, District Director, Farm Loan Manager, Senior Farm Loan Officer, Farm Loan Officer, Loan Analyst, Loan Resolution Specialist, or Program Technician. The revised delegation will clarify the authority for the Acting SED and other authorized officials to sign certain loan documents and to perform other loan activities for SEDs.

Notice and Comment

In general, the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) requires that a notice of proposed rulemaking be published in the Federal Register and interested persons be given an opportunity to participate in the rulemaking through submission of written data, views, or arguments with or without opportunity for oral presentation, except that when the rule involves a matter relating to public property, loans, grants, benefits, or contracts section 553 does not apply. This rule involves matters relating to loans and is therefore being published as a final rule without the prior opportunity for comments.

Effective Date

The Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) provides generally that before rules are issued by Government agencies, the rule is required to be published in the Federal Register, and the required publication of a substantive rule is to be not less than 30 days before its effective date. However, as noted above, one of the exceptions is that section 553 does not apply to rulemaking that involves a matter relating to loans. Therefore, because this rule relates to loans, the 30-day effective period requirement in section 553 does not apply. This final rule is effective when published in the Federal Register.

Executive Orders 12866, 13563, 13771, and 13777

Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review,” and Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,” direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasized the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. Executive Order 13777, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,” established a federal policy to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens on the American people.

In section 3(d), Executive Order 12866 defines “regulation” or “rule.” In the definition, it specifically does not include regulations or rules that are limited to agency organization, management, or personnel matters. This rule relates to internal agency management; therefore, it is exempt from the provisions of Executive Order 12866.

Executive Order 13771, “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,” requires that in order to manage the private costs required to comply with Federal regulations that for every new significant or economically significant regulation issued, the new costs must be offset by the elimination of at least two prior regulations. This rule does not rise to the level required to comply with Executive Order 13771.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA, Pub. L. 104-121), generally requires an agency to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis of any rule whenever an agency is required by the Administrative Procedure Act or any other law to publish a proposed rule, unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This rule is not subject to the Regulatory Flexibility Act because FSA is not required by the Administrative Procedure Act or any other law to publish a proposed rule for this rulemaking.

Environmental Review

The environmental impacts of this final rule have been considered in a manner consistent with the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA, 42 U.S.C. 4321-4347), the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), and the FSA regulations for compliance with NEPA (7 CFR part 799). FSA has determined that the provisions identified in this final rule are administrative in nature, solely relating to internal agency management, and do not constitute a major Federal action that would significantly affect the quality of the human environment, individually or cumulatively. Provisions for signature authorities are purely administrative and would not alter any environmental impacts associated with any loans. Therefore, as this rule presents administrative clarifications only, FSA will not prepare an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement for this regulatory action.

Executive Order 12372

Executive Order 12372, “Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs,” requires consultation with State and local officials that would be directly affected by proposed Federal financial assistance. The objectives of Executive Order 12372 are to foster an intergovernmental partnership and a strengthened Federalism, by relying on State and local processes for State and local government coordination and review of proposed Federal Financial assistance and direct Federal development. For reasons specified in the final rule related notice regarding 7 CFR part 3015, subpart V (48 FR 29115, June 24, 1983), the programs and activities within this rule are excluded from the scope of Executive Order 12372, which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials.

Executive Order 12988

This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, “Civil Justice Reform.” This rule will not preempt State or local laws, regulations, or policies unless they represent an irreconcilable conflict with this rule. The rule will not have a retroactive effect. Before any judicial action may be brought regarding the provisions of this rule, the administrative appeal provisions of 7 CFR parts 11 and 780 are to be exhausted.

Executive Order 13132

This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 13132, “Federalism.” The policies contained in this rule do not have any substantial direct effect on States, on the relationship between the Federal government and the States, or the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, except as required by law. Nor will this rule impose substantial direct compliance costs on State and local governments. Therefore, consultation with the States is not required.

Executive Order 13175

This rule has been reviewed in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 13175, “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments.” Executive Order 13175 requires Federal agencies to consult and coordinate with tribes on a government-to-government basis on policies that have tribal implications, including regulations, legislative comments or proposed legislation, and other policy statements or actions that have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal government and Indian tribes or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal government and Indian tribes.

FSA has assessed the impact of this rule on Indian tribes and determined that this rule does not, to our knowledge, have tribal implications that require tribal consultation under Executive Order 13175. If a Tribe requests consultation, FSA will work with the USDA Office of Tribal Relations to ensure meaningful consultation is provided.

Unfunded Mandates

Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA, Pub. L. 104-4) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their regulatory actions on State, local, or Tribal governments, or the private sector. Agencies generally must prepare a written statement, including a cost-benefit analysis, for proposed and final rules with Federal mandates that may result in expenditures of $100 million or more in any 1 year for State, local, or Tribal governments, in the aggregate, or to the private sector. UMRA generally requires agencies to consider alternatives and adopt the more cost effective or least burdensome alternative that achieves the objectives of the rule. This rule contains no Federal mandates, as defined in Title II of UMRA, for State, local, and Tribal governments or private sector. Therefore, this rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 and 205 of UMRA.

Paperwork Reduction Act

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the rule does not change the approved information collection approved under OMB control number 0560-0238, General Program Administration.

E-Government Act Compliance

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

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 761

Accounting, Loan programs—agriculture, Rural areas.

For reasons discussed above, FSA amends 7 CFR chapter VII as follows:

PART 761—FARM LOAN PROGRAMS; GENERAL PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION 1. The authority citation for part 761 continues to read as follows: Authority:

5 U.S.C. 301 and 7 U.S.C. 1989.

2. Revise § 761.1(b) to read as follows:
§ 761.1 Introduction.

(b) The Deputy Administrator:

(1) Delegates to each State Executive Director within the State Executive Director's jurisdiction the authority, and in the absence of the State Executive Director, the person acting in that position, to act for, on behalf of, and in the name of the United States of America or the Farm Service Agency to do and perform acts necessary in connection with making and guaranteeing loans, such as, but not limited to, making advances, servicing loans and other indebtedness, and obtaining, servicing, and enforcing or releasing security and other instruments related to the loan. For actions that do not result in a loss to the Farm Service Agency, a State Executive Director may redelegate authorities received under this paragraph to a Farm Loan Chief, Farm Loan Specialist, District Director, Farm Loan Manager, or Senior Farm Loan Officer, Farm Loan Officer, Loan Analyst, Loan Resolution Specialist, or Program Technician.

(2) May establish procedures for further redelegation or limitation of authority.

Steven J. Peterson, Acting Administrator, Farm Service Agency.
[FR Doc. 2018-05466 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE National Institute of Food and Agriculture 7 CFR Part 3434 RIN 0524-AA39 Hispanic-Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities (HSACU) Certification Process AGENCY:

National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This amendment to NIFA regulations updates the list of institutions that are granted Hispanic-Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities (HSACU) certification by the Secretary and are eligible for HSACU programs for the period starting October 1, 2017, and ending September 30, 2018.

DATES:

This rule is effective March 19, 2018 and applicable October 1, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Joanna Moore; Senior Policy Specialist; National Institute of Food and Agriculture; U.S. Department of Agriculture; STOP 2272; 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-2272; Voice: 202-690-6011; Fax: 202-401-7752; Email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

HSACU Institutions for Fiscal Year 2018

This rule makes changes to the existing list of institutions in appendix B of 7 CFR part 3434. The list of institutions is amended to reflect the institutions that are granted HSACU certification by the Secretary and are eligible for HSACU programs for the period starting October 1, 2017, and ending September 30, 2018.

Certification Process

As stated in 7 CFR 3434.4, an institution must meet the following criteria to receive HSACU certification: (1) Be a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), (2) offer agriculture-related degrees, (3) not appear on the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS), (4) be accredited, and (5) award at least 15% of agriculture-related degrees to Hispanic students over the two most recent academic years.

NIFA obtained the latest report from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics that lists all HSIs and the degrees conferred by these institutions (completion data) during the 2015-16 academic year. NIFA used this report to identify HSIs that conferred a degree in an instructional program that appears in appendix A of 7 CFR part 3434 and to confirm that over the 2014-15 and 2015-16 academic years at least 15% of the degrees in agriculture-related fields were awarded to Hispanic students. NIFA further confirmed that these institutions were nationally accredited and were not on the exclusions listing in the System for Award Management (https://www.sam.gov/portal/SAM/##11).

The updated list of HSACUs is based on (1) completions data from 2014-15 and 2015-16, and (2) enrollment data from Fall 2016. NIFA identified 147 institutions that met the eligibility criteria to receive HSACU certification for FY 2018 (October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018).

Declaration of Intent To Opt Out of HSACU Designation and Apply for Non Land-Grant College of Agriculture (NLGCA) Designation

As set forth in Section 7101 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-79), which amends 7 U.S.C. 3103, an institution that is eligible to be designated as an HSACU may notify the Secretary of its intent not to be considered an HSACU. Institutions that opt out of HSACU designation will have the option to apply for designation as a Non-Land Grant College of Agriculture (NLGCA) institution. To opt out of designation as an HSACU, an authorized official at the institution must submit a declaration of intent not to be considered an HSACU to NIFA by email at [email protected] In accordance with Section 7101, a declaration by an institution not to be considered an HSACU shall remain in effect until September 30, 2018. To be eligible for NLGCA designation, institutions must be public colleges or universities offering baccalaureate or higher degrees in the study of food and agricultural sciences, as defined in 7 U.S.C. 3103. An online form to request NLGCA designation is available at http://nifa.usda.gov/webform/request-non-land-grant-college-agriculture-designation.

In FYs 2016 and 2017, one institution opted out of HSACU designation and received NLGCA designation, hence that institution is excluded from the FY 2018 HSACU list.

Appeal Process

As set forth in 7 CFR 3434.8, NIFA will permit HSIs that are not granted HSACU certification to submit an appeal within 30 days of the publication of this document.

Classification

This rule relates to internal agency management. Accordingly, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, notice of proposed rulemaking and opportunity for comment are not required, and this rule may be made effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. This rule also is exempt from the provisions of Executive Order 12866. This action is not a rule as defined by the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., or the Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., and thus is exempt from the provisions of those Acts. This rule contains no information collection or recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 3434

Administrative practice and procedure, Agricultural research, education, extension, Hispanic-serving institutions, Federal assistance.

Accordingly, part 3434 of title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as set forth below:

PART 3434—HISPANIC-SERVING AGRICULTURAL COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES CERTIFICATION PROCESS 1. The authority citation for part 3434 continues to read as follows: Authority:

7 U.S.C. 3103.

2. Revise appendix B to read as follows: Appendix B to Part 3434—List of HSACU Institutions, 2017-2018

The institutions listed in this appendix are granted HSACU certification by the Secretary and are eligible for HSACU programs for the period starting October 1, 2017, and ending September 30, 2018. Institutions are listed alphabetically under the state of the school's location, with the campus indicated where applicable.

Arizona (6) Arizona Western College Central Arizona College Cochise County Community College Phoenix College Pima Community College University of Arizona California (63) Allan Hancock College Antioch University-Los Angeles Bakersfield College Cabrillo College California Baptist University California State University-San Bernardino California State University-Dominguez Hills California State University-Long Beach California State University-Los Angeles California State University-East Bay University of California-Irvine University of California-Riverside University of California-Santa Barbara University of California-Santa Cruz California Lutheran University Chaffey College Craft Hills College College of the Desert College of the Sequoias Cosumnes River College Cuesta College Cuyamaca College El Camino Community College District Foothill College Fresno Pacific University Fullerton College Golden West College Hartnell College Imperial Valley College Las Positas College Long Beach City College Los Angeles Pierce College Mendocino College Merced College Mills College MiraCosta College Modesto Junior College Mt. San Antonio College Mt. San Jacinto Community College District Napa Valley College National University Orange Coast College Pacific Union College Porterville College Reedley College Santa Ana College Santa Barbara City College Santa Monica College San Bernardino Valley College San Diego City College San Diego Mesa College San Diego State University San Jose State University Saint Mary's College of California Southwestern College University of California-Irvine University of California-Riverside University of California-Santa Cruz Victor Valley College West Hills College-Coalinga Whittier College Woodland Community College Yuba College Colorado (2) Aims Community College Community College of Denver Florida (5) Broward College Florida International University Miami Dade College Palm Beach State College Valencia College Illinois (1) Dominican University Kansas (3) Dodge City Community College Garden City Community College Seward County Community College and Area Technical School Massachusetts (1) Springfield Technical Community College Nevada (2) College of Southern Nevada Truckee Meadows Community College New Jersey (5) Essex County College Kern University Saint Peter's University New Mexico (10) Central New Mexico Community College Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus Eastern New Mexico University-Ruidoso Campus Mesalands Community College New Mexico Highlands University Northern New Mexico College Santa Fe Community College Western New Mexico University University of New Mexico-Los Alamos Campus University of New Mexico-Main Campus New York (5) CUNY City College CUNY Hunter College CUNY LaGuardia Community College Mercy College SUNY Westchester Community College Oregon (1) Chemeketa Community College Puerto Rico (15) Instituto Tecnologico de Puerto Rico-Recinto de Manati Inter American University of Puerto Rico-Aguadilla Inter American University of Puerto Rico-Bayamon Inter American University of Puerto Rico-Metro Inter American University of Puerto Rico-San German Inter American University of Puerto Rico-Ponce Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico-Ponce Universidad Del Turabo Universidad Metropolitana University of Puerto Rico-Arecibo University of Puerto Rico-Humacao University of Puerto Rico-Utuado University of Puerto Rico-Medical Sciences University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez Texas (24) Concordia University-Texas Houston Community College McLennan Community College Odessa College Palo Alto College Saint Edwards's University San Antonio College Southwest Texas Junior College South Plains College St. Mary's University Tarrant County College District Texas State Technical College Texas A & M International University Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi The University of Texas at El Paso The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley The University of Texas at San Antonio The University of Texas at Brownsville University of Houston University of Houston-Clear Lake University of the Incarnate Word University of St. Thomas Western Texas College Wayland Baptist University Washington (4) Columbia Basin College Heritage University Wenatchee Valley College Yakima Valley Community College
Done in Washington, DC, this 8th day of March 2018. Sonny Ramaswamy, Director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
[FR Doc. 2018-05541 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-22-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2017-0903; Product Identifier 2017-NM-074-AD; Amendment 39-19225; AD 2018-06-05] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain The Boeing Company Model 737-300 and -500 series airplanes. This AD was prompted by a report indicating that fatigue cracks were found in the lower wing skin of an airplane with winglets installed. This AD requires repetitive inspections for cracking of the lower wing skin, and repair if necessary. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

This AD is effective April 23, 2018.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of April 23, 2018.

ADDRESSES:

For service information identified in this final rule, contact Aviation Partners Boeing, 2811 South 102nd St., Suite 200, Seattle, WA 98168; phone: 1-206-830-7699; fax: 1-206-767-3355; email: [email protected]; internet: http://www.aviationpartnersboeing.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-2017-0903.

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-2017-0903; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this final rule, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Lu Lu, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Section, FAA, Seattle ACO Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; phone and fax: 206-231-3525; email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to certain The Boeing Company Model 737-300 and -500 series airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on October 6, 2017 (82 FR 46725). The NPRM was prompted by a report indicating that fatigue cracks were found in the lower wing skin of an airplane with winglets installed. The NPRM proposed to require repetitive inspections for cracking of the lower wing skin, and repair if necessary.

We are issuing this AD to detect and correct fatigue cracking of the lower wing skin common to the runout of stringer L-5. Such cracking could grow and result in loss of structural integrity of the wing, and consequent reduced, or complete loss of, controllability of the airplane.

Comments

We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this final rule. The following presents the comments received on the NPRM and the FAA's response to each comment. Aviation Partners Boeing concurred with the proposed AD.

Request for Manufacturer To Share Expense

One commenter, Mary Lou Allen, requested that the airplane manufacturer share in the expense with the airplane's purchaser or owner, because of the high costs associated with supplemental type certificates. We infer that the commenter wants manufacturers to be required to help pay for compliance with the proposed AD.

We do not agree to this request. We provide estimates of the cost on U.S. operators for AD compliance, but do not determine who is responsible for payment. We are aware that airplane manufacturers and modifiers often have warranty agreements with owners and operators to cover some or all of the costs of modifications or repairs, but we do not participate in these agreements. We have not changed this AD in this regard.

Conclusion

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

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

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

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed Aviation Partners Boeing Service Bulletin AP737C-57-002, dated April 5, 2017. The service information describes procedures for repetitive inspections for cracking of the lower wing skin, and repair if necessary. 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 93 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
  • Repetitive inspection 1 work-hour × $85 per hour = $85 per inspection cycle $0 $85 per inspection cycle Up to $7,905 per inspection cycle.

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

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2018-06-05 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-19225; Docket No. FAA-2017-0903; Product Identifier 2017-NM-074-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective April 23, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to The Boeing Company Model 737-300 and -500 series airplanes, certificated in any category, with blended winglet kits installed in accordance with Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) ST01219SE.

    (d) Subject

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

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by a report indicating that fatigue cracks were found in the lower wing skin at stringer L-5 of a Boeing Model 737-300 airplane with winglets installed. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct fatigue cracking of the lower wing skin common to the runout of stringer L-5. Such cracking could grow and result in loss of structural integrity of the wing, and consequent reduced, or complete loss of, controllability of the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Repetitive Inspection

    Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD: Do a detailed inspection for cracking of the lower wing skin external surface at the stringer L-5 location on the left and right wings, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Aviation Partners Boeing Service Bulletin AP737C-57-002, dated April 5, 2017. Repeat the inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 6,000 flight cycles or 9,000 flight hours, whichever occurs first.

    (h) Repair

    If any crack is found during any inspection required by paragraph (g) of this AD, repair before further flight using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (i) of this AD. Although Aviation Partners Boeing Service Bulletin AP737C-57-002, dated April 5, 2017, specifies to contact Boeing for repair instructions, and specifies that action as “RC” (Required for Compliance), this AD requires repair as specified in this paragraph.

    (i) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Seattle ACO Branch, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the manager of the certification office, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (j) 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) Except as required by paragraph (h) of this AD: For service information that contains steps that are labeled as RC, the provisions of paragraphs (i)(4)(i) and (i)(4)(ii) of this AD apply.

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

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

    (j) Related Information

    For more information about this AD, contact Lu Lu, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Section, FAA, Seattle ACO Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; phone and fax: 206-231-3525; email: [email protected]

    (k) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (i) Aviation Partners Boeing Service Bulletin AP737C-57-002, dated April 5, 2017.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (3) For service information identified in this AD, contact Aviation Partners Boeing, 2811 South 102nd St., Suite 200, Seattle, WA 98168; phone: 1-206-830-7699; fax: 1-206-767-3355; email: [email protected]; internet: http://www.aviationpartnersboeing.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 Renton, Washington, on March 5, 2018. Michael Kaszycki, Acting Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-05016 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2018-0210; Product Identifier 2018-CE-004-AD; Amendment 39-19229; AD 2018-06-09] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Pacific Aerospace Limited Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Pacific Aerospace Limited Model 750XL airplanes. This AD results from mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) issued by the aviation authority of another country to identify and correct an unsafe condition on an aviation product. The MCAI describes the unsafe condition as the possibility for the control column to snag on the cockpit control tee handles on certain airplanes. We are issuing this AD to require actions to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    This AD is effective April 9, 2018.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in the AD as of April 9, 2018.

    We must receive comments on this AD by May 3, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments by any of the following methods:

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

    Fax: (202) 493-2251.

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

    Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    For service information identified in this AD, contact Pacific Aerospace Limited, Airport Road, Hamilton, Private Bag 3027, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand; phone: +64 7843 6144; fax: +64 843 6134; email: [email protected]; internet: www.aerospace.co.nz. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Policy and Innovation Division, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (816) 329-4148. It is also available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0210.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0210; 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 AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for Docket Operations (telephone (800) 647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mike Kiesov, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Standards Branch, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4144; fax: (816) 329-4090; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

    The Civil Aviation Authority, which is the aviation authority for New Zealand, has issued CAA AD DCA/750XL/22, dated December 19, 2017 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for Pacific Aerospace Limited Model 750XL airplanes. To accompany that MCAI, the CAA issued Notification of Airworthiness Directive issued for New Zealand Aeronautical Products IAW ICAO Annex 8, dated December 21, 2017; the Notification states:

    This [CAA] AD is prompted by a ground inspection which found it is possible for the control column to snag on the cockpit control tee handles on certain aircraft. When the tee handle is pulled out to the maximum limit it fouls with the control column in the extreme forward right and left positions. The tee handles are mounted below the switch panels adjacent to the centre console.

    This [CAA] AD with effective date 28 December 2017 mandates the inspection and corrective actions per the Accomplishment Instructions in Pacific Aerospace Mandatory Service Bulletin (MSB) PACSB/XL/093 issue 1, dated 15 December 2017, or later approved revision.

    You may examine the MCAI on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0210.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    Pacific Aerospace Limited has issued Pacific Aerospace Mandatory Service Bulletin PACSB/XL/093, Issue 1, dated December 15, 2017. The service information describes procedures for inspecting the ventilation, heater, and air filter bypass control tee handles for snagging of the control column, and adjustment of the control tee handle if necessary. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section of the AD.

    FAA's Determination and Requirements of the AD

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

    FAA's Determination of the Effective Date

    An unsafe condition exists that requires the immediate adoption of this AD. The FAA has found that the risk to the flying public justifies waiving notice and comment prior to adoption of this rule because interference with the control column operations can result in the flight controls becoming jammed, which could result in uncontrollable flight. Therefore, we find good cause that notice and opportunity for prior public comment are impracticable. In addition, for the reason(s) stated above, we find that good cause exists for making this amendment effective in less than 30 days.

    Comments Invited

    This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight safety, and we did not precede it by notice and opportunity for public comment. We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2018-0210; Directorate Identifier 2018-CE-004-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this AD because of those comments.

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

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD will affect 22 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 2 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour.

    Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of the AD on U.S. operators to be $3,740, or $170 per product.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new AD: 2018-06-09 Pacific Aerospace Limited: Amendment 39-19229; Docket No. FAA-2018-0210; Directorate Identifier 2018-CE-004-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This airworthiness directive (AD) becomes effective April 9, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Pacific Aerospace Limited Models 750XL airplanes, all serial numbers up to and including serial number XL215, certificated in any category.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association of America (ATA) Code 27: Flight Controls.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) issued by the aviation authority of another country to identify and correct an unsafe condition on an aviation product. The MCAI describes the unsafe condition as the possibility for the control column to snag on the cockpit control tee handles on certain aircraft. We are issuing this AD to prevent the control tee handles from snagging the control column and becoming jammed, which could result in uncontrollable flight.

    (f) Actions and Compliance

    Unless already done, do the actions in paragraph (f)(1) and (2) of this AD following the Accomplishment Instructions in Pacific Aerospace Mandatory Service Bulletin PACSB/XL/093, Issue 1, dated December 15, 2017.

    (1) Within 30 days after April 9, 2018 (the effective date of this AD), inspect the ventilation, heater, and air filter bypass control tee handles (as applicable) for snagging of the control column.

    (2) If the control column snags the adjacent heater, ventilation, or an engine air filter bypass control tee handle during the inspection required in paragraph (f)(1) of this AD, before further flight, reorient the affected tee handle.

    (g) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, Small Airplane Standards Branch, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. Send information to ATTN: Mike Kiesov, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Standards Branch, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4144; fax: (816) 329-4090; email: [email protected] Before using any approved AMOC on any airplane to which the AMOC applies, notify your appropriate principal inspector (PI) in the FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), or lacking a PI, your local FSDO.

    (2) Contacting the Manufacturer: For any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer, the action must be accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, Standards Office, FAA; or the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA).

    (h) Related Information

    Refer to the MCAI by the CAA, AD DCA/750XL/23, dated December 28, 2017; and Pacific Aerospace Mandatory Service Bulletin PACSB/XL/093, Issue 1, dated December 15, 2017, for related information. You may examine the MCAI on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0210.

    (i) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (i) Pacific Aerospace Mandatory Service Bulletin PACSB/XL/093, Issue 1, dated December 15, 2017.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (3) For service information identified in this AD, contact Pacific Aerospace Limited, Airport Road, Hamilton, Private Bag 3027, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand; phone: +64 7843 6144; fax: +64 843 6134; email: [email protected]; internet: www.aerospace.co.nz.

    (4) You may view this service information at the FAA, Policy and Innovation Division, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (816) 329-4148. It is also available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0210.

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

    Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 9, 2018. Pat Mullen, Acting Deputy Director, Policy & Innovation Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-05355 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P+
    SUSQUEHANNA RIVER BASIN COMMISSION 18 CFR Part 801 General Policies AGENCY:

    Susquehanna River Basin Commission.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This document contains rules that amend the regulations of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (Commission) to codify the Commission's Access to Records Policy providing rules and procedures for the public to request and receive the Commission's public records.

    DATES:

    The rule is effective March 19, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Susquehanna River Basin Commission, 4423 N Front Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110-1788.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jason E. Oyler, Esq., General Counsel, 717-238-0423, ext. 1312; [email protected] Also, for further information on the final rule, visit the Commission's website at http://www.srbc.net.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on October 12, 2017 (82 FR 47407); New York Register on October 25, 2017; Pennsylvania Bulletin on October 21, 2017; and Maryland Register on October 27, 2017. The Commission convened a public hearing on November 2, 2017, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. A written comment period was held open through November 13, 2017.

    The Commission received one comment on the proposed rule, which was supportive of the Commission's efforts to formalize its Access to Records Policy. The Commission also received two comments after the close of the official public comment period suggesting some changes to rulemaking.

    Based upon input from the Commission's member jurisdictions, subsection (b)(4) is amended and a new subsection (f) is added to create an exception to records subject to public access for those internal, pre-decisional deliberations between staff and member jurisdictions working in cooperation with the Commission. The Commission will also modify § 801.14(b)(1) to clarify that it does not prohibit the Commission from providing salary information in response to records requests, as the Commission has historically released these records upon request. Section 801.14(b)(8) is also modified to exclude the provision of financial documents related to critical infrastructure.

    Based on public input the Commission clarifies the following:

    • The Commission does intend to review and revisit its Access to Records Policy after adoption of the final rule to update its procedures.

    • The final rule, § 801.14(c)(3), provides that the Commission must respond in a reasonable time frame. The Commission works with requesters and generally responds to records requests within 30 days of the request. The reasonable timeframe language allows the Commission to deal with requests varying in complexity and magnitude while continuing to balance prompt access to records with the agency's other obligations and limitations.

    Through this final rule, the Commission continues its long tradition of transparency by formalizing the key elements of its Access to Records Policy in duly promulgated regulations. The Commission's 2009 Access to Records Policy, which remains in effect, can be found at: http://www.srbc.net/pubinfo/docs/2009-02_Access_to_Records_Policy_20140115.pdf. The Commission's current records processing fee schedule can be found at: http://www.srbc.net/pubinfo/docs/RecordsProcessingFeeScheduleUpdatedAddress.pdf.

    List of Subjects in 18 CFR Part 801

    Administrative practice and procedure, Water resources.

    Accordingly, for the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission amends 18 CFR part 801 as follows:

    PART 801—GENERAL POLICIES 1. The authority citation for part 801 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

    Secs. 3.1, 3.4, 3.5(1), 15.1 and 15.2, Pub. L. 91-575 (84 Stat. 1509 et seq.).

    2. Add § 801.14 to read as follows:
    § 801.14 Public access to records.

    (a) Purpose. The Commission, as an independent compact agency, is not subject to any of its member jurisdictions' laws regarding public access to records. Nevertheless, the Commission wishes to assure, to the maximum extent practicable, the availability of Commission records consistent with the Susquehanna River Basin Compact. The Commission shall maintain an “Access to Records Policy” that outlines the details and procedures related to public access to the Commission's records. Any revisions to this policy shall be consistent with this section and undertaken in accordance with appropriate public notice and comment consistent with requirements of 18 CFR 808.1(b).

    (b) Scope. This section shall apply to all recorded information, regardless of whether the information exists in written or electronic format. There is a strong presumption that records shall be public, except where considerations of privacy, confidentiality, and security must be considered and require thoughtful balancing. The Commission shall identify types of records that are not subject to public access:

    (1) Personnel or employment records, excluding salary information;

    (2) Trade secrets, copyrighted material, or any other confidential business information;

    (3) Records exempted from disclosure by statute, regulation, court order, or recognized privilege;

    (4) Records reflecting internal pre-decisional deliberations, including deliberations between the commission and representatives of member jurisdictions;

    (5) Records reflecting employee medical information, evaluations, tests or other identifiable health information;

    (6) Records reflecting employee personal information, such as social security number, driver's license number, personal financial information, home addresses, home or personal cellular numbers, confidential personal information, spouse names, marital status or dependent information;

    (7) Investigatory or enforcement records that would interfere with active enforcement proceedings or individual due process rights, disclose the identity of public complainants or confidential sources or investigative techniques or endanger the life or safety of Commission personnel; or

    (8) Records related to critical infrastructure, excluding financial records, emergency procedures, or facilities.

    (c) Procedures. The Access to Records Policy will detail the necessary procedures for requesting records and processing records requests:

    (1) Requests shall be in writing and shall be reasonably specific;

    (2) The Commission shall identify an Access to Records Officer to handle requests;

    (3) The Commission shall respond to a records request within a reasonable time and in consideration of available resources and the nature of the request;

    (4) The Commission shall not be required to create a record that does not already exist, or to compile, maintain, format or organize a public record in a manner in which the Commission does not currently practice;

    (5) A procedure shall be identified for electronic transfer, copying or otherwise providing records in a manner that maintains the integrity of the Commission's files; and

    (6) A procedure shall be identified for handling review of requests that seek access to information that has been identified as confidential and for notifying the person(s) who submitted the confidential information that it is subject to a records request.

    (d) Fees. The Commission shall adopt and maintain a “Records Processing Fee Schedule.” The fees shall be calculated to reflect the actual costs to the Commission for processing records requests and may include the costs of reproducing records and the cost to search, prepare and/or redact records for extraordinary requests.

    (e) Appeals. Any person aggrieved by a Commission action on a records request shall have 30 days to appeal a decision in accordance with 18 CFR 808.2.

    (f) Disclosure to consultants, advisory committees, and State and local government officials and employees. Data and information otherwise exempt from public disclosure may be disclosed to Commission consultants, advisory committees, and state and local government officials and employees for use only in their work in cooperation with the Commission. Such persons are thereafter subject to the same restrictions with respect to the disclosure of such data and information as any other Commission employee.

    Dated: March 13, 2018. Stephanie L. Richardson, Secretary to the Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2018-05425 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7040-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Office of the Secretary of the Treasury 31 CFR Part 50 Office of Foreign Assets Control 31 CFR Parts 501, 535, 536, 538, 539, 541, 542, 544, 546, 547, 548, 549, 560, 561, 566, 576, 584, 588, 592, 594, 595, 597, and 598 Financial Crimes Enforcement Network 31 CFR Part 1010 Inflation Adjustment of Civil Monetary Penalties AGENCY:

    Departmental Offices, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and Office of Foreign Assets Control, Treasury.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of the Treasury (“Department” or “Treasury”) publishes this final rule to adjust its civil monetary penalties (“CMPs”) for inflation as mandated by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (collectively referred to herein as “the Act”). This rule adjusts CMPs within the jurisdiction of certain components of the Department to the maximum amount required by the Act.

    DATES:

    Effective March 19, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For information regarding the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program's CMPs, contact Richard Ifft, Senior Insurance Regulatory Policy Analyst, Federal Insurance Office, Room 1410 MT, Department of the Treasury, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20220, at (202) 622-2922 (not a toll-free number), Kevin Meehan, Senior Insurance Regulatory Policy Analyst, Federal Insurance Office, at (202) 622-7009 (not a toll-free number), or Lindsey Baldwin, Senior Policy Analyst, Federal Insurance Office, at (202) 622-3220 (not a toll free number). Persons who have difficulty hearing or speaking may access these numbers via TTY by calling the toll-free Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

    For information regarding Financial Crimes Enforcement Network's CMPs, contact the FinCEN Resource Center at (800) 767-2825 or email [email protected]

    For information regarding the Office of Foreign Assets Control's CMPs, contact the Assistant Director for Enforcement, tel.: 202-622-2430; Assistant Director for Licensing, tel.: 202-622-2480; Assistant Director for Regulatory Affairs, tel.: 202-622-4855; Assistant Director for Sanctions Compliance & Evaluation, tel.: 202-622-2490; or the Department of the Treasury's Office of the Chief Counsel (Foreign Assets Control), Office of the General Counsel, tel.: 202-622-2410.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    In order to improve the effectiveness of CMPs and to maintain their deterrent effect, the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, 28 U.S.C. 2461 note (“the Inflation Adjustment Act”), as amended by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Pub. L. 114-74) (“the 2015 Act”), requires Federal agencies to adjust each CMP provided by law within the jurisdiction of the agency. The 2015 Act requires agencies to adjust the level of CMPs with an initial “catch-up” adjustment through an interim final rulemaking and to make subsequent annual adjustments for inflation, without needing to provide notice and the opportunity for public comment required by 5 U.S.C. 553. The Department's initial catch-up adjustment interim final rules were published on June 30, 2016 (FinCEN) (81 FR 42503), July 1, 2016 (OFAC) (81 FR 43070), and December 7, 2016 (Departmental Offices) (81 FR 88600). The Department's 2017 annual adjustment was published on February 10, 2017 (82 FR 10434). The 2015 Act provides that any increase in a CMP shall apply to CMPs that are assessed after the date the increase takes effect, regardless of whether the underlying violation predated such increase.1

    1 However, the increased CMPs apply only with respect to underlying violations occurring after the date of enactment of the 2015 Act, i.e., after November 2, 2015.

    II. Method of Calculation

    The method of calculating CMP adjustments applied in this final rule is required by the 2015 Act. Under the 2015 Act and the Office of Management and Budget guidance required by the 2015 Act, annual inflation adjustments subsequent to the initial catch-up adjustment are to be based on the percent change between the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (“CPI-U”) for the October preceding the date of the adjustment and the prior year's October CPI-U. As set forth in Office of Management and Budget Memorandum M-18-03 of December 15, 2017, the adjustment multiplier for 2018 is 1.02041. In order to complete the 2018 annual adjustment, each current CMP is multiplied by the 2018 adjustment multiplier. Under the 2015 Act, any increase in CMP must be rounded to the nearest multiple of $1.

    Procedural Matters 1. Administrative Procedure Act

    The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Section 701(b)) requires agencies, beginning in 2017, to make annual adjustments for inflation to CMPs, without needing to provide notice and the opportunity for public comment required by 5 U.S.C. 553. Additionally, the methodology used, effective 2017, for adjusting CMPs for inflation is provided by statute, with no discretion provided to agencies regarding the substance of the adjustments for inflation to CMPs. The Department is charged only with performing ministerial computations to determine the dollar amount of adjustments for inflation to CMPs. Accordingly, prior public notice and an opportunity for public comment and a delayed effective date are not required for this rule.

    2. Regulatory Flexibility Act

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

    3. Executive Order 12866

    This rule is not a significant regulatory action as defined in section 3.f of Executive Order 12866.

    4. Paperwork Reduction Act

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

    List of Subjects 31 CFR Part 50

    Insurance, Terrorism.

    31 CFR Parts 501, 535, 536, 538, 539, 541, 542, 544, 546, 547, 548, 549, 560, 561, 566, 576, 584, 588, 592, 594, 595, 597, and 598

    Administrative practice and procedure, Banks, Banking, Blocking of assets, Exports, Foreign trade, Licensing, Penalties, Sanctions.

    31 CFR Part 1010

    Authority delegations (Government agencies), Banks and banking, Currency, Investigations, Law enforcement, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Authority and Issuance

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, part 50, chapter V, and part 1010 of title 31 of the Code of Federal Regulations are amended as follows:

    PART 50—TERRORISM RISK INSURANCE PROGRAM 1. The authority citation for part 50 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 301; 31 U.S.C. 321; Title I, Pub. L. 107-297, 116 Stat. 2322, as amended by Pub. L. 109-144, 119 Stat. 2660, Pub. L. 110-160, 121 Stat. 1839 and Pub. L. 114-1, 129 Stat. 3 (15 U.S.C. 6701 note); Pub. L. 114-74, 129 Stat. 601, Title VII (28 U.S.C. 2461 note).

    2. Amend § 50.83 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 50.83 Adjustment of civil monetary penalty amount.

    (a) Inflation adjustment. Any penalty under the Act and these regulations may not exceed the greater of $1,360,525 and, in the case of any failure to pay, charge, collect or remit amounts in accordance with the Act or these regulations such amount in dispute.

    PART 501—REPORTING, PROCEDURES AND PENALTIES REGULATIONS 3. The authority citation for part 501 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    8 U.S.C. 1189; 18 U.S.C. 2332d, 2339B; 19 U.S.C. 3901-3913; 21 U.S.C. 1901-1908; 22 U.S.C. 287c; 22 U.S.C. 2370(a), 6009, 6032, 7205; 28 U.S.C. 2461 note; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); 50 U.S.C. 1701-1706; 50 U.S.C. App. 1-44.

    Subpart D—Trading With the Enemy Act (TWEA) Penalties
    § 501.701 [Amended]
    4. Amend § 501.701 as follows: a. In the note to paragraph (a)(1), remove “As of January 15, 2017,” ; and remove “$85,236” and add in its place “$86,976”. b. In paragraph (a)(3), remove “$85,236” and add in its place “$86,976”. 5. Amend appendix A to part 501 as follows: a. In section V.B.2.a.i., remove “$144,619” and add in its place “$147,571”, and remove “$289,238” and add in its place “$295,141”. b. In section V.B.2.a.ii., remove “$289,238” in all three locations where it appears, and add in its place in all three locations “$295,141”. c. Revise the note to paragraph (a) of section V.B.2.a. to read as follows: Appendix A to Part 501—Economic Sanctions Enforcement Guidelines

    B. * * *

    2. * * *

    a. * * *

    Note to paragraph (a): The applicable statutory maximum civil penalty per violation for each statute enforced by OFAC is as follows: International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA)—greater of $295,141 or twice the amount of the underlying transaction; Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA)—$86,976; Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (FNKDA)—$1,466,485; Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA)—greater of $77,909 or twice the amount of which a financial institution was required to retain possession or control; and Clean Diamond Trade Act (CDTA)—$13,333. The civil penalty amounts authorized under these statutes are subject to adjustment pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-410, as amended, 28 U.S.C. 2461 note).

    The following matrix represents the base amount of the proposed civil penalty for each category of violation:

    ER19MR18.001 PART 535—IRANIAN ASSETS CONTROL REGULATIONS 6. The authority citation for part 535 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301; 18 U.S.C. 2332d; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); 50 U.S.C. 1601-1651, 1701-1706; Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note); Pub. L. 110-96, 121 Stat. 1011; E.O. 12170, 44 FR 65729, 3 CFR, 1979 Comp., p. 457; E.O. 12205, 45 FR 24099, 3 CFR, 1980 Comp., p. 248; E.O. 12211, 45 FR 26685, 3 CFR, 1980 Comp., p. 253; E.O. 12276, 46 FR 7913, 3 CFR, 1981 Comp., p. 104; E.O. 12279, 46 FR 7919, 3 CFR, 1981 Comp., p. 109; E.O. 12280, 46 FR 7921, 3 CFR, 1981 Comp., p. 110; E.O. 12281, 46 FR 7923, 3 CFR, 1981 Comp., p. 112; E.O. 12282, 46 FR 7925, 3 CFR, 1981 Comp., p. 113; E.O. 12283, 46 FR 7927, 3 CFR, 1981 Comp., p. 114; and E.O. 12294, 46 FR 14111, 3 CFR, 1981 Comp., p. 139.

    Subpart G—Penalties
    § 535.701 [Amended]
    7. In the note to paragraph (a)(1) in § 535.701, remove “As of January 15, 2017, the” and add in its place “The”, and remove “$289,238” and add in its place “$295,141”. PART 536—NARCOTICS TRAFFICKING SANCTIONS REGULATIONS 8. The authority citation for part 536 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); 50 U.S.C. 1601-1651, 1701-1706; Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note); Pub. L. 110-96, 121 Stat. 1011; E.O. 12978, 60 FR 54579, 3 CFR, 1995 Comp., p. 415; E.O. 13286, 68 FR 10619, 3 CFR, 2003 Comp., p. 166.

    Subpart G—Penalties
    § 536.701 [Amended]
    9. In the note to paragraph (a)(1) in § 536.701, remove “As of January 15, 2017, the” and add in its place “The”, and remove “$289,238” and add in its place “$295,141”. PART 538—SUDANESE SANCTIONS REGULATIONS 10. The authority citation for part 538 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301; 18 U.S.C. 2339B, 2332d; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); 50 U.S.C. 1601-1651, 1701-1706; Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note); 22 U.S.C. 7201-7211; Pub. L. 109-344, 120 Stat. 1869; Pub. L. 110-96, 121 Stat. 1011 (50 U.S.C. 1705 note); E.O. 13067, 62 FR 59989, 3 CFR, 1997 Comp., p. 230; E.O. 13412, 71 FR 61369, 3 CFR, 2006 Comp., p. 244.

    Subpart G—Penalties
    § 538.701 [Amended]
    11. In the note to paragraph (a)(1) in § 538.701 , remove “As of January 15, 2017” and add in its place “The”, and remove “$289,238” and add in its place “$295,141”. PART 539—WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION TRADE CONTROL REGULATIONS 12. The authority citation for part 539 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301; 22 U.S.C. 2751-2799aa-2; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); 50 U.S.C. 1601-1651, 1701-1706; Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note); Pub. L. 110-96, 121 Stat. 1011; E.O. 12938, 59 FR 59099, 3 CFR, 1994 Comp., p. 950; E.O. 13094, 63 FR 40803, 3 CFR, 1998 Comp., p. 200.

    Subpart G—Penalties
    § 539.701 [Amended]
    13. In the note to paragraph (a)(1) in § 539.701, remove “As of January 15, 2017, the” and add in its place “The”, and remove “$289,238” and add in its place “$295,141”. PART 541—ZIMBABWE SANCTIONS REGULATIONS 14. The authority citation for part 541 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); 50 U.S.C. 1601-1651, 1701-1706; Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note); Pub. L. 110-96, 121 Stat. 1011 (50 U.S.C. 1705 note); E.O. 13288, 68 FR 11457, 3 CFR, 2003 Comp., p. 186; E.O. 13391, 70 FR 71201, 3 CFR, 2005 Comp., p. 206; E.O. 13469, 73 FR 43841, 3 CFR, 2008 Comp., p. 1025.

    Subpart G—Penalties
    § 541.701 [Amended]
    15. In the note to paragraph (a)(1) in § 541.701, remove “As of January 15, 2017, the” and add in its place “The”, and remove “$289,238” and add in its place “$295,141”. PART 542—SYRIAN SANCTIONS REGULATIONS 16. The authority citation for part 542 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); 18 U.S.C. 2332d; 22 U.S.C. 287c; 50 U.S.C. 1601-1651, 1701-1706; Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note); Pub. L. 110-96, 121 Stat. 1011 (50 U.S.C. 1701 note); E.O. 13338, 69 FR 26751, 3 CFR, 2004 Comp., p. 168; E.O. 13399, 71 FR 25059, 3 CFR, 2006 Comp., p. 218; E.O. 13460, 73 FR 8991, 3 CFR 2008 Comp., p. 181; E.O. 13572, 76 FR 24787, 3 CFR 2011 Comp., p. 236; E.O. 13573, 76 FR 29143, 3 CFR 2011 Comp., p. 241; E.O. 13582, 76 FR 52209, 3 CFR 2011 Comp., p. 264; E.O. 13606, 77 FR 24571, 3 CFR 2012 Comp., p. 243.

    Subpart G—Penalties
    § 542.701 [Amended]
    17. In the note to paragraph (a)(1) in § 542.701, remove “As of January 15, 2017, the” and add in its place “The”, and remove “$289,238” and add in its place “$295,141”. PART 544—WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION PROLIFERATORS SANCTIONS REGULATIONS 18. The authority citation for part 544 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); 50 U.S.C. 1601-1651, 1701-1706; Public Law 101-410, 104 Stat. 890 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note); Public Law 110-96, 121 Stat. 1011; E.O. 12938, 59 FR 59099, 3 CFR, 1994 Comp., p. 950; E.O. 13094, 63 FR 40803, 3 CFR, 1998 Comp., p. 200; E.O. 13382, 70 FR 38567, 3 CFR, 2005 Comp., p. 170.

    Subpart G—Penalties
    § 544.701 [Amended]
    19. In the note to paragraph (a)(1) in § 544.701, remove “As of January 15, 2017, the” and add in its place “The”, and remove “$289,238” and add in its place “$295,141”. PART 546—DARFUR SANCTIONS REGULATIONS 20. The authority citation for part 546 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); 50 U.S.C. 1601-1651, 1701-1706; 22 U.S.C. 287c; Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note); Pub. L. 110-96, 121 Stat. 1011 (50 U.S.C. 1705 note); E.O. 13067, 62 FR 59989, 3 CFR, 1997 Comp., p. 230; E.O. 13400, 71 FR 25483, 3 CFR, 2006 Comp., p. 220.

    Subpart G—Penalties
    § 546.701 [Amended]
    21. In the note to paragraph (a)(1) in § 546.701, remove “As of January 15, 2017, the” and add in its place “The”, and remove “$289,238” and add in its place “$295,141”. PART 547—DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO SANCTIONS REGULATIONS 22. The authority citation for part 547 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); 50 U.S.C. 1601-1651, 1701-1706; 22 U.S.C. 287c; Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note); Pub. L. 110-96, 121 Stat. 1011 (50 U.S.C. 1705 note); E.O. 13413, 71 FR 64105, 3 CFR, 2006 Comp., p. 247.

    Subpart G—Penalties
    § 547.701 [Amended]
    23. In the note to paragraph (a)(1) in § 547.701, remove “As of January 15, 2017, the” and add in its place “The”, and remove “$289,238” and add in its place “$295,141”. PART 548—BELARUS SANCTIONS REGULATIONS 24. The authority citation for part 548 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); 50 U.S.C. 1601-1651, 1701-1706; Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note); Pub. L. 110-96, 121 Stat. 1011 (50 U.S.C. 1705 note); E.O. 13405, 71 FR 35485; 3 CFR, 2007 Comp., p. 231.

    Subpart G—Penalties
    § 548.701 [Amended]
    25. In the note to paragraph (a)(1) in § 548.701, remove “As of January 15, 2017, the” and add in its place “The”, and remove “$289,238” and add in its place “$295,141”. PART 549—LEBANON SANCTIONS REGULATIONS 26. The authority citation for part 549 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); 50 U.S.C. 1601-1651, 1701-1706; Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note); Pub. L. 110-96, 121 Stat. 1011 (50 U.S.C. 1705 note); E.O. 13441, 72 FR 43499, 3 CFR, 2008 Comp., p. 232.

    Subpart G—Penalties
    § 549.701 [Amended]
    27. In the note to paragraph (a)(1) in § 549.701, remove “As of January 15, 2017, the” and add in its place “The”, and remove “$289,238” and add in its place “$295,141”. PART 560—IRANIAN TRANSACTIONS AND SANCTIONS REGULATIONS 28. The authority citation for part 560 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301; 18 U.S.C. 2339B, 2332d; 22 U.S.C. 2349aa-9; 22 U.S.C. 7201-7211; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); 50 U.S.C. 1601-1651, 1701-1706; Public Law 101-410, 104 Stat. 890 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note); Public Law 110-96, 121 Stat. 1011 (50 U.S.C. 1705 note); Public Law 111-195, 124 Stat. 1312 (22 U.S.C. 8501-8551); Public Law 112-81, 125 Stat. 1298 (22 U.S.C. 8513a); Public Law 112-158, 126 Stat. 1214 (22 U.S.C. 8701-8795); E.O. 12613, 52 FR 41940, 3 CFR, 1987 Comp., p. 256; E.O. 12957, 60 FR 14615, 3 CFR, 1995 Comp., p. 332; E.O. 12959, 60 FR 24757, 3 CFR, 1995 Comp., p. 356; E.O. 13059, 62 FR 44531, 3 CFR, 1997 Comp., p. 217; E.O. 13599, 77 FR 6659, 3 CFR, 2012 Comp., p. 215; E.O. 13628, 77 FR 62139, 3 CFR, 2012 Comp., p. 314.

    Subpart G—Penalties
    § 560.701 [Amended]
    29. In the note to paragraph (a)(1) in § 560.701, remove “As of January 15, 2017, the” and add in its place “The”, and remove “$289,238” and add in its place “$295,141”. PART 561—IRANIAN FINANCIAL SANCTIONS REGULATIONS 30. The authority citation for part 561 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); 50 U.S.C. 1601-1651, 1701-1706; Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note); Pub. L. 110-96, 121 Stat. 1011 (50 U.S.C. 1705 note); Pub. L. 111-195, 124 Stat. 1312 (22 U.S.C. 8501-8551); Pub. L. 112-81, 125 Stat. 1298 (22 U.S.C. 8513a); Pub. L. 112-158, 126 Stat. 1214 (22 U.S.C. 8701-8795); E.O. 12957, 60 FR 14615, 3 CFR, 1995 Comp., p. 332; E.O. 13553, 75 FR 60567, 3 CFR, 2010 Comp., p. 253; E.O. 13599, 77 FR 6659, February 8, 2012; E.O. 13622, 77 FR 45897, August 2, 2012; E.O. 13628, 77 FR 62139, October 12, 2012.

    Subpart G—Penalties
    § 561.701 [Amended]
    31. In the note to paragraph (a) in § 561.701, remove “As of January 15, 2017, the” and add in its place “The”, and remove “$289,238” and add in its place “$295,141”. PART 566—HIZBALLAH FINANCIAL SANCTIONS REGULATIONS 32. The authority citation for part 566 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); 50 U.S.C. 1601-1651, 1701-1706; Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note); Pub. L. 110-96, 121 Stat. 1011 (50 U.S.C. 1705 note); Pub. L. 114-102.

    Subpart G—Penalties
    § 566.701 [Amended]
    33. In the note to paragraph (a) in § 566.701, remove “As of January 15, 2017, the” and add in its place “The”, and remove “$289,238” and add in its place “$295,141”. PART 576—IRAQ STABILIZATION AND INSURGENCY SANCTIONS REGULATIONS 34. The authority citation for part 576 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301; 22 U.S.C. 287c; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); 50 U.S.C. 1601-1651, 1701-1706; Pub. L. 110-96, 121 Stat. 1011; E.O. 13303, 68 FR 31931, 3 CFR, 2003 Comp., p. 227; E.O. 13315, 68 FR 52315, 3 CFR, 2003 Comp., p. 252; E.O. 13350, 69 FR 46055, 3 CFR, 2004 Comp., p. 196; E.O. 13364, 69 FR 70177, 3 CFR, 2004 Comp., p. 236; E.O. 13438, 72 FR 39719, 3 CFR, 2007 Comp., p. 224; E.O. 13668, 79 FR 31019, 3 CFR, 2014 Comp., p. 248.

    Subpart G—Penalties 35. In the note to paragraph (a)(1) in§ 576.701, remove “As of January 15, 2017, the” and add in its place “The”, and remove “$289,238” and add in its place “$295,141”. PART 584—MAGNITSKY ACT SANCTIONS REGULATIONS 36. The authority citation for part 584 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); 50 U.S.C. 1601-1651, 1701-1706; Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note); Pub. L. 110-96, 121 Stat. 1011 (50 U.S.C. 1705 note); Pub. L. 112-208, 126 Stat. 1502, (22 U.S.C. 5811 note).

    § 584.701 [Amended]
    37. In the note to paragraph (a)(1) in § 584.701, remove “As of December 21, 2017,”; and remove “$239,238” and add in its place “$295,141”. PART 588—WESTERN BALKANS STABILIZATION REGULATIONS 38. The authority citation for part 588 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); 50 U.S.C. 1601-1651, 1701-1706; Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note); Pub. L. 110-96, 121 Stat. 1011 (50 U.S.C. 1705 note); E.O. 13219, 66 FR 34777, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 778; E.O. 13304, 68 FR 32315, 3 CFR, 2004 Comp. p. 229.

    Subpart G—Penalties
    § 588.701 [Amended]
    39. In the note to paragraph (a)(1) in § 588.701, remove “As of January 15, 2017, the” and add in its place “The”, and remove “$289,238” and add in its place “$295,141”. PART 592—ROUGH DIAMONDS CONTROL REGULATIONS 40. The authority citation for part 592 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); Pub. L. 108-19, 117 Stat. 631 (19 U.S.C. 3901-3913); E.O. 13312, 68 FR 45151 3 CFR, 2003 Comp., p. 246.

    Subpart F—Penalties
    § 592.601 [Amended]
    41. In the note to paragraph (a)(1) in § 592.601, remove “As of January 15, 2017, the” and add in its place “The”, and remove “$13,066” and add in its place “$13,333”. PART 594—GLOBAL TERRORISM SANCTIONS REGULATIONS 42. The authority citation for part 594 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301; 22 U.S.C. 287c; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); 50 U.S.C. 1601-1651, 1701-1706; Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note); Pub. L. 110-96, 121 Stat. 1011; Pub. L. 115-44, 131 Stat. 886 (22 U.S.C. 9401 et seq.), E.O. 13224, 66 FR 49079, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 786; E.O. 13268, 67 FR 44751, 3 CFR, 2002 Comp., p. 240; E.O. 13284, 68 FR 4075, 3 CFR, 2003 Comp., p. 161; E.O. 13372, 70 FR 8499, 3 CFR, 2006 Comp., p. 159.

    Subpart G—Penalties
    § 594.701 [Amended]
    43. In the note to paragraph (a)(1) in § 594.701, remove “As of January 15, 2017, the” and add in its place “The”, and remove “$289,238” and add in its place “$295,141”. PART 595—TERRORISM SANCTIONS REGULATIONS 44. The authority citation for part 595 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); 50 U.S.C. 1601-1651, 1701-1706; Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note); Pub. L. 110-96, 121 Stat. 1011; E.O. 12947, 60 FR 5079, 3 CFR, 1995 Comp., p. 319; E.O. 13099, 63 FR 45167, 3 CFR, 1998 Comp., p. 208; E.O. 13372, 70 FR 8499, 3 CFR, 2006 Comp., p. 159.

    Subpart G—Penalties
    § 595.701 [Amended]
    45. In the note to paragraph (a)(1) in § 595.701, remove “As of January 15, 2017, the” and add in its place “The”, and remove “$289,238” and add in its place “$295,141”. PART 597—FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS SANCTIONS REGULATIONS 46. The authority citation for part 597 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    31 U.S.C. 321(b); Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note); Pub. L. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214, 1248-53 (8 U.S.C. 1189, 18 U.S.C. 2339B).

    Subpart G—Penalties
    § 597.701 [Amended]
    47. In the note to paragraph (b) in § 597.701, remove “As of January 15, 2017, the” and add in its place “The”, and remove “$76,351” and add in its place “$77,909”. PART 598—FOREIGN NARCOTICS KINGPIN SANCTIONS REGULATIONS 48. The authority citation for part 598 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301; 21 U.S.C. 1901-1908; 31 U.S.C. 321(b); Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note).

    Subpart G—Penalties
    § 598.701 [Amended]
    49. In the note to paragraph (a)(3) in § 598.701, remove “As of January 15, 2017, the” and add in its place “The”, and remove “$1,437,153” and add in its place “$1,466,485”. PART 1010—GENERAL PROVISIONS 50. The authority citation for part 1010 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    12 U.S.C. 1829b and 1951-1959; 31 U.S.C. 5311-5314 and 5316-5332; title III, sec. 314, Pub. L. 107-56, 115 Stat. 307; sec. 701. Pub. L. 114-74, 129 Stat. 599.

    51. Amend § 1010.821 by revising Table 1 of § 1010.821 to read as follows:
    § 1010.821 Penalty adjustment and table.

    (b) * * *

    Table 1 of § 1010.821—Penalty Adjustment Table U.S. Code
  • citation
  • Civil monetary penalty
  • description
  • Penalties as
  • last amended
  • by statute
  • New maximum
  • penalty
  • amounts or
  • range of
  • minimum and
  • maximum
  • penalty
  • amounts for
  • penalties
  • assessed
  • after
  • 8/1/2016
  • but before
  • 1/16/2017
  • New maximum
  • penalty
  • amounts or
  • range of
  • minimum
  • and
  • maximum
  • penalty
  • amounts for
  • penalties
  • assessed
  • after
  • 1/15/2017
  • 12 U.S.C. 1829b(j) Relating to Recordkeeping Violations For Funds Transfers $10,000 $20,111 $20,521 12 U.S.C. 1955 Willful or Grossly Negligent Recordkeeping Violations 10,000 20,111 20,521 31 U.S.C. 5318(k)(3)(C) Failure to Terminate Correspondent Relationship with Foreign Bank 10,000 13,603 13,881 31 U.S.C. 5321(a)(1) General Civil Penalty Provision for Willful Violations of Bank Secrecy Act Requirements 25,000-100,000 54,789-219,156 55,907-223,629 31 U.S.C. 5321(a)(5)(B)(i). Foreign Financial Agency Transaction—Non-Willful Violation of Transaction 10,000 12,663 12,921 31 U.S.C. 5321(a)(5)(C) Foreign Financial Agency Transaction—Willful Violation of Transaction 100,000 126,626 129,210 31 U.S.C. 5321(a)(6)(A) Negligent Violation by Financial Institution or Non-Financial Trade or Business 500 1,096 1,118 31 U.S.C. 5321(a)(6)(B) Pattern of Negligent Activity by Financial Institution or Non-Financial Trade or Business 50,000 85,236 86,976 31 U.S.C. 5321(a)(7) Violation of Certain Due Diligence Requirements, Prohibition on Correspondent Accounts for Shell Banks, and Special Measures 1,000,000 1,360,317 1,388,081 31 U.S.C. 5330(e) Civil Penalty for Failure to Register as Money Transmitting Business 5,000 8,084 8,249
    Ryan Brady, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-05550 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810-35-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 100 [Docket Number USCG-2018-0096] RIN 1625-AA08 Special Local Regulation; Clinch River, Oak Ridge, TN AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Temporary final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary special local regulation for all navigable waters of the Clinch River, extending the entire width of the river, from mile marker (MM) 49.5 to MM 52.0. This special local regulation is necessary to provide for the safety of life on these navigable waters near Oak Ridge, TN during the Cardinal Invitational Regatta marine event. Entry into, transiting through, or anchoring within this regulated area is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Sector Ohio Valley (COTP) or a designated representative.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective from 6 a.m. on March 16, 2018 through 5 p.m. on March 18, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2018-0096 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 Petty Officer Vera Max, Marine Safety Detachment Nashville, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone 615-736-5421, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Table of Abbreviations CFR Code of Federal Regulations COTP Captain of the Port Sector Ohio Valley DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register MM Mile marker NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking § Section U.S.C. United States Code II. Background Information and Regulatory History

    The Coast Guard is issuing this temporary rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because it is impracticable. We must establish this restricted area by March 16, 2018 and lack sufficient time to provide a reasonable comment period and then consider those comments before issuing this rule. The NPRM process would delay the establishment of the special local regulation until after the scheduled date of the marine event and jeopardize public safety.

    Under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making this rule effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Delaying this rule would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest because immediate action is necessary to protect persons and property from the dangers associated with the marine event.

    III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

    The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under authority in 33 U.S.C. 1233. The Captain of the Port Sector Ohio Valley (COTP) has determined that potential hazards associated with the Oak Ridge Rowing Association Cardinal Invitational Regatta marine event, occurring from 6 a.m. through 5 p.m. each day from March 16, 2018 through March 18, 2018, will be a safety concern for all navigable waters on the Clinch River, extending the entire width of the river, from mile marker (MM) 49.5 to MM 52.0. The purpose of this rule is to ensure the safety of life and vessels on these navigable waters before, during, and after the scheduled event.

    IV. Discussion of the Rule

    This rule establishes a special local regulation from 6 a.m. through 5 p.m. each day from March 16, 2018 through March 18, 2018 for all navigable waters of the Clinch River, extending the entire width of the river, from MM 49.5 to MM 52.0. Enforcement of the regulated area will occur from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The duration of the special local regulation is intended to ensure the safety of life and vessels on these navigable waters before, during, and after the scheduled event. No vessel or person will be permitted to enter the special local regulated area without obtaining permission from the COTP or a designated representative. A designated representative is a commissioned, warrant, or petty officer of the U.S. Coast Guard assigned to units under the operational control of USCG Sector Ohio Valley. They may be contacted on VHF-FM Channel 16 or by telephone at 1-800-253-7465. Persons and vessels permitted to enter this regulated area must transit at their slowest safe speed and comply with all lawful directions issued by the COTP or the 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 special local regulation. The Coast Guard will issue written Local Notice to Mariners and Broadcast Notice to Mariners via VHF-FM marine channel 16 about the temporary special local regulation.

    B. Impact on Small Entities

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

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

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

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

    C. Collection of Information

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

    D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Governments

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

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

    E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

    F. Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Directive 023-01, which guides 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 the establishment of a special local regulation lasting eleven hours on three days extending a distance of less than three miles that will prohibit entry on all navigable waters of the Clinch River from MM 49.5 to MM 52.0. It is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph L63(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 100

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

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 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. Add § 100.35T08-0096 to read as follows:
    § 100.35T08-0096 Special Local Regulation; Clinch River, Oak Ridge, TN.

    (a) Location. The following area is a temporary special local regulation: All navigable waters of the Clinch River, extending the entire width of the river, between mile marker (MM) 49.5 and MM 52.0, Oak Ridge, TN.

    (b) Effective period. This section is effective from 6 a.m. on March 16, 2018 through 5 p.m. on March 18, 2018.

    (c) Special local regulations.

    (1) Entry into this area is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Sector Ohio Valley (COTP) or a designated representative. A designated representative is a commissioned, warrant, or petty officer of the U.S. Coast Guard assigned to units under the operational control of USCG Sector Ohio Valley.

    (2) Persons or vessels seeking to enter the regulated area must request permission from the COTP or a designated representative on VHF-FM channel 16 or by telephone at 1-800-253-7465.

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

    (d) Informational broadcasts. The COTP or a designated representative will inform the public through local notice to mariners and Broadcast Notices to Mariners of the enforcement period for the regulated area as well as any changes in the planned schedule.

    Dated: March 12, 2018. M.B. Zamperini, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Sector Ohio Valley.
    [FR Doc. 2018-05461 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket No. USCG-2018-0146] Safety Zone; Pittsburgh Pirates Fireworks, Allegheny River, Pittsburgh, PA AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of enforcement of regulation.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard will enforce safety zones for the Pittsburgh Pirates Fireworks on the Allegheny River, extending the entire width of the river, from mile 0.2 to 0.8 in Pittsburgh, PA. The safety zones are necessary to protect vessels transiting the area and event spectators from the hazards associated with the Pittsburgh Pirates barge-based firework displays following certain home games throughout the season. During the enforcement period, entry into, transiting, or anchoring in the safety zones is prohibited to all vessels not registered with the sponsor as participants or official patrol vessels, unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port Marine Safety Unit Pittsburgh (COTP) or a designated representative.

    DATES:

    The regulations in 33 CFR 165.801, Table 1, Line 1 will be enforced from 8 p.m. through 11:59 p.m. each day on April 7, April 28, May 18, June 22, July 28, August 18, and September 21, 2018, unless the firework displays are postponed because of adverse weather, in which case, this rule will be enforced within 48 hours of each scheduled date.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions about this notice of enforcement, call or email MST1 Jennifer Haggins, Marine Safety Unit Pittsburgh, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone 412-221-0807, email [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Coast Guard will enforce the safety zones for the annual Pittsburgh Pirates Fireworks listed in 33 CFR 165.801, Table 1, line 1 from 8 p.m. through 11:59 p.m. each day on April 7, April 28, May 18, June 22, July 28, August 18, and September 21, 2018. Should inclement weather require rescheduling, the safety zone will be effective following games on a rain date to occur within 48 hours of the scheduled date. Entry into the safety zone is prohibited to all vessels not registered with the sponsor as participants or official patrol vessels, unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Marine Safety Unit Pittsburgh (COTP) or a designated representative. Persons or vessels desiring to enter into or pass through the safety zone must request permission from the COTP or a designated representative. If permission is granted, all persons and vessels shall comply with the instructions of the COTP or designated representative.

    This notice of enforcement is issued under authority of 33 CFR 165.801 and 5 U.S.C. 552(a). In addition to this notice of enforcement in the Federal Register, the Coast Guard will provide the maritime community with advance notification of these enforcement periods via Local Notice to Mariners and updates via Marine Information Broadcasts.

    Dated: March 8, 2018. L. McClain, Jr., Commander, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Marine Safety Unit Pittsburgh.
    [FR Doc. 2018-05465 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R01-OAR-2017-0589; FRL-9975-16—Region 1] Air Plan Approval; Vermont; Nonattainment New Source Review and Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permit Program Revisions; Infrastructure Requirements for National Ambient Air Quality Standards AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving several different revisions to the State Implementation Plan (SIP) submitted to the EPA by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (VT DEC). On May 23, 2017, Vermont submitted revisions to the EPA satisfying the VT DEC's earlier commitment to adopt and submit revisions that meet certain requirements of the Federal Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) air permit program. Vermont's submission also included revisions relating to the federal nonattainment new source review (NNSR) permit program. This action approves those revisions and also fully approves certain elements of Vermont's infrastructure SIPs (ISIPs), which were conditionally approved by the EPA on June 27, 2017. Additionally, the EPA is approving several other minor regulatory changes to the SIP submitted by VT DEC on May 23, 2017. This action is being taken in accordance with the Clean Air Act.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective on April 18, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    The EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket Identification No. EPA-R01-OAR-2017-0589. All documents in the docket are listed on the https://www.regulations.gov website. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, i.e., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available at https://www.regulations.gov or at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA New England Regional Office, Office of Ecosystem Protection, Air Quality Planning Unit, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 100, Boston, MA. The EPA requests that if at all possible, you contact the contact listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to schedule your inspection. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding legal holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Eric Wortman, Air Permits, Toxics, and Indoor Programs Unit, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA New England Regional Office, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 100 (Mail Code OEP05-2), Boston, MA 02109-3912, phone number (617) 918-1624, fax number (617) 918-0624, email [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    Table of Contents I. Background and Purpose II. Final Action III. Incorporation by Reference IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Background and Purpose

    On December 18, 2017, the EPA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the State of Vermont. See 82 FR 59997. The NPRM proposed approval of several different revisions to the SIP submitted by the VT DEC. The formal SIP revision was submitted by Vermont on May 23, 2017.

    As discussed in the NPRM, the VT DEC revised the Vermont Air Pollution Control Regulations (APCR) on December 15, 2016 to address the two provisions identified in the EPA's June 27, 2017 conditional approval, which are required under the Federal PSD permit program regulations and were not included in the State's ISIPs submittal. See 82 FR 29005, June 27, 2017. Specifically, the definition of “significant” in APCR § 5-101(80) was revised to define the significant emissions rate increase for ozone as 40 tons or greater of either VOCs or NOX as ozone precursors. In addition, the VT DEC revised APCR sections 5-502(4)(c) and 5-502(5)(a) and (b) to require that PSD increment reviews and the determination of remaining PSD increment be conducted or determined in accordance with the applicable regulations at 40 CFR 51.166.

    The EPA's NPRM also proposed approval into the Vermont SIP of the requirements in Vermont's NNSR and PSD permit program at APCR sections 5-501(9) and 5-502(9). The provision at section 5-501(9) clarifies that no action under section 5-501 relieves any person from complying with any other requirements of local, State, or Federal law. APCR section 5-502(9) requires an alternative site analysis to be conducted when: (1) A source or modification that is major is proposed to be constructed in a non-attainment area; or (2) a source or modification is major for ozone and/or precursors to ozone.

    Additionally, the NPRM proposed to incorporate into the SIP revisions to the regulations relating to particulate matter at APCR sections 5-231(4) and (5). APCR section 5-231(4) was revised to prohibit a process operation to operate without taking reasonable precautions to prevent particulate matter from becoming airborne. APCR section 5-231(5) was revised to update and replace the term “Asphalt Concrete Plant” with the more commonly used term “Hot Mix Asphalt Plant.”

    The EPA also proposed to approve minor revisions to the work practice standards for wood furniture manufacturers and the regulations for sampling and testing of sources. The wood furniture manufacturing regulation at APCR section 5-253.16(d)(8) was amended to limit the use of conventional air spray guns to apply finishing materials only when all emissions from the finishing application station are routed to a functioning control device. The NPRM also proposed to approve changes to the stack testing requirements at APCR section 5-404. This revision adds 40 CFR part 51, Appendix M, as a testing option and requires that all other methods be approved by the Air Pollution Control Officer and the EPA, as opposed to just the Air Pollution Control Officer. The rationale for the EPA's proposed action is explained in the NPRM and will not be restated here. No public comments were received on the NPRM.

    II. Final Action

    The EPA is approving the changes in the May 23, 2017 submittal as a revision to the Vermont SIP. The EPA has determined the revisions in the May 23, 2017 are consistent with the CAA and appropriate for inclusion into the Vermont SIP. We are also converting the June 27, 2017 conditional approval of Vermont's ISIPs for Federal PSD requirements to a full approval.

    III. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rule, the EPA is finalizing regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, the EPA is finalizing the incorporation by reference of the Vermont statutes described in the amendments to 40 CFR part 52 set forth below. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these documents generally available through https://www.regulations.gov.

    IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Under section 307(b)(1) of the Clean Air Act, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by May 18, 2018. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this action for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. This action may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. See section 307(b)(2).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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

    Dated: March 8, 2018. Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Regional Administrator, EPA Region 1.

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

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

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart UU—Vermont 2. In § 52.2370: a. The table in paragraph (c) is amended by revising the entries for “Section 5-101”, “Section 5-231”, “Section 5-253.16”, “Section 5-404”, “Section 5-501”, and “Section 5-502”; and b. The table in paragraph (e) is amended by revising the entries “Infrastructure SIP for 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS”, “Infrastructure SIP for 1997 ozone NAAQS”, “Infrastructure SIP for 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS”, “Infrastructure SIP for the 2008 Lead NAAQS”, “Infrastructure SIP for 2008 ozone NAAQS”, “Infrastructure SIP for the 2010 NO2 NAAQS”, and “Infrastructure SIP for the 2010 SO2 NAAQS”.

    The revisions read as follows:

    § 52.2370 Identification of plan.

    (c) EPA approved regulations.

    EPA-Approved Vermont Regulations State citation Title/subject State effective
  • date
  • EPA approval
  • date
  • Explanations
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * Section 5-101 Definitions December 15, 2016 March 19, 2018 [Insert Federal Register citation] Approving revisions made to definition for “significant” to include emissions of ozone precursors. *         *         *         *         *         *         * Section 5-231 Prohibition of particular matter December 15, 2016 March 19, 2018 [Insert Federal Register citation] Approving revisions to prohibit a process and other specified operations without taking reasonable precautions to prevent particulate matter from becoming airborne, and updating terminology for consistency with industry practice. *         *         *         *         *         *         * Section 5-253.16 Wood Furniture Manufacturing December 15, 2016 March 19, 2018 [Insert Federal Register citation] Approving revisions for consistency with underlying federal regulations. *         *         *         *         *         *         * Section 5-404 Methods for sampling and testing of sources December 15, 2016 March 19, 2018 [Insert Federal Register citation] Approving revisions to provide required methods that must be followed when conducting a stack test. *         *         *         *         *         *         * Section 5-501 Review of construction or modification of air contaminant sources December 15, 2016 March 19, 2018 [Insert Federal Register citation] Approving revisions to Section 5-501(9) to clarify applicability of local, state, or federal law. Section 5-502 Major stationary sources and major modifications December 15, 2016 March 19, 2018 [Insert Federal Register citation] Approving revisions to Section 5-502(4)(c) and 5-502(5)(a) and (b) to provide process for PSD increment review demonstration and to determine increment; Approving revisions to Section 5-502(9) to provide requirement for alternative site analysis if: A source is major for ozone and/or major for precursors to ozone; or (2) a source or modification that is major is proposed to be constructed in a nonattainment area. *         *         *         *         *         *         *

    (e) Nonregulatory.

    Vermont Non-Regulatory Name of non-regulatory
  • SIP provision
  • Applicable
  • geographic or
  • nonattainment
  • area
  • State submittal
  • date/effective
  • date
  • EPA approval
  • date
  • Explanation
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * Infrastructure SIP for 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS Statewide December 15, 2016 March 19, 2018 [Insert Federal Register citation] Certain aspects relating to PSD which were conditionally approved on June 27, 2017 are now fully approved. Infrastructure SIP for 1997 ozone NAAQS Statewide December 15, 2016 March 19, 2018 [Insert Federal Register citation] Certain aspects relating to PSD which were conditionally approved on June 27, 2017 are now fully approved. Infrastructure SIP for 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS Statewide December 15, 2016 March 19, 2018 [Insert Federal Register citation] Certain aspects relating to PSD which were conditionally approved on June 27, 2017 are now fully approved. Infrastructure SIP for the 2008 Lead NAAQS Statewide December 15, 2016 March 19, 2018 [Insert Federal Register citation] Certain aspects relating to PSD which were conditionally approved on June 27, 2017 are now fully approved. Infrastructure SIP for 2008 ozone NAAQS Statewide December 15, 2016 March 19, 2018 [Insert Federal Register citation] Certain aspects relating to PSD which were conditionally approved on June 27, 2017 are now fully approved. Infrastructure SIP for the 2010 NO2 NAAQS Statewide December 15, 2016 March 19, 2018 [Insert Federal Register citation] Certain aspects relating to PSD which were conditionally approved on June 27, 2017 are now fully approved. Infrastructure SIP for the 2010 SO2 NAAQS Statewide December 15, 2016 March 19, 2018 [Insert Federal Register citation] Certain aspects relating to PSD which were conditionally approved on June 27, 2017 are now fully approved. *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    [FR Doc. 2018-05317 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R03-OAR-2017-0555; FRL-9975-64-Region 3] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; West Virginia; Removal of Source-Specific Requirements for Permanently Shutdown Facilities AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving a state implementation plan (SIP) revision submitted by the State of West Virginia. This revision pertains to the removal of source-specific SIP requirements for the following five facilities in West Virginia that have permanently shutdown: Mountaineer Carbon Company; Standard Lafarge; Follansbee Steel Corporation; International Mill Service, Inc.; and Columbian Chemicals Company. These sources have permanently ceased operation; therefore, SIP requirements for these sources are obsolete and no longer necessary for attaining and maintaining the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). EPA is approving this revision in accordance with the requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective on April 18, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID Number EPA-R03-OAR-2017-0555. All documents in the docket are listed on the http://www.regulations.gov website. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., confidential business information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available through http://www.regulations.gov, or please contact the person identified in the “For Further Information Contact” section for additional availability information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Irene Shandruk, (215) 814-2166, or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    The West Virginia SIP at 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 52, subpart XX, section 52.2520(d) contains source-specific requirements, which were incorporated into the West Virginia SIP over the course of many years to allow the State to demonstrate attainment with various NAAQS. Subsequently, several of these sources have permanently ceased operation rendering source-specific requirements for these facilities obsolete.

    SIP revisions pertaining to the removal of obsolete SIP requirements for sources that have permanently shutdown are considered administrative, non-substantive changes. If a source has permanently shutdown, the emissions are permanently reduced to zero, so removing source-specific SIP requirements for that source will not interfere with attainment and maintenance of any NAAQS, reasonable further progress or any other applicable CAA requirement. See CAA section 110(l).

    II. Summary of SIP Revision and EPA Analysis

    On August 25, 2017, West Virginia submitted a SIP revision requesting that the consent orders for the sources listed in Table 1 be removed from the West Virginia SIP located at 40 CFR part 52, subpart XX, section 52.2520(d). On December 5, 2017, EPA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) proposing to approve West Virginia's August 25, 2017 (82 FR 57418) SIP revision.

    Table 1—Source-Specific Requirements Proposed for Removal From the West Virginia SIP Source name Order State effective date EPA approval date/Federal Register (FR) citation Mountaineer Carbon Company Consent Order 7/2/82 9/1/82, 47 FR 38532. Standard Lafarge Consent Order CO-SIP-91-30 11/14/91 7/25/94, 59 FR 37696. Follansbee Steel Corporation Consent Order CO-SIP-91-31 11/14/91 7/25/94, 59 FR 37696. International Mill Service, Inc. Consent Order CO-SIP-91-33 11/14/91 7/25/94, 59 FR 37696. Columbian Chemicals Company Consent Order CO-SIP-2000-3 1/31/00 8/2/00, 65 FR 47339 III. Public Comments and EPA's Responses

    EPA received six public comments on the NPR to approve West Virginia's SIP revision.

    Comment 1: The commenter expressed concern over whether the facilities' emissions would be regulated through monitoring and guidelines if they were to re-open.

    Response 1: CAA section 110(a)(2)(c) and Title I, Parts C and D, as well as CAA sections 172, 173, and 161 require states to implement permit programs consistent with the requirements of the CAA which regulate construction and modification of stationary sources to assure the NAAQS are achieved. These include nonattainment new source review (NSR) and prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) permit programs. West Virginia has federally enforceable NSR and PSD permit programs incorporated in the West Virginia SIP. See 45CSR19 (NSR program approved 80 FR 29973(May 26, 2015)), 45CSR14 (PSD program approved 81 FR 53009 (August 11, 2016)), and 45CSR13 (minor source NSR program approved 79 FR 42213 (July 21, 2014)). All of the facilities listed in the NPR were permanently shut down, but if any were to re-open, or if any new sources were to start operating in West Virginia in the same location, they would need to comply with the requirements of West Virginia's permit programs, as applicable including NSR, PSD or minor NSR. Specifically, West Virginia's rule 45CSR14, “Permits for the Construction and Major Modification of Major Stationary Sources of Air Pollution for the Prevention of Significant Deterioration,” was approved into the West Virginia SIP in 1984 and subsequently revised several times with the latest revision to the SIP in 2015 (81 FR 53009). West Virginia's rule 45CSR13, “Permits for Construction, Modification, or Relocation of Stationary Sources of Air Pollutants, and Procedures for Registration and Evaluation,” requiring construction or modification permits for all regulated stationary emission sources was approved into the West Virginia SIP in 1972 and last updated in 2014 (79 FR 42213). West Virginia's rule 45CSR19, “Requirements for Pre-Construction Review, Determination of Emission Offsets for Proposed New or Modified Stationary Sources of Air Pollutants and Bubble Concept for Intra-Source Pollutants,” for permitting of major sources and modifications in designated nonattainment areas was approved into the West Virginia SIP in 1985 (50 FR 27247) with recent revisions to the rule included in the SIP in 2015 (80 FR 29973). These federally enforceable rules approved into the West Virginia SIP ensure that pollutant-emitting sources are regulated with appropriate and required emission limitations and monitoring requirements as necessary, and that their operation will not prevent West Virginia from attaining or maintaining the NAAQS.

    Comment 2: The commenter expressed concern that wildfires are negatively impacting both public health and the environment, and that more should be done to prevent wildfires.

    Response 2: This comment is irrelevant to this rulemaking. This rulemaking is concerned with removing source-specific requirements from the SIP for permanently shut down facilities in West Virginia. As the comment is neither supportive of, critical of, nor specific to this action, no further response is provided.

    Comment 3: The commenter questioned why the United States is importing gas from Nigeria at Cove Point hurting the American middle class and the working poor.

    Response 3: This comment is irrelevant to this rulemaking. This rulemaking is concerned with removing source-specific requirements from the SIP for permanently shut down facilities in West Virginia. As the comment is neither supportive of, critical of, nor specific to this action, no further response is provided.

    Comment 4: The commenter expressed concern over unnecessary and burdensome regulations, and the regulatory process.

    Response 4: As the comment is neither supportive of, critical of, nor specific to this action, no response is provided. This rulemaking is concerned with removing source-specific requirements from the SIP for permanently shut down facilities in West Virginia.

    Comment 5: The commenter expresses concern over potentially harmful health effects from low frequency electro-magnetic fields and discusses how their use in automobiles amongst other things could be harmful to human health.

    Response 5: This comment is irrelevant to this rulemaking. This rulemaking is concerned with removing source-specific requirements from the SIP for permanently shut down facilities in West Virginia. As the comment is neither supportive of, critical of, nor specific to this action, no further response is provided.

    Comment 6: The commenter asserts that EPA relied on assumptions and false evidence to lead attacks on hydraulic fracturing, and utilized the film industry to create anti-fracking films, all to justify regulating the industry.

    Response 6: This comment is irrelevant to this rulemaking. This rulemaking is concerned with removing source-specific requirements from the SIP for permanently shut down facilities in West Virginia. As the comment is neither supportive of, critical of, nor specific to this action, no further response is provided.

    IV. Final Action

    EPA has reviewed West Virginia's SIP revision seeking removal of obsolete source-specific SIP requirements from the West Virginia SIP. These five sources have permanently ceased operation, rendering source-specific SIP requirements for these sources obsolete. EPA has confirmed that all permits have been surrendered and are inactive. Therefore, EPA is approving the West Virginia August 25, 2017 SIP revision, which sought removal of source-specific revisions related to five now closed facilities, in accordance with section 110 of the CAA. As the five sources permanently shutdown, their emissions are permanently eliminated, so removing the source-specific SIP requirements for these sources will not interfere with attainment and maintenance of any NAAQS, reasonable further progress or any other applicable CAA requirement in accordance with CAA section 110(l).

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews A. General Requirements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In addition, this rule does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), because the SIP is not approved to apply in Indian country located in the State, and EPA notes that it will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law. B. Submission to Congress and the Comptroller General

    The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., as added by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, generally provides that before a rule may take effect, the agency promulgating the rule must submit a rule report, which includes a copy of the rule, to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. Section 804, however, exempts from section 801 the following types of rules: Rules of particular applicability; rules relating to agency management or personnel; and rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice that do not substantially affect the rights or obligations of non-agency parties. 5 U.S.C. 804(3). Because this is a rule of particular applicability, EPA is not required to submit a rule report regarding this action under section 801.

    C. Petitions for Judicial Review

    Under section 307(b)(1) of the CAA, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by May 18, 2018. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this action for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. This action pertaining to removal of source-specific requirements from the West Virginia SIP may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. (See section 307(b)(2).)

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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

    Dated: March 6, 2018. Cosmo Servidio, Regional Administrator, Region III.

    40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows:

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

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart XX—West Virginia
    § 52.2520 [Amended]
    2. In § 52.2520, the table in paragraph (d) is amended by removing the entries for “Mountaineer Carbon Co,” “Standard Lafarge,” “Follansbee Steel Corp,” “International Mill Service, Inc,” and “Columbian Chemicals Company.”
    [FR Doc. 2018-05404 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 46 CFR Part 4 [Docket No. USCG-2016-0748] RIN 1625-AC33 Marine Casualty Reporting Property Damage Thresholds AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is amending the monetary property damage threshold amounts for reporting a marine casualty and for reporting a type of marine casualty called a “serious marine incident.” The original regulations that set these dollar threshold amounts were written in the 1980s and have not been updated since that time. Because the monetary thresholds for reporting have not kept pace with inflation, vessel owners and operators have been required to report relatively minor casualties. Additionally, the original regulations require mandatory drug and alcohol testing following a serious marine incident. As a result, vessel owners and operators are conducting testing for casualties that are less significant than those intended to be captured by the original regulations. Updating the original regulations will reduce the burden on vessel owners and operators, and will also reduce the amount of Coast Guard resources expended to investigate these incidents.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective April 18, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For information about this document, call or email LCDR Baxter B. Smoak, CG-INV, Coast Guard; telephone 202-372-1223, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Contents for Preamble I. Abbreviations II. Background, Basis, and Purpose III. Regulatory History IV. Discussion of Final Rule V. Discussion of Comments and Changes A. Dollar Threshold Amounts for Reporting Marine Casualties B. Dollar Threshold Amounts for Reporting SMIs C. Periodic Adjustments of the Threshold Amounts for Reporting Marine Casualties and SMIs D. Loss of Marine Casualty Data E. Amending the Dollar Amount Thresholds for Outer Continental Shelf Casualty Reporting in Title 33 of the CFR F. Use of the CPI-U to Determine Reporting Threshold Amounts G. Nonsubstantive Changes to Reflect Updated CG-2692, Report of Marine Casualty, Commercial Diving Casualty, or OCS-related Casualty VI. 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. Abbreviations BLS Bureau of Labor Statistics CFR Code of Federal Regulations COI Collection of Information CPI-U Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers DHS Department of Homeland Security MISLE Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking OCMI Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection OCS Outer Continental Shelf OMB Office of Management and Budget PVA Passenger Vessel Association RA Regulatory analysis SMI Serious marine incident SNPRM Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking. U.S.C. United States Code § Section symbol II. Background, Basis, and Purpose

    Pursuant to 46 U.S.C. 6101, the Coast Guard is required to prescribe regulations on marine casualty reporting and the manner of reporting. Based on this authority, we developed regulations in part 4 of title 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) that included, among other criteria, monetary property damage threshold amounts for reporting a “serious marine incident” 1 (SMI) and for reporting a marine casualty.2 The original regulations setting these property damage threshold amounts were developed in the 1980s, and they have not been updated since that time. With this final rule, we update the dollar threshold amounts for property damage in 46 CFR 4.03-2(a)(3) and 4.05-1(a)(7) to account for inflation.

    1 46 CFR 4.03-2.

    2 46 CFR 4.05-1.

    As described in greater detail in the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), there is Coast Guard and stakeholder consensus that the 1980s property damage monetary threshold amounts listed in 46 CFR 4.03-2 and 4.05-1 have not kept pace with inflation.3 Over time, this has resulted in the reporting of a greater number of casualties involving relatively minor property damage. It was never our intent to require owners or operators to notify us of casualties involving relatively minor property damage. Consequently, we are amending the property damage monetary threshold amounts to eliminate the reporting of insignificant property damage incidents.

    3 82 FR 7755, page 7756.

    Additionally, because the regulations require mandatory drug and alcohol testing following an SMI, current regulations require chemical testing of crewmembers for casualties that reach a minimum threshold of $100,000 in property damage. Because of cost increases caused by inflation, however, casualties that result in property damage between $100,000 and $200,000 are no longer representative of a “serious” incident. The lack of inflation updates to our marine casualty regulations has resulted in an additional administrative and financial burden on vessel owners and operators, as well as on Coast Guard resources used to investigate these incidents.

    III. Regulatory History

    On January 23, 2017, the Coast Guard published an NPRM with request for comments. No public meeting was requested, and none was held.

    IV. Discussion of Final Rule

    This final rule changes the reportable marine casualty property damage threshold amount in 46 CFR 4.05-1(a)(7) from $25,000 to $75,000. In the NPRM, we proposed to make this threshold $72,000, but chose $75,000 for reasons explained in the next section of this preamble. This final rule also changes the SMI property damage threshold in 46 CFR 4.03-2(a)(3) from $100,000 to $200,000. This change is the same as that proposed in the NPRM.

    With the dollar amount thresholds updated to account for inflation, we expect there will be a decrease in the number of commercial vessel casualties reported to the Coast Guard. The updates in this final rule will also likely decrease the number of casualties that fall within the definition of an SMI, and thereby reduce the number of chemical tests administered following an SMI that results in $100,000.01 to $200,000 worth of property damage. However, mandatory chemical testing will still be required if the property damage meets the updated dollar threshold amount (in excess of $200,000) established in this final rule. Our intent in setting a dollar amount threshold in our marine casualty reporting regulation and within the definition of “serious marine incident” was, and remains, to ensure that the Coast Guard is aware of those incidents that could be indicative of more serious problems that may be averted in the future with timely intervention.

    We expect that this final rule will result in an estimated annual cost savings to industry of $40,809 due to a reduction in the hourly burden of reporting and recordkeeping for both marine casualties and SMIs, and an estimated annual cost savings of $4,751 for chemical testing for marine casualties designated as SMIs. This final rule will also result in cost savings to the Coast Guard by reducing the hourly burden costs to investigate marine casualties, as well as the costs associated with processing marine casualty forms. As a result, the maritime industry and Coast Guard resources will be able to focus their efforts on higher consequence incidents.

    Finally, this final rule makes several nonsubstantive changes throughout 46 CFR part 4 to account for Office of Management and Budget (OMB)-approved updates to forms that the maritime industry uses to report on marine casualties and SMIs. The Coast Guard provides further detail of these non-substantive changes below in Part V.G, Discussion of Comments and Changes.

    V. Discussion of Comments and Changes

    We received 45 public comments. The comments were from individuals representing 25 private companies and 6 trade associations, and 1 anonymous source. Two of these private companies had two individuals submit comments on their behalf, and 11 individuals representing one of the other private companies submitted separate letters. Additionally, one of the trade associations submitted two identical letters from the same individual. We reviewed and took into consideration all 45 comments. The majority of commenters agreed with the NPRM that the current dollar thresholds for reporting marine casualties and SMIs are outdated and should be increased. Some commenters agreed with each of the increased dollar threshold amounts proposed in the NPRM. Other commenters recommended increasing the proposed dollar threshold amount for reporting a marine casualty; of this group, most also recommended increasing the proposed dollar threshold amount for reporting an SMI. Still others recommended including a means to periodically adjust or revise the dollar threshold amounts to make sure they continue to stay current. One commenter recommended that the Coast Guard include within the docket “examples of the casualties which will no longer be reported” as a result of the increase in the dollar threshold amount for property damage. Another commenter suggested that the proposal to increase the dollar threshold amounts for reporting casualties and SMIs be extended to the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) regulations in 33 CFR part 146, so that the reporting threshold amounts in both CFR titles will be “standardized.” Finally, one commenter suggested that our method of calculating the inflationary adjustment using the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) yielded outdated figures, and that there may be other reference indices that would produce more accurate results.

    We have grouped these comments into the following categories:

    • Dollar Threshold Amounts for Reporting Marine Casualties;

    • Dollar Threshold Amounts for Reporting SMIs;

    • Periodic Adjustments of the Threshold Amounts for Reporting Marine Casualties and SMIs;

    • Loss of Marine Casualty Data;

    • Amending the Dollar Amount Thresholds for Outer Continental Shelf Casualty Reporting in Title 33 of the CFR; and

    • Use of the CPI-U to Determine Reporting Threshold Amounts.

    A detailed discussion of these comments and our responses follows.

    A. Dollar Threshold Amounts for Reporting Marine Casualties

    Four commenters agreed with the increased dollar threshold amounts exactly as proposed in the NPRM. Of the four commenters, three had additional comments unrelated to the specific dollar threshold amounts. Those comments are addressed in the following discussions and responses.

    One commenter recommended increasing the proposed dollar threshold amount of $72,000 for a marine casualty to a “more memorable figure of $75,000 or $100,000.”

    Coast Guard Response: We agree with the commenters that $75,000 and $100,000 represent figures that are easier to remember than $72,000. However, we do not agree with changing the property damage threshold to $100,000. As we explained in the NPRM, the Coast Guard, in arriving at the proposed threshold amount of $72,000, calculated the inflation adjustment factor using the CPI-U. Changing the threshold amount to $100,000 would not be consistent with our intent to update the reporting threshold based on the rate of inflation experienced since implementation of the original rule. Changing the dollar threshold to $75,000, however, is consistent with that intent and, as the commenter noted, is an easier dollar figure to remember. Additionally, based on our casualty data, we believe that the difference in reporting data between $72,000 and $75,000 will be negligible and, for the reasons explained in the Regulatory Analysis (RA) section of this final rule (Section VI), the affected population of this rule remains unchanged from the NPRM. In this final rule, therefore, we have changed the marine casualty reporting threshold for property damage to $75,000.

    B. Dollar Threshold Amounts for Reporting SMIs

    Thirty-six commenters recommended increasing the proposed dollar threshold amount for reporting an SMI to $400,000, citing suggestions from the Passenger Vessel Association (PVA). In support of its recommendation for the Coast Guard to change the dollar amount of an SMI from the proposed $200,000 to $400,000, the PVA explains that the 1:4 ratio between the existing dollar amount threshold for marine casualty reporting ($25,000) and the existing dollar amount threshold for a “serious marine incident” ($100,000) should be maintained under the final rule.

    Coast Guard Response: We do not agree with the 1:4 ratio suggested by the PVA and their members. While the original thresholds did have a 1:4 ratio, this relationship was not by design, nor was it our intention to tie the threshold numbers together in this manner or to suggest that a 1:4 ratio is optimal and should be maintained. Changing the property damage threshold amount to $400,000 for an SMI, as recommended by the commenters and the PVA, would not be consistent with our intent to update the threshold amount based on the rate of inflation experienced since implementation of the original rule.

    C. Periodic Adjustments of the Threshold Amounts for Reporting Marine Casualties and SMIs

    Thirty-seven commenters recommended including in the final rule a provision for periodically adjusting both threshold amounts to account for inflation, so that the Coast Guard will not be required to initiate future rulemakings to update the threshold amounts. Of these, one commenter pointed out that the Coast Guard was “using the same CPI-U numbers to calculate and revise the damage thresholds that they currently employ for their civil penalty adjustments.” Therefore, the commenter suggested, we should include in the final rule a provision to “revise [the dollar threshold amounts for both a marine casualty and an SMI] using the same rate increase schedule as those for civil penalty updates.”

    Coast Guard Response: We do not plan to establish automatic, periodic inflation adjustments to these property damage threshold amounts because the cost increase due to annual inflation may be too insignificant to warrant an adjustment every year. Frequent adjustments could also lead to confusion in what is to be reported. Additionally, the maritime industry may also be burdened with updating training and operational materials. We recognize, however, that these dollar amount thresholds should be reviewed more frequently than in the past to account for annual inflation. To that end, we will incorporate a 5-year evaluation period in our internal Mission Management System audits to ensure that the Coast Guard reviews the appropriateness of these dollar threshold amounts on a regular, recurring basis.

    D. Loss of Marine Casualty Data

    One anonymous commenter did not express support for or opposition to the NPRM, but was concerned that an increase in the dollar threshold amounts would mean a loss of data for those casualties whose property damage amounts fall below the proposed thresholds. For those casualties, the commenter believed the Coast Guard would not have the necessary information to identify problems that may need attention. The commenter recommended that the Coast Guard “provide supplemental information to the docket which provides examples of the casualties which will no longer be reported,” and stated that this information should be available to the public “because it was the data the Coast Guard used to determine that the current thresholds are not adequate and would clearly convey what type of data would no longer need to be reported.”

    Coast Guard Response: We understand and appreciate the commenter's concerns. However, we are changing the reporting thresholds only as they relate to property damage. We feel that the various types of reportable casualties detailed in 46 CFR 4.05-1 ensure we are made aware of those incidents that could indicate more serious problems and that may be averted in the future with timely intervention. These include groundings, bridge allisions, loss of propulsion or steering, certain equipment failures, incidents resulting in significant harm to the environment, fire or flooding that adversely affects the vessel's seaworthiness or fitness for service, injuries beyond first aid, and loss of life—regardless of property damage cost. Nevertheless, we understand that, under this final rule, there will be casualties that involve property damage alone that will no longer be reported to the Coast Guard. An example of such a casualty would be if a vessel allides with a pier, and the resulting initial estimated property damage to the vessel and pier structure is any amount between $25,000.01 and $75,000. Assuming no pollution, deaths, injuries, or other reportable criteria is met, this casualty would no longer be a reportable marine casualty under this final rule. In reviewing historical data from the Coast Guard's Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE) database, we are confident that the casualties reported that involve only property damage under $75,000 are relatively minor in nature when compared to all other reportable marine casualties. A specific example that epitomizes this occurred aboard a moored foreign containership. In this reportable marine casualty, a container being loaded by a longshoreman using a shore-side crane struck the forward mast of the vessel, resulting in over $66,000 in damage. Under this final rule, a relatively minor incident like this will no longer be reported to the Coast Guard.

    E. Amending the Dollar Amount Thresholds for Outer Continental Shelf Casualty Reporting in Title 33 of the CFR

    One commenter, speaking on behalf of the International Association of Drilling Contractors, recommended that the increased dollar threshold amount for reporting a marine casualty, as proposed in the NPRM, also be applied to OCS facilities under 33 CFR part 146. If the Coast Guard makes the proposed changes only in 46 CFR part 4, and not also in 33 CFR part 146, the commenter stated that the Coast Guard would “appear to be penalizing” OCS facilities, which would continue to be required to report under the original dollar threshold amount of $25,000. The commenter referred to a “second related rulemaking (USCG-2013-1057) in progress that proposes to broaden the regulatory requirements for reporting marine casualties on the U.S. OCS,” and suggested that the Coast Guard review the marine casualty dollar threshold amounts in both 33 and 46 CFR “with a view towards standardization.”

    Coast Guard Response: The commenter is correct that, because this final rule is limited to vessels (see 46 CFR 4.03-1 and 4.05-1), it does not affect the reporting threshold for OCS facilities. Changing the $25,000 casualty damage threshold amount applicable to OCS facilities is not within the scope of the rule we proposed, and we think it is important to finalize the changes for vessels rather than delay them in order to propose changes for OCS facilities. However, we acknowledge the validity of the commenter's concern, and we will consider amending the threshold reporting amount applicable to OCS facilities in a future rulemaking.

    F. Use of the CPI-U To Determine Reporting Threshold Amounts

    One commenter who was generally supportive of the NPRM stated that the method we used to calculate inflationary adjustment by comparing the average CPI-U for the base years with the average CPI-U for 2015 yielded outdated information. The commenter pointed out that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) inflation calculator, available online at the BLS website, allows users to compare base year values to values for 2017. Therefore, the commenter contends, the threshold amount for reporting a marine casualty as proposed in the NPRM is “already outdated by two years.” The commenter recommended raising the threshold amounts for a marine casualty and an SMI to $100,000 and $400,000, respectively.

    Coast Guard Response: As stated previously, we agree that since the NPRM was published, more recentCPI-U data is available. However, we disagree with using the CPI-U BLS calculator to update to 2017. When using the BLS calculator to update to 2017, the calculator updates to the last available month of 2017 data. The CPI-U could have an unusual increase or decrease in 1 month that is not representative of the overall trend in the CPI-U over the full year. We take an average of the 12 months of CPI-U data for the latest full year of data to better represent the overall trend in CPI-U. We disagree with using 2017 data because it would provide an incomplete year of data. The last full year of CPI-U data available at the time of analysis was 2016. We have updated this final rule in a way that encompasses the 2016 CPI-U data.

    Thirty-six commenters, citing suggestions from the PVA, recommended increasing the threshold for reporting marine casualties to $100,000, stating that the proposed figure of $72,000 “is already outdated because the (Coast Guard's) calculation used 2015 as the year inputted into the CPI-U BLS calculator.” The PVA and many of these commenters also expressed the belief that the CPI-U may not be the right index to use and that the $100,000 threshold reflects real, but non-CPI cost, “inflation” because of overtime and seasonality of repairs.

    Coast Guard Response: While we agree that more recent CPI-U data is available since the publication of the NPRM, we decline to use 2017 data when computing the inflation adjustment factor using the BLS CPI-U calculator because doing so would provide an incomplete year of data. The last full year of CPI-U data is 2016, and using 2016 data instead of 2015 data does not result in an inflation-adjusted amount larger than the $75,000 figure already discussed. Specifically, if we calculate the inflation adjustment by comparing the average CPI-U for the base year 1980 (82.408) with the average CPI-U for 2016 (240.007), we find a resultant inflation adjustment factor of 1.912.4 This inflation adjustment factor represents how much inflation has occurred since 1980. We multiply this inflation adjustment factor of 1.912 by the current threshold of $25,000 to calculate the raw inflation increment of $47,800. We then add this raw inflation to the original penalty of $25,000, which results in a threshold of $72,800. When rounding to the nearest thousand, this results in a revised threshold of $73,000. Accordingly, for the reasons mentioned above and in response to public comment, we are rounding to the nearest $5,000 to attain a more memorable dollar amount of $75,000.

    4 CPI Detailed Report, Data for December 2016, Table 24. http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpid1512.pdf.

    The PVA states in its comment that it was not able to identify a single index that best fits the maritime industry. We agree that there is not a source that best fits the maritime industry. Because of this, we use the CPI-U to adjust the monetary property thresholds. The CPI is the most widely used and accepted index produced by the BLS to measure the average change over time in prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of goods and services. Among other uses, the CPI serves as an economic indicator of the effectiveness of government economic policy, as a means of adjusting income payments, such as Social Security and military benefits, and automatic wage increases in the private sector, and as a means of adjusting Federal income tax brackets.5 The specific CPI the Coast Guard uses is the unadjusted All Items CPI-U. The CPI-U is the “broadest and most comprehensive CPI” and, using unadjusted data, is more appropriate for this purpose because seasonally adjusted CPI data is subject to revision for up to 5 years after their original release, making such data difficult to use for adjustment purposes.6 The CPI-U represents about 89 percent of the total U.S. population and is based on the expenditures of all families in urban areas,7 which includes almost all residents of urban or metropolitan areas, such as professionals, the self-employed, the poor, the unemployed, and retired persons, as well as urban wage earners and clerical workers.

    5 BLS, Chapter 17: The Consumer Price Index, page 5, https://www.bls.gov/opub/hom/pdf/homch17.pdf.

    6 BLS, Consumer Price Index Frequently Asked Questions, https://www.bls.gov/cpi/questions-and-answers.htm#Question_13.

    7 BLS, How To Use the Consumer Price Index for Escalation, https://www.bls.gov/cpi/factsheets/escalation.htm.

    G. Nonsubstantive Changes To Reflect Updated CG-2692, Report of Marine Casualty, Commercial Diving Casualty, or OCS-Related Casualty

    Finally, after publication of the NPRM, we realized that we failed to include within the NPRM's proposed changes updates to the CG-2692 forms that OMB approved on September 29, 2016. OMB's approval was preceded by two Federal Register notices in which the Coast Guard sought public comment to these changes.8 The changes to Form CG-2692 involved revising its title and moving certain sections to two new addendum forms. In this final rule, therefore, we are making nonsubstantive changes throughout 46 CFR part 4 to reflect the recently approved updates to the CG-2692 forms.9 Because the changes to the CG-2692 forms are non-substantive, and a separate opportunity to comment on the forms was provided through the OMB approval process that is now complete, the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to bypass prior notice and comment on the nonsubstantive changes to 46 CFR part 4 in this final rule.

    8 80 FR 64430 and 81 FR 5774.

    9 This final rule makes nonsubstantive changes to sections 4.05-10, 4.05-12, 4.06-3, 4.06-5, 4.06-30, and 4.06-60.

    VI. Regulatory Analyses

    We developed this final rule after considering numerous statutes and Executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on these statutes or Executive orders.

    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 rule a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, OMB has not reviewed it. OMB considers this rule to be an Executive Order 13771 deregulatory action. See OMB's Memorandum “Guidance Implementing Executive Order 13771, Titled `Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs' ” (April 5, 2017). An RA follows.

    In the NPRM, we proposed to revise the dollar threshold amount for reporting a marine casualty from $25,000 to $72,000. After considering public comments, we decided to increase the dollar threshold amount to $75,000. This RA incorporates the new threshold amount. We reviewed the incident investigation data from the Coast Guard's MISLE database used to estimate the affected population, and found from 2012 through 2014, there were a total of four marine casualty reports where the only outcome was property damage of $72,000.01 through $75,000. After accounting for rounding, these four additional marine casualty reports over the three year period were not substantial enough to change the approximately 5.3 percent of the 5,967 (or 316) fewer marine casualty reports we expect will be required per year after implementation of this final rule. Therefore, the affected population of this final rule remains unchanged from that of the NPRM.

    We also updated the wage rates using BLS 2016 data. Table 1 summarizes the changes from the NPRM to this final rule, and the resultant impact on the RA.

    Table 1—Summary of Changes From NPRM to Final Rule Element of the analysis NPRM Final rule Resulting impact on RA Replace reportable marine casualty threshold Replaced $25,000 with $72,000 Replaced $25,000 with $75,000 No impact. Water transportation worker wage rate $47.60, using May 2015 and 2016 1st quarter BLS data $50.84, using May 2016 and 2016 4th quarter BLS data Increased industry costs and resulting industry benefits.

    This RA provides an evaluation of the economic impacts associated with this final rule. Under this final rule, the Coast Guard is updating the reportable marine casualty dollar threshold in § 4.05-1(a)(7) of 46 CFR from $25,000 to $75,000, and the reportable SMI dollar threshold in § 4.03-2(a)(3) of 46 CFR from $100,000 to $200,000, to account for inflation, as discussed in Section IV of this final rule. Table 2 provides a summary of the affected population, costs, and benefits after implementation of this final rule.

    Table 2—Summary of the Impacts of the Final Rule Category Summary Applicability Replace the reportable marine casualty dollar threshold of $25,000 with $75,000. Replace the SMI dollar threshold of $100,000 with $200,000. Affected Population Owners, agents, masters, operators, or persons in charge involved in a marine casualty and crewmembers who are required to undergo chemical testing. Annual average of 316 vessel owners, operators, or their representatives reporting a marine casualty, 21 marine employers reporting an SMI and submitting chemical testing results to the Coast Guard, and an average of 32 vessel crewmembers will no longer be required to complete chemical testing. Costs No quantitative costs. Benefits (Cost Savings) $45,560 annualized and $319,994 10-year present value monetized industry benefits (cost savings) (7% discount rate). $637,688 annualized and $4,478,854 10-year present value monetized government benefits (cost savings) (7% discount rate). Total of industry and government benefits: $683,248 annualized and $4,798,848 10-year present value monetized combined benefits (cost savings) (7% discount rate). Affected Population

    This final rule affects the owners, agents, masters, operators, or persons in charge of a commercial vessel who, pursuant to 46 CFR 4.05-1, are required to notify the Coast Guard whenever a vessel is involved in a marine casualty and whenever crewmembers, pursuant to 46 CFR 4.06-3, are required to complete chemical testing following an SMI. Specifically, the regulations in this final rule affect those individuals who would have completed the necessary forms (CG-2692 series) to report a marine casualty where the only outcome was property damage of $25,000.01 through $75,000, or an SMI with property damage of $100,000.01 through $200,000 (CG-2692 series, supplemented with an appended SMI written report (CG-2692B)).10

    10 “Report of Required Chemical Drug and Alcohol Testing Following a Serious Marine Incident.” See, 46 CFR 4.05-10.

    We used incident investigation data from the Coast Guard's MISLE database from 2012 through 2014 11 to estimate the average number of vessel crewmembers affected by this final rule. From 2012 through 2014, we found there was an average of 5,967 reports of a marine casualty per year, with one individual per vessel, who we assume to be a vessel crewmember, completing each report. An average of 271, or 4.5 percent of the annual 5,967 marine casualty reports, involved an SMI.

    11 This 3-year time period was used to be consistent with the existing Collection of Information, entitled “Report of Marine Casualty & Chemical Testing of Commercial Vessel Personnel,” which has OMB Control Number 1625-0001. Furthermore, as it often takes years to close the cases, 2014 is the most recent complete year of closed cases.

    Of the 5,967 marine casualty reports, 5.3 percent were for a reportable marine casualty where the only outcome was property damage of $25,000.01 through $75,000. Therefore, we expect that an average of 316 fewer reports of marine casualties will be required per year (5,967 reports × 5.3 percent, rounded). Vessel owners and operators benefit from a reduction in the time burden associated with a crewmember no longer having to prepare and submit the required marine casualty reporting paperwork.

    Of the 271 casualty reports that involved an SMI, 7.9 percent were cases in which the sole outcome of the SMI was property damage of $100,000.01 through $200,000. Based on that annual average, the revisions in this final rule will result in a reduction of 21 SMI written reports (CG-2692B) per year due to the change to the monetary threshold amount for an SMI involving property damage (271 reports × 7.9 percent, rounded). Because property damage of $100,000.01 through $200,000 exceeds the threshold for a reportable marine casualty, the forms for a marine casualty report (CG-2692 series) will still need to be completed under this final rule. However, marine employers will no longer be required to complete the additional paperwork required for an SMI written report (CG-2692B). Consequently, marine employers benefit from a reduction in the time burden associated with an SMI written report (CG-2692B), as well as cost savings associated with chemical testing.

    Benefit or Cost Savings to Industry

    The benefit or cost savings to industry is the difference between the current baseline cost to industry and the cost to industry after implementation of this final rule.

    Current Reporting Cost to Industry for CG-2692 and CG-2692B

    To estimate the benefit to industry, we first estimate the current cost to industry. The cost to industry includes costs for reporting and recordkeeping for a reportable marine casualty and the costs for chemical testing for marine casualties designated as SMIs. The reporting and recordkeeping costs for marine casualties include the time to complete the forms (CG-2692 series) for a marine casualty, the time for 10 percent of the forms to be internally reviewed before submission, and the time to complete the additional SMI written report (CG-2692B) pursuant to 46 CFR 4.06-60(a) when a marine casualty is designated as an SMI. The time estimates and wage rates for reporting and recordkeeping are taken from the existing Collection of Information (COI), entitled “Marine Casualty Information & Periodic Chemical Drug and Alcohol Testing of Commercial Vessel Personnel,” which has OMB Control Number 1625-0001.12 We use the same time estimates and wage rates in this analysis to maintain consistency and to capture the changes resulting from this final rule.

    12 Existing Collection of Information, “Marine Casualty Information & Periodic Chemical Drug and Alcohol Testing of Commercial Vessel Personnel”, OMB Control Number 1625-0001, Docket Number USCG-2015-0910, can be found at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2015/10/23/2015-27019/information-collection-request-to-office-of-management-and-budget-omb-control-number-1625-0001.

    An average of 5,967 marine casualty reports are submitted annually by vessel owners or operators. For each reportable marine casualty, we estimated in the existing COI that it takes 1 hour for a vessel crewmember to complete the necessary forms (CG-2692 series). We estimated in the existing COI that the position of vessel crewmember is analogous to a government employee at the grade level of a GS-03. The fully loaded wage rate for a GS-03 is $26 per hour, according to Commandant Instruction 7310.1P, “Reimbursable Standard Rates.” 13 We use this version to maintain consistency with the existing COI 1625-0001. The annual baseline cost to complete the current 5,967 CG-2692 series forms is $155,142 (5,967 marine casualty reports × $26).

    13 Out of Government Rate for GS-03. Hourly Rates for Personnel ($), Enclosure (2) to Commandant Instruction 7310.1P.

    We estimate that it takes, on average, 1 hour to complete the CG-2692 series of forms. However, we received public comments in 2011 on the existing COI number 1625-0001 that stated that completing Form CG-2692 takes more than 1 hour, and one commenter stated that it can take up to 8 to 12 hours to complete the form.14 The reason for this difference is that some entities choose to have the forms reviewed by shoreside personnel, such as an attorney, prior to submission to the Coast Guard. We adjusted our burden estimate to account for this additional layer of review. To account for this additional time, 10 percent of the forms submitted have 10 hours of additional burden. The additional time reflects internal review by individuals employed by the vessel owner or operator in addition to the vessel crewmember who completes the form. The additional reviewers may be shoreside representatives, port engineers, and attorneys, among others. We estimate that the wage rate for this added review is done by personnel analogous to a government employee at the grade level of a GS-14. The fully loaded wage rate for a GS-14 is $101 per hour, per Commandant Instruction 7310.1P. The total annual cost of this additional time is $602,970 (597 marine casualty reports × 10 additional burden hours × $101).

    14 Docket ID: USCG-2011-0710. Comments can be found at https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=USCG-2011-0710.

    When a marine casualty is designated as an SMI, the marine employer must also complete a “Report of Mandatory Chemical Testing Following A Serious Marine Incident Involving Vessels in Commercial Service” (Form CG-2692B). (See 46 CFR 4.06-60.) We estimate that it takes 0.5 hours for a marine employer analogous to a government employee at the grade level of a GS-03 to complete this form. The annual cost to complete CG-2692B is $3,523 (271 SMI reports × 0.5 hours × $26 per hour wage rate).

    Table 3 shows a summary of the current industry costs for reporting and recordkeeping.

    Table 3—Current Annual Industry Costs for Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirement Crewmembers/
  • responses
  • Burden hours per response Annual hour burden Wage rate Annual cost burden
    Written report of marine casualty 5,967 1.0 5,967 $26 $155,142 Additional Burden for 10% of Respondents 597 10.0 5,970 101 602,970 SMI written report 271 0.5 136 26 3,523 Totals 12,073 761,635

    As mentioned earlier in this final rule, when a marine casualty is designated as an SMI, the crewmembers involved are required to take a chemical test pursuant to 46 CFR 4.06-3. The marine employer incurs costs for the actual costs of the chemical test and the time it takes for a crewmember to take the chemical test. The actual cost of the chemical test includes the costs of the chemical test collection kits, collector fees, Coast Guard alcohol-testing swabs, and overnight mailing. These costs can vary, but on average, the actual chemical test costs approximately $100 per test.15 The number of vessel crewmembers required to take a chemical test can vary depending on the circumstances of the SMI. We analyzed the casualty reports that involved an SMI from MISLE data and found an average of 1.5 crewmembers per SMI were required to take a chemical test. We used an estimate of 1.5 crewmembers to estimate the costs of chemical testing to account for the variation in crewmembers involved in SMIs. With an average of 271 SMIs per year, the current annual cost for the actual chemical tests is $40,650 (271 SMIs × average of 1.5 crewmembers × $100 per test).

    15 Most marine employers use a consortium that simplifies and reduces the costs per test and also assists in managing a company's drug-testing program. There are variables associated with the cost of testing, as costs can vary depending on the number of personnel included in a plan and the type of testing plan adopted by a particular company. Based on discussions with industry and Coast Guard medical testing, contract data that are not publically available, we estimated testing costs of $79 and $114. We are, therefore, using an average cost of $100 for this analysis [($79 + $114)/2, rounded].

    In addition to the cost of the chemical tests, there is a cost associated with the time it takes a vessel crewmember to complete the chemical test. We estimate that it takes 1 hour for a crewmember to complete the chemical test.16 We obtained the wage rate of the crewmember from BLS, using Occupational Series 53-5000, Water Transportation Workers (May 2016). The BLS reports that the mean hourly wage rate for a water transportation worker is $33.45.17 To account for employee benefits, we use a load factor of 1.52, which we calculated from 2016 4th quarter BLS data.18 The loaded wage for a crewmember is estimated at $50.84 ($33.45 wage rate × 1.52 load factor). The cost of the time for a crewmember to take the chemical test is $20,666 (271 SMIs × average of 1.5 crewmembers × 1 hour burden × $50.84 wage rate). Therefore, the current annual cost to industry for chemical testing is $61,316 (see table 4). Adding the costs for chemical testing of $61,316 to the cost for reporting and recordkeeping of $761,635 (see table 3), brings the current total annual cost to industry to $822,951.

    16 Hourly estimate is from Coast Guard subject matter experts, and takes into account that these are not planned tests, but instead are emergent tests—required as a result of accidents—that must be taken no later than 32 hours after the incident.

    17 Mean wage, https://www.bls.gov/oes/2016/may/naics3_483000.htm. Because the crewmembers taking the chemical testing could be anyone from a junior deck officer up to a Master/Captain/Chief Engineer, we use the broader Water Transportation Worker (53-5000).

    18 Employer Costs for Employee Compensation provides information on the employer compensation and can be found in Table 9 at https://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/ecec_03172017.pdf. http://data.bls.gov/data/. The loaded wage factor is equal to the total compensation of $28.15 divided by the wages and salary of $18.53. Values for the total compensation, wages, and salary are for all private industry workers in the transportation and material moving occupations, 2016 4th quarter.

    Table 4—Current Annual Industry Costs for Chemical Testing SMIs per year Average
  • crewmembers
  • tested per
  • SMI
  • Cost of testing procedures Hours to take test Wage rate Total cost
  • of testing
  • procedures
  • 271 1.5 $100 1 $50.84 $61,316
    Total Reporting Costs to Industry After Implementation of the Final Rule

    Increasing the dollar threshold amount for a reportable marine casualty involving property damage, as well as the dollar threshold amount for property damage within the definition of a “serious marine incident,” reduces the number of marine casualty responses by 5.3 percent, and the number of SMIs by 7.9 percent, annually. The burden hours per response remain the same, but we estimate that the total number of responses decreases to 5,651 for marine casualties and 250 for SMIs, resulting in 316 fewer reported marine casualties and 21 fewer SMIs. The following sections replicate the calculation of marine casualty reporting and chemical testing, but reflect the reduced number of reports and testing under the revised thresholds.

    For each reportable marine casualty, we estimate that it takes 1 hour for a vessel crewmember to complete all parts of the necessary forms at a wage rate of $26. We estimate that the cost to complete the reduced number of marine casualty forms is $146,926 (5,651 marine casualty reports × $26).

    In addition to the time needed to complete the marine casualty forms, some of the forms require additional processing time. The additional processing time reflects internal review by individuals employed by the vessel owner or operator, in addition to the time needed by the vessel crewmember who completes the form. The additional reviewers may be shoreside representatives, port engineers, or attorneys, among others. To account for this time, 10 percent 19 of the forms submitted (565 forms) have 10 hours of additional burden, and the wage rate for this added review will be done by personnel analogous to a government employee at the grade level of a GS-14. We estimate that the total cost of this additional time after the implementation of this final rule is $570,650 (565 marine casualty reports × 10 additional burden hours × $101).

    19 Docket ID: USCG-2011-0710, https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=USCG-2011-0710.

    As mentioned earlier in this final rule, when a marine casualty is designated as an SMI, the marine employer must complete an SMI written report (CG-2692B). We estimate that it takes 0.5 hours for a marine employer analogous to a government employee at a grade level of a GS-03 to complete this form.20 We estimate that the cost to complete the additional forms for an SMI after implementation of this final rule is $3,250 (250 SMI reports × 0.5 hours × $26 per hour wage rate).

    20 The wage rate for a marine employer to complete Form CG-2692B and to report chemical test results to the OCMI is taken from existing COI number 1625-0001.

    Table 5 shows a summary of the industry costs after implementation of this final rule.

    Table 5—Annual Industry Costs for Reporting and Recordkeeping With Revised Reporting Thresholds Requirement Crewmembers/
  • responses
  • Burden hours per response Annual hour burden Wage rate Annual cost burden
    Written report of marine casualty 5,651 1.0 5,651 $26 $146,926 Additional Burden for 10% of Respondents 565 10.0 5,650 101 570,650 SMI written report 250 0.5 125 26 3,250 Totals 11,426 720,826

    The marine employer incurs the actual costs of the chemical test and the wage burden it takes for a crewmember to complete the chemical test. On average, each chemical test costs approximately $100. We use an estimate of 1.5 crewmembers to estimate the costs of chemical testing to account for the variation in crewmembers involved in SMIs. With an average of 250 SMIs per year, the annual cost after implementation of this final rule for the actual chemical tests is $37,500 (250 SMIs × average of 1.5 crewmembers × $100 per test).

    In addition to the cost of the chemical tests, there is a cost associated with the time it takes a vessel crewmember to complete the chemical test. We estimate that it takes 1 hour for a crewmember to complete the chemical test at a loaded wage rate of $50.84 per hour. We estimate that the cost of the time for a crewmember to take the chemical test under this final rule is $19,065 (250 SMIs × average of 1.5 crewmembers × 1 hour burden × $50.84 wage rate). Therefore, the annual cost to industry for chemical testing after implementation of this final rule is $56,565 (see table 6). Adding the costs for chemical testing of $56,565 to the cost for reporting and recordkeeping of $720,826 (see table 5) brings the estimated total annual cost to industry to $777,391.

    Table 6—Annual Industry Costs for Chemical Testing After Implementation of the Final Rule SMIs per year Average
  • crewmembers
  • tested per
  • SMI
  • Cost of testing procedures Hours to take test Wage rate Total cost
  • of testing
  • procedures
  • 250 1.5 $100 1 $50.84 $56,565

    The annual burden of reporting marine casualties and SMIs under the current dollar amount thresholds is $822,951. The annual burden of reporting under the new thresholds is $777,391. Therefore, we estimate that the annual cost savings or benefit to industry after implementation of this final rule is $45,560. Table 7 shows a summary of the annual current industry cost burden, the annual industry cost burden after implementation of the final rule, and the annual cost savings resulting from implementation of this final rule.

    Table 7—Total Annual Cost Savings to Industry by Requirement After Implementation of the Final Rule Requirement Current annual industry cost burden Annual
  • industry
  • cost burden after
  • implementation
  • of final rule
  • Annual
  • industry cost
  • savings after
  • implementation
  • of final rule
  • Written report of marine casualty $155,142 $146,926 $8,216 Additional burden for 10% of respondents 602,970 570,650 32,320 SMI written report 3,523 3,250 273 Testing procedures 61,316 56,565 4,751 Total 822,951 777,391 45,560

    The total 10-year undiscounted industry cost savings of this final rule is $455,600. Table 8 shows the 10-year estimated discounted cost savings to industry to be $319,994, with an annualized cost savings of $45,560, using a 7-percent discount rate.

    Table 8—Total Estimated Cost Savings or Industry Benefits of the Final Rule Over a 10-Year Period of Analysis [Discounted costs at 7 and 3 percent] Year Total undiscounted costs Total, discounted 7% 3% 1 $45,560 $42,579 $44,233 2 45,560 39,794 42,945 3 45,560 37,191 41,694 4 45,560 34,758 40,479 5 45,560 32,484 39,300 6 45,560 30,359 38,156 7 45,560 28,372 37,044 8 45,560 26,516 35,965 9 45,560 24,782 34,918 10 45,560 23,160 33,901 Total 455,600 319,994 388,636 Annualized 45,560 45,560 Benefits or Cost Savings to Government

    The benefit to the Federal Government is the difference between the baseline current cost to the Coast Guard and the cost to the Coast Guard after implementation of this final rule.

    Current Costs to Government

    We first estimated the current costs to the Coast Guard, which include the cost to investigate a marine casualty and the cost of processing marine casualty forms. Because an SMI is a type of marine casualty, the estimate for the cost of the investigation and the processing of the casualty forms includes those incidents that constitute an SMI. Reportable marine casualties are investigated by the Coast Guard. Some investigations may be more complex than others, depending on the incident. The Coast Guard reviewed the CG-741 (Coast Guard Office of Shore Forces) Sector Staffing Model to estimate the average number of hours per investigation across all incident types. The Sector Staffing Model assigns a total hourly effort for the type of incident (e.g., allision, grounding, collision) that is matched against MISLE data, which then provides the resource needs for each Coast Guard Sector. We estimate that, across all types of incidents, these investigations take an average of 25 hours for a Lieutenant (LT; O-3) to complete. There is an average of 5,967 marine casualty cases per year. The fully loaded wage rate for an O-3 is $78 per hour, per Commandant Instruction 7310.1P. Table 9 shows the current annual cost of investigations to be $11,635,650 (5,967 reportable marine casualties × 25 burden hours × $78 wage rate).

    The Coast Guard must process the forms submitted for each reportable marine casualty, and currently processes an average of 5,967 marine casualty reports per year. To maintain consistency and capture the changes due to this final rule, the time estimates and wage rates for processing the forms are taken from the existing COI 1625-0001. For each reportable marine casualty, we estimate that it takes 1 hour by a Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG; O-2) to process the forms (CG-2692 series), including auditing at a local field investigation office and the entry of pertinent information into Coast Guard's MISLE system. The fully loaded wage rate for an O-2 is $68 per hour, per Commandant Instruction 7310.1P. Table 9 shows the current annual cost for the Coast Guard to process reportable marine casualties to be $405,756 (5,967 reportable marine casualties × 1 burden hour × $68 wage rate). We estimate that the total current annual cost to the Federal Government is $12,041,406.

    Table 9—Current Annual Government Costs Cost category Reportable
  • marine
  • casualties
  • Burden hours per response Annual hours Wage rate Annual cost
    Investigation 5,967 25 149,175 $78 $11,635,650 Processing marine casualty reports 5,967 1 5,967 68 405,756 Total 12,041,406

    Under this final rule, increasing the dollar amount threshold for property damage reduces the number of reportable marine casualties by 5.3 percent, resulting in 316 fewer reportable marine casualties. The burden hours per response for investigations and processing marine casualty reports remains the same, but the average number of reportable marine casualties decreases to 5,651 per year. We estimate that it takes an average of 25 hours for an O-3 to complete and investigate and 1 hour for an O-2 to process the forms for each reportable marine casualty. Table 10 shows the annual cost for the Coast Guard to complete investigations under this final rule to be $11,019,450 (5,651 reportable marine casualties × 25 hour burden × $78). The annual cost to process reportable marine casualties after implementation of this final rule is $384,268 (5,651 reportable marine casualties × 1 hour burden × $68). We estimate that the total annual cost to the Federal Government is $11,403,718 after implementation of this final rule.

    Table 10—Estimated Annual Government Costs After Implementation of the Final Rule Cost category Reportable
  • marine
  • casualties
  • Burden hours per response Annual hours Wage rate Annual cost
    Investigation 5,651 25 141,275 $78 $11,019,450 Processing marine casualty report 5,651 1 5,651 68 384,268 Total 11,403,718

    The current annual cost to the Coast Guard to process marine casualty reports is $12,041,406. The annual cost to the Coast Guard after implementation of this final rule is $11,403,718. Therefore, the annual Federal Government benefit of reducing those reportable marine casualties that involve property damage alone is $637,688. This reduction, however, does not result in a need for fewer Coast Guard investigators, as the existing investigators will be able to focus efforts on higher consequence incidents. We estimate the total undiscounted cost savings or benefit of this final rule to the Federal Government to be $6,376,880 over the 10-year period of analysis. Table 11 shows the total estimated 10-year discounted cost savings to the Federal Government to be $4,478,854, with an annualized cost savings of $637,688, using a 7-percent discount rate.

    Table 11—Total Estimated Cost Savings or Government Benefits of the Final Rule Over a 10-Year Period of Analysis [Discounted costs at 7 and 3 percent] Year Total undiscounted costs Total discounted costs 7% 3% 1 $637,688 $595,970 $619,115 2 637,688 556,981 601,082 3 637,688 520,543 583,575 4 637,688 486,489 566,578 5 637,688 454,663 550,075 6 637,688 424,918 534,054 7 637,688 397,120 518,499 8 637,688 371,140 503,397 9 637,688 346,860 488,735 10 637,688 324,168 474,500 Total 6,376,880 4,478,854 5,439,608 Annualized 637,688 637,688 Total Cost Savings or Benefits of the Final Rule

    Table 12 presents the total estimated benefits or cost savings of the final rule using 7- and 3-percent discount rates. We estimate the total 10-year (industry and Federal Government) undiscounted cost savings of this final rule to be $6,832,480. We estimate the total 10-year discounted cost savings of this final rule to be $4,798,848, and the annualized cost savings to be $683,248, using a 7-percent discount rate. Using a perpetual period of analysis, we estimate the total annualized cost savings of the final rule is $596,775 in 2016 dollars, using a 7 percent discount rate.

    Table 12—Total Estimated Cost Savings or Benefits of the Final Rule Over a 10-Year Period of Analysis [Discounted benefits at 7 and 3 percent] Year Total undiscounted costs Total, discounted 7% 3% 1 $683,248 $638,550 $663,348 2 683,248 596,775 644,027 3 683,248 557,734 625,269 4 683,248 521,247 607,057 5 683,248 487,146 589,376 6 683,248 455,277 572,209 7 683,248 425,493 555,543 8 683,248 397,657 539,362 9 683,248 371,642 523,653 10 683,248 347,329 508,401 Total 6,832,480 4,798,848 5,828,244 Annualized 683,248 683,248 B. Small Entities

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-612, we have considered whether this final rule has a significant economic impact 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.

    This final rule reduces the burden on industry by increasing the property damage dollar threshold amount within the definition of “SMI” and for reporting a marine casualty incident. There is no effect on any crewmember, owner, or operator of a vessel that does not have a reportable marine casualty or serious marine incident. There is no effect on any crewmember, owner, or operator of a vessel that has a marine casualty with property damage less than or equal to $25,000, or an SMI with damage less than or equal to $100,000, as these individuals currently do not have to report the casualty and will not have to do so under this final rule. There is no effect on any crewmember, owner, or operator of a vessel that has a marine casualty with property damage greater than $75,000, or an SMI with property damage greater than $200,000, as these individuals must currently report such casualties and perform chemical testing, and will continue to be required to do so under this final rule.

    This final rule does not impose any direct costs on any specific industry. The only affected individuals are owners or operators of those vessels that would have been involved in a marine casualty where the only outcome is property damage of $25,000.01 through $75,000, or an SMI where the only outcome is property damage of $100,000.01 through $200,000. These entities, which would have incurred costs to report these casualties or conduct chemical testing, will be positively affected by this final rule because of the increase in the monetized threshold amounts.

    As discussed in Section VI.A, Regulatory Planning and Review, of this final rule, we expect that an average of approximately 316 fewer reports of marine casualties will be required per year, with one individual per vessel who we assume to be a vessel crewmember completing each report. We assume the 316 marine casualty reports occur on 316 separate vessels. It is possible a vessel could have multiple incidents in one year, resulting in multiple marine casualty reports, but for this analysis we assume the 316 fewer reports are ascribed to 316 separate vessels. We compared this affected population to the total population that could have a marine casualty and be required to prepare and submit marine casualty reporting paperwork. We used the MISLE Vessel Population data to estimate the total population that will be affected. We found that the current total population of vessels that could have a marine casualty and be required to submit paperwork is 209,475.21 Therefore, the 316 fewer vessels preparing marine casualty paperwork represents 0.15 percent of the total population.

    21 Population data were pulled from MISLE on 9/28/2016. The population is for commercial vessels that are active and in-service. The population includes commercial fishing vessels, fish processing vessels, freight barges, industrial vessels, mobile offshore drilling units, offshore supply vessels, oil recovery vessels, passenger (inspected and uninspected) vessels, passenger barges (inspected and uninspected), public freights, public tankships/barges, unclassified public vessels, research vessels, school ships, tank barges, tank ships, and towing vessels.

    The owners or operators of these 316 vessels benefit from a reduction in time burden associated with a crewmember no longer having to prepare and submit the required marine casualty reporting paperwork. Table 7 in Section VI summarizes the annual cost savings to industry by requirement. Table 13 shows these annual cost savings and the vessel population we estimated will benefit from each reduction in paperwork or testing requirement.

    Table 13—Maximum Potential Cost Savings per Vessel per Incident Requirement Total annual cost savings Vessel
  • population
  • Maximum
  • potential
  • cost savings
  • per vessel
  • Written report of marine casualty $8,216 316 $26 Additional Burden for 10% of Respondents 32,320 32 1,010 SMI written report 273 21 13 Testing Procedures 4,751 21 226 Totals 45,560 1,275

    The total cost savings per vessel for the population of 316 vessels benefiting from this final rule will vary depending on the requirements. For example, we estimate that 32 of the vessels (10 percent of population, rounded) will have savings due to a reduction in marine casualty reports ($26), and an additional savings for the additional burden of reviewing the paperwork ($1,010), in any given year. Therefore, a one-time savings will be $1,036 for a vessel with only these two requirements. The minimum savings is $26 for a vessel that has only the requirement of preparing and submitting the marine casualty report. If a vessel would have had to complete all the requirements in table 13, the maximum cost savings is $1,275. This maximum cost savings will be for a vessel with a marine casualty designated as an SMI that completed additional paperwork and reported the chemical test results to the Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI). Therefore, the owner or operator of the 316 vessels affected by this final rule would have to have maximum annual revenues of $2,600 to $127,500 for this final rule to have a positive impact greater than 1 percent.

    Therefore, pursuant to section 605(b) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 605(b), the Coast Guard certifies that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because the increase in the monetized property damage threshold amounts reduces the reporting burden on crewmembers or vessel owners or operators who complete the marine casualty reports or perform the required chemical testing, as described above. This final rule reduces the hourly burden associated with marine casualty reporting and chemical testing and will not adversely affect small entities as defined by the Small Business Administration in 13 CFR 121.201.

    C. Assistance for Small Entities

    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, Public Law 104-121, we offer to assist small entities in understanding this rule so that they can better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking. 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 final rule calls for a collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). As defined in 5 CFR 1320.3(c), “collection of information” comprises reporting, recordkeeping, monitoring, posting, labeling, and other similar actions. The title and description of the information collection, a description of those who must collect the information, and an estimate of the total annual burden follow.

    Under the provisions of the final rule, the Coast Guard will collect information from ship personnel who are involved in marine casualties resulting in more than $75,000 in property damage, and serious marine incidents resulting in more than $200,000 in property damage. This requirement amends an existing collection of information by effectively reducing the number of instances requiring information to be collected under OMB control number 1625-0001.

    Title: Report of Marine Casualty & Chemical Testing of Commercial Vessel Personnel.

    OMB Control Number: 1625-0001.

    Summary of the Collection of Information: This final rule requires responses such as the preparation of written notification by completing Form CG-2692 (series), and the processing of records. We use this information to identify pertinent safety lessons and to initiate appropriate steps for reducing the likelihood of similar accidents in the future. The collection of information will aid the regulated public in assuring safe practices.

    Need for Information: These reporting requirements permit the Coast Guard to initiate the investigation of marine casualties as required by 46 U.S.C. 6301, in order to determine the causes of casualties and whether existing safety standards are adequate, or whether new laws or regulations need to be developed. Receipt of a marine casualty report is often the only way in which the Coast Guard becomes aware of a marine casualty. It is therefore a necessary first step that provides the Coast Guard with the opportunity to determine the extent to which a casualty will be investigated.

    Proposed Use of Information: In the short term, the information provided in the report may also trigger corrective safety actions addressing immediate hazards or defective conditions, further investigations of mariner conduct or professional competence, or civil or criminal enforcement actions by the Coast Guard, other Federal agencies, or state and local authorities. In the long term, information contained in the report becomes part of the MISLE marine casualty database at Coast Guard Headquarters. The Coast Guard uses the information in the MISLE database to identify safety problems and long term trends, publish casualty summaries and annual statistics for public use, establish whether additional safety oversight or regulation is needed, measure the effectiveness of existing regulatory programs, and better focus limited Coast Guard marine safety resources.

    Description of the Respondents: The respondents are those owners, agents, masters, operators, or persons in charge that notify the nearest Sector Office, Marine Inspection Office, or Coast Guard Group Office whenever a vessel is involved in a marine casualty. Specifically, this final rule affects those vessel crewmembers and marine employers who completed the necessary forms to report a marine casualty where the only outcome was property damage of $25,000.01 through $75,000, or an SMI with property damage of $100,000.01 through $200,000 (CG-2692 series).

    Number of Respondents: We estimate that the number of respondents affected by this rule will be 5,651 per year. This is a decrease of 316 respondents from an OMB-approved number of respondents of 5,967 per year that complete the CG-2692 series forms (a subset of the total respondents in COI 1625-0001). We estimate that 250 of these marine casualty respondents fall under the category of SMI respondents and would have been required to fill out an additional SMI written report (CG-2692B). This is a decrease of 21 respondents per year from 271 respondents.

    Frequency of Response: The notification response is required only if a marine casualty occurs as defined in 46 CFR 4.03-2 and 46 CFR 4.05-1.

    Burden of Response: For each response, we estimate that it takes 1 hour for a vessel crewmember to complete all of the necessary forms (CG-2692 series). In addition, some marine casualty forms may undergo additional processing by the respondents. To account for this additional time, 10 percent of the forms submitted have 10 hours of additional burden.22 When a marine casualty is designated as an SMI, the marine employer must also complete an SMI written report (CG-2692B). We estimate that it takes 0.5 hours for a respondent to complete an SMI written report (CG-2692B)

    22 The Coast Guard estimates that it takes up to 1 hour to complete Form CG-2692 (series). However, we received public comments in 2013 on COI number 1625-0001 stating that some submitters take more time—up to 8 to 12 hours—to complete the form. Docket ID: USCG-2011-0710, https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=USCG-2011-0710. The reason for this difference is that some entities have the form(s) reviewed by shore-side personnel, such as an attorney, prior to submission to the Coast Guard. The practice of having a form reviewed by an attorney is not required by Coast Guard regulation. While we believe that this does not typically occur, we adjusted our burden estimate to account for the added review.

    Estimate of Total Annual Burden: We estimate that the number of responses will decrease by 316 per year. At 1 hour per response, the reduced burden for submitting the responses will be 316 hours. In addition, 10 percent of these responses would have required additional processing of 10 hours per response, for a reduction of an additional 320 burden hours.23 We estimate that 21 of the responses would have been designated as an SMI. At 0.5 hours per SMI, the burden will be reduced by 11 hours (rounded). Therefore, this final rule decreases the total annual burden by 647 hours.24

    23 Due to rounding in the estimates, the current burden for the additional review is 5,970 hours. The burden under this final rule is 5,650 hours, which is a reduction of 320 hours.

    24 The current annual burden in COI 1625-0001 for completing the marine casualty forms, the additional processing for some respondents, and the time to complete the SMI forms is 12,073 hours. The annual burden under this final rule is 11,426 hours, a reduction of 647 hours.

    This action contains amendments to the existing information collection requirements previously approved under OMB Control Number 1625-0001. As required by 44 U.S.C. 3507(d), we will submit a copy of this final rule to OMB for its review of the collection of information.

    E. Federalism

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132 (“Federalism”) if it has a substantial direct effect on 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 Executive Order 13132 and have determined that it does not have implications for federalism. Our analysis follows.

    It is well settled that States may not regulate in categories reserved for regulation by the Coast Guard. It is also well settled that all of the categories covered in 46 U.S.C. 3306, 3703, 7101, and 8101 (design, construction, alteration, repair, maintenance, operation, equipping, personnel qualification, and manning of vessels), as well as the reporting of casualties and any other category in which Congress intended the Coast Guard to be the sole source of a vessel's obligations, are within the field foreclosed from regulation by the States. (See the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Locke and Intertanko v. Locke, 529 U.S. 89, 120 S.Ct. 1135 (2000).) Because the States may not regulate within this category, preemption under Executive Order 13132 is not an issue.

    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. Though this rule will not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

    G. Taking of Private Property

    This rule will 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 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 rule under Executive Order 13045 (“Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks”). This 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 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 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.

    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 rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.

    M. Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD (COMDTINST M164751D), which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have concluded 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 Record of Environmental Consideration supporting this determination is available in the docket where indicated under the ADDRESSES section of this preamble. This rule involves regulations concerning marine casualties and updates the monetary threshold amounts for a reportable marine casualty as well as the definition of an SMI relative to property damage. Thus, this action is categorically excluded under Section 2.b.2, figure 2-1, paragraph (34)(d) of COMDTINST M164751D.

    List of Subjects in 46 CFR Part 4

    Administrative practice and procedure, Drug testing, Investigations, Marine safety, National Transportation Safety Board, Nuclear vessels, Radiation protection, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Safety, Transportation.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 46 CFR part 4 as follows:

    PART 4—MARINE CASUALTIES AND INVESTIGATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 4 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    33 U.S.C. 1231; 43 U.S.C. 1333; 46 U.S.C. 2103, 2303a, 2306, 6101, 6301, and 6305; 50 U.S.C. 198; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1. Subpart 4.40 issued under 49 U.S.C. 1903(a)(1)(E).

    § 4.03-2 [Amended]
    2. In § 4.03-2(a)(3), remove the text “$100,000” and add, in its place, the text “$200,000”.
    § 4.05-1 [Amended]
    3. In § 4.05-1(a)(7), remove the text “$25,000” and add, in its place, the text “$75,000”. 4. In § 4.05-10, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 4.05-10 Written report of marine casualty.

    (a) The owner, agent, master, operator, or person in charge must, within 5 days, file a written report of any marine casualty required to be reported under § 4.05-1. This written report is in addition to the immediate notice required by § 4.05-1. This written report must be delivered to a Coast Guard Sector Office or Marine Inspection Office. It must be provided on Form CG-2692 (Report of Marine Casualty, Commercial Diving Casualty, or OCS-Related Casualty), and supplemented as necessary by appended Forms CG-2692A (Barge Addendum), CG-2692B (Report of Mandatory Chemical Testing Following a Serious Marine Incident Involving Vessels in Commercial Service), CG-2692C (Personnel Casualty Addendum), and/or CG-2692D (Involved Persons and Witnesses Addendum).

    5. Revise § 4.05-12(b) introductory text and (d) to read as follows:
    § 4.05-12 Alcohol or drug use by individuals directly involved in casualties.

    (b) In the written report (Forms CG-2692 and CG-2692B) submitted for the casualty, the marine employer must include information that—

    (d) If an individual directly involved in a casualty refuses to submit to, or cooperate in, the administration of a timely chemical test, when directed by a law enforcement officer or by the marine employer, this fact must be noted in the official log book, if carried, and in the written report (Forms CG-2692 and CG-2692B), and shall be admissible as evidence in any administrative proceeding.

    § 4.06-3 [Amended]
    6. In § 4.06-3(a)(3) and (b)(2), remove the text “form CG-2692B” and add, in its place, the text “Forms CG-2692 and CG-2692B”.
    § 4.06-5 [Amended]
    7. In § 4.06-5(b), remove the text “form CG-2692B” and add, in its place, the text “Forms CG-2692 and CG-2692B”.
    § 4.06-30 [Amended]
    8. In § 4.06-30(b), remove the text “(Report of Required Chemical Drug and Alcohol Testing Following a Serious Marine Incident)” and add, in its place, the text “(Report of Mandatory Chemical Testing Following a Serious Marine Incident Involving Vessels in Commercial Service)”.
    § 4.06-60 [Amended]
    9. Amend § 4.06-60 as follows: a. In § 4.06-60(a), remove the text “(Report of Required Chemical Drug and Alcohol Testing Following a Serious Marine Incident)” and add, in its place, the text “(Report of Mandatory Chemical Testing Following a Serious Marine Incident Involving Vessels in Commercial Service)”; and b. In § 4.06-60(b), remove the text “(Report of Marine Casualty, Injury or Death)” and add, in its place, the text “(Report of Marine Casualty, Commercial Diving Casualty, or OCS-Related Casualty)”. Dated: March 8, 2018. Jennifer F. Williams, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Director of Inspections and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2018-05467 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    83 53 Monday, March 19, 2018 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 1051 [Docket No. AO-15-0071; AMS-DA-14-0095] Proposed California Federal Milk Marketing Order AGENCY:

    Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This document announces the ratification of the evidentiary record of the California Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) rulemaking proceeding by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Judicial Officer (JO).

    DATES:

    March 19, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Erin Taylor, Acting Director, Order Formulation and Enforcement Division, USDA/AMS/Dairy Program, STOP 0231, Room 2969-S, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250-0231, (202) 720-7311, email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On February 5, 2015, AMS received a proposal from three dairy cooperatives requesting a hearing to promulgate a FMMO in California. Subsequently, AMS received additional proposals in April 2015. After publishing a notice of hearing on August 6, 2015 (80 FR 47210), AMS commenced a hearing on September 22, 2015, presided over by Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Jill S. Clifton. At the conclusion of the hearing, AMS reviewed the hearing record and briefs filed subsequent to the hearing. AMS published the Recommended Decision and Opportunity to File Written Exceptions on February 14, 2017 (82 FR 10634).

    On November 29, 2017, the Solicitor General of the United States submitted a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in Lucia v. Securities and Exchange Commission (Lucia), 868 F.3d 1021 (D.C. Cir. 2017) (en banc) (per curiam), cert. granted, No. 17-130 (U.S. January 12, 2018). The Government's position is that ALJs are “inferior officers” of the United States, subject to the Appointments Clause of Article II of the Constitution. The Solicitor General urged the Court to grant a writ of certiorari and resolve a circuit split concerning the Constitutional requirements for ALJ appointments. On January 12, 2018, the Court did so. The Court is expected to hear oral arguments in Lucia during the current term and to render its decision on or before the end of its term on June 30, 2018.

    AMS published a final rule to amend the definition of “judge” in the rules of practice and procedure to formulate or amend a marketing agreement, marketing order, or certain research and promotion orders (82 FR 58097). The new definition adds a presiding official appointed by the Secretary as an official who may preside over the rulemaking hearing, in addition to an administrative law judge. AMS then published a delay of rulemaking on February 6, 2018 (83 FR 5215) indicating the agency's intention to await the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Lucia case prior to proceeding further with the California FMMO rulemaking proceeding. Subsequently, effective February 14, 2018, the Secretary of Agriculture appointed the USDA JO to serve as the judge presiding over the formal rulemaking proceedings for the California FMMO. The Secretary instructed the JO to conduct an independent de novo review of the hearing record and either ratify or modify any decision made by the ALJ.

    On March 9, 2018, the USDA JO completed his review and ratified all of ALJ Clifton's actions, including instructions regarding corrections to exhibits, rulings on objections, rulings on the admission of evidence, rulings on the conduct of the hearing, and rulings on requests for corrections to the transcript of the hearing. The JO ratified ALJ Clifton's Certification of the Transcript, except that he revised the list of exhibits that ALJ Clifton identified as not having been admitted into evidence by adding “Exhibit 108-Exhibit D” to that list.

    Consequently, USDA will move forward with the California FMMO rulemaking proceeding by issuing and publishing a final decision in the Federal Register.

    Prior documents in this proceeding:

    Notice of Hearing: Issued July 27, 2015; published August 6, 2015 (80 FR 47210);

    Notice to Reconvene Hearing: Issued September 25, 2015; published September 30, 2015 (80 FR 58636);

    Recommended Decision and Opportunity to File Written Exceptions: Issued February 6, 2017; published February 14, 2017 (82 FR 10634);

    Documents for Official Notice: Issued August 8, 2017; published August 14, 2017 (82 FR 37827);

    Information Collection—Producer Ballots: Issued September 27, 2017; published October 2, 2017 (82 FR 45795); and

    Delay of Rulemaking: Issued February 1, 2018; published February 6, 2018 (83 FR 5215).

    Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 601-674.

    Dated: March 14, 2018. Bruce Summers, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-05543 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-02-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2018-0204; Product Identifier 2018-CE-003-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam srl Airplanes AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam srl Model P2006T airplanes. This proposed AD results from mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country to identify and address an unsafe condition on an aviation product. The MCAI describes the unsafe condition as an incorrect part number for the rudder trim actuator is referenced in the Airworthiness Limitations section of the FAA-approved maintenance program (e.g., maintenance manual) and the life limit for that part may not be properly applied in service. We are issuing this proposed AD to require actions to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by May 3, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments by any of the following methods:

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

    Fax: (202) 493-2251.

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

    Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam srl, Via Tasso, 478, 80127 Napoli, Italy, phone: +39 0823 620134, fax: +39 0823 622899, email: [email protected], internet: https://www.tecnam.com/us/support/. You may review this referenced service information at the FAA, Policy and Innovation Division, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (816) 329-4148.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0204; or in person at Docket Operations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for Docket Operations (telephone (800) 647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Albert Mercado, Aerospace Engineer FAA, Small Airplane Standards Branch, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4119; fax: (816) 329-4090; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Comments Invited

    We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2018-0204; Product Identifier 2018-CE-003-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposed AD because of those comments.

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

    Discussion

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, has issued AD No. 2018-0029, dated January 31, 2018 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to address an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

    It was identified that the Part Number (P/N) of the rudder trim actuator mentioned in the P2006T Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM) Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS) document was erroneously mentioned. As a result, it cannot be excluded that the life limit applicable to this actuator is not being applied in service.

    This condition, if not corrected, could lead to failure of the rudder control system, possibly resulting in reduced control of the aeroplane.

    To address this potential unsafe condition, TECNAM published Service Bulletin (SB)-285-CS Ed. 1 Rev. 0 (later revised) to inform operators about this typographical error. It is expected that, during the next revision of the P2006T AMM ALS document, it will list the correct the P/N for that rudder trim actuator.

    For the reason described above, this [EASA] AD requires implementation of a life limit for rudder trim actuator.

    You may examine the MCAI on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0204.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam srl has issued Service Bulletin No. SB 285-CS-Ed 1, Revision 2, dated February 2, 2018. The service information describes procedures for correcting the part number of the rudder trim actuator in the Airworthiness Limitations section of the FAA-approved maintenance program (e.g., maintenance manual). This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section of this NPRM.

    FAA's Determination and Requirements of the Proposed AD

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

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD will affect 20 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 1 work-hour per product to comply with the proposed requirement to incorporate a correction to the Airworthiness Limitations section of the FAA-approved maintenance program (e.g., maintenance manual). The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour.

    Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $1,700, or $85 per product.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

    For the reasons discussed above, I certify this proposed regulation:

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new AD: Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam srl: Docket No. FAA-2018-0204; Product Identifier 2018-CE-003-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by May 3, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam srl Model P2006T airplanes, all serial numbers that do not incorporate design change TECNAM modification (Mod) 2006/322 at production, certificated in any category.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association of America (ATA) Code 27: Flight Controls.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country to identify and address an unsafe condition on an aviation product. The MCAI describes the unsafe condition as an incorrect part number for the rudder trim actuator is referenced in the Airworthiness Limitations section of the FAA-approved maintenance program (e.g., maintenance manual) and the life limit for that part may not be properly applied in service. We are issuing this AD to prevent failure of the rudder trim actuator, which could cause the rudder control system to fail. This failure could result in reduced control of the airplane.

    (f) Actions and Compliance

    Unless already done, do the following actions in paragraphs (f)(1) through (3) of this AD. The hours time-in-service (TIS) specified in paragraph (f)(1) of this AD are those accumulated on the rudder trim actuator, P/N B6-7T, since first installed on an airplane. If the total hours TIS are unknown, the hours TIS on the airplane must be used.

    (1) Initially replace the rudder trim actuator, part number (P/N) B6-7T, at the compliance time in paragraphs (f)(1)(i) or (ii) of this AD that occurs later:

    (i) Before accumulating 1,000 hours TIS; or

    (ii) Within the next 25 hours TIS after the effective date of this AD or within the next 30 days after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs first.

    (2) After the initial replacement required in paragraph (f)(1) of this AD, repetitively thereafter replace the rudder trim actuator, P/N B6-7T at intervals not to exceed 1,000 hours TIS.

    (3) Within the next 12 months after the effective date of this AD, revise the Airworthiness Limitations section of the FAA-approved maintenance program (e.g., maintenance manual) incorporating the 1,000-hour life limit for the rudder trim actuator, P/N B6-7T, as specified in Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam srl (TECNAM) Service Bulletin No. SB 285-CS-Ed 1, Revision 2, dated February 2, 2018.

    (g) Credit for Actions Done Following Previous Service Information

    This AD allows credit for compliance with paragraph (f)(3) of this AD if done before the effective date of this AD using TECNAM Service Bulletin No. SB 285-CS-Ed 1, Revision 1, dated November 7, 2017.

    (h) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, Small Airplane Standards Branch, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. Send information to ATTN: Albert Mercado, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Standards Branch, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4119; fax: (816) 329-4090; email: [email protected] Before using any approved AMOC on any airplane to which the AMOC applies, notify your appropriate principal inspector (PI) in the FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), or lacking a PI, your local FSDO.

    (i) Related Information

    Refer to MCAI European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD No. 2018-0029, dated January 31, 2018; and Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam srl Service Bulletin No. SB 285-CS-Ed 1, Revision 1, dated November 7, 2017, for related information. You may examine the MCAI on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0204. For service information related to this AD, contact Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam srl, Via Tasso, 478, 80127 Napoli, Italy, phone: +39 0823 620134, fax: +39 0823 622899, email: [email protected], internet: https://www.tecnam.com/us/support/. You may review this referenced service information at the FAA, Policy and Innovation Division, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (816) 329-4148.

    Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 7, 2018. Pat Mullen, Acting Deputy Director, Policy & Innovation Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-05138 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION 17 CFR Part 274 [Release No. IC-33046; File No. S7-04-18] RIN 3235-AM30 Investment Company Liquidity Disclosure AGENCY:

    Securities and Exchange Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Securities and Exchange Commission is proposing amendments to its forms designed to improve the reporting and disclosure of liquidity information by registered open-end investment companies. The Commission is proposing a new requirement that funds disclose information about the operation and effectiveness of their liquidity risk management program in their annual reports to shareholders. The Commission in turn is proposing to rescind the current requirement in Form N-PORT under the Investment Company Act of 1940 that funds publicly disclose aggregate liquidity classification information about their portfolios, in light of concerns about the usefulness of that information for investors. In addition, the Commission is proposing amendments to Form N-PORT that would allow funds classifying the liquidity of their investments pursuant to their liquidity risk management programs required by rule 22e-4 under the Investment Company Act of 1940 to report on Form N-PORT multiple liquidity classification categories for a single position under certain specified circumstances. Finally, the Commission is proposing to add to Form N-PORT a new requirement that funds and other registrants report their holdings of cash and cash equivalents.

    DATES:

    Comments should be received on or before May 18, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Comments

    • Use the Commission's internet comment form (http://www.sec.gov/rules/proposed.shtml); or

    • Send an email to [email protected]. Please include File Number S7-04-18 on the subject line; or

    Paper Comments

    • Send paper comments to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549-1090.

    All submissions should refer to File Number S7-04-18. This file number should be included on the subject line if email is used. To help us process and review your comments more efficiently, please use only one method. The Commission will post all comments on the Commission's internet website (http://www.sec.gov/rules/proposed.shtml). Comments are also available for website viewing and printing in the Commission's Public Reference Room, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549, on official business days between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. All comments received will be posted without change. Persons submitting comments are cautioned that we do not redact or edit personal identifying information from comment submissions. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly.

    Studies, memoranda, or other substantive items may be added by the Commission or staff to the comment file during this rulemaking. A notification of the inclusion in the comment file of any such materials will be made available on the Commission's website. To ensure direct electronic receipt of such notifications, sign up through the “Stay Connected” option at www.sec.gov to receive notifications by email.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Zeena Abdul-Rahman, Senior Counsel, or Thoreau Bartmann, Senior Special Counsel, at (202) 551-6792, Division of Investment Management, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549-8549.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) is proposing for public comment amendments to Form N-PORT [referenced in 17 CFR 274.150] under the Investment Company Act of 1940 [15 U.S.C. 80a-1 et seq.] (“Investment Company Act” or “Act”) and amendments to Form N-1A [referenced in 17 CFR 274.11A] under the Investment Company Act and the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) [15 U.S.C. 77a et seq.].

    Contents I. Background II. Discussion A. Proposed Amendments to Liquidity Public Reporting and Disclosure Requirements B. Proposed Amendments to Liquidity Reporting Requirements C. Compliance Dates III. Economic Analysis A. Introduction B. Economic Baseline C. Economic Impacts D. Reasonable Alternatives E. Request for Comment IV. Paperwork Reduction Act A. Introduction B. Form N-PORT C. Form N-1A D. Request for Comments V. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis A. Reasons for and Objectives of the Proposed Actions B. Legal Basis C. Small Entities Subject to the Proposed Liquidity Regulations D. Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements E. Duplicative, Overlapping, or Conflicting Federal Rule F. Significant Alternatives G. General Request for Comment VI. Consideration of Impact on the Economy VII. Statutory Authority Text of Rules and Forms I. Background

    On October 13, 2016, the Commission adopted new rules and forms as well as amendments to its rules and forms to modernize the reporting and disclosure of information by registered investment companies (“funds”),1 including information about the liquidity of funds' portfolios.2 In particular, the Commission adopted new Form N-PORT, which requires mutual funds and exchange traded funds (“ETFs”) to electronically file with the Commission monthly portfolio investment information on Form N-PORT, a structured data reporting form.3 On the same day, the Commission also adopted rule 22e-4, a new form, and related rule and form amendments to enhance the regulatory framework for liquidity risk management of funds.4 Among other things, rule 22e-4 requires a fund to classify each portfolio investment into one of four defined liquidity categories, sometimes referred to as “buckets.” 5

    1 The term “funds” used in this release includes open-end management companies, including exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) and excludes money market funds.

    2 Investment Company Reporting Modernization, Investment Company Act Release No. 32314 (Oct. 13, 2016) [81 FR 81870 (Nov. 18, 2016)] (“Reporting Modernization Adopting Release”). See also Investment Company Liquidity Risk Management Programs, Investment Company Act Release No. 32315 (Oct. 13, 2016) [81 FR 82142 (Nov. 18, 2016)] (“Liquidity Adopting Release”).

    3 Registered money market funds and small business investment companies are exempt from Form N-PORT reporting requirements.

    4 Specifically, we adopted rules 22e-4 and 30b1-10, new Form N-LIQUID, as well as amendments to Forms N-1A, N-PORT and N-CEN. See Liquidity Adopting Release, supra footnote 2.

    5 Rule 22e-4 requires each fund to adopt and implement a written liquidity risk management program reasonably designed to assess and manage the fund's liquidity risk. A fund's liquidity risk management program must incorporate certain specified elements, including, among others, the requirement that funds classify the liquidity of each of the fund's portfolio investments into one of four defined liquidity categories: Highly liquid investments, moderately liquid investments, less liquid investments, and illiquid investments (“classification”). This classification is based on the number of days in which a fund reasonably expects an investment would be convertible to cash (or, in the case of the less-liquid and illiquid categories, sold or disposed of) without the conversion significantly changing the market value of the investment. Rule 22e-4 also requires funds to establish a highly liquid investment minimum, and includes requirements related to policies and procedures on redemptions in kind and evaluation of the liquidity of new unit investment trusts. Rule 22e-4 also includes other required elements, such as limits on purchases of illiquid investments, reporting to the board, and recordkeeping.

    In connection with the liquidity classification requirement of rule 22e-4, a fund is also required to report confidentially to the Commission the liquidity classification assigned to each of the fund's portfolio investments on Form N-PORT.6 Each portfolio holding must be assigned to a single classification bucket. A fund must also publicly report on Form N-PORT the aggregate percentage of its portfolio investments that falls into each of the four liquidity classification categories noted above.7 This aggregate information would be disclosed to the public only for the third month of each fiscal quarter with a 60-day delay. Form N-PORT does not currently require funds to report the cash they hold.8

    6 Item C.7 of Form N-PORT.

    7 Item B.8.a of Form N-PORT. Form N-PORT also requires public reporting of the percentage of a fund's highly liquid investments that it has segregated to cover, or pledged to satisfy margin requirements in connection with, derivatives transactions that are classified as moderately liquid, less liquid, or illiquid investments. Item B.8.b of Form N-PORT.

    8 Although the requirements of rule 22e-4 and Form N-PORT discussed above are in effect, the compliance date has not yet occurred. Accordingly, no funds are yet reporting this liquidity-related information on Form N-PORT. In another release issued earlier, among other things, we extended the current compliance date for certain classification-related provisions of rule 22e-4 and their associated Form N-PORT reporting requirements by six months. See Investment Company Liquidity Risk Management Programs; Commission Guidance for In-Kind ETFs, Investment Company Act Release No IC-33010; (Feb. 22, 2018) [83 FR 8342 Feb. 27, 2018)] (“Liquidity Extension Release”).

    We designed rule 22e-4 and the related rules and forms to promote effective liquidity risk management throughout the fund industry and to enhance disclosure regarding fund liquidity and redemption practices.9 As discussed in detail below, since we adopted these requirements, Commission staff has engaged in extensive outreach with funds and other interested parties as they have sought to design the new systems and processes necessary to implement the new rules. As a complement to that engagement process, we have received letters 10 raising concerns that the public disclosure of a fund's aggregate liquidity classification information on Form N-PORT may not achieve our intended purpose and may confuse and mislead investors.11 These letters detail the methodologies that fund groups are designing and implementing to conduct the liquidity classification, the disparate assumptions that underlie them, and the variability in classification that can occur as a result.12 As we discuss further in section II.A below, these letters have caused us to question whether the current approach of disclosing aggregate liquidity fund profiles through Form N-PORT is the most accessible or useful way to facilitate public understanding of fund liquidity.13 Specifically, when the new rules take effect, the Commission will receive more granular position-level liquidity classification information and can request the fund's methodologies and assumptions underlying their classification, while investors would have access only to the aggregate information on Form N-PORT without the necessary context. However, the Commission continues to believe, as it articulated when it adopted the final rule, that it is important for investors to receive information about a fund's liquidity, which can help investors better understand the risks they may be assuming through an investment in the fund.

    9See Liquidity Adopting Release, supra footnote 2, at n.112 and accompanying text.

    10 These letters (File No. S7-04-18) are available at https://www.sec.gov/comments/s7-04-18/s70418.htm.

    11See, e.g., Letter from SIFMA AMG to Chairman Jay Clayton, Commissioner Stein, and Commissioner Piwowar (Sept. 12, 2017) (“SIFMA AMG Letter”); Letter from Nuveen, LLC on Investment Company Liquidity Risk Management Programs (Nov. 20, 2017) (“Nuveen letter”) (urging the SEC not to publicly disclose the liquidity classification information submitted via new Form N-PORT); Letter from TCW to Chairman Jay Clayton, Commissioner Stein, and Commissioner Piwowar (Sept. 15, 2017) (“TCW Letter”).

    12See, e.g., Letter from the Investment Company Institute to The Honorable Jay Clayton (July 20, 2017) (“ICI Letter I”); Supplemental Comments on Investment Company Liquidity Risk Management Programs from the Investment Company Institute (Nov. 3, 2017) (“ICI Letter II”); Letter from Invesco Advisers, Inc. on Investment Company Liquidity Risk Management Programs (Nov. 8, 2017); Letter from Vanguard on Investment Company Liquidity Risk Management Programs (Nov. 8, 2017); Letter from John Hancock on Investment Company Liquidity Risk Management Programs (Nov. 10, 2017): Letter from T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. on Investment Company Liquidity Risk Management Programs (Nov. 10, 2017); Letter from Federated Investors, Inc. on Liquidity Risk Management Rule 22e-4 (Feb. 6, 2018) (“Federated Letter”).

    13See infra text following footnote 18. Funds may also choose to provide additional context non-publicly to the Commission in the explanatory notes section (Part E of Form N-PORT).

    In light of the comments we have received, we preliminarily believe that providing different information to investors via a different form would more effectively achieve the Commission's policy goal of promoting investor understanding of the liquidity risks of the funds in which they have invested, while minimizing risks of investor confusion. Accordingly, we are proposing to replace the requirement for a fund to publicly report to the Commission on Form N-PORT the aggregate liquidity portfolio classification information on a quarterly basis with new disclosure in the fund's annual shareholder report that provides a narrative discussion of the operation and effectiveness of the fund's liquidity risk management program over the reporting period.14

    14 As discussed below, we also are proposing a related change to make non-public (but not eliminate) the disclosure required under Item B.8 of Form N-PORT about the percentage of a fund's highly liquid investments segregated to cover or pledged to satisfy margin requirements in connection with certain derivatives transactions, given that this information is only relevant when viewed together with full liquidity classification information.

    Second, we are proposing additional amendments to Form N-PORT that would allow a fund to report a single portfolio holding in multiple classification buckets under certain defined circumstances. Currently, a fund is required to choose only one classification bucket, even in circumstances where splitting that holding up into multiple classification buckets may better reflect the actual liquidity characteristics of that position. We believe that permitting funds to split a single portfolio holding into multiple buckets under circumstances where we believe that such reporting would be more or equally accurate, and in some cases less burdensome, would provide us with equal or better information at lower cost to funds (and thus, to fund shareholders).

    Third, we are proposing to require funds and other registrants 15 to report holdings of cash and cash equivalents on Form N-PORT so that we may monitor trends in the use of cash and cash equivalents and, in the case of funds, more accurately assess the composition of a fund's highly liquid investment minimum (“HLIM”).

    15 The term “registrants” refers to entities required to file Form N-PORT, including all registered management investment companies, other than money market funds and small business investment companies, and all ETFs (regardless of whether they operate as UITs or management investment companies). See rule 30b1-9.

    II. Discussion A. Proposed Amendments to Liquidity Public Reporting and Disclosure Requirements

    Today we are proposing to replace the requirement in Form N-PORT that a fund publicly disclose on an aggregate basis the percentage of its investments that it has allocated to each liquidity classification category with a new narrative discussion in the fund's annual report regarding its liquidity risk management program. The narrative discussion would include disclosure about the operation and effectiveness of the fund's implementation of its required liquidity risk management program during the most recently completed fiscal year.16 A fund already is required to disclose a summary of the principal risks of investing in the fund, including liquidity risk if applicable, in its prospectus.17 Therefore, in combination, these disclosures will provide new and existing investors with information about the expected liquidity risk of the fund and ongoing disclosure to existing shareholders (and to new investors to the extent that they have access to annual reports) regarding how the fund continues to manage that risk, along with other factors affecting the fund's performance. This revised approach is designed to provide accessible and useful disclosure about liquidity risk management to investors, with appropriate context, so that investors may understand its nature and relevance to their investments.

    16See proposed amendments to Item B.8 of Form N-PORT and proposed Item 27(b)(7)(iii) of Form N-1A.

    17See Item 4(b) of Form N-1A. In addition, Item 9(c) of Form N-1A requires a fund to disclose all principal risks of investing in the fund, including the risks to which the fund's particular portfolio as a whole is expected to be subject and the circumstances reasonably likely to affect adversely the fund's net asset value, yield, or total return.

    1. Concerns With Public Aggregate Liquidity Profile

    As noted above, since the Commission adopted rule 22e-4 and the related rule and form amendments, Commission staff has engaged extensively with interested parties regarding progress toward implementation. As a complement to that engagement process, we have received letters from industry participants discussing the complexities of the classification process.18 These commenters raised three general types of concerns that informed this proposal's revised approach to public fund liquidity-related disclosure. First, commenters described how variations in methodologies and assumptions used to conduct liquidity classification can significantly affect the classification information reported on Form N-PORT in ways that investors may not understand (“subjectivity”). Second, the commenters suggested that Form N-PORT may not be the most accessible and useful way to communicate information about liquidity risk and may not provide the necessary context for investors to understand how the fund's classification results relate to its liquidity risk and risk management (“lack of context”). Third, the commenters argued that because this reporting item on Form N-PORT singles out liquidity risk, and does not place it in a broader context of the risks and factors affecting a fund's risk, returns, and performance, it may inappropriately focus investors on one investing risk over others (“liquidity risk in isolation”). Below we discuss these considerations—and why we preliminarily believe the proposed revisions to disclosure requirements on Form N-1A address these concerns while satisfying our public disclosure goals, including the need to provide shareholders and other users with improved information about funds' liquidity risk profile.19

    18See supra footnotes 10-12.

    19See Liquidity Adopting Release, supra footnote 2, at text following n.626.

    Subjectivity

    Commenters emphasized that classification is a subjective process.20 It is based on underlying data, assumptions, measurement periods, and complex statistical algorithms that can vary significantly. Accordingly, different managers classifying the same investment may vary in the way they weigh these factors and come to different classification conclusions, which would be consistent with our intent in adopting the rule.21

    20See, e.g., TCW Letter (stating that many different managers weighing different factors and using disparate data can result in different liquidity classification results across managers for the same security). See also SIFMA AMG Letter.

    21See Liquidity Adopting Release, supra footnote 2, at n. 596 and accompanying text. (“We recognize that liquidity classifications, similar to valuation- and pricing-related matters, inherently involve judgment and estimations by funds. We also understand that the liquidity classification of an asset class or investments may vary across funds depending on the facts and circumstances relating to the funds and their trading practices.”).

    Commenters stated, however, that presenting liquidity classification information in a standard format—as the final rule requires—inaccurately implies to investors that the classifications for all funds were formed through a uniform process and that the resulting classifications would be comparable across funds.22 Commenters suggested that, because of the lack of such uniformity of classification, using a fund's liquidity profile to make comparisons between funds may mislead investors and could lead to investors basing investment decisions on inappropriate grounds.23

    22See, e.g., SIFMA AMG Letter. We note that in the Liquidity Adopting Release, we considered certain proposed uniform approaches to liquidity classification that would have less subjective inputs, and discussed why we believed that the approach we adopted most effectively achieves our goals. This is in part because such approaches that do not include subjective inputs may not have resulted in liquidity classification data that is informed by fund advisers' actual trading experience. See, e.g., Liquidity Adopting Release, supra footnote 2, at section III.C.

    23See SIFMA AMG Letter and Nuveen Letter. See also Kristin Grind, Tom McGinty, and Sarah Krouse, The Morningstar Mirage, The Wall Street Journal, (Oct. 25, 2017), available at https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-morningstar-mirage-1508946687 (discussing issues with investors basing investing decisions on evaluations of funds without necessarily understanding the bases of those evaluations or their limitations).

    Commenters suggested that this subjectivity and seeming appearance of uniformity in content may have a variety of other pernicious effects. For example, commenters suggested investors may, in choosing between two funds that are have similar investment objectives, pick the fund that appears to have more highly liquid investments (and potentially, thereby, a lower liquidity risk) without understanding the subjectivity that underlies the classification process.24 As a result, the public disclosure of liquidity profiles may provide funds an incentive to classify their securities as more liquid in order to make their funds appear more attractive to investors, further increasing the risk of investor confusion.25 Such incentive to classify assets as more liquid, if widespread, could undermine the Commission's objectives for the fund's proper management of its liquidity risks through its liquidity risk management program and its monitoring efforts. One commenter also suggested that the size of the fund may have disproportionate effects on its liquidity classification results, and thus the fund's overall aggregate liquidity profile.26 As a result, they argued that investors may be confused by, or unaware of the causes of, the differences in results between large and small portfolios' liquidity profiles, and may inappropriately believe that smaller portfolios have less liquidity risk.27

    24See TCW Letter (“Investors could flock to more apparently liquid funds, only to discover too late that classifications did not actually provide comparable liquidity data”); see also Nuveen Letter (“[T]he classification information that will be reported via Form N-PORT may lead the public to draw inappropriate conclusions about a fund's liquidity. . . . [I]nvestors, intermediaries, and financial advisers may be misled as to the value of such information, and use it as the basis for investment decisions despite this lack of understanding.”).

    25See SIFMA AMG Letter. We acknowledged in the Liquidity Adopting Release that the classification status of a security “inherently involve[s] judgment and estimations by funds” and that “the liquidity classification of an asset class or investments may vary across funds depending on the facts and circumstances relating to the funds and their trading practices.” See Liquidity Adopting Release, supra footnote 2, at text accompanying n.596.

    26See ICI Letter II, at Appendix C.

    27 ICI Letter II (providing a liquidity analysis of a variety of investments, which found that smaller portfolios nearly always appeared to have a highly liquid aggregate profile, while larger portfolios holding the same positions appeared to have a less liquid profile).

    Lack of Context

    Commenters suggested that the format of the Form N-PORT disclosure does not give funds the opportunity to explain to the public the underlying assumptions for their classification, nor can they tailor the disclosure to their specific risks. One commenter asserted that, because the aggregate liquidity profile is to be reported on Form N-PORT, the information will only be understandable by sophisticated users or intermediaries.28 They argued that for investors to have a sufficient understanding of the role classification plays in a fund's liquidity risks, investors need contextual information regarding the underlying subjective assumptions and methodologies used by the fund in its classification process.29 They noted that Form N-PORT does not provide context or additional information that would help investors understand the assumptions and methodologies used for liquidity-related information.30

    28 SIFMA AMG Letter (asserting that Form N-PORT aggregate classification disclosure puts less sophisticated investors at a disadvantage because “[u]nlike securities traded in the secondary markets, in which all market participants can be expected to benefit from publicly available information through the efficient market pricing mechanism, mutual fund shares are purchased and sold directly with the fund at net asset value per share. Thus, there is no automatic market mechanism for sophisticated investors' superior understanding of the liquidity information and its limitations to be transmitted to less sophisticated investors.”).

    29See generally SIFMA AMG Letter (arguing that the classification process “relies heavily on judgments from portfolio managers and others, based on predictions and extrapolation of data, which are then combined with other judgments from other sources based on similar assumptions .* .* *. For the investing public, which will see only quarterly percentages 60-151 days after the fact [on Form N-PORT], without context or explanation, this information will be at best meaningless and more likely misleading.”); see also Nuveen Letter (similarly arguing that classification information that will be reported via Form N-PORT may lead the public to draw inappropriate conclusions about a fund's liquidity and that this information “will also be inherently subjective, as the classification process relies heavily on judgments from portfolio managers and other sources based on a series of assumptions that may vary among firms and even within firms.”).

    30 SIFMA AMG Letter. This commenter also noted that because the aggregate liquidity profile would be a backward looking review of a fund's liquidity presented only quarterly, with a 60 day delay, it may be inappropriate and misleading if investors were to base investing decisions on this information without being provided context about its potential staleness.

    Liquidity Risk in Isolation

    One commenter also suggested that the information publicly disclosed on Form N-PORT singles out liquidity risk, and that focusing on liquidity risk in isolation, presented through an unexplained aggregate liquidity profile of a fund, may encourage investors to focus overly on liquidity risk, compared to other risks that may be far more important to their long-term investment goals.31 An investor choosing between two funds with comparable investment objectives and performance may choose a fund that appears to have more highly liquid investments, without adequately considering other risks of their investment and how they relate to liquidity risk. For example, an isolated focus on liquidity risk may result in investors not evaluating whether such a fund is achieving comparable performance despite maintaining low-yielding assets through use of derivatives or other leverage, and whether the investor is comfortable with the trade-off of liquidity versus leverage risks.

    31 SIFMA AMG Letter (concerned that the focus on liquidity risk in isolation would encourage investors to exaggerate the importance of liquidity risk relative to other risks that may be far more important to their long-term investment goals.).

    2. New Approach to Liquidity Risk Disclosure

    We continue to believe it is im{ant for investors to understand the liquidity risks of the funds they hold and how those risks are managed. However, we appreciate commenters' concerns that public dissemination of the aggregate classification information, without an accompanying explanation to investors of the underlying subjectivity, methodological decisions, and assumptions that shape this information, and other relevant context, may be potentially misleading to investors.32 As discussed above, in light of the variability of the classification process under rule 22e-4, we do not believe it is appropriate to adapt Form N-PORT to provide the level of detail and narrative context necessary for investors to effectively appreciate the fund's liquidity risk profile.33 We also believe that it may take significant detailed disclosure and nuanced explanation to effectively inform investors about the subjectivity and limitations of aggregate liquidity classification information so as to allow them to properly make use of the information. Such lengthy disclosure may not be the most accessible and useful way to accomplish the Commission's goals. To the extent that such disclosure would need to be granular and detailed to effectively explain the process, it may also not be consistent with the careful balancing of investor interests that the Commission performed in determining to require disclosure of sensitive granular information, including position-level data, only on a non-public basis.34

    32 The Commission has access to the more granular position-level liquidity classification information as well as funds' methodologies and assumptions, and thus does not face these same challenges in interpreting the classification data.

    33 We believe that due to the variability and subjective inputs required to engage in liquidity classification under rule 22e-4, providing effective information about liquidity classifications under that rule to investors poses difficult and different challenges than the other data that is publicly disclosed on Form N-PORT, which is more objective and less likely to vary between funds based on their particular facts and circumstances.

    34 As discussed in the Liquidity Adopting Release, we determined that liquidity classification data on individual securities was necessary for our monitoring efforts, but not appropriate or in the public interest to be disclosed to investors or other market participants in light of the inherent variability of the classification process and the potential for predatory trading using such granular information.” See Liquidity Adopting Release, supra footnote 2, at text accompanying nn.613-615.

    We also appreciate how the public dissemination of the aggregate classification information could create perverse incentives to classify investments as more liquid, and may inappropriately single out liquidity risk compared to other risks of the fund. Additionally, we are concerned that disclosing funds' aggregate liquidity profile may potentially create risks of coordinated investment behavior, if, for example, funds were to create more correlated portfolios by purchasing investments that they believed third parties, such as investors or regulators, may view as “more liquid.” 35 Such risks may both increase the possibility of correlated market movements in times of stress, and may potentially reduce the utility of the classification data reported to us. We now preliminarily believe that effective disclosure of liquidity risks may be better achieved through another disclosure vehicle, rather than Form N-PORT, which would not present the potential drawbacks discussed above.

    35See ICI Letter I.

    Accordingly, as discussed previously, we are proposing to replace the requirement for funds to disclose their aggregate liquidity profile on a quarterly basis on Form N-PORT with a new requirement for funds to discuss briefly the operation and effectiveness of a fund's liquidity risk management program in the fund's annual report to shareholders, as part of its management discussion of fund performance (“MDFP”).36 This disclosure would complement existing liquidity risk disclosure that funds provide in their prospectus (if it is a principal investment risk of the fund).

    36 Proposed Item 27(b)(7)(iii) of Form N-1A.

    The proposed amendments to Form N-1A would require funds to “briefly discuss the operation and effectiveness of the Fund's liquidity risk management program during the most recently completed fiscal year.” 37 To satisfy this requirement, a fund generally should provide information about the operation and effectiveness of the program, and insight into how the program functioned over the past year.38 This discussion should provide investors with enough detail to appreciate the manner in which a fund manages its liquidity risk, and could, but would not be required to, include discussion of the role of the classification process, the 15% illiquid investment limit, and the HLIM in the fund's liquidity risk management process.39

    37 Proposed Item 27(b)(7)(iii) of Form N-1A.

    38 We considered whether to require funds to disclose specific elements of their liquidity risk management program, but we believe that such a requirement would unnecessarily limit the fund's ability to provide the appropriate level of context it believes necessary for investors to understand the fund's liquidity risks. We believe that a principles-based approach to this disclosure requirement would better achieve our goal of promoting investor understanding of fund liquidity risks, without risking investor confusion. Furthermore, we believe that a principles-based approach, rather than a prescriptive one, will give a fund the flexibility to disclose its approach to liquidity risk management in a manner most appropriate for the fund as part of its broader discussion of the fund's risks without placing undue emphasis on liquidity risks. We also believe that the approach we are proposing today is less likely to result in standardized boilerplate disclosure because it will allow funds to tailor disclosure to their particular liquidity risks and how they manage them.

    39 We note that rule 22e-4(b)(2)(iii) requires a fund board to review, no less frequently than annually, a report prepared by the program administrator that addresses the operation of the program over the last year and its adequacy and effectiveness. Because funds will already need to prepare a report on the program for these purposes, we expect that the disclosure requirement we are proposing today would be unlikely to create significant additional burdens as the conclusions in this report may be largely consistent with the overall conclusions disclosed to investors in the annual report.

    For example, as part of this new disclosure, a fund might opt to discuss the particular liquidity risks that it faced over the past year, such as significant redemptions, changes in the overall market liquidity of the investments the fund holds, or other liquidity risks, and explain how those risks were managed and addressed, and whether those risks affected fund performance. If the fund faced any significant liquidity challenges in the past year, it could opt to discuss how those challenges affected the fund and how they were addressed. Funds may also wish to provide context and other supplemental information about how liquidity risk is managed in relation to other investing risks of the fund. We note that this new disclosure would not require a fund to disclose any specific classification information, either security specific or in the aggregate, although a fund could do so if it wished. Also, consistent with the current rule, it would not require a fund to disclose publicly the level of its HLIM, any shortfalls or changes to it, or any breaches of the 15% illiquid investment limit.40 We expect that this disclosure should allow funds to provide context and an accessible and useful explanation of the fund's liquidity risk in relation to its management practices and other investment risks as appropriate.

    40 Under rule 22e-4 and related rules and forms, funds are not required to publicly disclose any shortfalls or changes to their HLIM or breaches of the 15% illiquid investment limit.

    Because the proposal would eliminate public disclosure of a fund's aggregate liquidity classification information, we would also re-designate reporting about the percentage of a fund's highly liquid investments that are segregated to cover, or pledged to satisfy margin requirements in connection with, derivatives transactions that are classified as Moderately Liquid Investments, Less Liquid Investments and Illiquid Investments to the non-public portion of the Form.41 We believe public disclosure of this percentage of a fund's highly liquid investments would be of limited to no utility to investors without broader context and, therefore, may be confusing. However, we believe that funds should report this item to us on a non-public basis because we would otherwise be unable to determine the percentage of a fund's highly liquid investments that is actually unavailable to meet redemptions.42

    41 We are proposing to do this by renumbering current Item B.8.b of Form N-PORT as Item B.8 and making this item non-public. This item requires public reporting of the percentage of a fund's highly liquid investments that it has segregated to cover, or pledged to satisfy margin requirements in connection with, derivatives transactions that are classified as moderately liquid, less liquid, or illiquid investments. Item B.8.b of Form N-PORT. We originally required this disclosure in order to avoid misleading investors about the actual availability of investments that are highly liquid investments to meet redemptions. See Liquidity Adopting Release, supra footnote 2, at n.623 and accompanying text.

    42 For these reasons, we find that it is neither necessary nor appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors to make this reporting about the percentage of a fund's highly liquid investments that is segregated to cover less liquid derivatives transactions publicly available.

    We believe that these proposed amendments will provide effective disclosure that better informs investors of how the fund's liquidity risk and liquidity risk management practices affect their investment than the current Form N-PORT public liquidity risk profile.43 The annual report disclosure provides a fund the opportunity to tailor its disclosure to the fund's specific risks. This would provide funds the opportunity to explain the level of subjectivity involved in liquidity assessment, and give a narrative description of these risks and how they are managed within the context of the fund's own investment strategy. This annual report disclosure should provide funds the ability to give sufficient context on these risks, in a way that the current Form N-PORT liquidity disclosure does not.

    43 As an alternative to this new proposed narrative disclosure requirement, we considered moving the aggregate liquidity profile from Form N-PORT to the fund's annual report, which might allow funds to provide additional context and explanation of their methodology. However, we believe that such an approach might not address the concerns discussed above, as investors may still use the liquidity profile to compare funds despite its inherent subjectivity and variability.

    In addition, because funds deliver annual reports to their shareholders each year, the annual report may be a better vehicle for certain existing investors to gain access to liquidity risk information if they prefer to base their decisions partially on information delivered to them, versus information that they would need to seek out on Form N-PORT, whether directly from the Commission or via a third party service.44 Moreover, third party services, in repackaging this information, may potentially use additional assumptions about the value or proper presentation of liquidity profiles, thereby introducing further subjectivity and variability about which investors may not be aware.45 The proposed annual report disclosure also would allow a fund to discuss liquidity risk as one among several risks, and does not require funds to provide any security or portfolio specific classification information. As a result, liquidity risk should not be inappropriately singled out among the other risks of the fund. Finally, because many funds deliver annual reports in conjunction with an annual delivery of the summary prospectus, investors may be able to evaluate the summary of the principal risks of investing in the fund contained in the summary prospectus, including liquidity risk if applicable, in conjunction with the liquidity risk management program disclosure we are proposing to include in the annual report. This may facilitate a more comprehensive understanding of the fund's liquidity risks and its management of these risks for investors.

    44 Although investors would be provided liquidity information only annually under our proposal (rather being able to access it quarterly through Form N-PORT), as discussed above we believe that investors may be more likely to access and appreciate liquidity information provided in the context of the annual report, rather than seeking out liquidity information on Form N-PORT or through third parties. Accordingly, we believe that the annual report is a more appropriate venue for providing liquidity information, even though it is updated less frequently than Form N-PORT.

    45 We recognize that third party service providers who provide tools that assist funds engaging in the classification process may have some insight into the methodologies and assumptions used by the funds they service which, if they were to repackage and distribute fund liquidity profile data, may allow them to provide context about such information. However, these service providers also may provide public information about funds they do not service, even if their insight into classification methodologies and assumptions may be inapplicable to these funds. Further, even when a third party service provider does assist a fund, that fund may not share all of the assumptions and methods that it ultimately uses in classification with its service provider, further limiting the utility of any such insight in providing context about the variability and lack of comparability of fund liquidity profiles.

    To further assist in providing investors with information about fund liquidity, the staff anticipates that publishing aggregated and anonymized information about the fund industry's liquidity may be beneficial. We note that, since October 2015, Commission staff has published a periodic report that contains highly-aggregated and anonymized private fund industry statistics derived from Form PF data. This staff report is designed to enhance public understanding of the private fund industry and facilitate Commission staff participation in meetings and discussions with industry professionals, investors, and other regulators.46 Publishing a similar staff report on the aggregated liquidity of funds may provide similar benefits as the Form PF report. We expect that the staff would publish the report periodically and that the report would discuss aggregated and anonymized liquidity data of all funds or funds in certain categories, but would not identify the specific liquidity profile of any individual fund. Staff from the Division of Investment Management as well as staff from the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis have also published ad hoc papers on data drawn from Form PF to help inform the public as to the staff's analyses of that data. We would anticipate a similar approach to the fund liquidity data.47

    46See Annual Staff Report Related to the Use of Form PF Data, available at https://www.sec.gov/files/im-private-fund-annual-report-101617.pdf.

    47See Liquidity Adopting Release, supra footnote 2, at n.617 and accompanying text; see also Investment Company Reporting Modernization, Investment Company Act Release No. 32936 (Dec. 8, 2017) [82 FR 58731 (Dec. 14, 2017)] at text accompanying nn.13-15.

    In addition to interim public reporting of aggregate, anonymized liquidity information, staff from the Divisions of Investment Management and Economic and Risk Analysis will conduct a review of the granular fund-specific liquidity classification data that the Commission will begin receiving on a confidential basis in June 2019.48 The staff will provide an analysis of the data to the Commission and present to the Commission by June 2020 a recommendation addressing whether and, if so, how there should be public dissemination of fund-specific liquidity classification information.

    48See Liquidity Extension Release supra footnote 8.

    Finally, in its 2017 Asset Management and Insurance Report, the Department of Treasury highlighted the importance of robust liquidity risk management programs, but recommended that the Commission embrace a “principles-based approach to liquidity risk management rulemaking and any associated bucketing requirements.”49 Today, we are proposing to modify certain aspects of our liquidity framework. We note that market participants will continue to gather insights as liquidity risk management programs are implemented, and can provide comments to the Commission as they do so. The staff will monitor the information received and report to the Commission what steps, if any, the staff recommends in light of commenter experiences.

    49See A financial System That Creates Economic Opportunities; Asset Management and Insurance, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Oct. 2017 available at https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Documents/A-Financial-System-That-Creates-Economic-Opportunities-Asset_Management-Insurance.pdf.

    3. Comment Request

    We request comment on the proposed elimination of the aggregate liquidity profile public disclosure requirement of Form N-PORT and our proposed replacement with a requirement that funds discuss the operation and effectiveness of their liquidity risk management program as part of their annual reports to shareholders.

    • Should we eliminate this public disclosure of funds' aggregate liquidity profiles? Why or why not?

    • To what extent would investors have relied on a fund's aggregate liquidity profile in making investment decisions? Is it likely that this disclosure would have been informative rather than confusing to investors in making these decisions?

    • If, as proposed, we were to eliminate the requirement that funds publicly disclose their aggregate liquidity profile, would investors have sufficient information about a fund's liquidity risk to make an informed investment decision?

    • Should we retain the public disclosure of a fund's aggregate liquidity profile and otherwise seek to address the concerns discussed above? For example, would making the disclosure more frequent (i.e., monthly), reducing the lag on public disclosure, providing funds the opportunity to publicly provide additional context and explanation on the Form or elsewhere, or other changes address the concerns discussed above? Should we permit funds to choose to make any explanatory notes related to liquidity disclosures in Part E of Form N-PORT publicly available?

    • Instead of eliminating the public disclosure of a fund's aggregate liquidity profile as proposed, should we instead make the profile non-public for some additional period of time (e.g., 2 to 3 years) to allow us to evaluate the quality of the information provided and its potential impact on investors?

    • Should we make current Item B.8.b of Form N-PORT (highly liquid investments segregated to cover less liquid derivatives) non-public as proposed? If it was retained as public, would investors understand it without accompanying classification information? Alternatively, should we rescind the requirement entirely?

    • Should we require a fund to provide a discussion of the operation and effectiveness of its liquidity risk management program, as we are proposing? Why or why not? Should we instead require disclosure about the extent to which and the manner in which the fund took liquidity risk and managed liquidity risk during the period in question and how those risks and management affected fund performance?

    • As part of this proposed disclosure, should we require a fund to discuss specific elements of the fund's liquidity risk program such as the 15% illiquid investment limit, HLIM, classification process or specific liquidity risk observations? Why or why not?

    • Should we require a fund to include a discussion of any relevant changes made to its liquidity risk management over the course of the reporting period?

    • What additional information would be relevant to investors regarding liquidity risks that we should require funds to disclose?

    • Should we require this liquidity risk disclosure to be included in the annual report? Should it instead be included in another disclosure document such as the fund's statutory prospectus, summary prospectus, or statement of additional information? If so, under what item should it be included?

    • Are there alternative approaches to providing relevant liquidity information to investors? If so, what are they, and why should we use them?

    • Are there advantages to the approach that Treasury recommends? If so, what additional steps, if any, should we consider to shift toward a principles-based approach? To what extent have funds already implemented the existing liquidity classification requirement?

    B. Proposed Amendments to Liquidity Reporting Requirements

    We are also proposing to make certain changes to Form N-PORT related to the liquidity data reported on Form N-PORT. As discussed below, we believe these changes enhance the liquidity data reported to us. In addition, for some funds, these proposed changes may also reduce cost burdens as they comply with the rule.

    1. Multiple Classification Categories

    We are proposing amendments to Form N-PORT to allow funds the option of splitting a fund's holding into more than one classification category in three specified circumstances.50 Today, Form N-PORT requires a fund to classify each holding into a single liquidity bucket. The staff has engaged in discussions with funds regarding questions that have arisen in implementing the liquidity rule and related requirements. These discussions have led us to propose these changes today.

    50See proposed Item C.7.b of Form N-PORT and Instructions.

    First, some funds have explained that the requirement to classify each entire position into one classification category poses difficulties for certain holdings and may not accurately reflect the liquidity of that holding. In these cases, even though the holding may nominally be a single security, different liquidity-affecting features may justify the fund treating the holding as two or more separate investments for liquidity classification purposes (“differences in liquidity characteristics”). For example, a fund might hold an asset that includes a put option on a percentage (but not all) of the fund's holding of the asset.51 Such a feature may significantly affect the liquidity characteristics of the portion of the asset subject to the feature, such that the fund believes that the two portions of the asset should be classified into different buckets.52

    51 For example, if 30% of a holding is subject to a liquidity feature such as a put, and the other 70% is not, pursuant to the proposed Instructions to Item C.7 of Form N-PORT, a fund may split the position, evaluate the sizes it reasonably anticipates trading for each portion of the holding that is subject to the different liquidity characteristics, and classify each separate portion differently, as appropriate. The fund in such a case would use the classification process laid out in the final rule, but would apply it separately to each portion of the holding that exhibits different liquidity characteristics.

    52 As another example, a fund might have purchased a portion of an equity position through a private placement that makes those shares restricted (and therefore illiquid) while also purchasing additional shares of the same security on the open market. In that case, certain shares of the same holding may have very different liquidity characteristics depending on the specific shares being evaluated.

    Second, some funds suggested that in cases of sub-advisers managing different portions or “sleeves” of a fund's portfolio, differences may arise between sub-advisers as to their views of the liquidity classification of a single holding that may be held in multiple sleeves. They noted it would avoid the need for costly reconciliation—and may provide useful information to the Commission on each sub-adviser's determination about the asset's liquidity—to be able to report each sub-adviser's classification of the proportional holding it manages instead of putting the entire holding into a single category.53

    53 Similar to the “differences in liquidity characteristics” examples discussed above, under the proposed amendments to the liquidity classification reporting on Form N-PORT the fund effectively would be treating the portions of the holding managed by different sub-advisers as if they were two separate and distinct securities, and bucketing them accordingly. See Instructions to Item C.7 of Form N-PORT.

    Finally, some funds indicated that for internal risk management purposes they currently classify their holdings proportionally across buckets, based on an assumed sale of the entire position (“proportionality”).54 In such cases, they argued that allowing a fund to have the option of proportionally reporting the position on Form N-PORT would be more efficient and less costly.55 We believe that in such cases, this form of reporting would not impair the Commission's monitoring and oversight efforts as compared to our approach of classifying based on “sizes that the fund would reasonably anticipate trading.” 56 Further, we believe the approach we are proposing today, which allows, but does not require, funds to use the proportionality approach in specified circumstances, would maintain the quality of the information reported to us and be potentially less costly than either our previously proposed or adopted approaches.57

    54 We initially proposed to require that funds classify each portfolio position based on the amount of time it would take to convert the entire position, or portions thereof, to cash (“proportionality approach”). See Open-End Fund Liquidity Risk Management Programs; Swing Pricing; Re-Opening of Comment Period for Investment Company Reporting Modernization Release, Investment Company Act Release No. 31835 (Sept. 22, 2015) [80 FR 62274 (Oct. 15, 2015)], at n.172 and accompanying text. Multiple commenters expressed concern about the proposed requirement, arguing, among other things, that a fund generally would not need to liquidate an entire large position unexpectedly. Rule 22e-4 as adopted, requires a fund, when classifying an investment, to instead determine whether trading varying portions of a position in a particular portfolio investment, in sizes that the fund would reasonably anticipate trading, is reasonably expected to significantly affect the liquidity characteristics of that investment (i.e., market-depth). These market-depth considerations were adopted as a substitute for the proposed proportionality approach. See Liquidity Adopting Release, supra footnote 2, at n.439 and accompanying text.

    55 Effectively, these funds requested the option to use the position size bucketing approach that was originally proposed (analyzing the entirety of a fund's position and splitting it among buckets), rather than bucketing the entire holding into a single category based on the sizes they reasonably anticipate trading, as required under the final rule.

    56 Under the proposed Instructions to Item C.7 of Form N-PORT, a fund taking the proportionality approach would use a method similar to that described in the proposal, and split the entire holding among the four classification categories. For example, a fund holding $100 million in Asset A could determine that it would be able to convert to cash $30 million of it in 1-3 days, but could only convert the remaining $70 million to cash in 3-7 days. This fund could choose to split the liquidity classification of the holding on Form N-PORT and report an allocation of 30% of Asset A in the Highly Liquid category and 70% of Asset A in the Moderately Liquid category. Such a fund would not use sizes that it reasonably anticipates trading when engaging in this analysis, but instead would assume liquidation of the whole position.

    57 As discussed in the economic analysis below, allowing classification in multiple categories may be less costly if it better aligns with current fund systems or allows funds to avoid incurring costs related to the need to develop systems and processes to allocate each holding to exactly one classification bucket.

    We agree that we should permit funds to report liquidity classifications in these ways as they may equally, or more accurately, reflect their liquidity and in some cases may be less burdensome. In addition, we believe that allowing funds to proportionally report the liquidity classification of securities under the three circumstances we discussed here will enhance our monitoring efforts, as it will allow for a more precise view of the liquidity of these securities. Because funds that choose to classify across multiple categories under this approach would be required to indicate which of the three circumstances led to the split classification, we will be able to monitor more effectively the liquidity of a fund's portfolio and determine the circumstances leading to the classification. Therefore, we are proposing to amend Item C.7 of Form N-PORT to provide funds the option of splitting the classification categories reported for their investments on a percentage basis, if done for one of these three reasons.58 We are also proposing new Instructions to Item C.7 that explain the specified circumstances where a fund may split classification categories. In addition, we are proposing new Item C.7.b, which would require funds taking advantage of the option to attribute multiple classifications to a holding to note which of the three circumstances led the fund to split the classifications of the holdings.59

    58 Proposed revisions to Item C.7 and its Instructions of Form N-PORT. Funds that choose not to take advantage of this proportional splitting approach may continue to use the approach laid out in the final rule of bucketing an entire position based on the liquidity of the sizes the fund would reasonably anticipate trading.

    59 Proposed Item C.7.b of Form N-PORT. A fund may also choose to provide (but is not required to) additional context on its process for classifying portions of the same holding differently in the explanatory notes section of Form N-PORT. See Part E of Form N-PORT.

    We seek comment on our proposal to allow, but not require, funds to classify a single holding in multiple categories on Form N-PORT.

    • Should we allow funds to split holdings among different liquidity categories in three specified circumstances as we are proposing today? 60 Why or why not?

    60 Proposed Instructions to Item C.7 to Form N-PORT.

    • Should we require funds to use a consistent approach to classification for all of their investments for purposes of Form N-PORT reporting? For example, should we require a fund that attributes multiple classifications for a holding because it uses a full liquidation analysis on one position to do so consistently for all of its positions?

    • Are there circumstances other than the ones discussed in the proposed Form N-PORT Instructions to Item C.7 when funds may wish to classify the same security into multiple categories? If so, what are they and why should we permit classification splitting in those cases?

    • Instead of requiring funds to note the circumstance that led them to split classification of a position on new Item C.7.b as proposed, should we instead require them to note the circumstance in the explanatory notes section of the Form? Should we not require them to note the circumstance leading to the splitting at all? Why or why not?

    • Should we allow a fund using the proportionality approach to not classify the liquidity of a holding based on an assumed liquidation of the whole position, but instead classify it by evaluating different portions of the sizes it reasonably anticipates trading and bucketing the entire position accordingly? 61 Would this result in misleading or incorrect liquidity classifications?

    61 For example, under this alternate approach, a fund with a $100 million position in a security with a reasonably anticipated trading size of $10 million might determine that it could convert $4 million to cash in 1-3 days and $6 million in 4-7 days. The fund might then bucket $40 million as highly liquid and $60 million as moderately liquid, even though the fund has previously determined that it could only convert $4 million into cash in 1-3 days. We believe this approach would potentially result in inaccurate classifications that may not fully reflect the liquidity of a fund's investments, but has been suggested to our staff as a potential method of splitting classifications in some circumstances.

    2. Proposed Disclosure of Cash and Cash Equivalents

    We are also proposing to add to Form N-PORT an additional disclosure relating to a registrant's holdings of cash and cash equivalents not reported in Parts C and D of the Form.62 This disclosure would be made publicly available each quarter.63 Form N-PORT currently does not require registrants to specifically report the amount of cash and cash equivalents held by the registrant. For example, as we noted in the Reporting Modernization Adopting Release, we designed Part C of Form N-PORT to require registrants to report certain information on an investment-by-investment basis about each investment held by the registrant.64 However, cash and certain cash equivalents are not considered an investment on Form N-PORT, and therefore registrants are not required to report them in Part C of the Form as an investment. Similarly, Part B.1 of Form N-PORT (assets and liabilities) will require information about a registrant's assets and liabilities, but does not require specific disclosure of a registrant's holdings of cash and cash equivalents.65

    62See supra footnote 15 (noting that the term “registrant” refers to entities required to file Form N-PORT, including all registered management investment companies, other than money market funds and small business investment companies, and all ETFs (regardless of whether they operate as UITs or management investment companies).

    63See proposed Item B.2.f. of Form N-PORT.

    64See Reporting Modernization Adopting Release, supra footnote 2.

    65 We understand that, in addition to cash, a registrant's disclosure of total assets on Part B.1.a. could also include certain non-cash assets that are not investments of the registrant, such as receivables for portfolio investments sold, interest receivable on portfolio investments, and receivables for shares of the registrant.

    Cash held by a fund is a highly liquid investment under rule 22e-4 and would have been included in the aggregate liquidity profile that we are proposing to eliminate. Without the aggregate liquidity profile, we may not be able to effectively monitor whether a fund is compliant with its HLIM unless we know the amount of cash held by the fund. The additional disclosure of cash and certain cash equivalents by funds will also provide more complete information that will be useful in analyzing a fund's HLIM, as well as trends regarding the amount of cash being held, which also correlates to other activities the fund is experiencing, including net inflows and outflows.

    As a result, we are proposing to amend Item B.2. of Form N-PORT (certain assets and liabilities) to include a new Item B.2.f. which would require registrants to report “cash and cash equivalents not reported in Parts C and D.” Current U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”) define cash equivalents as “short-term, highly liquid investments that . . . are . . . [r]eadily convertible to known amounts of cash . . . [and that are] [s]o near their maturity that they present insignificant risk of changes in value because of changes in interest rates.” 66 However, we understand that certain categories of investments currently reported on Part C of Form N-PORT (schedule of portfolio investments) could be reasonably considered by some registrants as cash equivalents. For example, Item C.4. of Form N-PORT will require registrants to identify asset type, including “short-term investment vehicle (e.g., money market fund, liquidity pool, or other cash management vehicle),” which could reasonably be categorized by some registrants as a cash equivalent. Therefore, in order to ensure the amount reported under proposed Item B.2.f is accurate and does not double count items that are more appropriately reported in Parts C (Schedule of portfolio investments) and D (Miscellaneous securities) of Form N-PORT, we are proposing to require registrants to only include the cash and cash equivalents not reported in those sections.67

    66See FASB Accounting Standards Codification Master Glossary.

    67 We also are proposing other amendments to Form N-PORT. In particular, we are proposing to amend General Instruction F (Public Availability) to remove the phrase “of this form” from parenthetical references to Item B.7 and Part D for consistency with other parenthetical cross references in the Form. We also are proposing to amend Part F (Exhibits) to fix a typographical error in the citation to Regulation S-X. In addition, for consistency with the amendments we are proposing today and we are proposing to add Item B.8 (Derivative Transactions) to General Instruction F.

    We seek comment on our proposal to require registrants to report cash and cash equivalents on Form N-PORT.

    • Should we require registrants to report cash and cash equivalents? Should we require a different formulation for cash? For example, should we require registrants to report separately pledged or segregated cash?

    • Should we require registrants to provide more detailed information on cash, rather than reporting cash and cash equivalents together? For example, should we require registrants to report cash separately from cash equivalents in Part C of Form N-PORT? If so, should we require cash to be reported separately for different currencies?

    C. Compliance Dates

    If the amendments we propose to Forms N-PORT and N-1A related to liquidity risk disclosure are adopted, we would expect to provide for a tiered set of compliance dates based on asset size.68 Specifically, we are proposing to align the compliance date for our proposed amendments to Forms N-PORT and N-1A with the revised compliance date we previously adopted for Form N-PORT.69 We believe that aligning the compliance date for all liquidity-related reporting requirements will allow funds to holistically implement all liquidity reporting and disclosure requirements at the same time and may make the requirements less burdensome.

    68 “Larger entities” are defined as funds that, together with other investment companies in the same “group of related investment companies,” have net assets of $1 billion or more as of the end of the most recent fiscal year of the fund. “Smaller entities” are defined as funds that, together with other investment companies in the same group of related investment companies, have net assets of less than $1 billion as of the end of its most recent fiscal year. See Liquidity Adopting Release, supra footnote 2, at n.997. We adopted this tiered set of compliance dates based on asset size because we anticipated that smaller groups would benefit from this extra time to comply and from the lessons learned by larger investment companies, and we believe the same rationale applies to the changes we are proposing today. See Liquidity Adopting Release, supra footnote 2, at nn.999 and 1008 and accompanying text.

    69See Investment Company Reporting Modernization, Investment Company Act Release No. 32936 (Dec. 8, 2017) [82 FR 58731 (Dec. 14, 2017)]. These compliance dates would apply to all Form N-PORT filings after the relevant date and to funds subject to these proposed requirements that file initial registration statements on Form N-1A, or that file post-effective amendments that are annual updates to effective registration statements on Form N-1A, after these proposed compliance dates.

    We request comment on the compliance dates discussed above.

    • Should we align the compliance dates for the amendments with the general compliance date for Form N-PORT? Alternatively, should we align the compliance date for the proposed amendments with the compliance date for the other liquidity-related requirements of rule 22e-4 and Form N-PORT?

    • Should we provide a longer compliance period for these proposed changes? For example, should we provide an additional six months or one year beyond the compliance dates for the liquidity-related requirements of rule 22e-4 and Form N-PORT? Should we provide a different compliance period for the Form N-PORT changes and the Form N-1A changes? If so, why and how long?

    III. Economic Analysis A. Introduction

    The Commission is sensitive to the potential economic effects of the proposed amendments to Form N-PORT and Form N-1A. These effects include the benefits and costs to funds, their investors and investment advisers, issuers of the portfolio securities in which funds invest, and other market participants potentially affected by fund and investor behavior as well as any effects on efficiency, competition, and capital formation.

    B. Economic Baseline

    The costs and benefits of the proposed amendments as well as any impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation are considered relative to an economic baseline. For the purposes of this economic analysis, the baseline is the regulatory framework and liquidity risk management practices currently in effect, and any expected changes to liquidity risk management practices, including any systems and processes that funds have already implemented in order to comply with the liquidity rule and related requirements as adopted. The baseline also includes the economic effects anticipated in the Liquidity Adopting Release and the Liquidity Extension Release.70

    70See supra footnotes 2 and 8.

    The economic baseline's regulatory framework consists of the liquidity rule's requirements adopted by the Commission on October 13, 2016. Under the baseline, larger entities must comply with some of the liquidity rule's requirements, such as the establishment of a liquidity risk management program, by December 1, 2018 and must comply with other requirements, such as the classification of portfolio holdings, by June 1, 2019.71 Similarly, smaller entities must comply with some of the liquidity rule's requirements by June 1, 2019 and other requirements by December 1, 2019.

    71See supra footnote 68 for a detailed description of large and small entities. The compliance date for some of the requirements related to portfolio holding classification is being delayed. See the Liquidity Extension Release, supra footnote 8, for a more detailed discussion of the requirements that are being delayed.

    The primary SEC-regulated entities affected by these proposed amendments would be mutual funds and ETFs. As of the end of 2016, there were 9,090 mutual funds managing assets of approximately $16 trillion,72 and there were 1,716 ETFs managing assets of approximately $2.5 trillion.73 Other potentially affected parties include investors, investment advisers that advise funds, issuers of the securities in which these funds invest, and other market participants that could be affected by fund and investor behavior.

    72See 2017 ICI Fact Book, available at https://www.ici.org/pdf/2017_factbook.pdf, at 22, 170, 174. The number of mutual funds includes funds that primarily invest in other mutual funds but excludes 421 money-market funds.

    73See 2017 ICI Fact Book, available at https://www.ici.org/pdf/2017_factbook.pdf, at 180, 181.

    C. Economic Impacts

    We are mindful of the costs and benefits of the proposed amendments to Form N-PORT and Form N-1A. The Commission, where possible, has sought to quantify the benefits and costs, and effects on efficiency, competition and capital formation expected to result from these amendments. However, as discussed below, the Commission is unable to quantify certain of the economic effects because it lacks information necessary to provide reasonable estimates. The economic effects of the amendments fall into two categories: (1) Effects stemming from changes to public disclosure on Form N-PORT and Form N-1A; (2) effects stemming from changes to non-public disclosure on Form N-PORT.

    Changes to Public Disclosure

    The proposed amendments to Form N-PORT and Form N-1A alter the public disclosure of information about fund liquidity in three ways. First, the proposed amendments rescind the requirement that funds publicly disclose their aggregate liquidity profile on a quarterly basis with a 60-day delay in structured format on Form N-PORT.74 Second, the proposed amendments require a fund to provide a narrative description of the fund's liquidity risk management program's operation and effectiveness in unstructured format on Form N-1A. Finally, the proposed amendments require funds and other registrants to report to the Commission on a non-public basis the amount of cash and cash equivalents in their portfolio on Form N-PORT on a monthly basis and to publicly disclose this amount on a quarterly basis with a 60-day delay through EDGAR.75

    74See supra footnote 1 for a definition of “funds.” The requirement to publicly disclose aggregate liquidity profiles does not apply to funds that are In-Kind ETFs under the baseline, so it is only being proposed to be rescinded for funds that are not In-Kind ETFs. In-Kind ETFs are included as funds that would provide a narrative description of their liquidity risk management program on Form N-1A under this proposal.

    75 The Commission will continue to receive non-public position level liquidity information on Form N-PORT. See supra footnote 32.

    Funds and other registrants would experience benefits and costs associated with proposed changes to public disclosures on Form N-PORT. Funds 76 would no longer incur the one-time and ongoing costs associated with preparing the portion of Form N-PORT associated with the aggregate liquidity profile, which would likely constitute a small portion of the aggregate one-time costs of $158 million and the ongoing costs of $3.9 million for Form N-PORT that we estimated in the Liquidity Adopting Release.77 At the same time, funds and other registrants would also incur additional costs, relative to the baseline, associated with the requirement that they report their holdings of cash and cash equivalents on Form N-PORT.78 Because funds and other registrants are already preparing Form N-PORT, and already need to keep track of their cash and cash equivalents for valuation purposes, we expect that these additional costs will not be significant. In aggregate, we expect any additional costs associated with the requirement that funds and other registrants disclose their holdings of cash and cash equivalents to be offset by the savings associated with funds no longer having to report an aggregate liquidity profile. Therefore, we expect that funds and other registrants will not experience a significant net economic effect associated with the direct costs of filing Form N-PORT.79 Additionally, to the extent that any risk of herding or correlated trading would exist if funds executed trades in order to make their aggregate liquidity profiles appear more liquid to investors, rescinding the requirement that funds publicly disclose an aggregate liquidity profile would mitigate such risk.80

    76See supra footnote 73.

    77See Liquidity Adopting Release, supra footnote 2, at nn.1188-1191. We estimated the total one-time costs associated with the rule's disclosure and reporting requirements on Form N-PORT as being approximately $55 million for funds that will file reports on Form N-PORT in house and approximately $103 million for funds that will use a third-party service provider. Similarly, we estimated the total ongoing annual costs as being approximately $1.6 million for funds filing reports in house and $2.3 million for funds that will use a third-party service provider.

    78See supra footnote 15.

    79See text following infra footnote 98.

    80See supra footnote 35 and surrounding discussion.

    Relative to the baseline, funds would incur costs associated with preparing an annual narrative discussion of their liquidity risk management programs on Form N-1A. We estimate that funds would incur aggregate one-time costs of approximately $18 million and aggregate ongoing costs of approximately $8.9 million in association with preparing this narrative discussion.81

    81See infra footnotes 102 and 105. We estimate funds will incur an additional aggregate one-time of burden of 53,990 hours and an additional aggregate annual burden of 26,995 hours. Assuming a blended hourly rate of $329 for a compliance attorney ($345) and a senior officer ($313), that translate to an additional aggregate one-time burden of $17,7627,710 = 53,990 × $329 and an additional aggregate annual burden of $8,881,355 = 26,995 × $329.

    Investors also would experience costs and benefits as a result of the proposed amendments to the public disclosure requirements on Form N-PORT and Form N-1A. To the extent that aggregate liquidity profiles on Form N-PORT would help certain investors make more informed investment choices that match their liquidity risk preferences, rescinding the aggregate liquidity profile requirement will reduce an investor's ability to make more informed investment choices. However, to the extent that aggregate liquidity profiles are not comparable across funds because portfolio holding classifications incorporate subjective factors that may be interpreted differently by different funds, rescinding the aggregate liquidity profile requirement may not reduce these investors' ability to make informed investment choices. Rather, the amendments may reduce the likelihood that investors make investment choices based on any confusion about how the fund's liquidity risk profile should be interpreted.82 Additionally, the annual narrative discussion in Form N-1A may mitigate any reduction in their ability to make more informed investment choices, though this disclosure would be less frequent than the quarterly public disclosure of aggregate liquidity profiles as adopted and would provide information about a fund's liquidity risk management rather than the fund's aggregate liquidity profile of investments.

    82 Even if aggregate liquidity profiles are not comparable across funds, they may be comparable across time for a given fund, which might provide useful information to investors. This would be the case if a fund maintains a consistent position classification process over time.

    If certain investors prefer to base their investment decisions on information that is delivered to them directly, those investors would be more likely to use the narrative discussion of a fund's liquidity risk management program on Form N-1A than to have used the aggregate liquidity profile on Form N-PORT to inform their investment decisions. However, if certain other investors could more easily access, reuse, and compare the information about a fund's liquidity risk if included within a structured format on Form N-PORT, those investors would have a reduced ability to make as timely and accurate an analysis when that information is provided to them in the unstructured format of an annual report. To the extent that certain investors rely on third parties to provide them with information for analysis, there may be an increased burden on these third-party providers to search, aggregate and analyze the unstructured information in funds' annual reports. Finally, the proposed amendment to Form N-PORT that requires funds and other registrants to publicly disclose their holdings of cash and cash equivalents on a quarterly basis with a 60-day delay gives investors some potentially useful information about the most liquid assets that a fund previously had available to, for example, meet its redemption obligations.

    Changes to Non-Public Disclosure

    In addition to the proposed amendments to public disclosures of liquidity information discussed above, the proposed amendments to Form N-PORT give funds the option to split a given holding into portions that may have different liquidity classifications on their non-public reports on Form N-PORT. Funds may benefit from the proposed amendment because it gives them the option to either include an entire holding within a classification bucket or to allocate portions of the holding across classification buckets. This could benefit a fund if a more granular approach to classification that assigns portions of a portfolio holding to separate classification buckets is more consistent with the fund's preferred approach to liquidity risk management, and reduces the need for funds to develop systems and processes to allocate each holding to exactly one classification bucket.83 In addition, to the extent that providing the option to choose the position classification method most suitable to a given fund results in disclosures on Form N-PORT that more accurately reflect the fund's liquidity profile, the proposed amendments may improve the Commission's ability to monitor liquidity risks in markets and protect investors from liquidity-related developments. However, we acknowledge that providing funds with this option does add an additional subjective decision to the portfolio holding classification process. Thus the proposed amendments could result in classification profiles that are less comparable across funds relative to the baseline.84

    83 For example, funds that use multiple sub-advisers to manage different sleeves of a portfolio might have to establish more complex systems and processes for combining the classifications of individual sub-advisers into a single classification for the portfolio's aggregate holding of a given security under the rule as adopted. The ability to split a portfolio holding across multiple classification buckets provides funds with a straightforward way of combining the classifications of different sub-advisers.

    84 Portfolio classifications on Form N-PORT will include CUSIPs or other identifiers that allow Commission staff to identify when different funds classify the same investment using different classification methods. However, comparing such classifications will require some method of adjustment between classifications based on, for example, reasonably anticipated trade size and those based splitting a position into proportions that are assigned to different classification buckets.

    Efficiency, Competition, and Capital Formation

    The proposed amendments have several potential impacts on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. First, if publicly disclosed aggregate liquidity profiles created an incentive for a fund to classify its holdings in a manner that led to a relatively more liquid aggregate liquidity profile in order to attract investors, the proposed amendments remove any such incentive and potentially reduce the likelihood that funds compete based on their aggregate liquidity profiles. To the extent that a fund or other registrant's cash and cash equivalent holdings are interpreted by investors as being associated with lower liquidity risk, funds and other registrants may still have some incentive to compete based on their holdings of cash and cash equivalents under the proposed amendments.85 We do not expect the proposed amendments to Form N-1A to have a significant competitive effect.

    85 However, because cash and cash equivalent holdings do not generate significant returns relative to other holdings, funds and other registrants may have an incentive to shift to non-cash or cash equivalent holdings that generate higher returns.

    Second, to the extent that publicly disclosed aggregate liquidity profiles would have helped investors more accurately evaluate fund liquidity risk and make more informed investment decisions, the proposed amendments could reduce allocative efficiency. However, to the extent that aggregate liquidity profiles on Form N-PORT would have increased the likelihood of investors making investment choices based on any confusion about a fund's liquidity risk profile, which would have harmed the efficient allocation of capital, the proposed amendments could increase allocative efficiency. The proposed annual discussion of a fund's liquidity risk management program on Form N-1A and the proposed requirement that funds and other registrants publicly disclose their holdings of cash and cash equivalents on Form N-PORT potentially mitigate this reduction in allocative efficiency, but only to the extent that these proposed requirements provide information that helps investors evaluate fund liquidity risk.

    Finally, to the extent that the information provided by aggregate liquidity profiles would have promoted increased investment in certain funds, and the assets those funds invest in, rescinding the aggregate liquidity profile requirement could reduce capital formation. At the same time, we note that the new public disclosure requirements we are proposing could offset any reduction in capital formation.

    In summary, we note that all of the impacts described above are conditioned upon the usefulness to investors of information that we propose to no longer require relative to the usefulness of additional proposed disclosures. We cannot estimate the aggregate effect on efficiency, competition, or capital formation that will result from the new amendments because we do not know the extent to which aggregate liquidity risk profiles, narrative discussion of a fund's liquidity risk management program, or the amount of cash and cash equivalents held by a fund and other registrants are useful to investors in making more informed investment choices.

    D. Reasonable Alternatives

    The Commission considered several alternatives to the proposed amendments to funds public and non-public disclosure requirements. First, in order to address any potential issues with the interpretation of a fund's aggregate liquidity profile by investors, we could have maintained the public disclosure of this profile on Form N-PORT and added a requirement that funds publicly disclose on Form N-PORT additional information providing context and clarification regarding how their aggregate liquidity profile were generated and should be interpreted. This alternative would have provided investors with some of the benefits of the additional context provided by the proposed narrative discussion on Form N-1A, and, to the extent that it increased investors' understanding of a fund's aggregate liquidity profile, could allow them to make more informed investment choices relative to the baseline. However, to the extent that some investors believe that they can more easily obtain information in a fund's annual report compared to information in the fund's N-PORT filings because annual reports are delivered directly to them, and the investors are not as interested in being able to access, reuse, and compare the information if included in a structured format on Form N-PORT, this alternative would require investors to seek out this additional information on EDGAR instead of having it delivered directly to them in an annual report. Similarly, we could have required funds to disclose an aggregate liquidity profile in their annual report along with additional information providing context and clarification regarding how its aggregate liquidity profile was generated and should be interpreted. If such disclosure increased investors' understanding of a fund's aggregate liquidity profile, this would allow them to make more informed investment choices relative to the baseline, though they would receive this information at an annual rather than quarterly frequency.

    Second, instead of requiring a fund to briefly discuss the operation and effectiveness of its liquidity risk management program in the MDFP section of its annual report, we could have required a more specific discussion of the fund's exposure to liquidity risk over the preceding year, how the fund managed that risk, and how the fund's returns were affected over the preceding year. This alternative could have provided investors with a more in-depth understanding of both a fund's liquidity risk and the fund's approach to managing that risk, which might allow them to make more informed investment decisions compared to the proposed discussion of the fund's liquidity risk management program. However, we preliminarily believe that this alternative would be more costly for funds to implement than the proposed narrative discussion on Form N-1A because it might require funds to perform a more detailed analysis of their liquidity risk over the past year.

    Third, we could have amended both Form N-PORT and rule 22e-4 to prescribe an objective approach to classification in which the Commission would specify more precise criteria and guidance regarding how funds should classify different categories of investments. Such an approach could permit consistent comparisons of different funds' aggregate liquidity profiles, allowing investors to make more informed investment decisions without requiring funds to provide additional contextual discussion of their liquidity risk management programs. However, as discussed in the Liquidity Adopting Release, the Commission may not be able to respond as quickly as market participants to dynamic market conditions that might necessitate changes to such criteria and guidance, and would be unable to account for determinants of investment liquidity that rule 22e-4 treats as fund-specific.86

    86See Liquidity Adopting Release, supra footnote 2, at n.1143 and accompanying text.

    Finally, we could have required that if funds chose to split the classification of any of their portfolio holdings across liquidity buckets when reporting them on the non-public portion of Form N-PORT, they do so for all of their portfolio holdings. This would have ensured that all of the portfolio holdings within a given fund could be interpreted more consistently for any monitoring purposes by the Commission. However, to the extent that being able to choose the classification approach appropriate to each portfolio holding more accurately reflects a manager's judgment of that portfolio holding's liquidity, any reduction in the consistency of portfolio classifications under the proposed amendment could be offset by a more accurate assessment of fund liquidity risk.

    E. Request for Comment

    We request comment on our analysis of the likely economic effects of the proposed form amendments. We also request comment on the following:

    • To what extent will investors rely on the annual narrative discussion of a fund's liquidity risk management program's effectiveness in making investment decisions?

    • To what extent will investors rely on the quarterly disclosure of a fund or other registrant's holdings of cash and cash equivalents in making investment decisions?

    • Will investors find the new proposed public disclosures more or less informative than an aggregate liquidity profile in making investment choices? Would investors be better off if both types of disclosures were required?

    • How much would it cost a fund to discuss the extent and manner in which the fund took liquidity risk, the way that risk was managed, and the effects of these on the fund's performance over the past year in the MDFP section of its annual report? Would it be more costly than the proposed narrative discussion of the fund's liquidity risk management program in its annual report? If so, how much more costly would it be? Are there other benefits of this alternative to funds, investors, and other market participants that we should consider?

    • Do investors have a reason to access, reuse, or compare the narrative information? If so, would investors' ease of access and usability of the information improve if the information were provided in a structured format (e.g., XML, XBRL, Inline XBRL)? If so, which structured format would be most useful and why?

    • To the extent that certain investors prefer to have information about a fund's liquidity risk management delivered to them rather than having to seek out that information on EDGAR, would investors prefer that information on Form N-PORT pertaining to aggregate liquidity risk profiles be delivered to them as a separate disclosure in paper or electronic form?

    • Are there any other reasonable alternative with significant economic impacts that we should consider?

    IV. Paperwork Reduction Act A. Introduction

    The proposed amendments to Form N-PORT and Form N-1A contain “collections of information” within the meaning of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (“PRA”).87

    87 44 U.S.C. 3501 through 3521.

    The title for the existing collections of information are: “Rule 30b1-9 and Form N-PORT” (OMB Control No. 3235-0730); and “Form N-1A under the Securities Act of 1933 and under the Investment Company Act of 1940, Registration Statement of Open-End Management Investment Companies” (OMB Control No. 3235-0307). The Commission is submitting these collections of information to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) for review in accordance with 44 U.S.C. 3507(d) and 5 CFR 1320.11. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid control number. The Commission is proposing to amend Form N-PORT and Form N-1A. The proposed amendments are designed to improve the reporting and disclosure of liquidity information by funds. We discuss below the collection of information burdens associated with these amendments.

    B. Form N-PORT

    As discussed above, on October 13, 2016, the Commission adopted new Form N-PORT, which requires all registered management investment companies, other than money market funds and small business investment companies, and unit investment trusts (“UITs”) that operate as ETFs to report information about their monthly portfolio holdings to the Commission in a structured data format.88 On the same day, the Commission adopted amendments to Form N-PORT requiring a fund to publicly report on Form N-PORT the aggregate percentage of its portfolio investments that falls into each of the four liquidity classification categories noted above.89 Today, the Commission is proposing amendments to rescind the requirement that funds publicly disclose their aggregate liquidity profile on a quarterly basis with a 60-day delay. The Commission also is proposing to require funds and other registrants to report to the Commission on a non-public basis the amount of cash and cash equivalents in their portfolio on Form N-PORT on a monthly basis and to publicly disclose this amount on a quarterly basis with a 60 day delay.90 Finally, the Commission is proposing to allow funds the option of splitting a fund's holding into more than one liquidity classification category in certain specified circumstances.91 As of the end of 2016, there were 9,090 mutual funds managing assets of approximately $16 trillion, and there were 1,716 ETFs managing assets of approximately $2.5 trillion.92 Preparing a report on Form N-PORT is mandatory and is a collection of information under the PRA, and the information required by Form N-PORT will be data-tagged in XML format. Except for certain reporting items specified in the form,93 responses to the reporting requirements will be kept confidential for reports filed with respect to the first two months of each quarter; the third month of the quarter will not be kept confidential, but made public sixty days after the quarter end.

    88 Reporting Modernization Adopting Release, supra footnote 2.

    89 Item B.8.a of Form N-PORT. Form N-PORT also requires public reporting of the percentage of a fund's highly liquid investments that it has segregated to cover, or pledged to satisfy margin requirements in connection with, derivatives transactions that are classified as moderately liquid, less liquid, or illiquid investments. Item B.8.b of Form N-PORT.

    90See supra footnote 15 (noting that the term “registrant” refers to entities required to file Form N-PORT, including all registered management investment companies, other than money market funds and small business investment companies, and all ETFs (regardless of whether they operate as UITs or management investment companies).

    91See Proposed Item C.7.b of Form N-PORT and Instructions.

    92See supra footnote 73 and accompanying text.

    93 These items include information reported with respect to a fund's Highly Liquid Investment Minimum (Item B.7), derivatives transactions (Item B.8), country of risk and economic exposure (Item C.5.b), delta (Items C.9.f.v, C.11.c.vii, or C.11.g.iv), liquidity classification for portfolio investments (Item C.7), or miscellaneous securities (Part D), or explanatory notes related to any of those topics (Part E) that is identifiable to any particular fund or adviser. See Proposed General Instruction F of Form N-PORT.

    In the Liquidity Adopting Release, we estimate that, for the 35% of funds that would file reports on Form N-PORT in house, the per fund average aggregate annual hour burden will be 144 hours per fund, and the average cost to license a third-party software solution will be $4,805 per fund per year.94 For the remaining 65% of funds that would retain the services of a third party to prepare and file reports on Form N-PORT on the fund's behalf, we estimate that the average aggregate annual hour burden will be 125 hours per fund, and each fund will pay an average fee of $11,440 per fund per year for the services of third-party service provider. In sum, we estimate that filing liquidity-related information on Form N-PORT will impose an average total annual hour burden of 144 hours on applicable funds, and all applicable funds will incur on average, in the aggregate, external annual costs of $103,787,680, or $9,118 per fund.95

    94See Liquidity Adopting Release, supra footnote 2, at n.1237 and accompanying text.

    95See Liquidity Adopting Release, supra footnote 2, at n.1238 and accompanying text.

    Today, we are proposing amendments to Form N-PORT to rescind the requirement that a fund report the aggregate percentage of the fund's portfolio representing each of the four liquidity categories. As discussed above, we are rescinding this requirement because we believe that Form N-PORT may not be the most accessible and useful way to convey to the public information about a fund's liquidity risks and the fund's approach to liquidity risk management. Because there would no longer be public disclosure of a fund's aggregate liquidity classification information, we would also re-designate reporting about the amount of a fund's highly liquid investments that are segregated or pledged to cover less liquid derivatives transactions to the non-public portion of the form. We believe that public disclosure of this information would be of limited to no utility to investors without broader context and, therefore, may be confusing. However, because we would otherwise be unable to determine the amount of a fund's highly liquid investments that is actually unavailable to meet redemptions, we believe that funds should continue to report this item to us, on a non-public basis. Finally, we are proposing other amendments to Form N-PORT to add an additional disclosure requirement relating to the fund's and other registrant's holdings of cash and cash equivalents not reported in Parts C and D of the Form 96 and to allow funds the option of splitting a fund's holding into more than one classification category in three specified circumstances.97 We believe these additional amendments enhance, the liquidity data reported to the Commission.98 In addition, for some funds, these proposed changes may also reduce cost burdens as they comply with the rule.

    96See proposed Item B.2.f. of Form N-PORT.

    97See proposed Instructions to Form N-PORT Item C.7.

    98See Liquidity Adopting Release, supra footnote 2, at n.293 and accompanying text (discussing the Commission's need for the information reported on Form N-PORT).

    Based on Commission staff experience, we believe that our proposal to rescind the requirement that funds publicly report the aggregate classification information on Form N-PORT will reduce the estimated burden hours and costs associated with Form N-PORT by approximately one hour. We believe, however, that this reduction in cost will be offset by the increase in cost associated with the other proposed amendments to Form N-PORT, which we also estimate to be one hour. Therefore, we believe that there will be no substantive modification to the existing collection of information for Form N-PORT. As a result, the Commission believes that the current PRA burden estimates for the existing collection of information requirements remain appropriate.

    C. Form N-1A

    Form N-1A is the registration form used by open-end investment companies. The respondents to the amendments to Form N-1A adopted today are open-end management investment companies registered or registering with the Commission. Compliance with the disclosure requirements of Form N-1A is mandatory, and the responses to the disclosure requirements are not confidential. In our most recent Paperwork Reduction Act submission for Form N-1A, we estimated for Form N-1A a total hour burden of 1,602,751 hours, and the total annual external cost burden is $131,139,208.99

    99 This estimate is based on the last time the rule's information collection was submitted for PRA renewal in 2018.

    The Commission is proposing to amend Form N-1A to require funds to discuss certain aspects of their liquidity risk management program as part of their annual reports to shareholders. Specifically we are proposing to require a fund to discuss briefly the operation and effectiveness of the fund's liquidity risk management program in the fund's annual report to shareholders, as part of its MDFP.100 We believe that this proposed amendment will provide effective disclosure that better informs investors of how the fund's liquidity risk and liquidity risk management practices affect their investment than the Form N-PORT public liquidity risk profile.

    100 Proposed Item 27(b)(7)(iii) of Form N-1A.

    Form N-1A generally imposes two types of reporting burdens on investment companies: (i) The burden of preparing and filing the initial registration statement; and (ii) the burden of preparing and filing post-effective amendments to a previously effective registration statement (including post-effective amendments filed pursuant to rule 485(a) or 485(b) under the Securities Act, as applicable). We estimate that each fund would incur a one-time burden of an additional five hours,101 to draft and finalize the required disclosure and amend its registration statement. In aggregate, we estimate that funds would incur a one-time burden of an additional 53,990 hours,102 to comply with the proposed Form N-1A disclosure requirements. Amortizing the one-time burden over a three-year period results in an average annual burden of an additional 17,996.7 hours.103

    101 This estimate is based on the following calculation: 5 hours (3 hours for the compliance attorney to consult with the liquidity risk management program administrator and other investment personnel in order to produce an initial draft of the MDFP disclosure + 2 hours for senior officers to familiarize themselves with the new disclosure and certify the annual report). These calculations stem from the Commission's understanding of the time it takes to draft and review MDFP disclosure and to update a fund's registration statement.

    102 This estimate is based on the following calculations: 5 hours × 10,798 open-end funds (excluding money market funds and ETFs organized as UITs, and including ETFs that are management investment companies) = 53,990 hours.

    103 This estimate is based on the following calculation: 53,990 hours ÷ 3 = 17,996.7 average annual burden hours.

    Based on Commission staff expertise and experience in reviewing registration statements, we estimate that each fund would incur an ongoing burden of an additional 2.5 hours each year to review and update the required disclosure and amend its registration statement.104 In aggregate, we estimate that funds would incur an annual burden of an additional 26,995 hours,105 to comply with the proposed Form N-1A disclosure requirements.

    104 This estimate is based on the following calculation: 2.5 hours (2 hours for the compliance attorney to consult with the liquidity risk management program administrator and other investment personnel in order to produce an initial draft of the MDFP disclosure + .5 hours for senior officers to certify the annual report). These calculations stem from the Commission staff's understanding of the time it takes to review MDFP disclosure and to update a fund's registration statement.

    105 This estimate is based on the following calculation: 2.5 hours × 10,798 open-end funds (excluding money market funds and ETFs organized as UITs, and including ETFs that are management investment companies) = 26,995 hours.

    Amortizing these one-time and ongoing hour and cost burdens over three years results in an average annual increased burden of approximately 3.3 hours per fund.106

    106 This estimate is based on the following calculation: 5 burden hours (year 1) + 2.5 burden hours (year 2) + 2.5 burden hours (year 3) ÷ 3 = 3.3.

    In total, we estimate that funds would incur an average annual increased burden of approximately 44,991.7 hours,107 to comply with the proposed Form N-1A disclosure requirements.

    107 This estimate is based on the following calculation: 17,996.7 hours + 26,995 hours = 44,991.7 hours.

    D. Request for Comments

    We request comment on whether our estimates for burden hours and any external costs as described above are reasonable. Pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(B), the Commission solicits comments in order to: (i) Evaluate whether the proposed collections of information are necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information will have practical utility; (ii) evaluate the accuracy of the Commission's estimate of the burden of the proposed collections of information; (iii) determine whether there are ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (iv) determine whether there are ways to minimize the burden of the collections of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    The agency is submitting the proposed collections of information to OMB for approval. Persons wishing to submit comments on the collection of information requirements of the proposed amendments should direct them to the Office of Management and Budget, Attention Desk Officer for the Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Washington, DC 20503, and should send a copy to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549-1090, with reference to File No. S7-04-18. OMB is required to make a decision concerning the collections of information between 30 and 60 days after publication of this release; therefore, a comment to OMB is best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 days after publication of this release. Requests for materials submitted to OMB by the Commission with regard to these collections of information should be in writing, refer to File No. S7-04-18, and be submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of FOIA Services, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549-2736.

    V. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    The Commission has prepared the following Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis in accordance with section 3(a) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (“RFA”).108 It relates to proposed amendments to Form N-PORT and proposed amendments to Form N-1A.

    108 5 U.S.C. 603(a).

    A. Reasons for and Objectives of the Proposed Actions

    The Commission adopted rule 22e-4 and related rule and form amendments to enhance the regulatory framework for liquidity risk management of funds.109 In connection with rule 22e-4, a fund is required to publicly report on Form N-PORT the aggregate percentage of its portfolio investments that falls into each of the liquidity categories enumerated in rule 22e-4. This requirement was designed to enhance public disclosure regarding fund liquidity and redemption practices. However, since we adopted these requirements, we have received letters raising concerns that the public disclosure of a fund's aggregate liquidity classification information on Form N-PORT may not achieve our intended purpose and may confuse and mislead investors. As we discuss further in section II.A above, these letters have led us to believe that the approach of disclosing liquidity information to the public through Form N-PORT may not be the most accessible and useful way to convey fund liquidity information to the public, given that only the Commission, and not the public, would have access to the more granular information and can request information regarding the fund's methodologies and assumptions that would provide needed context to understand this reporting.110

    109See supra section I.

    110See supra section II.A.1 at text following footnote 18.

    B. Legal Basis

    The Commission is proposing amendments to Form N-1A and Form N-PORT under the authority set forth in the Securities Act, particularly section 19 thereof [15 U.S.C. 77a et seq.], the Exchange Act, particularly sections 10, 13, 15, and 23, and 35A thereof [15 U.S.C. 78a et seq.], and the Investment Company Act, particularly, sections 8, 30, and 38 thereof [15 U.S.C. 80a et seq.].

    C. Small Entities Subject to the Proposed Liquidity Regulations

    An investment company is a small entity if, together with other investment companies in the same group of related investment companies, it has net assets of $50 million or less as of the end of its most recent fiscal year.111 Commission staff estimates that, as of June 31, 2017, there were 64 open-end investment companies (within 60 fund complexes) that would be considered small entities. This number includes open-end ETFs.112

    111See rule 0-10(a) under the Investment Company Act.

    112 This estimate is derived from an analysis of data obtained from Morningstar Direct as well as data reported on Form N-SAR filed with the Commission for the period ending June 30, 2017.

    D. Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements

    We are proposing amendments to Form N-1A and Form N-PORT to enhance fund disclosure regarding a fund's liquidity risk management practices. Specifically, the proposed amendments to Form N-PORT 113 would rescind the requirement that funds publicly disclose aggregate liquidity classification information about their portfolios and proposed amendments to Form N-1A would require funds to discuss certain aspects of their liquidity risk management program as part of their annual reports to shareholders.114 In addition, we are proposing amendments to Form N-PORT to allow funds to report multiple classification categories for a single position in certain cases 115 and require funds and other registrants to report their holdings of cash and cash equivalents.116

    113See proposed amendments to Item B.8 of Form N-PORT.

    114See proposed amendments to Item 27(b)(7)(iii) of Form N-1A.

    115See proposed Item C.7.b of Form N-PORT and Instructions.

    116See proposed Item B.2.f. of Form N-PORT.

    All funds would be subject to the proposed disclosure and reporting requirements, including funds that are small entities. We estimate that 64 funds (comprising 60 fund complexes) are small entities that would be required to comply with the proposed disclosure and reporting requirements. As discussed above, we do not believe that our proposed amendments will change Form N-PORT's estimated burden hours and costs.117 We estimate that each fund would incur a one-time burden of an additional five hours,118 each year to draft and finalize the required Form N-1A disclosure and amend its registration statement. For purposes of this analysis, Commission staff estimates, based on outreach conducted with a variety of funds, that small fund groups will incur approximately the same initial and ongoing costs as large fund groups. Therefore, in the aggregate, we estimate that funds that are small entities would incur a one-time burden of an additional 320 hours,119 to comply with the proposed Form N-1A disclosure requirements. Amortizing the one-time burden over a three-year period results in an average annual burden of an additional 106.7 hours.120 We estimate that each fund would incur an ongoing burden of an additional 2.5 hours each year to review and update the required Form N-1A disclosure and amend its registration statement.121 Therefore, we estimate that funds that are small entities will incur an ongoing burden of an additional 160 hours to comply with the proposed Form N-1A disclosure requirements.122

    117See supra text accompanying footnote 79.

    118See supra footnote 101 (noting that this estimate is based on the Commission staff's understanding of the time it takes to draft and review MDFP disclosure and to update a fund's registration statement, including the time it takes for the compliance attorney to consult with the liquidity risk management program administrator and other investment personnel in order to produce an initial draft of the MDFP disclosure as well as the time it takes for senior officers to familiarize themselves with the new disclosure and certify the annual report).

    119 This estimate is based on the following calculations: 5 hours × 64 = 320 hours.

    120 This estimate is based on the following calculation: 320 hours ÷ 3 = 106.7 average annual burden hours.

    121See supra footnote 104 and accompanying text (noting that this estimate is based on the Commission staff's understanding of the time it takes to review MDFP disclosure and to update a fund's registration statement, including the time it takes for the compliance attorney to consult with the liquidity risk management program administrator and other investment personnel in order to produce an initial draft of the MDFP disclosure as well as the time it takes for senior officers to certify the annual report).

    122 This estimate is based on the following calculations: 2.5 hours × 64 = 160 hours.

    Amortizing these one-time and ongoing hour and cost burdens over three years results in an average annual increased burden of approximately 4.2 hours per fund.123 In total, we estimate that funds that are small entities would incur an average annual increased burden of approximately 266.7 hours, to comply with the proposed Form N-1A disclosure requirements.

    123 This estimate is based on the following calculations: (160 hours + 106.7 hours) ÷ 64 funds = 4.2 hours.

    E. Duplicative, Overlapping, or Conflicting Federal Rules

    The Commission has not identified any federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with the proposed liquidity regulations.

    F. Significant Alternatives

    The RFA directs the Commission to consider significant alternatives that would accomplish our stated objectives, while minimizing any significant economic impact on small entities. We considered the following alternatives for small entities in relation to the proposed liquidity disclosure requirements: (i) Exempting funds that are small entities from the proposed disclosure requirements on Form N-1A, or establishing different disclosure or reporting requirements, or different disclosure frequency, to account for resources available to small entities; (ii) clarifying, consolidating, or simplifying the compliance requirements under the amendments for small entities; (iii) using performance rather than design standards; and (iv) exempting funds that are small entities from other proposed amendments to Form N-PORT.

    We do not believe that exempting any subset of funds, including funds that are small entities, from the proposed amendments would permit us to achieve our stated objectives. Nor do we believe that clarifying, consolidating or simplifying the proposed amendments for small entities would satisfy those objectives. In particular, we do not believe that the interest of investors would be served by these alternatives. We believe that all fund investors, including investors in funds that are small entities, would benefit from accessible and useful disclosure about liquidity risk, with appropriate context, so that investors may understand its nature and relevance to their investments.124 We also believe that all fund investors would benefit from the other proposed amendments to Form N-PORT that would preserve, and in some cases enhance, the liquidity data reported to the Commission by allowing funds to more accurately reflect their liquidity.125 We note that the current disclosure requirements for reports on Forms N-1A and N-PORT do not distinguish between small entities and other funds. Finally, we determined to use performance rather than design standards for all funds, regardless of size, because we believe that providing funds with the flexibility to determine how to design their MDFP disclosures allows them the opportunity to tailor their disclosure to their specific risk profile. By contrast, we determined to use design standards for our proposed amendments to Form N-PORT because we believe information reported to the Commission on the Form must be uniform to the extent practicable in order for the Commission to carry out its oversight and monitoring responsibilities.

    124See supra text accompanying footnote 96.

    125See supra section IV.B at text accompanying footnote 98.

    G. General Request for Comment

    The Commission requests comments regarding this analysis. We request comment on the number of small entities that would be subject to the proposed form amendments and whether the proposed form amendments would have any effects on small entities that have not been discussed. We request that commenters describe the nature of any effects on small entities subject to the proposed form amendments and provide empirical data to support the nature and extent of such effects. We also request comment on the estimated compliance burdens of the proposed form amendments and how they would affect small entities.

    VI. Consideration of Impact on the Economy

    For purposes of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, or “SBREFA,” 126 we must advise OMB whether a proposed regulation constitutes a “major” rule. Under SBREFA, a rule is considered “major” where, if adopted, it results in or is likely to result in (1) an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; (2) a major increase in costs or prices for consumers or individual industries; or (3) significant adverse effects on competition, investment or innovation.

    126 Public Law 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 857 (1996) (codified in various sections of 5 U.S.C., 15 U.S.C. and as a note to 5 U.S.C. 601).

    We request comment on the potential impact of the proposed amendments on the potential effect on the economy on an annual basis; any potential increase in costs or prices for consumers or individual industries; and any potential effect on competition, investment, or innovation.

    Commenters are requested to provide empirical data and other factual support for their views to the extent possible.

    VII. Statutory Authority

    The Commission is proposing amendments to Form N-1A and Form N-PORT under the authority set forth in the Securities Act, particularly section 19 thereof [15 U.S.C. 77a et seq.], the Exchange Act, particularly sections 10, 13, 15, and 23, and 35A thereof [15 U.S.C. 78a et seq.], and the Investment Company Act, particularly, sections 8, 30 and 38 thereof [15 U.S.C. 80a et seq.].

    List of Subjects in 17 CFR Part 274

    Investment companies, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Securities.

    Text of Rules and Forms

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

    PART 274—FORMS PRESCRIBED UNDER THE INVESTMENT COMPANY ACT OF 1940 1. The authority citation for part 274 continues to read, in part, as follows: Authority:

    15 U.S.C. 77f, 77g, 77h, 77j, 77s, 78c(b), 78l, 78m, 78n, 78o(d), 80a-8, 80a-24, 80a-26, 80a-29, and Pub. L. 111-203, sec 939A, 124 Stat. 1376 (2010), unless otherwise noted.

    2. Amend Form N-1A (referenced in 274.11A) by: a. In Item 27 adding new paragraph (b)(7)(iii).

    The addition reads as follows:

    Note:

    The text of Form N-1A does not, and this amendment will not, appear in the Code of Federal Regulations.

    Form N-1A Item 27. Financial Statements

    (a) * * *

    (b) * * *

    (7) Management's Discussion of Fund Performance.

    (iii) Briefly discuss the operation and effectiveness of the Fund's liquidity risk management program during the most recently completed fiscal year.

    3. Amend Form N-PORT (referenced in § 274.150) by: a. In the General Instructions, revising the second paragraph of F. Public Availability; b. In Part B, amending Item B.2 by adding Item B.2.f; c. In Part B, revising Item B.8; d. In Part C, revising Item C.7; and e. Revising Part F.

    The revisions read as follows:

    Note:

    The text of Form N-PORT does not, and this amendment will not, appear in the Code of Federal Regulations.

    Form N-Port—Monthly Portfolio Investments Report F. Public Availability

    The SEC does not intend to make public the information reported on Form N-PORT for the first and second months of each Fund's fiscal quarter that is identifiable to any particular fund or adviser, or any information reported with respect to a Fund's Highly Liquid Investment Minimum (Item B.7), Derivatives Transactions (Item B.8), country of risk and economic exposure (Item C.5.b), delta (Items C.9.f.v, C.11.c.vii, or C.11.g.iv), liquidity classification for portfolio investments (Item C.7), or miscellaneous securities (Part D), or explanatory notes related to any of those topics (Part E) that is identifiable to any particular fund or adviser. However, the SEC may use information reported on this Form in its regulatory programs, including examinations, investigations, and enforcement actions.

    Part B: Information About the Fund

    Item B.2.f Cash and cash equivalents not reported in Parts C and D.

    Item B.8 Derivatives Transactions. For portfolio investments of open-end management investment companies, provide the percentage of the Fund's Highly Liquid Investments that it has segregated to cover or pledged to satisfy margin requirements in connection with derivatives transactions that are classified among the following categories as specified in rule 22e-4 [17 CFR 270.22e-4]:

    1. Moderately Liquid Investments 2. Less Liquid Investments 3. Illiquid Investments Part C: Schedule of Portfolio Investments

    Item C.7.a Liquidity classification information.

    For portfolio investments of open-end management investment companies, provide the liquidity classification(s) for each portfolio investment among the following categories as specified in rule 22e-4 [17 CFR 270.22e-4]. For portfolio investments with multiple liquidity classifications, indicate the percentage amount attributable to each classification.

    i. Highly Liquid Investments ii. Moderately Liquid Investments iii. Less Liquid Investments iv. Illiquid Investments

    Item C.7.b If attributing multiple classification categories to the holding, indicate which of the three circumstances listed in the Instructions to Item C.7 is applicable.

    Instructions to Item C. 7 Funds may choose to indicate the percentage amount of a holding attributable to multiple classification categories only in the following circumstances: (1) If a fund has multiple sub-advisers with differing liquidity views; (2) if portions of the position have differing liquidity features that justify treating the portions separately; or (3) if the fund chooses to classify the position through evaluation of how long it would take to liquidate the entire position (rather than basing it on the sizes it would reasonably anticipated trading). In (1) and (2), a fund would classify using the reasonably anticipated trade size for each portion of the position.

    Part F: Exhibits

    For reports filed for the end of the first and third quarters of the Fund's fiscal year, attach no later than 60 days after the end of the reporting period the Fund's complete portfolio holdings as of the close of the period covered by the report. These portfolio holdings must be presented in accordance with the schedules set forth in §§ 210.12-12—210.12-14 of Regulation S-X [17 CFR 210.12-12—210.12-14].

    By the Commission.

    Dated: March 14, 2018 Brent J. Fields, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-05511 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 a.m.] BILLING CODE P
    MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION 22 CFR Part 1304 Freedom of Information Act Regulations AGENCY:

    Millennium Challenge Corporation.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The purpose of this document is to outline the procedures by which the Millennium Challenge Corporation proposes to implement the relevant provisions of the Freedom of Information Act as required under that statute. This document will assist interested parties in obtaining access to Millennium Challenge Corporation public records.

    DATES:

    Send comments on or before April 18, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send comments to Tamiko NW Watkins, Chief FOIA Officer, Office of the General Counsel, Millennium Challenge Corporation, 1099 Fourteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20005.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Tamiko NW Watkins, Chief FOIA Officer, 202.521.3730.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Millennium Challenge Act (MCA) of 2003 established a new federal agency called the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Congress enacted the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in 1966 and last modified it with the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. This proposed rule addresses electronically available documents, procedures for making requests, agency handling of requests, records not disclosed, changes in fees, and public reading rooms, as well as, other related provisions.

    Lists of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 1304

    Freedom of Information Act procedures.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Millennium Challenge Corporation proposes to amend chapter XIII of title 22 by revising part 1304 to read as follows: PART 1304—PRODUCTION OR DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION Subpart A—Procedures for Requests for Disclosure of Records Under the Freedom of Information Act Sec.  1304.1 General provisions.  1304.2 Definitions.  1304.3 Proactive disclosure of MCC records.  1304.4 Requirements for making requests.  1304.5 Responsibility for acknowledgment and initial determinations.  1304.6 Timing of responses to requests.  1304.7 Responses to requests.  1304.8 Confidential commercial information.  1304.9 Administrative appeals.  1304.10 Preservation of records.  1304.11 Fees.  1304.12 Other rights and services. Subpart B—[Reserved] Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 552, as amended.

    Subpart A—Procedures for Requests for Disclosure of Records Under the Freedom of Information Act
    § 1304.1 General provisions.

    This part contains the rules that the Millennium Challenge Corporation (“MCC”) follows in processing requests for records under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) (5 U.S.C. 552). The rules in this part should be read in conjunction with the text of the FOIA and the Uniform Freedom of Information Act Fee Schedule and Guidelines published by the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB Fee Guidelines”). In addition, the MCC FOIA web page contains information about the specific procedures particular to MCC with respect to making FOIA requests. This resource is available at www.mcc.gov/resources/foia. Requests may be made by individuals about themselves under the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552(a).

    § 1304.2 Definitions.

    Administrative appeal. An independent review of the initial determination made in response to a FOIA request.

    Agency. Any executive department, military department, government corporation, government controlled corporation, or other establishment in the executive branch of the Federal Government or any independent regulatory agency.

    Business day or work day. A day of the week, excluding Saturday, Sunday, or legal public holidays.

    Calendar days. Every day within a month, including Saturday, Sunday, and legal public holidays. Unless identified as a “business day” or “work day,” all timeframes and days noted in this part shall be calculated in calendar days.

    Chief FOIA Officer. The MCC employee who is authorized to make determinations regarding the release of records requested under the FOIA.

    Commercial requester. Any person making a request for information for a use or purpose that furthers a commercial, trade, or profit interest, which can include furthering those interests through litigation.

    Complex request. A FOIA request that MCC anticipates will involve a voluminous amount of material to review or will be time-consuming to process.

    Confidential commercial information. Records provided to the government that contain material exempt from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA and disclosure of such records could reasonably be expected to cause substantial competitive harm.

    Consultation. When MCC locates a record that contains information of interest to another agency, MCC shall ask the interested agency for their views on disclosing the records before any final determination is made.

    Direct costs. Expenditures actually incurred by MCC for searching, duplicating, and in the case of commercial use requests, reviewing records in order to respond to a FOIA request.

    Discretionary disclosure. The release of or portions of records to a FOIA requester that could be withheld by MCC under one or more of the FOIA exemptions.

    Duplication. The process of making a copy of a record in order to respond to a FOIA request, including but not limited to paper copies, microfilm, audio-video materials, and computer diskettes or other electronic copies.

    Duplication fees. The estimated direct costs of making a copy of a record in order to respond to a FOIA request.

    Educational institution. Any school or institution that operates a program of scholarly research. A requester in this category must show that the request is made in connection with his or her role at the educational institution.

    Educational requester. Any person making a FOIA request authorized by, and made under the auspices of, a qualifying institution, and that the records are not sought to further scholarly research. Records requested for the intention of fulfilling credit requirements at an educational institution are not considered to be sought for a scholarly purpose.

    Exemptions. Certain categories of information that are not required to be released in response to a FOIA request because release would be harmful to governmental or private interests.

    FOIA Appeals Officer. The MCC employee who is responsible for conducting an independent review of the initial determination of the FOIA request after the requester has requested an administrative appeal.

    FOIA Public Liaison. The MCC employee who is responsible for assisting in the resolution of disputes in response to FOIA requests.

    FOIA Program Officer. The MCC employee who receives and processes requests within the MCC FOIA Office.

    Non-commercial scientific institution. An institution that does not operate on a commercial basis, but operates solely for the purpose of conducting scientific research and the results of the scientific research are not intended to promote any particular product or industry.

    Record. Any item, collection, or grouping of information maintained by MCC in any form or format, including an electronic copy. A “record” can potentially constitute an entire document, a single page of a multipage document, an individual paragraph of a document, or an email within an email chain.

    Referral. When an agency locates a record that originated with, or is of otherwise primary interest to another agency, it will forward that record to the other agency to process the record and to provide the final determination directly to the requester.

    Representative of the news media. Any person actively gathering news for an entity that is organized and operated to publish or broadcast news to the public. The term “news” means information that is about current events or that would be of interest to the public. To qualify for this category, the requester must not be seeking the requested records for commercial use.

    Requester. Any person, corporation, firm, organization, or other entity who makes a request for records pursuant to the FOIA.

    Review. The process of examining a record to determine whether all or part of the record may be released or withheld, and includes redacting or otherwise processing the record for disclosure to a requester. The review process does not include time spent resolving legal or policy issues regarding the application of exemptions to a record. The review process also does not include time spent reviewing records at the administrative appeal level unless, MCC determines that the exemption under which it withheld records does not apply and the records are reviewed again to determine whether a different exemption may apply.

    Search. The time spent locating records that may be responsive to a request, manually or by electronic means, including page-by-page or line-by-line identification of responsive material within a record.

    Search fees. Estimated direct costs of the time spent locating records by either manual or electronic means.

    Submitter. Any person or entity who provides information directly or indirectly to MCC. The term includes, but is not limited to, corporations, state governments, and foreign governments.

    § 1304.3 Proactive disclosure of MCC records.

    Records that are required by the FOIA to be made available for public inspection in an electronic format may be accessed through the MCC website. MCC is responsible for determining which of its records are required to be made publicly available, identifying additional records in the interest of the public that are appropriate for public disclosure, and posting such records. MCC shall ensure that its website of posted records is reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis. The FOIA Program Officer may assist individuals in locating records on the MCC website and FOIA reading room.

    § 1304.4 Requirements for making requests.

    (a) Requests for access to, or copies of, MCC records other than those identified in § 1304.3, shall be in writing and addressed to the MCC Chief FOIA Officer at 1099 14th St. NW, Washington, DC 20005 or [email protected] All requests for records shall be deemed to have been made pursuant to the FOIA, regardless of whether the request specifically mentions the Freedom of Information Act. To facilitate processing, the requester should place the phrase “FOIA REQUEST” in capital letters on the front of the envelope or subject line of the email.

    (b) Each request shall include the following:

    (1) A description of the record(s) that provides sufficient detail to enable MCC to locate the record(s) with a reasonable amount of effort; such as the date, title or name, author, recipient, subject matter of the record, case number, file designation, or reference number. Before submitting their requests, requesters may contact the MCC FOIA Program Officer to discuss the records the are seeking and receive assistance in describing the records;

    (2) The preferred format of the records;

    (3) A statement that the request for records is made pursuant to the FOIA;

    (4) The requestor's full name, mailing address or email address, and telephone number where the requester can be reached during business hours; and

    (5) If applicable, the maximum amount the requester is willing to pay or dollar limit on the fees MCC may incur to respond to the request for records. When this information is specified, MCC shall not exceed such limit.

    (c) If a request does not meet all of the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section, the FOIA Program Officer may advise the requester that additional information is needed. Requesters who are attempting to reformulate or modify a request may engage with the MCC Program Officer to clarify their request.

    § 1304.5 Responsibility for acknowledgment and initial determinations.

    (a) Upon receipt of a request for records, the FOIA Program Officer will acknowledge receipt of the request in writing within ten (10) business days. In responding to a request for records, MCC shall make reasonable efforts to search for the records in electronic format, except when such efforts would significantly interfere with the operation of the agency's automated information system.

    (b) The Chief FOIA Officer shall make an initial determination, within twenty (20) business days, to either grant or deny, in whole or in part, a request for records. If the Chief FOIA Officer shall notify the requester making such a request of the following information:

    (1) The determination whether grant or deny the request and reasons for the determination;

    (2) The right of the requester to seek assistance from the FOIA Public Liaison; and in the case of an adverse determination;

    (3) The right of the requester to seek dispute resolution services via the Office of Government Information Services of the National Archives and Records Administration (OGIS); and

    (4) The right to file an administrative appeal to the FOIA Appeals Officer within 90 calendar days after the date of the adverse determination.

    § 1304.6 Timing of responses to requests.

    (a) General information. The twenty (20) business day period identified in § 1304.5(b) shall commence on the date that the request is first received by the MCC FOIA office and an acknowledgment of the request shall be sent no later than ten (10) business days after receipt of the request. The twenty (20) business day period shall not be tolled except that MCC may make one request to the requester for information and toll the twenty (20) business day period while it is awaiting receipt of the information, or the twenty (20) business day period may be tolled if it is necessary to clarify issues regarding fees with the requester.

    (b) Unusual circumstances. If MCC cannot meet the statutory time limit for processing a request because of “unusual circumstances” as defined in the FOIA and MCC extends the time limit on that basis, MCC will, before expiration of the twenty (20) business day period, notify the requester in writing of the unusual circumstances involved and of the date by which MCC estimates processing of the request will be completed. Where the extension exceeds ten (10) business days, MCC will provide the requester with an opportunity to modify the request or arrange an alternative time period for processing the original or modified request. MCC must make its designated FOIA Program Officer or FOIA Public Liaison available for this purpose. To aid the requester, the MCC FOIA Public Liaison shall assist in the resolution of any disputes between the requester and MCC, and notify the requester of the right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services. Refusal by the requester to modify the request or arrange for an alternative time frame shall be factors in considering whether unusual circumstances exist.

    (c) Aggregating requests. MCC may aggregate requests where it reasonably appears that multiple requests, submitted either by a requester or by a group of requesters acting in concert, constitute a single request that would otherwise involve unusual circumstances. Requests that involve unrelated matters shall not be aggregated.

    (d) Multitrack processing. MCC may use multitrack processing in responding to requests. This process entails separating simple requests that require rather limited review from more lengthy and complex requests. Requests in each track are then processed in their respective track. The FOIA Program Officer may provide requesters in the slower track an opportunity to limit the scope of their requests in order to decrease the processing time required. The FOIA Program Officer may provide the opportunity to limit the scope of the request by contacting the requester by letter, email, or telephone.

    (e) Expedited processing of requests. The FOIA Program Officer must determine whether to grant a request for expedited processing within ten (10) calendar days of its receipt. Requests will receive expedited processing if one of the following criteria are met:

    (1) The requester can establish that failure to receive the records quickly could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual;

    (2) The requester is primarily engaged in disseminating information and can demonstrate that an urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged federal government activity exists; or

    (3) As determined by the Chief FOIA Officer.

    (f) Written expedited requests. A requester who seeks expedited processing must submit a written statement explaining in detail the basis for making the request for expedited processing. This statement must be certified to be true and correct. The MCC Chief FOIA Officer may waive the formal certification requirement.

    § 1304.7 Responses to requests.

    (a) General information. MCC, to the extent practicable, will communicate with requesters who have access to the internet via email or web portal.

    (b) Acknowledgment of requests. MCC shall acknowledge the request in writing and assign a tracking number for processing purposes.

    (c) Estimated dates of completion and interim responses. Upon request, MCC shall provide an estimated response date. If a request involves a voluminous amount of material or searches in multiple locations, MCC shall provide interim responses by releasing the records on a rolling basis.

    (d) Granting requests. MCC will notify the requestor in writing if it determines that it will grant a request in full or in part. MCC shall inform the requester of any fees charged and shall disclose the requested records to the requester promptly upon payment of any applicable fees.

    (e) Partial grant of requests. MCC shall consider whether partial disclosure of information is possible whenever the agency determines that a full disclosure of a requested record is not possible. MCC shall take reasonable steps necessary to segregate and release nonexempt information.

    (f) Denial or adverse determination of requests. Except as otherwise provided in this part, MCC shall withhold information only if—

    (1) It reasonably foresees that disclosure would harm an interest protected by an exemption under the FOIA or disclosure is prohibited by law;

    (2) The request does not reasonably describe the records sought;

    (3) The information sought is not a record subject to the FOIA;

    (4) The information sought does not exist, cannot be located, or has been destroyed; or

    (5) The records are not in the readily producible form or format sought by the requester.

    (g) Markings on released documents. Records disclosed in part shall be marked clearly to show the amount of information deleted and the exemption under which the deletion was made unless doing so would harm an interest protected by an applicable exemption.

    § 1304.8 Confidential commercial information.

    (a) Designation of confidential commercial information. A submitter of confidential commercial information must use good faith efforts to designate by appropriate markings, either at the time of the submission or within a reasonable time thereafter, any portion of its submission that it considers to be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA. These designations shall expire ten (10) years after the date of submission unless the submitter requests and provides justification for a longer designation period.

    (b) Required notice. Written notice shall be provided to a submitter of confidential commercial information whenever records containing such information are requested under the FOIA if, after reviewing the request, the responsive records, and any appeal by the requester, it is determined that MCC may be required to disclose the records, provided:

    (1) The requested information has been designated in good faith by the submitter as information considered protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA; or

    (2) MCC has reason to believe that the requested information may be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA, but has not yet determined whether the information is protected from disclosure under that exemption or any other applicable exemption.

    (c) Information. The notices shall either describe the commercial information requested or include a copy of the requested records or portions of records containing information. In cases involving a voluminous number of submitters, notice may be made by posting or publishing the notice in a place or manner reasonably likely to accomplish it.

    (d) Exceptions to notice requirements. The notices requirements of this section shall not apply if:

    (1) The Chief FOIA Officer determines that the information is exempt under the FOIA;

    (2) The information has been lawfully published or has officially been made available to the public;

    (3) Disclosure of the information is required by a statute other than the FOIA or by a regulation issued in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 12600 of June 23, 1987; or

    (4) The designation made by the submitter under paragraph (b) of this section appears obviously frivolous, except that, in such a case, the component shall give the submitter written notice of any final decision to disclose the information and must provide that notice within a reasonable number of days prior to the disclosure date.

    (e) Opportunity to object to disclosure. A submitter may provide the Chief FOIA Officer with a detailed written statement of any objection to disclosure within ten (10) days of notification. The statement shall specify all grounds for withholding any of the information under any exemption of the FOIA, and if Exemption 4 applies, shall demonstrate the reasons the submitter believes the information to be confidential commercial information that is exempt from disclosure. Whenever possible, the submitter's claim of confidentiality shall be supported by a statement or certification by an officer or authorized representative of the submitter. In the event a submitter fails to respond to the notice in the time specified, the submitter will be considered to have no objection to the disclosure of the information. Information provided by the submitter that is received after the disclosure decision has been made will not be considered. Information provided by a submitter pursuant to this paragraph may itself be subject to disclosure under the FOIA.

    (f) Notice of intent to disclose. The Chief FOIA Officer shall consider a submitter's objections and specific grounds for nondisclosure prior to determining whether to disclose the information requested. Whenever the Chief FOIA Officer determines that disclosure is appropriate, the Chief FOIA Officer shall, within a reasonable number of days prior to disclosure, provide the submitter with written notice of the intent to disclose which shall include a statement of the reasons for which the submitter's objections were overruled, a description of the information to be disclosed, and a specific disclosure date. The Chief FOIA Officer shall also notify the requester that the requested records will be made available.

    (g) Notice of lawsuit. If the requester files a lawsuit seeking to compel disclosure of confidential commercial information, MCC shall promptly notify the submitter of this action. If a submitter files a lawsuit seeking to prevent disclosure of confidential commercial information, MCC shall promptly notify the requester.

    § 1304.9 Administrative appeals.

    (a) Requirements for appealing an adverse determination. A requester may appeal any adverse determination to MCC. The requester must submit a written notice of appeal and it must be postmarked or, in the case of electronic submissions, transmitted within ninety (90) calendar days after the date of the response. The appeal should clearly identify the determination that is being appealed and the assigned tracking number. To facilitate handling, the requester should mark both the appeal letter and envelope, or subject line of the electronic transmission, “Freedom of Information Act Appeal.”

    (b) Appeals address. Requesters can submit appeals by mail by addressing it to Millennium Challenge Corporation, Attn.: FOIA Appeals Officer, 1099 14th St. NW, Washington, DC 20005 or online at [email protected]

    (c) Adjudication of appeals. The MCC FOIA Appeals Officer will adjudicate the appeal within twenty (20) business days after the receipt of such appeal. An appeal ordinarily will not be adjudicated if the request becomes a matter of the subject of litigation. On receipt of any appeal involving classified information, the MCC FOIA Appeals Officer must take appropriate action to ensure compliance with applicable classification rules.

    (d) Final agency determinations. The FOIA Appeals Officer shall issue a final written determination, stating the basis for the decision, within twenty (20) business days after receipt of a notice of appeal. Any decision that upholds MCC's determination in whole or in part must contain a statement that identifies the reason(s) for the decision, including any FOIA exemptions applied. The decision will provide the requester with notification of the statutory right to file a lawsuit and will inform the requester of the dispute resolution services offered by the OGIS of the National Archives and Records Administration as an alternative to litigation. If the Chief FOIA Officer's decision is remanded or modified on appeal, the FOIA Appeals Officer will notify the requester of the determination in writing. MCC will then further process the request in accordance with the appeal determination and will respond directly to the requester.

    (e) Engaging in dispute resolution services provided by OGIS. Dispute resolution is a voluntary process. If MCC agrees to participate in the dispute resolution services provided by OGIS, MCC will actively engage as a partner to the process in an attempt to resolve the dispute.

    (f) When an appeal is required. Before seeking review by a court of MCC's adverse determination, a requester generally must first submit a timely administrative appeal.

    § 1304.10 Preservation of records.

    MCC shall preserve all correspondence pertaining to the requests that it receives under this part, as well as copies of all requested records, until disposition or destruction is authorized pursuant to Title 44 of the United States Code or the General Records Schedule 4.2 of the National Archives and Records Administration. MCC shall not dispose of or destroy records while they are the subject of a pending request, appeal, or lawsuit under the FOIA.

    § 1304.11 Fees.

    (a) General information. (1) MCC's fee provisions are governed by the FOIA and by the Office of Management and Budget's Uniform FOIA Fee Schedule and Guidelines. For purposes of assessing fees, the FOIA establishes the following categories of requesters:

    (i) Commercial use;

    (ii) Non-commercial scientific or educational institutions;

    (iii) Representative of the news media; and

    (iv) All other requesters.

    (2) Fees will be assessed pursuant to the category of requester and detailed in paragraph (b) of this section. Requesters may seek a fee waiver. To resolve any fee issues that arise under this section, MCC may contact a requester for additional information. MCC will ensure that searches, review, and duplication are conducted in the most efficient and the least expensive manner. MCC ordinarily will collect all applicable fees before sending copies of records to a requester. Requesters must pay fees to the Treasury of the United States. All fee information is available at www.mcc.gov/resources/foia.

    (b) Charging fees. Because the fee amounts provided already account for the direct costs associated with the given fee type, MCC will not add any additional costs to charges calculated under this section. In responding to FOIA requests, MCC shall charge fees for the following unless a waiver or reduction of fees has been granted:

    (1) Search time fees. Search time includes page-by-page or line-by-line identification of information within records and the reasonable efforts expended to locate and retrieve information from electronic records.

    (i) Requests made by education institutions, non-commercial scientific institutions, or representatives of the news media are not subject to search time fees. Search time fees shall be charged for all other requesters, subject to the restrictions identified in this section. MCC may properly charge for time spent searching even if no responsive records are located if it is determined that the records are entirely exempt from disclosure.

    (ii) Requesters shall be charged the direct costs associated with conducting any searches that require the creation of a new computer program to locate the requested records. Requesters shall be notified of the costs associated with creating such a program and must agree to pay the associated costs before the costs may be incurred.

    (iii) For requests that require the retrieval of records stored by an agency at the Federal Records Centers operated by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), additional costs shall be charged in accordance with the Transactional Billing Range Schedule established by NARA.

    (2) Duplication fees. Duplication fees shall be charged to all requesters, subject to the restrictions in this section. MCC shall honor a requester's preference for receiving a record in a particular form or format where it is readily reproducible by MCC in the form or format requested. Where photocopies are supplied, MCC shall provide one copy per request and charge fees calculated per page. For copies of records produced on tapes, disks, or other media, MCC shall charge the direct costs of producing the copy, including operator time. Where paper documents must be scanned in order to comply with a requester's preference to receive the records in an electronic format, the requester shall be charged direct costs associated with scanning those materials. For other forms of duplication, MCC shall charge the direct costs.

    (3) Review. Review fees shall be charged to requesters who make commercial use requests. Review fees shall be assessed in connection with the initial review of the record. No charge will be made for review at the administrative appeal state of exemptions applied at the initial review stage. If a particular exemption is deemed to no longer apply, any costs associated with MCC's subsequent review following the administrative appeal of the records in order to consider the use of other exemptions may be assessed as review fees.

    (c) Restrictions on charging fees. The following restrictions shall apply to MCC FOIA requests:

    (1) If MCC fails to comply with the FOIA's time limits to respond to a request, MCC may not charge fees, except as described in paragraphs (c)(3) through (5) of this section;

    (2) If MCC has determined that unusual circumstances as defined by the FOIA apply and the agency provided timely written notice to the requester in accordance with the FOIA, a failure to comply with the time limit shall be excused for an additional ten (10) calendar days;

    (3) If MCC has determined that unusual circumstances as defined by the FOIA apply, and more than five-thousand (5000) pages are necessary to respond to the request, MCC may charge search time fees or duplication fees where applicable, if MCC has provided timely written notice of the unusual circumstances to the requester in accordance with the FOIA and has discussed with the requester via written mail, email, or telephone (or made a minimum of three (3) good-faith attempts to do so) how the requester could effectively limit the scope of the request;

    (4) If a court has determined that exceptional circumstances exist as defined by the FOIA, a failure to comply with the time limits shall be excused for the length of time provided by the court order; and

    (5) No search time or review fees will be charged for a quarter-hour period unless more than half of that period is required for search or review.

    (d) Fee exceptions. Except for requesters seeking records for commercial use, MCC shall provide without charge:

    (1) The first one-hundred (100) pages of duplication (or the cost equivalent for other media); and

    (2) The first two (2) hours of search time. When, after deducting the first one-hundred (100) free pages (or its cost equivalent) and the first two (2) hours of search time, a total fee calculated under this section is $25.00 or less for any request, no fee will be charged.

    (e) Notice of anticipated fees in excess of $25.00. (1) When MCC determines that the fees to be assessed will exceed $25.00, the requester shall be notified of the actual or estimated amount of the fees, including the breakdown of the fees for search time, review or duplication, unless the requester has indicated a willingness to pay fees as high as those anticipated. If only a portion of the fee can be estimated readily, MCC shall advise the requester accordingly. If the requester is a not a commercial use requester, the notice shall specify that the requester is entitled to the statutory requirements of one-hundred (100) pages of duplication at no charge and, if the requester is charged search time fees, two (2) hours of search time at no charge, and shall advise the requester whether those entitlements have been provided.

    (2) In cases in which a requester has been notified that the actual or estimated fees are in excess of $25.00, the request shall not be considered received and further work will not be completed until the requester commits, in writing, to pay the actual or estimated total fee, or designates some amount of fees the requester is willing to pay, or in the case of a requester who is not a commercial use requester who has not yet been provided with the requester's statutory entitlements, designates that the requester seeks only that which can be provided by the statutory entitlements. The requester must provide the commitment or designation in writing, and must, when applicable designate an exact dollar amount the requester is willing to pay. MCC is not required to accept payments in installments.

    (3) If the requester has indicated a willingness to pay some designated amount of fees, and MCC estimates that the total fee will exceed that amount, MCC shall toll the processing of the request when it notifies the requester of the estimated fees in excess of the amount the requester has indicated a willingness to pay. MCC shall inquire whether the requester wishes to revise the amount of fees the requester is willing to pay or modify the request. Once the requester responds, the time to respond will resume from where it was at the date of the notification.

    (4) The FOIA Program Officer will assist any requester in reformulating a request to meet the requester's needs at a lower cost.

    (f) Waiver or reduction of fees. Documents shall be furnished without charge or at a charge below that listed in this section based upon information provided by a requester or otherwise made known to the Chief FOIA Officer that disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest. Disclosure is in the public interest if it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of government operations and is not primarily for commercial purposes. Requests for a waiver or reduction of fees shall be considered on a case by case basis. Where only some of the records to be released satisfy the requirements for waiver of fees, a waiver shall be granted to those records. In order to determine whether the fee waiver requirement is met, the Chief FOIA Officer shall consider the following factors:

    (1) The subject of the request. Whether the subject of the requested records concerns the operations or activities of the government;

    (2) The informative value of the information to be disclosed; and

    (3) The significance of the contribution to public understanding.

    (g) Fees pending a waiver request. Requests for a waiver or reduction of fees should be made when the request is first submitted to the agency and should address the criteria referenced in this section. A requester may submit a fee waiver request at a later time so long as the underlying record request is pending or on administrative appeal. When a requester who has committed to pay fees subsequently asks for a waiver of those fees and that waiver is denied, the requester must pay any costs incurred up to the date the fee waiver request was received.

    (h) Types of requesters. There are four categories of FOIA requesters: Commercial use requesters, educational and non-commercial scientific institutional requesters; representatives of the news media; and all other requesters. The following specific levels of fees are prescribed for each of these categories:

    (1) Commercial requesters shall be charged the full direct costs of searching for, reviewing, and duplicating requested records;

    (2) Educational and non-commercial scientific institution requesters shall be charged for document duplication only and the first one-hundred (100) pages of paper copies shall be provided without charge;

    (3) Representative of the news media requesters shall be charged for document duplication costs only, except that the first one-hundred (100) pages of paper copies shall be provided without charge; and

    (4) All other requesters who do not fall into any of the categories in paragraphs (h)(1) through (3) of this section shall be charged fees which recover the full reasonable direct costs incurred for searching for and reproducing records if that total costs exceeds $25.00, except that the first one-hundred (100) pages of duplication and the first two hours of manual search time shall not be charged.

    (i) Charges for unsuccessful searches. If the requester has been notified of the estimated cost of the search time and has been advised specifically that the requested records may not exist or may be withheld as exempt, fees may be charged.

    (j) Charges for other services. Although MCC is not required to provide special services, if it chooses to do so as a matter of administrative discretion, the direct costs of providing the service shall be charged. Examples of such services include certifying that records are true copies, providing multiple copies of the same document, or sending records by means other than first class mail.

    (k) Charging interest. MCC may charge interest on any unpaid bill starting on the 31st day following the date of billing the requester. Interest charges shall be assessed at the rate provided in 31 U.S.C. 3717 and will accrue from the billing date until payment is received. MCC shall follow the provisions of the Debt Collection Act of 1982, as amended, and its administrative procedures, including the use consumer reporting agencies, collection agencies, and offset.

    (l) Aggregating requests. The requester or a group of requesters may not submit multiple requests at the same time, each seeking portions of a document or documents solely in order to avoid payment of fees. When the FOIA Program Officer reasonably believes that a requester is attempting to divide a request into a series of requests to evade an assessment of fees, the FOIA Program Officer may aggregate such requests and charge accordingly. MCC may presume that multiple requests of this type made within a thirty (30) calendar day period have been made in order to avoid fees. For requests separated by a longer period, MCC will aggregate them only where there is a reasonable basis for determining that aggregation is warranted in view of all the circumstances involved. Multiple requests involving unrelated matters cannot be aggregated.

    (m) Advance payment of fees. (1) MCC may require an advanced payment of fees if the requestor previously failed to pay fees or if the FOIA Program Officer determines the total fee will exceed $250.00. When payment is required in advance of the processing of a request, the time limits prescribed in § 1304.5 shall not be deemed to begin until the requester has paid the assessed fees.

    (2) In cases in which MCC requires advance payment, the request will not be considered received and further work will not be completed until the required payment is received. If the requester does not pay the advance payment within thirty (30) calendar days after the date of the fee determination, the request will be closed. Where it is anticipated that the cost of providing the requested record will exceed $25.00 but falls below $250.00 after the free duplication and search time has been calculated, MCC may, in its discretion may require either an advance deposit of the entire estimated charges or written confirmation of the requester's willingness to pay such charges.

    (3) Where the requester has previously failed to pay a properly charged FOIA fee within thirty (30) calendar days of the billing date, MCC may require the requester to pay the full amount due plus any applicable interest on that prior request, and/or require that the requester make an advance payment of the full amount of the anticipated fee before MCC begins a new request or continues to process a pending request or any pending appeal. If MCC has a reasonable basis to believe that a requester has misrepresented the requester's identity in order to avoid paying outstanding fees, MCC may require that the requester provide proof of identity.

    § 1304.12 Other rights and services.

    Nothing in this part shall be construed to entitle any person a right to any service or to the disclosure of any record to which such person is not entitled under the FOIA.

    Subpart B [Reserved] Dated: March 7, 2018. Tamiko N.W. Watkins, Chief FOIA Officer, Millennium Challenge Corporation.
    [FR Doc. 2018-04993 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9211-03-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R10-OAR-2017-0482; FRL-9975-22-Region 10] Air Plan Approval; Oregon; Regional Haze Progress Report AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve a revision to the Oregon Regional Haze State Implementation Plan (SIP), submitted by the State of Oregon on July 18, 2017. Oregon submitted its Regional Haze Progress Report (“progress report” or “report”) and a negative declaration stating that further revision of the existing regional haze SIP is not needed at this time. Oregon submitted both the progress report and the negative declaration in the form of implementation plan revisions as required by federal regulations. The progress report addresses the federal Regional Haze Rule (RHR) requirements under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to submit a report describing progress in achieving reasonable progress goals (RPGs) established for regional haze and a determination of the adequacy of the state's existing plan addressing regional haze.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before April 18, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R10-OAR-2017-0482 at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. The EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. The EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e. on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jeff Hunt, Air Planning Unit, Office of Air and Waste (OAW-150), Environmental Protection Agency—Region 10, 1200 Sixth Ave, Seattle, WA 98101; telephone number: (206) 553-0256, email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document whenever “we,” “us,” or “our” is used, it is intended to refer to the EPA.

    I. Background

    Oregon submitted its initial regional haze SIP to the EPA on December 20, 2010, and submitted supplemental information on February 1, 2011. The EPA approved portions of the Oregon regional haze SIP as meeting certain requirements of the regional haze program, including the requirements for best available retrofit technology, on July 5, 2011, and the remaining portions of the regional haze SIP on August 22, 2012.1 Five years after submittal of the initial regional haze plan, states are required to submit progress reports that evaluate progress towards the RPGs for each mandatory Class I Federal area 2 (Class I area) within the state and in each Class I area outside the state which may be affected by emissions from within the state. 40 CFR 51.308(g). States are also required to submit, at the same time as the progress report, a determination of the adequacy of the state's existing regional haze plan. 40 CFR 51.308(h). On July 18, 2017, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) submitted as a SIP revision a report on the progress made in the first implementation period towards the RPGs for Class I areas. The EPA is proposing to approve Oregon's progress report on the basis that it satisfies the requirements of 40 CFR 51.308. We also propose to find that Oregon's progress report demonstrates that the state's long-term strategy and emission control measures in the existing regional haze SIP are sufficient to enable Oregon to meet all established RPGs for 2018.

    1 See 76 FR 38997 and 77 FR 50611.

    2 Areas designated as mandatory Class I Federal areas consist of national parks exceeding 6000 acres, wilderness areas and national memorial parks exceeding 5000 acres, and all international parks that were in existence on August 7, 1977 (42 U.S.C. 7472(a)). Listed at 40 CFR part 81, subpart D.

    II. Context for Understanding Oregon's Progress Report

    To facilitate a better understanding of Oregon's progress report as well as the EPA's evaluation of it, this section provides background on the regional haze program in Oregon.

    A. Framework for Measuring Progress

    The EPA has established a metric for determining visibility conditions at Class I areas referred to as the “deciview index,” which is measured in deciviews, as defined in 40 CFR 51.301. The deciview index is calculated using monitoring data collected from the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) network monitors. Oregon has twelve Class I areas within its borders: Mt. Hood Wilderness, Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, Mt. Washington Wilderness, Three Sisters Wilderness, Diamond Peak Wilderness, Crater Lake National Park, Mountain Lakes Wilderness, Gearhart Mountain Wilderness, Kalmiopsis Wilderness, Strawberry Mountain Wilderness, Eagle Cap Wilderness, and Hells Canyon Wilderness. Monitoring data representing visibility conditions in Oregon's 12 Class I areas was based on the six IMPROVE monitors identified in Table 1. As shown in the table, the CRLA1 monitoring site represents four Class I areas, the THSI1 site represents three areas, and the SRAR1 site represents two areas.

    Table 1—Oregon IMPROVE Monitoring Sites and Represented Class I Areas Site code Class I area MOHO1 Mt. Hood Wilderness. THSI1 Mt. Jefferson Wilderness. Mt. Washington Wilderness. Three Sisters Wilderness. CRLA1 Crater Lake National Park. Diamond Peak Wilderness. Mountain Lakes Wilderness. Gearhart Mountain Wilderness. KALM1 Kalmiopsis Wilderness. STAR1 Strawberry Mountain Wilderness. Eagle Cap Wilderness. HECA1 Hells Canyon Wilderness Area.

    In developing its initial regional haze SIP as part of the Western Regional Air Partnership (WRAP), Oregon determined, and the EPA in its approval agreed, that no major contributions were identified that necessitated developing new interstate strategies, mitigation measures, or emission reduction obligations with respect to visibility in other western states.3 Therefore, Oregon's progress report does not address visibility impacts from sources in other states or the visibility impact of Oregon sources on Class I areas in other states.

    3 76 FR 12651, 12663-64; 76 FR 38997.

    Under the RHR, a state's initial regional haze SIP must establish two RPGs for each of its Class I areas: one for the 20 percent least impaired days and one for the 20 percent most impaired days. The RPGs must provide for an improvement in visibility on the 20 percent most impaired days and ensure no degradation in visibility on the 20 percent least impaired days, as compared to visibility conditions during the baseline period. In establishing the RPGs, a state must consider the uniform rate of visibility improvement from the baseline to natural conditions in 2064 and the emission reductions measures needed to achieve it. Oregon set the RPGs for its twelve Class I areas based on regional atmospheric air quality modeling conducted by the WRAP using projected emission reductions in western states from federal and state control strategies expected to be in place before 2018.

    B. Data Sources for Oregon's Progress Report

    Oregon relied on the WRAP technical data and analyses in a report titled “Western Regional Air Partnership Regional Haze Rule Reasonable Progress Summary Report” (WRAP Report), dated June 28, 2013. The WRAP report was prepared for the 15 western state members to provide the technical basis for the first of their individual progress reports. Data are presented in this report on a regional, state, and Class I area specific basis that characterize the difference between baseline conditions (2000-2004) and the first 5-year progress period (2005-2009). In developing the progress report, Oregon also evaluated visibility conditions in its twelve Class I areas based on the most recent 5-year data available at the time Oregon developed the progress report (2010-2014).

    III. The EPA's Evaluation of Oregon's Progress Report

    This section describes the contents of Oregon's progress report and the EPA's evaluation of the report, as well as the EPA's evaluation of the determination of adequacy required by 40 CFR 51.308(h) and the requirement for state and Federal Land Manager coordination in 40 CFR 51.308(i).

    A. Status of Implementation of All Measures Included in the Regional Haze SIP

    In its progress report, Oregon provided a description of the two key control measures that the state relied on to implement the regional haze program: best available retrofit technology (BART), including enforceable emission limits on BART-eligible sources, and its smoke management program for forestry burning.4 Oregon included a description of these programs which are summarized below.

    4 The progress report also included a summary of stationary, mobile, and area source control measures that provide supplemental emissions reductions as part of the long-term strategy discussion in Chapter 2.3.

    1. BART-Level Controls

    Oregon's regional haze SIP identified four BART eligible facilities: The Portland General Electric (PGE) Boardman electric power plant, the PGE Beaver electric power plant, the Georgia-Pacific Wauna Mill, and the International Paper Company mill in Springfield. Of these four facilities, only PGE Boardman was found to be subject to BART. Accordingly, PGE Boardman installed low nitrogen oxide (NOX) burners with a modified over-fire air system in 2011 and is meeting BART NOX emission limitations. In early 2014, BART sulfur dioxide (SO2) controls, consisting of a semi-dry flue gas desulfurization system, were installed at PGE Boardman. This facility now complies with the initial BART SO2 emission limit. A further reduction in the SO2 emission limit is required at PGE Boardman by 2018. Finally, the BART requirements for the PGE Boardman plant include permanently ceasing burning coal in the main boiler by December 31, 2020.

    In addition to the BART-level controls on the PGE Boardman power plant, three BART-eligible sources took federally enforceable emission limits to avoid being subject to BART. Specifically, the PGE Beaver electric power plant has six combined cycle turbines that are the BART-eligible emission units. PGE requested daily fuel oil limits for these turbines, as well as a requirement that all future oil contain no more than 0.0015% sulfur. An equation was developed to determine a daily fuel oil quantity limit that was tied to the sulfur content of the fuel, so as not to exceed the visibility threshold level of 0.5 deciview.5 This plant has a Title V operating permit, which was modified on January 21, 2009, to incorporate federally enforceable permit limits (FEPLs), which included the above daily fuel oil limits and sulfur content in fuel oil burned at the plant.

    5 Under the approved Oregon regional haze SIP, any source with an impact of greater than 0.5 deciview in any Class I area, including Class I areas in other states, would be subject to additional BART analysis and BART emission limitations.

    Georgia-Pacific proposed a FEPL for its Wauna Mill which provided for reduced emissions of visibility impairing pollutants in two steps. The non-condensible gas (NCG) incinerator, which was the largest source of SO2 emissions at the mill, was eliminated, and restrictions on the use of fuel oil were established through FEPLs:

    • The use of fuel oil in the power boiler was permanently discontinued.

    • Use of fuel oil in the lime kiln was discontinued until the NCG incinerator was eliminated, after which fuel oil was again used.

    • The maximum pulp production rate was limited to 1,030 tons per day until completion of this project, after which the maximum pulp production limit would increase to 1,350 tons per day.

    This plant has a Title V operating permit, number 04-0004, which was modified on June 18, 2009, to incorporate the FEPL requirements. This permit was again revised on December 2, 2010, to reflect elimination of the NCG incinerator.

    The International Paper Company mill in Springfield manufactures linerboard, primarily from wood chips and recycled old corrugated containers. This plant has seven different BART-eligible emission units. In order to minimize the likelihood of exceeding the 0.5 deciview visibility threshold, FEPLs were established including a restriction on fuel oil could be burned at the facility. The plant's Title V operating permit was modified on April 7, 2009, to incorporate the FEPL requirements. Compliance with the condition to limit visibility impacts is demonstrated through the use of a formula, emission factors, and continuous emissions monitoring data.

    Oregon's 2010 regional haze SIP identified a fifth facility, the Amalgamated Sugar Company's sugar beet processing facility located in Nyssa. This facility has potential impacts greater than 0.5 deciview for the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area based on CALPUFF modeling of 2003-2005 emissions. As noted in the progress report, “The plant is currently shutdown, and has not identified a date to resume operations. DEQ's BART rules in 340-223-0040(3) specify that this facility must either modify its permit by adopting an FEPL or be subject to BART, before resuming operation. At this time, this facility is still shutdown, and the permit has not been modified.”

    2. Smoke Management

    Throughout the first regional haze planning period, Oregon implemented its Smoke Management Plan (smoke management plan). The primary purpose of the smoke management plan is to keep smoke from forestland prescribed burning from being carried into smoke sensitive receptor areas, generally population centers, and to provide opportunity for essential forestland burning while minimizing emissions. Smoke from agricultural and forestry burning are major contributors to Class I area visibility impairment and regional haze in Oregon and the western United States. The pollutant species contribution identified in the Oregon regional haze SIP showed that a significant portion of the 20% most impaired days in all of Oregon's Class I areas is from organic and elemental carbon, due to fire emissions. Much of this contribution is from wildfire, which fluctuates significantly from year to year. However, there is also a sizable contribution from controlled burning, which is dominated by agricultural and forestry burning.

    Under Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 477.013, the State Forester and ODEQ are required to protect air quality through a smoke management plan, which was included in the SIP. Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) smoke management rules are listed in Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR) 629-048-0001 to 629-048-0500, 629-043-0043, and 629-043-0041.

    On November 2, 2007, ODF adopted revisions to the smoke management plan to incorporate numerous changes to provide protection of air quality and visibility in Class I areas. New visibility protection provisions were adopted in OAR 629-048-0130 that incorporated references to the regional haze SIP, including the Enhanced Smoke Management Program (ESMP) criteria in section 309 of the Regional Haze Rule. Oregon continues to evaluate the impact of prescribed fire on Class I areas and make necessary improvements. As a result, Oregon revised the smoke management plan again in 2014 to incorporate practices to minimize impacts to the Kalmiopsis Wilderness and Crater Lake National Park. The 2014 revisions to the smoke management plan were submitted as a revision to the SIP and will be addressed in a separate action.

    B. Summary of Visibility Conditions

    In addition to the evaluation of control measures, Oregon documented in the progress report the differences between the visibility conditions during the baseline period (2000-2004), the first progress period (2005-2009), and the most current five year averaging period (2010-2014) based on data that were available at the time Oregon developed the progress report.

    Table 2—Oregon Class I Area Visibility Conditions on the 20% Most and Least Impaired Day Monitor/region Oregon
  • class I area
  • 20% Most impaired days 2000-04 Baseline 2005-09 First progress period 2010-14 Current
  • period
  • 2018
  • RPGs
  • 20% Least impaired days 2000-04 Baseline 2005-09 First progress period 2010-14 Current
  • period
  • 2018
  • RPGs
  • (dv) (dv) (dv) (dv) (dv) (dv) (dv) (dv) MOHO1 Northern Cascades Mt. Hood Wilderness Area 14.9 13.7 13.2 13.8 2.2 1.7 1.3 2.0 THES1 Central Cascades Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, and Three Sisters Wilderness Areas 15.3 16.2 14.9 14.3 3.0 3.0 2.5 2.9 CRLA1 Southern Cascades Crater Lake National Park; Diamond Peak, Mountain Lakes, and Gearhart Mountain Wilderness Areas 13.7 13.8 11.7 13.4 1.7 1.6 1.2 1.5 KALM1 Coast Range Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area 15.5 16.4 14.6 15.1 6.3 6.4 6.1 6.1 STAR1 Eastern Oregon Strawberry Mountain and Eagle Cap Wilderness Areas 18.6 16.2 12.5 17.5 4.5 3.6 2.8 4.1 HECA1 Eastern Oregon/Western Idaho Hells Canyon Wilderness Area 18.6 18.2 16.3 16.6 5.5 4.8 4.1 4.7

    Based on the information in Chapter 3.2 of the progress report, Oregon demonstrated that all Class I areas experienced improvements in visibility for the 20% most and least impaired days between the baseline (2000-2004) and current (2010-2014) visibility periods, as shown in Tables 16 and 17 of the progress report, and summarized in Table 2 above. Oregon's progress report included an analysis of progress and impediments to progress. Oregon noted that there have been significant improvements in visibility conditions on both the 20% most and least impaired days, meeting the 2018 RPGs for all Oregon Class I areas except at the THSI1 monitor, which tracks visibility conditions for the Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington and Three Sisters wilderness areas in the Oregon Central Cascades.

    In the Oregon Central Cascades, progress towards the RPGs has been slower than anticipated, and Oregon attributed this slower progress to visibility impairment due to smoke from episodic wildfires in the area. The visibility conditions on the 20% most impaired days in the Central Cascades had improved by 0.4 deciviews between the baseline and current progress periods, but had not yet met the 2018 RPG. Tables 17, 18 and 21 and Figure 20 of the report show that, even though there had been a steady reduction in ammonium sulfate formation since 2000, indicative of a reduction in anthropogenic contributions to visibility impairment at this site, particulate organic aerosols has consistently remained the dominant contributor to light extinction, with notable spikes in the summers of 2011 and 2012. Oregon attributed this increase in organic aerosols to wildfire smoke. The 2011 and 2012 fires potentially impacting the THSI1 monitor included the Mother Lode (2,661 acres), Shadow Lake (10,000 acres), High Cascades (108,154 acres), and Pole Creek (26,000 acres) fires, as illustrated in Figure 21 of the report.

    Oregon's progress report concluded that the state is making adequate progress in improving visibility as a result of actions identified in the regional haze SIP. The average trends for least impaired days show improvement at every monitoring location, with all areas currently meeting the 2018 RPGs for the 20% least impaired days. Similarly, average trends for most impaired days show improvement at every monitoring location, with all areas except the Central Cascades, as described above, meeting the 2018 RPGs. The progress report also contained a review of Oregon's visibility monitoring strategy, concluding that the IMPROVE network continues to comply with the monitoring requirements in the Regional Haze Rule and that no modifications to Oregon's visibility monitoring strategy are necessary at this time.

    C. Summary of Emissions Reductions

    The Oregon progress report also includes a summary of the emissions reductions achieved throughout the state through implementation of the control measures relied upon to achieve reasonable progress. Specifically, Oregon identified in the progress report emissions reductions achieved through controls on Oregon BART-eligible sources. The Oregon progress report included the emissions reductions achieved at the PGE Boardman Plant, the PGE Beaver Plant, the Georgia Pacific Wauna Mill, and International Paper Mill. According to the Oregon progress report, implementation of control measures caused significant reductions in SO2 emissions at all four facilities, as well as reductions in NOX and coarse particulate matter (PM10) emissions at all facilities except the Georgia Pacific Wauna Mill. The progress report also detailed emissions reductions achieved as part of the smoke management program. In particular, the progress report highlights alternatives to burning such as biomass removal, chipping, and other techniques to reduce fire hazard, offsetting up to 13,500 tons of fine particulate emissions estimated in 2015 compared to burning.

    In addition, the progress report summarized changes in emission inventories for all major visibility impairing pollutants from point, area, on-road mobile, off-road mobile, oil and gas, fugitive and road dust, and anthropogenic fire source categories in the state. For these summaries, emissions during the baseline years are represented using a 2002 inventory, which was developed with support from the WRAP for use in the original regional haze SIP development. Differences between inventories are represented as the difference between the 2002 inventory, and a 2008 inventory which leverages recent inventory development work performed by the WRAP for the West-wide Jump Start Air Quality Modeling Study (WestJumpAQMS) and Deterministic & Empirical Assessment of Smoke's Contribution to Ozone Project (DEASCO3) modeling projects.

    Oregon's progress report noted that the emissions inventories were complicated by the changes and enhancements that have occurred between development of the baseline and current period emissions inventories. Oregon stated that many of the differences between inventories are more reflective of changes in inventory methodology, rather that changes in actual emissions. An example is the reclassification of some off-road mobile sources (such as some types of marine vessels and locomotives) into the area source category in 2008, which may have contributed to increases in area source inventory totals, but decreases in off-road mobile totals.

    Notwithstanding these differences between the 2002 and 2008 emissions inventory methodologies, estimated emissions reductions for SO2 and NOX are summarized in Tables 3 and 4. We note that the other visibility impairing pollutants (primary organic aerosols, elemental carbon, fine soil, and coarse matter) also generally declined as detailed in Chapter 3.4 of the progress report.6

    6 Fine soil and coarse mass decreased for the windblown dust inventory comparisons and increased for the combined fugitive/road dust inventories. Oregon noted that large variability in changes in windblown dust was observed for the contiguous WRAP states, which was likely due in large part to enhancements in dust inventory methodology, rather than changes in actual emissions. For most parameters, especially primary organic aerosols, volatile organic compounds, and elemental carbon, natural fire emission inventory estimates decreased, and anthropogenic fire estimates increased. Oregon noted that these differences are not necessarily reflective of changes in monitored data, as the baseline period is represented by an average of 2000-2004 fire emissions, and the progress period is represented only by the fires that occurred in 2008, as referenced in section 3.3.1 of the progress report.

    Table 3—Sulfur Dioxide Emissions by Category Sulfur dioxide emissions
  • (tons/year)
  • 2002 2008 Difference
  • (percent change)
  • Anthropogenic Sources Point 18,493 15,918 -2,575 Area 9,932 1,528 -8,404 On-Road Mobile 3,446 654 -2,792 Off-Road Mobile 6,535 431 -6,104 Area Oil and Gas 0 0 0 Fugitive and Road Dust 0 0 0 Anthropogenic Fire 1,586 1,403 -182 Total Anthropogenic 39,992 19,934 -20,058 (-50%) Natural Sources Natural Fire 7,328 1,207 -6,121 Biogenic 0 0 0 Wind Blown Dust 0 0 0 Total Natural 7,328 1,207 -6,121 (-84%) All Sources Total Emissions 47,320 21,140 -26,180 (-55%)
    Table 4—Oxides of Nitrogen Emissions by Category Oxides of nitrogen emissions
  • (tons/year)
  • 2002 2008 Difference
  • (percent change)
  • Anthropogenic Sources Point 26,160 23,548 −2,612 Area 14,740 24,121 9,381 On-Road Mobile 111,646 98,399 −13,247 Off-Road Mobile 53,896 23,463 −30,434 Area Oil and Gas 85 0 −85 Fugitive and Road Dust 0 0 0 Anthropogenic Fire 6,292 9,923 3,630 Total Anthropogenic 212,819 179,453 −33,366 (−16%) Natural Sources Natural Fire 27,397 8,521 −18,876 Biogenic 16,527 5,560 −10,967 Wind Blown Dust 0 0 0 Total Natural 43,924 14,081 −29,843 (−68%) All Sources Total Emissions 256,744 193,534 −63,209 (-25%)

    In its progress report, Oregon concluded that the state is making adequate progress in improving visibility as a result of actions identified in the regional haze SIP, as well as actions taken by adjoining states, the federal government, and compliance with international treaty, as described in more detail in the “Long Term Strategy Update” chapter of the progress report.

    D. Determination of Adequacy (40 CFR 51.308(h))

    In accordance with 40 CFR 51.308(h)(1), if the state determines, at the time the five-year progress report is submitted, that the existing implementation plan requires no further substantive revision at this time in order to achieve established goals for visibility improvement and emissions reductions, the state must provide to the Administrator a negative declaration that further revision of the existing implementation plan is not needed at this time. Within the progress report, the State of Oregon provided a negative declaration stating that further revision of the existing implementation plan is not needed. The basis for the state's negative declaration is the finding that visibility on the 20% most and least impaired days has improved, and 2018 RPGs attained at all Oregon IMPROVE monitors, except for the 20% most impaired days at the Central Cascades monitor, which Oregon demonstrated was due to smoke from wildfires in 2011 and 2012. Accordingly, the EPA proposes to find that Oregon adequately addressed the requirements in 40 CFR 51.308(h) in its determination that the existing Oregon regional haze SIP requires no substantive revisions at this time to achieve the established RPGs for Class I areas.

    E. Consultation With Federal Land Managers (40 CFR 51.308(i))

    In accordance with 40 CFR 51.308(i), the state must provide the FLMs with an opportunity for consultation, in person and at least 60 days prior to holding any public hearings on an implementation plan (or plan revision). The state must also include a description of how it addressed any comments provided by the FLMs. The State of Oregon invited the FLMs to comment on its draft progress report on February 3, 2016, for a 60-day comment period ending April 4, 2016, prior to releasing the report for public comment. The FLM comments and Oregon's responses are presented in Appendix D of the progress report.

    The EPA proposes to find that Oregon has addressed the requirements in 40 CFR 51.308(i). Oregon provided a 60-day period for the FLMs to comment on the progress report, which was at least 60 days before seeking public comments, and provided a summary of these comments and responses to these comments in the progress report.

    IV. The EPA's Proposed Action

    The EPA is proposing to approve the Oregon Regional Haze Progress Report submitted to the EPA on July 18, 2017, as meeting the applicable requirements of the CAA and RHR, as set forth in 40 CFR 51.308(g). The EPA proposes to find that the existing regional haze SIP is adequate to meet the state's visibility goals and requires no substantive revision at this time, as set forth in 40 CFR 51.308(h). We propose to find that Oregon fulfilled the requirements in 40 CFR 51.308(i) regarding state coordination with FLMs.

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Under the CAA, the Administrator is required to approve a SIP submission that complies with the provisions of the CAA and applicable Federal regulations.7 Thus, in reviewing SIP submissions, the EPA's role is to approve state choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the CAA. Accordingly, this proposed action merely approves state law as meeting Federal requirements, and does not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law. For that reason, this proposed action:

    7 42 U.S.C. 7410(k); 40 CFR 52.02(a).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • is not subject to requirements of Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C. 272 note) because this rulemaking does not involve technical standards; and

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

    In addition, this proposed action does not apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where the EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Nitrogen dioxide, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides, Visibility, Volatile organic compounds.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: February 26, 2018. Chris Hladick, Regional Administrator, Region 10.
    [FR Doc. 2018-04931 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R01-OAR-2017-0065; FRL-9975-43—Region 1] Air Plan Approval; Connecticut; Infrastructure State Implementation Plan Requirements; Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permit Program Revisions AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve elements of a State Implementation Plan (SIP) submission from Connecticut regarding the infrastructure requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act) for the 2012 fine particle (PM2.5) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), and a SIP submission addressing interstate transport requirements of the CAA for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS. In addition, we are proposing to approve one statute included in the SIP for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. The infrastructure requirements are designed to ensure that the structural components of each state's air quality management program are adequate to meet the state's responsibilities under the CAA. The EPA is also proposing to approve revisions to the SIP submitted by Connecticut on October 18, 2017, satisfying Connecticut's earlier commitment to adopt and submit provisions that meet certain requirements of the federal Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit program. In addition, we are proposing to convert the June 3, 2016 conditional approval for elements of Connecticut's infrastructure SIP regarding PSD requirements to treat nitrogen oxides (NOX) as a precursor to ozone and to establish a minor source baseline date for PM2.5 emissions. This action is being taken under the Clean Air Act.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before April 18, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R01-OAR-2017-0065 at https://www.regulations.gov, or via email to [email protected] For comments submitted at Regulations.gov, follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. For either manner of submission, the EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. The EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e., on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, please contact the person identified in the “For Further Information Contact” section. For the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit www.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Alison C. Simcox, Air Quality Unit, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA New England Regional Office, 5 Post Office Square—Suite 100 (Mail code OEP05-2), Boston, MA 02109—3912, tel. (617) 918-1684; [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    Table of Contents I. Background and Purpose A. What Connecticut SIP submissions does this rulemaking address? B. What is the scope of this rulemaking? II. What guidance is EPA using to evaluate these SIP submissions? III. EPA's Review A. Section 110(a)(2)(A)—Emission Limits and Other Control Measures B. Section 110(a)(2)(B)—Ambient Air Quality Monitoring/Data System C. Section 110(a)(2)(C)—Program for Enforcement of Control Measures and for Construction or Modification of Stationary Sources D. Section 110(a)(2)(D)—Interstate Transport E. Section 110(a)(2)(E)—Adequate Resources F. Section 110(a)(2)(F)—Stationary Source Monitoring System G. Section 110(a)(2)(G)—Emergency Powers H. Section 110(a)(2)(H)—Future SIP Revisions I. Section 110(a)(2)(I)—Nonattainment Area Plan or Plan Revisions Under Part D J. Section 110(a)(2)(J)—Consultation With Government Officials; Public Notifications; Prevention of Significant Deterioration; Visibility Protection K. Section 110(a)(2)(K)—Air Quality Modeling/Data L. Section 110(a)(2)(L)—Permitting Fees M. Section 110(a)(2)(M)—Consultation/Participation by Affected Local Entities N. Connecticut Statute Submitted for Incorporation Into the SIP IV Proposed Action V. Incorporation by Reference VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Background and Purpose A. What Connecticut SIP submissions does this rulemaking address?

    This rulemaking addresses three submissions from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP). The state submitted a SIP addressing the “Good Neighbor” (or “transport”) provisions for the 2006 PM2.51 National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) (Section 110(a)(2)(D)(I) of the CAA) on August 19, 2011, and an infrastructure SIP (including the transport provisions) for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS on December 14, 2015. Under sections 110(a)(1) and (2) of the CAA, states are required to submit infrastructure SIPs to ensure that state SIPs provide for implementation, maintenance, and enforcement of the NAAQS, including the 2006 and 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    1 PM2.5 refers to particulate matter of 2.5 microns or less in diameter, often referred to as “fine” particles.

    In addition, on October 18, 2017, CT DEEP submitted a SIP revision that addresses applicable requirements for the PSD permit program in Part C of the CAA that are codified in 40 CFR 51.166. PSD permitting requirements apply to new major sources or major modifications for pollutants where the area in which the source is located is either in attainment with or unclassifiable with regard to the relevant NAAQS. CT DEEP had committed by letter dated August 5, 2015, to submit these revisions to the PSD permit program for EPA approval.

    B. What is the scope of this rulemaking?

    EPA is acting on three SIP submissions from Connecticut that address the infrastructure requirements of CAA sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) for the 2006 and 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS and revisions to the PSD permit program.

    The requirement for states to make a SIP submission of this type arises out of CAA sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2). Pursuant to these sections, each state must submit a SIP that provides for the implementation, maintenance, and enforcement of each primary or secondary NAAQS. States must make such SIP submission “within 3 years (or such shorter period as the Administrator may prescribe) after the promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS.” This requirement is triggered by the promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS and is not conditioned upon EPA's taking any other action. Section 110(a)(2) includes the specific elements that “each such plan” must address.

    EPA commonly refers to such SIP submissions made for the purpose of satisfying the requirements of CAA sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) as “infrastructure SIP” submissions. Although the term “infrastructure SIP” does not appear in the CAA, EPA uses the term to distinguish this particular type of SIP submission from submissions that are intended to satisfy other SIP requirements under the CAA, such as “nonattainment SIP” or “attainment plan SIP” submissions to address the nonattainment planning requirements of part D of title I of the CAA.

    This rulemaking will not cover three substantive areas that are not integral to acting on a state's infrastructure SIP submission: (i) Existing provisions related to excess emissions during periods of start-up, shutdown, or malfunction at sources (“SSM” emissions) that may be contrary to the CAA and EPA's policies addressing such excess emissions; (ii) existing provisions related to “director's variance” or “director's discretion” that purport to permit revisions to SIP-approved emissions limits with limited public process or without requiring further approval by EPA, that may be contrary to the CAA (“director's discretion”); and, (iii) existing provisions for Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) programs that may be inconsistent with current requirements of EPA's “Final New Source Review (NSR) Improvement Rule,” 67 FR 80186 (December 31, 2002), as amended by 72 FR 32526 (June 13, 2007) (“NSR Reform”). Instead, EPA has the authority to address each one of these substantive areas separately. A detailed history, interpretation, and rationale for EPA's approach to infrastructure SIP requirements can be found in EPA's May 13, 2014, proposed rule entitled, “Infrastructure SIP Requirements for the 2008 Lead NAAQS” in the section, “What is the scope of this rulemaking?” See 79 FR 27241 at 27242-45.

    II. What guidance is EPA using to evaluate these SIP submissions?

    EPA highlighted the statutory requirement to submit infrastructure SIPs within 3 years of promulgation of a new NAAQS in an October 2, 2007, guidance document entitled “Guidance on SIP Elements Required Under Sections 110(a)(1) and (2) for the 1997 8-hour Ozone and PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standards” (2007 guidance). EPA has issued additional guidance documents and memoranda, including a September 13, 2013, guidance document entitled “Guidance on Infrastructure State Implementation Plan (SIP) Elements under Clean Air Act Sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2)” (2013 guidance).

    With respect to the Good Neighbor provision, the most recent relevant document was a memorandum published on March 17, 2016, entitled “Information on the Interstate Transport `Good Neighbor' Provision for the 2012 Fine Particulate Matter National Ambient Air Quality Standards under Clean Air Act Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I)” (2016 memorandum).2 The 2016 memorandum describes EPA's past approach to addressing interstate transport, and provides EPA's general review of relevant modeling data and air quality projections as they relate to the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS. The 2016 memorandum provides information relevant to EPA Regional office review of the CAA section 110 (a)(2)(D)(i)(I) “Good Neighbor” provision requirements in infrastructure SIPs with respect to the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS. This rulemaking considers information provided in that memorandum.

    2 This memorandum is available in the docket and at https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-08/documents/good-neighbor-memo_implementation.pdf.

    III. EPA's Review

    In this notice of proposed rulemaking, EPA is proposing action on Connecticut's infrastructure SIP submissions and revisions to the PSD permit program. In Connecticut's submissions, a detailed list of Connecticut Laws and previously SIP-approved Air Quality Regulations show precisely how the various components of its EPA-approved SIP meet each of the requirements of section 110(a)(2) of the CAA for the 2006 and 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. The following review evaluates the state's submissions in light of section 110(a)(2) requirements and relevant EPA guidance. For Connecticut's August 19, 2011 submission addressing the transport provisions with respect to the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS, we reviewed infrastructure elements in Section 110(a)(2)(D)(I).3 For the state's December 14, 2015 submission addressing the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS, we reviewed all Section 110(a)(2) elements, including the transport provisions, but excluding the three areas discussed above under the scope of this rulemaking. The revisions to the PSD permit program were evaluated for consistency with the regulations at 40 CFR 51.166 and Part C of the CAA and are required to be included in the SIP by Section 110(a)(2)(C).

    3 EPA previously took action on the other elements of Connecticut's infrastructure SIP for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS on October 16, 2012 (77 FR 63228) and on June 3, 2016 (81 FR 35636).

    A. Section 110(a)(2)(A)—Emission Limits and Other Control Measures

    This section (also referred to in this action as an element) of the Act requires SIPs to include enforceable emission limits and other control measures, means or techniques, schedules for compliance, and other related matters. However, EPA has long interpreted emission limits and control measures for attaining the standards as being due when nonattainment planning requirements are due.4 In the context of an infrastructure SIP, EPA is not evaluating the existing SIP provisions for this purpose. Instead, EPA is only evaluating whether the state's SIP has basic structural provisions for the implementation of the NAAQS.

    4See, e.g., EPA's final rule on “National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Lead.” 73 FR 66964, 67034 (Nov. 12, 2008).

    Connecticut Public Act No. 11-80 established the CT DEEP, and Connecticut General Statutes (CGS) Section 22a-6(a)(1) provides the Commissioner of CT DEEP authority to adopt, amend or repeal environmental standards, criteria and regulations. It is under this general grant of authority that the Commissioner has adopted emissions standards and control measures for a variety of sources and pollutants. Connecticut also has SIP-approved provisions for specific pollutants. For example, CT DEEP has adopted primary and secondary ambient air quality standards for PM2.5 in Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies (RCSA) Section 22a-174-24(f).

    As noted in EPA's approval of RCSA § 22a-174-24, Ambient Air Quality Standards, on June 24, 2015 (80 FR 36242), Connecticut's standards are consistent with the current federal NAAQS. Under element A of its December 14, 2015 infrastructure SIP submittal for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS, Connecticut DEEP highlighted several rules that the state has previously adopted, and that EPA has previously approved, to limit the quantity, rate, or concentration of emissions of PM2.5 and PM2.5 precursors. Some of these are: RCSA § 22a-174-18, Control of particulate matter and visible emissions (July 16, 2014; 79 FR 41427); RCSA § 22a-174-19a, Control of sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants and other large stationary sources (July 10, 2014; 79 FR 39322); and RCSA § 22a-174-22, Control of nitrogen oxides emissions (October 6, 1997; 62 FR 52016 and July 10, 2014; 79 FR 39322).

    In its infrastructure SIP submittal for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS, Connecticut submitted revisions to CGS § 16a-21a (Sulfur content of home heating oil and off-road diesel fuel. Suspension of requirements for emergency). This statute was previously approved into the SIP (June 3, 2016; 81 FR 35636) and limited the sulfur content of fuels sold or used in Connecticut to 0.3 percentage by weight for number two heating oil and off-road diesel fuel. The sulfur content of number two heating oil was further limited to 500 ppm from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2014, and to 15 ppm beginning July 1, 2014. The EPA-approved statute included a provision that these sulfur limits would not take effect until the states of New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island each had adopted similar requirements. In addition, the statute allows Connecticut to suspend these requirements if availability of the compliant fuel is inadequate to meet the needs of residential, commercial or industrial users in the state and if Connecticut deems that this constitutes an emergency.

    Connecticut's revision of this statute removes the provision concerning the three other states, and moves the dates for the 500-ppm requirement to July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2018, and for the 15-ppm requirement, to July 1, 2018. The revision also includes a provision stating that CT DEEP can use RCSA section 22a-174-19b, fuel sulfur content limitations for stationary sources, to enforce provisions of the statute. EPA has determined that the revision to CGS § 16a-21a is as stringent as the EPA-approved version and, therefore, proposes to approve this revision into the Connecticut SIP.

    EPA proposes that Connecticut meets the infrastructure SIP requirements of section 110(a)(2)(A) with respect to the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. As previously noted, EPA is not proposing to approve or disapprove any existing state provisions or rules related to SSM or director's discretion in the context of section 110(a)(2)(A).

    B. Section 110(a)(2)(B)—Ambient Air Quality Monitoring/Data System

    This section requires SIPs to include provisions to provide for establishing and operating ambient air quality monitors, collecting and analyzing ambient air quality data, and making these data available to EPA upon request. Each year, states submit annual air monitoring network plans to EPA for review and approval. EPA's review of these annual monitoring plans includes our evaluation of whether the state: (i) Monitors air quality at appropriate locations throughout the state using EPA-approved Federal Reference Methods or Federal Equivalent Method monitors; (ii) submits data to EPA's Air Quality System (AQS) in a timely manner; and (iii) provides EPA Regional Offices with prior notification of any planned changes to monitoring sites or the network plan.

    CT DEEP continues to operate a monitoring network, and EPA approved the state's 2016 Annual Air Monitoring Network Plan for PM2.5 on September 12, 2016.5 Furthermore, CT DEEP populates EPA's Air Quality System (AQS) with air quality monitoring data in a timely manner, and provides EPA with prior notification when considering a change to its monitoring network or plan. Under element B of its December 14, 2015 infrastructure SIP submittal for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS, Connecticut DEEP referenced EPA's prior approvals of Connecticut's annual network monitoring plans, as well as CGS § 22a-174(d), which provides the Commissioner with “all incidental powers necessary to carry out the purposes of” Connecticut's air pollution control laws. EPA proposes that CT DEEP has met the infrastructure SIP requirements of section 110(a)(2)(B) with respect to the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    5 EPA's approval letter is included in the docket for today's action.

    C. Section 110(a)(2)(C)—Program for Enforcement of Control Measures and for Construction or Modification of Stationary Sources

    States are required to include a program providing for enforcement of all SIP measures and the regulation of construction of new or modified stationary sources to meet NSR requirements under PSD and nonattainment new source review (NNSR) programs. Part C of the CAA (sections 160-169B) addresses PSD, while part D of the CAA (sections 171-193) addresses NNSR requirements.

    The evaluation of each state's submission addressing the infrastructure SIP requirements of section 110(a)(2)(C) covers the following: (i) Enforcement of SIP measures; (ii) PSD program for major sources and major modifications; and (iii) a permit program for minor sources and minor modifications.

    Sub-Element 1: Enforcement of SIP Measures

    CT DEEP staffs and implements an enforcement program pursuant to CGS Title 22a. Specifically, CGS §§ 22a-6 and 22a-6b authorize the Commissioner of CT DEEP to inspect and investigate to ascertain whether violations of any statute, regulation, or permit may have occurred and to impose civil penalties. Additionally, CGS § 22a-171 requires the Commissioner to “adopt, amend, repeal, and enforce regulations . . . and do any other act necessary to enforce the provisions of” CGS §§ 22a-170 through 22a-206, which provide CT DEEP with the authority to, among other things, enforce its regulations, issue orders to correct violations of regulations or permits, impose state administrative penalties, and seek judicial relief. EPA proposes that Connecticut has met the enforcement of SIP measures requirement of section 110(a)(2)(C) with respect to the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    Sub-Element 2: PSD Program for Major Sources and Major Modifications

    PSD applies to new major sources or modifications made to major sources for pollutants where the area in which the source is located is in attainment of, or unclassifiable with regard to, the relevant NAAQS. CT DEEP's EPA-approved PSD rules in RCSA sections 22a-174-1, 22a-174-2a, and 22a-174-3a contain provisions that address applicable requirements for all regulated NSR pollutants, including greenhouse gases (GHGs).

    EPA's “Final Rule to Implement the 8-Hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard—Phase 2; Final Rule to Implement Certain Aspects of the 1990 Amendments Relating to New Source Review and Prevention of Significant Deterioration as They Apply in Carbon Monoxide, Particulate Matter, and Ozone NAAQS; Final Rule for Reformulated Gasoline” (Phase 2 Rule) was published on November 29, 2005 (70 FR 71612). Among other requirements, the Phase 2 Rule obligated states to revise their PSD programs to explicitly identify NOX as a precursor to ozone. See 70 FR 71679 at 71699-700. This requirement is codified in 40 CFR 51.166, and requires that states submit SIP revisions incorporating the requirements of the rule, including provisions that would treat NOX as a precursor to ozone provisions. These SIP revisions were to have been submitted to EPA by states by June 15, 2007. See 70 FR 71683.

    Connecticut's EPA-approved PSD rules do not currently contain the provisions needed to ensure that NOX be treated as a precursor to ozone. However, CT DEEP has made the necessary revisions to its regulation and, on October 18, 2017, submitted regulations for the EPA's approval of its PSD rules to treat NOx as precursor pollutant to ozone.

    Accordingly, as we discuss further on in our discussion of this sub-element, we are proposing to approve the revisions to CT DEEP's PSD permit program at RCSA Section 22a-174-3a(k)(1)(C), and to convert our June 3, 2016, conditional approval of this PSD infrastructure sub-element relating to treating NOX emissions as precursor emissions to ozone formation to a full approval. See 81 FR 35636.

    On October 20, 2010, EPA issued a final rule (75 FR 64864) entitled “Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) for Particulate Matter Less Than 2.5 Micrometers (PM2.5)—Increments, Significant Impact Levels (SILs) and Significant Monitoring Concentration (SMC)” (2010 NSR Rule). This rule established several components for making PSD permitting determinations for PM2.5, including adding the required elements for PM2.5 into a state's existing system of “increment analysis,” which is the mechanism used in the PSD permitting program to estimate significant deterioration of ambient air quality for a pollutant in relation to new source construction or modification. The maximum allowable increment increases for different pollutants are codified in 40 CFR 51.166(c) and 40 CFR 52.21(c).

    The 2010 NSR Rule described in the preceding paragraph revised the existing system for determining increment consumption by establishing a new “major source baseline date” for PM2.5 of October 20, 2010, and by establishing a trigger date for PM2.5 in relation to the definition of “minor source baseline date.” These revisions to the federal PSD rules are codified in 40 CFR 51.166(b)(14)(i)(c) and (b)(14)(ii)(c), and 52.21(b)(14)(i)(c) and (b)(14)(ii)(c).

    Lastly, the 2010 NSR Rule revised the definition of “baseline area” to include a level of significance of 0.3 micrograms per cubic meter, annual average, for PM2.5. This change is codified in 40 CFR 51.166(b)(15)(i) and 52.21(b)(15)(i). States were required to revise their SIPs consistent with these changes to the federal regulations.

    On July 24, 2015, EPA approved Connecticut's October 9, 2012, SIP revision for its PSD program, which incorporated two of the four changes addressed by the 2010 NSR Rule. The two changes were (1) a revised definition of “Major source baseline date” that included a date for PM2.5 specifically; and (2) the addition of the maximum allowable increment for PM2.5. See 80 FR 43960.

    CT DEEP's October 9, 2012, SIP revision did not specifically address the two other changes EPA made to the PSD rules in 2010, and for the following reasons EPA did not include those as part of the conditional approval described in our October 16, 2012 notice. See 77 FR 63228. One of those changes is the requirement that a State's definition of “minor source baseline date” be amended to include a trigger date for PM2.5 emissions (see EPA's definition for “minor source baseline date” at 40 CFR 51.166(b)(14)(ii)). Instead of using a specific date, EPA's definition for minor source baseline date provides that the minor source baseline date is triggered by a state's receipt of its first complete PSD application. At the time CT DEEP made its October 9, 2012 SIP revision, it would not have been possible for the State to have amended its regulation to include a specific minor source baseline date because no source had submitted a complete PSD application for PM2.5. This is so because CT DEEP‘s PSD regulations are structured in a way that uses actual specific dates based on submission of a first complete PSD application for a particular pollutant. (The approach contained in EPA's regulations is somewhat different in the sense that instead of using actual specific dates, EPA articulates the concept of a first complete PSD application as the minor source baseline date trigger.) EPA understands that CT DEEP did not receive a complete PSD application for a source subject to PSD for PM2.5 emissions until 2014. Consequently, the State could not have included an actual date in its definition of “minor source baseline date” within its October 9, 2012 SIP revision.

    Although Connecticut could not establish an actual date for PM2.5 in its definition of “minor source baseline date,” at the time of its October 9, 2012 SIP revision, Connecticut has since revised this definition to include a specific date. As a result, on June 3, 2016, the EPA conditionally approved this element of Connecticut's infrastructure requirements to establish a “minor source baseline date.” See 81 FR 35636. On October 18, 2017, CT DEEP submitted revised regulations for EPA's approval to satisfy this requirement and establish the minor source baseline date as August 24, 2014, for PM2.5. Although Connecticut's approach to establishing a minor source baseline emissions concentration as part of an increment consumption analysis differs slightly from the approach taken under the federal PSD regulations codified at 40 CFR 51.166, the EPA has determined the minor discrepancy does not result in a different minor source baseline emissions concentration and Connecticut's approach is therefore functionally equivalent to the federal PSD regulations. For example, Connecticut's regulation identifies August 24, 2014 as the minor source baseline date as opposed to September 24, 2014 when the State received its first complete PSD application that was significant for PM2.5. Although this approach results in a slightly different time period for calculating minor source baseline emissions (i.e., one month earlier), the EPA has concluded that the calculation would yield a result that is as protective as the federal PSD regulations. Consequently, we propose to approve Connecticut's revisions to the PSD permit program at RCSA Section 22a-174-1(71) and to convert our June 3, 2016 conditional approval of this PSD infrastructure sub-element relating to section 110(a)(2)(C) to a full approval. See 81 FR 35636.

    On July 3, 2016, EPA fully approved Connecticut's SIP with regard to the remainder of the requirements for this sub-element (81 FR 35636). For a detailed analysis, see EPA's proposed rule at 80 FR 54471.

    In summary, we are proposing to approve Connecticut's submittals for this sub-element pertaining to section 110(a)(2)(C) with respect to the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS, as well as revisions to the PSD permit program pertaining to treating NOX as a precursor to ozone and to establishing a minor source baseline date for PM2.5.

    Sub-Element 3: Preconstruction Permitting for Minor Sources and Minor Modifications

    To address the pre-construction regulation of the modification and construction of minor stationary sources and minor modifications of major stationary sources, an infrastructure SIP submission should identify the existing EPA-approved SIP provisions and/or include new provisions that govern the minor source pre-construction program that regulate emissions of the relevant NAAQS pollutants. EPA approved Connecticut's minor NSR program, as well as updates to that program, with the most recent approval occurring on February 28, 2003 (68 FR 9009). Since this date, Connecticut and EPA have relied on the existing minor NSR program to ensure that new and modified sources not captured by the major NSR permitting programs do not interfere with attainment and maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    We are proposing to find that Connecticut has met the requirement to have a SIP approved minor new source review permit program as required under Section 110(a)(2)(C) for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    D. Section 110(a)(2)(D)—Interstate Transport

    This section contains a comprehensive set of air quality management elements pertaining to the transport of air pollution with which states must comply. It covers the following five topics, categorized as sub-elements: Sub-element 1, Significant contribution to nonattainment, and interference with maintenance of a NAAQS; 6 Sub-element 2, PSD; Sub-element 3, Visibility protection; Sub-element 4, Interstate pollution abatement; and Sub-element 5, International pollution abatement. Sub-elements 1 through 3 above are found under section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) of the Act, and these items are further categorized into the four prongs discussed below, two of which are found within sub-element 1. Sub-elements 4 and 5 are found under section 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) of the Act and include provisions insuring compliance with sections 115 and 126 of the Act relating to interstate and international pollution abatement.

    6 For this sub-element only, we are evaluating two Connecticut SIP submittals, the transport SIP for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS submitted on August 19, 2011, and the infrastructure SIP for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS submitted on December 14, 2015.

    Sub-Element 1: Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I)—Significant Contribution to Nonattainment (Prong 1) and Interference With Maintenance of the NAAQS (Prong 2)

    Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) of the CAA requires a SIP to prohibit any emissions activity in the state that will contribute significantly to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the NAAQS in any downwind state. EPA commonly refers to these requirements as prong 1 (significant contribution to nonattainment) and prong 2 (interference with maintenance), or jointly as the “Good Neighbor” or “transport” provisions of the CAA. This rulemaking proposes action on the portions of Connecticut's August 19, 2011 and December 14, 2015 SIP submissions that address the prong 1 and 2 requirements with respect to the 2006 and 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS, respectively.

    EPA has developed a consistent framework for addressing the prong 1 and 2 interstate-transport requirements with respect to the PM2.5 NAAQS in several previous federal rulemakings. The four basic steps of that framework include: (1) Identifying downwind receptors that are expected to have problems attaining or maintaining the NAAQS; (2) identifying which upwind states contribute to these identified problems in amounts sufficient to warrant further review and analysis; (3) for states identified as contributing to downwind air quality problems, identifying upwind emissions reductions necessary to prevent an upwind state from significantly contributing to nonattainment or interfering with maintenance of the NAAQS downwind; and (4) for states that are found to have emissions that significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the NAAQS downwind, reducing the identified upwind emissions through adoption of permanent and enforceable measures. This framework was most recently applied with respect to PM2.5 in the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which addressed both the 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 standards, as well as the 1997 ozone standard. See 76 FR 48208 (August 8, 2011).

    EPA's analysis for CSAPR, conducted consistent with the four-step framework, included air-quality modeling that evaluated the impacts of 38 eastern states on identified receptors in the eastern United States. EPA indicated that, for step 2 of the framework, states with impacts on downwind receptors that are below the contribution threshold of 1% of the relevant NAAQS would not be considered to significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the relevant NAAQS, and would, therefore, not be included in CSAPR. See 76 FR 48220. EPA further indicated that such states could rely on EPA's analysis for CSAPR as technical support in order to demonstrate that their existing or future interstate transport SIP submittals are adequate to address the transport requirements of 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) with regard to the relevant NAAQS. Id.

    In addition, as noted above, on March 17, 2016, EPA released the 2016 memorandum to provide information to states as they develop SIPs addressing the Good Neighbor provision as it pertains to the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. Consistent with step 1 of the framework, the 2016 memorandum provides projected future-year annual PM2.5 design values for monitors throughout the country based on quality-assured and certified ambient-monitoring data and recent air-quality modeling and explains the methodology used to develop these projected design values. The memorandum also describes how the projected values can be used to help determine which monitors should be further evaluated to potentially address if emissions from other states significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS at these monitoring sites. The 2016 memorandum explained that the pertinent year for evaluating air quality for purposes of addressing interstate transport for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS is 2021, the attainment deadline for 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS nonattainment areas classified as Moderate. Accordingly, because the available data included 2017 and 2025 projected average and maximum PM2.5 design values calculated through the CAMx photochemical model, the memorandum suggests approaches states might use to interpolate PM2.5 values at sites in 2021.

    For all but one monitor site in the eastern United States, the modeling data provided in the 2016 memorandum showed that monitors were expected to both attain and maintain the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS in both 2017 and 2025. The modeling results project that this one monitor, the Liberty monitor, (ID number 420030064), located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, will be above the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS in 2017, but only under the model's maximum projected conditions, which are used in EPA's interstate transport framework to identify maintenance receptors. The Liberty monitor (along with all the other Allegheny County monitors) is projected to both attain and maintain the NAAQS in 2025. The 2016 memorandum suggests that under such a condition (again, where EPA's photochemical modeling indicates an area will maintain the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS in 2025, but not in 2017), further analysis of the site should be performed to determine if the site may be a nonattainment or maintenance receptor in 2021 (which, again, is the attainment deadline for moderate PM2.5 areas). The memorandum also indicates that for certain states with incomplete ambient monitoring data, additional information including the latest available data, should be analyzed to determine whether there are potential downwind air quality problems that may be impacted by transported emissions. This rulemaking considers these analyses for Connecticut, as well as additional analysis conducted by EPA during review of Connecticut's submittals.

    To develop the projected values presented in the memorandum, EPA used the results of nationwide photochemical air-quality modeling that it recently performed to support several rulemakings related to the ozone NAAQS. Base-year modeling was performed for 2011. Future-year modeling was performed for 2017 to support the proposed CSAPR Update for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS. See 80 FR 75705 (December 3, 2015). Future-year modeling was also performed for 2025 to support the Regulatory Impact Assessment of the final 2015 Ozone NAAQS.7 The outputs from these model runs included hourly concentrations of PM2.5 that were used in conjunction with measured data to project annual average PM2.5 design values for 2017 and 2025. Areas that were designated as moderate PM2.5 nonattainment areas for the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS in 2014 must attain the NAAQS by December 31, 2021, or as expeditiously as practicable. Although neither the available 2017 nor 2025 future-year modeling data corresponds directly to the future-year attainment deadline for moderate PM2.5 nonattainment areas, EPA believes that the modeling information is still helpful for identifying potential nonattainment and maintenance receptors in the 2017-2021 period. Assessing downwind PM2.5 air-quality problems based on estimates of air-quality concentrations in a future year aligned with the relevant attainment deadline is consistent with the instructions from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in North Carolina v. EPA, 531 F.3d 896, 911-12 (D.C. Cir. 2008) that upwind emission reductions should be harmonized, to the extent possible, with the attainment deadlines for downwind areas.

    7See 2015 ozone NAAQS RIA at: https://www3.epa.gov/ttnecas1/docs/20151001ria.pdf.

    Connecticut's Submissions for Prongs 1 and 2

    On September 18, 2009, CT DEEP submitted an infrastructure SIP for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS, which included transport provisions that addressed prongs 1 and 2 with respect to the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS. However, on January 7, 2011, CT DEEP withdrew the transport portion of this 2009 SIP. On August 19, 2011, Connecticut submitted a revised SIP that replaced the portions of the state's submission that were previously withdrawn. The state's revised SIP relied on EPA's analysis performed for the CSAPR rulemaking to conclude that the state will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the NAAQS in any downwind area.

    On December 14, 2015, CT DEEP submitted an infrastructure SIP for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. This submission addressed prongs 1 and 2 of the interstate transport requirements. Based on information given in Attachment D of its SIP submission, Connecticut concluded that it does not contribute significantly to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state because projected emissions of PM2.5 and PM2.5 precursors (NOX and SO2) in Connecticut are expected to decline over at least the next decade, and there are federal and SIP-approved state regulations in place to control emissions of PM2.5 and PM2.5 precursors.

    Regarding future emissions of PM2.5 and PM2.5 precursors, Connecticut developed comprehensive emissions inventories in collaboration with other states in the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Visibility Union (MANE-VU). Results indicate that total emissions of PM2.5 and PM2.5 precursors are projected to decrease significantly between 2007 and 2025 in New Haven and Fairfield counties in southwestern Connecticut, the area of the state that historically has had the highest monitored PM2.5 levels.8

    8 “Connecticut's PM2.5 Redesignation Request and Maintenance Plan, Technical Support Document,” (June 22, 2012). Included in the docket for this notice.

    EPA analyzed the state's August 19, 2011 and December 14, 2015 SIP submittals to determine whether they fully address the prong 1 and 2 transport provisions with respect to the 2006 and 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. As discussed below, EPA concludes that emissions of PM2.5 and PM2.5 precursors in Connecticut will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2006 or 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state.

    Analysis of Connecticut's Submission for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS

    With respect to the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS, EPA's analysis in the 2011 CSAPR rulemaking determined that Connecticut's impact to all downwind receptors would be below the 1% contribution threshold for this NAAQS (i.e., 0.15 μg/m3), indicating that the state will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS in any downwind state. As noted above, EPA previously determined that states can rely on EPA's CSAPR analysis for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS. Accordingly, as EPA has already concluded that Connecticut will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS, we do not need to reevaluate Connecticut's Good Neighbor obligation with respect to this NAAQS. Consequently, EPA is proposing to approve Connecticut's August 8, 2011, SIP submission with regard to prongs 1 and 2 for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    Analysis of Connecticut's Submission for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS

    As noted above, the modeling discussed in EPA's 2016 memorandum identified one potential maintenance receptor for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS at the Liberty monitor (ID number 420030064), located in Allegheny County. The memorandum also identified certain states with incomplete ambient monitoring data as areas that may require further analysis to determine whether there are potential downwind air quality problems that may be impacted by transported emissions.

    While developing the 2011 CSAPR rulemaking, EPA modeled the impacts of all 38 eastern states in its modeling domain on fine particulate matter concentrations at downwind receptors in other states in the 2012 analysis year in order to evaluate the contribution of upwind states on downwind states with respect to the 1997 and 2006 PM2.5. Although the modeling was not conducted for purposes of analyzing upwind states' impacts on downwind receptors with respect to the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS, the contribution analysis for the 1997 and 2006 standards can be informative for evaluating Connecticut's compliance with the Good Neighbor provision for the 2012 standard.

    This CSAPR modeling showed that Connecticut had a very small impact (0.005 μg/m3) on the Liberty monitor in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, which is the only out-of-state monitor that may be a nonattainment or maintenance receptor in 2021. Although EPA has not proposed a particular threshold for evaluating the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS, EPA notes that Connecticut's impact on the Liberty monitor is far below the threshold of 1% for the annual 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS (i.e., 0.12 μg/m3) that EPA previously used to evaluate the contribution of upwind states to downwind air-quality monitors. (A spreadsheet showing CSAPR contributions for ozone and PM2.5 is included in docket EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0491-4228.) Therefore, even if the Liberty monitor were considered a receptor for purposes of transport, the EPA proposes to conclude that Connecticut will not significantly contribute to nonattainment, or interfere with maintenance, of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS at that monitor.

    In addition, the Liberty monitor is already close to attaining the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS, and expected emissions reductions in the next four years will lead to additional reductions in measured PM2.5 concentrations. There are both local and regional components to measured PM2.5 levels. All monitors in Allegheny County have a regional component, with the Liberty monitor most strongly influenced by local sources. This is confirmed by the fact that annual average measured concentrations at the Liberty monitor have consistently been 2-4 μg/m3 higher than other monitors in Allegheny County.

    Specifically, previous CSAPR modeling showed that regional emissions from upwind states, particularly SO2 and NOx emissions, contribute to PM2.5 nonattainment at the Liberty monitor. In recent years, large SO2 and NOX reductions from power plants have occurred in Pennsylvania and states upwind from the Greater Pittsburgh region. Pennsylvania's energy sector emissions of SO2 will have decreased 166,000 tons between 2015-2017 as a result of CSAPR implementation. This is due to both the installation of emissions controls and retirements of electric generating units (EGUs). Projected power plant closures and additional emissions controls in Pennsylvania and upwind states will help further reduce both direct PM2.5 and PM2.5 precursors. Regional emission reductions will continue to occur from current on-the-books federal and state regulations such as the federal on-road and non-road vehicle programs, and various rules for major stationary emissions sources. See proposed approval of the Ohio Infrastructure SIP for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS (82 FR 57689; December 7, 2017).

    In addition to regional emissions reductions and plant closures, additional local reductions to both direct PM2.5 and SO2 emissions are expected to occur and should contribute to further declines in Allegheny County's PM2.5 monitor concentrations. For example, significant SO2 reductions have recently occurred at US Steel's integrated steel mill facilities in southern Allegheny County as part of a 1-hr SO2 NAAQS SIP.9 Reductions are largely due to declining sulfur content in the Clairton Coke Work's coke oven gas (COG). Because this COG is burned at U.S. Steel's Clairton Coke Works, Irvin Mill, and Edgar Thompson Steel Mill, these reductions in sulfur content should contribute to much lower PM2.5 precursor emissions in the immediate future. The Allegheny SO2 SIP also projects lower SO2 emissions resulting from vehicle fuel standards, reductions in general emissions due to declining population in the Greater Pittsburgh region, and several shutdowns of significant sources of emissions in Allegheny County.

    9http://www.achd.net/air/pubs/SIPs/SO 2 _2010_NAAQS_SIP_9-14-2017.pdf.

    EPA modeling projections, the recent downward trend in local and upwind emissions reductions, the expected continued downward trend in emissions between 2017 and 2021, and the downward trend in monitored PM2.5 concentrations all indicate that the Liberty monitor will attain and be able to maintain the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS by 2021. See proposed approval of the Ohio Infrastructure SIP (82 FR 57689).

    As noted in the 2016 memorandum, several states have had recent data-quality issues identified as part of the PM2.5 designations process. In particular, some ambient PM2.5 data for certain time periods between 2009 and 2013 in Florida, Illinois, Idaho, Tennessee, and Kentucky did not meet all data-quality requirements under 40 CFR part 50, appendix L. The lack of data means that the relevant areas in those states could potentially be in nonattainment or be maintenance receptors in 2021. However, as mentioned above, EPA's analysis for the 2011 CSAPR rulemaking with respect to the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS determined that Connecticut's impact to all these downwind receptors would be well below the 1% contribution threshold for this NAAQS. That conclusion informs the analysis of Connecticut's contributions for purposes of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS as well. Given this, and the fact, discussed below, that the state's PM2.5 design values for all ambient monitors have declined since 2009-2013, EPA concludes that it is highly unlikely that Connecticut significantly contributes to nonattainment or interferes with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS in areas with data-quality issues.10

    10 Connecticut's PM2.5 design values for all ambient monitors from 2004-2006 through 2013-2015 are available on Table 6 of the 2015 Design Value Report at https://19january2017snapshot.epa.gov/air-trends/air-quality-design-values_.html.

    Additional information in Connecticut's 2015 SIP submission corroborates EPA's proposed conclusion that Connecticut's SIP meets its Good Neighbor obligations. First, Connecticut's emissions are decreasing, as indicated in a technical analysis of the state's interstate transport of pollution relative to the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS, which was included in the 2015 submittal. The technical analysis includes Connecticut's 2014 PM2.5 design values; design-value trends over the last decade for Connecticut and the nearby states of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island; as well as other factors such as meteorology and emissions projections. Design values for Connecticut and nearby states have shown a declining trend and have remained in compliance with the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS since 2011. Emissions projections show continuing maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS in Connecticut and the nearby states. Connecticut's technical analysis also refers to emissions projections through 2025 for the southwestern portion of Connection, the area that historically has had the highest monitored PM2.5 levels. These projections were part of the state's 10-year (ending in 2025) maintenance plan for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS that was approved by EPA on September 24, 2013. See 78 FR 58467. In southwestern Connecticut, emissions of PM2.5, NOX and SO2 were projected to decrease by 22%, 52% and 43%, respectively, between 2007 and 2025, and similar levels of reductions were projected for the rest of the state. This technical analysis is supported by additional indications that the state's air quality is improving and emissions are falling, including certified annual PM2.5 monitor values recorded since Connecticut's 2015 submittal, with the highest value in 2015 being 9.9 μg/m3 at a monitor in Hartford and the highest value in 2016 being 9.4 μg/m3 at a monitor in Bridgeport, with further statewide declines indicated by 2017 preliminary results.11 In addition, as reported in EPA's Clean Air Markets Program database, actual ozone-season NOX emissions from EGUs in Connecticut from 2011 through 2017 fell from 858 to 430 tons, a 50-percent drop.

    11 24-hour and annual PM2.5 monitor values for individual monitoring sites throughout Connecticut are available at https://www.epa.gov/outdoor-air-quality-data/monitor-values-report.

    Second, Connecticut's sources are well-controlled. Connecticut's 2015 submission indicates that the SIP contains the following major requirements related to the interstate transport of pollution: RCSA section 22a-174-2a (NSR program, including notification of nearby states of major source permits and modifications), RCSA section 22a-174-3a (PSD and NSR requirements, including modeling to that ensure new and modified sources do not cause or contribute to PSD or NAAQS issues in nearby states). These rules were approved by EPA on July 24, 2015, and became effective on September 22, 2015. See 80 FR 43960.

    It should also be noted that Connecticut is not in the CSAPR program because EPA analyses show that the state no longer emits ozone-season NOX at a level that contributes significantly to non-attainment or interferes with maintenance of the 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state.

    For the reasons explained herein, EPA agrees with Connecticut's conclusions and proposes to determine that Connecticut will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2006 or 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state. Therefore, EPA is proposing to approve the August 2011 and December 2015 infrastructure SIP submissions from Connecticut addressing prongs 1 and 2 of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) for the 2006 and 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS, respectively.

    Sub-Element 2: Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II)—PSD (Prong 3)

    To prevent significant deterioration of air quality, this sub-element requires SIPs to include provisions that prohibit any source or other type of emissions activity in one state from interfering with measures that are required in any other state's SIP under Part C of the CAA. One way for a state to meet this requirement, specifically with respect to in-state sources and pollutants that are subject to PSD permitting, is through a comprehensive PSD permitting program that applies to all regulated NSR pollutants and that satisfies the requirements of EPA's PSD implementation rules. For in-state sources not subject to PSD, this requirement can be satisfied through an approved NNSR program with respect to any previous NAAQS.

    Connecticut updated RCSA Section 22a-174-3a(k) and 3a(i) effective April 2014. EPA approved these changes on July 24, 2015 (80 FR 43960). These regulations contain provisions for how the state must treat and control sources in nonattainment areas, consistent with 40 CFR 51.165, or appendix S to 40 CFR 51.

    Sub-Element 3: Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II)—Visibility Protection (Prong 4)

    With regard to applicable requirements for visibility protection of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II), states are subject to visibility and regional-haze program requirements under part C of the CAA (which includes sections 169A and 169B). The 2009 guidance, 2011 guidance, and 2013 guidance recommend that these requirements can be satisfied by an approved SIP addressing reasonably attributable visibility impairment, if required, or an approved SIP addressing regional haze. A fully approved regional haze SIP meeting the requirements of 40 CFR 51.308 will ensure that emissions from sources under an air agency's jurisdiction are not interfering with measures required to be included in other air agencies' plans to protect visibility. Connecticut's Regional Haze SIP was approved by EPA on July 10, 2014 (79 FR 39322). Accordingly, EPA proposes that Connecticut has met the visibility protection requirements of 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    Sub-Element 4: Section 110(a)(2)(D)(ii)—Interstate Pollution Abatement

    This sub-element requires each SIP to contain provisions requiring compliance with requirements of section 126 relating to interstate pollution abatement. Section 126(a) requires new or modified sources to notify neighboring states of potential impacts from the source. The statute does not specify the method by which the source should provide the notification. States with SIP-approved PSD programs must have a provision requiring such notification by new or modified sources.

    EPA approved revisions to Connecticut's PSD program on July 24, 2015 (80 FR 43960), including the element pertaining to notification to neighboring states of the issuance of PSD permits. Therefore, we propose to approve Connecticut's compliance with the infrastructure SIP requirements of section 126(a) with respect to the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. Connecticut has no obligations under any other provision of section 126.

    Sub-Element 5: Section 110(a)(2)(D)(ii)—International Pollution Abatement

    This sub-element requires each SIP to contain provisions requiring compliance with the applicable requirements of section 115 relating to international pollution abatement. Connecticut does not have any pending obligations under section 115 for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. Therefore, EPA is proposing that Connecticut has met the applicable infrastructure SIP requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) related to section 115 of the CAA (international pollution abatement) for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    E. Section 110(a)(2)(E)—Adequate Resources

    This section requires each state to provide for personnel, funding, and legal authority under state law to carry out its SIP and related issues. In addition, Section 110(a)(2)(E)(ii) requires each state to comply with the requirements with respect to state boards under section 128. Finally, section 110(a)(2)(E)(iii) requires that, where a state relies upon local or regional governments or agencies for the implementation of its SIP provisions, the state retain responsibility for ensuring implementation of SIP obligations with respect to relevant NAAQS. However, this sub-element does not apply to this action because Connecticut does not rely upon local or regional governments or agencies for the implementation of its SIP provisions.

    Sub-Element 1: Adequate Personnel, Funding, and Legal Authority Under State Law To Carry Out Its SIP, and Related Issues

    Connecticut, through its infrastructure SIP submittal, has documented that its air agency has authority and resources to carry out its SIP obligations. CGS § 22a-171 authorizes the CT DEEP Commissioner to enforce the state's air laws, accept and administer grants, and exercise incidental powers necessary to carry out the law. The Connecticut SIP, as originally submitted on March 3, 1972, and subsequently amended, provides additional descriptions of the organizations, staffing, funding and physical resources necessary to carry out the plan. EPA proposes that Connecticut has met the infrastructure SIP requirements of this portion of section 110(a)(2)(E) with respect to the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    Sub-Element 2: State Board Requirements Under Section 128 of the CAA

    Section 110(a)(2)(E) also requires each SIP to contain provisions that comply with the state board requirements of section 128 of the CAA. That provision contains two explicit requirements: (1) That any board or body which approves permits or enforcement orders under this chapter shall have at least a majority of members who represent the public interest and do not derive any significant portion of their income from persons subject to permits and enforcement orders under this chapter, and (2) that any potential conflicts of interest by members of such board or body or the head of an executive agency with similar powers be adequately disclosed.

    In Connecticut, no board or body approves permits or enforcement orders; these are approved by the Commissioner of CT DEEP. Thus, Connecticut is subject only to the requirements of paragraph (a)(2) of section 128 of the CAA. Infrastructure SIPs submitted by Connecticut include descriptions of conflict-of-interest provisions in CGS § 1-85, which applies to all state employees and public officials. Section 1-85 prevents the Commissioner from acting on a matter in which the Commissioner has an interest that is “in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his duties or employment in the public interest and of his responsibilities as prescribed in the laws of” Connecticut.

    Connecticut submitted CGS § 1-85 for incorporation into the SIP on December 28, 2012, with its infrastructure SIP for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. We approved this statute into the Connecticut SIP on June 3, 2016 (81 FR 35636). Therefore, Connecticut has met the applicable infrastructure SIP requirements for this section of 110(a)(2)(E) for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    F. Section 110(a)(2)(F)—Stationary Source Monitoring System

    States must establish a system to monitor emissions from stationary sources and submit periodic emissions reports. Each plan shall also require the installation, maintenance, and replacement of equipment, and the implementation of other necessary steps, by owners or operators of stationary sources to monitor emissions from such sources. The state plan shall also require periodic reports on the nature and amounts of emissions and emissions-related data from such sources, and correlation of such reports by each state agency with any emission limitations or standards established pursuant to this chapter. Lastly, the reports shall be available at reasonable times for public inspection.

    CGS § 22a-6(a)(5) authorizes the Commissioner to enter at all reasonable times, any public or private property (except a private residence) to investigate possible violations of any statute, regulation, order or permit. Additionally, CGS § 22a-174 authorizes the Commissioner to require periodic inspection of sources of air pollution and to require any person to maintain, and to submit to CT DEEP, certain records relating to air pollution or to the operation of facilities designed to abate air pollution. For monitoring possible air violations, CT DEEP implements RCSA § 22a-174-4 (Source monitoring, record keeping and reporting) to require the installation, maintenance, and use of emissions monitoring devices and to require periodic reporting to the Commissioner of the nature and extent of the emissions. Section 22a-174-4 has been approved into the SIP. See 79 FR 41427 (July 16, 2014). Additionally, CT DEEP implements RCSA § 22a-175-5 (Methods for sampling, emissions testing, sample analysis, and reporting), which provides, among other things, specific test methods to be used to demonstrate compliance with various aspects of Connecticut's air regulations, and this rule has also been approved into the SIP. See 46 FR 43418 (December 19, 1980). Furthermore, under RCSA § 22a-174-10 (Public availability of information) emissions data are to be available to the public and are not entitled to protection as a trade secret. See 37 FR 23085 (October 28, 1972). EPA recognizes that Connecticut routinely collects information on air emissions from its industrial sources and makes this information available to the public. In addition, RCSA § 22a-174-10 requires that emission data made public by CT DEEP shall be presented in such a manner as to show the relationship (or correlation) between measured emissions and the applicable emission limitations or standards, as required by CAA § 110(a)(2)(F)(iii).

    Therefore, EPA proposes that Connecticut has met the infrastructure SIP requirements of section 110(a)(2)(F) with respect to the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    G. Section 110(a)(2)(G)—Emergency Powers

    This section requires that a plan provide for state authority analogous to that provided to the EPA Administrator in section 303 of the CAA, and adequate contingency plans to implement such authority. Section 303 of the CAA provides authority to the EPA Administrator to seek a court order to restrain any source from causing or contributing to emissions that present an “imminent and substantial endangerment to public health or welfare, or the environment.” Section 303 further authorizes the Administrator to issue “such orders as may be necessary to protect public health or welfare or the environment” in the event that “it is not practicable to assure prompt protection . . . by commencement of such civil action.”

    Connecticut's submittal notes that CGS § 22a-181 (Emergency action) authorizes the Commissioner of the CT DEEP to issue an order requiring any person to immediately reduce or discontinue air pollution as required to protect the public health or safety. In addition, in a letter dated August 5, 2015, Connecticut specified that CGS § 22a-7 grants the Commissioner the authority, whenever he finds “that any person is causing, engaging in or maintaining, or is about to cause, engage in or maintain, any condition or activity which, in his judgment, will result in or is likely to result in imminent and substantial damage to the environment, or to public health within the jurisdiction of the commissioner under the provisions of chapter . . . 446c [Air Pollution Control] . . . [to] issue a cease and desist order in writing to such person to discontinue, abate or alleviate such condition or activity.” This section further provides the Commissioner with the authority to seek a court “to enjoin any person from violating a cease and desist order issued pursuant to[§ 22a-7] and to compel compliance with such order.”

    We propose to find that RCSA § 22a-174-6, along with CGS § 22a-181, provide for authority comparable to that in section 303.

    Section 110(a)(2)(G) requires a state to submit for EPA approval a contingency plan to implement the air agency's emergency episode authority for any Air Quality Control Region (AQCR) within the state that is classified as Priority I, IA, or II for certain pollutants, See 40 CFR 51.150. This requirement may be satisfied by submitting a plan that meets the applicable requirements of 40 CFR part 51, subpart H (40 CFR 51.150 through 51.153) (“Prevention of Air Pollution Emergency Episodes”) for the relevant NAAQS, and, indeed, Connecticut has “Air pollution emergency episode procedures” at RCSA § 22a-174-6 that EPA has previously evaluated and approved as satisfying the requirements of Section 110(a)(2)(G) in the context of SOX and ozone. See 81 FR 35636 (June 3, 2016); 80 FR 54471 (Sept. 10, 2015). PM2.5, however, is not explicitly included in the contingency plan requirements of 40 CFR part 51, subpart H, and, thus, a contingency plan satisfying the provisions of subpart H is not required. For PM2.5, EPA's 2009 guidance recommends instead that states develop emergency episode plans for any area that has monitored and recorded 24-hour PM2.5 levels greater than 140 μg/m3 since 2006. EPA's review of Connecticut's certified air quality data in EPA's Air Quality System (AQS) indicates that the highest 24-hour PM2.5 level recorded since 2006 was 57.5 μg/m3, which was recorded at a monitor in Bridgeport on January 1, 2011. And, as noted earlier, Connecticut has general authority to order a source to reduce or discontinue air pollution as required to protect the public health or safety or the environment.

    Connecticut also, as a matter of practice, posts on the internet daily forecasted ozone and fine particle levels through the EPA AirNow and EPA EnviroFlash systems. Information regarding these two systems is available on EPA's website at www.airnow.gov. Notices are sent out to EnviroFlash participants when levels are forecast to exceed the current 8-hour ozone or 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. In addition, when levels are expected to exceed the ozone or PM2.5 NAAQS in Connecticut, the media are alerted via a press release, and the National Weather Service (NWS) is alerted to issue an Air Quality Advisory through the normal NWS weather alert system.

    Therefore, EPA proposes that Connecticut through the combination of statutes and regulations discussed above, and participation in EPA's AirNow program, has met the applicable infrastructure SIP requirements of section 110(a)(2)(G) with respect to the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    H. Section 110(a)(2)(H)—Future SIP Revisions

    This section requires that a state's SIP provide for revision from time to time as may be necessary to take account of changes in the NAAQS or availability of improved methods for attaining the NAAQS and whenever the EPA finds that the SIP is substantially inadequate.

    Connecticut certifies that its SIP may be revised should EPA find that it is substantially inadequate to attain a standard or to comply with any additional requirements under the CAA and notes that CGS § 22a-174(d) grants the Commissioner all incidental powers necessary to control and prohibit air pollution. EPA proposes that Connecticut has met the infrastructure SIP requirements of section 110(a)(2)(H) with respect to the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    I. Section 110(a)(2)(I)—Nonattainment Area Plan or Plan Revisions Under Part D

    The CAA requires that each plan or plan revision for an area designated as a nonattainment area meet the applicable requirements of part D of the CAA. Part D relates to nonattainment areas. EPA has determined that section 110(a)(2)(I) is not applicable to the infrastructure SIP process. Instead, EPA takes action on part D attainment plans through separate processes.

    J. Section 110(a)(2)(J)—Consultation With Government Officials; Public Notifications; Prevention of Significant Deterioration; Visibility Protection

    The evaluation of the submission from Connecticut with respect to the requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(J) is described below.

    Sub-Element 1: Consultation With Government Officials

    States must provide a process for consultation with local governments and Federal Land Managers (FLMs) carrying out NAAQS implementation requirements.

    CGS § 22a-171 (Duties of Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection) directs the Commissioner to consult with agencies of the United States, agencies of the state, political subdivisions and industries and any other affected groups in matters relating to air quality. Additionally, CGS § 22a-171, which was approved into Connecticut's SIP (81 FR 35636; June 3, 2016), directs the Commissioner to initiate and supervise state-wide programs of air pollution control education and to adopt, amend, repeal and enforce air regulations.

    Furthermore, RCSA § 22a-174-2a, which has been approved into Connecticut's SIP (80 FR 43960; July 24, 2015), directs CT DEEP to notify relevant municipal officials and FLMs, among others, of tentative determinations by CT DEEP with respect to certain permits.

    EPA proposes that Connecticut has met the infrastructure SIP requirements of this portion of section 110(a)(2)(J) with respect to the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    Sub-Element 2: Public Notification

    Section 110(a)(2)(J) also requires states to notify the public if NAAQS are exceeded in an area, advise the public of health hazards associated with exceedances, and enhance public awareness of measures that can be taken to prevent exceedances and of ways in which the public can participate in regulatory and other efforts to improve air quality.

    As part of the fulfillment of CGS § 22a-171 (Duties of Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection), Connecticut issues press releases and posts warnings on its website advising people what they can do to help prevent NAAQS exceedances and avoid adverse health effects on poor air quality days. Connecticut is also an active partner in EPA's AirNow and Enviroflash air quality alert programs. In addition, in 2014, Connecticut revised CGS § 4-168 to require that state regulations be submitted through the state's e-regulations system, thus creating an additional way for the public to access any changes to state regulations.

    EPA proposes that Connecticut has met the infrastructure SIP requirements of this portion of section 110(a)(2)(J) with respect to the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    Sub-Element 3: PSD

    States must meet applicable requirements of section 110(a)(2)(C) related to PSD. Connecticut's PSD program in the context of infrastructure SIPs has already been discussed in the paragraphs addressing sections 110(a)(2)(C) and 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) and satisfies the requirements of EPA's PSD implementation rules.

    We are proposing to approve the revisions to Connecticut's PSD program that were submitted on October 18, 2017 regarding PSD requirements to treat NOX as a precursor to ozone and to establish a minor source baseline date for PM2.5 emissions. Consequently, we are proposing to approve the PSD sub-element of section 110(a)(2)(J) for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS, consistent with the actions we are proposing for sections 110(a)(2)(C) and 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II).

    Sub-Element 4: Visibility Protection

    With regard to the applicable requirements for visibility protection, states are subject to visibility and regional haze program requirements under part C of the CAA (which includes sections 169A and 169B). In the event of the establishment of a new NAAQS, however, the visibility and regional haze program requirements under part C do not change. Thus, as noted in EPA's 2013 guidance, we find that there is no new visibility obligation “triggered” under section 110(a)(2)(J) when a new NAAQS becomes effective. In other words, the visibility protection requirements of section 110(a)(2)(J) are not germane to infrastructure SIPs for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    K. Section 110(a)(2)(K)—Air Quality Modeling/Data

    To satisfy Element K, the state air agency must demonstrate that it has the authority to perform air quality modeling to predict effects on air quality of emissions of any NAAQS pollutant and submission of such data to EPA upon request.

    In its submittal, Connecticut indicates that CGS § 22a-5 (Duties and powers of commissioner) implicitly authorizes the Commissioner of the CT DEEP to perform air quality modeling to predict effects on air quality of emissions of any NAAQS pollutant and to submit such data to EPA upon request. Connecticut reviews the potential impact of major sources consistent with 40 CFR part 51, appendix W, “Guidelines on Air Quality Models.” In its submittal, Connecticut also cites RCSA section 22a-174-3a(i), which authorizes the commissioner to request any owner or operator to submit an ambient air-quality impact analysis using applicable air quality models and modeling protocols approved by the commissioner. CT DEEP updated RCSA Section 22a-174-3a(i), effective April 2014, and EPA published a direct final rule approving these updates on July 24, 2015. See FR 80 FR 43960.

    The state also collaborates with the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Air Management Association and EPA in order to perform large-scale urban air shed modeling for ozone and PM, if necessary. EPA proposes that Connecticut has met the infrastructure SIP requirements of section 110(a)(2)(K) with respect to the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    L. Section 110(a)(2)(L)—Permitting Fees

    This section requires SIPs to mandate that each major stationary source pay permitting fees to cover the cost of reviewing, approving, implementing, and enforcing a permit.

    EPA's full approval of Connecticut's Title V program became effective on May 31, 2002. See 67 FR 31966 (May 13, 2002). To gain this approval, Connecticut demonstrated the ability to collect sufficient fees to run the program. CGS § 22a-174(g) directs the Commissioner of CT DEEP to require the payment of a fee sufficient to cover the reasonable cost of reviewing and acting upon an application for, and monitoring compliance with, any state or federal permit, license, registration, order, or certificate. CT DEEP implements this directive through state regulations at RCSA §§ 22a-174-26 and 22a-174-33, which contain specific requirements related to permit fees, including fees for Title V sources. EPA proposes that Connecticut has met the infrastructure SIP requirements of section 110(a)(2)(L) with respect to the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    M. Section 110(a)(2)(M)—Consultation/Participation by Affected Local Entities

    To satisfy Element M, states must consult with, and allow participation from, local political subdivisions affected by the SIP. Connecticut's infrastructure submittal references CGS § 4-168 (Notice prior to action on regulations), which provides a public participation process for all stakeholders that includes a minimum of a 30-day comment period and an opportunity for public hearing for all SIP-related actions.

    Connecticut also notes that monthly meetings of the State Implementation Plan Revision Advisory Committee provide an additional forum for consultation and participation by the public and other stakeholders on air-quality-related topics.

    EPA proposes that Connecticut has met the infrastructure SIP requirements of section 110(a)(2)(M) with respect to the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    N. Connecticut Statute Submitted for Incorporation Into the SIP

    Connecticut's December 14, 2015, infrastructure SIP submittal for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS included a revision of CGS § 16a-21a, “Sulfur content of home heating oil and off-road diesel fuel. Suspension of requirements for emergency” (see discussion under element A), EPA is proposing to approve revisions to CGS § 16a-21a into the Connecticut SIP.

    IV. Proposed Action

    EPA is proposing to approve the elements of the infrastructure SIP submitted by Connecticut on December 14, 2015, for the 2012 PM2.5, NAAQS. Specifically, EPA's proposed action regarding each infrastructure SIP requirement are contained in Table 1 below.

    Table 1—Proposed Action on Connecticut's Infrastructure SIP Submittal for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS Element 2012 PM2.5 (A): Emission limits and other control measures A (B): Ambient air quality monitoring and data system A (C)1: Enforcement of SIP measures A (C)2: PSD program for major sources and major modifications A (C)3: PSD program for minor sources and minor modifications A (D)1: Contribute to nonattainment/interfere with maintenance of NAAQS A (D)2: PSD A (D)3: Visibility Protection A (D)4: Interstate Pollution Abatement A (D)5: International Pollution Abatement A (E)1: Adequate resources A (E)2: State boards A (E)3: Necessary assurances with respect to local agencies NA (F): Stationary source monitoring system A (G): Emergency power A (H): Future SIP revisions A (I): Nonattainment area plan or plan revisions under part D + (J)1: Consultation with government officials A (J)2: Public notification A (J)3: PSD A (J)4: Visibility protection + (K): Air quality modeling and data A (L): Permitting fees A (M): Consultation and participation by affected local entities A In the above table, the key is as follows: A, Approve. NA, Not applicable. +, Not germane to infrastructure SIPs.

    EPA also is proposing to approve the transport provisions (Element (D)1 in Table 1) of Connecticut's August 2011 infrastructure SIP submittal for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS. In addition, EPA is proposing to approve, and incorporate into the Connecticut SIP, the following Connecticut statute, which was included for approval in Connecticut's infrastructure SIP submittal:

    Revisions to CGS § 16a-21a, Sulfur content of home heating oil and off-road diesel fuel. Suspension of requirements for emergency, effective July 1, 2015.

    EPA is also proposing to approve revisions to the PSD permit program pertaining to treating NOX as a precursor to ozone and establishing a minor source baseline date for PM2.5.

    EPA is soliciting public comments on the issues discussed in this proposal or on other relevant matters. These comments will be considered before EPA takes final action. Interested parties may participate in the Federal rulemaking procedure by submitting comments to this proposed rule by following the instructions listed in the ADDRESSES section of this Federal Register.

    V. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rule, EPA is proposing to include in a final EPA rule regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, EPA is proposing to incorporate by reference the Connecticut statute referenced in Section IV above. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these documents generally available electronically through https://www.regulations.gov and at the EPA New England Region 1 Office (please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this preamble for more information).

    VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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

    Dated: March 8, 2018. Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Regional Administrator, EPA Region 1.
    [FR Doc. 2018-05318 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2017-0760; FRL-9975-61—Region 9] Approval of California Air Plan Revisions, Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve a revision to the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District (AVAQMD) portion of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). This revision concerns the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from motor vehicle assembly coating operations. We are proposing to approve a local rule to regulate these emission sources under the Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act). We are taking comments on this proposal and plan to follow with a final action.

    DATES:

    Any comments must arrive by April 18, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R09-OAR-2017-0760 at http://www.regulations.gov, or via email to Arnold Lazarus, Rulemaking Office at [email protected] For comments submitted at Regulations.gov, follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be removed or edited from Regulations.gov. For either manner of submission, the EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. The EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e. on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. For the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Arnold Lazarus, EPA Region IX, (415) 972-3024, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    Table of Contents I. The State's Submittal A. What rule did the State submit? B. Are there other versions of this rule? C. What is the purpose of the submitted rule? II. The EPA's Evaluation and Action A. How is the EPA evaluating the rule? B. Does the rule meet the evaluation criteria? C. Public Comment and Proposed Action III. Incorporation by Reference IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. The State's Submittal A. What rule did the State submit?

    Table 1 lists the rule addressed by this proposal with the dates that it was adopted by the local air agency and submitted by the California Air Resources Board.

    Table 1—Submitted Rule Local agency Rule No. Rule title Adopted Submitted AVAQMD 1151.1 Motor Vehicle Assembly Coating Operations 6/20/2017 8/9/2017

    On February 9, 2018, the submittal for AVAQMD Rule 1151.1 was deemed by operation of law to meet the completeness criteria in 40 CFR part 51, Appendix V, which must be met before formal EPA review.

    B. Are there other versions of this rule?

    There are no previous versions of Rule 1151.1 in the SIP. Prior to July 1, 1997, the area regulated by the AVAQMD was contained within the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) boundaries. On July 1, 1997, the Antelope Valley Air Pollution Control District (AVAPCD) was created and took over responsibilities for the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles County portion of the Mojave Desert Air Basin. Rules and regulations of the SCAQMD were retained until the AVAPCD Governing Board adopted, rescinded or amended these rules. Therefore, SCAQMD Rule 1115, “Motor Vehicle Assembly Line Coating Operations,” adopted by SCAQMD in May 1995 and approved by the EPA in July 1995, became part of the AVAPCD SIP in July 1997. The AVAPCD subsequently rescinded SCAQMD Rule 1115 within its borders, and submitted a negative declaration to the EPA stating that no sources within its jurisdiction were covered by the rule.1 The AVAQMD was created to replace the AVAPCD in 2002. On June 20, 2017, the AVAQMD adopted Rule 1151.1, “Motor Vehicle Assembly Coating Operations,” because it now has a facility that builds and paints new, heavy duty vehicles.

    1 65 FR 31267 (May 17, 2000).

    C. What is the purpose of the submitted rule?

    VOCs contribute to the production of ground-level ozone, smog and particulate matter (PM), which harm human health and the environment. Section 110(a) of the CAA requires states to submit regulations that control VOC emissions. Rule 1151.1 was adopted to limit VOC emissions from all aspects of motor vehicle assembly coating operations. The EPA's technical support document (TSD) has more information about this rule.

    II. The EPA's Evaluation and Action A. How is the EPA evaluating the rule?

    SIP rules must be enforceable (see CAA section 110(a)(2)), must not interfere with applicable requirements concerning attainment and reasonable further progress or other CAA requirements (see CAA section 110(l)), and must not modify certain SIP control requirements in nonattainment areas without ensuring equivalent or greater emissions reductions (see CAA section 193).

    Additionally, SIP rules must require reasonably available control technology (RACT) for each category of sources covered by a Control Techniques Guidelines (CTG) document as well as each major source of VOCs in ozone nonattainment areas classified as Moderate or above (see CAA section 182(b)(2)). The AVAQMD regulates an ozone nonattainment area classified as Severe-15 for the 2008 8-hour ozone national ambient air quality standards (40 CFR 81.305). In addition, Rule 1151.1 regulates activities covered by a CTG: “Control Techniques Guidelines for Automobile and Light-Duty Truck Assembly Coatings” (EPA-453/R-08-006, September 2008). Therefore, this rule must implement RACT.

    Guidance and policy documents that we used to evaluate enforceability and rule stringency for the applicable criteria pollutants include the following:

    1. “State Implementation Plans; General Preamble for the Implementation of Title I of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990,” 57 FR 13498 (April 16, 1992); 57 FR 18070 (April 28, 1992). 2. “Issues Relating to VOC Regulation Cutpoints, Deficiencies, and Deviations,” EPA, May 25, 1988 (the Bluebook, revised January 11, 1990). 3. “Guidance Document for Correcting Common VOC & Other Rule Deficiencies,” EPA Region 9, August 21, 2001 (the Little Bluebook). 4. “Control Techniques Guidelines for Automobile and Light-Duty Truck Assembly Coatings,” (EPA-453/R-08-006, September 2008). B. Does the rule meet the evaluation criteria?

    This rule is consistent with CAA requirements and relevant guidance regarding enforceability, RACT, and SIP revisions. The TSD has more information on our evaluation.

    C. Public Comment and Proposed Action

    As authorized in section 110(k)(3) of the Act, the EPA proposes to fully approve the submitted rule because it fulfills all relevant requirements. We will accept comments from the public on this proposal until April 18, 2018. If we take final action to approve the submitted rule, our final action will incorporate this rule into the federally enforceable SIP.

    III. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rule, the EPA is proposing to include in a final EPA rule regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, the EPA is proposing to incorporate by reference the AVAQMD rule described in Table 1 of this preamble. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these materials available through www.regulations.gov and at the EPA Region IX Office (please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this preamble for more information).

    IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Ozone, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Volatile organic compounds.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: March 2, 2018. Alexis Strauss, Acting Regional Administrator, Region IX.
    [FR Doc. 2018-05286 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R08-OAR-2017-0672; FRL-9975-47—Region 8] Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; South Dakota; Regional Haze 5-Year Progress Report State Implementation Plan AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve South Dakota's regional haze progress report, submitted as a revision to its State Implementation Plan (SIP) by the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). South Dakota's SIP revision addresses requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the EPA's rules that require states to submit periodic reports describing progress toward reasonable progress goals established for regional haze and a determination of the adequacy of the state's existing regional haze SIP. South Dakota's progress report explains that South Dakota has implemented the measures in the regional haze SIP due to be in place by the date of the progress report and that visibility in mandatory federal Class I areas affected by emissions from South Dakota sources is improving. The EPA is proposing approval of South Dakota's determination that the State's regional haze SIP is adequate to meet Reasonable Progress Goals (RPGs) for the first implementation period covering through 2018 and requires no substantive revision at this time.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before April 18, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R08-OAR-2017-0672 at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from www.regulations.gov. The EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. The EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e., on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kate Gregory, Air Program, Environmental Protection Agency, 1595 Wynkoop Street, Denver, Colorado 80202-1129, (303) 312-6175, or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    States are required to submit progress reports that evaluate progress towards the RPGs for each mandatory federal Class I area 1 (Class I area) within the state and in each Class I area outside the state that may be affected by emissions from within the state. 40 CFR 51.308(g). In addition, the provisions of 40 CFR 51.308(h) require states to submit, at the same time as the 40 CFR 51.308(g) progress report, a determination of the adequacy of the state's existing regional haze SIP. The first progress report must take the form of a SIP revision and is due 5 years after submittal of the initial regional haze SIP. On January 21, 2011, South Dakota submitted the State's first regional haze SIP in accordance with 40 CFR 51.308.2

    1 Areas designated as mandatory Class I federal areas consist of national parks exceeding 6000 acres, wilderness areas and national memorial parks exceeding 5000 acres, and all international parks that were in existence on August 7, 1977 (42 U.S.C. 7472(a)). Listed at 40 CFR part 81, subpart D.

    2 77 FR 24845 (April 26, 2012). EPA fully approved South Dakota's regional haze SIP submittal addressing the requirements of the first implementation period for regional haze.

    On January 27, 2016, South Dakota submitted as a revision to its SIP a progress report which detailed the progress made in the first planning period toward implementation of the Long Term Strategy (LTS) outlined in the 2011 regional haze SIP submittal, the visibility improvement measured at Class I areas affected by emissions from South Dakota sources, and a determination of the adequacy of the State's existing regional haze SIP. The State provided public notice for comment on the Progress Report from December 22, 2015, to January 20, 2015, and received no comment. The EPA is proposing to approve South Dakota's January 27, 2016 SIP submittal.

    II. EPA's Evaluation of South Dakota's Progress Report and Adequacy Determination A. Regional Haze Progress Report

    This section includes the EPA's analysis of South Dakota's Progress Report and an explanation of the basis for the Agency's proposed approval. The State's Progress Report evaluates the most recent visibility results against the 2018 Uniform Rate of Progress Goals (URP Goals), instead of the 2018 RPGs specified in the regional haze regulations. South Dakota's Progress Report explains they used the URP Goals because “South Dakota's Class I areas have exceeded the reasonable progress goals that were established” and “[w]ith emissions reductions that are expected from the addition of BART controls at Big Stone and other facilities throughout the region, DENR expects that the improvements will continue and South Dakota's Class I areas will meet the 2018 uniform rate of progress goals.” 3 Since the regional haze regulations require an evaluation of visibility progress against the 2018 RPGs, our evaluation of South Dakota's SIP focuses on the RPGs.

    3 South Dakota Progress Report, Appendix B, p. B-2.

    1. Control Measures

    In its Progress Report, South Dakota summarizes the emissions reduction measures that were relied upon by South Dakota in its regional haze plan for ensuring reasonable progress at the two Class I areas within the State: Badlands and Wind Cave National Parks. The State's regional haze SIP established reasonable progress goals for 2018.4 The emission reduction measures include applicable federal programs (e.g., mobile source rules), various existing South Dakota air quality rules, and a plan to “investigate the impacts of a smoke management plan” to determine what level of fires and what best management practices should be included in the plan, with the results adopted into the SIP as part of the LTS.5 South Dakota also reviewed the status of Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) requirements for the sole BART-subject source in the state: The Big Stone I coal-fired power plant, owned by Montana-Dakota Utilities Company, NorthWestern Energy, and Otter Tail Power Company, located near Big Stone City, South Dakota.

    4 40 CFR 52.2170(c)(1). 77 FR 24845, 25855 (April 26, 2012) (final RH SIP approving South Dakota's Regional Haze SIP, Amendment, Section 7.2, Table 7-1, p. 106). 76 FR 76646, 76664 (December 8, 2011) (proposed RH SIP approval, Tables 20 and 21).

    5 South Dakota's Regional Haze State Implementation Plan: 5-Year Progress Report, p. 6 (“South Dakota Progress Report”). South Dakota SIP. pp. 121-122 (January 18, 2011 submittal).

    The Progress Report presents the extensive information collected and analyzed to investigate the impacts of a smoke management plan.6 In reviewing “the annual values for the aerosol species at the Wind Cave National Park” the State “was concerned about the extremely high value for particulate organic mass and elemental carbon in 2010.” The report further explained that “[d]ue to the fact that particulate organic mass and elemental carbons are typically associated with fire, the DENR researched a fire database” and found that “[i]n 2010, the National Park Service conducted a 5,500 acre prescribed fire at the Wind Cave National Park just a mile from the monitoring site.” The Progress Report explains that this fire created two of the 20% most impaired days at the park and the main contributor was particulate organic mass.” 7

    6 South Dakota Progress Report, pp. 9-12, 19-21, 24-27, 29-33, 37, 40-42.

    7 South Dakota Progress Report, p. 11. The results of this fire are discussed in more detail in Sections 3.5 and 3.6 of the Report.

    In analyzing changes in nitrogen oxide emissions from 2002 through 2011, the Report explained that “[t]he only real increase in nitrogen oxide emissions was from anthropogenic fires with an increase of 970 tons per year.” 8 Notably, during the same timeframe, the Report noted that “sulfur dioxide emissions in South Dakota decreased by just less than 8,500 tons per year” and that “[t]he largest decreases were seen in anthropogenic off-road mobile and point sources with a small decrease in natural fire.” 9 The State also looked at primary organic aerosol emissions that “are produced by both anthropogenic and natural sources but are most commonly associated with fire,” and found that for 2002-2011 timeframe “[t]he largest decrease was seen in natural fires at just fewer than 4,000 tons.” 10 The Report included information on elemental carbon emissions, noted that natural sources of those emissions include fire. The State explained that while there was a small decrease in natural fire over the 2002-2011 timeframe, the data showed minor increases in anthropogenic fire.11 During the same timeframe fine soil emissions decreased, which included decreases in natural fire.12 South Dakota also included information in the Report on coarse soil emissions over the 2002-2011 timeframe, and while there was an increase of over 57,000 tons during that timeframe, anthropogenic fire contributed to only 223 tons of those emissions.13 Additionally, while the Report shows ammonia emissions increased over the 2002-2011 timeframe by “just over 9,500 tons,” emissions from natural fire decreased.14 Overall nitrogen dioxide emissions and natural biogenic emissions decreased, however, there were small increases from anthropogenic fires.15 The Report shows both volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions decreasing over the 2002-2011 timeframe, despite increases in anthropogenic fire at 9,551 tons and 38,155 tons respectively.16

    8 South Dakota Progress Report, pp. 17-18.

    9 South Dakota Progress Report, p. 17.

    10 South Dakota Progress Report, p. 19.

    11 South Dakota Progress Report, pp. 20-21.

    12 South Dakota Progress Report, p. 22.

    13 South Dakota Progress Report, p. 23.

    14 South Dakota Progress Report, p. 24.

    15 South Dakota Progress Report, p. 24.

    16 South Dakota Progress Report, pp. 25-27.

    In its Progress Report, South Dakota provides Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) data which shows the impacts of prescribed fires conducted by the National Park Service (NPS) at Wind Cave National Park in 2009 and 2010.17 The Report includes two examples of the IMPROVE data that show that the NPS prescribed fires on both September 3, 2009, and October 20, 2010, contributed high levels of both particulate organic mass and elemental carbon on both days.18 Additionally, the Report provides monitoring data which shows that particulate organic matter is “the second largest contributor [sic?] to visibility extinction at the Badlands National Park during the 20% most impaired days” and that particulate matter (PM) is typically the product of fire.19 South Dakota also provides analysis which shows particulate mass levels on the 20 percent most impaired days without the impacts from the NPS prescribed fires. This analysis shows that “if Wind Cave National Park would not have experienced the prescribed fires by Federal Land Managers, the Wind Cave's National Park's particulate organic mass levels would be below the Uniform Glide Slope similar to the Badlands National Park Uniform Glide Slope for particulate organic mass”.20 Additionally, the State explained that while it was preparing the Progress Report, more prescribed fire events occurred in 2015 that will likely show impacts to the Class I areas.21 Finally, in its Progress Report, South Dakota explains that “DENR and Federal Land Managers in South Dakota have improved coordination and communications over the past few years and plan to continue that effort to help mitigate the impacts of prescribed fires” at Wind Cave and Badlands National Parks.22

    17 South Dakota Progress Report, p. 29.

    18 South Dakota Progress Report, Table 3-28, p. 31 and Table 3-29, p. 33.

    19 South Dakota Progress Report, Table 3-10, pp. 35, 37.

    20 South Dakota Progress Report, p. 40 and Figures 3-22, 3-23, p. 41.

    21 South Dakota Progress Report, p. 33.

    22 South Dakota Progress Report, pp. 41-42, Appendix B, pp. B-2—B-3. At the suggestion of the National Park Service, the DENR also looked at the Fire Emissions Tracking System and noted that it may be a useful tool going forward as the DENR continues to track prescribed fires and their impacts on the Class I areas.

    In its Progress Report, South Dakota provides an update on the status of the BART determination at the Big Stone I power plant and the subsequent action taken given the determination. The BART determination, which was finalized for Big Stone I on December 7, 2010, was approved by the EPA,23 and includes a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system and separated over-fire-air (SOFA) installed in the power plant's main boiler for nitrogen oxide (NOX) control, a dry flue gas desulfurization (FGD) system for sulfur dioxide (SO2) control, and a fabric filter system for PM control.24 In the Progress Report, the State describes the installation and operation of the required BART controls by the end of 2015, as required by the State's Regional Haze Implementation Plan.25 The EPA has confirmed installation and operation of the pollution controls the State describes in its Progress Report, and has confirmed that the emissions limits in the SIP were met by the required date of June 28, 2017.26

    23 76 FR 24845 (April 26, 2012).

    24 37 SDR 111 (December 7, 2010).

    25 77 FR 24845 (April 26, 2012).

    26 Big Stone Annual Emissions 2000-2017, information available in the docket.

    As shown in Table 1, BART controls at Big Stone I have resulted in a substantial decrease in both SO2 and NOX emissions (a 94 and 91 percent decrease in emissions from 2013 2014 levels, respectively).27 These are larger reductions in emissions than the State estimated in the Progress Report and represent a clear downward trend since BART controls were installed and operational in late 2015.28

    27 Big Stone Annual Emissions 2000-2017.

    28 South Dakota Progress Report, p. 7.

    29 Big Stone Annual Emissions 2000-2017.

    Table 1—Big Stone I Power Plant Emissions Pre and Post BART Control [Actual, average tons] 29 Calendar year NOX
  • (actual,
  • average tons)
  • SO2
  • (actual,
  • average tons)
  • 2000-2004 (Baseline) 13,090.59 16,270.48 2013, 2014 (pre BART) 10,860.11 14,592.54 % Emissions Reduction (baseline vs. pre BART ) 17% 10% 2016, 2017 (post BART) 973.18 836.33 % Emissions Reduction (pre BART vs. post BART) 91% 94%

    EPA proposes to find that South Dakota has adequately addressed the applicable provisions under 40 CFR 51.308(g)(1) regarding the implementation status of control measures because the State's Report provides documentation of the implementation of measures within South Dakota, including BART at the sole BART-subject source in the State and the State's efforts to develop the smoke management plan.

    2. Emissions Reductions

    As discussed above, South Dakota focused its assessment in its regional haze plan and Progress Report on emissions reductions from pollution control strategies that were implemented at the Big Stone I power plant by the end of calendar year 2015. The EPA has confirmed installation and operation of the pollution controls the State describes in their Progress Report. In its Progress Report, South Dakota provides a comparison of Big Stone I's actual SO2 and NOX emission rates to BART limits for the pollutants 2010-2014.30 Additionally, South Dakota provides statewide SO2, NOX and PM (fine and course) emissions data (among other pollutants) from Western Regional Air Partnership (WRAP) emissions inventories.31 The WRAP data shows that there were decreases in emissions of SO2, NOX and PM (fine and course) over the time period (i.e., 2002, 2008, 2011) of the three emissions inventories listed (Plan02d, 2008 West Jump and 2011WAQDW).

    30 South Dakota Progress Report, Table 3-1, p. 8.

    31 South Dakota Progress Report, Table 3-2, p. 8. The WRAP's inventories were developed using EPA's National Emissions Inventory (NEI) and other sources (https://www.wrapair2.org/emissions.aspx). The NEI is based primarily upon data provided by state, local, and tribal air agencies (including South Dakota) for sources in their jurisdiction and supplemented by data developed by the EPA.

    The EPA proposes to find that South Dakota has adequately addressed the applicable provisions of 40 CFR 51.308(g)(2) regarding emissions reductions achieved because the State identifies emissions reductions for pollutants SO2, NOX and PM (fine and course) and presents sufficient information and discussion regarding emissions trends during this period.

    3. Visibility Conditions

    In its Progress Report, South Dakota provides information on visibility conditions for the Class I areas within its borders. The Progress Report addressed current visibility conditions and the difference between current visibility conditions and baseline visibility conditions, expressed in terms of 5-year averages of these annual values, with values for the most impaired, least impaired and/or clearest days. The period for calculating current visibility conditions is the most recent 5-year period preceding the required date of the progress report for which data were available as of a date 6 months preceding the required date of the progress report.

    South Dakota's Progress Report provides figures with visibility monitoring data for the two Class I areas within the State: Badlands and Wind Cave National Parks. South Dakota reported current visibility conditions for both the 2007-2011 and 2009-2013 5-year time periods and used the 2000-2004 baseline period for its Class I areas.32 Table 2, below, shows the visibility conditions for both the 2007-2011 and 2009-2013 5-year time periods, the difference between these current visibility conditions and baseline visibility conditions, and the 2018 RPGs.

    32 For the first regional haze plans, “baseline” conditions were represented by the 2000-2004 time period. See 64 FR 35730 (July 1, 1999).

    Table 2—Baseline Visibility, Current Visibility, Visibility Changes, and 2018 RPGs in South Dakota's Class I Areas [Deciviews] Class I area Baseline
  • (2000-2004)
  • Current
  • (2007-2011)
  • Difference
  • (baseline vs. current)
  • More current
  • (2009-2013)
  • Difference
  • (current vs. more current)
  • Difference
  • (baseline vs. more current)
  • SD
  • 2018
  • RPG
  • 20% Worst Days Badlands National Park 17.1 16.3 −0.8 15.7 −0.6 −1.4 33 16.30 20% Best Days Badlands National Park 6.9 6.5 −0.4 5.8 −0.7 −1.1 34 6.64 20% Worst Days Wind Cave National Park 15.8 14.9 −0.9 14.1 −0.8 −1.7 35 15.28 20% Best Days Wind Cave National Park 5.1 4.4 −0.7 3.9 −0.5 −1.2 36 5.02

    As shown in Table 2, both Badlands and Wind Cave National Parks saw an improvement in visibility between baseline and the 2007-2011 and 2009-2013 time periods.37 South Dakota also reported 20 percent worst day and 20 percent best day visibility data for both Badlands and Wind Cave National Parks from 2005-2009 and 2008-2012 for each year in terms of 5-year averages.38 This data shows an improvement in visibility at both class 1 areas on the 20 percent best days from 2005-2009 and on the 20 percent worst days from 2008-2012.

    33 76 FR 76646, 76664 (December 8, 2011) (“South Dakota's reasonable progress goals for Badlands for 2018 for the 20% worst days represent a 0.84 deciviews improvement over baseline. . . ” Table 20. 77 FR 24845, 25855 (April 26, 2012) SD SIP pp. 105-106, (September 19, 2011) (“DENR relied on the [WRAP's] results of the CMAQ modeling in determining the reasonable progress achieved by South Dakota surrounding states, and federal regulations in South Dakota's Class I areas.”) South Dakota's SIP is included in the docket for this action).

    34 76 FR 76646, 76664 (December 8, 2011) (Table 21). 77 FR 24845, 24855 (April 26, 2012).

    35 76 FR 76646, 76664 (December 8, 2011) (South Dakota's “. . . reasonable progress goals for Wind Cave for 2018 represent a 0.56 deciviews improvement over baseline.” Table 20. 77 FR 24845, 24855 (April 26, 2012).

    36 76 FR 76646, 76664 (December 8, 2011) (Table 21). 77 FR 24845, 24855 (April 26, 2012).

    37 South Dakota Progress Report, Table 3-17 and Table 3-18, p. 16.

    38 South Dakota Progress Report, Table 3-17 and Table 3-18, p. 16.

    The EPA proposes to find that South Dakota has adequately addressed the applicable provisions under 40 CFR 51.308(g)(3) regarding assessment of visibility conditions because the State provided baseline visibility conditions (2000-2004), current conditions based on the most recently available visibility monitoring data available at the time of Progress Report development, the difference between these current sets of visibility conditions and baseline visibility conditions, and the change in visibility impairment from 2009-2013.

    4. Emissions Tracking

    In its Progress Report, South Dakota presents data from a statewide emissions inventory for 2011 (2011WAQDW) and compares this data to the baseline emissions inventory for 2002 (Plan02d).39 The pollutants inventoried include SO2, NOX, Primary Organic Aerosols (POA), elemental carbon (EC), PM2.5 (fine), PM10 (coarse), NH3, VOCs and carbon monoxide (CO). The emissions inventories include the following source classifications: Point; area; on-road mobile; off-road mobile; area oil and gas; fugitive and road dust; anthropogenic fire; natural fire; biogenic and wind-blown dust from both anthropogenic and natural sources. Table 3 presents the 2002 and 2011 statewide emission inventories, and includes emissions from Big Stone I.

    39 WRAP Plan02d represents the State's baseline year (2002) emissions inventory. This emissions inventory was developed for use in the State's original Regional Haze SIP. See 77 FR 24845 (April 26, 2012). The 2011WAQDW emissions inventory is considered the most current inventory for the purposes of this element and was derived from the WRAP's 2011Western Air Quality Data Warehouse project for South Dakota.

    Overall, as the table shows, South Dakota's emissions that affect visibility were reduced in all sectors for all pollutants, except for POA and NH3. Compared to the 2002 emission inventory South Dakota used to model haze (Plan02d), emissions in 2011 (2011WAQDW) were reduced by 38 percent for SO2, 48 percent for NOX, 4 percent for PM2.5 and 9 percent for PM10, respectively. There were slight increases in both POA and NH3 as can be seen in Table 3.40 41 Furthermore, the State provides actual SO2 and NOX emissions from Big Stone I, which demonstrates that emissions of both pollutants are trending lower per Table 1 above.42

    40 South Dakota Progress Report, Tables 3-19, 3-20, 3-21, 3-23, 3-24, 3-25, pp. 17-24.

    41 Many important changes in emissions inventory methodology occurred between 2007 or 2008 and the most current emissions inventory data presented by the State (2011WAQDW). One methodology change was the reclassification of some off-road mobile sources in the area source category, which may have resulted in the increase in NH3 and POA in the above comparison rather than an increase in actual emissions of these pollutants.

    42 South Dakota Progress Report, Table 3-1.

    Table 3—Changes in South Dakota Total Emissions, Statewide [Tons per year] Pollutant
  • (all sources)
  • 2002
  • (Plan02d)
  • and
  • RH SIP 43
  • 2011
  • (2011WAQDW)
  • Difference
    SO2 22,076 13,618 -8,458 NOX 146,764 75,560 -71,204 PM2.5 82,414 79,058 -3,356 PM10 615,345 557,508 -57,837 POA 9,168 9,563 395 NH3 120,406 129,972 9,566

    The EPA is proposing to find that South Dakota adequately addressed the provisions of 40 CFR 51.308(g)(4) regarding emissions tracking because the State compared the most recent updated emission inventory data available at the time of Progress Report development with the baseline emissions inventory used in the modeling for the regional haze plan.

    43 76 FR 76666, 76667, 76668 (December 8, 2011).

    5. Assessment of Changes Impeding Visibility Progress

    South Dakota also provided an assessment of any significant changes in anthropogenic emissions within or outside the State that have occurred, which included data collected during the years when there were prescribed fires that may have impeded progress towards reducing emissions or improving visibility.44 South Dakota documented that ammonium sulfate continues to be the biggest single contributor to regional haze for the Badlands National Park Class I area in the State.45

    44 South Dakota Progress Report, Figures 3-14, 3-15, p. 32, Table 3-29, p. 33.

    45 South Dakota Progress Report, pp. 9-11.

    South Dakota also determined that particulate matter contributes the most to visibility impairment at Wind Cave National Park.46 Additionally, the State presented data that shows that the prescribed fires at Wind Cave National Park conducted by the National Park Service, contributed to high levels of PM at the Class I area and, subsequently, the 20 percent most impaired days at the park in 2009 and 2010, respectively.47 Even with the impacts from prescribed fires, the State's most current visibility assessments shows they are on track to meet the 2018 RPGs.

    46 South Dakota Progress Report, Table 3-10 and p. 29.

    47 South Dakota Progress Report, Tables 3-28 and 3-29, pp. 31, 33.

    Assessment of South Dakota's contribution to haze in Class I areas outside of the State has shown that South Dakota emissions have, or may reasonably be expected to have, impacts on Class I areas in Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota.48 In its Progress Report, the State references the initial Regional Haze SIP and BART analysis for Big Stone I, which indicates Big Stone power plant is the only facility that impacts Class I areas outside of South Dakota.49 The BART controls installed and operational in late 2015 at Big Stone decreased NOX and SO2 emissions by 91 and 94 percent, respectively, which is a significant downward trend in these pollutants post BART.50 Based on these findings, the EPA proposes to approve the State's conclusion that there have been no significant changes in emissions of visibility-impairing pollutants that have limited or impeded progress in reducing emissions and improving visibility in Class I areas impacted by the State's sources.

    48 76 FR 76651 (December 8, 2011).

    49 South Dakota Progress Report, Appendix B, p. B-1.

    50 Big Stone Annual Emissions 2000-2017.

    The EPA proposes to find that South Dakota has adequately addressed the provisions of 40 CFR 51.308(g)(5) regarding an assessment of significant changes in anthropogenic emissions. The EPA proposes to agree with South Dakota's conclusion that there have been no significant changes in emissions of visibility-impairing pollutants which have limited or impeded progress in reducing emissions and improving visibility in Class I areas impacted by the State's sources.

    6. Assessment of Current Implementation Plan Elements and Strategies

    In its Progress Report, South Dakota acknowledges the requirements of 40 CFR 51.308(g)(5) to discuss whether the current implementation plan elements and strategies are sufficient to enable the State, or other states with Class I areas affected by emissions from the State, to meet all established reasonable progress goals.51 As seen in Table 2, South Dakota's visibility assessment using the most current information available (2009-2013) shows that it is meeting the 2018 RPGs at both national parks, Badlands National Park 15.70 dv (current) versus 16.30 dv (2018 RPG) and Wind Cave National Park 14.10 dv (current) versus 15.28 dv (2018 RPG). The State also includes information regarding the 2018 URP Goals, but since those goals are not part of the 5-year assessment regulations, we do not include that information. The State concludes that no substantive revisions to the existing regional haze plan are necessary as the State is exceeding the 2018 RPGs for Badlands and Wind Cave National Parks.

    51 South Dakota Progress Report, p. 34.

    For Badlands National Park, the State anticipates that the 2018 visibility data will be lower than what was reported for the most recent data available because BART was fully implemented at Big Stone I by 2015. The reductions from Big Stone are significant and occurred after the most recent data included in the State's SIP. Second, the State explains that BART controls will be completed elsewhere throughout the region after 2013 and by 2018.52

    52 South Dakota Progress Report, p. 45.

    Based on these findings, the EPA proposes to approve the State's conclusion that visibility at Badlands National Park is anticipated to meet or exceed the RPG for 2018.

    For Wind Cave National Park, the State's visibility assessment in Table 2 shows that the State is currently meeting the 2018 RPG. Additionally, the emissions reductions from Big Stone I are significant and occurred after the most recent visibility data available. The State expects additional improvements in visibility from these reductions. The State's report concludes, that the current implementation plan is meeting the “reasonable progress goals.” 53 Although the State's visibility assessment demonstrates that it is meeting the 2018 RPGs, the State explains that emission reductions from Big Stone I are significant and occurred after the most recent visibility data was available.

    53 South Dakota Progress Report, p. 45.

    The State's SIP explains that particulate organic mass level is the number one contributor to visibility degradation at Wind Cave National Park,54 and the level varies depending on the year and the number of the wildfires.55 The SIP explains that the despite the spikes in particulate organic mass at Wind Cave, decreases in ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate and other aerosol species have led to decreased deciview levels at the Wind Cave National Park. The DENR anticipates this trend will continue and improve as the DENR continues to work with the National Park Service on prescribed fires in the Badlands and Wind Cave National Parks.56

    54 South Dakota Progress Report, p. 40.

    55 South Dakota Progress Report, p. 38.

    56 South Dakota Progress Report, pp. 41-42.

    The EPA proposes to find that South Dakota has adequately addressed the provisions of 40 CFR 51.308(g) regarding the strategy assessment, including the State's efforts to investigate the impacts of a smoke management plan, and agrees with the State's determination that its regional haze plan is sufficient to meet the RPGs for its Class I areas.

    7. Review of Current Monitoring Strategy

    For progress reports for the first implementation period, the provisions under 40 CFR 51.308(g) (7) require “a review of the State's visibility monitoring strategy and any modifications to the strategy as necessary.” In its Progress Report, South Dakota summarizes the existing monitoring network in the State to monitor visibility at Badlands and Wind Cave National Parks, which consists of DENR relying on the national IMPROVE network to meet monitoring and data collection goals.57 There are currently IMPROVE sites located in both Badlands and Wind Cave National Parks.58 Therefore, the State concludes that no modifications to the existing visibility monitoring strategy are necessary. The State will continue its reliance on the IMPROVE monitoring network. The IMPROVE monitoring network is the primary monitoring network for regional haze, both nationwide and in South Dakota.

    57 South Dakota Progress Report, p. 42.

    58 South Dakota Progress Report, p. 2.

    The State also explains the importance of the IMPROVE monitoring network for tracking visibility trends at the Class I areas in South Dakota. South Dakota states that in the future the data produced by the IMPROVE monitoring network will be used for preparing the regional haze progress reports and SIP revisions, and thus, the monitoring data from the IMPROVE sites needs to be readily accessible and be kept up-to-date. The Visibility Information Exchange Web System website has been maintained by WRAP and the other Regional Planning Organizations to provide ready access to the IMPROVE data and data analysis tools.

    In addition, the State operates additional non-IMPROVE monitors in both Badlands and Wind Cave National Parks which help South Dakota characterize air pollution levels in areas across the State, and therefore aid in the analysis of visibility improvement in and near its Class I areas.59

    59 South Dakota Progress Report, p. 42.

    The EPA proposes to find that South Dakota has adequately addressed the applicable provisions of 40 CFR 51.308(g)(7) regarding monitoring strategy because the State reviewed its visibility monitoring strategy, and determined that no further modifications to the strategy are necessary.

    B. Determination of Adequacy of the Existing Regional Haze Plan

    The provisions under 40 CFR 51.308(h) require states to determine the adequacy of their existing implementation plan to meet existing goals. South Dakota's Progress Report includes a negative declaration regarding the need for additional actions or emissions reductions in South Dakota beyond those already in place and those to be implemented by 2018 according to South Dakota's regional haze plan.60

    60 South Dakota Progress Report, p. 45.

    The EPA proposes to conclude that South Dakota has adequately addressed 40 CFR 51.308(h) because the visibility trends at both Class I areas in the State, Badlands and Wind Cave National Parks, indicate that the relevant RPGs will be met via emission reductions already in place.

    III. Proposed Action

    The EPA is proposing to approve South Dakota's January 27, 2016, Regional Haze Progress Report as meeting the applicable regional haze requirements set forth in 40 CFR 51.308(g) and 51.308(h).

    IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

    • Is not expected to be an Executive Order 13771 regulatory action because this action is not significant under Executive Order 12866;

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Is not subject to requirements of Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C. 272 note) because this action does not involve technical standards; and

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

    The SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where the EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), nor will it impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Nitrogen oxides, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur dioxide, Volatile organic compounds.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: March 13, 2018. Douglas H. Benevento, Regional Administrator, Region 8.
    [FR Doc. 2018-05398 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 180205126-8126-01] RIN 0648-BH66 Control Date for the Northeast Multispecies Charter/Party Fishery; Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR); request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice announces a new control date that may be used to determine future participation in the Northeast multispecies charter/party fishery. This notice is necessary to inform interested parties that the New England Fishery Management Council is considering a future action that may affect or limit the number of participants in this fishery and that participants should locate and preserve all fishing related documents. The control date is intended to discourage speculative entry or fishing activity in the Northeast multispecies charter/party fishery while the Council considers how participation in the fishery may be affected.

    DATES:

    March 19, 2018, shall be known as the “control date” for the Northeast multispecies charter/party fishery. Written comments must be received on or before April 18, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2018-0042 by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=[NOAA-NMFS-2018-0042], click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Submit written comments to Michael Pentony, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope, “Comments on Northeast Multispecies Charter/Party Control Date.”

    Fax: (978) 281-9135; Attn: Spencer Talmage.

    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Spencer Talmage, Fishery Management Specialist, 978-281-9232.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This notification establishes March 19, 2018, as the new control date for potential use in determining historical or traditional participation in the charter/party groundfish fishery. Interested participants should locate and preserve all records that substantiate and verify their participation in the charter/party groundfish fishery. Consideration of a control date does not commit the Council to develop any particular management regime or criteria for participation in the fishery. Any action to develop a limited access program for the charter/party fishery would require a change to the FMP and would be considered through the normal Council process, including rulemaking, that would allow additional opportunities for public comment.

    The New England Fishery Management Council first established a control date of March 30, 2006, for the Northeast multispecies (groundfish) charter/party fishery (71 FR 16111). At the time, members of the charter/party industry and the Council's Recreational Advisory Panel recommended that the Council restrict new entrants to the fishery to reduce the need for further restrictions on the recreational catch of groundfish. In 2010, the Council requested that we publish a subsequent Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) to reaffirm the original control date (75 FR 57249; September 20, 2010). Participants in the recreational fishery were concerned that the number of charter/party operators would increase substantially due to the implementation of Amendment 16 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP). Amendment 16 implemented large-scale changes for the fishery, including annual catch limits and accountability measures and an expanded the sector management program. The charter/party fishery includes vessels with open access charter/party permits as well as vessels issued a limited access groundfish permit, while not on a groundfish day-at-sea or fishing under the sector management program. The Council has not yet taken action to restrict entrants or participants in the charter/party fishery.

    For 2018, the Council included a multi-year priority to scope for the development of a limited entry program for the charter/party fishery. In light of this priority, the Council voted on January 31, 2018, to revise the control date. The Council requested that we establish a new control date as the date of publication of this Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Because conditions and issues in the recreational groundfish fishery have changed considerably over the past 10 years, the Council determined this new control date is a more useful indicator of recent activity in the fishery. This action notifies the public and fishery participants of possible rulemaking, and that the Council is considering future action that may limit the number of or otherwise affect participants in the fishery.

    The control date is intended to discourage speculative entry, investment, or fishing activity in the charter/party fishery while the Council considers if and how participation in the fishery may be affected. The Council may use this control date for entry or participation qualification, along with additional criteria. Performance or fishing effort after the date of publication may not be treated the same as performance or effort before the control date. The Council may choose to use different qualification criteria that do not incorporate the new control date. The Council may also choose to take no further action to control entry or access to the charter/party groundfish fishery.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: March 14, 2018. Samuel D. Rauch, III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-05505 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    83 53 Monday, March 19, 2018 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food Safety and Inspection Service [Docket No. FSIS-2018-0007] Codex Alimentarius Commission: Meeting of the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling AGENCY:

    Office of Food Safety, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meeting and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Office of Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) are sponsoring a public meeting on April 6, 2018. The objective of the public meeting is to provide information and receive public comments on agenda items and draft United States (U.S.) positions to be discussed at the 39th Session of the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling (CCMAS) of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), taking place in Budapest, Hungary, between May 7 and 11, 2018. The Acting Deputy Under Secretary, Office of Food Safety and the FDA recognize the importance of providing interested parties with the opportunity to obtain background information on the 39th Session of the CCMAS and to address items on the agenda.

    DATES:

    The public meeting is scheduled for Friday, April 6, 2018, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    The public meeting will take place at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Jamie L. Whitten Building, Room 107-A, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250. Documents related to the 39th Session of the CCMAS will be accessible via the internet at the following address: http://www.codexalimentarius.org/meetings-reports/en/.

    Dr. Gregory O. Noonan, U.S. Delegate to the 39th Session of the CCMAS, invites U.S. interested parties to submit their comments electronically to the following email address: [email protected]

    Call-in-Number

    If you wish to participate in the public meeting for the 39th Session of the CCMAS by conference call, please use the call-in-number listed below:

    Call-in-Number: 1-888-844-9904.

    Access Code: 5126092#.

    Registration: Attendees may register to attend the public meeting by emailing [email protected] by April 4, 2018. Early registration is encouraged because it will expedite entry into the building. The meeting will be held in a Federal building. Attendees should bring photo identification and plan for adequate time to pass through the security screening systems. Attendees who are not able to attend the meeting in person, but who wish to participate, may do so by phone.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    About the 39th session of the CCMAS: Gregory O. Noonan, Ph.D., Research Chemist, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), Food and Drug Administration, Harvey W. Wiley Federal Building, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, MD 20740 Phone: (240) 402-2250, Fax: (301) 436-2634, Email: [email protected]

    About the public meeting: Doreen Chen-Moulec, U.S. Codex Office, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 4867, South Agriculture Building, Washington, DC 20250. Phone: (202) 205-7760, Fax: (202) 720-3157, Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    The Codex was established in 1963 by two United Nations organizations, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization. Through adoption of food standards, codes of practice, and other guidelines developed by its committees, and by promoting their adoption and implementation by governments, Codex seeks to protect the health of consumers and ensure that fair practices are used in trade.

    The CCMAS is responsible for defining the criteria appropriate to Codex Methods of Analysis and Sampling; serving as a coordinating body for Codex with other international groups working in methods of analysis and sampling and quality assurance systems for laboratories; specifying, on the basis of final recommendations submitted to it by other bodies, referred to above, reference methods of analysis and sampling appropriate to Codex Standards which are generally applicable to a number of foods; considering, amending, and if necessary endorsing, as appropriate, methods of analysis and sampling proposed by Codex (Commodity) Committees, except that methods of analysis and sampling for residues of pesticides or veterinary drugs in food, and the assessment of microbiological quality and safety on food, and the assessment of specifications for food additives, do not fall within the terms of reference of this Committee); elaborating sampling plans and procedures, as required; considering specific sampling and analysis problems submitted to it by the Commission or any of its Committees; defining procedures, protocols, guidelines, or related texts for the assessment of food laboratory proficiency, as well as quality assurance systems for laboratories.

    The CCMAS is hosted by Hungary and the meeting is attended by the United States as a member country of Codex.

    Issues To Be Discussed at the Public Meeting

    The following items on the Agenda for the 39th Session of the CCMAS will be discussed during the public meeting:

    • Matters Referred to the Committee by the Codex Alimentarius Commission and Other Subsidiary Bodies;

    • Endorsement of Methods of Analysis Provisions and Sampling Plans in Codex Standards;

    • Revision of the Recommended Methods of Codex Stan 234/review and update of Codex Stan 234;

    • Criteria for endorsement of biological methods used to detect chemicals of concern;

    • Proposal to amend the Guidelines on Measurement Uncertainty;

    • Proposal to amend the General Guidelines on Sampling

    • Report of an Inter-Agency Meeting on Methods of Analysis; and

    • Other Business and Future Work.

    Each issue listed will be fully described in documents distributed, or to be distributed, by the Secretariat before to the Committee Meeting. Members of the public may access or request copies of these documents (see ADDRESSES).

    Public Meeting

    At the April 6, 2018, public meeting, draft U.S. positions on the agenda items will be described and discussed, and attendees will have the opportunity to pose questions and offer comments. Written comments may be offered at the meeting or sent to the U.S. Delegate for the 39th Session of the CCMAS, Gregory Noonan (see ADDRESSES).

    Written comments should state that they relate to activities of the 39th Session of the CCMAS.

    Additional Public Notification

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy development is important. Consequently, FSIS will announce this Federal Register publication on-line through the FSIS web page located at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/federal-register.

    FSIS also will make copies of this publication available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal Register notices, FSIS public meetings, and other types of information that could affect or would be of interest to our constituents and stakeholders. The Update is available on the FSIS web page. Through the web page, FSIS is able to provide information to a much broader, more diverse audience. In addition, FSIS offers an email subscription service which provides automatic and customized access to selected food safety news and information. This service is available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/subscribe. Options range from recalls to export information, regulations, directives, and notices. Customers can add or delete subscriptions themselves, and have the option to password protect their accounts.

    USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

    No agency, officer, or employee of the USDA shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, or political beliefs, exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject to discrimination any person in the United States under any program or activity conducted by the USDA.

    How To File a Complaint of Discrimination

    To file a complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, which may be accessed online at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2012/Complain_combined_6_8_12.pdf, or write a letter signed by you or your authorized representative.

    Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail, fax, or email:

    Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410.

    Fax: (202) 690-7442.

    Email: [email protected].

    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

    Paulo Almeida, Acting U.S. Manager for Codex Alimentarius.
    [FR Doc. 2018-05514 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food and Nutrition Service Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request—Farm to School Census and Comprehensive Review AGENCY:

    Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice invites the general public and other public agencies to comment on this proposed information collection. This collection is a new collection to study farm to school efforts being conducted for the Farm to School Census and Comprehensive Review. The final report will comprehensively examine farm to school and its progress since the passage of the 2010 Child Nutrition Reauthorization, including the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm to School Grant Program and general growth of farm to school efforts across the country documented by the Farm to School Census and other data sources. This collection includes a structured web survey with School Food Authority (SFA) Directors as well as semi-structured interviews to be conducted by telephone with distributors of school food.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before May 18, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Address all comments concerning this notice to Ashley Chaifetz, Ph.D., Social Science Research Analyst, Special Nutrition Evaluation Branch, Office of Policy Support, USDA Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302. Comments may be submitted via email to [email protected] Comments will also be accepted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for submitting comments electronically.

    All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval. All comments will be a matter of public record.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request more information on this proposed research, contact Ashley Chaifetz, Ph.D., Social Science Research Analyst, Special Nutrition Evaluation Branch, Food and Nutrition Service, USDA, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302; Fax: 703-305-2576; Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    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 of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions that were used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Title: Farm to School Census and Comprehensive Review.

    OMB Number: 0584—NEW.

    Expiration Date: Not yet determined.

    Type of Request: New collection.

    Abstract: Section 18 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act authorized and funded USDA to establish a farm to school program in order to assist eligible entities through grants and technical assistance, in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in schools. This work is housed within the FNS Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS). The Farm to School Census and Comprehensive Review is a 3-year study that will review and describe the multiple facets of farm to school, including the USDA Farm to School Grant Program and expansion of farm to school efforts across the country documented by the Farm to School Census and other data sources. The final report will comprehensively examine farm to school efforts and their progression since the passage of the 2010 Child Nutrition Reauthorization.

    The study will include a literature review to identify current data sources for analysis, complete a gap analysis of current farm to school-focused publications and data, develop recommendations for improving evaluation-related reporting of the USDA Farm to School Grant program, and design, conduct, and report on the 2019 Farm to School Census, which will be supplemented with additional data sources. The results of this study aim to improve the methods and tools used by FNS to describe the impact and benefits of formal and informal farm to school activities administered by grantees, schools, SFAs, and other stakeholders. Ultimately, the study will produce a first-of-its-kind report—a comprehensive assessment of farm to school from 2010 to 2020. This study will collect and synthesize data collected through a national census of SFAs with extant data regarding farm to school activities, local sourcing practices, and economic activity associated with these practices.

    To accomplish study objectives, two data collections are planned:

    (1) Distributor Survey will obtain the perspectives of large-scale food distributors on the processes and challenges to local food purchasing and procurement. The respondents for this survey will be purposively sampled based on their substantive contributions and likelihood of participating. The 60 minute survey will be conducted via a phone interview. The survey will contain quantitative questions surrounding the volume and cost of local foods purchased and procured and qualitative questions about the procurement process. The interview will be completed with 20 school food distributors. This survey will be exploratory, and will help address whether a larger survey is feasible and desirable. Currently, there are no available data on farm to school efforts from the standpoint of school food distributors.

    (2) Farm to School Census (2019 Census) will collect data on local food purchasing for school meals, school food gardens, other farm to school activities and policies, and evidence of the economic and nutritional impacts of farm to school activities. The 2019 Census Survey will be distributed to all (public 1 and private) SFA Directors in all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Washington, DC that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), as part of an invitation to participate from the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Child Nutrition Division. The online survey is expected to take 30 minutes to complete.

    1 Public includes charter schools that operate NSLP.

    State Child Nutrition Directors will be asked to provide a list of public school district SFAs in the State or territory for the purpose of constructing the most up-to-date list frame possible. Available data on SFAs from FNS are only available for SFAs that submit income verification reports and thus do not provide a complete list of SFAs. State Child Nutrition Directors will also be asked to forward a pre-Census notification email and two email reminders about the Census Survey to SFAs.

    The Census will be emailed to all known SFA Directors that participate in NSLP. Census Survey questions will be based on prior Farm to School Census Survey iterations in 2013 (OMB Control No. 0536-0069) and 2015 (OMB Control No. 0584-0593), with additional questions to address new research questions. The primary mode of data collection will be an online survey, with a back-up phone version to those who prefer to complete by phone. Non-respondents will receive up to two reminder phone calls and up to eight emails. Back-up phone interviews and phone reminders will be conducted by trained interviewers, and helpdesk staff will be available for technical and completion assistance. The Census will be completed once in 2019 with approximately 16,000 SFA Directors.

    Affected Public: This study includes two respondent groups: (1) Business or Other For Profit (Representatives from national distributors that distribute foods to SFA and SFA Directors for private schools; and (2) State, Local, and Tribal Government (SFA Directors for public schools and State Child Nutrition Directors).

    Estimated Total Number of Respondents: The total estimated number of respondents is 20,080 (16,075 respondents and 4,005 non-respondents). The estimated number of respondents for each of the planned data collections are as follows:

    (1) Distributor Survey: The initial sample for the Distributor Survey will consist of 25 representatives of school food distributors (20 respondents and 5 non-respondents at a response rate of 80 percent). These 25 distributors will be purposively sampled and approached based on a list developed with FNS and this study's Advisory Panel.

    (2) Farm to School Census (2019 Census): The total estimated number of respondents is the universe of 20,000 SFAs (16,000 respondents and 4,000 non-respondents). SFAs will receive up to ten reminder emails to complete the survey (eight from the study team and two from State Child Nutrition Directors). Up to two reminder call attempts will be made to a subsample of non-responding SFAs, during which time the respondent will be encouraged to complete the survey over the phone. As part of the Census Survey, the universe of 55 State Child Nutrition Directors will be asked to provide a list of public school district SFAs and private schools that administer the NSLP in the State or territory for the purpose of constructing the most up-to-date list frame possible, and to send three emails to SFAs (one pre-Census notification email and two email reminders).

    Estimated Total Annual Responses: The estimated total annual responses is 163,685. This includes 94,564 for all respondents and 69,121 for non-respondents.

    Estimated Frequency of Responses per Respondent: The estimated frequency across the entire collection is 8.15. Respondents to the Distributor Survey and the Census will be asked to complete each data collection instrument one time. FNS estimates that respondents will average 5.88 responses (94,564 responses/16,075 respondents) across the entire collection, with non-respondents averaging 17.26 responses (69,121 responses/4,005 non-respondents). For State Child Nutrition Directors, FNS estimates that respondents will average 4 responses (220 responses/55 respondents) across the entire collection, with no non-respondents.

    Estimated Time per Response per Respondent: The average estimated time is .09 hours for all participants in this collection. Respondents will complete each data collection instrument only one time. The estimated time of response varies from 0.03 hours to one hour, depending on the respondent group, as shown in the table below. The average response times for the various respondent groups are listed below.

    For the distributor survey, 25 school food distributor representatives will receive a “request to participate” email. All 20 respondents will complete a 60 minute phone interview and will be sent a thank you email at the conclusion of the study. For the distributors, the estimated time of response is 0.37 hours per response, with non-respondents averaging 0.03 hours per response.

    For the Census, the average estimated time is 0.36 hours per response for responding State Child Nutrition Directors with zero non-respondents; 0.13 hours per response for public SFA director respondents with 0.03 hours per response for public SFA director non-respondents; and, 0.13 per response for private SFA director respondents and 0.03 per response for private SFA director non-respondents.

    To create the sample frame for the Census, 55 State Child Nutrition Directors will receive an email requesting a list of SFA names and contact information. The same State Child Nutrition Directors will send a pre-Census notification email and two email reminders to the SFAs in their State throughout the data collection period to all 20,000 potential respondents (public and private). These materials will explain the Census, and encourage and remind the respondent to complete the survey.

    During the data collection period, the study team will send up to eight reminder emails to the respondents who have not yet taken the survey. These emails are estimated to take respondents 3 minutes (.05 hours) to review, with non-respondents estimated to take 2 minutes (.03 hours) to review. Two phone calls will follow to those potential respondents that remain, which are estimated to take respondents 3 minutes and non-respondents 2 minutes to complete. All respondents who complete the 30 minute survey will be thanked for their participation in the Census (which is estimated to take 2 minutes to complete).

    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: The total estimated annual burden on respondents is 14,406.03 hours. See the table (Exhibit 1) for estimated total annual burden for each type of respondent.

    Dated: March 8, 2018. Brandon Lipps, Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service. BILLING CODE 3410-30-P EN19MR18.000
    [FR Doc. 2018-05440 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-30-C
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Census Bureau Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Boundary and Annexation Survey Correction

    In notice document 2018-04514, on pages 9475-9478, in the issue of Tuesday, March 6, 2018, make the following correction:

    On page 9475, in the first column, in the heading DATES, the entry that reads “March 7, 2018” should read “May 7, 2018”.

    [FR Doc. C1-2018-04514 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1301-00-D
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-557-813] Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags From Malaysia: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2016-2017 AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (Commerce) preliminarily determines that Euro SME Sdn Bhd (Euro SME), an exporter of polyethylene retail carrier bags (PRCBs) from Malaysia, did not have shipments of subject merchandise during the August 1, 2016, through July 31, 2017, period of review (POR).

    DATES:

    Applicable March 19, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Alex Rosen, AD/CVD Operations, Office III, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-7814.

    Background

    On August 1, 2017, Commerce published a notice of opportunity to request an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on PRCBs from Malaysia for the POR.1 On October 16, 2017, in response to a timely request from the petitioners,2 and in accordance with section 751(a) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), and 19 CFR 351.213(b), Commerce initiated an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on PRCBs from Malaysia with respect to Euro SME.3 Commerce exercised its discretion to toll deadlines affected by the closure of the Federal Government from January 20 through 22, 2018. If the new deadline falls on a non-business day, in accordance with Commerce's practice, the deadline will become the next business day. The revised deadline for the preliminary results of this review is now May 7, 2018.4 We invite parties to comment on these preliminary results.

    1See Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Order, Finding, or Suspended Investigation; Opportunity to Request Administrative Review, 82 FR 35754 (August 1, 2017).

    2See letter from Polyethylene Retail Bags Committee and its individual members Hilex Poly Co., LLC and Superbag Corp. (the petitioners), “Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags from Malaysia: Request for Administrative Review,” dated August 31, 2017.

    3See Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews, 82 FR 48051 (October 16, 2017).

    4See memorandum to the record from Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, performing the non-exclusive functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, “Deadlines Affected by the Shutdown of the Federal Government,” dated January 23, 2018. All deadlines in this segment of the proceeding have been extended by 3 days.

    Scope of the Order

    The merchandise subject to this antidumping duty order is polyethylene retail carrier bags (PRCBs), which also may be referred to as t-shirt sacks, merchandise bags, grocery bags, or checkout bags. The subject merchandise is defined as non-sealable sacks and bags with handles (including drawstrings), without zippers or integral extruded closures, with or without gussets, with or without printing, of polyethylene film having a thickness no greater than 0.035 inch (0.889 mm) and no less than 0.00035 inch (0.00889 mm), and with no length or width shorter than 6 inches (15.24 cm) or longer than 40 inches (101.6 cm). The depth of the bag may be shorter than 6 inches (15.24 cm) but not longer than 40 inches (101.6 cm).

    PRCBs are typically provided without any consumer packaging and free of charge by retail establishments, e.g., grocery, drug, convenience, department, specialty retail, discount stores, and restaurants to their customers to package and carry their purchased products. The scope of this antidumping duty order excludes (1) PRCBs that are not printed with logos or store names and that are closeable with drawstrings made of polyethylene film and (2) PRCBs that are packed in consumer packaging with printing that refers to specific end-uses other than packaging and carrying merchandise from retail establishments, e.g., garbage bags, lawn bags, trash-can liners.

    Imports of merchandise included within the scope of this antidumping duty order are currently classifiable under statistical category 3923.21.0085 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). This subheading may also cover products that are outside the scope of this antidumping duty order. Although the HTSUS subheading is provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope of this antidumping duty order is dispositive.

    Preliminary Determination of No Shipments

    We received a timely submission from Euro SME certifying that it did not have sales, shipments, or exports of subject merchandise to the United States during the POR.5 On January 10, 2018, Commerce requested entry data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for subject merchandise exported by Euro SME and imported into the United States during the POR. This query returned no entries during the POR.6 Additionally, in order to examine Euro SME's claim, we sent a “no-shipments” inquiry to CBP requesting that any CBP officer alert Commerce if he/she had information contrary to these no-shipments claims.7 On January 11, 2018, Commerce was notified by CBP that there were no shipments of PRCBs from Malaysia during the POR.8 Consistent with our practice, we preliminarily determine that Euro SME had no shipments during the POR. Further, we find it is not appropriate to rescind the review with respect to Euro SME but, rather, to complete the review and issue appropriate instructions to CBP based on the final results of the review, consistent with our practice.9

    5See letter from Euro SME, “Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags from Malaysia; No Shipment Certification,” dated November 14, 2017.

    6See Commerce's memorandum to the file, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection Data,” dated January 12, 2018.

    7See CBP message 8011306, dated January 11, 2018.

    8See Commerce's memorandum to the file, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection—No Shipment Inquiry Data,” dated February 6, 2018.

    9See, e.g., Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp from Thailand; Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, Partial Rescission of Review, Preliminary Determination of No Shipments; 2012-2013, 79 FR 15951, 15952 (March 24, 2014), unchanged in Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp from Thailand: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, Final Determination of No Shipments, and Partial Rescission of Review; 2012-2013, 79 FR 51306 (August 28, 2014).

    Public Comment

    Interested parties may submit case briefs no later than 30 days after the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register.10 Rebuttal comments to case briefs, which must be limited to issues raised in the case briefs, must be filed within five days after the date for filing case briefs.11 Parties who submit arguments in this proceeding are requested to submit with each argument: (a) A statement of the issue, (b) a brief summary of the argument, and (c) a table of authorities.12 Parties submitting briefs should do so pursuant to Commerce's electronic filing system: Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS).13 ACCESS is available to registered users at https://access.trade.gov, and is available to all parties in the Central Records Unit, room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building.

    10See 19 CFR 351.309(c)(1)(ii).

    11See 19 CFR 351.309(d)(1)(2).

    12See 19 CFR 351.309(c)(2), (d)(2).

    13See 19 CFR 351.303 (for general filing requirements).

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.310(c), interested parties who wish to request a hearing must submit a written request to the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, U.S. Department of Commerce within 30 days of the date of publication of this notice. Hearing requests should contain the following information: (1) The party's name, address and telephone number; (2) the number of participants; and (3) a list of issues to be discussed. Issues raised in the hearing will be limited to those raised in the respective case briefs. If a request for a hearing is made, parties will be notified of the time and date of the hearing which will be held at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230.

    Unless extended, we intend to issue the final results of this administrative review, including our analysis of all issues raised in any written brief, not later than 120 days of publication of this notice in the Federal Register, pursuant to section 751(a)(3)(A) of the Act.

    Assessment Rates

    Upon issuance of the final results, Commerce will determine, and CBP shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries covered by this review.14 In accordance with Commerce's practice, for entries of subject merchandise during the POR for which Euro SME did not know that the merchandise was destined for the United States, we will instruct CBP to liquidate such entries at the all-others rate if there is no rate for the intermediate company(ies) involved in the transaction 15 We intend to issue assessment instructions to CBP 15 days after the publication date of the final results of this review.

    14See 19 CFR 351.212(b).

    15See Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings: Assessment of Antidumping Duties, 68 FR 23954 (May 6, 2003).

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The following cash deposit requirements will be effective upon publication of the final results of this administrative review for all shipments of the subject merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date of the final results of review, as provided for by section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act: (1) For Euro SME, which claimed no shipments, the cash deposit rate will remain unchanged from the rate assigned to Euro SME in the most recently completed review of the company; (2) for previously investigated or reviewed companies, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the company-specific rate published for the most recent period; (3) if the exporter is not a firm covered in this review, a prior review, or the less-than-fair-value investigation, but the producer is, the cash deposit rate will be the rate established for the most recent period for the producer of the merchandise; and (4) the cash deposit rate for all other producers or exporters is 2.40 percent. These deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    Notification to Importers

    This notice also serves as a preliminary reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f)(2) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of antidumping duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during this period. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in the Secretary's presumption that reimbursement of antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of double antidumping duties.

    This notice is issued in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.221(b)(4).

    Dated: March 13, 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. 2018-05481 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-122-861] Certain Uncoated Groundwood Paper From Canada: Preliminary Affirmative Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value, Postponement of Final Determination, and Extension of Provisional Measures AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (Commerce) preliminarily determines that certain uncoated groundwood paper (UGW paper) from Canada is being, or is likely to be, sold in the United States at less than fair value (LTFV). The period of investigation (POI) is July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017.

    DATES:

    Applicable March 19, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    David Goldberger or Terre Keaton Stefanova, 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) 482-1280, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    This preliminary determination is made in accordance with section 733(b) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act). Commerce published the notice of initiation of this investigation on September 1, 2017.1 On December 21, 2017, Commerce postponed the preliminary determination of this investigation until March 7, 2018.2 Commerce exercised its discretion to toll all deadlines affected by the closure of the Federal Government from January 20 through January 22, 2018. If the new deadline falls on a non-business day, in accordance with Commerce's practice, the deadline will become the next business day. The revised deadline for the preliminary determination of this investigation is now March 12, 2018.3

    1See Certain Uncoated Groundwood Paper from Canada: Initiation of Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigation, 82 FR 41599 (September 1, 2017) (Initiation Notice).

    2See Certain Uncoated Groundwood Paper From Canada: Postponement of Preliminary Determination in the Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigation, 82 FR 60586 (December 21, 2017).

    3See Memorandum, “Deadlines Affected by the Shutdown of the Federal Government,” dated January 23, 2018. All deadlines in this segment of the proceeding have been extended by three days.

    For a complete description of the events that followed the initiation of this investigation, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.4 A list of topics included in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum is included as Appendix II to this notice. The Preliminary Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at https://access.trade.gov, and to all parties in the Central Records Unit, room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/. The signed and the electronic versions of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    4See Memorandum, “Decision Memorandum for the Preliminary Determination in the Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigation of Certain Uncoated Groundwood Paper,” dated concurrently with, and hereby adopted by, this notice (Preliminary Decision Memorandum).

    Scope of the Investigation

    The product covered by this investigation is UGW paper from Canada. For a complete description of the scope of this investigation, see Appendix I.

    Scope Comments

    In accordance with the Preamble to Commerce's regulations,5 the Initiation Notice set aside a period of time for parties to raise issues regarding product coverage (i.e., scope).6 Certain interested parties commented on the scope of the investigation as it appeared in the Initiation Notice. For a summary of the product coverage comments and rebuttal responses submitted to the record for this preliminary determination, and accompanying discussion and analysis of all comments timely received, see the Preliminary Scope Decision Memorandum.7

    5See Antidumping Duties; Countervailing Duties, Final Rule, 62 FR 27296, 27323 (May 19, 1997).

    6See Initiation Notice.

    7See Memorandum, “Certain Uncoated Groundwood Paper from Canada: Scope Comments Decision Memorandum for the Preliminary Determination” (Preliminary Scope Decision Memorandum), dated concurrently with this preliminary determination.

    After evaluating these comments, Commerce has preliminarily modified the scope language as it appeared in the Initiation Notice to exclude: 1) Paper that has undergone a creping process over the entire surface area of the paper; 2) UGW construction paper and UGW manila drawing paper in sheet or roll format; and 3) directory paper. See the revised scope in Appendix I to this notice. For further discussion, see the Preliminary Scope Decision Memorandum.

    Methodology

    Commerce is conducting this investigation in accordance with section 731 of the Act. Commerce calculated export price in accordance with section 772(a) of the Act. Alternatively, as appropriate, Commerce calculated constructed export price in accordance with section 772(b) of the Act. Normal value (NV) is calculated in accordance with section 773 of the Act. For a full description of the methodology underlying the preliminary determination, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    All-Others Rate

    Sections 733(d)(1)(A)(ii) and 735(c)(5)(A) of the Act provide that, in the preliminary determination, Commerce shall determine an estimated all-others rate for all exporters and producers not individually examined. This rate shall be an amount equal to the weighted average of the estimated weighted-average dumping margins established for exporters and producers individually investigated, excluding any zero and de minimis margins, and any margins determined entirely under section 776 of the Act.

    In this investigation, Commerce preliminarily found zero rates for Resolute FP Canada Inc. and Donohue Malbaie Inc. (collectively, Resolute), and White Birch Paper Canada Company, Papier Masson WB LP, FF Soucy WB LP, and Stadacona WB LP (collectively, White Birch Paper). Therefore, the only rate that is not zero, de minimis, or based entirely on facts otherwise available is the rate calculated for Catalyst Pulp and Paper Sales, Inc. and Catalyst Paper General Partnership (collectively, Catalyst). Consequently, the rate calculated for Catalyst is also assigned as the rate for all-other producers and exporters in this investigation.

    Preliminary Determination

    Commerce preliminarily determines that the following estimated weighted-average dumping margins exist:

    Exporter/producer Estimated
  • weighted-
  • average
  • dumping
  • margin
  • (percent)
  • Catalyst Pulp and Paper Sales, Inc./Catalyst Paper General Partnership 22.16 Resolute FP Canada Inc/Donohue Malbaie Inc 0.00 White Birch Paper Canada Company/Papier Masson WB LP/FF Soucy WB LP/Stadacona WB LP 0.00 All Others 22.16
    Suspension of Liquidation

    In accordance with section 733(d)(2) of the Act, Commerce will direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to suspend liquidation of entries of subject merchandise, as described in Appendix I, entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. Further, pursuant to section 733(d)(1)(B) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(d), Commerce will instruct CBP to require a cash deposit equal to the estimated weighted-average dumping margin or the estimated all-others rate, as follows: (1) The cash deposit rate for the respondents listed above will be equal to the company-specific estimated weighted-average dumping margins determined in this preliminary determination, except if that rate is zero or de minimis, no cash deposit will be required; (2) if the exporter is not a respondent identified above, but the producer is, then the cash deposit rate will be equal to the company-specific estimated weighted-average dumping margin established for that producer of the subject merchandise, except as explained below; and (3) the cash deposit rate for all other producers and exporters will be equal to the all-others estimated weighted-average dumping margin.

    Because the estimated weighted-average dumping margins for Resolute and White Birch Paper are zero, entries of shipments of subject merchandise from these companies will not be subject to suspension of liquidation or cash deposit requirements. In such situations, Commerce applies the exclusion to the provisional measures to the producer/exporter combination that was examined in the investigation. Accordingly, Commerce is directing CBP not to suspend liquidation of entries of subject merchandise produced and exported by: (1) Resolute; and (2) White Birch Paper. Entries of shipments of subject merchandise from Resolute or White Birch Paper in any other producer/exporter combination, or by third parties that sourced subject merchandise from the excluded producer/exporter combination, or by third parties that sourced subject merchandise from the excluded producer/exporter combinations, are subject to the provisional measures at the all others rate.

    Should the final estimated weighted-average dumping margin be zero or de minimis for Resolute and White Birch Paper, entries of shipments of subject merchandise produced and exported by either Resolute or White Birch Paper will be excluded from the potential antidumping duty order. Such exclusion is not applicable to merchandise exported to the United States by Resolute or White Birch Paper in any other producer/exporter combinations or by third parties that sourced subject merchandise from the excluded producer/exporter combinations.

    These suspension of liquidation instructions will remain in effect until further notice.

    Disclosure

    Commerce intends to disclose its calculations and analysis performed to interested parties in this preliminary determination within five days of any public announcement or, if there is no public announcement, within five days of the date of publication of this notice in accordance with 19 CFR 351.224(b).

    Verification

    As provided in section 782(i)(1) of the Act, Commerce intends to verify the information relied upon in making its final determination.

    Public Comment

    Case briefs or other written comments may be submitted to the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance no later than seven days after the date on which the last verification report is issued in this investigation. Rebuttal briefs, limited to issues raised in case briefs, may be submitted no later than five days after the deadline date for case briefs.8 Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.309(c)(2) and (d)(2), parties who submit case briefs or rebuttal briefs in this investigation are encouraged to submit with each argument: (1) A statement of the issue; (2) a brief summary of the argument; and (3) a table of authorities.

    8See 19 CFR 351.309; see also 19 CFR 351.303 (for general filing requirements).

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.310(c), interested parties who wish to request a hearing, limited to issues raised in the case and rebuttal briefs, must submit a written request to the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, U.S. Department of Commerce, within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice. Requests should contain the party's name, address, and telephone number, the number of participants, whether any participant is a foreign national, and a list of the issues to be discussed. If a request for a hearing is made, Commerce intends to hold the hearing at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230, at a time and date to be determined. Parties should confirm by telephone the date, time, and location of the hearing two days before the scheduled date.

    Postponement of Final Determination and Extension of Provisional Measures

    Section 735(a)(2) of the Act provides that a final determination may be postponed until not later than 135 days after the date of the publication of the preliminary determination if, in the event of an affirmative preliminary determination, a request for such postponement is made by exporters who account for a significant proportion of exports of the subject merchandise, or in the event of a negative preliminary determination, a request for such postponement is made by the petitioner. Section 351.210(e)(2) of Commerce's regulations requires that a request by exporters for postponement of the final determination be accompanied by a request for extension of provisional measures from a four-month period to a period not more than six months in duration.

    On January 23, 2018, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.210(e), the petitioner requested that Commerce postpone the final determination and that provisional measures be extended to a period not to exceed six months.9 Additionally, on January 16, January 19, and January 23, 2018, White Birch Paper, Catalyst, and Resolute, respectively, requested that Commerce postpone the final determination and that provisional measures be extended to a period not to exceed six months.10 In accordance with section 735(a)(2)(A) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.210(b)(2)(ii), because: (1) The preliminary determination is affirmative; (2) the requesting exporters account for a significant proportion of exports of the subject merchandise; and (3) no compelling reasons for denial exist, Commerce is postponing the final determination and extending the provisional measures from a four-month period to a period not greater than six months. Accordingly, Commerce will make its final determination no later than 135 days after the date of publication of this preliminary determination.

    9See Petitioner's Letter, “Antidumping Duty Investigation of Certain Uncoated Groundwood Paper from Canada: Petitioner's Request for Postponement of Final Determination,” dated January 23, 2018.

    10See White Birch Paper's Letter, “Certain Uncoated Groundwood Paper from Canada, Case No. A-122-861: Request to postpone Final Determination,” dated January 16, 2018; Catalyst's Letter, “Certain Uncoated Groundwood Paper from Canada: Catalyst Request to Postpone Final Determination,” dated January 19, 2018; and Resolute's Letter, “Uncoated Groundwood Paper from Canada: Request for Extension of Final Determination in Antidumping Duty Investigation,” dated January 23, 2018.

    International Trade Commission Notification

    In accordance with section 733(f) of the Act, Commerce will notify the International Trade Commission (ITC) of its preliminary determination. If the final determination is affirmative, the ITC will determine before the later of 120 days after the date of this preliminary determination or 45 days after the final determination whether these imports are materially injuring, or threaten material injury to, the U.S. industry.

    Notification to Interested Parties

    This determination is issued and published in accordance with sections 733(f) and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(c).

    Dated: March 12, 2018. Gary Taverman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, performing the non-exclusive functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix I—Scope of the Investigation

    The merchandise covered by this investigation includes certain paper that has not been coated on either side and with 50 percent or more of the cellulose fiber content consisting of groundwood pulp, including groundwood pulp made from recycled paper, weighing not more than 90 grams per square meter. Groundwood pulp includes all forms of pulp produced from a mechanical pulping process, such as thermo-mechanical process (TMP), chemi-thermo mechanical process (CTMP), bleached chemi-thermo mechanical process (BCTMP) or any other mechanical pulping process. The scope includes paper shipped in any form, including but not limited to both rolls and sheets.

    Certain uncoated groundwood paper includes but is not limited to standard newsprint, high bright newsprint, book publishing, and printing and writing papers. The scope includes paper that is white, off-white, cream, or colored.

    Specifically excluded from the scope are imports of certain uncoated groundwood paper printed with final content of printed text or graphic. Also excluded are papers that otherwise meet this definition, but which have undergone a supercalendering process.11 Additionally, excluded are papers that otherwise meet this definition, but which have undergone a creping process over the entire surface area of the paper.

    11 Supercalendering imparts a glossy finish produced by the movement of the paper web through a supercalender which is a stack of alternating rollers of metal and cotton (or other softer material). The supercalender runs at high speed and applies pressure, heat, and friction which glazes the surface of the paper, imparting gloss to the surface and increasing the paper's smoothness and density.

    Also excluded are uncoated groundwood construction paper and uncoated groundwood manila drawing paper in sheet or roll format. Excluded uncoated groundwood construction paper and uncoated groundwood manila drawing paper: (a) Have a weight greater than 61 grams per square meter; (b) have a thickness greater than 6.1 caliper, i.e., greater than .0061” or 155 microns; (c) are produced using at least 50 percent thermomechanical pulp; and (d) have a shade, as measured by CIELAB, as follows: L* less than or 75.0 or b* greater than or equal to 25.0.

    Also excluded is uncoated groundwood directory paper that: (a) Has a basis weight of 34 grams per square meter or less; and (b) has a thickness of 2.6 caliper mils or 66 microns or less.

    Certain uncoated groundwood paper is classifiable in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in several subheadings, including 4801.00.0120, 4801.00.0140, 4802.61.1000, 4802.61.2000, 4802.61.3110, 4802.61.3191, 4802.61.6040, 4802.62.1000, 4802.62.2000, 4802.62.3000, 4802.62.6140, 4802.69.1000, 4802.69.2000, and 4802.69.3000. Subject merchandise may also be imported under several additional subheadings including 4805.91.5000, 4805.91.7000, and 4805.91.9000.12 Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the merchandise is dispositive.

    12 The following HTSUS numbers are no longer active as of January 1, 2017: 4801.00.0020, 4801.00.0040, 4802.61.3010, 4802.61.3091, and 4802.62.6040.

    Appendix II—List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum I. Summary II. Background III. Period of Investigation IV. Scope Comments V. Discussion of the Methodology A. Determination of the Comparison Method B. Results of the Differential Pricing Analysis VI. Date of Sale VII. Product Comparisons VIII. Export Price and Constructed Export Price IX. Normal Value A. Home Market Viability B. Level of Trade C. Cost of Production (COP) Analysis 1. Calculation of COP 2. Test of Comparison Market Sales Prices 3. Results of the COP Test D. Calculation of NV Based on Comparison Market Prices E. Calculation of NV Based on Constructed Value X. Currency Conversion XI. Conclusion
    [FR Doc. 2018-05486 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-201-842] Large Residential Washers From Mexico: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2016-2017 AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    On November 8, 2017, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) published the preliminary results of the fourth administrative review of the antidumping duty (AD) order on large residential washers from Mexico. The period of review (POR) is February 1, 2016, to January 31, 2017. Based on our analysis of the comments received, our final results remain unchanged from the preliminary results. The final dumping margin for the respondent, Electrolux Home Products Corp. N.V. and Electrolux Home Products de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. (collectively, Electrolux), is listed below in the section entitled “Final Results of the Review.”

    DATES:

    Applicable March 19, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ross Belliveau or Rebecca Janz, 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) 482-4952 and (202) 482-2972, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    The review covers one producer/exporter of the subject merchandise: Electrolux. On November 8, 2017, Commerce published the Preliminary Results. 1

    1See Large Residential Washers from Mexico: Preliminary Results of the Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2016-2017, 82 FR 51810 (November 8, 2017) (Preliminary Results).

    In December 2017, we received a case brief from Electrolux and a rebuttal brief from the petitioner, Whirlpool Corporation.

    Scope of the Order

    The products covered by the order are all large residential washers and certain subassemblies thereof from Mexico. The products are currently classifiable under subheadings 8450.20.0040 and 8450.20.0080 of the Harmonized Tariff System of the United States (HTSUS). Products subject to this order may also enter under HTSUS subheadings 8450.11.0040, 8450.11.0080, 8450.90.2000, and 8450.90.6000. Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the merchandise subject to this scope is dispositive.2

    2 A full description of the scope of the order is contained in Memorandum, “Issues and Decision Memorandum for the Final Results of the Antidumping Duty Administrative Review of Large Residential Washers from Mexico,” dated concurrently with this notice (Issues and Decision Memorandum).

    Analysis of Comments Received

    All issues raised in the case and rebuttal briefs are listed in the Appendix to this notice and addressed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum. Parties can find a complete discussion of these issues and the corresponding recommendations in this public memorandum, which 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 http://access.trade.gov; the Issues and Decision Memorandum is also available to all parties 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 accessed directly at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/index.html. The signed Issues and Decision Memorandum and the electronic version of the Issues and Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    Final Results of the Review

    We are assigning the following dumping margin to Electrolux:

    Manufacturer/exporter Dumping
  • margin
  • (percent)
  • Electrolux Home Products Corp. NV/Electrolux Home Products de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. 72.41
    Assessment Rates

    Pursuant to section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act, and 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1), Commerce has determined, and CBP shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries of subject merchandise in accordance with the final results of this review. Commerce intends to issue appropriate assessment instructions directly to CBP 41 days after publication of the final results of this administrative review. For Electrolux, we will base the assessment rate, which was assigned as an adverse facts available (AFA) rate,3 for the corresponding entries on the margin listed above.

    3 For a full discussion of Commerce's determination to apply AFA pursuant to sections 776(a) and (b) of the Act, see the accompanying Issues and Decision Memorandum at Comment 1. See also Preliminary Results, and accompanying Preliminary Decision Memorandum at 3-8.

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The following deposit requirements will be effective upon publication of the notice of final results of administrative review for all shipments of the subject merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the date of publication, as provided by section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act: (1) The cash deposit rate for Electrolux will be equal to the dumping margin established in the final results of this administrative review; (2) for merchandise exported by manufacturers or exporters not covered in this administrative review but covered in a prior segment of the proceeding, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the company-specific rate published for the most recently-completed segment; (3) if the exporter is not a firm covered in this review, a prior review, or the original less-than-fair-value (LTFV) investigation, but the manufacturer is, the cash deposit rate will be the rate established for the most recently-completed segment of this proceeding for the manufacturer of the merchandise; and (4) the cash deposit rate for all other manufacturers or exporters will continue to be 36.52 percent, the all-others rate determined in the LTFV investigation.4 These cash deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    4See Large Residential Washers from Mexico and the Republic of Korea: Antidumping Duty Orders, 78 FR 11148 (February 15, 2013).

    Notification to Importers

    This notice also serves as a final reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of antidumping duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during this review period. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the Secretary's presumption that reimbursement of antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of double antidumping duties.

    Notification Regarding Administrative Protective Order

    This notice serves as the only reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (APO) of their responsibility concerning the disposition of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3). Timely written notification of return/destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and the terms of an APO is a sanctionable violation.

    This notice is published in accordance with section 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.213(h) and 351.221(b)(5) of Commerce's regulations.

    Dated: March 12, 2018. Gary Taverman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, performing the non-exclusive functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix I—List of Topics Discussed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum I. Summary II. Background III. Scope of the Order IV. Duty Absorption V. Discussion of the Issues Comment 1. The Application of Adverse Facts Available (AFA) Comment 2. Electrolux's Untimely Filed Responses and Requests Comment 3. Selection of the AFA Rate VI. Recommendation
    [FR Doc. 2018-05482 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [C-351-833] Carbon and Certain Alloy Steel Wire Rod From Brazil: Rescission of 2016 Countervailing Duty Administrative Review AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (Commerce) is rescinding the administrative review of the countervailing duty order on carbon and certain alloy steel wire rod products (wire rod) from Brazil for the period of review (POR) January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016.

    DATES:

    Applicable March 19, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Darla Brown or Joshua Tucker, 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) 482-1791 or (202) 482-2044, respectively.

    Background

    On October 4, 2017, Commerce published in the Federal Register a notice of opportunity to request an administrative review of the countervailing duty order on wire rod from Brazil for the POR.1 On October 30, 2017, Commerce received a timely request from Nucor Corporation (Nucor), in accordance with section 751(a) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act) and 19 CFR 351.213(b), to conduct an administrative review of this countervailing duty order.2

    1See Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Order, Finding, or Suspended Investigation; Opportunity to Request Administrative Review, 82 FR 46217 (October 4, 2017).

    2See Letter from Nucor, “Carbon and Certain Alloy Steel Wire Rod from Brazil: Request for Administrative Review,” dated October 30, 2017.

    On December 7, 2017, Commerce published in the Federal Register a notice of initiation with respect to ArcelorMittal Brasil SA; Sinobras—Siderurgica Norte Brasil SA; Villares Metals SA; and Votarantim Siderurgia.3 On January 31, 2018, Nucor timely withdrew its request for an administrative review for these companies.4

    3See Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews, 82 FR 57705 (December 7, 2017).

    4See Letter from Nucor, “Carbon and Certain Alloy Steel Wire Rod from Brazil: Withdrawal of Request for Administrative Review,” dated January 31, 2018.

    Rescission of Review

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1), the Secretary will rescind an administrative review, in whole or in part, if a party who requested the review withdraws the request within 90 days of the date of publication of notice of initiation of the requested review. As noted above, Nucor withdrew its request for review by the 90-day deadline, and no other party requested an administrative review of this order. Therefore, we are rescinding the administrative review of the countervailing duty order on wire rod from Brazil covering the period January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016.

    Assessment

    Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to assess countervailing duties on all appropriate entries. Countervailing duties shall be assessed at rates equal to the cash deposit of estimated countervailing duties required at the time of entry, or withdrawal from warehouse, for consumption, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(c)(1)(i). Commerce intends to issue appropriate assessment instructions directly to CBP 15 days after the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register.

    Notification Regarding Administrative Protective Orders

    This notice serves as the only reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (APO) of their responsibility concerning the return or destruction of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3). Timely written notification of the return/destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and terms of an APO is a sanctionable violation.

    This notice is issued and published in accordance with section 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.213(d)(4).

    Dated: March 13, 2018. James Maeder, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations performing the duties of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2018-05484 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-351-832] Carbon and Certain Alloy Steel Wire Rod From Brazil: Rescission of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2016-2017 AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (Commerce) is rescinding the administrative review of the antidumping duty order on carbon and certain alloy steel wire rod from Brazil for the period October 1, 2016, through September 30, 2017, based on the timely withdrawal of the request for review.

    DATES:

    Applicable March 19, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Edythe Artman or Brian Davis, AD/CVD Operations, Office VI, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-3931 or (202) 482-7924, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    On October 4, 2017, Commerce published in the Federal Register a notice of opportunity to request an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on carbon and certain alloy steel wire rod from Brazil for the period October 1, 2016, through September 30, 2017.1 On October 30, 2017, Commerce received a timely request, in accordance with section 751(a) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), to conduct an administrative review of this antidumping duty order with respect to five companies and their affiliates from Nucor Corporation (Nucor), a domestic producer of carbon wire rod products.2 Based on this request, and in accordance with section 751(a) of the Act, Commerce published a notice of initiation of the review in the Federal Register on December 7, 2017, in which we initiated reviews of the following companies: ArcelorMittal Brasil SA, Siderurgica Norte Brasil SA, Sinobras, Villares Metals SA, and Votorantim Siderurgica.3 On January 31, 2018, Nucor filed a timely withdrawal of its request for a review for each of the companies.4

    1See Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Order, Finding, or Suspended Investigation; Opportunity to Request Administrative Review, 82 FR 46217 (October 4, 2017).

    2See Petitioner Letter, “Carbon and Certain Alloy Steel Wire Rod from Brazil: Request for Administrative Review,” dated October 30, 2017 (Review Request).

    3See Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews, 82 FR 57705 (December 7, 2017) (Initiation Notice). See also Memorandum, “Antidumping Duty Administrative Review of Carbon and Certain Alloy Steel Wire Rod from Brazil; Company Names in Forthcoming Initiation Notice,” dated November 9, 2017, which explains the difference in names between the Review Request and Initiation Notice.

    4See Petitioner Letter, “Carbon and Certain Alloy Steel Wire Rod: Withdrawal of Request for Administrative Review,” dated January 31, 2018.

    Commerce exercised its discretion to toll all deadlines affected by the closure of the federal government from January 20 through January 22, 2018. If the new deadline falls on a non-business day, in accordance with Commerce's practice, the deadline will become the next business day. If we were not rescinding this review, the revised deadline for the preliminary results of review would be July 6, 2018.

    Rescission of Review

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1), the Secretary will rescind an administrative review, in whole or in part, if a party who requested the review withdraws the request within 90 days of the date of publication of notice of initiation of the requested review. As noted above, Nucor withdrew its request for review by the 90-day deadline. Accordingly, in response to the timely filed withdrawal of the request for review and in accordance with 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1), we are rescinding the administrative review of the antidumping duty order on carbon and certain alloy steel wire rod from Brazil covering the period October 1, 2016, through September 30, 2017.

    Assessment

    Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to assess antidumping duties on all appropriate entries. Antidumping duties shall be assessed at rates equal to the cash deposit of estimated antidumping duties required at the time of entry, or withdrawal from warehouse, for consumption, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(c)(1)(i). Commerce intends to issue appropriate assessment instructions to CBP 15 days after publication of this notice in the Federal Register.

    Notification to Importers

    This notice serves as a reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f)(2) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of antidumping duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during this review period. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in Commerce's presumption that reimbursement of antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of doubled antidumping duties.

    Notification Regarding Administrative Protective Orders

    This notice also serves as a reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (APO) of their responsibility concerning the return or destruction of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3). Timely written notification of the return/destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and terms of an APO is a violation which is subject to sanction.

    This notice is issued and published in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.213(d)(4).

    Dated: March 13, 2018. James Maeder, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations performing the duties of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2018-05483 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-894] Certain Tissue Paper Products From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2016-2017 AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (Commerce) has completed its administrative review of the antidumping duty order on certain tissue paper products (tissue paper) from the People's Republic of China (China) for the period of review (POR) March 1, 2016, through February 28, 2017. We continue to find that Global Key, Inc. (Global Key) is not eligible for a separate rate and that Chung Rhy Special Paper Mill Co., Ltd. (Chung Rhy) had no shipments during the POR.

    DATES:

    Applicable March 19, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sergio Balbontin, AD/CVD Operations, Office VIII, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: 202-482-6478.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    On November 21, 2017, Commerce published the Preliminary Results in the Federal Register.1 We invited interested parties to comment on the Preliminary Results; however, no interested parties submitted comments. Accordingly, we made no changes to the Preliminary Results.

    1See Certain Tissue Paper Products from the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Preliminary Determination of No Shipments; 2016-2017, 82 FR 55348 (November 21, 2017) (Preliminary Results), and accompanying Memorandum from James Maeder, Senior Director performing the duties of the Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, to 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, “Decision Memorandum for Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review: Certain Tissue Paper Products from the People's Republic of China; 2016-2017” (Preliminary Decision Memorandum).

    Scope of the Order

    The tissue paper products subject to this order are cut-to-length sheets of tissue paper having a basis weight not exceeding 29 grams per square meter. Tissue paper products subject to this order may or may not be bleached, dye-colored, surface-colored, glazed, surface decorated or printed, sequined, crinkled, embossed, and/or die cut. The tissue paper subject to this order is in the form of cut-to-length sheets of tissue paper with a width equal to or greater than one-half (0.5) inch. Subject tissue paper may be flat or folded, and may be packaged by banding or wrapping with paper or film, by placing in plastic or film bags, and/or by placing in boxes for distribution and use by the ultimate consumer. Packages of tissue paper subject to this order may consist solely of tissue paper of one color and/or style, or may contain multiple colors and/or styles.

    The merchandise subject to this order does not have specific classification numbers assigned to them under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Subject merchandise may be under one or more of several different subheadings, including: 4802.30, 4802.54, 4802.61, 4802.62, 4802.69, 4804.31.1000, 4804.31.2000, 4804.31.4020, 4804.31.4040, 4804.31.6000, 4804.39, 4805.91.1090, 4805.91.5000, 4805.91.7000, 4806.40, 4808.30, 4808.90, 4811.90, 4823.90, 4802.50.00, 4802.90.00, 4805.91.90, 9505.90.40. The tariff classifications are provided for convenience and customs purposes; however, the written description of the scope of this order is dispositive.2

    2 On January 30, 2007, at the direction of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Commerce added the following HTSUS classifications to the AD/CVD module for tissue paper: 4802.54.3100, 4802.54.6100, and 4823.90.6700. However, we note that the six-digit classifications for these numbers were already listed in the scope.

    Excluded from the scope of this order are the following tissue paper products: (1) Tissue paper products that are coated in wax, paraffin, or polymers, of a kind used in floral and food service applications; (2) tissue paper products that have been perforated, embossed, or die-cut to the shape of a toilet seat, i.e., disposable sanitary covers for toilet seats; (3) toilet or facial tissue stock, towel or napkin stock, paper of a kind used for household or sanitary purposes, cellulose wadding, and webs of cellulose fibers (HTS 4803.00.20.00 and 4803.00.40.00).

    Final Determination of No Shipments

    In the Preliminary Results, Commerce determined that Chung Rhy did not have any shipments of subject merchandise during the POR. As we have not received any information to contradict our preliminary finding, we determine that Chung Rhy did not have any shipments of subject merchandise during the POR and we intend to issue appropriate instructions that are consistent with our “automatic assessment” clarification, for these final results.3

    3See Non-Market Economy Antidumping Proceedings: Assessment of Antidumping Duties, 76 FR 65694 (October 24, 2011) (Assessment Notice); see also “Assessment Rates” section below.

    Methodology

    Commerce has conducted this review in accordance with section 751(a)(1)(A) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act). In the Preliminary Results, Commerce determined that Global Key was ineligible for a separate rate and is part of the China-wide entity, subject to the China-wide entity rate of 112.64 percent.4 As we have not received any information since the issuance of the Preliminary Results that provides a basis for reconsidering this determination, we continue to find that Global Key is ineligible for a separate rate.

    4See Preliminary Results, 82 FR at 55349, and Preliminary Decision Memorandum at 4.

    Assessment Rates

    Pursuant to section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.212(b), Commerce has determined, and CBP shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries of subject merchandise in accordance with these final results of administrative review. Commerce intends to issue assessment instructions to CBP 15 days after the date of publication of these final results of review. With regard to Global Key, we will instruct CBP to apply an ad valorem assessment rate of 112.64 percent to all entries of subject merchandise during the POR which were produced and/or exported by Global Key.

    Additionally, consistent with our assessment practice in non-market economy cases, for Chung Rhy, an exporter under review which we determined had no shipments of the subject merchandise, any suspended entries made under that exporter's case number (i.e., at that exporter's rate) will be liquidated at the China-wide rate.5

    5 For a full discussion of this practice, see Assessment Notice.

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The following cash deposit requirements will be effective upon publication of these final results of administrative review for shipments of the subject merchandise from China entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date, as provided by sections 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act: (1) For previously investigated or reviewed Chinese and non-Chinese exporters that received a separate rate in a prior segment of this proceeding, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the existing exporter-specific rate; (2) for all Chinese exporters of subject merchandise that have not been found to be entitled to a separate rate, including Global Key, the cash deposit rate will be that for the China-wide entity, which is 112.64 percent; and (3) for all non-Chinese exporters of subject merchandise which have not received their own rate, the cash deposit rate will be the rate applicable to the Chinese exporter that supplied that non-Chinese exporter. These deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    Notification to Importers

    This notice also serves as a reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f)(2) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of antidumping duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during this POR. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in Commerce's presumption that reimbursement of antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of double antidumping duties.

    Administrative Protective Order

    This notice also serves as a reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (APO) of their responsibility concerning the return or destruction of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3), which continues to govern business proprietary information in this segment of the proceeding. Timely written notification of the return 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 violation which is subject to sanction.

    Notification to Interested Parties

    This notice of the final results of this antidumping duty administrative review is issued and published in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.221(b)(5).

    Dated: March 13, 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. 2018-05485 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-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: Protocol for Access to Tissue Specimen Samples from the National Marine Mammal Tissue Bank.

    OMB Control Number: 0648-0468.

    Form Number(s): None.

    Type of Request: Regular (extension of a currently approved information collection).

    Number of Respondents: 25.

    Average Hours per Response: Request for tissue sample, 2 hours; specimen submission form, 45 minutes.

    Burden Hours: 85.

    Needs and Uses: This is a request for extension of a currently approved information collection.

    In 1989, the National Marine Mammal Tissue Bank (NMMTB) was established by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Office of Protected Resources (OPR) in collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Minerals Management Service (MMS), and the US Geological Survey/Biological Resources Division (USGS/BRD). The NMMTB provides protocols, techniques, and physical facilities for the long-term storage of tissues from marine mammals. Scientists can request tissues from this repository for retrospective analyses to determine environmental trends of contaminants and other substances of interest. The NMMTB collects, processes, and stores tissues from specific indicator species (e.g., Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic white sided dolphins, pilot whales, harbor porpoises), animals from mass strandings, animals that have been obtained incidental to commercial fisheries, animals taken for subsistence purposes, biopsies, and animals from unusual mortality events through two projects, the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program (MMHSRP) and the Alaska Marine Mammal Tissue Archival Project (AMMTAP).

    The purposes of this collection of information are: (1) To enable NOAA to allow the scientific community the opportunity to request tissue specimen samples from the NMMTB and, (2) to enable the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program (MMHSRP) of NOAA to assemble information on all specimens submitted to the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Marine Environmental Specimen Bank (Marine ESB), which includes the NMMTB.

    Affected Public: Individuals or households; business or other for-profit organizations; not-for-profit institutions; state, local, or tribal government; federal government.

    Frequency: On occasion.

    Respondent's Obligation: Voluntary.

    This information collection request may be viewed at reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB.

    Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to [email protected] or fax to (202) 395-5806.

    Dated: March 14, 2018. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2018-05509 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; International Dolphin Conservation Program 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 May 18, 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: Justin Greenman, NMFS—Protected Resources Division, 501 W. Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802, (562) 980-3264 or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Abstract

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) collects information to implement the International Dolphin Conservation Program Act (Act). The Act allows entry of yellowfin tuna into the United States (U.S.), under specific conditions, from nations in the International Dolphin Conservation Program that would otherwise be under embargo. The Act also allows U.S. fishing vessels to participate in the yellowfin tuna fishery in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP) on terms equivalent with the vessels of other nations. NOAA collects information to allow tracking and verification of “dolphin-safe” and “non-dolphin safe” tuna products from catch through the U.S. market.

    The regulations implementing the Act are at 50 CFR parts 216 and 300. The recordkeeping and reporting requirements at 50 CFR parts 216 and 300 form the basis for this collection of information. This collection includes permit applications, notifications, tuna tracking forms, reports, and certifications that provide information on vessel characteristics and operations in the ETP, the origin of tuna and tuna products, chain of custody recordkeeping requirements and certain other information necessary to implement the Act.

    II. Method of Collection

    Paper applications, other paper records, electronic and facsimile reports, and telephone calls or email messages are required from participants. Methods of submittal include transmission of paper forms via regular mail and facsimile as well as electronic submission via email or an FTP site (password protected).

    III. Data

    OMB Number: 0648-0387.

    Form Number: None.

    Type of Review: Regular submission (extension of a current information collection).

    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit organizations; individuals or households.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 279.

    Estimated Time per Response: 35 minutes for a vessel permit application; 10 minutes for an operator permit application, a notification of vessel arrival or departure, a change in permit operator; a notification of a net modification or a monthly tuna storage removal report; 30 minutes for a request for a waiver to transit the ETP without a permit (and subsequent radio reporting) or for a special report documenting the origin of tuna (if requested by the NOAA Administrator); 10 hours for an experimental fishing operation waiver; 15 minutes for a request for a Dolphin Mortality Limit; 35 minutes for written notification to request active status for a small tuna purse seine vessel; 5 minutes for written notification to request inactive status for a small tuna purse seine vessel or for written notification of the intent to transfer a tuna purse seine vessel to foreign registry and flag; 60 minutes for a tuna tracking form or for a monthly tuna receiving report; 30 minutes for IMO application or exemption request; 30 minutes for chain of custody recordkeeping reporting requirement.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 248.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $4,578.

    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: March 14, 2018. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2018-05508 Filed 3-16-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XF800 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Confined Blasting Operations in the East Channel by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers During the Tampa Harbor Big Bend Channel Expansion Project in Tampa Harbor, Tampa, Florida AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; proposed incidental harassment authorization; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS has received a request from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, (USACE) for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to confined blasting in the East Channel of the Big Bend Channel in Tampa Harbor, Tampa, Florida. 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 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 April 18, 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 www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/incidental-take-authorizations-construction-activities 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:

    Dale Youngkin, 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: 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

    Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) direct the Secretary of Commerce (as delegated to NMFS) to allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if certain findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, a notice of a proposed authorization is provided to the public for review.

    An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings are set forth.

    NMFS has defined “negligible impact” in 50 CFR 216.103 as an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival.

    The MMPA states that the term “take” means to harass, hunt, capture, kill or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal. 16 U.S.C. 1362(13).

    Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the MMPA defines “harassment” as any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A harassment); or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering (Level B harassment). 16 U.S.C. 1362(18)(A).

    National Environmental Policy Act

    To comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and NOAA Administrative Order (NAO) 216-6A, NMFS must review our proposed action (i.e., the issuance of an incidental harassment authorization) with respect to potential impacts on the human environment.

    Accordingly, NMFS plans to adopt the USACE's Supplemental Environmental Assessment (EA) (August, 2017), provided our independent evaluation of the document finds that it includes adequate information analyzing the effects on the human environment of issuing the IHA. The USACE's Supplemental EA and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is available at http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/About/DivisionsOffices/Planning/EnvironmentalBranch/EnvironmentalDocuments.aspx#Hillsborough, and is also available for review on our website at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/construction.htm.

    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 August 8, 2017, NMFS received a request from USACE for an IHA to take marine mammals incidental to confined blasting within the East Channel of the Tampa Harbor Big Bend Channel Expansion Project in Tampa, Florida. USACE's request is for take of a small number of the Tampa Bay stock of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) by Level B harassment only. Neither USACE nor NMFS expect mortality to result from this activity and, therefore, an IHA is appropriate.

    NMFS previously issued an IHA to USACE for similar work in the Miami Harbor (77 FR 49278, August 15, 2012). However, ultimately, USACE did not perform any confined blasting under that IHA. Prior to that, NMFS issued an IHA to the USACE for similar work in the Miami Harbor Phase II Project in 2005 (70 FR 21174, April 25, 2005) and 2003 (68 FR 32016, May 29, 2003).

    Description of Proposed Activity Overview

    The proposed Tampa Harbor Big Bend Channel Expansion Project is located within Hillsborough Bay (part of Tampa Bay), Hillsborough County, Florida. The five major features of the entire project include the following (refer to Figure 2 of the application), but only confined underwater blasting associated with Feature 5 is covered in USACE's IHA application.

    • Feature 1 of the project will deepen the project depths of the existing Entrance Channel, Turning Basin, East Channel and Inner Channel from 10.36 meters (m) (34 feet (ft)) to 14 m (46 ft).

    • Feature 2 of the project will widen the north side of the Entrance Channel by 15.2 m (50 ft), from 61 m (200 ft) to 76.2 m (250 ft) and deepen it from 10.36 m (34 feet) to 14 m (46 feet).

    • Feature 3 of the project will widen the Turning Basin approximately 57.9 m(190 ft) to the southwest to provide a 365.8 m (1,200 ft) turning radius and deepen it from 10.36 m (34 ft) to 14 m (46 ft).

    • Feature 4 of the project will add a widener at the southeast corner of the intersection of the Turning Basin and East Channel and deepen it from 10.36 m (34 ft) to 14 m (46 ft).

    • Feature 5 of the project will deepen local service facilities (non- federal berthing areas) located north, south, and east of the East Channel and at the south end of the Inner Channel from 10.36 m (34 ft) to 14 m (46 ft).

    The USACE IHA application is for work associated with Feature 5 of the project, and would involve possible use of confined underwater blasting (placement of an explosive charge into pre-drilled holes approximately 1.5-3 m deep and capping the hole with inert materials such as crushed rock in order to break up rock substrate along the bottom) to deepen the project's East Channel. To deepen the Big Bend Channel portion of the Tampa Harbor Federal Navigation Project from 10.36 m (34 ft) to 14 m (46 ft), confined underwater blasting may be necessary to pretreat rock areas within the East Channel, where dredging or other rock removal methods are unsuccessful due to the hardness and massiveness of the rock. Sound and pressure associated with this underwater blasting has the potential to incidentally take marine mammals. The existing East Channel is a man-made channel with a history of maintenance dredging and is approximately 1,450 m (4,757 ft) long and 185 m (607 ft) wide at its widest location. Confined underwater blasting is not proposed within the Entrance Channel, Turning Basin, or Inner Channel, or any project area other than the East Channel.

    Dates and Duration

    Once a contractor has been selected, a specific blasting plan will be prepared that will specify the charge weights and blasting patterns to be used. However, in accordance with the USACE's Endangered Species Act Section 7 consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), confined underwater blasting operations or rock pre-treatment will only be conducted during the months of April through October (tentatively scheduled April 1, 2019 through September 30, 2019) in order to avoid take of the West Indian Manatee (Trichecus manatus). The exact duration of blasting will be dependent upon a number of factors including hardness of rock, how close the drill holes are placed in relation to each other, and the type of dredging equipment that will be used to remove the pretreated rock. However, certain restrictions shall be imposed on all blasting operations.

    In addition to the blasting window being limited to occur from April through October, the contractor shall not exceed a total of 42 blast events. A blast event may include the detonation of a blast pattern with up to 40 individual charges. If multiple blast events are performed in one day, then the blast events shall be separated by an estimated minimum six hours. When blasting operations are conducted, they will take place 24-hours a day, typically six days a week. The contractor may drill the blast pattern at night and then blast after at least two hours after sunrise (one hour plus one hour of monitoring). After detonation of the first pattern, a second pattern may be drilled and detonated under the following circumstances: (1) It is not less than one hour before sunset, and (2) at least six hours have passed since the previous detonation. Blasting activities normally will not take place on Sundays due to local ordinances.

    Specific Geographic Region

    The proposed confined underwater blasting activities would be performed only within the East Channel of the Tampa Harbor Big Bend Channel Expansion Project located within Hillsborough Bay (part of Tampa Bay), Hillsborough County, Florida (refer to Figures 1 and 2 of the application). Coordinates for the approximate center of the East Channel are 27°48′25.93″ N and 82°24′24.21″ W.

    Detailed Description of Specific Activity

    The East Channel of Tampa Harbor Big Bend Channel will be deepened by pre-treating the limestone foundation along the bottom of the Channel utilizing confined blasting (the shots will be “confined” within the rock), and after blasting the material will be removed by dredge. As described above, explosive charges will be placed within holes drilled into the limestone. Blast holes will be small in diameter, typically 5-10 centimeters (cm) (2-4 inches (in)), and 1.5-3 m (5-10 ft) deep. Drilling activities will take place for a short duration, with no more than three holes being drilled at the same time. Due to the equipment used and the short duration of the drilling activity, drilling is not anticipated to have the potential to result in take of marine mammals.

    Typically, each blast pattern is set up in a square or rectangular area divided into rows and columns, although some blast patterns may consist of a single line (for use near bulkheads, for example). The proposed project will use a maximum of 40 charges per pattern. In confined blasting, each charge is placed in a pre-drilled hole and the hole is then capped with an inert material (known as “stemming the hole”). Studies have shown that stemmed blasts have up to a 60-90 percent decrease in the strength of the pressure released compared to open water blasts of the same charge weight (Nedwell and Thandavamoorthy, 1992; Hempen et al., 2005; Hempen et al., 2007). However, unlike open water blasts, very little peer-reviewed research exists on the effects on marine animals near a stemmed blast.

    A delay is defined as a distinct pause of predetermined time between detonation or initiation impulses to permit the firing of explosive charges separately. Delay blasting is the practice of initiating individual explosive decks, boreholes, or rows of boreholes at predetermined time intervals using delay detonators, as compared to instantaneous blasting where all holes are fired essentially simultaneously. To estimate the maximum poundage of explosives that may be utilized for this project, the USACE has reviewed previous blasting projects that were conducted in San Juan Harbor, Puerto Rico in 2000 and Miami Harbor, Florida in 2005. The San Juan Harbor project's heaviest confined blast was 170.1 kilograms (kg) (375 lbs) per delay and in Miami Harbor it was 60.8 kg (134 lbs) per delay. However, based on discussions with the USACE geotechnical engineers, the blasting energy required to break up rock in the East Channel of the Tampa Harbor Big Bend project will be reduced in effort to minimize impacts to the environment and obtain some fracturing of the rock to aid removal. Therefore, the maximum weight of delays will not exceed 18.1 kg (40 lbs) for this project. Therefore, the proposed project will use a maximum charge weight of 725.7 kg (1,600 lbs) as a conservatively high estimate for the total amount of explosives that may be used in the largest blasting pattern (40 charges of 18.1 kg (40 lbs) each).

    The following industry standards and USACE Safety and Health Regulations will be implemented:

    • The weight of explosives to be used in each blast event will be limited to the lowest kg (not to exceed 18.1 kg (40 lbs)/delay) of explosives that can adequately break the rock.

    • Drill patterns shall be restricted to a minimum of 2.4 m (8 ft) separation from a loaded hole.

    • Hours of blasting are restricted to two hours after sunrise until one hour before sunset to allow for adequate observation of the project area for protected species. Blasting hours will also be restricted to periods of good weather (no blasting will commence in rain, fog, or otherwise poor weather conditions, and can only commence when the entire Level B harassment zone is visible to observers).

    • Selection of explosive products and their practical application method must address vibration and overpressure control for protection of existing structures and marine wildlife.

    • Loaded blast holes will be individually delayed such that larger blasts are broken into smaller blasts with a time break between them that will be determined by the contractor. Loaded blast holes will be individually delayed to reduce the maximum kilograms/pounds per blast event (which will reduce the radius at which marine mammals may be injured or killed).

    • The blast design will consider matching the energy in the “work effort” of the borehole to the rock mass or target for minimizing excess energy vented into the water column or hydraulic shock.

    • Delay timing adjustments between delay detonations to stagger the blast pressures and prevent cumulative addition of pressures in the water will be determined by the contractor, and will be in compliance with USACE regulations.

    Prior to implementing a blasting program, a test blast program will be completed. The test blast program will have all the same protection measures in place for protected species as blasting for construction purposes. The purpose of the text blast program is to demonstrate and/or confirm the following:

    • Drill boat capabilities and production rates;

    • Ideal drill pattern for typical boreholes;

    • Acceptable rock breakage for excavation;

    • Tolerable vibration level emitted;

    • Directional vibration;

    • Calibration of the environment; and

    • Sound parameters of the blasting by variables of the test blasting and production blasting.

    The test blast program will begin with a single row of individually delayed holes and progress up to the maximum production blast intended for use. The test blast program will take place in the project area and will count toward the pre-treatment of material, so it will be included in the 42-total-blast-events limit. Each test blast is designed to establish the limits of vibration and overpressure, with acceptable rock breakage for excavation. The final test blast event simulates the maximum explosive detonation as to size, overlying water depth, charge configuration, charge separation, initiation methods, and loading conditions anticipated for the typical production blast. The results of the test blast program will be the basis for developing a completely engineered procedure for the construction blasting plan. Specifically, the test blast program will be used to determine the following:

    • Distance between individual charges (minimum 2.4 m (8 ft) requirement);

    • Kilograms/pounds per delay (not to exceed 18.1 kg (40 lbs) per delay);

    • Peak particle velocities (threshold limit value (TLV));

    • Frequencies (TLV);

    • Peak vector sum; and

    • Overpressure.

    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

    Sections 3 and 4 of the USACE IHA 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; www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/sars/) and more general information about these species (e.g., physical and behavioral descriptions) may be found on NMFS's website (www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals/).

    Table 1 lists all species with known or potential for occurrence in the project area and offshore of the west central Florida coastline, 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 (2016). 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.

    Table 1—Marine Mammals With Potentiac Occurrence in the Project Area Species Habitat Occurrence in project area Stock population
  • estimate 1
  • ESA
  • status 2
  • MMPA
  • status 3
  • PBR
    Humpback whale (Megaptera novaengliae) Pelagic, nearshore waters and banks Rare 823—Gulf of Maine Stock NL NC 13 Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) Coastal, offshore Rare 2,591—Canadian East Coast Stock NL NC 14 Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera brydei) Pelagic and coastal Rare 33—Northern Gulf of Mexico Stock NL S 0.03 Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis) Primarily offshore, pelagic Rare 357—Nova Scotia Stock EN S 0.5 Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) Slope, mostly pelagic Rare 1,618—Western North Atlantic Stock EN S 2.5 Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) Pelagic and coastal Rare 440—Western North Atlantic Stock EN S 0.9 Sperm whale (Physeter macrcephalus) Pelagic, deep seas Rare 763—Northern Gulf of Mexico Stock EN S 1.1 Dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima) Offshore, pelagic Rare 186—Northern Gulf of Mexico Stock NL NC 0.9 Gervais' beaked whale (Mesoplodon europaeus) Pelagic, slope and canyons Rare 149—Northern Gulf of Mexico Stock NL NC 0.8 Sowerby's beaked whale (Mesoplodon bidens) Pelagic, slope and canyons Rare 7,092—Western North Atlantic Stock NL NC 0.8 Blainville's beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris) Pelagic, slope and canyons Rare 149—Northern Gulf of Mexico Stock NL NC 0.8 Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) Pelagic, slope and canyons Rare 74—Northern Gulf of Mexico Stock NL NC 0.4 Killer whale (Orcinus orca) Widely distributed Rare 28—Northern Gulf of Mexico Stock NL NC 0.1 Short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus) Inshore and offshore Rare 2,415—Northern Gulf of Mexico Stock NL NC 15 False killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) Pelagic Rare NA—Northern Gulf of Mexico Stock NL NC Unknown Melon-headed whale (Peponocephala electra) Pelagic Rare 2,335—Northern Gulf of Mexico Stock NL NC 13 Pygmy killer whale (Feresa attenuata) Pelagic Rare 152—Northern Gulf of Mexico Stock NL NC 0.8 Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) Pelagic, shelf Rare 2,442—Northern Gulf of Mexico Stock NL NC 16 Common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) Offshore, inshore, coastal, and estuaries Common 564—Tampa Bay Stock 4 NL S Unknown Rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis) Pelagic Rare 624—Northern Gulf of Mexico Stock NL NC 3 Fraser's dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei) Shelf and slope Rare NA—Northern Gulf of Mexico Stock NL NC Unknown Striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) Coastal, shelf and slope Rare 1,849—Northern Gulf of Mexico Stock NL NC 10 Pantropical spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata) Coastal, shelf and slope Uncommon 50,880—Northern Gulf of Mexico Stock NL NC 407 Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis) Coastal to pelagic Uncommon NA—Northern Gulf of Mexico Stock NL NC Unknown Spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) Mostly pelagic Uncommon 11,441—Northern Gulf of Mexico Stock NL NC 62 Clymene dolphin (Stenella clymene) Coastal, shelf and slope Uncommon 129—Northern Gulf of Mexico Stock NL NC 0.6 West Indian manatee (Florida manatee) (Trichechus manatus latirostris) Coastal, rivers, and estuaries Uncommon 6,620—Florida Stock 5 T D 1 NMFS Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports (Hayes et al., 2016) unless indicated otherwise. 2 U.S. Endangered Species Act: EN = endangered; T = threatened; NL = not listed. 3 U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act: D = depleted; S = strategic; NC = not classified. 4 Wells et al., 1995. 5 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Survey Data (USFWS jurisdiction).

    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 values presented in Table 1 are the most recent available at the time of publication and are available in the 2016 Atlantic SAR (Hayes et al., 2016) with the exception of common bottlenose dolphin and the Florida manatee. The Florida manatee is not a species under NMFS jurisdiction, so is not included in the SAR. The abundance estimate from Wells et al. (1995) was used for bottlenose dolphins since abundance information is not provided for the Tampa Bay stock in the 2016 SAR.

    For Tampa Bay, Urian et al. (2009) described five discrete communities of common bottlenose dolphins (including the adjacent Sarasota Bay community) that differed in their social interactions and ranging patterns. Structure was found despite a lack of physiological barriers to movement within this large, open embayment. The authors further suggested that fine-scale structure may be a common element among bottlenose dolphins in the southeastern United States and recommended that management should account for fine-scale structure that exists within current stock designations. NMFS is in process of writing individual SARs for each of the 31 bay, sound, and estuary (BSE) stocks of common bottlenose dolphins. Until this effort is complete, Wells et al. (1995) provides the best available information regarding the abundance of the Tampa Bay stock of common bottlenose dolphins.

    All species under NMFS' jurisdiction that could potentially occur in the proposed survey areas are included in Table 1. However, the temporal and/or spatial occurrence of all species except for common bottlenose dolphins is such that take is not expected to occur, and they are not discussed further beyond the explanation provided here. The confined blasting portion of the project is located within the East Channel of the Big Bend Channel in Tampa Harbor. Although marine mammal species other than common bottlenose dolphins may transit through the area offshore of Tampa Harbor, they are not anticipated to occur within the proposed project area.

    In addition to the species under NMFS jurisdiction that may be found in waters off the west central Florida coast, the Florida manatee (managed by USFWS) may also occur in the proposed project area. The USACE has coordinated with the USFWS for avoidance of take for this species. Therefore, the Florida manatee is not considered further in this document.

    The status of the common bottlenose dolphin stock in the project area relative to optimum sustainable population is unknown. This species is not listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). However, the occurrence of 13 Unusual Mortality Events (UME) among this species in the northern Gulf of Mexico coast since 1990 (Litz, et al., 2014) is cause for concern and the effects of the UMEs on stock abundance have not yet been determined for the Gulf of Mexico stocks, including the Tampa Bay stock (in part due to the fact that it has not been possible to assign mortalities to specific stocks because there is a lack of information on stock identification). NMFS considers each of the Gulf of Mexico stocks (including the Tampa Bay stock) to be strategic because most of the stock sizes are currently unknown, but likely small and relatively few mortalities and serious injuries may exceed PBR.

    Past studies have documented year-round residency of individual bottlenose dolphins in estuarine waters (Irvine et al., 1981; Shane, 1977; and Gruber, 1981). As a result, the expectation of year-round resident populations was extended to BSE waters across the northern Gulf of Mexico. Since these early studies, long-term residency has been reported from nearly every site where photographic identification or tagging studies have been conducted in the Gulf of Mexico, including documentation of long-term residency in Tampa Bay (Wells, 1986; Wells et al., 1996; Urian et al., 2009).

    In many cases, residents occur primarily in BSE waters with limited movements through passes to the Gulf of Mexico (Shane, 1977 and 1990; Gruber, 1981; Irvine et al., 1981; Maze and Wursig, 1999; Lynn and Wursig, 2002; Fazioli et al., 2006). However, in some areas, year-round residents